Jun 102021
 


Henri Matisse Odalisque couchée aux magnolias 1923

 

CDC Claims Hospitalization Rising Among Unvaccinated Teens (Blaze)
The Real Efficacy of Covid-19 Vaccines (OR)
Fauci Compares Criticism Of Him To ‘Attacks On Science’ (RT)
G7 Leaders Will Call For Fresh WHO Inquiry Into Covid Origins (G.)
Covid Distancing May Have Weakened Children’s Immune System (G.)
Mongolia Reports Fresh COVID Outbreak Despite High Vaccination Rates (ZH)
J&J Must Pay $2 Billion In Landmark Talcum Baby Powder Trial (ZME)
Yet Another Media Tale Collapses (Greenwald)
EU-UK Talks On Northern Ireland Appear Close To Collapse On Eve Of G7 (G.)
Joe Biden Accuses Boris Johnson Of ‘Inflaming’ Tensions In Ireland (Sun)
Zelensky Tells Biden Ukraine Needs Clear Plan For Accession To NATO (ZH)

 

 

Actual deaths after waxxine

 

 

 

 

Neat little trick.

CDC Claims Hospitalization Rising Among Unvaccinated Teens (Blaze)

In order to justify the forced vaccination of children, the powers that be would somehow have to overturn 15 months of observations that COVID is less a threat to children than the flu and that unvaccinated children are less at risk than vaccinated adults (100 times less at risk than seniors), even if we are to believe Pfizer’s efficacy data. “CDC director reports spike in teen hospitalizations, urges parents to vaccinate kids over 12,” was the headline at the Hill on Friday, reporting on the CDC’s new study of hospitalizations. Naturally, it caught my attention because we all know that hospitalizations among all age groups have been plummeting to record lows across the country in recent weeks.

It turns out that along with its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the CDC published a “study” purporting to show an increase in hospitalizations among 12- to 17-year-olds, with one-third of them being in the ICU and 5% of them being placed on ventilators. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky was ready to pounce. “I am deeply concerned by the numbers of hospitalized adolescents and saddened to see the number of adolescents who required treatment in intensive care units or mechanical ventilation,” said Walensky in a statement. Of course, the solution is the great experimental gene therapy. “Until they are fully vaccinated, adolescents should continue to wear masks and take precautions when around other [sic] who are not vaccinated to protect themselves, and their family, friends, and community,” Walensky stated.

But there’s one problem. The CDC’s own data show that hospitalizations among all groups have plummeted over the past six weeks. It turns out they picked arbitrary start and end points – an old trick they’ve used with mask studies – which coincides with a period of increased hospitalizations among all age groups, including those with high vaccination rates. The study period of the CDC’s report was from March 1, 2020, to April 24, 2021. It just so happens that April 24 was roughly the peak period for ALL age groups! Most of that mini increase (after the major winter spread) was due to the final spring spread in the northeast and upper Midwest. Based on the CDC’s headlines, one would think that childhood hospitalizations are spreading now and that they are rising relative to other age groups. In reality, they have plummeted and only rose slightly from a near-zero baseline earlier this year along with other groups.

Read more …

To make it clear once and for all.

The Real Efficacy of Covid-19 Vaccines (OR)

Absolute Risk Reduction (ARR) and Relative Risk Reduction (RRR)

Why are ARR and RRR very important? Very simply, let’s assume you have 100 people in a Treatment group and another 100 people in a Control or placebo group. Then, let’s say that 2 people get Disease X in the Control group while one person gets Disease X in the Treatment group. The Relative Risk Reduction or RRR in this example is 50% because one diseased person is 50% or half of 2 diseased people. However, the Absolute Risk Reduction (ARR) is only 1% because in the treatment group, only one fewer people out of 100 participants got Disease X. You can also work it out using these formulas:

1) In the Treatment group, 1/100 got Disease X = 1% which is the EER (Experimental Event Rate)
2) In the Control or placebo group, 2/100 got Disease X = 2% which is the CER (Control Event Rate)
3) ARR (Absolute Risk Reduction) = CER – EER = 2% – 1% = 1%

In a subtraction the % signs carry through the equation and are kept.

4) RRR (Relative Risk Reduction) = ARR divided by CER = 1% divided by 2% = 1/2

In a division, the % signs cancel each other out and are not kept, but 1/2 is the same as 50%.

Let’s say the Treatment in this example had side effects, as most treatments do. If a patient were offered this Treatment and was told that the “efficacy” (how well the treatment works) was only 1% (the ARR) which is the true efficacy, this patient would be much less likely to accept the Treatment and its side effects than if he or she were told the efficacy was 50%. Fifty percent sounds a lot more promising than 1% but it reflects only the comparison between the diseased people of each group. The ARR or 1% efficacy is much more accurate as it reflects how many more people out of 100 will be protected from Disease X as a result of the Treatment. To just say that the Treatment is 50% effective in this scenario by ignoring the ARR is to introduce outcome reporting bias.

[..] Analysis of Pfizer’s Data

1) In the vaccine group, 8/18,198 got Covid-19 infection (not death) = 0.044% This is the EER (Experimental Event Rate)
2) In the Control (placebo) group, 162/18,325 got covid-19 infection (not death ) = 0.884% This is the CER (Control Event Rate)
3) ARR (Absolute Risk Reduction) = CER – EER = 0.884% – 0.044% = 0.84% = 0.84/100 = 0.0084
4) RRR (Relative Risk Reduction) = ARR divided by CER or 0.84% divided by 0.884% = 0.95

As this formula involves division, the percentage signs cancel out. 0.95 is the same as 95% which is what the Pfizer study reports for “efficacy.” An “efficacy” of 95% gives the impression that one is 95% less likely to catch Covid-19 if one is vaccinated with Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. However,

5) the ARR or Absolute Risk Reduction, which is 0.0084 or 0.84%, is actually less than 1%

As shown under the ARR and RRR heading above, the ARR (of any study) is far more accurate than the RRR, but clearly, 95% sounds much more compelling than <1%. Referring to the “efficacy” of the Pfizer vaccine as 95% is not technically incorrect, but it is very misleading as this value does not properly inform the vaccine recipient. Such misrepresentation is at the very least unethical and at most illegal in many countries which require informed consent. Unfortunately, it is easy for outcome reporting bias to escape detection since the average individual, including the average doctor, does not understand ARR and RRR and will automatically assume that “95% efficacy” means 95% less likely to get Covid-19 in the real world.

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How much longer?

Fauci Compares Criticism Of Him To ‘Attacks On Science’ (RT)

White House health advisor Anthony Fauci pushed back against growing controversy surrounding him, equating attacks on him to “attacks on science.” While Fauci remains a leading force in the US government’s battle against Covid-19, he has become an increasingly divisive figure, especially in light of a recent dramatic flip on his position on vaccinated Americans masking, as well as leaked emails seemingly showing him wavering on public positions. Asked about continuing attacks from mainly conservative critics, Fauci equated the criticism to attacking science itself. “It’s very dangerous, Chuck, because a lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me quite frankly are attacks on science, because all of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning, have been fundamentally based on science,” he told MSNBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ hosted by Chuck Todd.

While critics have argued Fauci’s emails show he was perhaps more open to a lab leak theory behind Covid-19 privately than publicly and flip-flopped his position on masking, the infectious disease expert has denied any wrongdoing in the messages. “If you go through each and every one of them you can explain and debunk it immediately,” he said. As he has done in the past, Fauci argued that when he has seemingly changed his position on issues like masking, it’s because new data has been presented. “As a scientist, as a health official, when those data change, when you get more information, it’s essential that you change your position because you’ve got to be guided by the science and the current data,” he said. It was Fauci’s “science” defense that really stirred his critics – and Fauci believes they want him “fired” or “put in jail.”

Beyond the dangerous arrogance and pomposity of proclaiming ‘anyone who criticizes me is attacking Science’ – thus placing himself off-limits from questioning – he *admitted* he purposely issued false, anti-science, politicized claims, such as telling people not to wear masks,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

Fauci

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Yeah, sure Fauci would like that! Then again, as long as it’s the WHO doing the inquiry, he has nothing to fear.

G7 Leaders Will Call For Fresh WHO Inquiry Into Covid Origins (G.)

Leaders at the G7 summit will call for a new, transparent investigation by the World Health Organization into the origins of the coronavirus, according to a leaked draft communique for the meeting. The call was initiated by Joe Biden’s administration and follows the US president’s decision to expand the American investigation into the origins of the pandemic, with one intelligence agency leaning towards the theory that it escaped from a Wuhan laboratory. The broad consensus among scientific experts remains that the most likely explanation is that Covid-19 jumped to humans from an animal host in a natural event. An on-the-ground investigation by WHO experts earlier this year concluded t it was “extremely unlikely” the pandemic began in a laboratory.


According to Bloomberg News, which said it had sight of the draft communique, the G7 will also commit to deliver 1bn extra doses of the Covid-19 vaccine over the next year to accelerate global protection against the disease. The move may disappoint aid agencies that want most of the world’s 8 billion people to be vaccinated, but the communique will argue that the fresh commitment will dramatically increase the number of people in the developing world offered a vaccine. Ahead of his arrival at the summit, Biden said the US would commit to buying 500m doses of the vaccine for distribution to developing countries. The communique, which is often leaked ahead of the G7 summit, is due to be finalised on Sunday following a three-day meeting in Cornwall. At the 2020 summit in France, leaders abandoned publishing a list of commitments after Donald Trump refused to sign the letter.

Biden to announce a “vaccine plan for the world”
https://twitter.com/i/status/1402688704767041539

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May have?

Covid Distancing May Have Weakened Children’s Immune System (G.)

Scientists are concerned that measures to combat Covid-19 have weakened the immune systems of young children who have not been able to build up resistance to common bugs, leaving them vulnerable when mask-wearing and social distancing eventually end. Contact with viral pathogens happens on a fairly regular basis and although it does not always lead to sickness, the exposure helps shore the immune system against the threat should the bugs be encountered again. Over the past 14 months or so, protracted restrictions on mixing and travel, alongside mask-wearing and social distancing, have not only reduced the risk of Covid but other respiratory bugs such as the flu – cases of which were basically nonexistent last winter, according to surveillance data largely encompassing England compiled by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP).

However, virologists are concerned about RSV, a virus that can cause serious lung infections requiring hospital admission, and sometimes even death, in children under the age of one – and for which there are no approved vaccines. “Flu worries me, but there is a vaccine – and so the most vulnerable will still have access to the vaccines,” said Dr Catherine Moore, consultant clinical scientist for Public Health Wales. She warned that RSV currently has no vaccine. “Whereas what Covid has done has caused a big issue in our adult ICUs, we may see conversely problems in our paediatric hospitalisations and intensive care,” she said. Pre-Covid, most children encountered most seasonal viruses before they turned 18 months old.

But the biggest influx in paediatric hospital wards each winter are babies under the age of one who have for the first time been infected with RSV – because their lungs are not well developed, their bodies struggle to fight off the infection, explained Moore. Scientists are worried that if life begins to go back to pre-Covid normality, respiratory viruses that typically circulate every winter will return alongside the coronavirus. Moore said she was particularly worried about the risk of RSV in young children. “We’ve got two cohorts now of children who’ve never met the virus, so they are susceptible, but there’s two years’ worth of them!” Before the pandemic, data suggested more than 30,000 babies and children under five were admitted to hospital every year in the UK because of RSV. Assuming “normality” resumes later this year, “we are preparing for a significant impact in paediatrics”, said Moore.

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Is it Sinopharm?

Mongolia Reports Fresh COVID Outbreak Despite High Vaccination Rates (ZH)

For weeks now, Mongolia has been touted as an unexpected success story in the international vaccination project: the poor, mostly rural country lies between northeastern China and Russia’s resource-rich east. The country, which struck deals with its neighbors to stock its vaccine coffers months ago, drew attention due to its climbing international vaccination rate. But in recent days, Mongolia’s COVID-19 rate has surged, raising questions about the efficacy of China’s vaccines. More than half of Mongolia’s population has been fully vaccinated. But despite this, the country reported 1,312 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday as the country’s total infections neared 70K, with almost all of those recorded since January. New daily infections have risen more than 70% in the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database.

The landlocked nation has easily secured enough doses of the vaccine from Russia and China. And as its case numbers rise, Sinopharm’s vaccine has come under scrutiny because of a lack of transparency in its late-stage trial data. The vaccine faced more questions after the island nation of the Seychelles, which relied heavily on Sinopharm to inoculate its population, also saw a spike in cases, although most people did not become seriously ill. “Inactivated vaccines like Sinovac and Sinopharm are not as effective against infection but very effective against severe disease,” said Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist and biostatistician at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health. “Although Mongolia seems to be having a spike in infections and cases, my expectation is that there won’t be large number of hospitalizations,” he added.

Doubts about the efficacy of China’s Sinopharm jab have been spreading for months, as the vaccine was repeatedly shown to be less effective than the new mRNA jabs from Pfizer and Moderna-BioNTech. In some areas, mutant strains may be spreading fast enough to cause concern even in countries where much of the population has vaccinations effective against them: Britain is dealing with a rise in cases linked to the Delta variant, despite having more than half of its adult population fully vaccinated, largely with shots from AstraZeneca and Pfizer. Still, the wave of infections has raised questions in Mongolia over why the government relied on the Sinopharm shots instead of a vaccine proven to be more effective.

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“If even a fraction of these cases succeed, it could cost J&J in the trillions.”

J&J Must Pay $2 Billion In Landmark Talcum Baby Powder Trial (ZME)

In 2018, a court verdict ordered Johnson and Johnson to pay $2.1 billion to 22 plaintiffs who claimed the company’s talcum baby powder contained asbestos and caused ovarian cancer. It’s a hefty fine, but the stakes are even higher — as the company faces around 21,000 other trials. The story (or at least one part of it) starts in 1999, when J&J was sued by a woman who had used their baby powder. She claimed that the powder gave her cancer. The woman (and her lawyer) had a hunch that the company’s baby powder was contaminated with asbestos, but couldn’t prove it. It seemed to make sense: in nature, talc and asbestos (both naturally-occurring minerals) are often found together, so there’s a significant risk of contamination. But without hard evidence, the case was dropped. As it turns out, Johnson and Johnson had the hard evidence all along.

The company, which denied any wrongdoing, had numerous lab tests showing that their product sometimes contained small amounts of asbestos, a known carcinogen. Two decades later, they were ordered to release these lab tests during a much larger trial that involved 11,700 plaintiffs, who all claimed the same thing: Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder sometimes contains asbestos. According to a Reuters investigation, J&J knew they were in the wrong, and hid it from both the public and regulators. In light of these findings, a Missouri jury initially awarded the women $4.7 billion — but an appeal dropped two women from the suit and reduced the award to $2 billion. The judge in that case ruled that the company had “misrepresented the safety of these products for decades” and demonstrated “particularly reprehensible conduct.”

J&J tried to push things even further. The case initially combined the claims of almost two dozen plaintiffs from 12 states. The company argued to the Supreme Court that the sprawling nature of the case violated the Constitution’s due process clause. But without comment, the top US court refused to consider J&J’s objections. “Today justice is served,” said Mark Lanier, the women’s lawyer. “Twenty families now get compensated for a horrible, unnecessary disease. And J&J, the trigger for that disease, is held accountable.” Jurors in the initial case awarded each woman $25 million in compensatory damages, in addition to the company fine. For J&J, this could be only the beginning. The company faces more than 26,000 lawsuits blaming baby powder for causing cancers — which could be the biggest litigation lawsuit in history. If even a fraction of these cases succeed, it could cost J&J in the trillions.

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Lafayette Park. Who will be held accountable?

Yet Another Media Tale Collapses (Greenwald)

The independent Inspector General of the Interior Department, Mark Lee Greenblatt, issued his office’s findings after a long investigation into “the actions of the U.S. Park Police (USPP) to disperse protesters in and around Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2020.” Greenblatt has been around Washington for a long time, occupying numerous key positions in the Obama administration, including investigative counsel at the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General and Assistant Inspector General for Investigations at Obama’s Commerce Department. The letter released by Greenblatt’s office accompanying the report makes clear how far-reaching the investigation was:

“Over the course of this review, our career investigative staff conducted extensive witness interviews, reviewed video footage from numerous vantage points, listened to radio transmissions from multiple law enforcement entities, and examined evidence including emails, text messages, telephone records, procurement documents, and other related materials. This report presents a thorough, independent examination of that evidence to assess the USPP’s decision making and operations, including a detailed timeline of relevant actions and an analysis of whether the USPP’s actions complied with governing policies.”

The IG’s conclusion could not be clearer: the media narrative was false from start to finish. Namely, he said, “the evidence did not support a finding that the [U.S. Park Police] cleared the park on June 1, 2020, so that then President Trump could enter the park.” Instead — exactly as Hemingway’s widely-mocked-by-liberal-outlets article reported — “the evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow a contractor to safely install anti-scale fencing in response to destruction of Federal property and injury to officers that occurred on May 30 and May 31.” Crucially, “the evidence established that relevant USPP officials had made those decisions and had begun implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential Presidential visit to the park, which occurred later that day.”

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Good Friday.

EU-UK Talks On Northern Ireland Appear Close To Collapse On Eve Of G7 (G.)

Talks between the EU and the UK over Northern Ireland appear on the brink of collapse as London indicated it was still considering unilateral action to keep unhindered supplies flowing from Great Britain into the region. The European commission vice-president, Maros Sefcovic, said patience was “wearing very, very thin” and described the relationship with the UK as “at a crossroads”. Amid fears that the escalating crisis over Northern Ireland would develop into a trade war, David Frost, the Brexit minister, said there had been “no breakthroughs” over the Brexit checks but no “breakdowns” after a two-hour meeting with Sefcovic in London.


They agreed to continue to try to find a solution before 30 June when a ban on chilled meats including sausages and mincemeat is due to come into force. Late on Wednesday, Boris Johnson insisted that there was no crisis. “I’m very very optimistic about this. I think that’s easily doable,” he said, referring to an issue that was at the heard of the fraught Irish border negotiations two years ago: preventing a border on the island of Ireland while protecting trade within the UK post-Brexit. Johnson’s optimism could face a challenge at the G7 meeting on Thursday, however, when Joe Biden will warn him and the EU not to “imperil” the Northern Ireland peace process.

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Playing with fire.

Joe Biden Accuses Boris Johnson Of ‘Inflaming’ Tensions In Ireland (Sun)

Joe Biden has accused Boris Johnson of “inflaming” tensions in Ireland ahead of their first meeting in Britain today. The President is expected to address post-Brexit peace with the Prime Minister to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected – as Britain and the EU try to resolve the issue of checks in the Irish Sea. But tensions over Britain’s handling of Irish issues have already been voiced by Biden, reports The Times. Yael Lempert, America’s most senior diplomat in Britain, told Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, that the government was “inflaming” tensions in Ireland and Europe with its opposition to checks at ports. Lempert said she had been told to take the step of issuing London with a demarche – which is a formal diplomatic reprimand rarely exchanged between allies.


The memo said that the US “strongly urged” Britain to come to a “negotiated settlement”, even if that meant “unpopular compromises,” according to reports. In a meeting on June 3, the US diplomat warned Frost that the increasingly bitter dispute between Britain and the EU over the protocol was “commanding the attention” of Biden before his first meeting with Johnson today. Ahead of the talks, Mr Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned that the president harbours “very deep” concerns on the issue provoked by Brexit. Mr Sullivan said the president believes the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol is “critical” to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected – as Britain and the EU try to resolve the issue of checks in the Irish Sea.

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Ha ha ha!

Zelensky Tells Biden Ukraine Needs Clear Plan For Accession To NATO (ZH)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed in his phone conversation with U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday that Ukraine needs “a real step-by-step plan” tied to calendar dates for its accession to NATO, the chief of the Ukrainian presidential office Andriy Yermak said according to a report on Ukraine’s official website. The time of statements and declarations of intent should be a thing of the past, Zelensky told Biden. “There can be no doubt that Ukraine is an integral part of Europe in terms of its value foundation. Now, in the new situation in Europe, we need a logistical plan for Ukraine’s accession to the Alliance in the near future. NATO is a way of maximum protection for our country,” Zelensky said.

According to a second official report, Zelensky also informed Biden about the situation in Donbas, a Ukrainian territory temporarily occupied by Russian-backed separatists, and explained the reasons and nature of the periodic escalation of the conflict. “The so-called withdrawal of Russian troops is only an imitation,” Zelensky said. There was still a high concentration of Russian troops and heavy weapons in the temporarily occupied Ukraine’s territories and near the Ukrainian border, he explained. “Ukraine’s move to NATO is also an opportunity to achieve the preconditions for establishing a stable and lasting peace in Donbas,” the second report states.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on June 4 during an event at The Brookings Institution that the best way for Ukraine to move toward membership in NATO is to implement reforms to fight corruption and to modernize its defense and security institutions. “We are helping [Ukraine] with that as they move toward further Euro-Atlantic integration,” he added. NATO provides support to Ukraine in the form of training and capacity building, Stoltenberg said, and encouraged NATO Allies “to do more of that.”

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May 152021
 


Wassily Kandinsky Contrasting Sounds 1924

 

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Reprograms Innate Immune Responses
Long Covid-19 Linked To Early Aging Of Immune System (CGTN)
Pandemic To Be ‘Far More Deadly’ This Year – WHO (Y!)
Delay Child Vaccinations And Share Jabs With Covax – WHO (BBC)
India Variant Could Seriously Disrupt Lifting Of UK Lockdown (G.)
Failed Biden Nominee Neera Tanden Hired As White House Senior Adviser (F.)
The Age of Fear (Whitehead)
On the Hypocrites at Apple Who Fired Antonio Garcia-Martinez (Taibbi)
Remember It’s a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird (Turley)
Carbon Pricing Isn’t Effective at Reducing CO2 Emissions (INET)
Escalation In Palestine – Hizbullah Is Ready To Join The Fight (MoA)
Israel, the Big Lie (Chris Hedges)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burr

 

 

This is the scary part. This is why we should not use untested substances on hundreds of millions of poorly educated people.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Reprograms Innate Immune Responses (MN)

Researchers in The Netherlands and Germany have warned that Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine induces complex reprogramming of innate immune responses that should be considered in the development and use of mRNA-based vaccines. Jorge Domínguez-Andrés and colleagues say that while the vaccine has been shown to be up to 95% effective in preventing infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and subsequent COVID-19, little is known about the broad effects the vaccine may have on the innate and adaptive immune responses.

In the current study (not peer-reviewed*), the research team from Radboud University Medical Center and Erasmus MC in the Netherlands, and the Helmholtz-Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Hannover Medical School (MHH), and the University of Bonn, in Germany, confirmed the efficacy of BNT162b2 vaccination at inducing effective humoral and cellular immunity against several SARS-CoV-2 variants. However, they also showed that the vaccine altered the production of inflammatory cytokines by innate immune cells following stimulation with both specific (SARS-CoV-2) and non-specific (viral, fungal and bacterial) stimuli.

Following vaccination, innate immune cells had a reduced response to toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), TLR7 and TLR8 – all ligands that play an important role in the immune response to viral infection. Neta and colleagues also found that cytokine responses to fungi were increased following vaccination. The mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine induces complex functional reprogramming of innate immune responses, which should be considered in the development and use of this new class of vaccines,” writes the team.

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More immune system perils.

Long Covid-19 Linked To Early Aging Of Immune System (CGTN)

New studies show the effect of severe cases of the virus on the immune system and the premature aging of T-cells suggest a possible explanation for Long COVID-19. According to one publication, three months after patients have been discharged from hospital many showed signs of “premature immunosenescence” – the age-related decline in the body’s ability to form a defence against viruses and other illnesses. Researcher Niharika Duggal of the University of Birmingham said this included the loss of “naive” immune system cells (which have yet to be used in the body’s response), with an accumulation of “memory” B and T-cells, which circulate in the body holding the information to fight against a pathogen.


These symptoms are usually seen in people over 60 years old, but they were spotted in several COVID-19 survivors. It has been previously proved that traumatic injury and chronic disease can cause premature immune system aging, but this research is the first to argue a viral infection does the same. However, the research is still at an early stage and one researcher suggested it could be cause, rather than effect. Janet Lord of the University of Birmingham, explained: “Analysis of people in the UK … who developed COVID-19, showed they were biologically 10 to 14 years older.” She said it’s possible that patients who show prematurely aged immune systems may have caught the virus due to a weaker system – rather than the virus severely damaging the body’s immune response over a long period.

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Fear campaign?

Pandemic To Be ‘Far More Deadly’ This Year – WHO (Y!)

The World Health Organization issued a grim warning on Friday that the second year of Covid-19 was set to be “far more deadly”, as Japan extended a state of emergency amid growing calls for the Olympics to be scrapped. “We’re on track for the second year of this pandemic to be far more deadly than the first,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The mood also darkened in Japan where the coronavirus state of emergency took in another three regions just 10 weeks before the Olympics, while campaigners submitted a petition with more than 350,000 signatures calling for the Games to be cancelled. With Tokyo and other areas already under emergency orders until the end of May, Hiroshima, Okayama and northern Hokkaido, which will host the Olympic marathon, will now join them.

Japanese public opinion is firmly opposed to holding the Games this summer. Swiss tennis great Roger Federer said Friday that “what the athletes need is a decision: is it happening or isn’t it?” “I would love to play in the Olympics… But if that doesn’t happen due to the situation, I would be the first to understand,” he added. The pandemic has killed at least 3,346,813 people worldwide since the virus first emerged in late 2019, according to an AFP tally of official data. India meanwhile started deploying Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the first foreign-made shot to be used in the country that has been reeling from an explosion in cases and deaths.

The first token batch of Sputnik vaccines — reportedly 150,000 doses — arrived on May 1 and a second delivery is expected in the next few days. A number of leading India-based drugmakers have agreements for local production of Sputnik V with the aim to produce over 850 million doses of the jab per year. India has been adding roughly as many new Covid cases daily as the rest of the world put together.

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Forget about herd immunity through vaccines. Not going to happen. Your immune system will have to do the job.

Delay Child Vaccinations And Share Jabs With Covax – WHO (BBC)

Wealthier nations should postpone plans to give children and teenagers Covid vaccines and instead donate supplies to low-income countries, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) says. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday urged countries to supply more vaccines to the global fair-access scheme Covax. The international distribution of Covid vaccines remains vastly uneven. Since the first vaccines were approved in December, wealthier countries have bought up most of the supply. Many are racing to vaccinate as much of their population as possible. Speaking at a virtual conference in Geneva on Friday, the WHO’s Dr Tedros said he understood why some countries wanted to vaccinate children and adolescents, but said “right now, I urge them to reconsider”.


“In low and lower-middle income countries, Covid-19 vaccine supply has not been enough to even immunise healthcare workers, and hospitals are being inundated with people that need lifesaving care urgently,” he said. Last week, US President Joe Biden laid out plans to begin coronavirus vaccine shots for 12- to 15-year-olds as soon as possible. He also said he hoped that 70% of US adults would receive at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by 4 July, when American families are expected to come together to mark Independence Day. Meanwhile, Canada has authorised the use of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for children aged between 12 and 15. The province of Alberta, which has the highest rate of the virus in the country, has already started offering the jabs to citizens over the age of 12. In Switzerland, some places began offering Covid vaccination appointments to 16-year-olds last week.

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Still makes me cringe: “..allowing people to meet in groups of six indoors ..”

India Variant Could Seriously Disrupt Lifting Of UK Lockdown (G.)

The final stage of the lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions across England could face “serious disruption” due to the India variant, the prime minister has warned, as he announced plans to accelerate the vaccine programme to curb its spread. Boris Johnson said the gap between the first and second Covid jab would be cut from 12 weeks to eight for all over-50s and the clinically vulnerable, admitting: “The race between our vaccine programme and the virus may be about to become a great deal tighter.” He announced that the army would be deployed to two variant hotspots – Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen – to help with vaccinations, and urged residents in those areas to “think twice” before taking advantages of the freedoms allowed again from Monday.


Johnson said plans to ease restrictions on 17 May – allowing people to meet in groups of six indoors – would go ahead, but that the variant “could make it more difficult” for the final stage of unlocking to proceed on 21 June. He said the India variant appeared to be “more transmissible” than the dominant strain in the UK, which originated in Kent, but that it was not yet clear by how much. If it is significantly more, then, he warned, “we’re likely to face some hard choices”. “I have to level with you that this new variant could pose a serious disruption to our progress and could make it more difficult to move to step four in June,” Johnson said. Asked whether the lockdown easing would have to be paused during a press conference, he added: “The truth is, we cannot say for certain … The situation is very different from last year, we are in the throes of an incredible vaccine rollout … We just have to wait and see … We rule nothing out.”

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“Tanden’s new post will not require Senate confirmation.”

Failed Biden Nominee Neera Tanden Hired As White House Senior Adviser (F.)

Neera Tanden will have a place in the White House after all following the withdrawal of her nomination to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, with President Joe Biden on Friday hiring her as a senior adviser on Friday, according to a White House official. Tanden, the former president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, will be charged with handling the White House’s response to Republican lawsuits before the Supreme Court seeking to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.


Tanden has also been tasked with reviewing the United States Digital Service, an Obama-era White House office that oversees federal websites and consults with federal agencies on technology. Tanden’s nomination was derailed when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a crucial vote for any Biden nominee in an evenly divided Senate, announced his opposition over her social media posts disparaging Republicans. Tanden failed to make up the votes on the Republican side, having previously slammed critical swing votes like Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in tweets. Tanden’s new post will not require Senate confirmation.

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“We allowed them to languish in schools which not only look like prisons but function like prisons..”

The Age of Fear (Whitehead)

Young people will find themselves overtaxed, burdened with excessive college debt, and struggling to find worthwhile employment in a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion. Their privacy will be eviscerated by the surveillance state. They will be threatened, intimidated and beaten by militarized police. They will be the subjects of a military empire constantly waging war against shadowy enemies and government agents armed to the teeth ready and able to lock down the country at a moment’s notice. As such, they will find themselves forced to march in lockstep with a government that no longer exists to serve the people but which demands that “we the people” be obedient slaves or suffer the consequences. It’s a dismal prospect, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, we failed to guard against such a future. Worse, we who should have known better neglected to maintain our freedoms or provide our young people with the tools necessary to resist oppression and survive, let alone succeed, in the impersonal jungle that is modern America. We brought them into homes fractured by divorce, distracted by mindless entertainment, and obsessed with the pursuit of materialism. We institutionalized them in daycares and afterschool programs, substituting time with teachers and childcare workers for parental involvement. We turned them into test-takers instead of thinkers and automatons instead of activists.

We allowed them to languish in schools which not only look like prisons but function like prisons, as well—where conformity is the rule and freedom is the exception. We made them easy prey for our corporate overlords, while instilling in them the values of a celebrity-obsessed, technology-driven culture devoid of any true spirituality. And we taught them to believe that the pursuit of their own personal happiness trumped all other virtues, including any empathy whatsoever for their fellow human beings. We have allowed them to be manipulated by a corporate culture that simply wants money and control. However, as Aldous Huxley warned: “The victim of mind-manipulation does not know he is a victim. To him, the walls of his prison are invisible and he believes himself to be free.”

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I know little about the situation, but I love Taibbi’s love of the man.

On the Hypocrites at Apple Who Fired Antonio Garcia-Martinez (Taibbi)

I’m biased, because I know Antonio Garcia-Martinez and something like the same thing once happened to me, but the decision by Apple to bend to a posse of internal complainers and fire him over a passage in a five-year-old book is ridiculous hypocrisy. Hypocrisy by the complainers, and defamatory cowardice by the bosses — about right for the Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style era of timorous conformity and duncecap monoculture the woke mobs at these places are trying to build as their new Jerusalem. Garcia-Martinez is a brilliant, funny, multi-talented Cuban-American whose confessional memoir Chaos Monkeys is to big tech what Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker was to finance.

A onetime high-level Facebook executive — he ran Facebook Ads — Antonio’s book shows the House of Zuckerberg to be a cult full of on-the-spectrum zealots who talked like justice activists while possessing the business ethics of Vlad the Impaler: Facebook is full of true believers who really, really, really are not doing it for the money, and really, really will not stop until every man, woman, and child on earth is staring into a blue-framed window with a Facebook logo. When I read Chaos Monkeys the first time I was annoyed, because this was Antonio’s third career at least — he’d also worked at Goldman, Sachs — and he tossed off a memorable bestseller like it was nothing. Nearly all autobiographies fail because the genre requires total honesty, and not only do few writers have the stomach for turning the razor on themselves, most still have one eye on future job offers or circles of friends, and so keep the bulk of their interesting thoughts sidelined — you’re usually reading a résumé, not a book.

Chaos Monkeys is not that. Garcia-Martinez is an immediately relatable narrator because in one breath he tells you exactly what he thinks of former colleagues (“A week before my last day, I had lunch with the only senior person at Goldman Sachs who was not an inveterate asshole”) and in the next explains, but does not excuse, the psychic quirks that have him chasing rings in some of the world’s most rapacious corporations. “Whenever membership in some exclusive club is up for grabs, I viciously fight to win it, even if only to reject membership when offered,” he wrote. “After all, echoing the eminent philosopher G. Marx: How good can a club be if it’s willing to have lowly me as a member?”

The irony is that if Garcia-Martinez has a failing as a writer, it’s that he’s too nice. Universally, the best writers are insane egomaniacs obsessed with staring at the great mirror that is the page. Garcia-Martinez, on the whole, would rather be sailing. I believe the reason he decided to go back to tech is that he preferred a quiet life of flying a desk to make mortgage payments to the never-ending regimen of self-salesmanship that the literary life requires (and which, again, is the easy part for most egocentric writers).

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And these people never happen to think of book burning?

Remember It’s a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird (Turley)

We have previously discussed efforts to ban classic books, including To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Lee’s book has been banned in states from Mississippi to California. The work, which exposed the deep-seated racism in our society, has been denounced as “violent and oppressive for black students.” I have opposed such efforts. Now, Loudoun County teacher Andrea Weiskopf has publicly called for the book to be banned in my neighboring county of Loudon. The reason? The character Attitus Finch is white and therefore the book is nothing but a “white savior” tale that traumatizes black students. The remarks reflects a harmful but growing movement to ban such books in public schools. The attack on this book in particular has left many of us dismayed. As Atticus himself said “remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”


Weiskopf told the board that not only is this classic work harming students but that, if any member does not accept that premise, they should not be making any decisions on book selections. ANDREA WEISKOPF: “It’s funny how they are so afraid of having their children seeing another view of sexuality, gender or religion…If you want to talk about books that are assigned, let’s read To Kill a Mockingbird together. If you aren’t able to consider the racial trauma this assigned book causes black children with its white saviorism, then you have no business discussing any books.” Her diatribe reminds me of the observation in the book that “It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.”

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Use less energy, only solution.

Carbon Pricing Isn’t Effective at Reducing CO2 Emissions (INET)

How does carbon pricing affect macroeconomic balance and ultimately CO2 emission? What about electric vehicles that are now being promoted by the Biden administration? Economists’ standard advice for controlling global warming is to impose a high price on emitting CO2, which is said to discourage carbon-intensive activities and induce carbon-saving technical change. In a recent review of the New Deal, William Janeway (2021) draws a distinction between efficient and effective policies. He comes close to economist-speak by describing efficiency as a low-cost means for moving toward a desired goal. Whether an efficient intervention will be effective in reaching the goal is another question altogether. In the short- to medium-run, raising carbon prices within a politically acceptable range may be efficient at inducing macroeconomically small changes in the structure of the economy and level of emission.

But the move will not be effective, because the changes will remain small for at least three reasons. Energy constitutes a relatively small proportion of economic activity. It is crucial for the functioning of the macro system, but usually is not the tail that wags the dog. Carbon pricing brings in the “little triangles” of economic welfare analysis applied by Arnold Harberger (1954, 1971), which are not significant in terms of GDP (James Tobin, 1977). The reason, as illustrated below, is that the percentage change in, say, gasoline demand in response to a higher tax is the product of a negative price elasticity of demand which is a fraction of the percentage change in price, typically less than 100%. The product of two fractions is smaller than both, meaning that the demand response is weak. Even if the magnitude of the long-run elasticity is bigger than the short-run value (say -0.4 < -0.2 or 0.4 > 0.2), the conclusion remains.

Finally, following Harberger and lurching into jargon, economists usually assume that the proceeds of a tax are passed in “lump sum” fashion back to consumers. This transfer produces an “income effect” stimulating demand for all goods including gasoline. The increase can partially offset the price-induced demand reduction due to “substitution” of other goods for lower purchases of gasoline. Substitution effects almost always dominate income effects, so that most of the transferred income gets spent on non-energy goods and services. Total gasoline consumption still declines.

Somewhat similar reasoning applies to electric vehicles (EVs). They have a great advantage in delivering around 70% of the energy they use for moving the vehicle as opposed to 25% for internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. But the electricity has to come from some source. As of now 60% of the energy going toward electricity generation in the USA comes from fossil fuels. Unless that share is substantially reduced, EVs will not shift energy accounting by very much. They are efficient in reducing end-use of petroleum in the transport sector, but not effective in controlling CO2. Details appear below.

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Moon of Alabama with an original take.

Escalation In Palestine – Hizbullah Is Ready To Join The Fight (MoA)

The current war the occupiers of Palestine wage on the indigenous population has some unusual features. While the conflict was, without doubt, started by the colonial occupiers the course of the recent escalation seems to be managed by the resistance side. It may well be part of a larger plan. The Israeli army had for some time planned a large scale 30-days long maneuver to rehearse an attack on Hezbullah in Lebanon. Last week Hizbullah reacted to that: “The Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization has announced it is on high alert following the IDF’s launching of its largest-ever military exercise. The IDF launched on Sunday its “Chariots of Fire” month-long exercise simulating war on several fronts, and primarily against Hezbollah in the north, including the massive firing of missiles and rockets from all arenas on the home front. This is the largest and most comprehensive IDF maneuver in its history…”

[..] With unrest in Jerusalem, pogroms in Israeli cities, a potential third intifada in the occupied West Bank and a ground invasion of Gaza the Israeli army will be very busy. If it comes to that during the next few days the time could be right for Hizbullah, already on full alarm, to step in and to attack the occupation on the grounds that it is holding. Nasrallah’s speech last week can be understood as an announcement of such a step: “My last message will be for the Israelis themselves. I tell them this: you know well, in your heart of hearts, whether it is based on your religious texts or doctrines, on your books or your prophecies, and also based on what some of your leaders and experts say, and also some of your religious authorities, you know (very well) that this entity (Israel) has no future, that it is on the verge of extinction and that it has little time left to live, very little time. Therefore, in this battle you are wasting your energy, and your young people are wasting their youth and their blood, in vain and to no avail.”

We believe in this near future (where Israel won’t exist anymore), we believe in it very firmly, and this faith is not based only on religious and ideological bases, but is based (above all) on the data, on the events which occur, especially on those of the last decades, the last years and on what will happen (soon) in this region.”

It is possible that Netanyahoo had planned the original escalation in Jerusalem to stay in office: After four elections Israel still has no new government. Prime Minister Netanyahoo is on trial for corruption. A larger war that can be spun into a victory could help him to avoid a judgment and gain votes for the likely soon coming next election. It that was his plan he has achieved a first step towards it: “Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett has taken “off the table” the option of forming a government without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, due to the ongoing military conflict with Gaza terrorists, a political source says. Bennett has renewed his negotiations with Likud due to the emergency situation, and teams from both parties met today, the source says on condition of anonymity.

But it is not Netanyahoo who can decide when the missiles from Gaza will stop flying. It is not Netanyahoo who can control the Palestinian youth. The escalation dominance is not in his hands but in the hands of the resistance. It is the resistance that decides when the conflict ends.

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Hedges has been there, done that.

Israel, the Big Lie (Chris Hedges)

I spent seven years in the Middle East as a correspondent, four of them as The New York Times Middle East Bureau Chief. I am an Arabic speaker. I lived for weeks at a time in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison where over two million Palestinians exist on the edge of starvation, struggle to find clean water and endure constant Israeli terror. I have been in Gaza when it was pounded with Israeli artillery and air strikes. I have watched mothers and fathers, wailing in grief, cradling the bloodied bodies of their sons and daughters. I know the crimes of the occupation—the food shortages caused by the Israeli blockade, the stifling overcrowding, the contaminated water, the lack of health services, the near constant electrical outages due to the Israeli targeting of power plants, the crippling poverty, the endemic unemployment, the fear and the despair. I have witnessed the carnage.

I also have listened from Gaza to the lies emanating from Jerusalem and Washington. Israel’s indiscriminate use of modern, industrial weapons to kill thousands of innocents, wound thousands more and make tens of thousands of families homeless is not a war: It is state-sponsored terror. And, while I oppose the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinians into Israel, as I oppose suicide bombings, seeing them also as war crimes, I am acutely aware of a huge disparity between the industrial violence carried out by Israel against innocent Palestinians and the minimal acts of violence capable of being waged by groups such as Hamas. The false equivalency between Israeli and Palestinian violence was echoed during the war I covered in Bosnia.

Those of us in the besieged city of Sarajevo were pounded daily with hundreds of heavy shells and rockets from the surrounding Serbs. We were targeted by sniper fire. The city suffered a few dozen dead and wounded each day. The government forces inside the city fired back with light mortars and small arms fire. Supporters of the Serbs seized on any casualties caused by Bosnian government forces to play the same dirty game, although well over 90 percent of the killings in Bosnia were the fault of the Serbs, as is also true regarding Israel. The second and perhaps most important parallel is that the Serbs, like the Israelis, were the principal violators of international law. Israel is in breach of more than 30 U.N. Security Council resolutions. It is in breach of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that defines collective punishment of a civilian population as a war crime.

It is in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for settling over half a million Jewish Israelis on occupied Palestinian land and for the ethnic cleansing of at least 750,000 Palestinians when the Israeli state was founded and another 300,000 after Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank were occupied following the 1967 war. Its annexation of East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights violates international law, as does its building of a security barrier in the West Bank that annexes Palestinian land into Israel. It is in violation of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 that states that Palestinian “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.” This is the truth. Any other starting point for the discussion of what is taking place between Israel and the Palestinians is a lie.

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May 142021
 


Pablo Picasso Woman Sitting Near a Window (Marie-Therese) 1932 (sold yesterday for $103.4 million)

 

Predictions On Outcome Of Mass Vaccination During A Pandemic (VanDenBossche)
Don’t Mention Ivermectin; It’ll Upset The Vaccine Rollout (BizN)
CDC Says Vaccinated People Can Largely Stop Wearing Masks (F.)
8 Vaccinated Yanks Coaches, Staff Have Virus (AP)
More Than A Quarter Of EU Adults Reluctant To Get Covid Vaccine (RT)
Scientists Slam WHO For Dismissing Wuhan Lab Leak Theory (DM)
New Study Finds Delaying The Second Dose Of Vaccine Can Save Lives (Hill)
An Insider’s View Of The Tragedy Of The US Deep State (Escobar)
Debt Collectors: We Should Be Able to Break Your Legs (Sirota)
Why Has Netanyahu Allowed For A Palestinian Uprising? (RT)

 

 

There’s no such rule. If only because if there were, it would be illegal.

 

 

VanDenBossche will not be silenced.

Predictions On Outcome Of Mass Vaccination During A Pandemic (VanDenBossche)

Current single (S) and full (F) vaccination rates are shown next to the country name. In all cases, full vaccine resistance is expected to occur within the next few months, or even weeks. A number of smaller islands (e.g., Seychelles, Maldives, Bahrain) have managed high vaccine coverage rates within a relatively short period of time. Some of them had relaxed their infection prevention measures as their vaccine coverage rates were growing (e.g., Seychelles). This already explains why these islands have now begun to face a substantial wave of morbidity and mortality (more infectious variants), even in subjects who’ve been fully vaccinated (see fig. 3a, 3b).

Overall conclusion: Covid-19 vaccination campaigns that are rolled out in the heat of a pandemic will inevitably breed variants that are more infectious and ultimately become resistant to vaccines. The smaller the population and the faster mass vaccination campaigns are rolled out, the faster infection, morbidity and mortality rates will rise. Based on how the pandemic is currently evolving in a number of smaller countries/ islands (e.g., Seychelles, Maldives, Bahrain), it is reasonable to assume that over the next coming months, or weeks, several other countries are going to show a dramatic increase in these rates as well.

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“Only 19 deaths are known and side-affects are generally mild and short. As a comparison, approximately 450 US citizens die from paracetamol every year.”

Don’t Mention Ivermectin; It’ll Upset The Vaccine Rollout (BizN)

What if there was a cheap drug, so old its patent had expired, so safe that it’s on the WHO’s lists of Essential and Children’s Medicines, and used in mass drug administration rollouts? What if it can be taken at home with the first signs COVID symptoms, given to those in close contact, and significantly reduce COVID disease progression and cases, and far fewer few people would need hospitalisation? The international vaccine rollout under Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) would legally have to be halted. For an EUA to be legal, “there must be no adequate, approved and available alternative to the candidate product for diagnosing, preventing or treating the disease or condition.” The vaccines would only become legal once they passed level 4 trials and that certainly won’t happen in 2021.

This would present a major headache for the big public health agencies led by the WHO. The vaccine rollout, outside of trials, would become illegal. The vaccine manufactures, having spent hundreds of million dollars developing and testing vaccines during a pandemic, would not see the $100bn they were expecting in 2021. In a pandemic, and for the next one, we need big pharma to react quickly, and the best way to that, is to reward them financially. Allowing any existing drug, at this time, well into stage 3 trials, to challenge the legality of the EUA of vaccines, is not going to happen easily. On the 31st of March 2021, the WHO recommended against the use of Ivermectin for COVID treatment, citing safety and lack of large RCT proof.

[..] In January this year, the several months long, Ivermectin research, meta-analysis of Randomised Control Trials (RCT), commissioned by WHO was released. The paper showed that Ivermectin reduces death by 74% and is 85% effective as prophylaxis. [..] Ivermectin has been used in humans for 35 years and over 4 billion doses have been administered. Merck, the original patent holder, donated 3.7 billion doses to developing countries. 2015 the two individuals who developed Ivermectin were awarded a Nobel Prize for medicine. While known primarily as an anti-parasitic, Ivermectin has powerful anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. Its safety is documented at doses twenty times the normal. Only 19 deaths are known and side-affects are generally mild and short. As a comparison, approximately 450 US citizens die from paracetamol every year.

Merck’s patent on Ivermectin expired in 1996 and they produce less than 5% of global supply. In 2020 they were asked to assist in Nigerian and Japanese trials but declined both. In 2021 Merck released a statement claiming that Ivermectin was not an effective treatment against Covid-19 and bizarrely claimed, “A concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies” of the a drug they donated to be distributed in mass rollouts, by primary care workers, in mass campaigns, to millions in developing countries. The media reported the Merck statement as a blinding truth without looking at the conflict of interests when days later, Merck received $356m from the US government to develop an investigational therapeutic. The WHO even quoted Merck, as evidence, that it didn’t work, in their recommendation against the use of Ivermectin. It’s a dangerous world when corporate marketing determines public health policy. Global vaccine rollout, to everyone, is the policy.

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Having a robust immune system will save you from the virus, but not from the new religion.

CDC Says Vaccinated People Can Largely Stop Wearing Masks (F.)

Fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks indoors or socially distance in most cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday, a major loosening of Covid-19 advice as more Americans get vaccinated. The CDC’s new guidelines say it’s safe for vaccinated people to go maskless in most indoor and outdoor settings, and they can participate in large activities without physical distancing, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House briefing. Americans should still wear masks in healthcare facilities and other sensitive locations, and immunocompromised people should seek medical advice, Walensky said. Walensky cited a range of studies showing the vaccines are highly effective at stopping the spread of coronavirus and staving off serious illness, including most new variants.

Mask mandates are normally the domain of state and city governments, but the CDC releases advice for public officials and individuals, and the federal government mandates masks inside federal buildings and on interstate modes of transit. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” Walensky said. “We have all longed for this moment.” 35.4%. That’s the share of Americans who are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine. Some 46.4% have received at least one vaccine shot.

The CDC has gradually lifted its coronavirus guidelines in recent weeks. The agency now says it’s safe for fully vaccinated people to gather in small groups without masks, go maskless outdoors unless they’re in crowded areas, or travel domestically. But some health experts have urged the CDC to move faster, arguing vaccinated people face very little risk of contracting Covid-19 and looser rules would encourage hesitant people to take the vaccine. Many states have already loosened or dropped their mask mandates. Texas and Mississippi struck down virtually all of their coronavirus restrictions in March, some states like Massachusetts and New York have lifted outdoor mask-wearing rules but left indoor restrictions in place, and stricter places like California have promised to drop masking rules in the coming months.

Dr. Anthony Fauci — the federal government’s top infectious disease expert — has started encouraging vaccinated Americans to get used to going maskless outdoors, amid criticism President Joe Biden’s administration has been overly cautious in loosening coronavirus guidelines. “Put aside your mask. You don’t have to wear it,” Fauci told CBS News Thursday.

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Calling VanDenBossche. “All are fully vaccinated.”

8 Vaccinated Yanks Coaches, Staff Have Virus (AP)

New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres was kept out of Wednesday night’s starting lineup at Tampa Bay as a precaution as the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 tests among the team’s coaching and support staff reached seven. Manager Aaron Boone said MLB’s Joint COVID-19 Health and Safety Committee is waiting and reviewing a number of test results. The members of New York’s traveling party have been tested at least three times each since Tuesday. “I know everybody is going to read into that but hopefully it’s nothing, it’s more just getting all the information,” Boone said of Torres. Boone said the Yankees expect to receive an update about Torres on Wednesday night. He added that Torres tested positive for COVID-19 in December and has been vaccinated.


It was also confirmed by Boone that pitching coach Matt Blake has joined third base Phil Nevin and first base coach Reggie Willits as members of the coaching staff testing positive for the virus. A couple additional staff members had positive tests confirmed on Wednesday, bringing the total there to four. Six of the seven are asymptomatic. All are fully vaccinated. “We’re seeing the vaccinations also kind of blunt the effects of the virus,” Boone said. “We’re also learning as we go and getting informed as what we need to do exactly and just try to do as best we can to be able to make quick adjustments on the fly. Just doing the best we can with it all.” The Yankees on April 30 were able to relax MLB protocols after reaching an 85 percent vaccination rate among players and staff such as managers, coaches and athletic trainers.

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They’ll be shamed and restricted.

More Than A Quarter Of EU Adults Reluctant To Get Covid Vaccine (RT)

Vaccine hesitancy rates in the EU are raising alarms, after a survey found that 27% of adults across the bloc said they’d be unlikely to accept a Covid-19 jab, amid a “failure” to persuade people of its efficacy and safety. A Eurofound survey investigating vaccine take-up across EU member states flagged concerns about the success of messaging from health officials on Covid jabs, warning that the failure to fully convince the adult population to be inoculated could put the fight against the pandemic at risk. Some 27% of those surveyed across Europe, including half of French respondents and 67% of those in Bulgaria, said they would be very unlikely or rather unlikely to get a Covid vaccine.


There were big variations between states though, with people surveyed in Eastern European nations more likely to be more cautious about taking the jab. Hesitancy figures were above 30% in several states, including Croatia, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia. “Unfortunately, these findings reflect a failure to deliver persuasive and clear communication regarding the efficacy and safety of vaccines,” Daphne Ahrendt, senior research manager at Eurofound, said. Looking at the possible root causes of vaccine hesitancy, researchers found a link between people who said they were less likely to get a Covid jab and social media as a main source of information. Among those surveyed who said they primarily relied on social media

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‘The information, data, and samples for the study’s first phase were collected and summarized by the Chinese half of the team; the rest of the team built on this analysis..’

Scientists Slam WHO For Dismissing Wuhan Lab Leak Theory (DM)

Researchers at a number of top universities have penned a letter saying theories that COVID-19 escaped from a Wuhan lab ‘remain viable’ and called for further studies to investigate the origins of the virus. Stanford University microbiologist David Relman and the University of Washington virologist Jesse Bloom organized the letter published in the journal Science and signed by 18 prominent biologists from universities like Harvard and Cambridge. Claims that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology have been laughed off as conspiracy theories – but the researchers suggest in the letter that the ‘hypotheses’ cannot be ruled out until there is more evidence. Relman told The Times of London that ‘many who signed this letter feel the same way’ that researchers ‘simply just don’t have enough information.’

‘Anyone who asserts a strong opinion one way or another can’t really be basing it on a whole lot of good data,’ he said. He added: ‘Let’s try to refrain from offering speculation where we really don’t have a basis for it, especially when we’re trying to maintain our credibility has purveyors of good science.’ The letter reads that ‘yet more investigation is still needed to determine the origin of the pandemic.’ ‘Theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable. Knowing how COVID-19 emerged is critical for informing global strategies to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks,’ the letter reads. The letter blasts the World Health Organization and China for their recent joint study investigating the origins of COVID-19, saying that the theory it came from the lab was ‘not given balanced consideration’ to the theory it came from natural spillover.

The report concluded that it was ‘likely to very likely’ that a bat had infected an intermediate host but said it was ‘extremely unlikely’ it was the result of a laboratory accident. ‘The information, data, and samples for the study’s first phase were collected and summarized by the Chinese half of the team; the rest of the team built on this analysis,’ the letter reads, suggesting China had a conflict of interest. The letter noted that ‘only 4 of the 313 pages of the report and its annexes addressed the possibility of a laboratory accident.’ ‘A proper investigation should be transparent, objective, data-driven, inclusive of broad expertise, subject to independent oversight, and responsibly managed to minimize the impact of conflicts of interest,’ the letter reads.

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Now they’re just f*king with you.

“Results displayed up to 20 percent less mortality, namely for hypothetical countries ..”

New Study Finds Delaying The Second Dose Of Vaccine Can Save Lives (Hill)

Delaying the second dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine could result in a lower COVID-19 mortality rate, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal. In the United States, the vaccination rate has been consistently increasing under President Biden’s ambitious inoculation goals. But other countries are experiencing more delay in vaccinating their residents. Public health experts have advised that Pfizer vaccines be given three weeks apart and Moderna vaccines be given four weeks apart for optimal efficacy. Now, new research suggests that waiting on the second dose may pose some public health benefits. A team of international scientists and researchers constructed a simulation examining the health outcomes associated with the standard interval between COVID-19 vaccinations versus those associated with a delayed second shot.

They found that the cumulative mortality rate tended to be lower in the simulation where participants delayed their second shot beyond the recommended 21 to 28 days after the first shot. Results displayed up to 20 percent less mortality, namely for hypothetical countries that have a lower vaccination rate at 0.1 or 0.3 percent. The report authors made a point to exclude people aged 65 years and older who tend to be more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infections. “A delayed second dose vaccination strategy, at least for people aged under 65, could result in reduced cumulative mortality under certain conditions,” the authors concluded. Notably, researchers found that the declining mortality rate was primarily associated with situations with a low vaccination rate and when the vaccine used in the simulation is above 70 percent effective at preventing infections.

“These results suggest that higher first dose efficacy estimates favor delaying the second dose and that for a first dose efficacy of 70% or below, no meaningful difference is apparent between the standard and delayed second dose strategy,” the report reads. This could have beneficial implications for countries struggling to secure enough vaccine doses to vaccinate their population and that, in certain situations, delaying a second dose could help lower deaths due to COVID-19.

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“The first point that we make is that it was not Kissinger who created policy for Nixon, but the Deep State. Kissinger was just a messenger boy. ”

An Insider’s View Of The Tragedy Of The US Deep State (Escobar)

Henry Kissinger, 97, Henry the K. for those he keeps close, is either a Delphic oracle-style strategic thinker or a certified war criminal for those kept not so close… He now seems to have been taking time off his usual Divide and Rule stock in trade – advising the combo behind POTUS, a.k.a. Crash Test Dummy – to emit some realpolitik pearls of wisdom. At a recent forum in Arizona, referring to the festering, larger than life Sino-American clash, Henry the K. said, “It’s the biggest problem for America; it’s the biggest problem for the world. Because if we can’t solve that, then the risk is that all over the world a kind of cold war will develop between China and the United States.” In realpolitik terms, this “kind of Cold War” is already on; across the Beltway, China is unanimously regarded as the premier U.S. national security threat.

Kissinger added U.S. policy toward China must be a mix of stressing U.S. “principles” to demand China’s respect and dialogue to find areas of cooperation: “I’m not saying that diplomacy will always lead to beneficial results…This is the complex task we have… Nobody has succeeded in doing it completely.” Henry the K. actually must have lost the – diplomatic – plot. What Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are now involved in, full time, is to demonstrate – mostly to the Global South – how the American-enforced “rules-based international order” has absolutely nothing to do with international law and the respect of national sovereignty. At first I had archived these Henry the K. platitudes out of sight. But then someone who used to hold a stellar position at the top of the U.S. Deep State showed he had been paying close attention.

This personality – let’s call him Mr. S. – has been one of my invaluable, trustworthy sources since the early 2000s. Mutual confidence was always key. I asked him if I could publish selected passages of his analysis, not naming names. Consent was given – ruefully. So fasten your seat belts. Mr. S., in a quite intriguing fashion, seems to be expressing the collective views of a number of extremely qualified people. Right from the start, he points out how Henry the K.’s observations explain today’s Russia-China-Iran triangle. “The first point that we make is that it was not Kissinger who created policy for Nixon, but the Deep State. Kissinger was just a messenger boy. In the 1972 situation the Deep State wanted to get out of Vietnam, which policy was put in place as containment of communist China and Russia. We were there based on the domino theory.”

“The Deep State wanted to achieve a number of objectives in approaching Chairman Mao, who was antagonized by Russia. It wanted to ally in 1972 with China against Russia. That made Vietnam meaningless, for China would become the containing party of Russia and Vietnam no longer meant anything. We wanted to balance China against Russia. Now, China was not a major power in 1972 but it could drain Russia, forcing it to place 400,000 troops on their border. And our Deep State policy worked. We in the Deep State had thought it through, and not Kissinger. 400,000 troops on the Chinese border was a drain on their budget, as later Afghanistan became with over 100,000 troops, and the Warsaw Pact had another 600,000 troops.”

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Lobby.

Debt Collectors: We Should Be Able to Break Your Legs (Sirota)

Two months ago, debt collectors won a victory when congressional lawmakers allowed stimulus checks to be garnished by creditors and government agencies. Now, as the credit industry hits a jackpot during the pandemic, the leading lobby group for debt collectors has more than tripled the amount of cash it funnels to lawmakers as it campaigns to block upcoming Democratic legislation to protect millions of Americans from the repo man. At issue is a package of bills designed to restrict the $13 billion debt collection industry, as new Federal Reserve and Census Bureau reports show consumer and medical debt has skyrocketed during the pandemic. One measure would prohibit the collection of medical debt for the first two years after a medical payment is due.

Another would discharge student debt in the event of a debtor’s death. Other provisions aim to block lenders from forcing debtors to sign away their legal rights; outlaw threats of demotion that debt collectors reportedly aim at members of the military; and subject government-contracted debt collectors to the same restrictions as consumer debt collectors. “In the midst of the pandemic crisis, predatory debt collectors have made record profits while continuing with their abusive, harassing tactics while consumers struggle to make ends meet through no fault of their own,” said Democratic representative Maxine Waters, who led the successful effort to pass the bill through the House Financial Services Committee last month over the objections of GOP lawmakers.

As the legislation now moves to the House floor Thursday, ACA International — which bills itself as “the largest trade group for the debt collection industry” — has been running what it calls a “grassroots campaign” urging its 2,500 members to pressure lawmakers to vote down the legislation. “The accounts receivable management industry plays a key role in the process of attempting to recover outstanding payments, and as such, collection agencies are an extension of every community’s businesses,” says a form letter that ACA has asked debt collectors to send to lawmakers. “If creditors cannot collect, they will be forced to not lend, and consumers — who much of this legislation is supposedly aimed at protecting — will end up being harmed the most, particularly those with fewer options for credit.”

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Trying to stay out of jail.

Why Has Netanyahu Allowed For A Palestinian Uprising? (RT)

Lehava, the extremist settler group that organised the racist demonstration weeks ago, is headed by a man named Bentzi Gopstein. Although the group would previously have been allowed no legitimacy by the Israeli government, Gopstein’s lawyer, Itamar Ben-Gvir, is a member of the Knesset and a close ally of Israeli PM Netanyahu. Ben-Gvir heads the Jewish Power party (Otzma Yehudit), which falls under the Religious Zionism slate led by Bezalel Smotrich. It’s no surprise, then, that Lehava feels they have been accorded a sense of legitimacy, when they witness Israeli members of the Knesset and allies of the prime minister standing beside them in Jerusalem. Israel just had its fourth round of elections since 2019, in which Netanyahu’s Likud won the most seats of any party.

But Likud’s, combined with the seats of their natural allies, still fell short of the 61-seat threshold required to form a government. The Religious Zionism slate forms part of Netanyahu’s backbone when it comes to his political survival, so any decision by the Israeli premier to abandon them could hurt him politically. After Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government, the responsibility to do so was handed over to the opposition figure Yair Lapid, who was invited to form a coalition of anti-Netanyahu parties. At this point, Netanyahu is fighting not only to stay in government, but also to avoid potentially going to prison on charges of corruption. Conversely, if Yesh Atid party leader Lapid cannot form a coalition government either, Israel will then head to a fifth round of elections, which would keep Netanyahu in power and give him more time to prepare for a potential future victory at the polls.

Following the Israeli settler “death to Arabs” march, the leader of the Palestinian political party Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, warned that the next march, planned for Israel’s Jerusalem Day would not be tolerated and there would be a response. In fact, a barrage of about 30 rockets was fired the night following the original march, and claimed by the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in response to attacks on hundreds of Palestinians in Jerusalem. The issue of Israeli courts processing the orders for evicting Palestinians from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which threatens to render 550 people homeless, has also been another point of contention.

Instead of stepping in to de-escalate tensions, in accordance with calls from Israel’s close ally, the United States, Netanyahu has allowed his allies from the Religious Zionism slate to provoke Palestinians further. When last Friday’s attack on worshippers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound occurred, the ‘Joint Operations Room’ of Palestinian armed factions, based in Gaza, vowed a response to Israel if it did not stop the settler march planned for Monday. Yet Netanyahu still stood idly by and refused to act, ignoring the threats, and, on Monday, allowed for another escalation, which led to the injuring of hundreds in Jerusalem.

Richard Medhurst
https://twitter.com/i/status/1392873946232639488

Read more …

 

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As Elon Musk dishes bitcoin and promotes dogecoin, here’s what the latter’s founder thinks of him:

 

 

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May 132021
 


Daniel Garber The quarry 1917

 

Public Health and the Triumph of Irrationality (CP)
Your Immune System Evolves to Fight Coronavirus Variants (SciAm)
Covid Pandemic Was Preventable, Says WHO-commissioned Report (G.)
Covid Surges In 4 Of 5 Most Vaccinated Countries (F.)
Ivermectin Tablets To Be Distributed Among Uttarakhand Residents (OneIndia)
Could Indian Variant Jeopardise UK Unlocking Plan? (DM)
Merriam-Webster: ‘Anti-Vaxxer’ Now Includes Those Who Oppose Forced Jabs (RT)
124 Retired Generals And Admirals Question Biden’s Mental Health (Hill)
Tesla Will Stop Accepting Bitcoin As Payment Due To Fossil Fuel Use (JTN)
Man Who Alleges He Created Bitcoin Takes £4bn Claim To London High Court (R.)
France Aims To Shut British Firms Out Of EU Financial System (ZH)

 

 

I put this chart here to start a discussion on Covid and different blood types. Shoot.

 

 

 

Does anyone still realize how short we’ve become on science and rationality in the Covid response? And how we claim the exact opposite?

Public Health and the Triumph of Irrationality (CP)

It’s been inspiring to see how the nation has pulled together to stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s also been puzzling, however, in that it’s so out of character with the attitude Americans have otherwise taken to issues of public health. According to a recent article in the New York Times, cancer killed almost twice as many Americans in 2020 as COVID, and heart disease killed more than twice as many. That is, heart disease was the leading cause of death in the U.S. even during the most lethal period of the COVID epidemic, and cancer was second. Twenty-one percent of the deaths in the U.S. in 2020 were from heart disease and 18% from cancer, as opposed to only 10% from COVID. My point here is not that we should have been less concerned about COVID than we were. My point is that if we care so much about public health, why are we doing next to nothing to reduce the death toll of these two far more lethal threats?

Take heart disease. Not only do we know what causes it and how to prevent it, prevention is far easier than is the prevention of COVID. The causes of heart disease are things such as obesity, poor diet, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, stress, and lack of exercise. It would be relatively easy to tackle these problems. We could outlaw the sales of jumbo-sized sugary drinks, limit legal amounts of sugar and fats in processed foods, outlaw smoking, establish legal limits on the sales on alcohol, and mandate short supervised exercise periods in workplaces.

Americans are generally hesitant to impose what many have traditionally taken to be excessive legislative measures to protect public health. There was enormous support, however, for the legally-mandated extended lockdown measures and mask requirements to protect people from COVID, so why is there so little support for more moderate legislative measures to protect Americans from these greater threats to their health? The attempted ban on jumbo-sized sugary drinks was so short-lived that most people no longer even remember it. We’ve done a great deal to limit smoking in the U.S., but even with those measures it continues to be a huge threat to public health. If we can shut down businesses to protect people from COVID, why can’t we shut down the tobacco industry to protect people from the ravages of smoking (which affects not only smokers, but everyone in close proximity to them, not to mention imposing enormous costs on the healthcare system)? Bars and restaurants can, in theory, be held legally liable for serving alcohol to obviously inebriated customers, but in practice that law is seldom enforced and we have no legal limits whatever on the sales of alcohol in retail outlets.

Obesity makes people more vulnerable to death not merely from heart disease, but also from COVID, but while we are going to unprecedented links to protect people from dying of COVID, we’re doing nothing to protect them from becoming obese. In fact, we are arguably encouraging obesity by our quiescence relative to the amounts of sugar and fat typically found in processed foods and grotesquely exaggerated restaurant portion sizes.

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Most people can have faith in their immune systems. But less so when they’re “vaccinated”.

Your Immune System Evolves to Fight Coronavirus Variants (SciAm)

A lot of worry has been triggered by discoveries that variants of the pandemic-causing coronavirus can be more infectious than the original. But now scientists are starting to find some signs of hope on the human side of this microbe-host interaction. By studying the blood of COVID survivors and people who have been vaccinated, immunologists are learning that some of our immune system cells—which remember past infections and react to them—might have their own abilities to change, countering mutations in the virus. What this means, scientists think, is that the immune system might have evolved its own way of dealing with variants.

“Essentially, the immune system is trying to get ahead of the virus,” says Michel Nussenzweig, an immunologist at the Rockefeller University, who conducted some recent studies that tracked this phenomenon. The emerging idea is that the body maintains reserve armies of antibody-producing cells in addition to the original cells that responded to the initial invasion by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID. Over time some reserve cells mutate and produce antibodies that are better able to recognize new viral versions. “It’s really elegant mechanism that that we’ve evolved, basically, to be able to handle things like variants,” says Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington, who was not involved in Nussenzweig’s research. Whether there are enough of these cells, and their antibodies, to confer protection against a shape-shifting SARS-CoV-2 is still being figured out.

Last April, when the pandemic was reaching its first peak in New York City, Nussenzweig and his colleagues sprang into action and began collecting the blood of COVID survivors. There were disturbing early reports of reinfection and waning antibodies, and the scientists wanted to understand how long the immune system could sustain its ability to respond to the novel threat. They took blood samples from people who had been hit by SARS-CoV-2 one month after the infection and then again six months later. What the scientists found was somewhat encouraging. Blood collected at the later date did have lower levels of circulating antibodies, but that made sense because the infection had cleared. And levels of the cells that make antibodies, called memory B cells, remained constant or even increased in some people over time. After an infection, these cells hang around in the body’s lymph nodes and maintain the ability to recognize the virus. If a person gets infected a second time, memory B cells activate, quickly produce antibodies and block the virus from creating a second serious infection.

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But then we put the WHO in charge…

Covid Pandemic Was Preventable, Says WHO-commissioned Report (G.)

The Covid pandemic was a preventable disaster that need not have cost millions of lives if the world had reacted more quickly, according to an independent high-level panel, which castigates global leaders and calls for major changes to bring it to an end and ensure it cannot happen again. The report of the panel, chaired by the former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a former president of Liberia, found “weak links at every point in the chain”. It said preparation was inconsistent and underfunded, the alert system too slow and too meek, while the World Health Organization was underpowered. It concluded the response had exacerbated inequalities. “Global political leadership was absent,” the report said. Clark described February 2020 as “a month of lost opportunity to avert a pandemic, as so many countries chose to wait and see”.

“For some, it wasn’t until hospital ICU beds began to fill that more action was taken,” she said. “And by then it was too late to avert the pandemic impact. What followed then was a winner takes all scramble for PPE and therapeutics. Globally, health workers were tested to their limits and the rates of infection, illness and death soared and continue to soar.” Sirleaf said: “The situation we find ourselves in today could have been prevented. An outbreak of a new pathogen, Sars CoV-2 became a catastrophic pandemic that has now killed more than 3.25 million people, and continues to threaten lives and livelihoods all over the world. It is due to a myriad of failures, gaps and delays in preparedness and response. This was partly due to failure to learn from the past.”

Urgent action must be taken, she said. “There are many reviews of previous health crises that include sensible recommendations. Yet, they sit gathering dust in UN basements and on government shelves … Our report shows that most countries of the world were simply not prepared for a pandemic.” The report was commissioned by the WHO director general at the instigation of member states, who called at the World Health Assembly in May last year for an impartial review of what happened and what could be learned from the pandemic. The panel calls for radical changes to bring heads of state together to oversee pandemic preparations, ensuring the finance and tools the world needs are in place. They want a faster-moving, better-resourced WHO. And they want a commitment now from leaders of affluent countries to supply vaccines for the rest of the world.

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If the Chinese vaccines don’t work, that leaves us with a lot of questions. Presumably, they wouldn’t work in China, either, for one thing.

Covid Surges In 4 Of 5 Most Vaccinated Countries (F.)

Countries with the world’s highest vaccination rates—including four of the top five most vaccinated—are fighting to contain coronavirus outbreaks that are, on a per-capita basis, higher than the surge devastating India, a trend that has experts questioning the efficacy of some vaccines (especially China’s Sinopharm) and the wisdom of easing restrictions even with most of the population vaccinated. Of the Seychelles, Israel, the UAE, Chile and Bahrain—respectively the world’s five most vaccinated countries—only Israel is not fighting to contain a dangerous surge in Covid-19 infections. Controlling for population, the Seychelles and Bahrain, alongside other highly vaccinated countries like the Maldives and Uruguay, recorded the highest number of daily coronavirus cases worldwide.

The Seychelles, a small island nation with almost double the U.S.’ vaccination rate, recorded 328 cases per 100,000 people, a far higher incidence than India (28) when population is accounted for. The outbreaks in vaccinated countries have sparked concern over how effective some of the Chinese vaccines are versus the western vaccines Israel used, including the Sinopharm vaccine the World Health Organization endorsed Friday that makes up a large part of the countries’ immunization programs. A relaxation of pandemic restrictions and mixed messaging from governments are also touted as potential explanations—tourism-reliant Seychelles and Maldives both (still) welcome tourists, Dubai exited lockdown rapidly and Chile loosened its restrictions and allowed domestic travel.

In many wealthy countries, vaccines have often been framed as the ultimate exit strategy from lockdown. Cases have declined in some countries executing successful and rapid campaigns, including the U.S., the U.K. and Israel, though experts point to places like Chile as a frightening example of what can happen if things are eased too quickly and warn a vaccine on its own is likely not enough. The efficacy of particular vaccines is likely to become a prominent concern as more countries begin to ramp up inoculation campaigns and there are concerns that some, like China’s Sinopharm vaccine, are far less effective at controlling the disease than those produced by the likes of Moderna and Pfizer. World leaders, including the head of the World Health Organization, issue frequent reminders that nobody is “safe until everyone is safe,” an issue underscored by the vast vaccine inequity between nations.

New, potentially more dangerous, variants are emerging across the globe, some of which could potentially evade existing vaccines. The WHO classified the B.1.617 variant tearing through India as a variant of concern Tuesday, noting it may be more infectious. 45%. All five of the world’s most vaccinated countries have at least this proportion of their population partially vaccinated. Data is available for Bahrain (47%), Chile (45%), Israel (60%) and the Seychelles (69%), with the UAE claiming third place thanks to its high number of doses given per capita (which is around 115,000 per 100,000 people; the UAE does not declare more granular data). The Seychelles (61%) and Israel (56%) also have the highest proportion of their population fully vaccinated, followed by Chile (38%) and Bahrain (35%). The U.S., where vaccination rates are declining in all but four states, sits just behind Chile and Bahrain, with 35% of its population now fully vaccinated and 46% partially.

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Pretty high doses recommended.

Ivermectin Tablets To Be Distributed Among Uttarakhand Residents (OneIndia)

The Uttarakhand government will be distributing Ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, among the residents of the state as a preventive medicine against the spread of COVID-19, a senior official said. The Uttarakhand government’s announcement comes after Goa and Karnataka issued similar directions. The decision was taken on the recommendation of the state-level clinical technical committee, an order issued by Chief Secretary Om Prakash to all district magistrates said. The panel has recommended the Ivermectin tablet as “mass chemoprophylaxis” to effectively control the surge of COVID-19 infection apart from the vaccination drive, the order said. The 12 mg tablets of the drug will be distributed in a kit to all families through the health department and district magistrates, the order said.


Usually, Ivermectin tablets have to be taken by adults and those above 15 years twice daily for three days after breakfast and dinner. One person will thus need six tablets and a family of four will need 24 tablets. Hence, each kit will contain two dozen tablets, the order said. Children between 10-15 years will take only one tablet daily whereas those aged between 2 to 10 years can be administered the drug only after doctor’s advice. The tablet cannot be given to children below two years, pregnant women and those suffering from liver diseases, it said. The kit will come with directions on how to consume the medicine and dosage for different age groups. Information related to the daily distribution of the kits should be sent to the state nodal officer, the order said. Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane had on Monday said all people above 18 years will be given Ivermectin drug irrespective of their coronavirus status to bring down the number of deaths due to the viral disease.

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Sure.

Could Indian Variant Jeopardise UK Unlocking Plan? (DM)

India’s Covid variant is now dominant in four local authorities in England and its rapid spread could jeopardise plans to ease lockdown, experts fear. Analysis by one of the UK’s biggest variant trackers warns the strain is focused in hotspots Bolton and neighbour Blackburn with Darwen, where outbreaks have grown by 93 and 86 per cent in a week, respectively, with more than half of lab-checked cases proven to be the Indian strain. The mutant B.1.617.2 virus is also thought to be behind half of all Covid infections in London, Bedford and South Northamptonshire, although outbreaks in these areas are still small. Boris Johnson said in a statement to Parliament today that the variant was ‘of increasing concern’, warning that a strain that could slip past vaccines would have ‘potential to cause even greater suffering than we endured in January’.

No10’s top scientists fear it may be more transmissible than the currently dominant Kent variant (B.1.1.7) – with one Belgian scientist suggesting it could be 60 per cent faster-spreading – and that it could be behind a gradually rising infection rate in Britain. The UK today confirmed another 2,284 positive tests, up seven per cent on last Wednesday’s figure, along with 11 more deaths. Another 485,260 vaccines were given out yesterday, of which 350,000 were second doses. Early lab trials suggest the current vaccines will still protect against the Indian variants but there are concerns that a faster rate of spread could lead to a bigger outbreak, giving more opportunities for people to get reinfected. AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine appears to be protecting people from the Indian variant of the virus, reports suggest.

And Pfizer said in a report there was ‘no evidence’ its shot would need to be updated to fight off the current variants. Environment Secretary George Eustice has refused to rule out local lockdowns from next month when the national restrictions are expected to end, adding that officials were ‘closely monitoring’ several outbreaks that had cropped up in recent weeks. But the Prime Minister stayed optimistic about ending lockdown, saying he expects to scrap advice for people to work from home in June and adding that he anticipates town and city centres will be ‘full of bustle again’ soon.

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“Welcome to ‘1984.’ This is the Ministry of Truth..”

Merriam-Webster: ‘Anti-Vaxxer’ Now Includes Those Who Oppose Forced Jabs (RT)

Merriam-Webster is again redefining language to fit a narrative, this time framing its definition of “anti-vaxxer” to include not only people who oppose vaccination, but also those who are against inoculation mandates. The definition on Merriam-Webster’s website says “anti-vaxxer” means “a person who opposes vaccination or laws that mandate vaccination.” It’s not clear when it was written to include opposition to forced jabs, but many observers noticed for the first time on Wednesday. “Welcome to ‘1984.’ This is the Ministry of Truth,” rapper and podcaster Zuby said on Twitter, referring to George Orwell’s dystopian novel.


Other reactions were similar, with many commenters noting that they now fit the dictionary definition of “anti-vaxxer,” even though they believe in the benefits of vaccinations and choose to receive the shots themselves. Merriam-Webster’s definition appears to dismiss the concept of favoring a product personally but being opposed, on principle, to forcing others to use it. Today, I begin my new life as an anti-vaxxer,” podcast host Matt Walsh said. The conservative Young America’s Foundation added that “when the Left control the language, they control the narrative.”

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ha ha ha

124 Retired Generals And Admirals Question Biden’s Mental Health (Hill)

A group of retired U.S. military admirals and generals signed a letter released Tuesday questioning President Biden’s fitness for office and seemingly challenging the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The letter, signed by 124 former military leaders and posted by Flag Officers 4 America, said the “Constitutional Republic is lost” without “fair and honest elections that accurately reflect the ‘will of the people.’” “The FBI and Supreme Court must act swiftly when election irregularities are surfaced and not ignore them as was done in 2020,” the letter added. Former Attorney General William Barr said in December the Justice Department uncovered no evidence of voter fraud that could have affected the outcome of the 2020 election, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

The signatories also questioned the “mental and physical condition of the Commander in Chief,” adding that national security issues require quick and “accurate” decisions “involving life and limb.” “Recent Democrat leadership’s inquiries about nuclear code procedures sends a dangerous national security signal to nuclear armed adversaries, raising the question about who is in charge,” the letter said. “We must always have an unquestionable chain of command.” While in office, former President Trump periodically questioned Biden’s mental capacity and age during the campaign season, at times referring to him as “sleepy Joe.”

Kevin O’Connor, the president’s doctor, released a report earlier this month maintaining that Biden is a “healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency,” Business Insider reported. The signatories additionally compared potential challenges to ideological battles not seen since America’s founding. “We are in a fight for our survival as a Constitutional Republic like no other time since our founding in 1776,” they said. “The conflict is between supporters of Socialism and Marxism vs. supporters of Constitutional freedom and liberty.” A statement on the Flag Officers 4 America website, says that although its members are no longer engaged in active military service, they are “bound by that oath to do what we can, in our capacity today, to protect our nation from the threats to her freedom.”

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Weeks after Musk says they will be accepted. Some PR.

Is Tesla going to take this policy to China?

Tesla Will Stop Accepting Bitcoin As Payment Due To Fossil Fuel Use (JTN)

Tesla’s Elon Musk announced on Wednesday that the electric vehicle company will no longer accept Bitcoin cryptocurrency as a payment method for automobiles due to the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining. “Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases using Bitcoin. We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” Musk posted. “Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment.”


However, the business magnate noted that Tesla will not sell off its substantial Bitcoin holdings and plans to resume accepting the cryptocurrency in the future when mining shifts to more sustainable energy. “Tesla will not be selling any Bitcoin and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy. We are also looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin’s energy/transaction.”

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Still a curious case.

Man Who Alleges He Created Bitcoin Takes £4bn Claim To London High Court (R.)

An Australian computer scientist who alleges he created bitcoin has launched a London high court lawsuit against 16 software developers in an effort to secure bitcoin worth around £4bn pounds (A$5.7bn) he says he owns. In a case that was promptly labelled “bogus” by one defendant, Craig Wright is demanding that developers allow him to retrieve about 111,000 bitcoins held at two digital addresses that he does not have private keys for. In his second London lawsuit in three weeks, Wright alleges he lost the encrypted keys when his home computer network was hacked in February 2020. Police are investigating.

Wright, who is bringing the case through his Seychelles-based Tulip Trading firm, concedes he is a controversial figure since alleging in 2016 that he wrote the bitcoin white paper – which first outlined the technology behind the digital assets – under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. The claim is hotly disputed. The Australian, who is autistic and lives in Britain with his wife and two of his three children, alleges in his latest lawsuit that developers have breached their duties to act in the best interests of the rightful owner of globally-traded assets.

“Our client has always maintained that he created bitcoin to operate within existing laws and that in the event of loss or theft, where legitimate ownership can be proven, the developers have a duty to ensure recovery,” said Paul Ferguson, a partner at law firm Ontier, which is representing Wright. The case is being brought against the developers of four networks – Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV), Bitcoin Core (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Cash ABC (ABC) – at addresses in continental Europe, the US, New Zealand, Australia and Japan, a court filing seen by Reuters showed.

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It’s highly fashionable to try and ban countries from international financial systems.

France Aims To Shut British Firms Out Of EU Financial System (ZH)

As the spat between the UK and France over access to British fishing waters – a contentious issue that nearly scuppered the post-Brexit trade deal – worsens, France has apparently decided to go for the jugular. Last week, French officials threatened to cut off electricity to the UK-dominated island of Jersey while a “protest” staged by French fishermen nearly prompted a confrontation between British and French naval ships. Now, France is threatening to do everything in its power to scupper a EU deal that would broaden access to European markets for British financial firms.

In keeping with threats made by a French diplomat last week, Bloomberg reports that French diplomats are working to stall an agreement that would help restore some of the access British financial firms once enjoyed to European markets, which was lost when Brexit officially came into effect following the end of the transition and the start of 2021. Though it wouldn’t have much practical effect in the near term, reaching a Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and the EU about plans to re-integrate their financial systems is seen by the UK as a critical first step to restoring the level of access they once enjoyed. Negotiations in Brussels later this month will bring EU leaders together to further the discuss a potential deal on market access. To be sure, the EU has said that it’s in no rush to restore the reciprocity rules that would restore trading rights for British financial firms.

Here’s more from BBG: “At the end of March, Britain and the EU had agreed on a forum regarding cross-border financial market access. While granting so-called equivalences that would allow U.K. financial firms to do business in Europe remains a separate and unilateral process, the MoU would help speed up the process. Since Brexit took effect at the beginning of 2021, London-based financial firms have been largely unable to operate in the bloc, forcing banks like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to move billions of dollars in assets and thousands of staff to the continent.”

Read more …

 

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Apr 212021
 


Paul Gauguin The wave 1888

 

Genetic Vaccines: Are They the New Thalidomide? (Merritt)
WHO Emergency Committee Rejects Vaccination Demands For Entry Permits (RT)
Vaccine Passports Are Something Made Up By Conspiracy Theorists? (OP)
Damning Data Hands Up An Indictment (Denninger)
The Lockdown Paradigm Is Collapsing (AIER)
Devastating Lawsuit Over Disastrous Bayer’s Monsanto Acquisition (NC)
Relations Between Russia & US Are Being Slowly Dismantled (Lukyanov)
EU Walks Back Claim of 150,000 Russian Troops Near Ukraine Border (Antiwar)
Ukraine’s Zelensky Invites Putin To Meet In War-Torn East (ZH)
EU Reaches Major Climate Deal Ahead Of Biden Climate Summit (AP)

 

 

 

 

Life insurance and COVID. Insurers have had zero reaction to the “increased risks”. There must be a reason for that.

 

 

I don’t feel like talking about George Floyd, too many already do. But I do find it curious that the jury was not sequestered.

Tucker Candace
https://twitter.com/i/status/1384671880116899840

 

 

Excellent long overview of all things Covid by Lee D. Merritt MD.

“Legally, those who get the vaccine are unnamed participants in a Stage IV FDA trial. “

Genetic Vaccines: Are They the New Thalidomide? (Merritt)

Many Americans have heard the news account of Dr. Gregory Michael, a 56-year-old Florida physician who, after receiving his first dose of a Pfizer COVID vaccine on December 18 of last year, was hospitalized three days later. He had a total loss of his platelets — the little blood cells that stop bleeding. In spite of being treated by a team of physicians, he died two weeks later from a brain hemorrhage, and was reported to have had zero platelets. By February 10, 2021, 36 other similar cases were reported in the mainstream media. Pfizer, which along with its partner BioNTech made the vaccine the doctor received, said in a statement that it was aware of the death. Typically, they concluded, “We are actively investigating this case, but we don’t believe at this time that there is any direct connection to the vaccine.”

Pfizer made this “finding” despite several unusual circumstances of the case. First, low-platelet disorders, known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), most commonly affect children, and generally follow a viral illness. Only 10 percent of ITP cases occur in adults, who usually present with a slow onset form of the disorder, referred to as chronic ITP. The disorder usually starts by someone noticing easy bleeding, such as slow oozing from gums or the nose, or bruises showing up without trauma. Rarely do platelets drop below 20,000, and generally treatment either reverses the disease or prolongs life for years in spite of the problem. What happened to this physician and the others seems to be a new previously unseen problem related to vaccination — despite the manufacturers’ claims.

Increasingly, vaccine manufacturers and government officials are following the sarcastic maxim from Samuel Shem’s novel of medical residency entitled The House of God that “if you don’t take a temperature you can’t find a fever.” In other words, if we don’t critically look at the actual recorded patient damage, we won’t find our products to be defective. Now, major media are increasingly getting on board, condemning “vaccine hesitancy” and pushing everyone to get vaccinated for COVID, discounting any dangers. But in the practice of medicine, we are supposed to employ the “precautionary principle” — above all do no harm. Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 “vaccines” are experimental, employing a genetic technology never before used on humans.

Ironically, many people who wouldn’t purchase the first edition of a new car line are lining up to take an injection they know nothing about, that has never successfully passed animal trials, that could never meet the required “safety level” for a “drug,” and is unapproved for the prevention of COVID except as an emergency experiment. Legally, those who get the vaccine are unnamed participants in a Stage IV FDA trial. Moreover, a vaccine is supposed to prevent disease. By that definition, these agents are not even vaccines. They are more properly termed “experimental unapproved genetic agents.” By admission of the manufacturers themselves, both the Pfizer and Moderna products only lessen the symptoms of COVID; they don’t prevent transmission.

[..] In truth, neither recipients nor their doctors know what is in these “vaccines.” Only a few people at the top of the Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca research groups really understand them. These mRNA injections produce a potentially deadly pathogen — the spike protein — in your cells. The Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer product says that it contains “a nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) encoding the viral spike glycoprotein (S) of SARS-CoV-2.” If your immune system is strong enough to withstand this onslaught and create some immunity, you may survive the first onslaught. But even if you don’t die in the short term, mRNA is an epigenetic controller of DNA. Though this foreign synthetic mRNA doesn’t actually become part of your DNA to make you a “GMO human,” as some people have been worrying about, it can control DNA in ways we have yet to completely understand.

Read more …

But nobody listens anymore.

WHO Emergency Committee Rejects Vaccination Demands For Entry Permits (RT)

The WHO Emergency Committee has strictly rejected the use of corona vaccination cards as a requirement for entry permits. According to the panel, there is still too little clarity as to whether and how the vaccination prevents the virus from being passed on. The committee reiterated its previously expressed position on Monday and again opposed the use of vaccination records as a condition for resuming international travel opportunities. He cited the fact that there is so far no clear evidence of the effects of the vaccination on the transmission of the coronavirus. At the same time, health experts described such requirements as unfair because of the uneven distribution of vaccines around the world. They would deepen existing rifts between people from different countries, it said from the panel.

Instead, countries were recommended to rely more on quarantine measures for international travelers and to present other “coordinated, time-limited, risk- and evidence-based approaches to health measures”. The statement by the independent emergency committee that advises the World Health Organization (WHO) on pandemic issues comes amid concerns over persistent inequality in the global distribution of coronavirus vaccines. The pandemic could hardly be overcome unless all countries had access to sufficient vaccines, drugs and tests. The committee therefore recommended that the “emergency of international scope” declared at the end of January 2020 be maintained until further notice. The WHO had previously criticized the growing gap between vaccine use in different countries as a “moral scandal” and “catastrophic moral failure”.

The organization called on world leaders to promote a fairer distribution of vaccines. Nevertheless, the WHO Emergency Committee praised the progress made by the international vaccine procurement initiative COVAX and called on its member countries to support it. The program, within the framework of which a total of two billion doses of the corona protective agent is to be distributed worldwide by the end of 2021, is primarily dependent on poorer countries for deliveries with vaccines. In addition, the committee recommended that the WHO test new vaccines for their safety and effectiveness more quickly and that the responsible authorities in the member countries be strengthened. Risk monitoring should be strengthened, especially with regard to new mutated virus variants, he added.

Read more …

Double faced?

“.. the World Health Organization, who recently opposed the creation of a vaccine passport, is now working to do just that.”

Vaccine Passports Are Something Made Up By Conspiracy Theorists? (OP)

In March, the European Commission opened a proposal to create a “Digital Green Certificate” to allow travel inside the EU during the “pandemic.” This Digital Green Certificate would serve as a documentation that a person has been vaccinated for COVID, received a negative test for COVID, or has recovered from it. It will include a QR Code to ensure the authenticity and security of the certificate and will be made free of charge in paper or digital form. The Digital Green Certificate will have three certificates included within it including: • Vaccination certificates, stating brand of the vaccine used, data and place of inoculation and number of doses administered. • Negative test certificates (either a NAAT/RT-PCR test or a rapid antigen test). Self-tests will be excluded for the time being. • Medical certificates for people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 180 days.

According to Euro News, “Where member states accept proof of vaccination to waive certain public health restrictions such as testing or quarantine, they would be required to accept, under the same conditions, vaccination certificates issued under the Digital Green Certificate system,” the Commission said in a statement. [..] The instrument will be valid in all EU countries and will be open for Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway as well as Switzerland. It will be issued to EU citizens and their family members, regardless of their nationality. Other countries are following suit in the Digital Vaccine Passport scheme. But while the EU debates what sort of technology to use and what parameters will be included, various European countries are taking matters into their own hands, choosing instead to create their own versions of a vaccine passport, all varying between each country.

For instance, Estonia is planning to launch its own pilot program at the end of April. France is doing the same. In addition, the World Health Organization, who recently opposed the creation of a vaccine passport, is now working to do just that. And they are all working with the usual suspects – Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM and a host of other corporations. What is more likely is that European countries will all implement different versions of the passport and, in the midst of chaos, the EU will have to step in and standardize the process. The WHO will likely lead the charge in implementing the process worldwide.

Read more …

“The CDC’s own data proves they lied.”

Damning Data Hands Up An Indictment (Denninger)

I still can’t find 500,000 excess deaths caused by Covid in 2020; they’re simply not there among the diseases the CDC reported out and since the base risk is 1/50,000 even across half the population being infected we could only account for 3,000 deaths. It is thus clear that if in fact Covid-19 has killed anywhere near the number of people claimed those other morbid conditions, all of which are serious diseases standing alone, have to account for the increase between them. Indeed the most-common, by far (40% of additional deaths by disease) were due to heart attacks and the next was diabetes at 13%. Between diabetes and heart attacks, both almost-exclusively due to lifestyle choices and thus your personal decisions, 53% of the excess 120,475 deaths are accounted for. If we add in strokes, which also are largely lifestyle-related then we’re at about 2/3rds.

Among those diseases that are allegedly “the biggest comorbid factors” I can find only 120,475 more deaths that Covid-19 may have contributed to and which included those diseases as a causal factor in total. Did Covid-19 cause all of those 120,000 additional deaths or were they caused by, in the case of diabetes, strokes and heart attacks for example, the additional 50lbs that a material percentage of people put on during the lockdowns (and over 20lbs on average!) from eating takeout trash full of fast carbs and being involuntarily cooped up in their homes? We do not know so this can only describe an upper boundary or caused mortality — not a lower one. This analysis doesn’t mean even more people didn’t die with Covid, but an alleged “Covid” death that wasn’t accompanied by one of the CDC’s specifically-called out diseases.

The CDC “selects” these specific categories and ICD codes, I remind you, because they’re particularly large percentages of the whole among diseases that kill people. When the CDC says that only a few thousand people died of Covid alone this data is rather interesting wouldn’t you say? After all being shot while Covid positive, or ODing, dying in a car wreck or wrapping your motorcycle around a telephone pole in no way implies you died of Covid, does it? To so-imply or state is to deliberately deceive the public and inculcate fear; it is a lie. Yet the media and government have in fact said it did because they have repeatedly claimed more than four times the number of people who the CDC links to specific diseases in fact died “of” Covid-19. The CDC’s own data proves they lied.


How fear distorts perception.

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“.. the presence or absence of lockdowns in the face of the virus seem completely uncorrelated with any disease trajectory.”

The Lockdown Paradigm Is Collapsing (AIER)

It’s taken much longer than it should have but at last it seems to be happening: the lockdown paradigm is collapsing. The signs are all around us. The one-time hero of the lockdown, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, is now deeply unpopular and most voters want him to resign. Meanwhile, polls have started to favor Florida governor and lockdown opponent Ron DeSantis for influence over the GOP in the future. This remarkable flip in fortunes is due to the dawning realization that the lockdowns were a disastrous policy. DeSantis and fellow anti-lockdown governor Kristi Noem are the first to state the truth bluntly. Their honesty has won them both credibility.

Meanwhile, in Congressional hearings, Representative James Jordan (R-OH) demanded that Dr. Fauci account for why closed Michigan has worse disease prevalence than neighboring Wisconsin which has long been entirely open. Fauci pretended he couldn’t hear the question, couldn’t see the chart, and then didn’t understand. Finally he just sat there silent after having uttered a few banalities about enforcement differentials. The lockdowners are now dealing with the huge problem of Texas. It has been fully open with no restrictions for 6 weeks. Cases and deaths fell dramatically in the same period. Fauci has no answer. Or compare closed California with open Florida: similar death rates. We have a full range of experiences in the US that allow comparisons between open and closed and disease outcomes. There is no relationship.

Or you could look to Taiwan, which had no stringencies governing its 23.5 million people. Deaths from Covid-19 thus far: 11. Sweden, which stayed open, performed better than most of Europe. The problem is that the presence or absence of lockdowns in the face of the virus seem completely uncorrelated with any disease trajectory. AIER has assembled 33 case studies from all over the world showing this to be true. Why should any of this matter? Because the “scientists” who recommended lockdowns had posited very precisely and pointedly that they had found the way to control the virus and minimized negative outcomes. We know for sure that the lockdowns imposed astonishing collateral damage. What we do not see is any relationship between lockdowns and disease outcomes.

Read more …

“It looks like Bayer will eventually declare bankruptcy.”

Devastating Lawsuit Over Disastrous Bayer’s Monsanto Acquisition (NC)

The Bayer purchase of Monsanto has been described as the worst deal of all time, beating even the train wreck of Time Warner’s AOL acquisition. As we wrote in August: “Yes, nearly every penny of the $66 billion that Bayer paid for Monsanto has gone poof. Yes, Bayer is the first time in German corporate history that a public company got a majority vote of no confidence from its shareholders. Yes, Bayer is at risk of bleeding out over seemingly endless Monsanto-related liability claims (Roundup has so taken the center stage that what would ordinarily be a big-deal litigation drain, Dicamba, is treated as an afterthought). Unlike any other company ever facing similar litigation, Bayer has neither taken Roundup off the market, nor reformulated it, nor put a cancer warning on it. It looks like Bayer will eventually declare bankruptcy.”

The original filing did a devastating job of describing why Bayer was so keen to do the horrific Monsanto, and on such terrible terms: the above-mentioned all cash offer, which it funded by borrowing boatloads of debt. Bayer was small enough in the world of ever-growing chemical and Pharma behemoths to make for a nice meal. Acquisitive Pfizer had just had a big deal scuppered for legal reasons, and Bayer’s management worried it might be the next target. It settled quickly on Monsanto despite or one might argue because of its terrible reputation; it served as a poisoned pill. The litany of horrors goes on. Bayer was unable to do proper due diligence by being too close a competitor. Monsanto had to sell a trophy asset for anti-trust reasons….yet Bayer didn’t demand a price adjustment.

The acquisition process dragged on long enough that the WHO had named glysophate a probable carcinogen, yet Bayer didn’t beat a retreat. Bayer believed the scientists who insisted that glysophate hadn’t been proven to cause cancer, when the WHO designation was more than enough to set off a tsunami of product liability lawsuits, many of which garnered eye-popping awards (among the ugly facts that came out was that Monsanto employees wore hazmat-type gear when working with glysophate yet made no warnings about the need to wear protective coverings to consumers).

Read more …

Maybe not all that slowly.

Relations Between Russia & US Are Being Slowly Dismantled (Lukyanov)

If the proposed summit between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin goes ahead, it will attract the attention of the world’s media and give both men a PR boost. But nothing will fundamentally change. Russian-American relations have gone through some interesting curves on the road recently, leaving many commentators at a loss. Stern warnings, a military showdown, reported plans to deploy the US Navy to the Black Sea (subsequently apparently cancelled), President Joe Biden calling his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and proposing a face-to-face summit, followed by a new round of sanctions that apparently could have been worse but would do for now.

Next came Biden’s executive order that focused on the growing Russia “threat,” and then another invitation to talk in an address that Washington viewed as a gesture of reconciliation. All of this, and in such a short time, does seem chaotic. However, we will get some clarity if we consider two factors. First, what we are witnessing right now is the final stage in the process of dismantling relations between Russia and the US as they have existed for several decades. Second, most international players’ actions are motivated by complex domestic issues. Reacting to the challenges facing them on the home front always takes precedence, while foreign policy is either a secondary matter, or, if they are dealing with a major power that wouldn’t remove itself from the arena, it becomes an instrument for solving internal problems.

Let’s begin with the first factor. Since the late 1940s, Moscow and Washington have been each other’s main conversation focus. The dialogue has been confrontational in nature but pivotal for the global political landscape. It once was at the center of everything, because the two powers engaged in it had equal military and political capabilities. During the Cold War years, the parties worked out an efficient, functional system of stabilizing and rationalizing the confrontation. In the 1990s, parity disappeared in many areas – except nuclear capabilities. But it wasn’t enough for maintaining the core elements of the former type of relations – neither in their essential aspects, nor in ritualistic ones.

Significant advances were made at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century, such as mutual openness or political and humanitarian contacts, but they didn’t change the nature of the relations. The two countries stayed rivals, but now with drastically different levels of power and resources. And as disagreements grew, the openness started evolving into a disadvantage. We are not going to analyze here what went wrong or discuss the very possibility of things developing differently. Today, Russia and the USA do not see each other as key partners – even in confrontational engagement. Each country views the other as more of a nuisance, getting in the way of executing their strategy. During the previous Cold War years, there was some mutual respect between the Soviet Union and America, as each country recognized its opponent’s ideological and political legitimacy. It is gone now.

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Hey, who’s going to check?

EU Walks Back Claim of 150,000 Russian Troops Near Ukraine Border (Antiwar)

The European Union had to correct a claim made by its foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, concerning Russian troops near the Ukrainian border. Borrell told reporters on Monday that there were “over 150,000” Russian troops near the border. The number was corrected in a transcript of his briefing on the EU’s website to “over 100,000.” Despite the change, it’s still unclear how the EU determined that there are over 100,000 Russian troops near the border. Russia has announced the deployment of additional forces near Ukraine in recent weeks, but nothing has indicated it sent over 100,000 troops to the region. Last week, a spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed there were 80,000 troops stationed along the border of Ukraine, with 40,000 of them in Crimea.


The fact that Russia has troops in Crimea is no surprise. Moscow had a military base in the peninsula even before Crimea joined the Russian Federation in 2014. An alarmist report from the Daily Mail published satellite images that it claims show a Russian military build-up at a base in Crimea. But the base is located in southern Crimea, nowhere near the conflict zone in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Demonstrating that the Daily Mail report lacks any credibility, it repeats Borrell’s original claim that 150,000 Russian troops have amassed as fact. When asked about Borrel’s comments, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the situation is “concerning” to the US. “What I can tell you is, in general, we have continued to see this build-up increase. And again, that is concerning to us,” He said. While Kirby didn’t offer any numbers, he claimed the Russian troop deployment is “certainly bigger” than the 2014 deployment Kirby said resulted in a “violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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What would Putin stand to gain?

Ukraine’s Zelensky Invites Putin To Meet In War-Torn East (ZH)

Following on the heels of last week’s Joe Biden invitation to Vladimir Putin for a bilateral summit proposed for the summer to tackle a range of still simmering contentious issues, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has issued a surprised invitation late Tuesday for Putin to meet him in the war-torn east of Ukraine. In making the announcement Zelensky told Putin that such a direct high states meeting where the two leaders can talk de-escalation is essential as there are a “million lives at stake” in any potential outbreak of major conflict, according to AFP: “Zelensky told the Russian leader that he was ready “to invite you to meet anywhere in the Ukrainian Donbass where the war is going on”, adding that “million of lives at stake” in the conflict between government forces and pro-Kremlin separatists in the east of the country.”


Days ago Zelensky traveled to an area near Mariupol in Donetsk where he “walked the front line with the troops” amid renewed fighting with Russian-backed separatists in the eastern Donbass region. Zelensky’s direct invitation to Putin to meet over the crisis came the same day Russia’s Defense Ministry justified its troop build-up in the South, particularly in Crimea and near the border with Ukraine, by calling it a necessary “deterrent” to NATO’s “destabilization” of the region. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that “Nato’s attempts to destabilize situations in the Middle East and Transcaucasian region force Russia to take symmetric measures of strategic deterrence,” according to an Interfax citation by Bloomberg. Following Biden’s proposal to meet face-to-face with Putin we and others noted that it appeared Ukraine’s leadership had been effectively sidelined by the two rival superpowers.

Read more …

Stop paying attention to these “deals”. It’s PR only.

EU Reaches Major Climate Deal Ahead Of Biden Climate Summit (AP)

The European Union reached a tentative climate deal that is intended to make the 27-nation bloc climate-neutral by 2050, with member states and parliament agreeing on new carbon emissions targets on the eve of a virtual summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden. “Our political commitment to becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 is now also a legal commitment. The climate law sets the EU on a green path for a generation,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said early Wednesday. Under the provisional deal reached after officials negotiated through the night, the EU will also commit itself to an intermediate target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.


“It was high time for the agreement, as Europe has to show where it stands in view of the positive developments in the USA and China,” said European Parliament member Peter Liese, the negotiator for the EPP Christian Democrat group. The 2030 target had been 40%, but under the pressure of increasing evidence of climate change and a more environmentally conscious electorate, it was pushed up, although the EU legislature had wanted a higher target of 60%. Lawmakers from The Greens specifically complained that too many accounting tricks had been used to reach the level of 55% and that in reality the reduction would equate to a 52.8% reduction of direct emissions. Its environmental expert, MEP Michael Bloss said EU member nations and parliament “have rushed through a weak climate law for the sake of a photo-op with President Joe Biden.”

Read more …

 

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The football SuperLeague has self-imploded in 48 hours. Here’s why Europe’s biggest teams wanted the league: their debts. They made a deal with JPMorgan that would give them some $4 billion. And even that was just a deferred loan, payable over 23 years. To get out of debt today, get in a worse situation in the future. Hey, goverments do it too.

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

Apr 012021
 


Pablo Picasso Jacqueline in Turkish costume 1955

 

Biden Unveils $2T Infrastructure Plan, Tax Increases (OAN)
Emergence Of Dominant Selective Immune Escape Variants (Vanden Bossche)
Therapeutics and COVID-19: Living Guideline (WHO)
Judge Demands That Belgium Scraps All Corona Measures Within Thirty Days (AD)
France Headed For New National Lockdown As COVID Cases Surge (ZH)
Outdoor Mask Decree Met With Dismay By Spain’s Tourism Industry (G.)
Washington State ‘Vaccine Breakthrough’: 100s Get Covid Weeks After Jab (JTN)
15 Million Doses Of J&J Vaccine Ruined By Ingredient Mix-up (DM)
Bipolar Corona-Politics Positive? (OffG)
Russiagate Prober Couldn’t Verify Anything in the Steele Dossier (RCI)
US Dollar’s Status as “Global Reserve Currency” Drops to 25-Year Low (WS)
Ron Paul: Gold and Bitcoin Are At Risk Of Government Crackdown (Kitco)
Journalists Are “Centering” Their “Trauma” To Acquire Power (Tracey)

 

 

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
— Elie Wiesel

 

 

Tucker Greenwald Vaccine passports
https://twitter.com/i/status/1377095450440785924

 

 

The problem with such schemes in the US can be summarized in one word: pork.

Biden Unveils $2T Infrastructure Plan, Tax Increases (OAN)

Joe Biden has unveiled his massive infrastructure plan, projected to cost roughly $2 trillion in taxpayer money. Dubbed the American Jobs Plan, the details of it were made public during an event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Wednesday. “So today, I’m proposing a plan for the nation that rewards work, not just rewards wealth,” Biden said. “That builds a fair economy and gives everybody a chance to succeed, and it’s going to create the strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world.” The plan’s largest proposed investment is $621 billion devoted to transportation, with a heavy focus on transitioning to so-called “green energy,” followed by $400 billion to home care services, $300 billion to manufacturing and $213 billion to housing. It would also allocate funds to digital infrastructure, schools and workforce development.

Biden claimed the package would modernize the American economy and boost job creation. “It will create millions of jobs, good paying jobs, it will grow the economy, make us more competitive around the world, promote our national security interests, and put us in position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years,” Biden stated. Yet despite Biden’s grandiose claims of an American revival brought about by government spending, conservatives have balked at the huge price tag attached to his plan, and how he intends to pay for it. The package proposed a reversal of the Trump administration’s 2017 cut to the corporate tax rate, raising it from 21 to 28 percent. It would introduce a minimum tax of 15 percent on book income, the income reported by companies to their investors rather than the IRS.

Additionally, it would increase the global minimum tax on international subsidiaries of U.S. corporations from 13 to 21 percent, regardless of where their profits were made. This last point is notable, as it creates a strong incentive for U.S. companies to reincorporate abroad and ultimately bypass the higher tax rates the Democrat administration wishes to levy from them. This has prompted leading Republicans to heavily criticize Biden’s plan for using infrastructure as a smokescreen to sneak in tax hikes favored by Democrat politicians. “I think the Trojan horse will be called infrastructure, but inside the Trojan horse will be all the tax increases that Senator Scott and others have talked about,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. “They want to raise taxes across the board and the only way I think they could pull that off would be through a reconciliation process. They have one more of those available to them.”

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Vanden Bossche is not giving up.

Emergence Of Dominant Selective Immune Escape Variants (Vanden Bossche)

Mass vaccinaton of vulnerable groups does not abrupt viral transmission chains but increasingly redirects transmission events to asymptomatic carriers (i.e., vaccinated subjects as well as not yet vaccinated young and healthy people, several of whom experienced asymptomatc infecton without mounting long-lived Ab titers2 ). As ongoing mass vaccinaton campaigns are shifing the ‘reservoir’ of viral transmission to asymptomatcally infected subjects (whether vaccinated or not), the likelihood for unvaccinated, previously asymptomatcally infected subjects to experience re-infecton with Sars-CoV-2 while being endowed with suboptmal and short-lived ant-S Abs substantally increases.


This is to say that within the populaton that is now most actvely involved in viral transmission, new, spontaneously emerging S variants have plenty of opportunity to train under suboptmal immune pressure such as to ultmately adapt to the human host and become part of the dominant circulatng Sars-Cov-2 populaton. This is how – afer inital breeding of viral variants as a direct result of infecton preventon measures – subsequent mass vaccinaton campaigns will drive enhanced circulaton of additonal, more infectous viral S variants. ‘Training’ of such more infectous immune escape variants is thought to be refected by the plateau that follows the vaccine-mediated decline in cases and the height of which exceeds the one following the previous wave of cases.

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They test for those things that are most likely to fail.

Therapeutics and COVID-19: Living Guideline (WHO)

This fourth version of the WHO living guideline addresses the use of ivermectin in patients with COVID-19. It follows the increased international attention on ivermectin as a potential therapeutic option. While ivermectin is also being investigated for prophylaxis, this guideline only addresses its role in the treatment of COVID-19. Ivermectin is relatively inexpensive and accessible, and some countries have already witnessed its widespread use in the treatment of COVID-19; in other countries, there is increasing pressure to do so (14).

In response to this international attention, the WHO GDG now provides recommendations on ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19. Ivermectin is an antiparasitic agent that interferes with nerve and muscle function of helminths through binding glutamate-gated chloride channels (15). We currently lack persuasive evidence of a mechanism of action for ivermectin in COVID-19, and any observed clinical benefit would be unexplained (see Section 5).

[..] Benefits and harms: The effects of ivermectin on mortality, mechanical ventilation, hospital admission, duration of hospitalization and viral clearance remain uncertain because of very low certainty of evidence addressing each of these outcomes. Ivermectin may have little or no effect on time to clinical improvement (low certainty evidence). Ivermectin may increase the risk of SAEs leading to drug dicontinuation (low certainty evidence). Subgroup analyses indicated no effect modification based on dose. We were unable to examine subgroups based on patient age or severity of illness due to insufficent trial data (see Section 5). Therefore, we assumed similar effects in all subgroups. This recommendation applies to patients with any disease severity and any duration of symptoms.

Certainty of the evidence: For most key outcomes, including mortality, mechanical ventilation, hospital admission, duration of hospitalization and viral clearance, the panel considered the evidence of very low certainty. Evidence was rated as very low certainty primarily because of very serious imprecision for most outcomes: the aggregate data had wide confidence intervals and/or very few events. There were also serious concerns related to risk of bias for some outcomes, specifically lack of blinding, lack of trial pre-registration, and lack of outcome reporting for one trial that did not report mechanical ventilation despite pre-specifying it in their protocol (publication bias).

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Google translate

Judge Demands That Belgium Scraps All Corona Measures Within Thirty Days (AD)

The Brussels court of first instance orders the Belgian government to end the corona measures within thirty days, on pain of a penalty of 5000 euros per day. According to the judge, the current measures are based on laws that cannot serve as the basis for the ministerial decisions by which the corona measures are issued. The ruling follows a lawsuit brought by the League for Human Rights and has been confirmed to the Belgian media by the lawyers involved. The League is an independent Belgian foundation that fights “injustices and arbitrary attacks on the rights of the individual or the community”. The court finds that the measures taken by the governments to prevent the further spread of the corona virus are illegal. According to Lackner, the court actually says that the legal basis on which the ministerial decisions are based is not valid.

According to the court, the measures in Belgium to prevent the further spread of the corona virus are illegal. The measures are based on the 2007 Civil Security Act and two other laws, De Standaard writes about the case. That law came after a major train disaster in Ghislenglien to be able to act quickly and with urgency after such disasters. The court finds that this basis is not sufficient for the imposed corona measures. The judge gives the Belgian state thirty days to provide a solid legal basis on pain of a penalty of 5000 euros per day that that term is exceeded, up to a maximum of 200,000 euros. The Belgian Ministry of the Interior is said to be studying the verdict. An appeal is possible against the decision.

Belgium announced last week that it will continue to be locked, because the number of hospital admissions and infections with the corona virus continue to rise. The non-essential stores may only open by appointment and the very large stores for a maximum of fifty people at a time. The non-medical contact professions such as hairdressers also have to close again for the time being for four weeks. The number of people with whom Belgians are allowed to meet outside their families in the open air will be reduced from ten to four people. A number of corona measures remain, such as the curfew. Non-essential journeys from Belgium will also remain prohibited until April 19. According to Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, a “short period of pain, an Easter break” has been chosen in the hope of reducing the virus.

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It’s just sad.

France Headed For New National Lockdown As COVID Cases Surge (ZH)

Despite expanding lockdown measures to cover more than one-third of the country (including Paris and other major cities) earlier this month, and other areas French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to follow German Chancellor Angela Merkel by imposing strict new nation lockdown measures as Europe’s “third wave” of COVID cases intensifies. France has seen COVID cases (adjusted for population) surge to the highest level in Western Europe, while only hard-hit ex-eastern bloc countries like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have it worse than France, as the chart below shows. This has inspired Germany and Spain to restrict travel from the country.

Bloomberg reports that President Macron is planning to announce during a national address on Wednesday evening that he will impose new nationwide measures to contain the spike, and that these measures could include school closures and a ban on inter-city travel. The new national edict would mark the end of the “regional” approach that France has relied on all year. Although he declined to elaborate, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Wednesday after a defense council meeting that “decisions have been made” regarding new lockdown measures, but he declined to elabroate. Macron will address the nation at 2000 local time (1400ET). If Macron follows through with the school closures, that would also mark a major reversal for France, which had insisted on keeping schools open over the past year, unlike many of its European neighbors.

Macron has so far been “unapologetic” about his resistance to more restrictive measures, according to Bloomberg. As the EU vaccination push lags for a number of reasons (primarily a shortage of supplies, and widespread skepticism) more than 8MM people have received at least one jab of the vaccine, which represents more than 10% of the population. The target to vaccinate all French adults willing to get the jab by the end of the summer remains in place. Notably, Macron ignored the advice of his health minister who began advocating for more restrictive measures earlier this year. Instead, the government imposed a nationwide curfew, closed malls and expanded travel curbs – but didn’t go all in on a national lockdown. The hope was that the most pessimistic forecasts wouldn’t become a reality – but they have.

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On the beach.

Outdoor Mask Decree Met With Dismay By Spain’s Tourism Industry (G.)

The Spanish tourist industry has reacted with dismay to the government’s decree that face masks must be worn in all outdoor spaces, including beaches and swimming pools, even when it is possible to maintain social distancing. “We’re going through hell with thousands of jobs and businesses threatened and now they want to turn the beaches into open-air field hospitals,” José Luis Zoreda, vice-president of Exceltur, the umbrella organisation that represents Spain’s tourism industry, told El País newspaper. Industry representatives complain that they were not consulted over the decision, which was announced in an official state bulletin on Tuesday. “We’ve already given up on Easter as a lost cause,” said Zoreda. “Now we have to put our hopes on summer.”


He said the “improvised measures” did not inspire confidence on the part of the foreign visitors whom the struggling industry is desperate to bring back. Tourism accounts for about 12% of Spain’s GDP. Masks have been obligatory indoors and out in Catalonia since last July and in Valencia since early this year, despite claims by scientists that there is a very low risk of contagion in the open air. Earlier this month Fernando Simón, head of Spain’s coordination centre for health emergencies and alerts, said: “I don’t believe that masks are the key to reducing transmission. It’s not necessary for everyone to wear one. What’s important is that people who are infected wear one, although we don’t know who is infected and who isn’t.” Simón added that they should be obligatory in enclosed spaces.

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Building trust.

Washington State ‘Vaccine Breakthrough:’ 100s Get Covid Weeks After Jab (JTN)

The state of Washington is investigating what officials are calling a “vaccine breakthrough,” after roughly 100 cases of people testing positive for the virus about two weeks after being vaccinated. Epidemiologists report evidence of 102 breakthrough cases in 18 Washington counties, among millions of vaccinated residents. Two patients who received the vaccination died after becoming infected with the virus. “DOH is investigating two potential vaccine breakthrough cases where the patients died. Both patients were more than 80 years old and suffered underlying health issues,” officials said in a news release.


The health department also said the majority of those vaccinated who tested positive experienced mild symptoms, but at least eight have been hospitalized. “It is important to remember that every vaccine on the market right now prevents severe disease and death in most cases,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, the states’s health secretary. “Finding evidence of vaccine breakthrough cases reminds us that, even if you have been vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask, practice socially distancing, and wash your hands to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others who have not been vaccinated.”

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“..poorly trained employees, cracked vials and mold around one of its facilities..”

15 Million Doses Of J&J Vaccine Ruined By Ingredient Mix-up (DM)

The Biden administration knew more than a week ago that 15million doses of Johnson & Johnson had been ruined by its contractor – potentially causing significant delays in the vaccine rollout, senior administration officials said. Two senior officials on the government’s Covid-19 response team told Politico that it was clear there were serious problems at the West Baltimore plant of Emergent BioSolutons, a little-known company at the center of the vaccine supply chain. A third official said the Department of Health then found out last week that Emergent had ruined 15 million doses of vaccine by adding the wrong ingredient. ‘It was no secret that Emergent did not have a deep bench of pharmaceutical manufacturing experts,’ that official told Politico.

The news finally became public on Wednesday when Johnson & Johnson said that a batch of vaccine made by Emergent at its Baltimore factory, known as Bayview, can’t be used because employees accidentally swapped in an ingredient meant for a different vaccine into the J&J shot, the New York Times reported Wednesday. The Emergent BioSolutions plant is also manufacturing doses for AstraZeneca, and apparently used an ingredient for the UK firm’s vaccine in a batch of J&J’s. The gaff occurred two weeks ago and will delay tens of millions doses of J&J’s shot slated to ship next month while the FDA investigates.

The company at the center of quality problems that led Johnson & Johnson to discard 15 million doses has a had string of citations from U.S. health officials for quality control problems. Emergent, which was key to Johnson & Johnson’s plan to deliver 100 million doses of its vaccine to the U.S. by the end of May, has been cited repeatedly by the Food and Drug Administration for problems such as poorly trained employees, cracked vials and mold around one of its facilities, according to The Associated Press.

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“He trusts the government would only deliver a safe, effective vaccine.”

Bipolar Corona-Politics Positive? (OffG)

I had a patient this morning. More precisely, I telephoned him. He suffered a myocardial infarction last year and is on anti-hypertensives. His last few BP measurements showed very good, stable control. He barricades himself in his home against the rogue cold virus each time the government locks-down. He expressed terror about the link between hypertension and an enhanced Covid-19 risk. I would say he is, like the government, somewhat delusional about it or at the very least harbours some fixed false beliefs towards it. Hence, he measures his blood pressure many times a day. It fibrillates up and down with the propaganda. Masks are not enough for him. He refuses to leave his home until Johnson and Hancock lift lockdown. He asks me to increase his medications without seeing him.

The easy cure might be to turn off his TV and smartphone. But, there is more bipolarity, more paradox, more human folly. He refuses to come out for a hypertension review until he receives his Covid-19 vaccinations. I ask him how he suggests doing that? Perhaps he could find it reasonable to specifically come for his vaccine and have an opportunistic BP? He pauses, and then refuses. Classic Joseph Heller, Catch-22. Nothing surprises me these days in medical practice, so without a pause I remind him that we are not currently offering a bespoke domiciliary vaccination service. He remains insistent. As his doctor, I try to reassure him he is not at any great risk. I remind him we pay great lip service to all the viral psychological interventions such as porous ill-fitting mask, alcohol gel and … polythene apron.

Rather selectively, he dismisses these sacred verses of the government propaganda. As if to out-fox me, he replies in denouement, ‘Okay, I won’t come in, then.’ I leave it open for him to come back to us. It is not only the rule of law, but also the practice of medicine which has succumbed to hysteria. He is the ideal citizen of the corporate pharmaceutical Gods. Open to suggestion, vulnerable to propaganda, crouched with bayoneted rifle in trench against an unavoidable, invisible particle. Always willing to go above and beyond the unreasonable demands of tyrants. He trusts the government would only deliver a safe, effective vaccine.

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“..without the dossier, the warrants could not have been obtained.”

Russiagate Prober Couldn’t Verify Anything in the Steele Dossier (RCI)

For the past four years, Democrats and the Washington media have suspended disbelief about the Steele dossier’s credibility by arguing that some Russia allegations against Donald Trump and his advisers have been corroborated and therefore the most explosive charges may also be true. But recently declassified secret testimony by the FBI official in charge of corroborating the dossier blows up that narrative. The top analyst assigned to the FBI’s Russia “collusion” case, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, admitted under oath that neither he nor his team of half a dozen intelligence analysts could confirm any of the allegations in the dossier — including ones the FBI nonetheless included in several warrant applications as evidence to establish legal grounds to electronically monitor a former Trump adviser for almost a year.

FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten made the admission under questioning by staff investigators for the Senate Judiciary Committee during closed-door testimony in October. The committee only this year declassified the transcript, albeit with a number of redactions including the name of Auten, who was identified by congressional sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. “So with respect to the Steele reporting,” Auten told the committee, “the actual allegations and the actions described in those reports could not be corroborated.” After years of digging, Auten conceded that the only material in the dossier that he could verify was information that was already publicly available, such as names, entities, and positions held by persons mentioned in the document.

His testimony, kept secret for several months, is eye-opening because it’s the first time anybody from the FBI has acknowledged headquarters failed to verify any of the dossier evidence supporting the wiretaps as true and correct. As one of the FBI’s leading experts on Russia, Auten was highly familiar with the subject matter of the dossier and the Russian players it cited. He also had a team of intelligence analysts at his disposal to pore over the material and chase down leads. They even traveled overseas to interview the dossier’s author, former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, and other sources. Still, they could not corroborate any of the allegations of Trump-Russia “collusion” in the dossier, and actually debunked many of them — including the rumor, oft-repeated by the media, that Trump attorney Michael Cohen flew to Prague in the summer of 2016 to secretly huddle with Kremlin agents over an alleged Trump-Russia plot to hack the election.

They determined that Cohen had never even been to the Czech Republic. Yet Auten and his Crossfire teammates — who referred to the dossier as “Crown material,” as if it were valuable intelligence from America’s closest ally, Britain — never informed a secret surveillance court that the dossier was a bust. Instead, they used it as the basis for all four warrant applications to spy on Carter Page, a tangential 2016 Trump campaign adviser. Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who personally signed and approved the final application, has testified that without the dossier, the warrants could not have been obtained.

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But I see the remarkable strength of the USD. Yes, the euro has taken a few percent, and so has the yen. So what?

US Dollar’s Status as “Global Reserve Currency” Drops to 25-Year Low (WS)

Two decades ago, when the dollar had a share of about 70% of reserve currencies, a presumed competitor became day-to-day reality: The euro, which combined the currencies of the member states into one currency, thereby combining their weight as reserve currency. Since then, the dollar’s share has dropped by 11 percentage points. By contrast, between 1977 and 1991, the dollars share had dropped by 46 percentage points – with huge plunges in 1979 and 1980 possibly linked to US inflation which was threatening to spiral out of control, peaking at nearly 15% in 1980. The plunge bottomed out in 1991, with inflation more or less under control. And the dollar’s share then surged by 25 percentage points until 2000:


The euro’s share had since been in the range between 19.5% and 20.6%, but it Q4 it broke out of the range and rose to 21.4%, the highest in the data. The ECB’s holdings of euro-denominated assets that it acquired as part of its QE are not included in the euro-denominated foreign exchange reserves. The rest of the reserve currencies are also-rans – the spaghetti at the bottom in the chart below. This includes the Chinese renminbi, the bold red line at the bottom:

The renminbi’s share is still only 2.25%, despite the magnitude and global influence of China’s economy, and despite the hype when the IMF elevated the renminbi to an official global reserve currency in October 2016 by including it in the basket of currencies that back the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). But the renminbi’s share has been creeping up ever so slowly. At the rate it has been gaining momentum over the past two years (+0.36 percentage points in two years), it would take the renminbi another 50 years or so to reach a share of 25%. Clearly, other central banks are still leery of the renminbi and its implications, and are not eager to dump their dollars all at once in exchange for renminbi; easy does it.


To see what’s going on with the spaghetti at the bottom of the above chart, I magnified the scale and limited it to the range of 0% to 6%. This takes the dollar and the euro out of the picture, and allows for a detailed look of the other reserve currencies. What sticks out is the surge of the yen, the third largest reserve currency. This includes a 2.0-percentage point gain since Q4 2016, which blew away the 1.15-percentage point gain over the same period by the renminbi. With regards to the yen, the renminbi is losing ground.Despite Brexit and all the scary hoopla around it, the pound sterling (GBP), the fourth largest reserve currency, has not given up any share.

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“I was banking committee for all those years, I couldn’t even go to the Open Market Committee meeting. There was no way that would be permissible..”

Ron Paul: Gold and Bitcoin Are At Risk Of Government Crackdown (Kitco)

The best way to protect against economic turbulence is with hard assets like precious metals and real estate, but even these are under threat from the government, said former Congressman and host of The Liberty Report, Ron Paul. “The government is a threat,” Paul said. “They will crackdown because they have the ability to do it. We had a taste of [a free society]. If you don’t know where to start, just start with the Constitution, that might give you an idea of what a free society is all about.” Paul noted that this “crackdown” could take the form of taxes. On President Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill, Paul said that its outcome would be “worse than average.”

“Most likely it will do what those kinds of programs always do, they spend a lot of money, they’re inefficient, they always cost more than they thought they should. Besides, it’s built on some mystical belief that you shouldn’t have any concern about the deficit…everybody’s just in a dream,” he said. During Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress last week, Republican Senator John Neely Kennedy from Louisiana questioned whether or not the central banks around the world are still “independent” entities, or if they’ve already become intertwined with politics. Paul commented that “independence” was never the objective of central banks to begin with.

“This whole idea of independence…I just don’t believe they’re interested in secrecy because I don’t think of the Treasury or the Federal Reserve and the fiscal people in Congress as really representing a whole lot. I think about the people in the shadow government, in the Deep State, because there’s people pulling strings that have a lot of power and clout. I was banking committee for all those years, I couldn’t even go to the Open Market Committee meeting. There was no way that would be permissible,” he said.

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Virtue signalling in overdrive.

Journalists Are “Centering” Their “Trauma” To Acquire Power (Tracey)

On March 28, Washington Post journalist Felicia Somnez posted a Twitter thread describing the intense trauma she said she’d endured over the past year. An editorial policy imposed by the paper’s management had greatly exacerbated this trauma, she alleged, causing her to burst into tears during a recent therapy session and frequently lapse into spells of “vacant staring.” Somnez, a Harvard graduate in her 30s who holds one of the most prestigious journalism jobs in the country, spoke of being “silenced” by her editors, which in turn kicked her “trauma response” into overdrive and worsened her condition further. She declared that the new crop of young journalists now beginning at the Post “deserve better” than how she’d been treated, particularly on account of their being so “diverse, talented and relentless in their fight for equity.”

If any of these buzzwords and/or phrases sound familiar, it’s because their usage now dependably instigates a swift capitulatory reaction from the people who run legacy media institutions. The editorial policy adjustment that Somnez had demanded be effectuated did in fact get effectuated, within a matter of hours. Her elaborately confessional Twitter thread — a well-worn tactic by this point — worked fantastically. Whatever the merits of the proposed policy adjustment at issue (and she may well have been on sound footing in demanding it), no one can dispute that her chosen self-advocacy approach achieved what she set out to achieve. Because increasingly, as this episode once again demonstrated, the key to coaxing stodgy old editors into acquiescence is to publicly “call them out” using a now-familiar punchy, emotionally inflammatory rhetorical style.

We can just take Somnez at her word and grant that this professional adult journalist genuinely did undergo the debilitating trauma she described, vacant staring spells and all. It’s impossible to judge the precise veracity of these trauma-related claims anyway, given how inextricable they are with the interior mental state of the individual in question. So we’ll have to just accept that Somnez being “attacked online,” as she put it, really did result in the kind of extraordinary psychological turmoil she says she experienced. What can be judged, however — and what has to be judged given its rapidly increasing prominence in public life — is the wider impact of the rhetorical style used so adroitly by Somnez. Because it very clearly gets results. Call it therapeutic trauma jargon.

Read more …

 

 

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Engineered food

 

 

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Mar 312021
 
 March 31, 2021  Posted by at 8:53 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  65 Responses »


Pablo Picasso The old fisherman 1895

 

Amazon’s Twitter Army Was Handpicked For “Great Sense Of Humor” (IC)
Twitter Censors Famed Epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff (AIER)
The Fourth Surge Is Upon Us. This Time, It’s Different. (Atl.)
It’s Time To Talk About Ivermectin (NC)
The “Unvaccinated” Question (CJ Hopkins)
In Germany, AstraZeneca Vaccine Only For People Over 60 After 9 Deaths (RT)
‘Concerns’ Over Lack Of Data In WHO Report on Covid-19 Origins (RT)
Tanzania’s Late President Magufuli: ‘Science Denier’ or Threat to Empire? (UH)
New Minimum Wage Legislation: Millions Of Europeans Will Earn More (AD)
A Fourth Stimulus Check? Momentum Grows For Recurring Payments (Fox32)
Biden To Unveil $2 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal (Hill)
Many Capitol Rioters Unlikely To Serve Jail Time (Pol.)
Matt Gaetz Claims Former DOJ Lawyer Was Extorting Him (CTH)

 

 

Wall-E after Ever Given

 

 

Collateral Crucifixion. See video at the bottom of this post.

 

 

Lacy Hunt

 

 

An army to protect Bezos.

Amazon’s Twitter Army Was Handpicked For “Great Sense Of Humor” (IC)

Amazon’s small twitter army of “ambassadors” was quietly conceived in 2018 under the codename “Veritas,” which sought to train and dispatch select employees to the social media trenches to defend Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, according to an internal description of the program obtained exclusively by The Intercept. Amazon ambassadors drew attention this week as they responded to a wave of online criticism for the company’s treatment of workers amid a union drive at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. Anticipating criticisms of worker conditions at their fulfillment centers in particular, Amazon designed Veritas to train fulfillment center workers chosen for their “great sense of humor” to confront critics — including policymakers — on Twitter in a “blunt” manner.

The document, produced as part of the pilot program in 2018 and marked “Amazon.com Confidential,” also includes examples of how its ambassadors can snarkily respond to criticisms of the company and its CEO. Several examples involve Sen. Bernie Sanders, a longtime critic of the $1 trillion firm who has been targeted by it in recent days. It also provides examples of how to defend Bezos. “To address speculation and false assertions in social media and online forums about the quality of the FC [Fulfillment Center] associate experience, we are creating a new social team staffed with active, tenured FC employees, who will be empowered to respond in a polite—but blunt—way to every untruth,” the project description reads. “FC Ambassadors (‘FCA’) will respond to all posts and comments from customers, influencers (including policymakers), and media questioning the FC associate experience.”

Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, said via email: “FC Ambassadors are employees who work in our fulfillment centers and choose to share their personal experience — the FC ambassador program helps show what it’s actually like inside our fulfillment centers, along with the public tours we provide.” In 2018, Amazon admitted that the ambassadors were employees paid to “honestly share the facts” about what working in its fulfillment centers is like. Many Twitter users had at first believed the ambassadors were automated “bot” accounts due to the nearly identical format of their account bios, all of which feature the Amazon smile logo and begin with the handle “@AmazonFC.” But that format was specifically mandated by Amazon, The Intercept’s document shows. “We could also add an emoji to the username to give personality, for example a small box emoji,” the document suggests.

Read more …

And Amazon is not alone: this is what the Twitter “Great Sense Of Humor” army does.

Twitter Censors Famed Epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff (AIER)

We’ve been witness to Twitter censorship for more than a year, beginning with obviously objectionable extremists then gradually moving to silence people based on merely having an opinion that contradicts lockdown orthodoxy. There have been days when I wondered whether I would cross the invisible line and even whether AIER would itself be silenced. Stanford public health expert Scott Atlas has been censored, and Naomi Wolf, visiting senior fellow at AIER, was put in Twitter jail for a week for landing on the wrong side of the high priests of allowable content. Well, a new line has been crossed. Harvard Professor Martin Kulldorff and co-creator of the Great Barrington Declaration, one of the most cited epidemiologists and infectious -disease experts in the world (latest count of citations: 25,290) has been censored by Twitter. His tweet on how not everyone needs a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 was not taken down. He had a warning slapped on it and users have been prevented from liking or retweeting the post.

Keep in mind, too, that Dr. Kulldorff serves on the Covid-19 vaccine safety subgroup that the CDC, NIH, and FDA rely upon for technical expertise on this very subject..

So here we have some geeks at Twitter curating science, in areas totally outside the specialization of web nerds, in a way that skews public understanding of the scientific debate. Dr. Kulldorff’s censorship directly coincides with Anthony Fauci making a political push to retain social distancing and mask restrictions and forced separation for children until they are vaccinated. He was all over Sunday TV shows doing that. This attempt to silence accredited experts completely distorts the process of scientific inquiry, discovery, and public opinion. And to what end? Twitter has generally been biased in a lockdown direction. If you want to be cynical about it, you could observe that everyone who works there can get by on laptops and houseshoes for the duration.


Its stock price has more than doubled in the course of lockdowns and user engagement has risen dramatically. It would appear that with this latest act of censorship – we are not talking about political extremism or anything else that violates normal terms of use – we have entered into a new realm. Twitter is now curating the scientific debate in ways that exclude alternative points of view, particularly those that raise doubts about the need for universalized vaccines and vaccine passports. To be sure, Dr. Kulldorff is not an anti-vaxxer (why should I have to say that?) but instead has a nuanced position in light of his professional understanding of the demographics of risk of this virus.

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Zeynep Tufekci with an unabashed promo piece on vaccines. She says 100 million Americans may have been infected, and therefore developed the same antibodies a vaccination might provide, but let’s inject them all regardless.

The Fourth Surge Is Upon Us. This Time, It’s Different. (Atl.)

the United States has had one of the largest outbreaks in the world. This has caused us immense suffering and loss, but it also means that we are now less vulnerable to future waves. So far, 30 million people in the United States have had a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, although the real (unmeasured) number is perhaps as high as 100 million. As expected, those people retain some level of immunity for a substantial amount of time. It’s hard to know exactly how long, because the virus is so new, but for SARS (the related coronavirus that almost sparked a pandemic in 2003), people who were infected retained an antibody response, and thus protection, for an average of two years. Though amazingly, the vaccines appear to provide better immunity than natural infection, those previously infected also gain defenses.

Carefully done studies on large populations show a very low rate of reinfection for this coronavirus: less than 1 percent. Plus, many documented reinfections tend to be mild or asymptomatic, an unsurprising outcome given that in these cases the virus is no longer totally novel for the immune system, and thus not as catastrophic in its consequences. It’s pretty clear that large numbers of people in the U.S. already are, or will soon be, protected from COVID-19’s more severe outcomes, such as death and hospitalization, which the vaccines reduce so close to zero that clinical trials have reported hardly any such cases. And it gets better: Yesterday, the CDC released real-life data showing that, just two weeks after even a single dose, the two mRNA vaccines were 80 percent effective in preventing infection. The effectiveness rose to 90 percent after the second, booster dose.

People in the study were routinely tested regardless of whether they had symptoms, so we know that vaccines prevented not just symptomatic illness—the vaccine-efficacy rate reported in the trials—but any infection. People who are not infected by a virus cannot transmit it at all, and even people who have a breakthrough case despite vaccination have been shown to have lower viral loads compared with unvaccinated people, and so are likely much less contagious. All of this doesn’t mean that there will be zero deaths or illnesses among the vaccinated. The elderly, who tend to have weaker immune systems, are especially prone to having vaccines fail. In nursing homes, even the common cold can cause deadly outbreaks. But for the vaccinated, the risk from COVID-19 clearly has become comparable to “baseline risk”—it’s not zero, but just like the risks presented by the flu and other viruses, it’s not something for which most of us would put our lives on hold.

How do we square all this good news with what happened during a White House briefing yesterday, when CDC Director Rochelle Walensky interrupted the flow, saying, “I’m going to lose the script,” and talked of “the recurring feeling I have of impending doom.” She was visibly emotional and her voice cracked as she said was “scared,” and pleaded with Americans to “hold on a little longer.” I can’t read her mind, but if I were Walensky, I’d be scared because those who are not protected through vaccination or past infection are still at grave risk, a fact that may be overshadowed by all the good news. Even as our vaccines continue to work very well against it, the particular variant we’re facing in this surge is both more transmissible and more deadly for the unvaccinated.

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Has been for a long time.

It’s Time To Talk About Ivermectin (NC)

On December 29th of last year, Mexico’s Institute of Socal Security (IMSS) allowed ivermectin to be prescribed to outpatients with Covid. On the same day the Secretariat of Health of Mexico City and the State of Mexico decided to adopt a protocol in which anyone testing positive at any one of the city’s 250 rapid testing sites would be given ivermectin. As you can see in the graphs below, courtesy of Juan Chamie, a data scientist from EAFIT University in Colombia, based on data provided by Mexico City authorities, the number of hospitalizations due to Covid and excess deaths peaked shortly after the New Year and have been falling sharply ever since. They are now almost back to their prior base line.


Mexico City is the first major global city to adopt what amounts to a test-and-treat approach to covid-19 involving ivermectin. But it was the largely indigenous southern state of Chiapas that led the way last summer. In July 2020, as Mexico was buckling under its first wave of the pandemic, the state decided to distribute ivermectin as a Covid-19 treatment, having already deployed the medicine in its battle against mosquito-borne RNA viruses such as Zika and Chikungunya. Since October Chiapas has consistently occupied the lowest risk level on the federal government’s coronavirus stoplight map. Thanks to ivermectin’s apparent success in Chiapas, IMSS allowed the medicine to be prescribed nationwide. It also helped launch the pilot program in Mexico City, for which it received a barrage of criticism.

An official group of health experts argued that there’s no scientific evidence that the drug is effective, and called for the immediate repeal of its use. To their credit, both the Secretariat and IMSS have stuck to their guns. Of course, there’s no way of definitively proving that the rapid falloff in hospitalizations and deaths, first in Chiapas and then Mexico City, is due to the use of ivermectin. Correlation, as we well know, is not causation. It’s also true that Mexico City authorities have introduced tougher social distancing measures and travel restrictions since December. But similar dramatic drop offs have been witnessed in other regions and countries where ivermectin has been used widely, including across the length and breadth of Peru and Iran as well as parts of Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic and India.

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“You can positive-PCR-test a pawpaw fruit … but you might want to be careful who you tell if you do that.”

The “Unvaccinated” Question (CJ Hopkins)

Here in Germany, the government is considering banning us from working outside our homes. We are already banned from flying on commercial airlines. (We can still use the trains, if we dress up like New Normals.) In the village of Potsdam, just down the road from Wannsee (which name you might recall from your 20th-Century history lessons), we are banned from entering shops and restaurants. (I’m not sure whether we can still use the sidewalks, or whether we have to walk in the gutters.) In Saxony, we are forbidden from attending schools. At the Berliner Ensemble (the theater founded by Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel, lifelong opponents of totalitarianism and fascism), we are banned from attending New Normal performances.

In the USA, we are being banned by universities. Our children are being banned from public schools. In New York, the new “Excelsior Pass” will allow New Normals to attend cultural and sports events (and patronize bars and restaurants, eventually) secure in the knowledge that the Unvaccinated have been prevented from entering or segregated in an “Unvaccinated Only” section. The pass system, designed by IBM, which, if history is any guide, is pretty good at designing such systems (OK, technically, it was Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft, IBM’s Nazi-Germany subsidiary), was launched this past weekend to considerable fanfare. And this is only the very beginning. Israel’s “Green Pass” is the model for the future, which makes sense, in a sick, fascistic kind of way. When you’re already an apartheid state, what’s a little more apartheid?

OK, I know what the New Normals are thinking. They’re thinking I’m “misleading” people again. That I’m exaggerating. That this isn’t really segregation, and certainly nothing like “medical apartheid.” After all (as the New Normals will sternly remind me), no one is forcing us to get “vaccinated.” If we choose not to, or can’t for medical reasons, all we have to do is submit to a “test” — you know, the one where they ram that 9-inch swab up into your sinus cavities — within 24 hours before we want to go out to dinner, or attend the theater or a sports event, or visit a museum, or attend a university, or take our children to school or a playground, and our test results will serve as our “vaccine passports!” We just present them to the appropriate Covid Compliance Officer, and (assuming the results are negative, of course) we will be allowed to take part in New Normal society just as if we’d been “vaccinated.”

Either way, “vaccine” or “test,” the New Normal officials will be satisfied, because the tests and passes are really just stage props. The point is the display of mindless obedience. Even if you take the New Normals at their word, if you are under 65 and in relatively good health, getting “vaccinated” is more or less pointless, except as a public display of compliance and belief in the official Covid-19 narrative (the foundation stone of the New Normal ideology). Even the high priests of their “Science” confess that it doesn’t prevent you spreading the “plague.” And the PCR tests are virtually meaningless, as even the WHO finally admitted. (You can positive-PCR-test a pawpaw fruit … but you might want to be careful who you tell if you do that.)

Read more …

Canada: under 55. Germany: under 60. How many people will now say: thanks, but no, thank you?

In Germany, AstraZeneca Vaccine Only For People Over 60 After 9 Deaths (RT)

Germany has restricted the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine as a precautionary measure amid reports the jab is being linked to more cases of suspected adverse effects, some resulting in death. The country’s Standing Vaccination Commission recommended on Tuesday that AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria only be given to men and women over the age of 60, or in exceptional cases. The decision was made due to “available, albeit limited, evidence” concerning the drug’s safety. The commission announced its recommendation hours after the city of Berlin introduced an identical policy. Earlier, two state-owned clinics in the city halted AstraZeneca shots for women under 55 years of age. Munich followed suit with its own rule banning the shot for people under 60.

Health Minister Jens Spahn was scheduled to speak with regional counterparts about the AstraZeneca drug later on Tuesday, a ministry spokesperson announced. Germany had suspended emergency use of the AstraZeneca shot earlier this month, but then lifted the temporary ban after EU regulators deemed it to be safe. The latest restrictions placed on the drug come after Germany’s vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, disclosed that as of March 29, the country has recorded 31 cases of cerebral sinus vein thrombosis (CSVT), nine of which resulted in death, after people were given the Vaxzevria injection. CSVT is a rare form of blood clot that forms in the brain.

Of the 31 cases of CSVT, all except two involved women between the ages of 20 and 63. Before the new guidelines were issued in Berlin, a district in North Rhine-Westphalia state suspended shots for women under 55 after two women suffered from blood clots. Nearly 2.7 million first doses of Vaxzevria have been administered in Germany. According to official figures, women under the age of 70 make up two-thirds of those vaccinated with the AstraZeneca drug. It’s believed that more women than men have received the shot because nurses were among the first group in Germany to take the jab.

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“Two months earlier, the WHO chief praised China’s response to the pandemic..”

‘Concerns’ Over Lack Of Data In WHO Report on Covid-19 Origins (RT)

Fourteen countries including the US and UK have expressed “concerns” over a new report into the origins of Covid-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO) after the agency’s own chief also highlighted data-access issues. “It is equally essential that we voice our shared concerns that the international expert study on the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples,” a joint statement from the nations read. The signatories included the governments of Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, South Korea, Slovenia, the UK and US. The statement also called for a further analysis of the outbreak of Covid-19 that is “transparent”,”free from interference” and “unimpeded.”

A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China had “offered necessary facilitation for the team’s work”, and warned against “politicizing” efforts to identify the origins of Covid-19. The joint statement echoes comments made by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said that the UN health agency’s scientists had trouble “accessing raw data” while in China. “I expect future collaborative studies to include more timely and comprehensive data sharing,” he said during a news briefing on Tuesday, adding he did not believe the report was “extensive enough.” Two months earlier, the WHO chief praised China’s response to the pandemic, adding that President Xi Jinping had “encouraged and impressed” him with his knowledge of the coronavirus.

The 120-page WHO report was published on Tuesday after a team of international scientists visited the Chinese city of Wuhan between January 14 and February 10, 2021. The scientists visited the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, where the virus is believed to have spread from. The team did not find the source of Covid-19, but their report effectively ruled out its origin from a laboratory accident, saying it was “extremely unlikely,” while the virus’s introduction through frozen food chains was considered “possible.”

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Jeremy Loffredo and Whitney Webb on a virtually unknown Covid story.

Tanzania’s Late President Magufuli: ‘Science Denier’ or Threat to Empire? (UH)

Less than 2 weeks ago, Tanzanian Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan delivered the news that her country’s president, John Pombe Magufuli, had died of heart failure. President Magufuli had been described as missing since the end of February, with several anti-government parties circulating stories that he had fallen ill with COVID-19. During his presidency, Magufuli had consistently challenged neocolonialism in Tanzania, whether it manifested through the exploitation of his country’s natural resources by predatory multinationals or the West’s influence over his country’s food supply. In the months leading up to his death, Magufuli had become better known and particularly demonized in the West for opposing the authority of international organizations like the WHO in determining his government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

However, Magufuli had spurned many of the same interests and organizations angered by his response to COVID for years, having kicked out Bill Gates-funded trials of genetically-modified crops and more recently angering some of the most powerful mining companies in the West, companies with ties to the World Economic Forum and the Forum’s efforts to guide the course of the 4th industrial revolution. Indeed, more threatening than his recent COVID controversies was the threat Magufuli posed to foreign control over the world’s largest, ready-to-develop nickel deposit, a metal essential to electric car batteries and thus the current effort to usher in an electric, autonomous vehicle revolution. For instance, just a month before he disappeared, Magufuli had signed an agreement to begin developing that nickel deposit, a deposit that had been previously co-owned by Barrick Gold and Glencore, the commodity giant deeply tied to Israel’s Mossad, until Magufuli revoked their licenses for the project in 2018.

Running afoul of the most powerful corporate and banking cartels followed then by the mysterious onset of sudden regime change would normally garner considerable coverage from anti-imperialist independent media outlets, which recently covered similar events in Bolivia that led to the removal of Evo Morales from power. However, the very outlets that have extensively covered Western-backed regime change efforts for years have been entirely silent on the very convenient death of Magufuli. Presumably, their silence is related to Magufuli’s flouting of COVID-19 narrative orthodoxy, as these same outlets have largely promoted the official narrative of the pandemic.

[..] In contrast to Magufuli, who routinely stood up to predatory corporations and imperialist designs on his country, Samia Suhulhu and Tanzanian opposition politician Tundu Lissu are poised to offer up their country’s resources, and their population, on the altar of the Western elite-driven 4th industrial revolution.

Read more …

Google translate. It’s not just the US. “..minimum hourly wage to 14 euros. Now that is 9.72 euros (40-hour working week) or 10.80 euros (for 36 hours)”

New Minimum Wage Legislation: Millions Of Europeans Will Earn More (AD)

At least 24 million employees in 25 of the 27 EU member states will earn more in one punch in two years at the latest. That’s because all of Europe will have a decent minimum wage by then. The two largest groups in Europe, of Christian and Social Democrats, have reached an agreement on this, which they are sending to the rest of the European Parliament today. The Member States, led by the Portuguese socialist António Costa, are also in a hurry. Prime Minister Costa wants to align the member states before handing over his presidency to his Slovenian colleague, the conservative Janez Jansa, on 1 July. The two Parliament rapporteurs, Agnes Jongerius (PvdA) and her German colleague Dennis Radtke (EPP), assume a minimum wage that meets a double threshold across Europe: at least 60 percent of the median (half is lower, half higher) and 50 percent of the average wage.

For the Netherlands, according to Jongerius, this means an increase of the minimum hourly wage to 14 euros. Now that is 9.72 euros (40-hour working week) or 10.80 euros (for 36 hours). The intervention must end a period of thirty years in which the minimum wage has only deteriorated. “Costa has already shown after the banking crisis that the economy will benefit if you increase the minimum wage,” says Jongerius. “Greece went the other way under pressure from Europe and only got extra misery.” She wants a minimum wage “of which you can normally support your family with the occasional extra: a laptop for the children or a vacation”. But we are still a long way from that.

In at least nine Member States, minimum wages fall through the poverty threshold, in many more Member States entire groups are excluded. Jongerius: ,, Corona has made that even worse, especially in low-paid sectors such as retail and tourism. The youths who kept running for us in supermarkets were grossly underpaid. “”

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“The measure could include as much as $3 trillion in new taxes and $4 trillion in new spending.”

A Fourth Stimulus Check? Momentum Grows For Recurring Payments (Fox32)

A growing number of Democrats are calling on President Joe Biden to send recurring stimulus checks for low-income Americans as part of his sweeping infrastructure package, arguing the cash payments are necessary until the U.S. economy fully recovers from the pandemic. In a Tuesday letter addressed to the president, 21 senators – led by Ron Wyden of Oregon – asked the administration to automatically extend unemployment insurance benefits and send recurring direct checks that would be tied to certain economic conditions. Text of the letter first emerged at the beginning of March, but the lawmakers waited until they had received additional support to officially send it to the White House.

In the span of one month, the coalition secured the backing of another 11 Democrats, including Sen. Majority Whip Dick Durbin and moderates like Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Jack Reed, D-R.I. “This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” the lawmakers wrote. “Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions.” The senators did not mention many specifics, including the size and frequency of the payments, the income eligibility level for recipients or the economic conditions that would cause the federal government to cut off the money.

The proposal garnered the support of Democrats across the ideological spectrum, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. The expanded financial assistance would be part of Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan, a wide-ranging plan that aims to make massive investments in infrastructure, revive domestic manufacturing and combat climate change, among other issues. Biden is planning to unveil details of the first part of the package on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, including how he intends to pay for it. The measure could include as much as $3 trillion in new taxes and $4 trillion in new spending.

The senators are pairing their request with a grassroots push from the left-leaning Progressive Change Institute and Economic Security Project, which is calling on other lawmakers to sign the proposal. “These 21 senators have joined the overwhelming majority of the American people in calling for more checks,” Greg Nasif, a spokesperson with Humanity Forward, said in a statement to FOX Business. “This is about more than giving families the support they need. This is about protecting our economy and securing an equitable future.”

Read more …

Only $2 trillion?

Biden To Unveil $2 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal (Hill)

President Biden will unveil a $2 trillion infrastructure package on Wednesday as he prepares to pitch his next big-ticket agenda item. Details of the forthcoming plans were shared with lawmakers during a conference call with White House staff on Tuesday. The plan will be funded by raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from the current level of 21 percent as well as creating a global tax on corporate earnings, a source familiar with the call confirmed to The Hill. Biden will travel to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to formally unveil the plan, which is expected to include funding for roads, bridges and broadband, as well addressing manufacturing, among other things. The plan is part of a larger two-part package.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told Fox News Tuesday that Biden will unveil the second part, which will deal with child care and health care, in April. “What the American people will hear from him this week is that part of his plan — the first step of his plan towards recovery — which will include an investment in infrastructure. We shouldn’t be 13th in the world; I don’t think anyone believes that [of] the wealthiest, most innovative country in the world,” Psaki said. Though infrastructure attracts broad bipartisan support, Republicans are likely to balk at raising corporate taxes to pay for a plan. Democrats have said they want the final product to be bipartisan, but have acknowledged that they are likely to have to go it alone through reconciliation, a budget process that allows certain bills to bypass the 60-vote filibuster in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is exploring if Democrats could use the Congressional Budget Act to pass at least three bills under reconciliation, instead of the two Democrats expect to be limited to. They’ve already used one of their opportunities to pass the $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan. Schumer’s staff recently made a case to the Senate parliamentarian that they could use Section 304 of the Congressional Budget Act, which green lights the use of reconciliation, to tee up passing at least a third bill this year by a simple majority, an aide for the New York Democrat confirmed on Monday. “Schumer wants to maximize his options to allow Senate Democrats multiple pathways to advance President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda if Senate Republicans try to obstruct or water down a bipartisan agreement,” the majority leader’s aide said.

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“..as long as the people who are trying to express their view do not engage in violence, misdemeanors may be more appropriate than felonies.”

Many Capitol Rioters Unlikely To Serve Jail Time (Pol.)

Americans outraged by the storming of Capitol Hill are in for a jarring reality check: Many of those who invaded the halls of Congress on Jan. 6 are likely to get little or no jail time. While public and media attention in recent weeks has been focused on high-profile conspiracy cases against right-wing, paramilitary groups like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, the most urgent decisions for prosecutors involve resolving scores of lower-level cases that have clogged D.C.’s federal district court. A POLITICO analysis of the Capitol riot-related cases shows that almost a quarter of the more than 230 defendants formally and publicly charged so far face only misdemeanors. Dozens of those arrested are awaiting formal charges, even as new cases are being unsealed nearly every day.

In recent days, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys have all indicated that they expect few of these “MAGA tourists” to face harsh sentences. There are two main reasons: Although prosecutors have loaded up their charging documents with language about the existential threat of the insurrection to the republic, the actions of many of the individual rioters often boiled down to trespassing. And judges have wrestled with how aggressively to lump those cases in with those of the more sinister suspects. “My bet is a lot of these cases will get resolved and probably without prison time or jail time,” said Erica Hashimoto, a former federal public defender who is now a law professor at Georgetown.

“One of the core values of this country is that we can protest if we disagree with our government. Of course, some protests involve criminal acts, but as long as the people who are trying to express their view do not engage in violence, misdemeanors may be more appropriate than felonies.” The prospect of dozens of Jan. 6 rioters cutting deals for minor sentences could be hard to explain for the Biden administration, which has characterized the Capitol Hill mob as a uniquely dangerous threat. Before assuming office, Biden said the rioters’ attempt to overturn the election results by force “borders on sedition”; Attorney General Merrick Garland has called the prosecutions his top early priority, describing the storming of Congress as “a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.”

Read more …

What an insane story.

Matt Gaetz Claims Former DOJ Lawyer Was Extorting Him (CTH)

Two people inside the DOJ leaked a story about Matt Gaetz (R-FL) being under DOJ/FBI investigation to the New York Times. The essential elements of the article are that Gaetz had a relationship with a 17-year-old woman, and paid for her to travel; ergo the DOJ/FBI is investigating “sex trafficking.” Presumably AG Bill Barr opened the investigation. However, Matt Gaetz vehemently denies everything about the claims, and instead says the FBI and DOJ were recently conducting a sting operation -with his cooperation- against a former DOJ lawyer named David McGee who was extorting Gaetz for $25 million. According to Gaetz his father was contacted by McGee in March of this year and told he would release the details of a relationship with the woman if Gaetz did not pay $25 million.


Gaetz contacted the FBI, and his father wore a wire in his conversation with McGee where the FBI were recording the extortion attempt. Now that someone has leaked the erroneous background of the investigation to the New York Times, Gaetz is demanding the DOJ release the tapes of the extortion attempt. Tonight Matt Gaetz appeared on Tucker Carlson to discuss the details of the situation. Apparently there was an FBI sting operation underway which included a payment tomorrow. The New York Times article tipped-off McGee to the sting. Congressman Gaetz denies any wrongdoing, legal or otherwise, and denies paying for a minor to cross state lines to meet him. When Carlson asked Gaetz who was the former DOJ official attempting extortion, Gaetz named David McGee, a former DOJ lawyer currently working for Beggs and Lane lawfirm.

Read more …

 

 

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Collateral Crucifixion

 

 

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Mar 082021
 
 March 8, 2021  Posted by at 10:06 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  27 Responses »


Grete Stern Sueño No. 27: No destiñe con el agua 1951

 

CDC: Face Masks Have Negligible Impact On Coronavirus Numbers (OAN)
Stay-at-Home Policy Is A Case Of Exception Fallacy (Nature)
World On Brink Of Fourth Wave Of Coronavirus (Hill)
Dutch Virologist Asks Cabinet For More Guts: “Open Terraces And Gyms” (P.)
Pressure To Reopen Greek Society Mounts As Virus Holds (K.)
Leaving UK Now Requires A ‘Special Validation To Travel’ (Calder)
Swiss Voters Support ‘Burqa Ban’ (RT)
Biden’s Historic Victory For America – No Thanks To GOP (CNN)
5 Women Now Accuse Cuomo Of Inappropriate Behavior (NYP)
New York State Senate’s Top Democrat Calls On Cuomo To Resign (F.)
Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal May Trigger Domino Effect (Sp.)
Approaching Zero Velocity! (CI)
Forget $15 an Hour — the Minimum Wage Should Be $24 (IC)

 

 

Something I’ve noted a few times: the changing definition of herd immunity. Pretty blatant.

 

 

 

The report is here. Sometimes I feel these reports are written with the express intent to confuse. Entirely different conclusions of course ensue.

CDC: Face Masks Have Negligible Impact On Coronavirus Numbers (OAN)

The CDC has admitted face masks do little to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amid mounting pressure to lift mask mandates across the U.S. In a new study, the CDC found face masks had a negligible impact on coronavirus numbers that didn’t exceed statistical margins of error. The study found that between March and December 2020, face mask orders reduced infection rates by 1.5 percent over the rolling periods of two months each. The masks were 0.5 percent effective in the first 20 days of the mandates and less than 2 percent effective after 100 days. The CDC added it still recommends wearing face masks, although it admitted such mandates do not make any statistical difference. In the meantime, some states across the nation have slowly returned to normalcy by putting an end to mask mandates.

Read more …

Nature, not the least, also has some questions.

Stay-at-Home Policy Is A Case Of Exception Fallacy (Nature)

A recent mathematical model has suggested that staying at home did not play a dominant role in reducing COVID-19 transmission. The second wave of cases in Europe, in regions that were considered as COVID-19 controlled, may raise some concerns. Our objective was to assess the association between staying at home (%) and the reduction/increase in the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in several regions in the world. In this ecological study, data from www.google.com/covid19/mobility/, ourworldindata.org and covid.saude.gov.br were combined. Countries with >100 deaths and with a Healthcare Access and Quality Index of ≥ 67 were included.


Data were preprocessed and analyzed using the difference between number of deaths/million between 2 regions and the difference between the percentage of staying at home. The analysis was performed using linear regression with special attention to residual analysis. After preprocessing the data, 87 regions around the world were included, yielding 3741 pairwise comparisons for linear regression analysis. Only 63 (1.6%) comparisons were significant. With our results, we were not able to explain if COVID-19 mortality is reduced by staying at home in ~98% of the comparisons after epidemiological weeks 9 to 34.

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But the WHO stays the panic course.

World On Brink Of Fourth Wave Of Coronavirus (Hill)

A year after the frightening beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the world stands on the brink of a fourth wave of infection as nations race to vaccinate their populations and stave off a new surge in hospitalizations and deaths. Total reported cases rose across the globe in the last week of February after six weeks of decline, driven in part by new, more virulent variants that transmit between people at startlingly higher rates than the initial strains out of Wuhan, China, and northern Italy. “This is disappointing, but not surprising,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters last week. “This is a global crisis that requires a consistent and coordinated global response.”

The United States recorded about 66,000 new cases a day over the last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), down 73 percent from the apex reached in early January and similar to levels of transmission from October. But the precipitous decline of late January and early February has plateaued in recent days, raising fears that a new wave is just around the corner. “We could not have made a more wonderful environment for this virus to take off than we have right now,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Prevention at the University of Minnesota. “We are not driving this tiger, we’re riding it. And the first time we may be able to drive it is with widespread use of the vaccine, and we’re not there yet.”

A total of 107 million doses of the three vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration have been shipped to states across the nation, according to CDC data. About 53 million people have received at least one dose, 16 percent of the population, while 27 million have received two doses. The first doses of the one-shot vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson were administered last week. Globally, 115 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed, a quarter — 28.7 million — in the United States. The 518,000 Americans who have died represents about 20 percent of the global death toll. The latest data from the CDC shows 41,000 are still hospitalized.

[..] Some models show an increase in cases just around the corner. One model maintained by the PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia shows reproduction rates — the measure of how many people are infected by someone who has the virus — rising in three quarters of the counties surveyed. States in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest showed higher transmission rates last week. Several states have loosened restrictions on businesses and gatherings imposed over the summer, even though infections continue at higher levels today than when those mandates were initially put in place. “You’re seeing a lot of states loosening mask restrictions at a point where they’re having more cases per day than they had over the summer when they put the mask restrictions in place,” said Rich Besser, a former CDC director who now runs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “That just doesn’t make sense.”

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A heathen pagan virologist? What’s next?

Dutch Virologist Asks Cabinet For More Guts: “Open Terraces And Gyms” (P.)

Wanted: more risk, more guts with the corona approach. “Not every relaxation should be seen as a step closer to the abyss.” Louis Kroes is not alone in pushing for a less restrictive policy in the corona crisis. But within the world of virologists and epidemiologists, where the emphasis is usually on reducing the number of infections, arguments that criticize the current lockdown are not really common. Nevertheless, as professor of clinical virology (Leiden University Medical Center), Kroes sees room for relaxation. If the omens do not deceive, he will again be disappointed by the cabinet on Monday, which finds the figures in terms of infections and hospital admissions still too worrying. It confirms Kroes’s idea that a “zero-risk policy” is being pursued, in which every corona death is one too many.

“You shouldn’t look for just maximizing this security. You are also not going to stop motorized traffic because there are road deaths every year. A zero-risk policy for IC occupancy is not realistic. ” The alarming forecasts by the RIVM about the British variant of the coronavirus, which in reality has less drastic consequences, confirm in Kroes’ eyes that policymakers and their advisers always assume the worst case. Under that pressure, the Dutch are locked up at home after nine in the evening. According to Kroes, the cabinet assumes “extremely gloomy scenarios with” large margins of uncertainty “. “The simple idea is then: better safe than sorry; just assume the worst case, then it can only be better than expected. But that is also risky.

Because in addition to the group of vulnerable people at risk from the corona virus, there are also the interests of millions of Dutch people who are at risk due to the stringent corona approach. Their health suffers from passivity, for entrepreneurs income is at stake, for pupils and students their future, people become lonely. You have to take those risks into account. ” Kroes therefore believes that the margin that he believes there is for easing should be maximized. “I understand the principles of the policy. In the first wave, with the doom of ICU flooding, I found the lockdown understandable. But that extreme scenario is no longer clearly visible. That does not happen overnight either. That is no reason to go to great lengths to contain the pandemic. ”

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Greece can no longer afford the policies that failed so miserably, which they will never admit. Like all other governments. No, it’s the new variants, it’s the young people, it’s general behavior.

I think this is not an incident, but our overall approach to healthcare. We don’t encourage people to be healthy, we don’t prevent illness, we treat them only when they are already sick. Is this just a GDP thing, or does it go deeper?

Pressure To Reopen Greek Society Mounts As Virus Holds (K.)

With health officials unable at the moment to predict when the viral load in Attica and other badly affected areas will start to subside, the government is striving to chart the way forward under pressure from the heavy economic and social toll exacted by successive lockdowns. What is clear is that the ominous daily rates of hospitalizations, intubations and deaths make any plans for the resumption of retail on March 16, immediately after Clean Monday, highly unlikely. Bearing this in mind, the most optimistic scenario for the government foresees the opening of retail stores with limits to the numbers of customers per square meter by the end of the March. This scenario also provides for the opening of restaurants, but only with outdoor seating, some time in April.

What’s more, with the completion of the first round of vaccinations in May, it is hoped that it will be possible to return to some form of normalcy for the economy. Any decision taken will depend on the resilience of the national health system and not so much on the infection rate, which is growing among younger age groups and is likely to continue in the foreseeable future though it is not, however, expected to burden hospitals to a large degree. Although the current restrictive measures are not very different form the ones last March – with the exception that more economic activities are now allowed – they have failed to yield the desired results for two main reasons.

Firstly, because a sense of fatigue has set in among the public, which has also impacted inspection mechanisms. A second reason that has been postulated is that, compared to last March, fear of the coronavirus has subsided, especially among younger people. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ aides say that the rationale behind not adopting a tough general lockdown and why an attempt will be made to open retail and then catering is that the financial costs of supporting workers and businesses affected by the existing constraints are already untenable. The 2021 budget provided €7.5 billion for support measures. However, the relevant budget has already reached €11.5 billion. At the same time, only from the suspension of the operation of the retail trade, the state is losing about €1.1 to €1.2 billion per month in revenues.

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“Americans who wish to travel to North Korea are obliged to do just that.”

Leaving UK Now Requires A ‘Special Validation To Travel’ (Calder)

Imagine being told you must have a “special validation to travel”. Americans who wish to travel to North Korea are obliged to do just that. Prospective visitors, says the US State Department, must also “discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets, funeral wishes, etc” and “draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries”. That’s enough to make you lose the will to travel. Which is exactly what the UK’s home secretary had in mind when she decided to impose a special validation to travel on anyone seeking to leave the country. “There are still too many people coming in and out of our country each day,” Priti Patel told parliament in January.

UK residents are entitled to return home, making the inbound portion of that “too many” difficult to suppress – though deterrents such as the prospect of hotel quarantine are working some magic. Instead, the home secretary set about increasing controls on anyone seeking to leave the UK. She decided to impose a requirement for a “Declaration to Travel” – a very British version of that “special validation”. With just 58 hours remaining before it became a criminal offence even to turn up at an airport, railway station or ferry port without a completed form, the document was finally published. It does not involve a side order of custody of children, funeral wishes and a last will and testament – though given the increasingly draconian travel restrictions put in place by the government, I wouldn’t have put it past them.

Ms Patel calls the Declaration to Travel “a necessary step to protect the public and our world-class vaccination programme”. I call it the antithesis of the “Global Britain” for which we are expected to strive after Brexit – as well as an unnecessary and alarming extension of the government’s powers. The four UK nations share a perfectly powerful law at present: stay at home, and venture outside only if you can claim exemption such as caring, shopping for essentials, exercise or education. Heading for an airport and hoping to board a plane somewhere warmer (and possibly less in tune with North Korea) is most definitely not on the list of excuses for being out of the house.

Read more …

Brilliant. The Swiss ban face coverings just when their own laws make them mandatory.

Swiss Voters Support ‘Burqa Ban’ (RT)

Covering your face in public for non-medical reasons will become illegal in Switzerland after a proposal dubbed a “burqa ban” was accepted by a narrow margin of voters in a binding national referendum on Sunday.
Supporters of the “burqa ban” have prevailed in the Alpine country, with 51.2 percent being in favor and 48.8 percent being against, official data showed after votes were counted. In line with the Swiss system of direct democracy, the country’s constitution will now be amended to forbid face coverings in public places for all but three specific reasons. The legislation, which had been promoted by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) since 2016, did not mention Islam directly and was claimed by proponents to be aimed at preventing violent rioters from hiding their identities.


It was nonetheless dubbed the “burqa ban” by the media and politicians due to also restricting the face coverings worn by Muslim women. Back in 2009, the SVP initiated a referendum on preventing the construction of new minarets in Switzerland, and also won that vote. There are several exceptions to the “burqa ban” – it allows the covering of one’s face for security, climate, or health reasons. As such, it wouldn’t contradict the anti-coronavirus measures that oblige Swiss citizens to wear face masks in public places, on public transport, and in indoor workspaces. Muslim women would also be allowed to don burqas and niqabs in places of worship. By greenlighting the ban, Switzerland has joined France, where full-face veils in public were outlawed in 2011, and such countries as Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Bulgaria, where full or partial bans on face coverings are currently in place. Two Swiss cantons had already introduced similar restrictions on burqas some years back.

Read more …

Meanwhile, in CNN’s parallel universe, there’s apparently also a parallel president….

Biden’s Historic Victory For America – No Thanks To GOP (CNN)

President Joe Biden is on the cusp of a major legislative victory. If all goes according to plan and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is signed into law, Biden will have scored an early triumph in his presidency. The Covid-19 relief bill will provide a wide range of benefits, from direct payments to American families, money for vaccine development and distribution, small business relief, more substantial subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, a child tax credit, a higher Earned Income Tax Credit, federal funds for state and local governments and much more. Given the scale and scope of this measure, it is an accomplishment that will cement Biden’s historic role in overseeing the country’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite last minute concessions to appease moderate Democrats on Friday night, as journalist Ezra Klein tweeted, “This still looks like the most ambitious and progressive economic package Congress has passed in my lifetime. It will do more to cut poverty, and push full employment, than anything else I’ve covered.” So far, it looks like Biden has learned some important lessons on how to deal with the modern Republican Party. After Biden watched congressional Republicans obstruct the agenda of his former boss, Barack Obama, he saw Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, whose presidency was capped off with a violent insurrection against Congress, expose the radicalization of the GOP.

[..] There were certainly defeats along the way. The amendment to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 failed. On Friday night, Senate Democrats finally won over Sen. Joe Manchin — a moderate Democrat who threatened to derail the relief bill — by dropping the bid to increase unemployment benefits from $300 a week to $400. To satisfy moderate Democrats, Biden had also agreed to narrow the income eligibility for the $1400 stimulus checks, cutting off couples who earn more than $160,000 a year or individuals who earn more than $80,000 a year. But most of the package has remained intact. While Biden was certainly open to Republican support, he did not cater to their demands in the elusive hope that they would join him.

Read more …

Drip drip.

5 Women Now Accuse Cuomo Of Inappropriate Behavior (NYP)

Two more women came forward Saturday to accuse Gov. Cuomo of sexually harassing behavior, including a former press aide who describes struggling to free herself from his repeated hugs, and a young assistant who now says he left her feeling like “just a skirt.” Former press aide Karen Hinton endured a “very long, too long, too tight, too intimate” embrace from Cuomo in a dimly lit Los Angeles hotel room in December 2000, she told the Washington Post. The married Hinton pulled away, but “he pulls me back for another intimate embrace,” she told the paper. “I thought at that moment it could lead to a kiss, it could lead to other things, so I just pull away again, and I leave.” At the time, Cuomo led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A current rep for Cuomo strongly denied Hinton’s allegation to the newspaper, claiming “this did not happen.”


Hinton’s claims are made all the more startling given that her husband is lobbyist Howard Glaser, a longtime Cuomo ally and confidante who worked as his director of state operations and senior policy advisor until 2014. The other new accuser, Ana Liss, a policy and operations aide who worked for the governor from 2013 to 2015, said he’d behaved inappropriately while on the job in Albany. The governor called her “sweetheart” and asked if she had a boyfriend, Liss recalled to the Wall Street Journal. Liss said Cuomo touched her on her lower back during an event, once kissed her hand and asked her if she was dating. “It’s not appropriate, really, in any setting,” she told the newspaper. Liss is the third former state employee and fourth woman overall to accuse the governor of varying degrees of sexual harassment. Hinton brings the total of accusers to five.

Read more …

“Cuomo Says There’s ‘No Way’ He’ll Resign After Fifth Accuser Comes Forward”

New York State Senate’s Top Democrat Calls On Cuomo To Resign (F.)

The top-ranking democrats who lead New York’s State Senate and State Assembly both signaled Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) should resign following a wave of new allegations from two of the governor’s former aides. New York State Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in a statement Sunday afternoon that Cuomo “must resign” for “the good of the state,” adding: “Everyday there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government. State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D) said soon after that he shared the sentiment of Stewart-Cousins “regarding the governor’s ability to continue to lead this state.” “We have many challenges to address, and I think it is time for the governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York,” Heastie said.

These statements from the top-ranking democrats come hours after Cuomo, speaking to reporters on a phone call prompted by the new allegations from two former aides (compounding allegations from three other women over the past few weeks), reiterated that he has no plans to resign. “I’m not going to resign because of allegations,” Cuomo said during a Sunday afternoon phone presser, asking the public to wait until the New York Attorney General’s office finishes its investigation into the claims. Cuomo called the new allegations from Karen Hinton—one of the governor’s former press aides—that he called her to his hotel room and acted inappropriately toward her after a work event in 2000 “not true,” labeling Hinton a “long-time political adversary of mine.”

Responding to separate allegations from Anna Liss, another former aide, who said she felt patronized and diminished by the governor, recounting questions about her love life, Cuomo kissing her hand and touching her lower back at a reception, Cuomo said he would often engage in “friendly banter” with staff, but did not have malicious intent.

Read more …

“As a member of one of New York’s best known political dynasties, Cuomo is a protected species..”

“I personally find it difficult to imagine such a deeply entrenched political animal of the swamp variety facing any serious repercussion..”

Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal May Trigger Domino Effect (Sp.)

Andrew Cuomo has found himself in a heap of trouble over long-term care facility residents’ COVID-related deaths and sexual harassment allegations. Although Cuomo is not going to resign, his cases may have repercussions for his political future and hit Democratic governors who issued similar nursing home orders during the pandemic. On 5 March, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose time in office has recently been mired by two separate scandals, was stripped of emergency powers by the Democratic-dominated state legislature. The same day, the Democratic majority’s leader in New York’s state Senate said that the governor should resign if “any further people” come forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct.

Five women have made sexual harassment or bullying claims against Cuomo so far. NY Attorney General Letitia James has requested that the governor and his staff preserve all records that may be relevant to the sexual harassment probe. A day earlier, The New York Times broke that top members of Gov. Cuomo’s COVID-19 taskforce rewrote a report from the state’s health department to hide the real number of deaths among nursing home residents last June. The FBI and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are investigating the governor’s handling of nursing homes amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to an 18 February ABC News report. Although Cuomo has repeatedly tried to downplay both scandals, he has nevertheless hired Elkan Abramowitz, a prominent criminal defence lawyer and former federal prosecutor, to represent his office in the investigation into New York’s misreporting of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents.

Hiring a prominent criminal defence attorney is an indication that Governor Cuomo is taking the growing scandal seriously, suggests Jason Goodman, US investigative journalist and Crowdsource the Truth founder. “So far, no significant information about the probe has been revealed to the public beyond the fact that it is underway or at least being contemplated”, Goodman says. “It is difficult to say at this point what federal prosecutors may do or what determinations may be made”. Still, one needs to keep in mind that previously Andrew Cuomo served as the state’s attorney general, the secretary of housing and urban development, and campaign manager for his own father’s gubernatorial campaign, so he likely knows or has worked with many of those who would be investigating him, according to Goodman.

“I personally find it difficult to imagine such a deeply entrenched political animal of the swamp variety facing any serious repercussions”, the journalist remarks. Previously, Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst who exposed General Electric’s massive financial discrepancies in 2008, raised serious questions about Cuomo’s non-profit, Housing Enterprise for the Less Privileged, but no investigation has come about, Goodman recalls. “As a member of one of New York’s best known political dynasties, Cuomo is a protected species”, the journalist adds.

Read more …

Money ain’t moving anywhere.

Approaching Zero Velocity! (CI)

Since its creation in 1913, The Federal Reserve has helped obliterate the purchasing power of the US Dollar.

And just wait for Biden’s $1.9 trillion in government spending (the first of many) to hit the economy.


Now you can see why investors seek out gold, silver, Bitcoin and other sources of protection from The Federal Reserve.

Read more …

Inequality explained.

Forget $15 an Hour — the Minimum Wage Should Be $24 (IC)

The coronavirus pandemic relief bill passed by the House of Representatives this week would raise the federal minimum wage in steps until it reached $15 an hour in 2025. But an increase in the minimum wage has been removed from the Senate’s legislation. At least for now, it is stuck at $7.25. This is bad enough in itself, but even worse is that almost no Americans understand how low we’ve allowed our aspirations to become. Our country’s productivity gains in recent decades should have translated into a minimum wage today of $24 an hour — and by 2025, it should be almost $30. This may sound preposterous. But in fact, U.S. society was once on a path to this destination. We simply chose to step off that path.

From both a moral and practical perspective, the minimum wage should go up in step with the productivity of the U.S. economy — that is, our ever-increasing ability to create more wealth with the same amount of work. Morally, as a country grows richer, everyone should share in the increased wealth. Practically, companies that sell things need lots of people with the money to buy them. We know that this can work because it already did. During the 30 years from the establishment of a minimum wage in 1938 to 1968, Congress repeatedly upped the minimum wage so that it did in fact go up hand in hand with U.S. productivity. By the end of that period, it was worth the equivalent of $12 per hour today.

Since 1968, American productivity has substantially increased. Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, points out that if the minimum wage had gone up at the same rate, it would now be over $24. At that level, as Baker says, a couple who both worked full time at minimum-wage jobs would take home $96,000 a year. Baker also calculates that by 2025, rising productivity would bring the minimum wage close to $30 an hour. But instead we’ve gone in the other direction. After the late 1960s, Congress stopped raising the minimum wage in step with productivity. Instead, over the past 50 years, Congress has allowed the minimum wage to plummet in real terms. That is, minimum-wage workers of the past were actually paid more than minimum-wage workers make today — even though today’s workers live in a much richer society.

Indeed, since 1950, the hourly minimum wage has almost never been lower than it is now. Of course, 1950 is literally a lifetime ago, and the U.S. is now a completely different country. Our per capita GDP is now four times greater.

Read more …

 

 

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Mar 052021
 
 March 5, 2021  Posted by at 10:29 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  41 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Landscape with House and Ploughman 1889

 

Covid Vaccine Ads Aim To Influence Without Alienating People (G.)
Does Social Solidarity Only Count When It Gets Us Back To The Pub? (Cook)
eBay Bans Sale Of Some Dr. Seuss Books (DW)
WHO Inspectors ‘To Scrap Interim Report’ On Probe Of COVID Origin (AlJ)
Majority of Brits Say They Will “Miss” Some or Many Aspects of Lockdown (SN)
Capitol Police Requests National Guard Past March 12 (F.)
White House Weighs Minimum Wage Negotiations With Republicans (Pol.)
How To Stop The Manchin Presidency And Raise The Minimum Wage (DP)
Brexit: EU To Launch Legal Proceedings Against UK ‘Very Soon’ (G.)
Michael Brown’s Father, Ferguson Activists Demand $20M From BLM (NYP)
Almost A Full Year of Tomorrows (Snider)
The Appalling Death Of An Extremely Strange Genius (Taibbi)
71kg of Waste Found In Stray Indian Cow’s Stomach (Y!)
Estimated 9 Billion Already Dead From Texas Mask Mandate Reversal (BBee)

 

 

Bit of a strange news day, it seems incoherent, maybe that’s just me. What I do notice is the increasing pressure to promote vaccines, as in this:

Washington Post: The anti-vaccine movement is comparable to domestic terrorism, and must be treated that way

Pfizer not only gets governments to first fund research, then purchase billions of doses, it now also gets them to pay for their advertizing.

They’ll shame and threaten you for asking questions about untested substances, and call you anti-vaxxers.

 

 

 

 

“In a way, governments have to work on a parallel vaccine rollout – immunising the public against science denial.”

Who’s doing the denying here?

Covid Vaccine Ads Aim To Influence Without Alienating People (G.)

In England, the NHS signed up Elton John and Michael Caine for a lighthearted social media campaign aiming to convince the public that Covid vaccines are safe and effective. In Germany, a more sober public information campaign has been led by a virologist and health workers. And in France and elsewhere there have been no mass campaigns aimed at driving up vaccine acceptance. Government attempts to drive up vaccine acceptance will come under increasing scrutiny in the coming months as more jabs are made available. Public health experts say they have to walk a fine line between boosting trust and not being seen to force the jab on the public.

Germany’s campaign, called Germany Pulls Up Its Sleeves, has run across radio, regional newspapers and billboard posters. At a time when the public is being urged to stay at home and avoid commuting, the health ministry chose to spend more than half of its €25m campaign budget on outdoor advertising. A new campaign aimed at spreading confidence among younger people is due to launch when the vaccine becomes more widely available. In France there has been no major mass information campaign. Instead, the prime minister, Jean Castex, the health minister, Olivier Véran, and the country’s “Monsieur Vaccin”, Prof Alain Fischer, who is overseeing the programme, give weekly televised press conferences to update on progress and announce when different groups will be eligible for a shot.

In the US, the federal government is holding off on a nationwide push to raise awareness until vaccine supply increases, and is instead focusing its efforts on vaccine-hesitant minority communities. “When it comes to shifting attitudes to vaccines, it is crucial to distinguish between public information campaigns that seek to educate the public and those that seek to persuade them,” said Philipp Schmid, a behavioural scientist researching vaccine scepticism at the University of Erfurt. “In Germany at least, the latter would risk a backlash. But if you don’t proactively tackle the problem at all, you end up playing catch-up with the anti-vaxxers. In a way, governments have to work on a parallel vaccine rollout – immunising the public against science denial.”

Read more …

Jonathan Cook gets a bit lost in this very long piece. But he means well. And the Dr. Seuss is a great find.

Does Social Solidarity Only Count When It Gets Us Back To The Pub? (Cook)

For decades our societies have worshipped a single value with two faces: money and power. But we are suddenly being told by the very people who atomised our communities, who created an economic system of dog eat dog, who wrecked the planet with their greed – the people who made a religion of neoliberal orthodoxy – that we must trust that they have our best interests at heart during the pandemic. They cared not one whit for the common good until now. But suddenly, after many months of economic contraction, when corporations finally have a chance to make a quick buck again – either by producing and selling vaccines to desperate governments and their populations or by demanding a hurried return to business as usual through enforced vaccination programmes – the corporations and their dutiful servants in the media and political class are shocked that some of the public, those most betrayed, are indicating a lack of “trust”.

Nick Cohen offers an interesting survey result: “In Birmingham – the only city to have produced detailed statistics – just 60% of people over 80 accepted the jab in Alum Rock, a deprived and racially mixed part of the inner city, while 95% accepted it in Sutton Four Oaks, an overwhelmingly white commuter suburb.” Why would that be? Why would affluent white people whom the system has always favoured be quicker to trust a system that cared for them than the poor and ethnic minorities who have always been treated with contempt by that system? To ask the question is to answer it. Affluent liberals like Cohen understand that too. Which is why they hope to revive social controls that tightly police or censor information not to their liking, leaving them once again with exclusive rights to tell the poor and marginalised what constitutes the truth, to define for them what is in their interests.

An alien studying western societies from the heavens for the past half-century could better explain the problem than Cohen. People are being asked to trust the corporate medicine industry, the corporate media and the politicians dependent on the good will of profit-obsessed corporations to decide what is best for us, to believe that this time the corporate elite won’t take short cuts, that they won’t conceal information, that they won’t cause harm, that they won’t externalise the costs on to us, the public. That this time it will be different.

These are exactly the same corporations and their functionaries who in the past destroyed manufacturing industries that were the lifeblood of now-decimated communities; that approved the intensified militarisation of institutionally racist and corrupt police forces, turning them into domestic armies; and that are engaged in ransacking and destroying the planet on which we all depend.

Read more …

We do not ban nor burn books.

eBay still sells Mein Kampf.

eBay Bans Sale Of Some Dr. Seuss Books (DW)

On Thursday, reports surfaced that eBay, the online auction and shopping website, had blocked the sale of certain Dr. Seuss books. One eBay lister received the following response: “We had to remove your listing because it didn’t follow our Offensive material policy. Listings that promote or glorify hatred, violence, or discrimination aren’t allowed. What activity didn’t follow the policy[:] Dr. Seuss Enterprises has stopped the publication of this book due to its negative portrayal of some ethnicities. As a courtesy, we have ended your item and refunded your selling fees, and as long as you do not relist the item, there will be no negative impact to your account. Please review our Offensive Materials Policy prohibits this item for more information. What you need to do next. You can’t relist items we’ve ended. Please ensure your current and future listings follow this policy.

[..] In light of the fact that books such as “Mein Kampf” can be offered on eBay while some Dr. Seuss books are banned, it is important to examine what the company’s Offensive materials policy states: Listings that promote, perpetuate or glorify hatred, violence, or discrimination, including on the grounds of race, ethnicity, color, religion, gender or sexual orientation, aren’t allowed. This includes but is not limited to the following: • Slurs or epithets of any kind • Slavery items, including reproductions, such as tags, shackles, documents, bills of sale, etc. • Items with racist, anti-Semitic, or otherwise demeaning portrayals, for example through caricatures or other exaggerated features, including figurines, cartoons, housewares, historical advertisements, and golliwogs • Black Americana items that are discriminatory •Confederate battle flag and related items with its image • Historical Holocaust-related and Nazi-related items, including reproductions • Any item that is anti-Semitic or any item from after 1933 that bears a swastika • Media identified as Nazi propaganda • Listings that imply or promote support of, membership in, or funding of a terrorist organization

This week, Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press that the books “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer” portrayed “people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” adding, “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families.” “Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process,” the company continued. “We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles.”

Read more …

Running down the clock.

WHO Inspectors ‘To Scrap Interim Report’ On Probe Of COVID Origin (AlJ)

A World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of COVID-19 is planning to scrap an interim report on its recent mission to China amid mounting tensions between Beijing and Washington over the investigation and an appeal from one international group of scientists for a new inquiry, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. “The full report is expected in coming weeks,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told Reuters news agency. No further information was immediately available about the reasons for the delay in publishing the findings of the WHO-led mission to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first human cases of COVID-19 were detected in late 2019.

In an open letter (PDF), a group of 26 scientists called on Thursday for a new international inquiry. They claim that “structural limitations” made it “all but impossible” for the WHO mission to adequately pursue its investigation. Among other issues, the scientists questioned the scientific independence of the “Chinese citizens” composing half of the team. “We have therefore reached the conclusion that the joint team did not have the mandate, the independence, or the necessary accesses to carry out a full and unrestricted investigation into all the relevant SARS-CoV-2 origin hypotheses – whether natural spillover or laboratory/research related incident,” read the letter.

China refused to give raw data on early COVID-19 cases to a WHO-led team investigating the origins of the pandemic, Dominic Dwyer, one of the team’s investigators, said last month, potentially complicating efforts to understand how the outbreak began. The investigation had been plagued by delays, concern over access and bickering between Beijing and Washington, which accused China of hiding the extent of the initial outbreak and criticised the terms of the visit, under which Chinese experts conducted the first phase of research. The team, which arrived in China in January and spent four weeks looking into the origins of the outbreak, was limited to visits organised by their Chinese hosts and prevented from contact with community members, due to health restrictions. The first two weeks were spent in hotel quarantine.

Read more …

Doesn’t say which aspects.

Majority of Brits Say They Will “Miss” Some or Many Aspects of Lockdown (SN)

A new opinion poll in the UK finds that over half of Brits say they will miss either “some” or “many” aspects of lockdown despite the country now having been under some form of restrictions for nearly a year. Yes, really. The YouGov survey asked participants, “Do you think you will or will not miss any aspects of lockdown when it is over?” 9 per cent of respondents said they would miss “many” aspects of lockdown while 46 per cent said they would miss “some” aspects of lockdown – a combined total of 55 per cent. Just 39 per cent of respondents said they won’t miss any aspects of lockdown.


Previous polls have routinely showed majority or plurality support for lockdown, with little concern for what innumerable observers have called the biggest imposition on civil liberties in British history. One aspect that many will “miss” about lockdown is undoubtedly getting paid for doing nothing. Under the government’s furlough scheme, those who can’t work from home have had 80 per cent of their wages covered by the state for almost a year, with that program to be extended until September despite the government saying all restrictions will be lifted by the end of June. The prospect of having to work for their money will become a reality for some once again soon, although not for all given that the UK’s economy contracted the most in 300 years as a result of the lockdown, leading to 726,000 job losses.

Read more …

Biden’s entire presidency under siege.

Capitol Police Requests National Guard Past March 12 (F.)

The U.S. Capitol Police on Thursday asked the Pentagon to keep National Guard troops stationed at the Capitol past March 12 – the date at which they are scheduled to depart, citing a 93% increase in threats to lawmakers this year. In a statement, the Capitol Police announced that acting Cchief Yogananda Pittman “formally asked the Department of Defense to extend the support provided by the National Guard.” The statement didn’t specify the length of time for which the Guard troops have been requested, though multiple outlets reported Pittman wants them for an additional 60 days. The statement noted Pittman’s testimony in a House appropriations subcommittee hearing that “threats to members are up 93% during the first two months of this year” compared to 2020.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), the chair of that committee, credited the National Guard presence in part for his belief that a Jan. 6-style attack on the Capitol could now be effectively dealt with. The statement noted the Pentagon “takes its mission seriously and will do whatever is necessary to achieve that mission,” adding that the Capitol Police is “extremely grateful” for their support. Thousands of National Guard troops have been stationed in and around the Capitol since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, in which Trump supporters stormed Capitol Police and attempted to stop lawmakers from certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory. “We understand the Guard has a tremendous service need back home responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement concluded.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the ranking members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the request for an extension is “an outrage,” according to pool reports. “That’s not their function, that’s not their mission. They cannot do it,” he said, claiming it’s “destroying careers of people.”

Read more …

He promised.

White House Weighs Minimum Wage Negotiations With Republicans (Pol.)

The White House is weighing whether to engage in talks with Republicans on a minimum wage hike once Congress passes its Covid relief bill, two sources with knowledge of their strategic thinking say. White House aides said they believe there’s room to bring Republicans into the fold because raising the minimum wage is popular across ideological grounds. They pointed to the recent $15-an-hour wage increase passed in Florida, a state that voted for Donald Trump, as evidence that the issue has widespread support. In a sign that the White House is looking to broaden the coalition behind a wage hike, administration officials reached out to trade groups last week to gauge their willingness to support legislation, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Negotiations with Republicans would be another step entirely. And it would likely frustrate progressives and raise alarms among labor and advocacy groups who are looking to Biden to make good on his promise to deliver a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Progressives argue that a phased-in $15 floor over five years is already a compromise and would likely oppose any deal that would go significantly lower. “They don’t want to blow up the world politically and pay a huge political cost, but if the politics aligned for a smaller increase, Joe Biden generally wants to get deals done,” said a source with knowledge of the administration’s thinking. The White House is “not doctrinaire on policy grounds about what it is they sign” the source added.

Cedric Richmond, a White House senior adviser, would only say that the administration is “exploring all options,” and that internal deliberations were still in the preliminary stages. “It’s still early in the game,” Richmond said. “This is not the point where you lay your whole strategy out for the world to see.”

Read more …

Oh sure, let’s pretend that Manchin keeps Biden from keeping his promises.

How To Stop The Manchin Presidency And Raise The Minimum Wage (DP)

For the last week, Americans paying attention to politics have learned an important truth: Joe Biden may live in the White House, but conservative Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is effectively president. This depressing reality can certainly be fixed, but only if progressive Democrats in Congress are willing to actually change the dynamic — and they have a rare opportunity to do that right now by using their power to raise the minimum wage. But so far, they aren’t choosing to use their power — which is a huge structural problem not just now, but also for the foreseeable future. Some have argued that the way to fix this situation is by ending the filibuster, but that’s a catch-22: It is absolutely a necessary reform, but President Manchin is pledging to veto it.

Even if Democrats were to eliminate the filibuster, they would still need Manchin’s stamp of approval for virtually all legislation, given the Senate’s current 50-50 split. The way to fix this dynamic is for a decisive number of House Democrats or Democratic senators to make clear, line-in-the-sand demands, and demonstrate they will vote down Democratic legislation that does not honor those demands. And they must do this specifically on must-pass legislation for which Biden can find zero GOP votes. That is the way to force Biden to stop pretending he has no agency and instead motivate him to use the overwhelming power of the executive branch to press the conservative wing of the party to back down. It is also the way to get Manchin himself to negotiate — right now, he gets to operate with impunity because there is no counterforce.

The COVID relief bill provides progressives this game-changing opportunity, and in the process they can heroically deliver not on some unimportant issue or tangential agenda item — but instead on the crucial cause of delivering a desperately needed higher minimum wage to millions of Americans. The debate over the legislation also gives the public a way to see whether self-identified progressive heroes are as serious about actually using power as President Manchin is. We can see this opportunity in the current wrangling over a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, where Manchin has successfully pressured the executive branch to support further limiting eligibility for survival checks, devising a phase-out policy so absurdly punitive that even reliably partisan Democratic pundits and centrist think tank wonks can’t support it. The payments — which are $1,400 instead of the $2,000 people were promised — will likely now go to 17 million fewer people than the last round of checks under Donald Trump, as a result of Manchin’s handiwork.

Read more …

Boris: “I’m sure with a bit of goodwill and common sense all these technical problems are eminently solvable..”

Brexit: EU To Launch Legal Proceedings Against UK ‘Very Soon’ (G.)

Brussels has warned it will launch legal action “very soon” following a move by the UK to unilaterally delay implementation of part of the Brexit deal relating to Northern Ireland. The European commission vice-president, Maros Sefcovic, said the announcement by the government on Wednesday had come as a “very negative surprise”. David Frost, the Cabinet Office minister, said the UK was extending a series of “grace periods” designed to ease trade between Northern Ireland – which remains in the EU single market for goods – and Great Britain while permanent arrangements are worked out. It provoked a furious response in Brussels, with the EU accusing Britain of going back on its treaty obligations in the Brexit withdrawal agreement intended to ensure there is no return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.


In an interview with the Financial Times, Sefcovic – who is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the agreement – said the European commission was now working on “infringement proceedings” against the UK. “We are currently preparing it and it would be really something coming to our table very soon. The most precise term I can give you is really very soon,” he said. His warning came after Boris Johnson had sought to play down the dispute, saying the government was simply taking some “temporary and technical measures” to ensure that trade kept flowing. “I’m sure with a bit of goodwill and common sense all these technical problems are eminently solvable,” he said on Thursday.

Read more …

Where is that money?

Michael Brown’s Father, Ferguson Activists Demand $20M From BLM (NYP)

The father of Michael Brown and other activists from Ferguson, Missouri, are demanding financial support from Black Lives Matter after the organization revealed it raised over $90 million last year. Michael Brown Sr., whose son was fatally shot by a white police officer in August 2014, along with the other activists who helped propel the movement, want $20 million from the group to help their community. “Where is all that money going?” Brown Sr. asked in a Tuesday press release from the International Black Freedom Alliance. “How could you leave the families who are helping the community without any funding?”


The police shooting of Michael Brown sparked months of unrest in Ferguson and helped solidify the national Black Lives Matter movement. “We’re not asking for a handout, but for the funding to keep the movement strong where it began,” said Tory Russell, a Ferguson activist and co-founder of the International Black Freedom Alliance. The funds in Ferguson would be used in part to build a community center in honor of Michael Brown, the press release said. Last month the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation shared its funding numbers in an impact report first provided to the Associated Press.

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Alhambra’s Jeffrey Snider says deflation.

Almost A Full Year of Tomorrows (Snider)

The ISM reported its manufacturing index at highs on Monday, then today releases its non-manufacturing headline falling sharply. The result is an odd appendage to post-2008 history where these sentiment indicators are concerned; they are upside down to the usual configuration when it’s been more likely manufacturing suffers while services are to a greater extent immune to each successive suppressing downturn influence. The most notable aspect of the non-manufacturing index has to be the specific segments most responsible for the sharp decline. The overall number had been relatively flat/sideways stuck around 57 or 58 going back to last June; and had bumped up slightly to 58.7 for January 2021 as government money hit the stores. The February reading instead comes back to 55.3, the lowest since the earliest days of reopening.

Not only that, around 55 places the number into the same context as mid-2019 (or early 2016) when the US economy, like the rest of the world, was facing increasingly serious downturn pressures. Its employment subcomponent had indicated a contrary bump up in hiring of late (when compared to the more austere rebound in payroll estimates for these same few months) that likewise fell back in February. The subindex had reached 55.2 in January, the highest since late 2019 (so, not that impressive) only to decline to 52.7 last month.

New Orders, these apparently plummeted for reasons that aren’t well explained at the moment. Not only have COVID restrictions increasingly been removed, vaccines plus two full months of that $600 helicopter drop should’ve (if you believe in these things) produced more than a single January effect (as in retail sales). As for the ISM, forward-indicated orders in the service sector crashed by very nearly an even ten points (-9.9). As of this February figure, the New Orders index stands at just 51.9, which, outside of last April and May, isn’t close to anything since 2016’s Euro$ #3 bottoming out.

This is made all the more unsettling given the similar direction and intensity in Chinese sentiment of late. As if determined to further corroborate this interpretation, private payroll processing firm ADP reports also today another serious shortfall in the employment rebound. First, the series had undergone benchmark revisions which stripped a few hundred thousand jobs from the series (meaning they probably never happened) and then reported that for the month of February private payrolls gained just 117,000 last month (compared to revised +195,000 in January and Economist expectations for about the same). Around one hundred thousand would have been considered an alarmingly weak month before 2020; in this situation with the labor market struggling to gain any momentum, it’s yet another contrary signal (deflation, rather than the other one).

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“..grasping the awful truth: we all, eventually, run out of patches…”

The Appalling Death Of An Extremely Strange Genius (Taibbi)

I turned fifty-one this week. Terror of age is becoming a key comic subtext of my life. The first line of a novel I tried to write recently read, He looked in the mirror and shrieked. There’s a scene in Nikolai Gogol’s The Overcoat where the hero, a dim and nervous clerk named Akaky Akakievich, goes to the tailor to try to patch up his ancient greatcoat. It’s coming apart at the seams, the victim of St. Petersburg’s relentless winters and too many years of service. Akaky asks for one last repair job, but the merciless tailor Petrovich, having laid the coat out on a table, quickly pronounces the patient dead. “No, it can’t be repaired, the wretched garment,” he snaps. Akaky, in denial, tries to protest: it’s just a bit worn on the shoulders! Petrovich cuts him off. “The stuff is rotten, if you put a needle in it, it would give way.” “Let it give way, but you must patch it,” counters Akaky. “There is nothing to put a patch on,” Petrovich says, and Akaky recoils in horror, grasping the awful truth: we all, eventually, run out of patches.


Gogol, my childhood hero, died 169 years ago today, on March 4, 1852. Fitting for him, it might have been the most preposterously horrific act of self-destruction in literary history.Gogol was a genius, but a peculiar and probably very unpleasant kind. If Mozart came out of the womb hearing symphonies, the baby born in Sorochintsy, Ukraine in 1809 had a different fate. It was as if God whacked him with a shovel, locking his brain in the moment of hearing the funniest joke ever told. That may sound wonderful, but there’s a reason we eventually have to stop laughing — it hurts. The line between hilarity and terror is a thin one, as people who drop acid find out all the time. Gogol was a depressive who cheered himself up by imagining the funniest situations possible, but his gift in that area was so prodigious that he ultimately scared himself to death.

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“The cow is very sacred for us, but no-one cares for their life.”

71kg of Waste Found In Stray Indian Cow’s Stomach (Y!)

Indian vets have extracted 71 kilograms (156.5 pounds) of plastic, nails and other garbage from a pregnant cow, but both the animal and her baby died. The case has highlighted the country’s twin problems of pollution and stray cattle. An estimated five million cows roam India’s cities, with many gorging on the vast amounts of plastic litter on the streets. This cow was rescued after a road accident in late February by the People For Animals Trust Faridabad. A vet soon noticed the pregnant bovine was struggling. In a four-hour operation on February 21, vets found nails, plastic, marbles and other garbage in its stomach, said trust president Ravi Dubay.


They also attempted a premature delivery. “The baby did not have enough space to grow in her mother’s belly so she died,” Dubay told AFP. Three days later, the cow also died. “In my 13 years of experience, this is the most garbage we have taken from a cow… we had to use muscle power to get it all out,” Dubay said. Previous surgeries done by the organisation based in the northern Indian state of Haryana have found up to 50 kilograms of waste in cows’ stomachs. “The cow is very sacred for us, but no-one cares for their life. In every corner in every city they eat the waste,” Dubay added.

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The horror!

Estimated 9 Billion Already Dead From Texas Mask Mandate Reversal (BBee)

We were warned. Only one day after Texas succumbed to neanderthal thinking and reversed the mask mandate, experts reported an estimated 9 billion people around the world have already died as a direct result of this foolish action. “We estimate there are now negative 1.3 billion people alive,” said one expert solemnly. “We’ve never had a negative number like that before. Shucks– I’m not even alive anymore, come to think of it. Sad.” Scientists have followed the science very scientifically to determine this catastrophic end to all human life on Earth immediately began after Governor Greg Abbott called his press conference, announcing his plan to literally murder everyone by not making them wear t-shirt fabric on their faces.


“Too bad, humanity had a good run,” said another expert, who is also dead now. “That’s what we get for electing Republicans. Hopefully, humanity learned its lesson.” The expert, who was literally dead from the Texas mask mandate reversal, then joined his friends at the local bar for some beers.

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Feb 162021
 
 February 16, 2021  Posted by at 10:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  31 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Snowy landscape with Arles in the background 1888

 

How to Make COVID Vaccines More Effective: Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (NC)
Aiming For Zero Covid-19: Europe Needs To Take Action (Rep.)
Millions of Texans Left Shivering In Arctic Cold Without Power (NBC)
“Unity” (Jim Kunstler)
Cuomo Blames ‘Politics,’ Fails To Address Nursing Home Cover-Up (NYP)
Democrats Slam ‘Lying’ Cuomo Over COVID-19 Nursing Home ‘Cover-Up’ (NYP)
Bipartisan Support For 9/11-Style Commission To Investigate Capitol Riot (PFW)
How Trump’s Trial Became A Tale Of Constitutional Noir (Turley)
What Comes Next in HNA Group’s Bankruptcy in China (Barron’s)
Fauci Awarded $1m Israeli Prize For ‘Speaking Truth To Power’ (Ind.)
WHO Adviser: Wuhan Lab Probe Was Conducted By ‘Chinese Authorities’ (SAC)
Cancel Culture, Where Liberalism Goes to Die (Chris Hedges)

 

 

CNN is trying to compete with The Onion.

 

 

The obvious.

How to Make COVID Vaccines More Effective: Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (NC)

If we’re going to rely on COVID-19 vaccines to bring an end to the pandemic, we need to maximise their effects. But one thing that risks undermining their protectiveness is nutritional deficiency, particularly in the elderly. Older people have weaker immune responses and are known to respond less well than younger adults to many vaccines, including the seasonal influenza vaccine. This is partly down to frailty, which cannot be easily remedied, but can also be due to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals – known as micronutrients. For the immune system to fight off infection or generate good protection against a disease following vaccination, it needs a variety of micronutrients. This is likely to be just as true for COVID-19 as for other diseases. Given that malnutrition is common among elderly people, raising their vitamin and mineral levels before they get vaccinated could be a way of boosting the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

As the European Food Safety Authority notes, the vitamins A, B6, B9, B12, C and D and the minerals zinc, selenium, iron and copper are all needed for the immune system to function as it should. Each of these micronutrients – as well as vitamin E – has been shown to play multiple roles in supporting immune function and reducing the risk of infection. Research has found a link between having an impaired immune system and having low amounts of many vitamins and minerals. When the immune system isn’t properly fuelled and is impaired, this can then lead to poor vaccine responses. For example, a review of nine studies – together involving 2,367 people – found that individuals deficient in vitamin D were less well protected against two strains of flu after having been vaccinated compared to those who had adequate vitamin D levels.

By contrast, randomised controlled trials of micronutrient supplements (such as vitamin B6, vitamin E, zinc and selenium) in older people have been shown to increase the ability of the immune system to respond to challenges. Furthermore, it appears that to work at its best the immune system needs vitamins C, D and E together with zinc and selenium in excess of amounts that can usually be achieved through diet alone. For example, selenium levels above those typically regarded as optimal have been associated with a better cure rate for COVID-19. Trials in older people have also shown that responses to vaccination are better after actions are taken to improve nutrition.

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Letter published in several European newspapers.

For me, personally, three pillars: “Vaccination, green zones, and test, trace and isolate strategies”, is not enough. Not without boosting people’s health.

Aiming For Zero Covid-19: Europe Needs To Take Action (Rep.)

Vaccination is a critical element for our way out of the pandemic. But the hope to reach herd immunity in Europe by the end of the summer is fading, as the roll-out of vaccines proves to be a major challenge. In addition, the emergence of new variants from Brazil, the UK, and South Africa is a warning signal that we may be confronted with lower protection from vaccines. Furthermore, history demonstrates that vaccination cannot single-handedly control a virus: it needs concerted efforts and a combination of public health measures. A global exit from the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021 seems unlikely if not impossible. To avoid lockdown cycles as experienced over the past and present year, we need to curb the spread of the virus as soon as possible, and choose the path of sustainable recovery.

The European strategy needs to markedly shift its focus from long-term and nationwide lockdowns due to high numbers of non-traceable community transmission and high death tolls, to having the virus under control. We thus call on politicians and the public to jointly commit to a European elimination strategy that builds on three pillars: Vaccination, green zones, and test, trace and isolate strategies. Importantly, this needs to be accompanied by clear, coherent and transparent communication. We are part of a group of international scientists ranging from epidemiologists, virologists, and mathematicians, to political scientists, and economists who support the strategy, some of whom have recently signed a call in The Lancet. In addition, No Covid – an approach suggested by a group of German scientists – is actively developing tools to render elimination successful.

While controlling the virus across Europe seems to be a daunting task, it can be achieved by defining common public health measures and standards that aim at achieving and then protecting green zones. The smaller the zones and the less mobility between them, the faster the exit can be reached and worst-in-class measures avoided. However, as the zoning needs to be politically and socially acceptable, and locally enforceable, each country should make its own pragmatic choice. For example, Italy could opt for regions, Germany could opt for Landkreise or Länder, and a small country like Lithuania could opt to be considered as one zone. Even more granularly, single cities could be considered a zone if feasible.

A zone is labelled green once the origin of every transmission is known, such that test, trace and isolate strategies can prevent further uncontrolled spreading of the remaining few infections. Green zones can progressively return to normal life: schools, restaurants, tourism and other businesses can fully reopen, and travellers freely move within and between green zones. Once a green zone is established, the priority then shifts from contact-inhibiting measures to avoid the reintroduction of the virus via travel regulations and testing, and the preparedness to implement fast, decisive and targeted containment measures should infections flare up locally again.

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“Midnight electricity price went up by more than 20000% in the past 4 days in Texas.”

Millions of Texans Left Shivering In Arctic Cold Without Power (NBC)

As a record winter storm slammed across the country Monday, millions of people in Texas found themselves shivering in the dark. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the power grid for 26 million customers, called for rolling outages to conserve power as arctic weather froze wind turbines, pushed several power plants offline and drove up demand from home heating systems. Outages affecting more than 2 million people were initially expected to be brief, lasting 15 to 20 minutes, but many Texans reported losing power for hours.


“The blackout just kept on going, and as the night progressed, the temperatures just started getting lower,” said Esteban Ramirez, 19, a college student from Del Rio, west of San Antonio, on the Mexican border. He huddled with his mother and his grandparents on a sofa to stay warm after they lost power at 2:30 a.m. At one point, he said, the temperature outside was 6 degrees. “It was scary,” he said. Power was out except for a couple of brief spurts for most of the day. His pipes froze, cutting off running water to the house, and the dim light made it difficult for his grandfather to get his medication, he said. “It was my first time experiencing something like this,” he said. “I was afraid of not making it through the night.”

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“Address me as Mr. President or President Biden,” Biden said. “I will not, and you can go fuck yourself,” DeSantis said before hanging up.

“Unity” (Jim Kunstler)

This played out dramatically last week in a telephone parley between Mr. Biden and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the governor’s refusal to lockdown his state. The world-famous Dr. Fauci was also on the call, in which Mr. Biden threatened to curtail American citizens travel to Florida by road and air — since an offshoot of Covid-19 policy has been to drive a huge demographic exodus from economically failing states of New York, Illinois, and California down there. He also threatened to withhold federal funding to Florida and deny the state access to Covid-19 vaccines. Dr. Fauci chimed in, “Governor, do you want to be responsible for reinfecting the nation? Truth is, we don’t even know how effective current vaccines are against the UK strain.”

DeSantis told Dr. Fauci he trusted his own state health authorities over financially incentivized federal officials. The conclusion of the conference call went like this: “How much do you stand to earn from these vaccines, Dr. Fauci? And, Joe, if you continue with this course of action, I will authorize the state National Guard to protect the movement of Floridians,” DeSantis said. “Address me as Mr. President or President Biden,” Biden said. “I will not, and you can go fuck yourself,” DeSantis said before hanging up. Hmmm. Now, that got right to the point, didn’t it? And consider this was not just Citizen Joe Blow mouthing off to alleged President Joe B, but the governor of a populous state. And what if it suggests a trend?

Another obvious and disconcerting irony in that affair was, of course, that Mr. Biden seeks to restrict the movement of people across Florida’s borders for fear of spreading new strains of Covid-19, while he insolently authorizes thousands of illegal aliens to cross our border with Mexico daily, with no testing for the virus. Could Mr. Biden’s intentions look any worse?

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Let him go.

Cuomo Blames ‘Politics,’ Fails To Address Nursing Home Cover-Up (NYP)

An unapologetic Gov. Cuomo doubled down on a litany of past excuses Monday as he blamed “politics” for the spiraling scandal that’s engulfed his administration since The Post revealed his top aide admitted they hid from elected officials and the public the true number of nursing-home residents killed by COVID-19. During a virtual news conference at which he declined to take a question from The Post, Cuomo claimed that “there’s nothing to investigate” regarding the cover-up to which Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa confessed during a video conference call with Democratic lawmakers last week. Cuomo never directly addressed DeRosa’s recorded remarks in which she admitted “we froze” over whether to come clean to the Legislature — or the public — about nursing home deaths in the face of a Justice Department inquiry.

“Because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” DeRosa said in the Wednesday evening conference call. Cuomo once again claimed that the state had always reported the number of nursing home residents killed by COVID-19 — even though it only began releasing figures on those who died in hospitals after a damning report last month by state Attorney General Letitia James, a fellow Democrat. As of Saturday, official figures show, 13,407 nursing home residents died of COVID-19, including 4,181 — more than 31 percent — in hospitals. “This past year, there is a toxic political environment and everything is political,” Cuomo said during the news conference in Albany.

[..] Left unsaid was that Cuomo had enough spare time to publish a self-serving memoir, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which made the Times “Best Sellers” list with the help of the self-proclaimed “Cuomosexuals” who turned his daily briefings into must-see TV, also garnering him a special Emmy Award. But Cuomo pushed back against a bipartisan move to strip him of his COVID-19 emergency powers in the wake of DeRosa’s remarks. And Cuomo insisted state pols should have known about the DOJ probe, despite his not telling them, because The Post broke a story about it in October. “Emergency powers have nothing to do with nursing homes,” Cuomo said. Cuomo said legislators “can reverse any action I take.” “They have never reversed a single action,” Cuomo said. “These are public health decisions, not local political decisions.”

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“She implicated all of us in the cover-up.”

Democrats Slam ‘Lying’ Cuomo Over COVID-19 Nursing Home ‘Cover-Up’ (NYP)

Fellow Democratic legislators in New York weren’t buying Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s explanation Monday as to why he refused for months to release a true accounting of nursing home residents who died from the coronavirus. Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), whose uncle died from COVID-19, bluntly said, “all of it is BS” and a cover-up. “They could have given us the information back in May and June of last year. They chose not to,” Kim said, when hearing Cuomo was blaming the DOJ probe for delays in releasing the accurate coronavirus death tally of nursing home residents. Cuomo cited an exclusive Aug.26, 2020 story in The Post that broke the news about the Department of Justice inquiry into his administration’s nursing home admission policy and the undercounting of deaths, claiming Albany legislators should have known about the probe based on that report.


Kim said lawmakers could have passed laws to tighten up accountability and liability in nursing homes to save lives if they had the information sooner. Kim also said Cuomo’s comments Monday don’t square with what top aide Melissa DeRosa told him and other legislators during a private meeting last week, when she said former President Donald Trump made the issue a “political football” and claimed that as an excuse for withholding the nursing home data. The Post first reported on her explosive remarks after obtaining an audio recording of the meeting. “And basically, we froze,” DeRosa said. “She talked about the potential that the information would be weaponized against them. DeRosa needs to be accountable for what she said,” Kim insisted. “She implicated all of us in the cover-up.”

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It’s all still about Trump.

Bipartisan Support For 9/11-Style Commission To Investigate Capitol Riot (PFW)

Bipartisan support for a 9/11-style commission to further investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has grown bipartisan support with lawmakers urging such a body to get to the root cause of the events that day. “I’d like to know, did the Capitol Hill police inform the House sergeant at arms and the Senate sergeant at arms the day before the attack that they needed more troops?” Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News on Sunday after mentioning he believed there was a preplanned element to the highly publicized actions that took place. “We need to look at did Nancy Pelosi know on January 5 that there was a threat to the Capitol… What did President Trump do after the attack… We need a 9/11 commission to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again, and I want to make sure that the Capitol footprint can be better defended next time,” he continued.

Graham would add that the preplanned element had no connection to former president Donald Trump’s speech during a rally earlier that day. Louisiana Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, who unlike Graham, voted to convict the former president during the impeachment trial, also called for a 9/11-style commission, telling ABC over the weekend that “there should be a complete investigation about what happened.” “I think there should be a complete investigation about what happened on Jan. 6. Why was there not more law enforcement, National Guard already mobilized, what was known, who knew it, and when they knew it, all that, because that builds the basis so this never happens again in the future,” Cassidy said.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrat Senator Dennis Coons also vocalized support for such a commission, telling ABC “there’s still more evidence that the American people need and deserve to hear.” “A 9/11 commission is a way that we make sure that we secure the Capitol going forward and that we lay bare the record of just how responsible and how abjectly violating of his constitutional oath president Trump really was,” Coons said on Sunday.

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“We do not afford due process to people simply because we have to. It is like decency, civility and other values. They are not observed because they are mandatory but because they are right.”

How Trump’s Trial Became A Tale Of Constitutional Noir (Turley)

In the 1946 movie “Gilda,” Rita Hayworth delivered perhaps the ultimate film noir line. Looking at her former lover, she declared, “I hate you so much that I would destroy myself to take you down with me.” Hayworth made self-destruction sound positively alluring. That line came to mind as I watched House impeachment managers and Democratic senators systematically discard basic values that once defined fair trials — and American values — under the Constitution. When Donald Trump’s defense counsel objected that he was not afforded due process in the House, the managers shrugged and said due process was not required. When the defense objected that Trump’s Jan. 6 speech was protected under the First Amendment, the House scoffed that free speech is not only inapplicable but “frivolous” in an impeachment.

Nothing, it seems, is so sacred that it cannot be discarded in pursuit of Trump. Over and over, it was made clear that his trial is about the verdict, not about our constitutional values. Even with acquittal all but ensured, there was no room for constitutional niceties like free speech or due process. There was only one issue — the same one that has driven our media and politics for four years: Trump. Through that time, some of us have objected that extreme legal interpretations and biased coverage destroy our legal and journalistic values. It was not done out of love for Trump: I voted against him in two elections and have regularly denounced his actions and rhetoric, including his Jan. 6 speech. However, I cherish our values more than I dislike him.

That is why the second Trump impeachment trial played out with a film noir flourish, featuring the same “lost innocence,” “hard-edged cynicism” and “desperate desire” of that movie genre — most obviously when House managers dismissed any due process in an impeachment proceeding. Indisputably, the House could have held at least a couple days of hearings and still impeached Trump before he left office. It knew the Senate would not hold a trial before the end of his term, so it had until Jan. 20 to impeach him. It did so on Jan. 13. A hearing would have given Trump a formal opportunity to respond to the allegation against him; no one has ever been impeached without such an opportunity. It would have allowed witnesses to be called (including many who already were speaking publicly), to create even a minimal record for the trial.

Yet the House refused, and then declined for more than four weeks to call a dozen witnesses with direct evidence to create a record even after its snap impeachment. So the House could have afforded basic due process but chose not to do so simply because it does not have to. When confronted about this in the Senate, one House manager scoffed at the notion that Trump should be afforded more due process. Representative Ted Lieu said, “Trump is receiving any and all process that he is due.” A chilling answer, since Trump received none in the House. There was a time when denying due process would have been shocking. Even if you believe that due process is not required in an impeachment, it is expected. We do not afford due process to people simply because we have to. It is like decency, civility and other values. They are not observed because they are mandatory but because they are right.

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It’s Xi’s casino now.

What Comes Next in HNA Group’s Bankruptcy in China (Barron’s)

Conglomerate HNA Group encapsulates at least three facets that have defined many overly-acquisitive Chinese firms in recent years. Those include origins in a defined sector with attempts to become a player in dozens of unrelated areas; an appetite for loose credit that backfired when Beijing decided too much was too much; and a meteoric rise and fall from a lack of discipline. Between 2015 and 2017 the then-airline firm’s $40 billion acquisition spree included stakes in the Hilton hotel chain and Deutsche Bank, bringing its total assets to more than $150 billion. It spent $6 billion to acquire California-based electronics firm Ingram Micro.

But debt piled up faster, and creditors and Beijing swooped in, demanding accountability, and forcing a massive asset selloff to pay down its arrears—which as of its last filing, in 2019, were roughly $109 billion. The saga seemed all but over after the Hainan provincial government last year essentially took control of the indebted behemoth, with plans for further asset sales and restructuring. But more bad news came crashing in. The Hainan government investigation concluded some 500 companies connected to HNA may be forced into bankruptcy restructuring, Chinese media outlet Caixin reported. Creditors then filed for HNA itself to be placed into bankruptcy and restructuring.

“HNA Group will comply with the court’s instructions of judicial review in accordance with law, promote the debts disposition actively, support the court to protect the legal rights and interests of creditors in accordance with law, and safeguard our normal business to be operated successfully,” the company said in a statement. HNA’s main creditor and head of the creditor committee is China Development Bank, one of the country’s three cabinet-led policy lenders. The head of the bank from 2013 to 2018, Hu Huaibang, led numerous underwritings for HNA acquisitions during its meteoric rise. Last year, Hu was arrested and charged with “suspected serious violations of discipline”—meaning corruption. How much of that, if any, is related to HNA deals is unclear.

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Yeah, give him another million.

Fauci Awarded $1m Israeli Prize For ‘Speaking Truth To Power’ (Ind.)

Dr Anthony Fauci was among recipients of the Dan David Prize, recognising his career in public health and “speaking truth to power” during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the awards organisation. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the US National Institutes of Health “is the consummate model of leadership and impact in public health,” the awards committee said in a statement. The prize, associated with Tel Aviv University, awards three $1 million prizes for “achievements having an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on our world.” Ten per cent of the prize money is set aside for academic scholarships in each winner’s field. [..]


The nation’s leading infectious disease expert emerged as a face of the US response to the public health crisis amid a turbulent and insufficient federal effort under Donald Trump’s administration. After the former president sidelined or removed him from the foreground of the federal response in the final months of his administration, Dr Fauci has returned to the White House under President Joe Biden, who enlisted him as a chief medical adviser. Within hours of the president’s inauguration, Dr Fauci addressed the World Health Organisation to assure the agency that the US will honour its partnership and funding commitments, after Mr Trump antagonised the United Nations group and pledged to isolate the US from its global health efforts.

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This son’t make the WHO happy.

WHO Adviser: Wuhan Lab Probe Was Conducted By ‘Chinese Authorities’ (SAC)

World Health Organization adviser Jamie Metzl revealed that the WHO’s investigation into the Wuhan Institute of Virology was conducted “by Chinese autorities,” during an interview Wednesday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.” The WHO announced earlier this week that the investigation had ended because investigators had found it a “very unlikely” source of the COVID-19 virus. It has been alleged that the virus may have leaked from the lab. Such accidents, however, were dismissed by the WHO as “extremely rare.” It is the global organization’s belief that the virus was first transmitted from animal to human. “Well, the investigation itself was very short. It was two weeks of quarantine and two weeks of meetings, but the actual investigation was done by Chinese authorities.

And so, the W.H.O. investigators were basically receiving reports from the Chinese officials,” Metzl told Ingraham. “And as I see it, the big failure is that they outlined four possible ways that COVID could have begun. One was direct bat to human. Second, bat through an animal intermediate host. Third, through shipping or some kind of frozen food from somewhere else. And four, the accidental lab leak. As you know, Laura, for more than a year, I’ve been one of the leading advocates saying we have to look very, very seriously at option four.”

“But rather than saying, alright, let’s look more deeply at all of those possibilities, the W.H.O. investigators said we should look at the first three, but not at the accidental lab leak,” Metzl said. “And I’m just miffed that this has happened and I think it’s really terrible.” The U.S. State Department in January detailed that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was conducting dangerous research on coronaviruses and couldn’t be ruled out completely as a possible source of the virus outbreak. In fact, the report mentioned that in the fall of 2019, researchers at the lab became sick and exhibited COVID-19-like symptoms. Further, the State Department said the lab was being operated by the Chinese military.

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The Rev. Will Campbell was a wise man.

Cancel Culture, Where Liberalism Goes to Die (Chris Hedges)

The Rev. Will Campbell was forced out of his position as director of religious life at the University of Mississippi in 1956 because of his calls for integration. He escorted Black children through a hostile mob in 1957 to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School. He was the only white person that was invited to be part of the group that founded Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He helped integrate Nashville’s lunch counters and organize the Freedom Rides. But Campbell was also, despite a slew of death threats he received from white segregationists, an unofficial chaplain to the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

He denounced and publicly fought the Klan’s racism, acts of terror and violence and marched with Black civil rights protestors in his native Mississippi, but he steadfastly refused to “cancel” white racists out of his life. He refused to demonize them as less than human. He insisted that this form of racism, while evil, was not as insidious as a capitalist system that perpetuated the economic misery and instability that pushed whites into the ranks of violent, racist organizations. “During the civil rights movement, when we were developing strategies, someone usually said, ‘Call Will Campbell. Check with Will,’” Rep. John Lewis wrote in the introduction to the new edition of Campbell’s memoir Brother to a Dragonfly, one of the most important books I read as a seminarian.

“Will knew that the tragedy of Southern history had fallen on our opponents as well as our allies … on George Wallace and Bull Connor as well as Rosa Parks and Fred Shuttlesworth. He saw that it had created the Ku Klux Klan as well as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. That insight led Will to see racial healing and equity, pursued through courage, love, and faith as the path to spiritual liberation for all.” Jimmy Carter wrote of Campbell that he “tore down the walls that separated white and black Southerners.” And because the Black Panther organizer Fred Hampton was doing the same thing in Chicago, the FBI — which, along with the CIA, is the de facto ally of the liberal elites in their war against Trump and his supporters — assassinated him.

When the town Campbell lived in decided the Klan should not be permitted to have a float in the Fourth of July parade Campbell did not object, as long as the gas and electric company was also barred. It was not only white racists who inflicted suffering on the innocent and the vulnerable, but institutions that place the sanctity of profit before human life. “People can’t pay their gas and electric bills, the heat gets turned off and they freeze and sometimes die, especially if they are elderly,” he said. “This, too, is an act of terrorism.” “Theirs you could see and deal with, and if they broke the law, you could punish them,” he said of the Klan. “But the larger culture that was, and still is, racist to the core is much more difficult to deal with and has a more sinister influence.”

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