Sep 282022
 
 September 28, 2022  Posted by at 8:52 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  36 Responses »


Salvador Dali Bather 1924

 

Four Regions Vote To Join Russia: What’s Next? (RT)
Russia’s Main Gas Pipeline To EU Suffers Unprecedented Damage – Operator (RT)
Kremlin Comments On Possible Causes Of Nord Stream Damage (RT)
European Nat Gas Prices Soar After Gazprom Warns Ukraine Flows At Risk (ZH)
Putin Blasts West’s ‘Predatory’ Food ‘Swindle’ (RT)
Ukraine Can Use Western Weapons Against ‘Territories Seized By Russia’ – US (RT)
Americans Are Growing Tired Of Support For Ukraine Without Diplomacy (BI)
US Preparing $1.1 Billion Arms Package for Ukraine (Antiwar)
Questions Over The Value Of Military And Political Alliances (Bordachev)
White House Mulling Potential Yellen Departure After Midterms (Axios)
Nadler Feuded With Schiff, Pelosi Over Unconstitutional Trump Impeachment (Fox)
Liberal Former PM Renzi Dismisses ‘Fascism’ Brewing in Italy Claims (BB)
Meloni Contra Mundum (Gonzalez)
Human Sacrifices: are They Coming Back? (Ugo Bardi)
Pro-Vaccine Doctor Suspects Pfizer Booster Sent His Cancer Into Overdrive (CHD)
CDC Finds Lasting Post-vaccine Heart Problems In Young Adults (JTN)

 

 

I’ve assembled so much material on the pipeline sabotage, I’ll -largely- deal with that separately.

 

 

 

 

Hurricane vaccine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosa Koire

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Immediately the Russian Constitution will come into force in relation to these territories where everything is very clearly stated in this regard..”

Four Regions Vote To Join Russia: What’s Next? (RT)

The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR) along with Kherson Region and part of Zaporozhye Region in southern Ukraine have voted to join Russia in referendums that were held between September 23 and 27. In Lugansk, more than 98% of voters have supported the idea to join Russia, official figures show with all the ballots counted. Donetsk has shown similar results with more than 99% of voters supporting the move. Both Zaporozhye and Kherson regions have process all the ballots by late Tuesday, with 93% and 87% of voters respectively backing the split from Ukraine and reunification with Russia. The process of integrating new regions into Russia may take some time as it requires the approval of the country’s parliament and the president.

But Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that he was “convinced it will be fast enough.” Under the Russian constitution and the federal law on the accession of new constituent members, the procedure includes several steps. Once the regions willing to become part of the Russian Federation submit their proposals to Moscow, the president should inform parliament and the government on the matter, Senator Konstantin Kosachev explained in a Telegram post last week. If a political agreement on the accession is reached, “draft international treaties on the admission of foreign states or parts of them” to Russia should be developed, Kosachev, the vice speaker of the upper house of parliament, said.

These agreements regulate issues such as the name and status of new territories, citizenship, succession, the functioning of public authorities, the operation of legislation, and so forth. After these treaties are signed, the Russian Constitutional Court should verify if they comply with the country’s supreme law. If there are no violations, the next step will be the ratification of the documents by the lower house, the State Duma, and their approval by the upper house, the Federation Council. Simultaneously, a draft federal constitutional law on the admission of new constituent units to Russia should be submitted to the Duma. If approved, it then goes to the upper house for consideration. “This law enters into force no earlier than the entry into force of the international treaties themselves,” Kosachev noted.

Moscow warned earlier that if the Donbass republics and the two southern Ukrainian regions united with Russia, it would consider any attempts by Kiev to retake them as attacks on its own land. “Immediately the Russian Constitution will come into force in relation to these territories where everything is very clearly stated in this regard,” Peskov told journalists last week. Shortly after the regions decided to hold referendums, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization that involved calling to arms some 300,000 reservists, according to the military. Media reports have suggested that Moscow allegedly plans to mobilize up to a million.

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“Experts say repairs on both pipelines could take up to several years.”

Russia’s Main Gas Pipeline To EU Suffers Unprecedented Damage – Operator (RT)

The simultaneous destruction of three gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea is unprecedented, Nord Stream AG, the operator of Nord Stream 1, said on Tuesday. It declined to provide a deadline for repairs. The pipeline had been supplying gas to the EU until late August, when Russia slashed deliveries, citing technical difficulties resulting from Western sanctions. “The destruction that occurred on the same day at once on three strings of the offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented. It is not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas transmission infrastructure,” the company said.

On Monday, Danish authorities spotted a gas leak near the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, and closed off an area of five nautical miles (9.26km) around the site. The discovery came shortly after the defunct Nord Stream 2 pipeline suffered a drastic loss of pressure overnight. German and Danish authorities are investigating the incidents. Nord Stream spokesman Ulrich Lissek said a “large bubble field near Bornholm” was spotted, adding that “the pipeline was never in use, just prepared for technical operation, and therefore filled with gas.” Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Sweden’s Maritime Authority also reported leaks on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline northeast of the Bornholm island in Swedish and Danish waters, Reuters reported, citing the country’s officials.

“There are two leaks on Nord Stream 1 – one in the Swedish economic zone and one in the Danish economic zone. They are very near each other,” a Swedish Maritime Administration spokesperson said. As the German Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Tuesday, Nord Stream pipelines may have been damaged as a result of attacks. “A pressure loss in the two gas pipelines that occurred in rapid succession” could have happened due to a “targeted action,” it said. Experts say repairs on both pipelines could take up to several years. Lissek warned that it would be complicated to determine the reasons for the drop in pressure due “the sanctions regime and the lack of personnel on the ground.”

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“..a deliberate attack on the pipeline could only have been carried out using special forces, navy divers or a submarine”

Kremlin Comments On Possible Causes Of Nord Stream Damage (RT)

The Nord Stream pipelines may have been damaged in an act of sabotage, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov suggested when asked about the possible reasons for sudden pressure loss in three of the Baltic Sea gas network’s lines. Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Peskov commented on a statement made by Nord Stream AG, the operator of the network, which said three offshore lines of the Nord Stream pipeline system sustained “unprecedented”damage in just one day. “No option can be ruled out right now,” Peskov said when asked if the damage may have been the result of sabotage. He added that Moscow is very concerned about the situation, and called for an immediate and thorough investigation into the incident, which has implications for energy security on the “entire continent.”

Pressure in line A of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was pumped with gas but had yet to go into operation, suddenly dropped overnight between Sunday and Monday. Shortly after that, on Monday afternoon, both of Nord Stream 1’s pipelines also suffered a sharp loss of pressure. Sweden and Denmark’s coastguards have since reported gas leaks off the coast of Bornholm island in the Baltic Sea – one in the Swedish economic zone and one in the Danish zone – and closed off the area to maritime traffic. According to a report from the Tagesspiegel newspaper on Tuesday, Berlin believes the sudden pressure drop in three gas pipelines at the same time could not be a coincidence and is likely a “targeted attack” from either Ukraine or Russia.

The outlet explained that a deliberate attack on the pipeline could only have been carried out using special forces, navy divers or a submarine. Berlin reportedly believes the sabotage was carried out by either “Ukraine-affiliated forces” or by Russia itself as a “false flag” operation to make Ukraine look bad and drive energy prices in the EU even higher. Nord Stream 1 was completed in 2011. Construction work on Nord Stream 2 (NS2) began in 2018, and suffered delays due to political pressure and sanctions from the US. NS2 was finished and pressurized in September 2021. However, two days prior to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the German government put its certification on indefinite hold, and has categorically rejected any suggestion from Moscow – or domestically – to unblock the pipeline.

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With Nordstream gone, they have to pay transfer fees again, to Ukraine and Poland. In dollars and euros.

European Nat Gas Prices Soar After Gazprom Warns Ukraine Flows At Risk (ZH)

In a day of constant news surrounding European gas flows, including the potential sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline, moments ago, Russia state-owned gas giant Gazprom PJSC warned that another major source of gas flows to Europe was at risk, just hours after three massive gas pipelines were hit by suspected sabotage. As Bloomberg reports, in a dramatic escalation of the energy standoff between Russia and Europe in little over 24 hours, the Nord Stream pipeline was knocked out by what German officials said looked like sabotage. Gazprom then said that one of two remaining routes bringing gas to Europe – via Ukraine – was at risk because of a legal spat. Specifically, as Reuters notes, Gazprom rejected all claims from Ukraine’s energy firm Naftogaz in arbitration proceedings over Russian gas transit, and had notified the arbitration court.

It also said that Russia may introduce sanctions against Naftogaz in case it further pursues the arbitration case, meaning Gazprom would be prohibited by the sanctions from paying Ukraine the transit fees. Naftogaz had initiated a new arbitration proceeding against Gazprom earlier this month, saying the Russian company did not pay for the rendered service of gas transportation through Ukraine. The company had said “funds were not paid by Gazprom, neither on time nor in full” for the gas transit. Gazprom said on Tuesday that Naftogaz had no “appropriate reasons” to reject its obligations on transit via the Sokhranovka point, a key route for Russian gas exports to Europe. In May, Ukraine suspended the flow of gas through Sokhranovka, which it said delivers almost a third of the fuel piped from Russia to Europe through Ukraine, blaming Moscow for the move and saying it would move the flows elsewhere.

Following the report that Russia may soon halt natgas transit via Ukraine, gas prices quickly jumped almost 20% as traders factored in the prospect that Europe will have to live without Russian gas this winter – and beyond. Gazprom said that a legal dispute risks prompting Moscow to sanction Ukraine’s Naftogaz. If that happened, then Gazprom would be unable to pay transit fees, the company said on Telegram, putting at risk flows. “In practice, this will mean a ban on Gazprom from fulfilling obligations to sanctioned bodies under completed transactions, including financial transactions,” the company said. If, or rather when, supplies through Ukraine are shut down, it would leave Gazprom sending gas only via the TurkStream pipeline to Turkey and a handful of European countries that haven’t severed business ties with Russia.

Winter is coming

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“Russia is set to harvest a record amount of grain this year [..] But Russian food products have a difficult time finding their way to the global market due to Western economic sanctions, as do Russian fertilizers..”

Putin Blasts West’s ‘Predatory’ Food ‘Swindle’ (RT)

“Predatory” monetary and trade policies pursued by the US and its allies are the primary cause of the global food crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. Western nations are using their wealth and ability to print money to vacuum up food products from the global market, the Russian leader said during a government meeting on Tuesday. The unfolding crisis has been in the making for several years, he claimed. “Some leading nations have financial and food policies that led to the result we are observing now,” Putin said, adding that the behavior could be described as “predatory, without any exaggeration.” He noted that the US was a net exporter of food products last year, but now it is a net importer.

The Russian leader also reiterated his criticism of the Ukraine grain deal, which allowed Kiev to export food via the Black Sea. The arrangement was mediated by the UN and Türkiye, but Russia believes it is not working as intended, arguing that the shipments do little to alleviate food shortages in needy nations. Putin cited last week’s maritime traffic statistics in relation to the scheme, pointing out that most of the ships carrying Ukrainian grain that didn’t report Türkiye as their destination went to one of the EU nations. “Are they the poorest nations or what? The situation remains the same. Embarrassing as it sounds, but this is plain swindle, and nothing else,” he said.

Russia is set to harvest a record amount of grain this year, which is predicted to reach 150 million tons, including some 100 million tons of wheat, Putin said. But Russian food products have a difficult time finding their way to the global market due to Western economic sanctions, as do Russian fertilizers, he added. The West “is causing the global food crisis,” he claimed. The US and its allies deny that the restrictions they have imposed on Russian trade over the country’s military campaign in Ukraine are targeting its food and fertilizer exports. Officials in Moscow say that, while those products are technically not banned, restrictions on things like insurance and port services for Russian merchant ships effectively curb the country’s ability to export food and fertilizers.

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“Blinken also accused Russia of a “diabolical scheme” to deport or “disappear” the local Ukrainian population and “bus in” Russians..”

Ukraine Can Use Western Weapons Against ‘Territories Seized By Russia’ – US (RT)

Washington has no objections to Kiev using Western-supplied weapons to target territories that may decide to join Russia, as the US considers the vote to do so illegitimate, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday. The US and its allies have supplied Ukraine with a variety of weapons, including tube and rocket artillery. At a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Washington, Blinken was asked if the US had any objections to Ukraine using those weapons to attack targets in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson, which just wrapped up a vote on joining Russia. “We will never recognize the annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia,” Blinken told reporters.

“Ukraine has the absolute right to defend itself throughout its territory, including to take back the territory that has been illegally seized, one way or another, by Russia. And the equipment, the weapons that we and many other countries are providing, have been used very effectively to do just that.” Russia’s “annexation” of the Donbass republics and the two regions will make zero difference to either Ukraine or the US, Blinken insisted. “The Ukrainians will continue to do what they need to do to get back the land that has been taken from them. We will continue to support them in that effort.” In June, when the US first sent long-range HIMARS rocket artillery to Ukraine, Blinken said he had received “assurances” from Kiev that they will not be used on Russian territory, and that he believed them due to a “strong trust bond.”

Kiev’s forces have since used the US-supplied weapons to target civilians in Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye, which are under Russian control. Ukraine has also bombed Crimea and border towns in the Russian regions of Kursk and Belgorod. Crimea rejoined Russia in March 2014, after the US-backed coup in Kiev, while Donetsk and Lugansk declared independence. Blinken also accused Russia of a “diabolical scheme” to deport or “disappear” the local Ukrainian population and “bus in” Russians who would then vote in a manipulated referendum to get annexed by Moscow.

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Given that there is no real information available in the US, this is quite the poll.

Americans Are Growing Tired Of Support For Ukraine Without Diplomacy (BI)

A new poll suggests that many Americans are growing weary as the US government continues its support of Ukraine in its war with Russia and want to see diplomatic efforts to end the war if aid is to continue. According to a poll conducted by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and Data for Progress, 57% of likely voters strongly or somewhat support the US pursuing diplomatic negotiations as soon as possible to end the war in Ukraine, even if it requires Ukraine making compromises with Russia. Just 32% of respondents were strongly or somewhat opposed to this. And nearly half of the respondents (47%) said they only support the continuation of US military aid to Ukraine if the US is involved in ongoing diplomacy to end the war, while 41% said they support the continuation of US military aid to Ukraine whether the US is involved in ongoing diplomacy or not.

The Biden administration and Congress need to do more diplomatically to help end the war, according to 49% of likely voters, while 37% said they have done enough in this regard, the poll showed. “Americans recognize what many in Washington don’t: Russia’s war in Ukraine is more likely to end at the negotiating table than on the battlefield. And there is a brewing skepticism of Washington’s approach to this war, which has been heavy on tough talk and military aid, but light on diplomatic strategy and engagement,” said Trita Parsi, executive vice president at the Quincy Institute. “‘As long as it takes’ isn’t a strategy, it’s a recipe for years of disastrous and destructive war — conflict that will likely bring us no closer to the goal of securing a prosperous, independent Ukraine.

US leaders need to show their work: explain to the American people how you plan to use your considerable diplomatic leverage to bring this war to an end,” Parsi added. The poll found close to half of likely US voters (48%) somewhat or strongly oppose the US providing aid to Ukraine at current levels if long-term global economic hardship, including in the US, occurs. Meanwhile, the poll showed that only four-in-10 Americans somewhat or strongly support the US providing aid to Ukraine at current levels if this occurs.

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“..will bring total US spending on the war since Russia invaded to $65.9 billion, which is the same number as Russia’s entire military budget for 2021.”

US Preparing $1.1 Billion Arms Package for Ukraine (Antiwar)

The US is preparing a new $1.1 billion arms package for Ukraine that will be announced soon, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing unnamed US officials. The weapons package will likely include HIMARS rocket systems, HIMARS ammunition, counter-drone systems, radar systems, training, and technical support. The arms package is expected to be provided to Kyiv using the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) as opposed to sending the arms directly from US military stockpiles. The USAI allows the Biden administration to purchase military equipment for Ukraine from the US arms industry.


The new package will bring the total amount of US arms pledged for Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24 to over $16 billion. Funds for Ukraine are still being pulled from the $40 billion aid package President Biden signed into law back in May, but Congress is preparing to authorize more spending to support the war. Congress unveiled on Tuesday a new $12.3 billion aid package for Ukraine that will be included in a stopgap funding bill that needs to be passed this week to avoid a government shutdown. The $12.3 billion includes military and economic support for Ukraine and will bring total US spending on the war since Russia invaded to $65.9 billion, which is the same number as Russia’s entire military budget for 2021.

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Valdai Club Programme Director Timofey Bordachev.

Questions Over The Value Of Military And Political Alliances (Bordachev)

The continuing military and diplomatic clash between Russia and the West, led by the United States, raises questions to which, until recently, the answers seemed obvious. These include the phenomena of permanent alliances and allied relations. It is no secret that the behaviour of Moscow’s formal allies in the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in today’s environment raises questions for the Kremlin, while Russia’s opponents are raising hopes that the existence of these blocs is no longer an advantage, but a problem, for Russia’s foreign and defence policy. We see examples of individual member countries of the CSTO or the EAEU meeting US demands in matters related to economic warfare against Russia. This makes one wonder how important and necessary are Russia’s allies when it cannot, like the US, exercise authoritarian control over its foreign and defence policies?

The phenomenon of permanent alliance relations is a relatively recent invention in international politics – it emerged after the Second World War and it is entirely unknown whether the next round of global upheavals of a similar scale will see it survive. Even if we are not all blown to bits by a general nuclear catastrophe in the coming years, what is happening makes the prospects for all the phenomena that have shaped the fabric of international life in recent decades, without exception, highly uncertain. Today, the benchmark example of a permanent alliance of sovereign states is European integration. Another similar example is the NATO bloc, in which participation is cemented by the unconditional authority of a power far superior to its allies and not shy in making that clear.

It is no coincidence that the conflict around Ukraine, the first major war of the new era in international politics, is linked to the development of these two alliances. A strong group of states inevitably creates conflicts around itself. Indeed, this becomes a consequence of the fact that it protects the interests of its members. [..] the whole idea of an alliance in the usual sense of the word has lost all meaning. First and foremost, for its leading participant. The small member states obviously have neither alternative options nor the military, political or demographic resources for fully independent survival. This helps us to solve the problem of the formal preservation of such associations, even if they lose much of their necessary functions and content. However, it should be understood that, in the future, Russia, like its neighbors, will either have to give up the idea of institutionalizing its relations or resort to rather more authoritarian methods of governance.

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A decade of financial disaster.

White House Mulling Potential Yellen Departure After Midterms (Axios)

White House officials are quietly preparing for the potential departure of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen after the midterms, the first and most consequential exit in what could be a broad reorganization of President Biden’s economic team, according to people familiar with the matter. While her potential departure would give Biden an opportunity to respond to public concern over his handling of the economy, it would also create an immediate political headache: finding a successor who can be confirmed by the Senate. The process is in the early stages and a decision on Yellen, or any Cabinet replacement, has not been made. Multiple sources stressed the outcome of November’s election, including who controls the Senate, will factor into whether she stays.

Yellen will also have some say in her fate, and with the world’s economy teetering, there could be a convincing case for her to stay. In addition to Yellen, officials are also considering the possibility that Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, will leave early next year. Deese’s departure would present an opportunity for Gene Sperling, who is currently coordinating the implementation of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, to serve an unprecedented third term as NEC director after holding that post in the Clinton and Obama administrations. Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, is also expected to return to her academic post in the spring of 2023, opening up another Cabinet-level economic position.

Yellen, an economist by trade and at heart, has been reluctant to make overly political arguments when they violate her core academic beliefs. The former Fed and CEA chair has disagreed with the White House on several high-profile issues, including the White House faulting corporations for increasing inflation and — most recently — Biden’s decision to forgive some student debt. She has also made several statements that White House officials have privately viewed as blunders. Yellen publicly admitted this summer she was wrong on inflation, and last year said it would be a “plus” if the Fed raised interest rates.

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“..that Trump would not be able to face his accusers before being impeached did not sit right with Nadler, who warned Pelosi and Schiff of the ramifications it would have in the long run.”

You made your bed, Jerry. Lie in it.

Nadler Feuded With Schiff, Pelosi Over Unconstitutional Trump Impeachment (Fox)

A new book reveals that House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., was at odds with how House Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s handling of impeachment proceedings against former President Trump, insisting that the methods used by the prominent Democrats were “unconstitutional” and could be used to attack the party. The revelation comes in a book set to be released on October 18 titled, “Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump,” written by Politico Playbook co-author Rachael Bade and Washington Post reporter Karoun Demirjian. The book chronicles the methods Democrats used to target Trump.

In October 2019, amid the Democrats’ plan to hold a full House vote on a resolution outlining the structure of impeachment proceedings against Trump, Nadler, according to the book, took issue with how Schiff, who was tapped by Pelosi to lead impeachment efforts, was prepared to proceed with the impeachment without due process for Trump. Worried about the situation and the likelihood that his Judiciary Committee would not be able to cross-examine witnesses as the committee had done traditionally, Nadler confronted Schiff about the planned process, and, according to the book, said: “It’s unfair, and it’s unprecedented, and it’s unconstitutional.” “I don’t appreciate your tone,” Schiff allegedly responded. “I worry you’re putting us in a box for our investigation.”

Sidelined by Pelosi to handle impeachment proceedings in the House, the book claims Nadler made an “effort to get back into Pelosi’s good graces” and that his “aides sucked up to her staff relentlessly” in an attempt to show that his panel was prepared to step in and assist. Striving to earn approval from Pelosi, Nadler hired attorneys and had his team pour through records and books from the impeachments of former Presidents Nixon and Johnson. Those efforts worked and led Pelosi and Schiff to reconsider the Judiciary Committee’s involvement in the process, although they had “their own ideas about how he should run his committee process,” according to the book.

“She didn’t want the Judiciary panel to interview witnesses at all,” the book’s authors wrote. “Pelosi simply didn’t trust the panel — which was stacked with liberal crusaders and hotheaded conservatives — to handle the rollout of the complex Ukraine narrative with the careful, compelling treatment it required. She couldn’t afford another Nadler screwup. The Judiciary chairman could focus on the legal business of crafting the articles of impeachment and have academics testify, she allowed. But that was it.” Nadler’s frustration with the pair of Democrats grew. Research conducted by his team proved that presidents facing impeachment from Congress had been allowed to defend themselves before the House Judiciary Committee, with attorneys for the president having the opportunity to attend hearings, as well as cross-examine testifying witnesses or call their own.

That did not matter to Schiff, and the fact that Trump would not be able to face his accusers before being impeached did not sit right with Nadler, who warned Pelosi and Schiff of the ramifications it would have in the long run. “If we’re going to impeach, we need to show the country that we gave the president ample opportunity to defend himself,” Nadler told them, according to the book.

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“She is my rival and we will continue to fight each other, but the idea that now there is a risk of fascism in Italy is absolutely fake news.” – Renzi

Liberal Former PM Renzi Dismisses ‘Fascism’ Brewing in Italy Claims (BB)

Former liberal Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi has dismissed alarmist claims in the global media that incoming Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is a “danger to democracy”, telling CNN “the idea that now there is a risk of fascism in Italy is absolutely fake news.” “Personally, I was against Giorgia Meloni. I’m not her best friend. We grew up together in politics, but we are, and will be, rivals, always,” said Renzi, who served as Prime Minister of Italy for nearly three years until December 2016, and is the leader of the liberal “Italia Viva” party. “At the same time, I think [Meloni] is not a danger [to] Italian democracy,” Renzi continued. “She is my rival, and we will continue to fight each other, but the idea that now there is a risk of fascism in Italy is absolutely fake news.”


The former Prime Minister went on to say that Meloni won Sunday night’s election, “particularly because populism, a lot of times, [wins] in Italy.” “She has a majority coalition, and probably she will be — I think next month — the next Prime Minister,” Renzi said, before doubling down on his claim that “democracy” is not at risk. “That is very important, because I fought against her, but at the same time, I think there is not a danger for fascism in Italy,” Renzi affirmed. Elsewhere in the interview, Renzi mentioned that he is “exactly the opposite of Giorgia Meloni, because she is a sovereigntist and I’m for Europe” [the European Union]. The international media has been quick to compare her to wartime fascist leader Mussolini, a serious allegation. Yet as Renzi’s comments demonstrate, not even Meloni’s own opposition inside Italy believes this to be true.

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“Me, I believe Mussolini was a good politician,” Meloni said in an interview. “By which I mean that everything he did, he did for Italy.”

Meloni Contra Mundum (Gonzalez)

[..] liberal democracies across the West unified this weekend in denouncing the democratic will of the Italian people, who have just propelled Giorgia Meloni and her right-wing Italian nationalist party to electoral victory. Man is a symbolic animal, and Meloni’s victory is seen as a symbolic rejection of Western liberalism. Whether she lives up to that potential is yet to be seen. But the electricity of the moment is palpable: the Italians have voted against the times. It’s difficult to dislike this atypical politician. Meloni’s father abandoned his family when she was just 11 years old, leaving her mother to raise her alone. She has working-classes bona fides, working as a nanny, waitress, and bartender to support herself. She has been politically engaged since she was a teenager and has never been shy about her views.

“Me, I believe Mussolini was a good politician,” Meloni said in an interview. “By which I mean that everything he did, he did for Italy.” Though she may not have read Legutko, Meloni has also noticed the similarities between communism and liberal democracy. “We did not fight against and defeat communism in order to replace it with a new internationalist regime,” she said during the National Conservatism conference in Rome, “but to permit independent nation-states once again to defend the freedom, identity, and sovereignty of their peoples.” Meloni has denounced the mass immigration of non-European people to European lands and called for naval blockades in the Mediterranean to thwart migrant smugglers. She also went against the grain on COVID-19 vaccines and lockdowns. Meloni was the only party leader to oppose the so-called Green Pass—a vaccine passport that would have been required to work, travel, and shop.

Under different circumstances, the West might be celebrating the ascent of this underdog. But her politics are, for the most part, outside the West’s liberal democratic consensus, which is why Italians love her. Most of all, Meloni breaks the consensus on social and cultural issues at the center of liberalism’s moral universe. She emphatically opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, rejects gender ideology and the promotion of alternative sexual lifestyles. At a rally before an audience that stood to its feet and applauded ceaselessly at her words, Meloni thundered: “Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology, yes to the culture of life, no to the abyss of death, no to the violence of Islam, yes to safer borders, no to mass immigration, yes to work for our people.”

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“You may not like ms. Meloni’s political orientation but she is a human being and, as such, she deserves respect, especially considering that she has taken upon herself a tremendously difficult task.”

Human Sacrifices: are They Coming Back? (Ugo Bardi)

If there ever was a society under stress, it is ours. We passed all the limits of survival: destroyed the oldr-growth forests, killed off large number of species, poisoned the atmosphere, depleted our mineral resources, eroded the fertile soil, polluted water and the atmosphere, set the planet on a path to an irreversible warming and a few more little things, including having deployed a sufficient number of nuclear warhead to wreck the ecosystem and, most likely, kill everybody. And we haven’t renounced to our beloved habit of making war against each other. Would you be surprised if we were to indulge in large scale human sacrifices? We are not yet there, but the path seems to be traced. Have you noted how popular are the “Zombie” movies?

Take a look at them in light of what I have been saying here: do you see them as a blueprint for the mass extermination of suburbanites? First starve them, easy: just stop the delivery to the local supermarkets and service stations. Once they run out of food and fuel, they are doomed. Then, while they are still able to stumble along, finish them off with a bullet to the head. Truly, the fascination with this idea casts much light on what our society has in mind for the near future. We are not yet to the point of seeing the elites booking zombie-killing safaris in the suburbs of our cities. But other possible large scale sacrifices are possible. I already mentioned how the German government had hired the country’s doctors to cull the undesirables. They had complied, happily. That could be easily done in our times, too.

The concept of human sacrifice, though, is not about numbers, but about the visible high-status of the victim. Now, after the electoral victory of Giorgia Meloni in Italy, many people commented by publishing on their social accounts the images of Mussolini’s dead body and of his lover Claretta Petacci. A clear message to Ms. Meloni, just as the many published images showing her upside-down, just like Mussolini and Petacci were. Will she undergo the same treatment as Mussolini? For sure, Italy is going toward a difficult period and whoever will lead the country risks being deemed responsible for whatever disaster will befell Italy in the near future. And it is also true that people can be extremely nasty when they are in a dire situation. You may not like ms. Meloni’s political orientation but she is a human being and, as such, she deserves respect, especially considering that she has taken upon herself a tremendously difficult task. We can and we should wish her success. Good luck, Giorgia, you’ll need a lot of it.

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They don’t want to believe themselves.

Pro-Vaccine Doctor Suspects Pfizer Booster Sent His Cancer Into Overdrive (CHD)

Michel Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., professor of immunology and pharmacotherapy at the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, suspects his third dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine may have sent his cancer into overdrive. Goldman, 67, is one of Europe’s best-known champions of medical research and a lifelong promoter of vaccines. But he told The Atlantic he wants discussion of the COVID-19 vaccine to be transparent — so he went public about his suspicion that the Pfizer booster shot he received on Sept. 22, 2021, may have induced rapid progression of his angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL), a type of lymphoma he’d been diagnosed with before he got the booster shot. After his diagnosis, Goldman said he rushed to get the booster shot, believing he would need it more than most people because once he started chemotherapy, his immune system would be compromised.

But after receiving the shot, Goldman’s follow-up CT scan showed something unexpected: Within only a few days, his cancer had grown so fast that cancerous points were lighting up all over his scan. “It looked like someone had set off fireworks inside Michel’s body,” The Atlantic reported. Goldman and his brother, Serge Goldman, a fellow scientist and head of nuclear medicine at the teaching hospital of the Université libre de Bruxelles, suspected Goldman’s COVID-19 booster shot may have triggered the rapid proliferation of cancerous growth in his body. The initial CT scan had been “a bit disturbing,” Serge Goldman told The Atlantic, because it showed an asymmetrical cluster of cancerous nodes around Goldman’s left armpit, where Michel’s first two doses of vaccine had been delivered.

The CT scan done after Michel’s third dose showed the cancer’s asymmetry had flipped and was clustered by his right armpit, where he received the third shot. The brothers knew it could be a mere coincidence, but they thought it was important to investigate the possibility that the vaccine might be behind the clustering — because it could mean other people with certain forms of cancer might be at risk of a COVID-19 vaccine causing their cancer to progress more rapidly. So on Nov. 25, 2021, the brothers — who had written prior papers together — and other colleagues published a case report in which they described Michel Goldman’s experience and urged the scientific community to study the phenomenon to see if it occurred in patients diagnosed with AITL.

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The CDC is politics disguised as science.

CDC Finds Lasting Post-vaccine Heart Problems In Young Adults (JTN)

The CDC continues to erase distinctions by COVID-19 vaccination status in public health guidance as ongoing global research — including its own — documents the mediocre performance of COVID vaccines and their unexpectedly high rates of lasting harm in some groups. Vaccination status is no longer used “to inform source control, screening testing, or post-exposure recommendations” for healthcare personnel, the Friday update to their CDC guidance says. The agency “[c]larified” that healthcare facilities, including nursing homes, have discretion on whether to screen-test asymptomatic personnel. It also now says asymptomatic patients “in general” do not require “empiric use of Transmission-Based Precautions” after exposure to an infected person.

A CDC study of 12-29 year-olds with heart inflammation following mRNA vaccination, published last week in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, found that 1 in 6 still had not “fully recovered” at least 90 days after myocarditis onset, including 1 in 100 who hadn’t improved at all. Myocarditis has increased so markedly among youth since vaccines were authorized for them that an Ivy League-affiliated hospital started running TV ads this month for its treatment in children. New York-Presbyterian marked the ad’s Sept. 6 YouTube video private less than two weeks later, following criticism that it was trying to “normalize” a vaccine-induced condition. The CDC’s COVID-19 Response Team found more than 800 myocarditis reports to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System from Jan. 12 to Nov. 5, 2021 that matched the parameters for age and time since onset.

Excluding those without phone numbers or who couldn’t be reached, they studied 393 individuals whose healthcare providers, mostly cardiologists, completed a survey. The median age was 17 and overwhelmingly male. The team deemed four in five patients “fully or probably fully” recovered (320). But two-thirds of those initially required non-intensive care hospitalization, and 27% required intensive care. At their last provider followup, 28% of the fully recovered were still on doctor-ordered physical activity restrictions. The figures for the 65 patients who were not fully recovered: 62% non-intensive hospitalization and 18% intensive, and 48% still on physical activity restrictions. Less than a third had been cleared for physical activity, half the figure for the fully recovered, who had a median clearance of 10 fewer days (104).

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Beach front

 

 

 

 

 

 


Staircase

 

 

 

 

Bird

 

 

 

 

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Jun 212022
 


Caravaggio Conversion on the way to Damascus 1600-01

 

All This and World War Too (Kunstler)
‘Nothing Will Be As Before’ (Batiushka)
The Triumph of Death (Chris Hedges)
Zelenskyy Officially Bans Ukraine’s Largest Opposition Political Party (CTH)
Russia Demands Lithuania Lift “Openly Hostile” Blockade (ZH)
A Permanent Shortage of Everything (Greenfield)
Orbán Vows To Dismiss Policies That Threaten To Impoverish Hungarians (RMX)
Adverse Effects Of Covid Vaccines & Measures To Prevent Them (Virology Journal)
Children Are Really, Really Unlikely To Die From Covid-19 (Munro)
The Federal Republic of New Normal Germany (CJ Hopkins)
Yellen Is Wrong AGAIN (Denninger)
Odds of US Economy Going Into Recession Next Year Jumps To 40% (NYP)
Biden Administration About to Render a Verdict on the Border Agents (Turley)
Dutch Join Germany, Austria, In Reverting To Coal (F24)
Open Letter to NATO Secretary-General (Molyviatis)

 

 

 

 

Tucker going green

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..the Flying Reptile of Chappaqua..”

All This and World War Too (Kunstler)

For three decades, since the old Soviet Union ended in a whimper, reincarnated Russia asked “the West” for very little, almost nothing, really, certainly not the kind of “aid” that the USA used like a fungo-bat to beat lesser states around the world into hegemonic submission. All Russia asked, after seventy-five years of mass formation communist insanity, was to be treated once again like a normal European nation. Early on, Russia even floated a possible application to NATO, which NATO laughed off — among many other insults to follow. But slowly after 1991, and then all at once, Europe and the USA fell under their own mass formation spell, apparently at the instigation of a certain Schwabenklaus and his WEF factotums implanted throughout Western Civ, like poison raisins in a fruitcake, rendering the EU members and the USA insane, which is to say no longer normal nations able to entertain normal relations with others.

And so, by February of 2022, you get this coalition of lunatic countries — preoccupied at home with the rankest political degeneracy disguised as virtue — provoking a proxy war in Ukraine with the aim of impoverishing, humiliating, and weakening Russia. And despite the massive funding and training of a 200,000-man Ukrainian military poised against the Donbas, the whole thing collapsed in misadventure as a strategic Russian meat-grinder chews through the West’s proxy army like so much lunchmeat… bringing us up-to-date. As the psychologist Mattias Desmet points out in his just-published book, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, the people tragically locked into a mass formation develop, among many other delusions and psychopathologies, the grandiose idea that they have an ethical duty to destroy other nations.

Hence, perhaps, you can see how the dangerous mischief of RussiaGate, Hillary Clinton’s spoofish punkery that Russia “interfered” in the 2016 election, mutated into an American foreign policy psychosis. By “Hillary Clinton” you must understand I refer not just to the Flying Reptile of Chappaqua herself, but the Party of Chaos she helped create out of the diverse-and-inclusive body parts stitched together from the graveyard of Leftist politics — socialists, communists, feminists, anarchists, Maoists, and Gawd-knows whatever other diverse ists this increasingly crazed coalition of Jacobin maniacs could enlist for beating a path straight into World War Three.

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“And also it leaves two captured US mercenaries. There is speculation that the British might plea for their release in exchange for Julian Assange..”

‘Nothing Will Be As Before’ (Batiushka)

Western arms, usually third-rate from stocks anyway, are making hardly any difference in the Ukraine. Most, together with munitions, get destroyed before they can be used. Much that has been promised cannot be used because it will take months to instruct Ukrainians on how to use them. The rate of attrition of the Kiev Army, up to 1,000 a day according to Kuleba, the Kiev Interior Minister, is simply unsustainable. Once the fortifications in the Donbass, built by Kiev and NATO over the last eight years, have been overwhelmed, there will be a clear run to Odessa, Transdnestria, Kharkov and Kiev or indeed anywhere that Russia wants. This could happen soon. Yesterday, the Russian Ministry of Defence released figures on mercenaries. = The picture is dismal for the Ukraine.

Of some 6,000 mercenaries in the Ukraine from 64 different countries, some 2,000 have been killed and some 2,000 have fled. Perhaps they thought that they were going to fight in a Third World country, where the enemy just had Kalashnikovs and not world-beating hypersonic missiles? How long the remaining 2,000 or so will remain alive remains to be seen. Poland supplied the greatest number of mercenaries, with 1,831. Presumably as with other countries like Canada (601 mercenaries), USA (530), Romania (504), Germany and France, the majority of these were actually Ukrainians who have lived outside the Ukraine for some years, rather than native people. In third place for mercenaries from Europe comes the UK with 422, of whom 102 have been killed and 98 have fled.

According to General Konashenkov who released the figures, the number of mercenaries coming has stopped and indeed been reversed. It is too dangerous to stay and get killed in the Ukraine. This leaves the two foolish British mercenaries, not killed in action with the 102 others, but taken prisoner. And also it leaves two captured US mercenaries. There is speculation that the British might plea for their release in exchange for Julian Assange. That would upset the Americans. On the other hand, the British mercenaries, Eslin and Pinner, have already been sentenced to death. If that sentenced is carried out, it is going to make Johnson even more unpopular than he already is. Perhaps that is why Johnson went to Kiev to plead.

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“Reality, increasingly unpalatable, will cease to exist in public discourse.”

The Triumph of Death (Chris Hedges)

The Biden administration is defined by failed expectations, from its stymied Build Back Better Plan to its refusal to raise the minimum wage. It is running on fumes, using gimmicks, empty rhetoric, spectacle and fear to intimidate the electorate. The descent is pathetic to watch, reminiscent of the moment Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu tried desperately to placate an unruly crowd from the balcony of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Romania building by offering to raise pension and family allowance by $2 a month. He and his wife were executed four days later. The discredited East German Communist Party, which like the Romanian revolution I also covered as a reporter, made similar empty gestures, promising to open its closed party headquarters to the public long after anyone cared.

The billionaire class, or at least many of them, would prefer to loot and pillage under the cover of the old political decorum and rhetoric. They like the fiction of paying homage to an emasculated democracy. It gives them the veneer of respectability. But this is not to be. The rage of the betrayed is articulated by imbecilic demagogues vomited up from the social and political swamp. Corporations and the billionaire class will continue to exploit, but under a cruder and crueler authoritarianism. The social, political, economic and environmental breakdown will accelerate.

Reality, increasingly unpalatable, will cease to exist in public discourse. It will be replaced by Millenarian cults, such as the Christian fascists, and bizarre conspiracy theories, a retreat into magical thinking where evil is embodied in demonized individuals and groups that must be eradicated. Truth and lies will be indistinguishable. The vulnerable will be cast aside, blamed for their own misery, as well as ours. Those who resist will be criminals. Mass death will sweep across the planet. This is the world our children will inherit unless those who control us are wrenched from power.

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And we pay for this?!

Zelenskyy Officially Bans Ukraine’s Largest Opposition Political Party (CTH)

The definition of the modern “western democracy” in Ukraine is increasingly showcased as the goal for modern totalitarian government. The inflection point away from representative democracy was first evident in the way COVID-19 was leveraged by “western” governments in the U.S, Canada, Australia and the European Union. Totalitarian minded leaders within those democracies, including governors in the United States, began operating without any elected representative feedback. Everything shifted from legislative representation to a system of dictatorial fiats with no opposition allowed in the arbitrary rules and regulations. From forced lockdowns and arbitrary determinations of “essential workers,” various western government leaders were drunk on their new power.

Those who were already predisposed to the benefits of communism (aka Justin Trudeau) and various shades therein, dropped all pretense of believing there were limits to their power and began dispatching opposition views. It did not take long before we saw things escalate into lockdowns, travel bans, forced business closures, quarantine camps and ultimately forced vaccinations and checkpoints for transit. Collectively, none of these efforts ever went before a representative body for debate and consent; they were done through brute force and power of a top-down centralized authoritarian government. It did not seem as if most people realized how ‘western democracy’ changed overnight through the use of the pandemic.

What we see taking place in Ukraine is an outcropping of this newly defined ‘western democracy.’ Using a declaration of emergency power, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has now banned all opposition voices, taken control of broadcast media and now today banned the second largest political party in Ukraine. Ukraine’s Opposition Platform For Life (OPPL) was the second largest political force in the Ukraine Parliament. As of today, the party is officially banned by a Ukrainian court at the request of the Zelenskyy Ministry of Justice. All assets, funds and property belonging to OPPL have been seized and transferred to the state.

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“He expressed hope, however, that the West “will have enough brains to opt against this”.

Russia Demands Lithuania Lift “Openly Hostile” Blockade (ZH)

Anton Alikhanov, the governor of the Russian oblast which has a total population of some one million people (with Kaliningrad city including almost 450,000 – and 800,000 total if outlying suburbs are counted) is urging calm: Urging citizens not to resort to panic buying, Alikhanov said two vessels were already ferrying goods between Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg, and seven more would be in service by the end of the year. “Our ferries will handle all the cargo”, he said on Saturday. Russian officials and media have long warned against what they dubbed Western aims to “blockade” Kaliningrad. Crucially, the EU enforcement measure being implemented from Vilnius marks a complete break in a three decade long treaty that’s been in effect…

Ahead of the new Lithuanian transit ban taking effect, the state railways service was reportedly awaiting final word from the European Commission on enforcing it: The cargo unit of Lithuania’s state railways service set out details of the ban in a letter to clients following “clarification” from the European Commission on the mechanism for applying the sanctions. Previously, Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Mantas Adomenas said the ministry was waiting for “clarification from the European Commission on applying European sanctions to Kaliningrad cargo transit.” Brussels then ruled that “sanctioned goods and cargo should still be prohibited even if they travel from one part of Russia to another but through EU territory,” according to Rueters/Rferl.

In Moscow’s eyes, this is tantamount to laying economic siege to part of Russia’s sovereign territory and one million of its citizens. When the EU first proposed the blockage of goods as part of the last major sanctions package in early April, Kremlin officials warned of war given Moscow would have to “break the blockade” for the sake if its citizens. According to an April 6th statement in Russia’s TASS by a state Duma official: Statements from the West about a possible blockade of Kaliningrad is testing the waters, but Russia can ‘break the blockade’ in case these threats become a reality, it has an experience, Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy head of the Federation Council upper house’s Committee for International affairs, said on Wednesday.

“I think that for now, this is a game, testing the waters <…>. In case of a blockade, as they are saying, the Soviet Union knows how to break the blockades, we (Russia as the successor of the Soviet Union – TASS) have vast experience,” the senator said. “If they want to go to the length of making us break this blockade to save the lives of our people, who live there, we can do this,” Dzhabarov said in a video interview at the press center of Parlamentskaya Gazeta (Parliamentary Newspaper). He expressed hope, however, that the West “will have enough brains to opt against this”.

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“..a handful of massive enterprises interconnected with the state lazily crank out low-quality products from vast supply chains that they no longer control..”

A Permanent Shortage of Everything (Greenfield)

The world isn’t flat, it’s all too round…. That’s why Islam is once again at war with Europe, Russia is invading Ukraine, China is relaunching its empire, and the ‘flatland’ is experiencing a dimensional shift. Globalization advocates had just recreated Marxist central planning with a somewhat more flexible global model in which massive corporations bridged global barriers to create the most efficient possible means of moving goods and services around the planet. Borders would come down and cultural exchanges would make us all one ushering in the great union of humanity. Market consolidation due to government regulations has left a handful of companies sitting atop the market. When one of them, like Abbott for baby formula, has a hiccup, the results are catastrophic

[..] others like Procter & Gamble, which controls about half the menstrual products market, don’t have to worry about losing market share to competition. Similar consolidation in food, paper products and supermarkets have replaced a dynamic economy with cartels. Behind all the brands on the product shelves is a creaky Soviet system in which a handful of massive enterprises interconnected with the state lazily crank out low-quality products from vast supply chains that they no longer control and feel little competitive pressure to perform better. The only thing that is still American about the supermarket experience is the advertising. Interdependence hasn’t even led to the world government that globalists wanted, but global chaos in which impotent western powers try to talk the rest of the world out of fighting to avoid being swamped by refugees, high energy bills and empty shelves in supermarkets.

After selling off American economic sovereignty, globalists proved unable to maintain global stability. Lacking the will to actually stand up to China, Iran or Russia, all they can do is hold more international conferences and build up a useless multinational bureaucracy. Say what you will about the League of Nations, but it only had 700 employees in Geneva. The UN’s 44,000 employees are just the tip of the iceberg in the huge ranks of multinational organizations who all claim to be upholding the international order while running up the tab.

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“Tens of thousands of Hungarians have received refugees into their homes, collected donations, and volunteered. In the meantime, we have sent and continue to send humanitarian aid, donations, food, fuel, and medicine to Ukraine.”

“..the sanctions imposed should not do us more harm than Russia.”

Orbán Vows To Dismiss Policies That Threaten To Impoverish Hungarians (RMX)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has hit back at a letter addressed to him by 44 MEPs, which directly accused his government of backing Russia in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. In the letter, dated June 14, MEPs expressed their dismay at the Hungarian government for securing an exemption on the latest energy sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union, claiming that “the exemption for Russian oil pipelines will continue to finance Russia’s war crimes against Ukraine.” The European lawmakers further lament what they describe to be “the unfortunate prioritization of national economic gain and personal political interests to the detriment of the lives of the Ukrainian people.” The MEPs included members of the Renew Europe, EPP and S&D groups in the European Parliament.

Orbán responded in a letter on Thursday, dismissing the notion that his government is supporting Russia in its invasion of Ukraine and vowing to continue rejecting proposals that “run counter to common sense and threaten to impoverish Hungarian and European families.” “We condemn the Russian attack on the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine and the violation of the Budapest Convention. We want peace. The armed conflict must end, and the disputes must be settled through negotiation. We also need to help Ukraine and take care of the refugees. So far, almost 800,000 refugees have arrived in Hungary from Ukraine, who have been provided with food, accommodation, and medicine. We are providing education for children and work for adults. Tens of thousands of Hungarians have received refugees into their homes, collected donations, and volunteered. In the meantime, we have sent and continue to send humanitarian aid, donations, food, fuel, and medicine to Ukraine.”

The Hungarian prime minister insisted his government had acted consistently with the “consensual principle that the sanctions imposed should not do us more harm than Russia.” Orbán vowed to continue to speak with “sincere words and calm arguments” against proposals that would disproportionately affect the Hungarian economy and its people. “I am sure that I will find more and more partners among you in this endeavor,” Orbán predicted as the war continues, arguing that ensuring the sustainability of his country’s economy “is not only in the interest of Hungary, but also all of Europe.”

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“..immune function among vaccinated individuals 8 months after the administration of two doses of COVID-19 vaccine was lower than that among the unvaccinated individuals..”

Adverse Effects Of Covid Vaccines & Measures To Prevent Them (Virology Journal)

Recently, The Lancet published a study on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and the waning of immunity with time. The study showed that immune function among vaccinated individuals 8 months after the administration of two doses of COVID-19 vaccine was lower than that among the unvaccinated individuals. According to European Medicines Agency recommendations, frequent COVID-19 booster shots could adversely affect the immune response and may not be feasible. The decrease in immunity can be caused by several factors such as N1-methylpseudouridine, the spike protein, lipid nanoparticles, antibody-dependent enhancement, and the original antigenic stimulus.


These clinical alterations may explain the association reported between COVID-19 vaccination and shingles. As a safety measure, further booster vaccinations should be discontinued. In addition, the date of vaccination should be recorded in the medical record of patients. Several practical measures to prevent a decrease in immunity have been reported. These include limiting the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including acetaminophen to maintain deep body temperature, appropriate use of antibiotics, smoking cessation, stress control, and limiting the use of lipid emulsions, including propofol, which may cause perioperative immunosuppression. In conclusion, COVID-19 vaccination is a major risk factor for infections in critically ill patients.

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You can never get to zero.

Children Are Really, Really Unlikely To Die From Covid-19 (Munro)

Thanks to the nationalised provision of healthcare in the UK, the author group from the UK Health Security Agency were able to link up data from children with a positive Covid-19 test between March 2020 and December 2021 with healthcare data from the NHS. They looked for anyone aged <20 years who died within 100 days of a positive test for Covid-19. The family doctors of the patients were surveyed for clinical details, and hospital discharge paperwork, death certificates and post-mortem reports reviewed. The medical teams who cared directly for the children were contacted where more information was needed. Decisions on whether Covid-19 contributed to the death was made by 2 independent study team members and conflicts were resolved by author group discussion. Where it was unclear, Covid-19 was assumed to have contributed.

The headline result was that during this period there were 185 deaths within 100 days of a positive Covid-19 test, of which 81 were due to Covid-19. Using estimated Covid-19 infections in each age group during this time period, the highest infection fatality rate (IFR) was in children <1 year (1.7 deaths per 100,000 infections), followed by 16 – 19 years (1.5/100,000), then 12 – 15 years (0.9/100,000) and lowest in 1 – 11 years (0.3/100,000). Every death of a child is tragic, but these numbers are reassuringly small. Looking at each variant, the risk of death declined quite significantly for each subsequent wave. The IFR for the original virus was 1/100,000, for Alpha was 0.8/100,000 and for Delta was 0.6/100,000 (no data yet for Omicron, but given we know it is significantly less virulent than Delta we can expect this to fall further still).

The overall risk of death for people aged <20 years from Covid-19 during this time period was 0.7 deaths per 100,000 infections (7 per million, or 0.0007%). This is the same as the average risk of death to someone runnjng a marathon, going skiing for 10 days, or going on a return flight from London to New York City. More than half of all deaths due to Covid-19 occurred within a week of the positive test, and >90% within 30 days. Covid-19 was responsible for 1.2% of all deaths in children during this time period. One of the most important part of the analysis is regarding the comorbidity status of the children who sadly passed away due to Covid-19. Of the 81 deaths, 61 (75%) occurred in children with significant comorbidities, including severe neuro-disability, immunocompromise, congenital syndromes or chronic heart disease.

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“The roll-out of the New Normal is a global project … a multi-phase, multi-faceted project. Germany is just the current “tip of the spear.”

The Federal Republic of New Normal Germany (CJ Hopkins)

So, the government of New Normal Germany is contemplating forcing everyone to wear medical-looking masks in public from October to Easter on a permanent basis. Seriously, the fanatical New Normal fascists currently in charge of Germany’s government — mostly the SPD and the Greens — are discussing revising the “Infection Protection Act” in order to grant themselves the authority to continue to rule the country by decree, as they have been doing since the Autumn of 2020, thus instituting a “permanent state of emergency” that overrides the German constitution, indefinitely.

Go ahead, read that paragraph again. Take a break from the carnage in non-Nazi Ukraine, the show trials in the US congress, monkeypoxmania, Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, Sudden Bovine Death Syndrome, family-oriented drag queens, non-“vaccine”-related facial paralysis, and Biden falling off his bike, and reflect on what this possibly portends, the dominant country of the European Union dispensing with any semblance of democracy and transforming into a fascist biosecurity police state.

OK, let me try to be more precise, as I don’t want to be arrested for “spreading disinformation” or “delegitimizing the state.” Germany is not dispensing with the semblance of democracy. No, the German constitution will remain in effect. It’s just that the revised Infection Protection Act — like the “Enabling Act of 1933,” which granted the Nazi government the authority to issue any edicts it wanted under the guise of “remedying the distress of the people” — will grant the New Normal German government the authority to continue to supersede the constitution and issue whatever edicts it wants under the guise of “protecting the public health” … for example, forcing the German masses to display their conformity to the new official ideology by wearing medical-looking masks on their faces for six or seven months of every year.

In addition to a ritualized mass-demonstration of mindlessly fascist ideological conformity (a standard feature of all totalitarian systems), this annual October-to-Easter mask-mandate, by simulating the new paranoid “reality” in which humanity is under constant attack by deadly viruses and other “public health threats,” will cement the New Normal ideology into place. If not opposed and stopped here in Germany, it will spread to other European countries, and to Canada, and Australia, and the New Normal US states. If you think what happens in Germany doesn’t matter because you live in Florida, or in Sweden, or the UK, you haven’t been paying attention recently. The roll-out of the New Normal is a global project … a multi-phase, multi-faceted project. Germany is just the current “tip of the spear.”

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Yellen does not understand energy, and should be silent about it.

Yellen Is Wrong AGAIN (Denninger)

I’m getting tired of political feelz being paraded around as alleged “facts”. “Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that the Biden administration’s policies are not responsible for record-high gas prices, and the only way to fix the energy crisis in the “medium-term” is to move towards “renewables to address climate change.”… “Actually, consumption of gas and fuels are currently at lower levels than pre-pandemic, and what’s happened is the production has gone down. Refinery capacity is declined in the United States and oil production has declined. ….” Refinery capacity and production declined because Biden said he would ban both and, within days of being inaugurated, took concrete steps to do both.

Refineries and pipelines have a 30, 40, 50 or more year service life. Nobody in their right mind is going to put forward capital investment with a 30 year payback when you’re told that investment will be destroyed and that threat is credible because the people making it then act in accordance with same, thus confirming that its not mere election-year rhetoric (which we all know happens and usually means nothing.) “Yellen argued that the best way to address the energy crisis in the “medium-term” is to transition the country off of fossil fuels.” That’s a thermodynamic impossibility within the current realm of knowledge. In short: You can’t. To make an EV battery you must dig up 500,000 lbs. of earth. For one battery. Which has a service life, after which it must be replaced.

Which has no current means of economically recycling the components either, so unless you’d like the price of the pack to wildly exceed the crazy levels it is at now you will throw the old away and buy another one with another half-million pounds of earth dug up. All of which are dug up, transported and processed using fossil fuels because there is no other rational way to do so. Renewables in the form of wind and solar require these fossil fuel inputs, as do storage batteries. Because the energy they produce is uncertain, that is the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow, you can never guarantee how much output you will have from them even if you could somehow resolve the fossil fuel requirement for creating the panels, concrete and blades for the windmills, and rare earth materials you must dig out of the ground and refine to make them. For this reason the energy they produce will always fluctuate wildly in price simply due to fluctuations in supply.

If you build “enough” that you’re comfortable you will not be short there will be times there is so much supply the price is zero and the economic incentive to build them will likewise be zero. At any build-out less than this there will be times when you demand it but can’t have it. Of course the time when you demand it and can’t have it will be at the most inconvenient time of all, typically when its freezing-butt cold or broiling hot. Look at the price of these things and the fossil alternatives over long periods of time. Natural gas has seen wild spikes in both directions in price. So has wind power, solar and similar. There are only two that do not over our history of use: Coal and fission-based nuclear.

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“We look for GDP growth to slow to almost zero, inflation to settle at around 3% and the Fed to hike rates above 4%.”

Odds of US Economy Going Into Recession Next Year Jumps To 40% (NYP)

Wall Street bets are growing that the U.S. economy tumbles into a recession next year as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates at the fastest pace in two decades in order to cool scorching-hot inflation. Bank of America Global Research strategists have ratcheted up the odds of an economic downturn to 40% in 2023, with gross domestic product – the broadest measure of goods and services produced in a nation – slowing to almost zero by the second half of next year. “Our worst fears around the Fed have been confirmed: They fell way behind the curve and are now playing a dangerous game of catch up,” analysts led by Ethan Harris wrote. “We look for GDP growth to slow to almost zero, inflation to settle at around 3% and the Fed to hike rates above 4%.”

Fed policymakers last week approved a 75-basis point interest rate hike – the first since 1994 – as they race to catch up with runaway inflation, pushing the federal funds target range to 1.5% to 1.75%. Another hike of that magnitude could be on the table in July amid signs of stubbornly high inflation, Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters after the meeting, prompting investors to reassess the economic outlook. Officials also laid out an aggressive path of rate increases for the remainder of the year. New economic projections released after the two-day meeting showed policymakers expect interest rates to hit 3.4% by the end of 2022, which would be the highest level since 2008.

Hiking interest rates tends to create higher rates on consumer and business loans, which slows the economy by forcing employers to cut back on spending. Mortgage rates are already approaching 6%, the highest since 2008, while some credit card issuers have ratcheted up their rates to 20%. Harris slammed the Fed for waiting too long to begin tightening monetary policy and said the delay has raised the chances of a so-called “boom-bust” scenario.

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Another made up story.

Biden Administration About to Render a Verdict on the Border Agents (Turley)

At the height of the Stalinist purges, Soviet internal affairs minister Lavrentiy Beria famously boasted: “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” U.S. Border Patrol agents may be wondering if the Beria standard is back in vogue with the Biden administration. The reason: Fox News has reported that the Department of Homeland Security is moving to charge several agents with administrative violations after they were falsely accused of whipping Haitian migrants last September in Texas. The agents likely felt their fates were sealed the minute that President Biden promised to punish them, before an official investigation had even started. Either the president was wrong, or the agents must be guilty … of something. The controversy began when the Border Patrol responded to a large influx of undocumented migrants in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19.

Officials ordered a mounted unit to an under-defended part of the border. Mounted units are commonly used by federal, state and local police agencies for crowd control. The agents found themselves facing a large group of Haitian migrants crossing the border, and they positioned themselves on the river’s edge to block entry. A photographer captured the scene, which included agents using bridle reins to guide their skittish horses. While the entire videotape clearly shows the agents using the reins on their mounts, not on the migrants, some clearly misleading still shots appeared to make it look like the opposite was happening. Condemnations immediately erupted from politicians and pundits; some media reports presented the abuse allegations as fact — as the “whipping (of) Haitian asylum seekers.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) declared that the alleged whipping was “worse than what we witnessed in slavery” and condemned “the cowboys who were running down Haitians and using their reins to whip them.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) decried “images of inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants by Border Patrol — including the use of whips,” and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) described the incident as “white supremacist behavior.” For his part, President Biden rode the wave of media outrage, declaring: “It was horrible what — to see, as you saw — to see people treated like they did: horses nearly running them over and people being strapped. It’s outrageous. I promise you, those people will pay.” Of course, the Soviet Union’s Beria was a model of efficiency compared to Biden’s Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, who promised last September that the investigation would be “completed in a matter of days, not weeks.” Then months dragged on, and Mayorkas and his department went into virtual radio-silence.

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“The 2030 coal exit date is not in doubt at all..”

Famous last words.

Dutch Join Germany, Austria, In Reverting To Coal (F24)

The Dutch joined Germany and Austria in reverting to coal power on Monday following an energy crisis provoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Netherlands said it would lift all restrictions on power stations fired by the fossil fuel, which were previously limited to just over a third of output. Berlin and Vienna made similar announcements on Sunday as Moscow, facing biting sanctions over Ukraine, cuts gas supplies to energy-starved Europe. “The cabinet has decided to immediately withdraw the restriction on production for coal-fired power stations from 2002 to 2024,” Dutch climate and energy minister Rob Jetten told journalists in The Hague.


The Dutch minister said his country had “prepared this decision with our European colleagues over the past few days”. Germany however said it still aimed to close its coal power plants by 2030, in light of the greater emissions of climate-changing CO2 from the fossil fuel. “The 2030 coal exit date is not in doubt at all,” economy ministry spokesman Stephan Gabriel Haufe said at a regular news conference. The target was “more important than ever”, he added.

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Petros G. Molyviatis, a retired career diplomat, was, successively, diplomatic adviser and director of the cabinet of Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis (1974-80), Secretary-General of the Greek Presidency (1980-85 and 1990-95), Member of Parliament (1996-2004) and Foreign Minister from 2004-6 and in two caretaker governments in 2012 and 2015.

Open Letter to NATO Secretary-General (Molyviatis)

Honorable Secretary General of NATO,

Recently, you have been making statements about the crisis in Greek-Turkish relations. These statements appear to keep an equal distance between the two countries. In reality, however, they are formally unacceptable, essentially favoring the aggressor to the detriment of the victim, and are ultimately detrimental to the Alliance. The NATO Secretary-General is an employee of the governments that appoint him and pay his salary from the money of their taxpayers. He does not formulate policy – this is the work of the member governments – and does not express positions without their approval. And obviously the Greek government has not approved these statements. The obvious reason for the existence of any alliance is solidarity among its members. But here we have a NATO member, Turkey:

• Formally and publicly claiming territories of another member, Greece. Namely, 152 islands, islets and rock outcroppings in the Eastern Aegean sea. • Performing daily overflights of warplanes over these territories. • Having deployed against these islands the largest amphibious fleet in the Mediterranean and at the same time demanding their disarmament. When you, Mr. Secretary-General, call on Greece to engage in dialogue with Turkey to resolve their differences, you are essentially asking Greece to make its territorial integrity the subject of negotiations with Turkey. And you ask this while representing an Alliance that was set up and still exists for this very reason, namely the protection of the territorial integrity of its members.

This is not equidistancing. This is encouraging the aggressor against the victim. And this, in the end, does not lead to the strengthening of the Alliance’s cohesion but, rather, to its dissolution. If, Mr. Secretary-General, you do not possess the authority to intervene to remedy this unprecedented and unacceptable situation within the Alliance, I think the best thing to do is to remain silent until your term ends.

Sincerely,

Petros G. Molyviatis

Greek citizen

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Jun 022022
 
 June 2, 2022  Posted by at 8:37 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  72 Responses »


Giovanni Bellini The transfiguration c1490

 

Dear Friends, Sorry to Announce a Genocide (Naomi Wolf)
Is Monkeypox a Smokescreen for Global Health Power Grab? (CHD)
CDC Director Issues Alert on Pfizer’s COVID-19 Pill (ET)
The War in Ukraine May Be Impossible to Stop. Blame the US (NYT)
The Secret Ukrainian Military Programs (Thierry Meyssan)
America, Meet Your New Dictator-in-Chief (Whitehead)
Biden Aims to Fight Russia to the Last Ukrainian, Moscow Says (Celente)
Russia And The West Compete To Secure Safe Passage For Ukraine’s Grain (G.)
Milley: Using Military to Open Ukrainian Ports Would Be ‘High Risk’ (Antiwar)
Janet Yellen Pretends She Got It Wrong on Inflation, She Did Not (CTH)
John Durham Lost Because He Treated The FBI As A Dupe (McCarthy)

 

 

 

 

Tucker What is a Woman

 

 

Twitty

 

 

 

 

“reactogenicity”

Dear Friends, Sorry to Announce a Genocide (Naomi Wolf)

I’ve been silent for some weeks. Forgive me. The truth is: I’ve been rendered almost speechless — or the literary equivalent of that — because recently I’ve had the unenviable task of trying to announce to the world that indeed, a genocide — or what I’ve called, clumsily but urgently, a “baby die-off” — is underway. The WarRoom/DailyClout Pfizer Documents Research Volunteers, a group of 3000 highly credentialled doctors, RNs, biostatisticians, medical fraud investigators, lab clinicians and research scientists, have been turning out report after report, as you may know, to tell the world what is in the 55,000 internal Pfizer documents which the FDA had asked a court to keep under wraps for 75 years. By court order, these documents were forcibly disclosed. And our experts are serving humanity by reading through these documents and explaining them in lay terms. You can find all of the Volunteers’ reports on DailyClout.io.

The lies revealed are stunning. The WarRoom/DailyClout Volunteers have confirmed: that Pfizer (and thus the FDA) knew by December 2020 that the MRNA vaccines did not work — that they “waned in efficacy” and presented “vaccine failure.” One side effect of getting vaccinated, as they knew by one month after the mass 2020 rollout, was “COVID.” Pfizer knew in May of 2021 that 35 minors’ hearts had been damaged a week after MRNA injection — but the FDA rolled out the EUA for teens a month later anyway, and parents did not get a press release from the US government about heart harms til August of 2021, after thousands of teens were vaccinated.

Pfizer (and thus the FDA; many of the documents say “FDA: CONFIDENTIAL” at the lower boundary) knew that, contrary to what the highly paid spokesmodels and bought-off physicians were assuring people, the MRNA, spike protein and lipid nanoparticles did not stay in the injection site in the deltoid, but rather went, within 48 hours, into the bloodstream, from there to lodge in the liver, spleen, adrenals, lymph nodes, and, if you are a woman, in the ovaries. Pfizer (and thus the FDA) knew that the Moderna vaccine had 100 mcg of MRNA, lipid nanoparticles and spike protein, which was more than three times the 30 mcg of the adult Pfizer dose; the company’s internal documents show a higher rate of adverse events with the 100 mcg dose, so they stopped experimenting with that amount internally due to its “reactogenicity” — Pfizer’s words — but no one told all of the millions of Americans who all got the first and second 100 mcg Moderna dose, and the boosters.

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A 1971 photo.

Is Monkeypox a Smokescreen for Global Health Power Grab? (CHD)

On May 24, BBC News reported the following on the monkeypox outbreak: “More than 100 cases of the virus — which causes a rash and a fever — have been confirmed in Europe, the Americas and Australia… The virus has now been detected in 16 countries outside Africa… a top EU health official has warned that some groups of people may be more at risk than others… Dr. Ammon suggested that countries should review the availability of the smallpox vaccine which is also effective against monkeypox.” Has the BBC reverted to its past reputation as a balanced reporter of news? That would seem unlikely in the present circumstances. Especially when the BBC is partially funded by the Gates Foundation and it opts to use a Getty Images photo of an unconfirmed monkeypox case that may actually be smallpox.

The BBC News piece contained a powerful image of the arm and leg of a pox-covered child. Driven by concerns that this looks very much like smallpox (check out the UK Health Security Agency images [shown also in Fig 5B] which are closely associated with the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and you’ll get a more representative view of the clinical features of human monkeypox), I was keen to dig deeper. The Getty Images caption tells us: “BONDUA, LIBERIA – UNDATED: In this 1971 Center For Disease Control handout photo, monkeypox-like lesions are shown on the arm and leg of a female child in Bondua, Liberia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said June 7 the viral disease monkeypox, thought to be spread by prairie dogs, has been detected in the Americas for the first time with about 20 cases reported in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. (Photo Courtesy of the CDC/Getty Images).”

We’ve been unable to find a place called Bondua in Liberia. There is however a Bondua in Sierra Leone. Is that what the CDC means? Isn’t it a bit like saying the case was reported from London in France — leaving everyone confused about place and country? Not quite, actually, as there is a London in France, just no Bondua in Liberia. You might think I’m splitting hairs. But such details are actually critically important when they’re being communicated to a worldwide audience that’s waiting with bated breath to understand the implications of yet another infectious disease outbreak. Sierra Leone did in fact boast the highest incidence of smallpox in the world between 1967 and 1968 and we’ve unearthed some genuine red flags as to the origin of this CDC/Getty Images photo.

By 1971, it appears smallpox had disappeared from Sierra Leone. And, as an add-on, contrary to what the vaccine PR machine likes to suggest, the historical record does not provide evidence that it was mass vaccination as part of the WHO’s Smallpox Eradication Program that caused infections to decline then disappear from Sierra Leone.

McCullough monkeypox

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Someone shut her up.

CDC Director Issues Alert on Pfizer’s COVID-19 Pill (ET)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky warned that Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill Paxlovid can lead to a rebound in symptoms. “If you take Paxlovid, you might get symptoms again,” Walensky told CBS News on Tuesday. “We haven’t yet seen anybody who has returned with symptoms needing to go to the hospital. So, generally, a milder course.” Another researcher who is not affiliated with the CDC said that he has observed such a scenario. “People who experience rebound are at risk of transmitting to other people, even though they’re outside what people accept as the usual window for being able to transmit,” Dr. Michael Charness of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Boston told CNN on Tuesday.


After a patient recovers from COVID-19, the aforementioned rebound has occurred between two and eight days later, according to the CDC. The agency, however, told CBS that the benefits of taking Paxlovid outweigh the risks of COVID-19, namely among those who are at a high risk of developing severe symptoms from the virus. About a week ago, the agency issued an alert to health care providers about the rebound, saying that patients who took Paxlovid either test positive for the virus after having tested negative or will experience COVID-19 symptoms. “A brief return of symptoms may be part of the natural history of SARS-CoV-2 infection in some persons, independent of treatment with Paxlovid and regardless of vaccination status,” the federal health agency said at the time.

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The New York Times is gradually shifting the narrative.

The War in Ukraine May Be Impossible to Stop. Blame the US (NYT)

In the Paris daily Le Figaro this month, Henri Guaino, a top adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy when he was president of France, warned that Europe’s countries, under the shortsighted leadership of the United States, were “sleepwalking” into war with Russia. Mr. Guaino was borrowing a metaphor that the historian Christopher Clark used to describe the origins of World War I. Naturally, Mr. Guaino understands that Russia is most directly to blame for the present conflict in Ukraine. It was Russia that massed its troops on the frontier last fall and winter and — having demanded from NATO a number of Ukraine-related security guarantees that NATO rejected — began the shelling and killing on Feb. 24.

But the United States has helped turn this tragic, local and ambiguous conflict into a potential world conflagration. By misunderstanding the war’s logic, Mr. Guaino argues, the West, led by the Biden administration, is giving the conflict a momentum that may be impossible to stop. He is right. In 2014 the United States backed an uprising — in its final stages a violent uprising — against the legitimately elected Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych, which was pro-Russian. (The corruption of Mr. Yanukovych’s government has been much adduced by the rebellion’s defenders, but corruption is a perennial Ukrainian problem, even today.) Russia, in turn, annexed Crimea, a historically Russian-speaking part of Ukraine that since the 18th century had been home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

One can argue about Russian claims to Crimea, but Russians take them seriously. Hundreds of thousands of Russian and Soviet fighters died defending the Crimean city of Sevastopol from European forces during two sieges — one during the Crimean War and one during World War II. In recent years, Russian control of Crimea has seemed to provide a stable regional arrangement: Russia’s European neighbors, at least, have let sleeping dogs lie. But the United States never accepted the arrangement. On Nov. 10, 2021, the United States and Ukraine signed a “charter on strategic partnership” that called for Ukraine to join NATO, condemned “ongoing Russian aggression” and affirmed an “unwavering commitment” to the reintegration of Crimea into Ukraine.

That charter “convinced Russia that it must attack or be attacked,” Mr. Guaino wrote. “It is the ineluctable process of 1914 in all its terrifying purity.” This is a faithful account of the war that President Vladimir Putin has claimed to be fighting. “There were constant supplies of the most modern military equipment,” Mr. Putin said at Russia’s annual Victory Parade on May 9, referring to the foreign arming of Ukraine. “The danger was growing every day.”

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Meyssan has a entire library of articles on the topic here.

The Secret Ukrainian Military Programs (Thierry Meyssan)

Throughout this series of articles, which began a month and a half before the war in Ukraine, I have been developing the idea that the Straussians, the small group of Leo Strauss followers in the US administration, were planning a confrontation against Russia and China. However, in the tenth episode of this series, I related how the Azov regiment became the paramilitary pillar of the Ukrainian Banderists by referring to the visit of Senator John McCain to it in 2016 [1]. However, the latter is not a Straussian, but was advised by Robert Kagan during his presidential election campaign in 2008, a central thinker among the Straussians [2], even though he has always cautiously denied his membership in this sect.

A video, filmed during John McCain’s visit to Ukraine in 2016, has resurfaced. It shows the senator accompanied by his colleague and friend, Senator Lindsey Graham, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The two Americans are traveling on a Senate mission. But McCain is also the president of the IRI (International Republican Institute), the Republican branch of the NED (National Endowment for Democracy). It is known that the IRI has conducted about 100 seminars for the leaders of Ukrainian political parties classified as right-wing, including for the Banderists. The senators are addressing officers of the Azov regiment, the main Banderist paramilitary formation. This should come as no surprise. John McCain has always maintained that the United States should rely on the enemies of its enemies, whoever they may be. Thus, he has publicly claimed responsibility for his contacts with Daesh against the Syrian Arab Republic.

In this video, Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain assure that the United States will give all the weapons necessary for them to succeed in defeating Russia. This video, I repeat, was recorded six years before the Russian army entered Ukraine. The two senators are investing their interlocutors with a mission. They do not see them as mercenaries who are paid, but as proxies who will fight for the unipolar world to the death. Shortly afterwards, President Poroshenko, who had attended the meeting in battle dress, changed the badge of his secret service, the SBU. It is now an owl holding a sword directed against Russia with the motto “The wise will rule over the stars”. It is clear that the Ukrainian state apparatus was preparing for war against Russia on behalf of the United States.

Three years later, on September 5, 2019, the Rand Corporation organized a meeting in the US House of Representatives to explain its plan: to weaken Russia by forcing it to deploy in Kazakhstan, then in Ukraine and as far as Transnistria. I have explained at length in two previous articles that at the end of the Second World War the United States and the United Kingdom took over many Nazi leaders and Ukrainian Banderists to turn them against the USSR. They mothered these fanatics as soon as the USSR disappeared and used them against Russia. It remained to explore how they armed them.

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“..in the event of a national emergency, the COG directives give unchecked executive, legislative and judicial power to the president..”

America, Meet Your New Dictator-in-Chief (Whitehead)

America, meet your new dictator-in-chief. As the New York Times reports, “Newly disclosed documents have shed a crack of light on secret executive branch plans for apocalyptic scenarios—like the aftermath of a nuclear attack—when the president may activate wartime powers for national security emergencies.” The problem, of course, is that we have become a nation in a permanent state of emergency. Power-hungry and lawless, the government has weaponized one national crisis after another in order to expand its powers and justify all manner of government tyranny in the so-called name of national security.

The seeds of this present madness were sown almost two decades ago when George W. Bush stealthily issued two presidential directives that granted the president the power to unilaterally declare a national emergency, which is loosely defined as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.” Comprising the country’s Continuity of Government (COG) plan, these directives (National Security Presidential Directive 51 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20) provide a skeletal outline of the actions the president will take in the event of a “national emergency.”

Just what sort of actions the president will take once he declares a national emergency can barely be discerned from the barebones directives. However, one thing is clear: in the event of a national emergency, the COG directives give unchecked executive, legislative and judicial power to the president. The country would then be subjected to martial law by default, and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights would be suspended. Essentially, the president would become a dictator for life. It has happened already. As we have witnessed in recent years, that national emergency can take any form, can be manipulated for any purpose and can be used to justify any end goal—all on the say so of the president.

The emergency powers that we know about which presidents might claim during such states of emergency are vast, ranging from imposing martial law and suspending habeas corpus to shutting down all forms of communications, including implementing an internet kill switch, and restricting travel.

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“There is a risk that such equipment will be placed near Russia’s borders and Ukrainians will be able to strike at Russian cities. Such a situation is unacceptable and intolerable for us..”

Biden Aims to Fight Russia to the Last Ukrainian, Moscow Says (Celente)

Russia blasted the White House of provoking more war after President Joe Biden said that the U.S. will send advanced rocket systems to Ukraine that Moscow has called a “red line.” The Kremlin said the U.S. is adding “fuel to the fire.” “We know that the United States has been purposefully and meticulously adding fuel to the fire,” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said, ABC News reported. “The United States pursues the course towards fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian.” Joe Biden wrote an op-ed published in The New York Times late Tuesday that confirmed his decision to provide Ukrainian fighters with advanced rocket systems that can be reportedly outfitted with missiles capable of traveling about 200 miles. Kyiv stands to receive the American High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, a source told the paper, in a separate article.

A senior administration official said Biden opted not to provide Ukraine with the rockets capable of traveling 200 miles. The system, as it stands now, is capable of striking targets up to 48 miles from the launch site. “Himars units carry one preloaded pod of six 227mm guided missiles (the M270 carries two pods), or one large pod loaded with an Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) tactical missile,” The Guardian reported. Ukrainian fighters could now, technically, line up near the border and fire into Russia. (The paper said the Biden administration was assured that these weapons will not be used to strike Russia and “the administration was comfortable with the assurances.’ But assurances go out the window when you’re surrounded.)

[..] Anatoly Antonov, a top Russian diplomat, on Saturday commented on reports that the Biden administration was considering sending these weapon systems. “There is a risk that such equipment will be placed near Russia’s borders and Ukrainians will be able to strike at Russian cities. Such a situation is unacceptable and intolerable for us,” he told a Russian news outlet, Newsweek reported. He continued, “We are calling for an end to the senseless and extremely risky pumping of weapons into the country. It is important to refrain from threats against us and claims of a military victory for Ukraine.”


Map of Areas that the MQ-1C Gray Eagle Drone can reach when launched from Major Ukrainian Airports

USA is planning to sell Ukraine 4 MQ-1C Gray Eagle Drones which have a range of 400 Km and can fly for over 30+ hours, and can carry up to 8 Hellfire Missiles

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Just lift the sanctions. Solved.

Russia And The West Compete To Secure Safe Passage For Ukraine’s Grain (G.)

In a game of diplomatic cat and mouse, Russia and the west are coming up with similar if sometimes competing ideas for how Ukraine’s badly needed grain can be given safe passage through the Black Sea and on to the world markets. They are also competing to win the battle for world opinion if the plans collapse. Both sides are busy diplomatically across Africa and the Middle East trying to portray their adversary as the culprit for spiralling food and fertiliser prices. Russia and Ukraine export more than a quarter of the world’s wheat, while Russia is the world’s top fertiliser exporter. The World Bank’s Fertiliser Price Index rose nearly 10% in the first quarter of 2022, to an all-time high in nominal terms.

Ukraine’s backlog of 20m tonnes of grain needs to be exported quickly to avoid a further explosion of food prices, and also to preserve the next Ukrainian harvest that currently cannot be sent to already full storage facilities. That is not possible due to the Russian naval blockade of the Black Sea port of Odesa, and Ukrainian floating mines planted to block the port from Russian attack. Russia, in return for lifting the blockade, wants any sanctions on its shipping and fertiliser products lifted. At issue is whether there is a deal to be done. In what is beginning to look like the main plan, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has agreed to meet the Turkish president Erdogan but not until 8 June, over proposals for Turkey to de-mine Odesa and then escort grain ships through to the Bosphorous along a naval corridor.

Erdogan spoke with Vladimir Putin about the proposal on Monday, and according to the Turkish read-out, Putin was willing to cooperate, on conditions. Turkey, through the 1936 Montreux convention, is arbiter of sea traffic in and out of the Black Sea, and justifies its refusal as a Nato member to impose sanctions on Russia by pointing to this unique role. The Turkish foreign minister, Cavusoglu, said on Tuesday that food security was the most important question: “We are focusing on this. We are planning to establish a centre in Istanbul to observe the corridor.”

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Also known as: They couldn’t do it if they tried.

Milley: Using Military to Open Ukrainian Ports Would Be ‘High Risk’ (Antiwar)

Amid growing calls for naval intervention to open up Ukrainian ports for grain exports, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said such an operation would amount to a “high risk military operation.” The West is blaming Russian ships for blocking grain exports from leaving Ukrainian ports, but there are other factors, including mines laid by Ukraine. Russia said last week that it cleared mines around Mariupol and that the Azov Sea port is now open to civil vessels. This week, Retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former supreme allied commander of NATO, suggested that naval vessels under the auspice of the UN or NATO could escort convoys of grain ships out of Ukraine.


Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba suggested on Tuesday that Ukraine was pushing for a UN convoy to open its ports. “Ukraine is working on an international UN-led operation with navies of partners ensuring a safe trade route with no security risks,” he wrote on Twitter. Milley said such a plan would be high risk due to the presence of Russian ships and mines in the waters. “You can take the grain out by truck or train, or you can take it out by sea. Right now, the sea lanes are blocked by mines and the Russian navy. In order to open up those sea lanes would require a very significant military effort,” Milley said. “It would be a high-risk military operation that would require significant levels of effort.”

Macgregor

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She follows the game plan.

Janet Yellen Pretends She Got It Wrong on Inflation, She Did Not (CTH)

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has more financial and analytical resources at her fingertips than thousand hedge funds combined. When Secretary Yellen claims today that she “got it wrong” about inflation, what she is doing is continuing the game of pretending; she’s positioning the administration as incompetent, not deliberate. The illusion of incompetence plays into the scheme of hiding the fact the administration is working through a purposeful strategy. In the game of pretending; and under the current circumstances; it is better to be seen as incompetent than recognized as working with malicious intent. This is the illusion behind Joe Biden’s usefulness.


This is also the organized pretending game within DC that too few people will accept or admit. The Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve Chairman are not making mistakes, they are working on a specific agenda and economic plan. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was not late to raise interest rates, he waited on purpose. He waited for the political reason of waiting until the triggered 2021 inflation spike cycled through the full calendar year. These are not monetary policy leaders making monetary policy mistakes. These are monetary policy political ideologues, carrying out a political agenda within the U.S. economy. This is part of what National Economic Council Chairman Brian Deese would call the “economic transition.”

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“If you don’t get the bureau’s role right, you’re apt to get the most consequential things wrong..”

John Durham Lost Because He Treated The FBI As A Dupe (McCarthy)

What was the role of the FBI? In the Russiagate probe, in which special counsel John Durham has been tasked with getting to the bottom of the Trump-Russia “collusion” farce, that is the key question. If you don’t get the bureau’s role right, you’re apt to get the most consequential things wrong. Durham has banked his investigation on the premise that the FBI was a victim — an innocent dupe manipulated by the wily Clinton campaign. On Tuesday, this misplaced faith led to the acquittal of Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann. The irony abounds. A Washington, DC, jury found Sussmann not guilty of making a false statement to the bureau even though Durham’s team convincingly proved the falsity of the statement he made — namely, that in purveying derogatory information about Donald Trump, Sussmann was not representing any client, when in fact he was representing the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Moreover, although the acquittal will encourage Democrats and their legacy media allies in seeking to discredit Durham’s probe, the law enforcement shenanigans uncovered by the trial illustrate that the probe is essential. Nevertheless, the probe will come to naught, and accountability will remain a pipe dream, unless Durham gets the FBI’s role right. As I contended in “Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency,” the outrage of the Trump-Russia “collusion” farce is that the law enforcement and intelligence apparatus of the United States government was put in the service of partisan politics — first to attempt to get Hillary Clinton elected president and, when that failed, to hamstring the Trump administration’s capacity to govern.

That is, what makes Russiagate a uniquely dangerous chapter in modern American history is the willful interference by powerful federal agencies in electoral politics. The real collusion was between the Clinton campaign and the Obama-era executive branch — particularly (but by no means exclusively) the FBI. Durham proceeded on a different theory. The culprits, by his lights, are the Clinton campaign and its operatives. We are to see the FBI not as colluding with the Clinton campaign, but as victimized by the Clinton campaign. The false-statement case against Sussmann is one of three indictments Durham has brought in more than three years of conducting his probe. In each one, the defendant is accused of duping the FBI, not collaborating with the FBI, in an effort to portray Trump as a Kremlin asset.

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Sep 092021
 


Pablo Picasso Science and Charity 1897

 

RFK, Jr.: ‘Complete Obliteration Of Critical Thinking’ (JTN)
The Lie Of ‘All Unvaccinated’ (Denninger)
Open Letter to the Unvaccinated (Ocla)
Arizona AG: Tuscon Vaccine Mandate Is Illegal (B911)
Biden To Lay Out New Coronavirus Strategy As Delta Variant Cases Rise (JTN)
White House Signals New COVID-19 Measures Coming For Unvaccinated (ET)
Health Authorities Confiscate Alcohol Deliveries To Sydney Tower (Sky)
Melbourne Clinic Offers Ivermectin Despite It Not Being Approved (G.)
“COVID Zero” New Zealand Is Now A Full-Blown Police State (JS)
Children Are Not Covid-19 Super Spreaders: Time To Go Back To School (BMJ)
AFP Fact Check Accidentally Makes The Case For Ivermectin (Twitchy)
The Role Of Iron In The Pathogenesis Of Covid-19 (SD)
Yellen: US On Track To Default On National Debt In October (Hill)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kory Fauci AiDS

 

 

“Among 378,048 death certificates from 2020 listing COVID-19 as a cause of death, 5.5% listed COVID-19 without codes for any other conditions .. ”

RFK, Jr.: ‘Complete Obliteration Of Critical Thinking’ (JTN)

Political activist Robert Kennedy Jr. warned that a “society in fear” due to the COVID-19 pandemic could result in the “complete obliteration of critical thinking.” Kennedy, who spoke at the Ron Paul Institute’s conference, noted that only a small fraction of the individuals comprising the CDC’s COVID-19 death total died primarily from COVID-19. “Among 378,048 death certificates from 2020 listing COVID-19 as a cause of death, 5.5% listed COVID-19 without codes for any other conditions,” according to the CDC. “The people who died, 96% of them, had almost 400 reasons that might have killed them,” Kennedy said during a session titled the Pandemic and the Road to Totalitarianism. “You know, the manipulation of the death certificates. The manipulation of the PCR test.

“All of these mechanics appear to be deliberately manipulated to put our population in a state of fear — and what happens when you have a population in fear? The complete obliteration of critical thinking.” Under the program that Congress passed for reimbursement of funeral costs for COVID-19 tests, applicants were allowed to retroactively supplement their relatives’ death certificates with documentation showing COVID-19 was a contributing cause of death if it was not originally listed. “Applicants who incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020,” FEMA explained in a June 29 release, “will be able to submit a death certificate that does not attribute the death to COVID-19 along with a signed statement from the certifying official listed on the death certificate, coroner, or medical examiner linking the death to COVID-19. The written statement must show causal pathway, or an explanation, linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate to the virus and should be submitted with the death certificate.”

Kennedy, a lawyer, said there is “no pandemic exemption” in the U.S. Constitution. He pointed out that government officials ordered churches closed across the country but allowed liquor stores to remain open as “essential businesses.” “There’s no protection of liquor stories in the United States Constitution,” he said. “There is protection of churches. They abolished religious exemptions.” Kennedy also mentioned that millions of small businesses were ordered to close during the pandemic without due process in “direct violation of the Constitution.” “They got rid of property rights,” he said.

Canada
https://twitter.com/i/status/1435445919453958154

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“Don’t throw your life away.”

The Lie Of ‘All Unvaccinated’ (Denninger)

Here’s truth folks…. Remember, you get monoclonal antibodies if infected, symptomatic and at risk of severe outcomes. When I got Covid-19 last month I did not qualify since I was not any of >65 (58 isn’t good enough), fat, diabetic, hypertensive or one of the few other listed “things” that quality you irrespective of age. I did not get vaccinated, I got Covid-19 and recovered, obviously, or I wouldn’t be writing this, and now have very strong natural immunity. At this point I thus have neither any fear of Covid-19 or any reason to be vaccinated.

Got that folks? The 23 people were all promised they would not get sick as the inducement to get vaccinated. All 23 of them were symptomatic and at high risk. Every single one of those people was also exactly as contagious to others as were the 27. 48% of Texas is vaccinated. 46% of these recipients were vaccinated. There is no statistical difference between the percentage of vaccinated people in the State of Texas and the percentage of people receiving monoclonal antibodies for symptomatic and at-risk-of-severe Covid-19 patients among this group of 50 who are vaccinated. It is statistically identical. The debate is over folks. You were conned America.

You were told to roll up your sleeve and take the risk of clotting disorders, heart damage, heart attacks, strokes and other serious, even life-threatening adverse reactions based on the lie that doing so would (1) prevent you from getting Covid, (2) prevent you from infecting others with Covid, and (3) keep you from having a symptomatic and potentially-serious outcome if exposed to Covid. All three were LIES and are being repeated to this day by Biden, Fauci, the CDC and your local and State Health Departments. Any “mandate” predicated on these lies was and is in fact a felony assault with a reasonable expectation of serious bodily harm or death to your person and should have been, and should be today, met with whatever level of force is necessary to cause the person issuing said mandate to STOP on an immediate basis. THE VACCINES DO NOT PREVENT INFECTION, TRANSMISSION OR THE RISK OF SEVERE OUTCOMES. ENOUGH!

PS: Before you do something stupid like get a “booster” answer this — why would you believe the third jab will work when you were told the other two would — and the people doing so lied? When, in addition, there is evidence that the manufacturers knew this would happen and rigged the trials to conceal it? What data do you have (none!) on whether the risk of serious adverse events rises with each successive injection, and why would you be so stupid as to believe a single thing these people say after being screwed by the very same people? I remind you: Never in the past has there been a successful vaccine for coronaviruses. All previous attempts have failed during trials, which took years to discover, either by mutational escape or worse, enhancement in those who got the injection(s). Don’t throw your life away.

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Good.

Open Letter to the Unvaccinated (Ocla)

You are not alone! As of 28 July 2021, 29% of Canadians have not received a COVID-19 vaccine, and an additional 14% have received one shot. In the US and in the European Union, less than half the population is fully vaccinated, and even in Israel, the “world’s lab” according to Pfizer, one third of people remain completely unvaccinated. Politicians and the media have taken a uniform view, scapegoating the unvaccinated for the troubles that have ensued after eighteen months of fearmongering and lockdowns. It’s time to set the record straight. It is entirely reasonable and legitimate to say ‘no’ to insufficiently tested vaccines for which there is no reliable science. You have a right to assert guardianship of your body and to refuse medical treatments if you see fit. You are right to say ‘no’ to a violation of your dignity, your integrity and your bodily autonomy.

It is your body, and you have the right to choose. You are right to fight for your children against their mass vaccination in school. You are right to question whether free and informed consent is at all possible under present circumstances. Long-term effects are unknown. Transgenerational effects are unknown. Vaccine-induced deregulation of natural immunity is unknown. Potential harm is unknown as the adverse event reporting is delayed, incomplete and inconsistent between jurisdictions. You are being targeted by mainstream media, government social engineering campaigns, unjust rules and policies, collaborating employers, and the social-media mob. You are being told that you are now the problem and that the world cannot get back to normal unless you get vaccinated. You are being viciously scapegoated by propaganda and pressured by others around you. Remember; there is nothing wrong with you.

You are inaccurately accused of being a factory for new SARS-CoV-2 variants, when in fact, according to leading scientists, your natural immune system generates immunity to multiple components of the virus. This will promote your protection against a vast range of viral variants and abrogates further spread to anyone else. You are justified in demanding independent peer-reviewed studies, not funded by multinational pharmaceutical companies. All the peer-reviewed studies of short-term safety and short-term efficacy have been funded, organized, coordinated, and supported by these for-profit corporations; and none of the study data have been made public or available to researchers who don’t work for these companies. You are right to question the preliminary vaccine trial results. The claimed high values of relative efficacy rely on small numbers of tenuously determined “infections.”

The studies were also not blind, where people giving the injections admittedly knew or could deduce whether they were injecting the experimental vaccine or the placebo. This is not acceptable scientific methodology for vaccine trials. You are correct in your calls for a diversity of scientific opinions. Like in nature, we need a polyculture of information and its interpretations. And we don’t have that right now. Choosing not to take the vaccine is holding space for reason, transparency and accountability to emerge. You are right to ask, ‘What comes next when we give away authority over our own bodies?’ Do not be intimidated. You are showing resilience, integrity and grit. You are coming together in your communities, making plans to help one another and standing for scientific accountability and free speech, which are required for society to thrive. We are among many who stand with you.

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“COVID-19 vaccinations should be a choice, not a government mandate.”

Arizona AG: Tuscon Vaccine Mandate Is Illegal (B911)

The City of Tucson announced Tuesday that it will be putting its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for its employees on pause after the state’s attorney general declared it illegal. Attorney General Mark Brnovich says that his office determined the City of Tucson’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public employees does violate state law for purposes of S.B. 1487, and also is in direct conflict with the Governor’s Executive Order 2021-18. Therefore, Tucson must rescind or amend the ordinance to come into compliance with state law, or lose millions of dollars in state funding. “Tucson’s vaccine mandate is illegal, and the city could be held liable for attempting to force employees to take it against their beliefs,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “COVID-19 vaccinations should be a choice, not a government mandate.”

Through a “S.B. 1487” investigation, the AGO determined Tucson’s Ordinance 11869, which mandates COVID-19 vaccines for city employees, violates state law and thus the city cannot require public employees to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine. The legislature’s intent was clear when it passed S.B. 1824 earlier this year – government entities from the local to state level cannot mandate COVID-19 vaccines. This law was further supplemented by the Governor’s Executive Order 2021-18 (E.O. 2021-18) in August 2021.In the AGO’s opinion, Tucson public employees could rely in good faith on E.O. 2021-18 and state law to refuse the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Today, the AGO officially notified the City of Tucson that its COVID-19 vaccine ordinance is in violation of state law and must be rescinded or amended. As expressly provided in S.B. 1487, if the City of Tucson does not rescind its policy within the next 30 days, the AGO will notify the Arizona Treasurer, who will withhold the city’s portion of state shared revenue until it comes into compliance. Additionally, the AGO believes the City of Tucson could subject itself to potential liability claims if it were to take adverse action against an employee who relies on E.O. 2021-18 and state law to refuse the vaccine.

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Oh wait, the vaccines DO work:

“More than 20,000 people have died in the U.S. from the virus in the past two weeks, a figure that is up nearly 70% from the two weeks prior.”

Biden To Lay Out New Coronavirus Strategy As Delta Variant Cases Rise (JTN)

President Joe Biden is expected Thursday to lay out a new, six-point strategy to confront the novel coronavirus, including the highly contagious Delta variant. Biden will meet with his COVID-19 advisers Wednesday. A recent wave of cases, owing largely to Delta, has created a new challenge for the Biden administration as the school year begins anew and hospitals in some areas become overwhelmed. Press Secretary Jen Psaki says the strategy, to be presented aboard Air Force One, will work “across the public and private sectors to help continue to get the pandemic under control.” It is unclear whether the new strategy will include any sort of new mandates.


“We need to continue to take more steps to make sure districts are prepared and make sure communities across the country are prepared,” Psaki said. Last week, the United States hit 40 million recorded COVID-19 cases. More than 20,000 people have died in the U.S. from the virus in the past two weeks, a figure that is up nearly 70% from the two weeks prior. Officials are aiming to begin distributing coronavirus vaccine booster shots the week of Sept. 20, following a Sept. 17 meeting of the Food and Drug Administrtion, during which advisers will consider a possible third Pfizer shot.

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“..the federal government lacks the authority to mandate vaccines for everyone..”

White House Signals New COVID-19 Measures Coming For Unvaccinated (ET)

Ahead of President Joe Biden’s announcement Thursday about new COVID-19 measures, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that there may be new measures that will be imposed on unvaccinated people. “There are six steps the president’s announcing, there will be new components,” Psaki told reporters on Wednesday. “Some of that will be related to access to testing, some will be related to mandates, some will be related to how we ensure kids will be protected in schools.” When asked about how the new steps would impact Americans’ lives, Psaki said that “it depends on if you’re vaccinated or not.” Psaki provided few details on what mandates could be imposed on unvaccinated Americans.

On Tuesday, she told reporters on Air Force One that the federal government lacks the authority to mandate vaccines for everyone. “There will be new components that sure, will of course impact people across the country, but we’re also all working together to get the virus under control, to return to our normal lives,” Psaki also said, without elaborating, on Wednesday. Biden, who was scheduled to meet with his COVID-19 advisers on Wednesday, delivered a speech about six months ago saying the United States has “made real progress” against the virus. Since that date, about 142 million Americans have received COVID-19 vaccines and about 950,000 people are getting vaccinated each day, according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Data released daily by the CDC’s COVID-19 tracker suggests that the United States’ new cases and deaths may have hit a plateau or is on the decline. The seven day-average for cases as of Tuesday was 140,000 and deaths were 1,022, respectively, while as of Sept. 1, the seven-day average for cases was 156,000 and deaths were 1,141, respectively. The president’s speech on Thursday could make reference to a recent announcement from the heads of several federal health agencies that third doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, or booster shots, would be provided around Sept. 20. However, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve the booster doses.

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“Residents are now allowed to receive a ration of one of the following per day: six beers or pre-mixed drinks, one bottle of wine, or one 375ml bottle of spirits..”

To wash down the horse dewormer.

Health Authorities Confiscate Alcohol Deliveries To Sydney Tower (Sky)

NSW Health has confiscated bottles of spirits and large quantities of alcohol from residents living in a locked-down apartment block in Sydney’s Inner West in an attempt to limit the number of drinks consumed every day. Mission Australia’s Common Ground Facility in Camperdown was placed into lockdown for two weeks on September 2 after four tenants tested positive. Residents are now allowed to receive a ration of one of the following per day: six beers or pre-mixed drinks, one bottle of wine, or one 375ml bottle of spirits, according to NCA NewsWire. Residents of the social housing block are frustrated care parcels sent from friends and families are being searched through. “They are searching all bags and things coming into the building… They confiscated a series of gifts,” Common Ground resident Robin Elhaj told NCA NewsWire.


“So things like bottles of spirits, we weren’t allowed to have those and we still (aren’t).” Excess alcohol is being confiscated until lockdown rules are lifted. NSW Health says the limiting the amount of alcohol consumed aims to “ensure the safety of health staff and residents”. “We know the experience of a lockdown is very challenging for everyone living and working at Common Ground. Mission Australia is fully engaged with tenants and is providing support to them within the parameters of NSW Health and Police guidelines” Mission Australia’s CEO James Toomey said in a statement. “We continue to work alongside NSW Health, NSW Police, DCJ, cleaners and other tenancy support teams and local community organisations to ensure the safety of tenants and staff, and to ensure support and supplies are provided to people living at Common Ground during the lockdown.”

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Makes you wonder what Aussies treat their horses with.

Melbourne Clinic Offers Ivermectin Despite It Not Being Approved (G.)

A medical clinic in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs has been offering patients off-label prescriptions for the anti-parasite drug ivermectin to treat Covid-19, despite a lack of evidence for its use in treating the virus. The clinic set up a dedicated online page to apply for a consultation to be prescribed the drug to treat Covid-19 on its website after receiving an “influx of ivermectin inquiries”. The clinic says there is no guarantee a prescription for ivermectin will be given, and it will depend on a risk assessment on issues such as location, work, contact with Covid-positive people and medical history. Each consultation costs $85 and does not include a Medicare rebate.

The clinic was listed as a Tier 1 exposure site on Tuesday, after a Covid-positive case attended on 2 September. A caller to ABC Melbourne on Wednesday, who identified themselves as a hospital worker, expressed concern about people taking the drug, stating some had had “negative outcomes” and had to be admitted to hospital. Ivermectin is only approved for use in Australia for medical issues such as river blindness, scabies and roundworm infections. Medical practitioners can legally prescribe the medication off-label, but the Therapeutic Goods Administration has advised against using the drug to treat Covid-19 outside of clinical trial settings.

The National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce, which examines studies of the drug around the world, said in late August that “there remains significant uncertainty whether ivermectin is more effective and safer than standard care in treating patients with Covid-19”. The clinic is one of several believed to be prescribing ivermectin off-label to treat Covid-19 in Australia, however, sympathetic GPs usually do not promote offering the service, instead their details tend to be shared among private groups on Facebook and Telegram.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president, Dr Karen Price, said while RACGP did not consider its role to be looking over the shoulders of every GP, she advised ivermectin had not received regulatory approval in Australia for use as an anti-viral treatment. “In fact, the advice from the health experts is 100% clear – do not use ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19,” she said. “The status of other drugs, such as sotrovimab, is very different. That is an example of a new drug for the treatment of Covid-19 that has passed through the rigorous testing safety procedures of the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Oz doctors

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Good luck.

“COVID Zero” New Zealand Is Now A Full-Blown Police State (JS)

New Zealand, the last of the dedicated “COVID Zero” nations on earth, has completed its transformation into a full-blown tyrannical regime, and shockingly, it has come with the consent of the vast majority of Kiwis. Once hailed as the media and “public health experts’” favorite COVID-19 managerial “success story,” the puff pieces have been increasingly hard to find, as Wellington has spawned a dystopian concoction of insane, despotic government edicts, claimed as an absolutely necessary part of their everlasting fight against a disease with a 99.8% recovery rate. Just observe what has happened in the Five Eyes partner nation during this week alone:

1) Virtually the entire country is once again under an indefinite lockdown, after a few COVID-19 cases were reported throughout the nation. A single case necessitates a “snap lockdown,” in which all rights of millions of citizens are immediately restricted and indefinitely subject to the containment of a seasonal respiratory disease. The current lockdown has been extended over Auckland until at least mid September, with many predicting a much lengthier sentence. According to past precedent, Kiwis will not receive their freedom back until — this is the truly insane part of Zero COVID — there is zero community spread of COVID-19. And the second another case pops up on the radar, the entire country goes back to square one of the Zero COVID protocol.

2) A man is being shamed by his countrymen for having the audacity to “escape” from a government-sanctioned COVID internment camp. The camps have been described in a more positive, but false light by the press and government officials as “quarantine hotels,” but it is most certainly an internment facility, as leaving is not allowed, and it carries a fine and lengthy prison sentence. The Hill reported: “The person was charged with failing to comply with New Zealand’s coronavirus health order. Under a new law passed last year, he could face a fine or up to six months in jail if convicted.”

3) The country’s police and military services are installing security checkpoints throughout New Zealand in an effort to make sure citizens are not traveling during the lockdown. Freely traveling during the lockdown now carries a massive fine and/or prison sentence as punishment. New Zealand is now the only country in the world left that is dedicated to COVID Zero, the pursuit of the total elimination of a virus from their nation, which has been under a government-sanctioned self-siege since the beginning of 2020. All of the other nations that attempted to pursue the pseudoscience behind COVID Zero have failed in catastrophic fashion. New Zealand has transformed from a highly-touted COVID “success story” to a full-fledged house of horrors, and sadly, there is no end in sight to the ongoing madness.

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From 2020.

Children Are Not Covid-19 Super Spreaders: Time To Go Back To School (BMJ)

[..] most public health interventions have assumed children with comorbidities such as primary or secondary immune dysfunction or respiratory/cardiac illness to be at increased risk, and in the UK this has led to advice for these children to shield completely, as for adults known to be at risk. Many paediatric specialists are concerned that a blanket assumption that immune-suppressed children of any kind are all at increased risk will cause considerable long-term educational and social harm to these children. At the current time, children do not appear to be super spreaders. Sero-surveillance data will not be available to confirm or refute these findings prior to the urgent policy decisions that need to be taken in the next few weeks such as how and when to re-open schools. Policies for non-pharmacological interventions involving children are going to have to be made on a risk–benefit basis with current evidence available.


Governments worldwide should allow all children back to school regardless of comorbidities. Detailed surveillance will be needed to confirm the safety of this approach, despite recent analysis demonstrating the ineffectiveness of school closures in the recent past. The media highlight of a possible rare new Kawasaki-like vasculitis that may or may not be due to SARS-CoV2 does not change the fact that severe COVID-19 is as rare as many other serious infection syndromes in children that do not cause schools to be closed. Individualised risk assessment and decision-making by clinicians should occur for those considered at exceptional risk (such as in immediately after bone marrow transplant) or where there are other older family members at significant risk.

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“I think we’re in a situation where we can afford to give them this treatment”

AFP Fact Check Accidentally Makes The Case For Ivermectin (Twitchy)

There are claims circulating on social media that Japan approved ivermectin for use in treating COVID-19 but, as this fact check from the AFP makes clear, that’s just not true. What the fact check does say, however, is that Haruo Ozaki, chairman of the Tokyo Medical Association did, explain why a doctor might prescribe ivermectin to treat COVID-19: “Social media posts suggest that Japan’s government recommends using antiparasitic drug ivermectin to treat Covid-19, citing remarks by the chairman of the Tokyo Medical Association. This is misleading; while he cautiously supported the treatment, the association does not represent the country’s government, which has not endorsed ivermectin for that use.” Ozaki went on to say that since we’re in a crisis, “I think we’re in a situation where we can afford to give them this treatment”:

In the video included in the tweet, Ozaki compares the number of Covid-19 cases and mortality rate in African countries that distributed ivermectin once a year for its anti-parasitic properties to those that did not. “I believe the difference is clear. Of course, one cannot conclude that ivermectin is effective on the basis of these figures, but when we have all these elements, we cannot say that ivermectin is absolutely not effective, at least not me,” he says. “We can do other studies to confirm its efficacy, but we are in a crisis situation. With regards to the use of ivermectin, it is obviously necessary to obtain the informed consent of the patients, and I think we’re in a situation where we can afford to give them this treatment,” Ozaki adds.

The fact check also noted that clinical trials of the drug are ongoing: “Clinical trials are ongoing around the world to find out its potential effects on Covid-19 patients, but a recent spike in ivermectin prescriptions prompted the US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) to release a statement warning of the potential harmful effects of the drug if misused.” So, not a “horse dewormer,” CNN?

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Key supplements that may chelate iron from the body include:
Turmeric.
Quercetin.
Resveratrol.
Green Tea.
Milk Thistle (potentially)*

The Role Of Iron In The Pathogenesis Of Covid-19 (SD)

Iron overload is increasingly implicated as a contributor to the pathogenesis of COVID-19. Indeed, several of the manifestations of COVID-19, such as inflammation, hypercoagulation, hyperferritinemia, and immune dysfunction are also reminiscent of iron overload. Although iron is essential for all living cells, free unbound iron, resulting from iron dysregulation and overload, is very reactive and potentially toxic due to its role in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS react with and damage cellular lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins, with consequent activation of either acute or chronic inflammatory processes implicated in multiple clinical conditions. Moreover, iron-catalyzed lipid damage exerts a direct causative effect on the newly discovered nonapoptotic cell death known as ferroptosis.


Unlike apoptosis, ferroptosis is immunogenic and not only leads to amplified cell death but also promotes a series of reactions associated with inflammation. Iron chelators are generally safe and are proven to protect patients in clinical conditions characterized by iron overload. There is also an abundance of evidence that iron chelators possess antiviral activities. Furthermore, the naturally occurring iron chelator lactoferrin (Lf) exerts immunomodulatory as well as anti-inflammatory effects and can bind to several receptors used by coronaviruses thereby blocking their entry into host cells. Iron chelators may consequently be of high therapeutic value during the present COVID-19 pandemic.

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Autumn ritual.

Yellen: US On Track To Default On National Debt In October (Hill)

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday warned congressional leaders that the U.S. is on track to default on the national debt in October if the White House and Congress are unable to raise the debt limit. In a Wednesday letter, Yellen said that the Treasury Department would likely run out of cash and exhaust “extraordinary” measures to keep the federal government within its legal borrowing limit at some point next month. “Once all available measures and cash on hand are fully exhausted, the United States of America would be unable to meet its obligations for the first time in our history,” Yellen said.

“Given this uncertainty, the Treasury Department is not able to provide a specific estimate of how long the extraordinary measures will last. However, based on our best and most recent information, the most likely outcome is that cash and extraordinary measures will be exhausted during the month of October,” she continued. Yellen wrote the letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The Treasury Department has taken so-called extraordinary measures to prevent the U.S. from defaulting on the national debt since the federal debt limit was reimposed on Aug. 1. If the Treasury Department runs out of ways to stave off a default without borrowing more money, the inability of the U.S. to pay its debts could send debilitating shockwaves through the financial system.

Yellen urged lawmakers for months to raise the debt limit before it was reimposed in August, warning that a delay could “cause irreparable damage to the U.S. economy and global financial markets.” She has since pleaded with Congress to give Treasury the ability to pay debts already approved by previous presidents and congressional majorities. “Waiting until the last minute to suspend or increase the debt limit can cause serious harm to business and consumer confidence, raise short-term borrowing costs for taxpayers, and negatively impact the credit rating of the United States,” Yellen wrote.

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Street art.

 

 

 

 

US before high fructose syrup

NY1960s

 

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Jun 072021
 
 June 7, 2021  Posted by at 8:48 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  72 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Daubigny’s garden 1890

 

Was the Whole Pandemic About the Vaccine? (Mercola)
Unthinkable Thoughts… (Josh Mitteldorf)
‘Damning’ Science Shows Covid-19 Likely Engineered In Lab: – Experts (NYP)
Virologist Who Told Fauci Virus Potentially Engineered Nukes 5,000 Tweets (ZH)
Fauci Told World Leaders Last Spring Virus Could Have Come From Wuhan Lab (DM)
Ivermectin Confirmed As Covid Treatment By Bombay High Court (FSoir)
California County COVID Death Toll 25% Lower After Counting Method Change (ZH)
Children Are ‘Vulnerable Host’ For Covid As Cases Recede – US Expert (G.)
Greek Minister Nods For Post-Vaccination Privileges (K.)
‘Pygmy Possum’ Leaders Impose One Punishing Lockdown After Another (RT)
Oh Lordy, Yellen Comes Out for Higher Interest Rates (WS)

 

 

PCR sensitivity

 

 

“McCullough points out that a number of countries are already talking about making the as-yet unlicensed COVID-19 vaccine compulsory, meaning anyone and everyone can be forced to take it against their will.”

Was the Whole Pandemic About the Vaccine? (Mercola)

In my opinion Dr. Peter McCullough is one of the most courageous well credentialed academic physicians out there and I hope to interview him soon. He is vice chief of internal medicine at Baylor University Medical Center and despite his impeccable credentials, he has been vilified for stating during the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, that it was all about the vaccine and getting a global mass vaccination campaign underway. “All roads lead to the vaccine,” McCullough said in a recent interview with stakeholders banking on countries mandating the vaccine worldwide. McCullough points out that a number of countries are already talking about making the as-yet unlicensed COVID-19 vaccine compulsory, meaning anyone and everyone can be forced to take it against their will. “That’s how bad stakeholders want vaccination,” McCullough says. “They do want a needle in every arm. But why?” That’s the million-dollar question right there.

[..] Considering the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) has logged more deaths following COVID-19 vaccination than all available vaccines combined from mid-1997 until the end of 201316 — a period of 15 1/2 years — one has to wonder why our leaders are so insistent on everyone getting these experimental gene therapies. They’re even pushing for former COVID-19 patients to get the jab, even though they already have superior permanent immunity17 and studies show they have a far higher risk of severe side effects from the COVID jab. If it’s really about protecting the public against COVID-19, why aren’t recovered COVID patients — whose protection is far superior to vaccine-induced immunity — offered some sort of immunity passport or granted access to sporting events or education that is now only granted to those with vaccine certificates?

What’s more, North Carolina has now passed legislation that allows children as young as 12 to get the COVID vaccine without parental consent. Think about that. As of May 21, 2021, 4,406 Americans had died after the COVID vaccine including three teenagers and 12-year-olds are now being encouraged to make a life and death decision without their parents? As noted by McCullough, historically, the threshold at which an experimental vaccine program is shut down is 25 to 50 deaths, yet here we are, with over 4,000 deaths being reported in the U.S. and many thousands more in Europe.

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“..if it came from a laboratory (whether it leaked or was deliberately released) the spike protein might be actually be the agent of damage. There are several reasons to suspect that this is the case.”

Unthinkable Thoughts… (Josh Mitteldorf)

The spike protein is the part of the virus structure that interfaces with the host cell. SARS 1 and SARS 2 viruses both have spike proteins that bind to a human cell receptor called ACE-2, common in lung cells but also present in other parts of the body. Binding to the cell’s ACE-2 receptor is like the wolf knocking at the door of Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother. “Hello, grandmama. I’m your granddaughter. Please let me in.” The virus is a wolf wearing a red cape and hood, pretends to be an ACE-2 enzyme molecule seeking entrance to the cell. In order to enter the cell, the virus must break off from the spike protein and leave it at the doorstep, so to speak. This is an important and difficult step, as it turns out. Unique to the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a trick for making the separation. Just at the edge of the protein is a furin cleavage site.

Furin is an enzyme that snips protein molecules, and it is common in our bodies, with legitimate metabolic uses. A furin cleavage site is a string of 4 particular amino acids that calls to furin, “hey — come over here. I’m a protein that needs snipping.” The most compelling evidence for a laboratory origin of COVID is that coronaviruses don’t have furin cleavage sites, and until last year, this trick has never evolved naturally. The classical understanding of a viral or bacterial disease is this: A parasite is an organism that uses the host’s resources for its own reproduction. It is evolved to reproduce efficiently. If it has co-evolved with the host, it may be evolved to spare the host’s health, or even to promote it, because this is the optimal long-term strategy for any predator or parasite.

But newly-emerged parasites can do well for awhile even if they disable or kill their hosts, and this is the kind of disease that is most damaging to us. The damage is done because the (young) virus’s strategy is to reproduce rapidly and disperse itself into the environment where it can find new hosts. The virus has no interest in harming the host, and was not evolved to this end, but this is a side-effect of commandeering the body’s resources for its own reproduction. A bioweapon virus is designed to cause a certain kind of harm. What kind of harm? It depends on the projected use for the weapon. Doesn’t the virus have to reproduce? Probably, for most weapon applications; but a bioweapon is not necessarily designed for rapid reproduction. A bioweapon can be designed as a “sleeper” to remain dormant for months or years, or to cause incremental disability over a long period.

If COVID had evolved naturally, we would expect that its spike protein would be adapted to mate well with the human ACE-2 receptor. There’s no reason to suspect it being otherwise biologically active. But if COVID is engineered, it may be that the spike protein itself has been designed to make us sick. One reason this is significant is that the vaccines have all been designed around the spike protein, assuming that the spike protein were metabolically neutral. If the virus had been naturally evolved, this is a reasonable assumption. But if it came from a laboratory (whether it leaked or was deliberately released) the spike protein might be actually be the agent of damage. There are several reasons to suspect that this is the case.

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“Why did it replicate the choice the lab’s gain-of-function researchers would have made?”

‘Damning’ Science Shows Covid-19 Likely Engineered In Lab: – Experts (NYP)

“Damning” science strongly suggests that COVID-19 is a man-made monster, optimized in a lab for maximum infectivity before hitting the outside to catastrophic effect, two experts said Sunday. Writing in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Steven Quay and Richard Muller pointed to two key pieces of evidence to support the claim, which has increasingly gained steam after long being derided as little more than speculation. The first relates to the nature of gain-of-function research, in which microbiologists tweak a virus’ genome to alter its properties, such as making it more transmissible or more lethal.

Of the 36 possible genome pairings that can produce two arginine amino acids in a row — which results in boosting a virus’ lethality — the one most commonly used in gain-of-function research is CGG-CGG, or double CGG, wrote Quay and Muller. “The insertion sequence of choice is the double CGG,” wrote Quay, the founder of Atossa Therapeutics, and Muller, a former top scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who now teaches physics at the University of California’s Berkeley campus. “That’s because it is readily available and convenient, and scientists have a great deal of experience inserting it,” they wrote. “An additional advantage of the double CGG sequence compared with the other 35 possible choices: It creates a useful beacon that permits the scientists to track the insertion in the laboratory.”

The pair noted that the double CGG sequence has never been found naturally among the entire group of coronaviruses that includes CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. But, in what Quay and Muller called a “damning fact,” it was found in CoV-2. “Proponents of zoonotic origin must explain why the novel coronavirus, when it mutated or recombined, happened to pick its least favorite combination, the double CGG,” they wrote. “Why did it replicate the choice the lab’s gain-of-function researchers would have made?

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And then tweeted that it was an automated process.

Virologist Who Told Fauci Virus Potentially Engineered Nukes 5,000 Tweets (ZH)

A California virologist who told Anthony Fauci that COVID-19 looks ‘potentially engineered’ and ‘inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory’ – only to later reverse course and publish a ‘natural origin’ paper 8 weeks later (before receiving a multi million-dollar NIH grant) has deleted more than 5,000 tweets. Kristian G. Anderson who runs the Andersen Lab in La Jolla, CA, wrote in a Feb. 1 email to Fauci “The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome, less than 0.1 percent, so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered,” adding that he and his team found “the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory.”

Anderson was responding to an article sent to him by Fauci exploring the origins of the virus. The next day, Fauci sent an urgent email to his deputy, Hugh Auchincloss, with the subject “IMPORTANT,” writing “Hugh, it is essential that we speak this a.m. Keep your cell phone on. … Read this paper as well as the email that I will forward. You will have tasks today that must be done.” The document attached was titled “Baric, Shi, et al – Nature medicine – SARS gain of function.pdf.” So right after one of Fauci’s trusted scientific advisers suggests COVID-19 could be man-made (while Fauci and associates publicly dismissed the possibility as a conspiracy theory), he shot a research paper concerning gain of function research – which Fauci was funding at the Wuhan Institute of Virology – to his deputy.

And now Anderson has deleted more than half of his tweets. Anderson claims that his old tweets are ‘auto deleted’ – which would suggest a rolling, automated process – not the sudden disappearance of over 5,000 tweets preceding March 7, 2021. The deleted tweets come as internet sleuths begin to unravel Anderson’s involvement with Fauci and the NIH.

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Is Gottlieb turning his back on Fauci?

Fauci Told World Leaders Last Spring Virus Could Have Come From Wuhan Lab (DM)

The former head of the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, has said Dr. Anthony Fauci told world leaders in the spring of 2020 that the coronavirus may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China. U.S. researchers around that time still were considering whether the virus came from a lab break, and Fauci told the health leaders gathered that the newly identified strain of the coronavirus ‘looked unusual,’ according to Gottlieb. The disclosure from the former FDA chief comes as an increasing number of mainstream scientists and media figures no longer are parroting the line from the Chinese Communist Party that the virus came from a bat. Even President Joe Biden has ordered government agencies to investigate the possibility that it might have come from a lab.

Now, Gottlieb says Fauci last year at least considered that COVID-19 could have come from a lab – before closing ranks around the idea that it occurred naturally. Gottlieb, who served under President Donald Trump, said a former senior member of the Trump administration told him at the time of Fauci’s 2020 talk. Gottlieb said he’d recently reconfirmed with that person that Fauci had given the talk. ‘I think early on, when they looked at the strain, they had suspicions,’ Gottlieb recalled Sunday on CBS Face the Nation, speaking of U.S. scientists. ‘And it takes time to do that analysis, and that dispelled some of those suspicions,’ he added.

Meanwhile, Gottlieb said it was a mistake to only look at the virus from a scientific perspective: It also needs to be examined from a national security lens, he said. ‘A scientific mindset looks at the virus and the virus’ behavior and draws a conclusion,’ he said. ‘A national security assessment looks at that and then looks at the behavior of the Chinese government, the behavior of the lab, other evidence around the lab – including the infections we now know took place – and that changes the overall assessment,’ he said.

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Google translate.

Ivermectin Confirmed As Covid Treatment By Bombay High Court (FSoir)

In India, the Ministry of Health included ivermectin as part of the treatment of Covid19 as early as April 2021 and confirmed this on several occasions, including in its last recommendation. The Minister of Health therefore did not follow the advice of the WHO not to use ivermectin . India, after a scientific review of the existing evidence, followed suit with Senegal, which had not followed the WHO advice on hydroxychloroquine with continuous use in combination with another molecule since March 2020.” We do not blindly follow the WHO” declared Prof. Moussa Seydi, head of the infectious diseases department at Fann hospital in Dakar.

As several Indian states continue to prescribe ivermectin with success, WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan tweeted on May 10 that the United Nations agency advises against the use of the drug to treat patients with the disease. COVID-19, except in clinical trials. The tweet included a press release issued by the company that makes the drug, Merck, saying it had found no evidence to support the use of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. The Indian Bar’s response was direct – a formal notice before action demanding accountability from the 51-page scientific director who takes up the various arguments in favor of ivermectin and especially questions why the scientific director tweeted a old Merck press release while on March 31, 2021 she herself issued a WHO opinion on ivermectin. This really raises questions.

A few weeks ago a group of Indian lawyers, whose sponsors are not yet identified, attacked the decision by the state of Goa to include ivermectin as part of the treatment against the Covid19 thus following national guidelines. The reasons given in the procedure were that the WHO had not approved the use of ivermectin. The Goa government has therefore produced a response brief thus confirming that the rationale for WHO’s advice not to use ivermectin is flawed. This thesis is based on a lot of evidence including the contradictory analysis of the WHO opinion made by the FLCCC of Dr Pierre Kory . It is therefore a first for a government to take a legal position in favor of early treatment.

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Easy as pie.

California County COVID Death Toll 25% Lower After Counting Method Change (ZH)

The number of COVID-19 deaths in Alameda County, California, fell by about 25 percent after health officials changed their methodology for total mortality count, removing those that were not a “direct result” of the disease, or “in whom death caused by COVID-19 could not be ruled out.” The county’s COVID-19 dashboard, following an update on June 4 to reflect the total number of COVID-19 deaths using the state’s death reporting definition, shows 1,223 deaths were caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, 411 fewer than what it previously reported. “Alameda County previously included any person who died while infected with the virus in the total COVID-19 deaths for the County,” the county’s public health department said in a press release.

For example, someone who tested positive for the virus before dying in a car accident would still have been counted toward the COVID-19 death toll . “Aligning with the State’s definition will require Alameda County to report as COVID-19 deaths only those people who died as a direct result of COVID-19, with COVID-19 as a contributing cause of death, or in whom death caused by COVID-19 could not be ruled out,” the health officials said, noting that their system of reporting COVID-19 deaths on the dashboard and to the state was implemented early in the pandemic, before the state established guidelines for how deaths should be classified.

Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss told the Mercury News that his department was aware of the inconsistency between the county and state’s numbers, but they had to put off the change because of a major surge in infections during the winter. “We just weren’t able to move as quickly on this as we would’ve liked, but we felt it was important and sometimes better late than never,” he said.

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Meant to sell vaccines, the article becomes an ad for Mississippi, 50th and last among states in vaccinations.

Children Are ‘Vulnerable Host’ For Covid As Cases Recede – US Expert (G.)

A US public health expert has warned that though cases of Covid-19 are at their lowest rates for months and much of the country is returning to normal life, young Americans are still “a vulnerable host” for the coronavirus. Dr Richina Bicette, associate medical director at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told CNN children were now accounting for nearly 25% of US cases. “As adults get vaccinated and become more protected and immune,” she said, “the virus is still in the community looking for a vulnerable host and pediatric patients fit that description.” Children aged 12 and above are eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, one of three in US use. Federal authorities will this week debate extending vaccines to children aged 11 and under.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that 52% of the US population over the age of 12 has had at least one vaccine dose and 42% is fully protected. The Biden administration wants 70% of US adults to have received at least one shot by 4 July. A range of incentives are being offered. Deaths in the US have slowed drastically, the toll a little under 590,000. But with virus variants causing problems as other countries reopen, experts have voiced concern over slowing rates of vaccination, particularly in Republican states. On Sunday the Republican governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union. Mississippi is 50th and last among states in vaccinations, with 30% of residents fully protected and 40.5% aged 12 and older having received at least one dose, according to the CDC.

The states with the highest vaccination rates are Vermont (80.6% – with a Republican governor, Phil Scott), Hawaii (78.6%) and Massachusetts (76.8%). “I believe the vaccine works,” Reeves said. “I believe it’s safe. I believe it’s effective. I took my first dose in January, as did my wife, on TV live, and I have encouraged Mississippians to do the same. “But I also want to point out that President Biden’s goals for 4 July or otherwise are arbitrary to say the least.” Reeves said his focus was on providing “quality care” for people with Covid-19 – and trumpeted a steep decline in hospitalisations. “At our peak, we had 1,444 individuals in the hospital,” he said. “Today, we have 131. We’re down 90%. At our peak, we had 2,400 cases per day over a seven-day period. Over the last seven days, we have had barely 800 cases in total.

“And so, for that entire year period, the goalpost was, let’s reduce the number of cases. And we have been successful at doing that. The question is, why? “We have had a million Mississippians that have gotten the vaccine, but we have also had 320,000 Mississippians that have tested positive for the virus. Many people believe that somewhere between four and five times more people have gotten the virus that have not tested [positive]. “And so we have got probably a million or so Mississippians that have natural immunity. And because of that, there is very, very, very little virus in our state. But we’re still working to get the vaccine distributed, and hope we will continue to do so.”

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These people don’t know what they’re doing.

Greek Minister Nods For Post-Vaccination Privileges (K.)

Greece may soon grant privileges to individuals inoculated against Covid-19. Speaking on Skai radio on Monday, Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis said such measures could be introduced only when vaccine supply has outpaced demand in the country. “We need to be certain that one did not get vaccinated because one did not want to do so, not because one could not schedule a [vaccination] appointment,” the conservative minister said. Georgiadis predicted that this would happen in the next two or three weeks. He did not specify what these privileges could be. In comments made on Sunday, Alternate Interior Minister Stelios Petsas also said that giving special privileges to vaccinated individuals could be used as an incentive to boost Greece’s nationwide inoculation program.

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“910 people in a population of 25 million have died from Covid-19, with just one single death – that of a returning traveller – in the last six months.”

‘Pygmy Possum’ Leaders Impose One Punishing Lockdown After Another (RT)

Having all but sealed the international borders until mid-2022, Oz reached a new high, or low, this week when Victoria, the most densely populated state, had a seven-day snap lockdown extended to a fortnight using the logic of one lockdown to prevent another lockdown, after alarm bells were raised when two people tested positive (later proven false positives) for the virus. Currently, there are 70 active cases of Covid in Victoria. Common sense went out the window. The state premier took refuge behind public health officials, just like everywhere else, citing a pressing need to crush a variant of the virus before it took hold. Melbourne’s four million residents were told to stay indoors for another week. The fourth lockdown for my home state, for a weary population that had already endured more than 100 gruelling days of enforced isolation over summer.

The latest move is cruel, cowardly and downright stupid. But you won’t convince the politicians that they need to try some leadership, because they are cowering in fear from what they have come to fearfully refer to as “a beast,” despite the fact that just 910 people in a population of 25 million have died from Covid-19, with just one single death – that of a returning traveller – in the last six months. Right now, Australia’s more than 7,000 critical-care beds remain empty and just 17 people nationwide are lying in hospitals suffering from Covid infection. Yet still, the leaders are ramping up the fear.

[..] Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk raised the idea of a fervent regionalism when she declared the state’s hospitals were “for our people.” This meant that a seriously ill woman pregnant with twins who lived in New South Wales was denied urgent medical treatment by her nearest hospital because it lay across the state border in Queensland. She lost one of her unborn babies thanks to political grandstanding. Only the politicians of Sydney, the New South Wales capital, have come out of this with any sort of credit seemingly determined to live with the disease and a staunch refusal to panic. Now that’s the Aussie spirit! Because elsewhere, it really does appear that crushing Covid-19 infection is the only thing that matters, despite the numbers of people who are vaccinated or even if anyone is even sick.

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Is it that they know it’s inevitable, so they might as well act as if they wanted it?

Oh Lordy, Yellen Comes Out for Higher Interest Rates (WS)

Starting in 2018, President Trump harangued and hammered Fed Chair Jerome Powell to end Quantitative Tightening and to cut interest rates, and Powell buckled and did his infamous “180.” And now suddenly – unless this gets walked backed again tomorrow – we’ve got the opposite. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Sunday that higher interest rates would “actually be a plus for society’s point of view and the Fed’s point of view.” Under Fed Chair Yellen, the Fed hiked interest rates five times, starting in December 2015. Yellen departed in February 2018 as Trump had refused to reappoint her, and instead replaced her with Powell. At the time, the sixth rate-hike was already baked in for the March 2018 meeting. She is no stranger to rate hikes.

Now Yellen – presumably with the backing of President Biden – is supporting Powell on rate hikes, which is a dramatic shift from the prior administration. The issue in the interview was inflation and whether or not it would be fired up further by the federal government’s $4 trillion additional spending spread over 10 years, adding $400 billion per year in extra spending. Yellen said that this would not be enough for inflation to over-run. And she said that the current “spurt” in prices powered by the stimulus would fade next year – toeing the line that the biggest burst of inflation in three decades that blew through the Fed’s target by a big margin would just be “temporary.”

But, and here it comes: If the current burst of inflation turns out to be not temporary and triggers more persistent inflation, and thereby higher interest rates, it would be a good thing. “If we ended up with a slightly higher interest rate environment, it would actually be a plus for society’s point of view and the Fed’s point of view,” she told Bloomberg News. “We’ve been fighting inflation that’s too low and interest rates that are too low now for a decade,” she said. “We want them to go back to” a normal interest rate environment, “and if this helps a little bit to alleviate things then that’s not a bad thing – that’s a good thing.”

Read more …

 

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Mar 072021
 
 March 7, 2021  Posted by at 10:14 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  29 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Red Vineyards at Arles 1888

 

American Rescue Plan Could Set Stage for $4 Trillion of Debt (CRFB)
Yellen Coddles Up to Powell on Rising Long-Term Yields (WS)
Italy’s Government Is Outsourcing Its Economic Strategy To McKinsey (Jac.)
US Covid Cases Continue To Decline After Brief Plateau (JTN)
Connecticut Lifting All Covid-19 Capacity Restrictions On Businesses (F.)
The Nightingale Alternative (Gillian Dymond)
Trump Sends Legal Notice To GOP To Stop Using His Name (Pol.)
Congressmen Demand Twitter’s Internal Docs Regarding Trump Censorship (JTN)
Is China Hacking Random Servers To Put Itself Into A Bad Light? (MoA)
Bitcoin Could Soon Run Head First Into US Money Laundering Laws (ZH)
The Dark Side Of “Eating Lower On The Food Chain” (Turchin)
Mobile Devices Alter Children’s Minds, Change How They Perceive The World (JTN)

 

 

 

 

Jack Posobiec: Trump sent $1800 stimulus out, Biden sent $1400 but if you look closely you may start to notice the media being slightly biased about this story.

Kevin Gosztola: Jobless benefits were $600/week for 4 months in the COVID-19 relief that passed under Trump in March 2020. Biden and Senate Democrats are cutting jobless benefits for citizens in crisis to $300/week for same period—half of what passed in GOP-controlled Senate.

 

 

 

 

Already, people will get $1,400 checks, while the rescue will cost them some $5,700 each.

American Rescue Plan Could Set Stage for $4 Trillion of Debt (CRFB)

The American Rescue Plan Act is estimated to cost over $1.9 trillion through 2031, but the ultimate price tag could be twice as high if some of the policies in the bill are extended beyond their current expiration dates. The bill includes several extensions of tax credits that supporters have previously proposed on a permanent basis and several temporary economic relief measures that are slated to end before the economy has fully recovered. If the tax credits were made permanent and these relief measures were extended for the duration of the crisis, it would raise the total cost of the bill to $3.8 trillion through 2031, or $4.1 trillion with interest.

Several measures in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act that provide temporary relief are likely to be extended past their expiration dates. Most significantly, expanded unemployment benefits would expire at the end of August (though that may soon be changed to September), after which all unemployed workers would lose the benefit supplement and many would lose benefits entirely. In addition, a 15 percent increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits would end in September, after which benefits would immediately snap back to their previous level. Other smaller relief efforts also end abruptly. Extensions of these policies are likely in our view. While the actual cost would depend on the length and nature of those extensions, we believe a reasonable extension and phase-out scenario could cost roughly $300 billion.

More substantially, the American Rescue Plan Act includes one- or two-year versions of several longstanding policy priorities of President Biden’s or Congressional Democrats’. It includes over $100 billion for a one-year expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which increases the credit from $2,000 to $3,000 (or $3,600 for children under age 6) and makes it fully refundable. The bill also includes a $15 billion, one-year expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless workers that many have been seeking for years, and an $8 billion expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), which closely matches President Biden’s campaign proposal to increase the maximum credit from $2,100 to $8,000 and from covering 35 percent of expenses to 50 percent of expenses. Finally, the legislation includes a $35 billion, 2-year increase in Affordable Care Act premium subsidies that closely matches a similar proposal in President Biden’s campaign plan and $10 billion in small Medicaid expansions that last five years.

Making the expanded CTC permanent would cost an additional $1.1 trillion, assuming the expiring provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which boosted the credit from $1,000 to $2,000 and eliminated the dependent exemption, are eventually extended or the policy is modified after 2026. Relative to current law, we estimate this would cost more like $1.5 trillion. Meanwhile, making the EITC and CDCTC extensions permanent would cost over $200 billion, and making the health care provisions permanent would cost about $250 billion. Altogether, we estimate these potential extensions would cost $1.9 trillion before interest, boosting the overall cost of the bill to $4.1 trillion when interest is included.

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“The Wall Street crybabies are clamoring for this because massive highly leveraged bets on Treasury securities are producing massive losses.”

Yellen Coddles Up to Powell on Rising Long-Term Yields (WS)

It seems to be a rare sight that a Treasury Secretary and a Fed Chair color-coordinate their comments about rising long-term yields. On Friday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in an interview on PBS NewsHour echoed what Fed Chair Jerome Powell had said on Thursday in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. When Yellen was asked about the rising long-term yields that the crybabies on Wall Street are getting so nervous about, Yellen said in her quiet manner: “Long term interest rates have gone up some, but mainly I think because market participants are seeing a stronger recovery, as we have success with getting people vaccinated and a strong fiscal package that’s going to get people back to work.” “Rising interest rates don’t concern you?” she was then asked.


“I think they’re a sign that the economy is getting back on track, and market participants see that, and they expect a stronger economy,” Yellen said. “And instead of inflation lingering below levels that are desirable for years on end, they’re beginning to see inflation get back to a normal range of around 2%.” And inflation may rise more than that, but it’s going to be transitory, she said. So on Friday, the Treasury 10-year yield rose to 1.57%, still ludicrously low, given the outlook on inflation, and given the Fed’s insistence that it will let inflation run over 2% – as measured by “core PCE,” the inflation measure that nearly always produces the lowest inflation readings in the US. But that 1.57% was nevertheless the highest since February 14, 2020:

The spread between the Treasury 2-year yield (0.14%) and the 10-year yield (1.57%) widened to 1.43 percentage points. By this measure, the yield curve is the steepest since November 2015:

This rise in the 10-year yield has set off clamoring among the crybabies on Wall Street for the Fed to do something to bring them down. They have already outlined the remedies, including prominently another “Operation Twist,” where the Fed sells Treasury securities with short maturities and buys Treasury securities with long maturities. This concentrated buying of long-dated Treasuries would raise their prices and thereby push down their yields. The Wall Street crybabies are clamoring for this because massive highly leveraged bets on Treasury securities are producing massive losses.

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This must be crossing some line.

Italy’s Government Is Outsourcing Its Economic Strategy To McKinsey (Jac.)

Upon its formation last month, Mario Draghi’s new government was heralded by almost all Italian and international media as a rescue operation. Where the former European Central Bank (ECB) chief Draghi had “saved the euro” in the 2010s, most outlets gushed over “Super Mario” and his plan to “save Italy” by splashing a mooted €209 billion in European recovery fund cash while “reforming” its lackluster economy. The kind of “reforms” this meant went unmentioned — and after all, this government bears no relation to voter decisions, or the coalitions that ran in the last general election. But for the fourth time since the 1990s, a president called on a technocrat from the world of finance and banking to form a cabinet, halfway through a parliament. Eight of Draghi’s twenty-three ministers are unelected technocrats, in a so-called government of experts.

If these figures are not party-political, they have similar backgrounds and instincts. Economy minister Daniele Franco is a former Bank of Italy official who drafted the famous 2011 ECB letter instructing the government to implement privatizations and cut back collective bargaining. Former Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao — today innovation and digital transition minister — is a former partner at private consultants McKinsey & Company. Now, it has been revealed that McKinsey is going to be tasked with writing Italy’s economic plan for the coming period, to be submitted for review by the European Commission at the end of next month. Notorious for its role in the Enron scandal as well as the 2008 financial crisis — as it promoted the boundless securitization of mortgage assets — and the botched vaccine rollout in France, the firm is now being called on to shape the Draghi government’s “reform” agenda.

La Repubblica, the country’s leading center-left daily, gushed over the move. “Faced with a race against time,” Draghi’s government “has assumed the position of a private corporation faced with a new business opportunity that isn’t part of its core activities.” While this same paper reported on March 1 that the need for “hurry” meant Draghi himself would write the recovery plan, together with finance minister Franco, this has now been outsourced. The suggestion that this is a purely “technical” collaboration — that McKinsey’s choices will not be political — is patently absurd, not least given that this claim is also widely made for Draghi’s “technical” government itself. For decades, the imposition of neoliberal recipes in Italy has been advanced through this same procedure, with the agenda advanced by privatizers couched in the dogma of “unavoidable choices.”

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And still nobody knows why?!

US Covid Cases Continue To Decline After Brief Plateau (JTN)

Daily new COVID-19 cases in the United States have continued declining after a brief plateau following a sharp drop from the beginning of the year. Cases have declined steeply since early January, baffling scientists who are struggling to explain the unexpected drop in COVID activity, particularly after weeks of dire warnings from health officials about the potential for a post-holiday spike. That decline leveled out in late February, with daily average case numbers appearing to be on a slightly upward trajectory at one point, leading experts to warn that positive test results could be preparing to explode again.


Yet cases appear to be dropping again, according to several data sources. The COVID Tracking Project indicates that daily average case numbers began slowly decreasing again around Feb. 27 and have continued on that downward trend over the past week. Likewise, the data website Worldometers also identifies average daily case numbers beginning a new decline at right around the same day. According to COVID Tracking, COVID-19 hospitalizations have continued on a seemingly unabated downward trajectory since early January, on Friday reaching levels not seen since late October.

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Not all restrictions.

Connecticut Lifting All Covid-19 Capacity Restrictions On Businesses (F.)

Connecticut will lift all capacity limits on certain businesses including restaurants, gyms, offices and houses of worship starting March 19, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday, going further than most other Democratic-led states to roll back Covid-19 restrictions even as public health officials advise governors not to do so. Restaurants, retail businesses, libraries, personal services, indoor recreation facilities, gyms, fitness centers, museums, aquariums, zoos, offices and houses of worship will all have their capacity limits repealed. Social distancing protocols will still be in place and face masks will be required, and there will be some restrictions: theaters will remain restricted to 50% capacity, restaurants are limited to eight people per table and must close at 11 p.m. and bars that only serve beverages will still be closed entirely.


The state’s mask mandate will remain in effect. Gathering limits on social and recreational gatherings will also be increased March 19 to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors at a private residence, or 100 people indoors and 200 outdoors at a commercial venue. On April 2, the state will open outdoor amusement parks, open indoor stadiums at 10% capacity and increase occupancy at outdoor event venues to 50% capacity or up to 10,000 people. Connecticut will be one of only a few Democratic-led states to have such relaxed capacity restrictions: Virginia does not have capacity restrictions at restaurants or places of worship but does at gyms, Wisconsin’s capacity limit order has expired and Kansas’ restrictions are determined by county, with many having few or no limits.

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“..depriving us all of autonomy and of the comforting, real-world support of friends and family, and robbing the less fortunate among us of health, of livelihoods, and, in the worst cases, of life itself.”

The Nightingale Alternative (Gillian Dymond)

It is a year now since I last took a train: a short return trip, from Leamington Spa to Oxford. On the journey out, I was lucky enough to find a seat in which, for some forty minutes, I shared the air with my fellow travellers. At Oxford station I rubbed shoulders with a multiplicity of strangers as I joined the throng surging towards the exit and proceeding slowly through the congested barriers, then made my way along busy streets, brushing against other human beings on the narrow pavements. At the Ashmolean I met a friend, and together we mingled freely with the rest of the visitors at the well-frequented Rembrandt exhibition, then chatted at length over a late lunch in the museum café, where the tables – disdaining any hint of anti-social distancing – were full to capacity.

Later, after a walk through Christchurch Meadow and along the river, exchanging smiles and occasionally the odd word with those I passed along the way, I spent some time browsing the shelves of Blackwell’s in daring proximity with other booklovers before deciding on a purchase and braving the jostle of the station platform to board a packed train back to Leamington. It was a very ordinary day – a day passed without fear as I came into contact with numerous unknown people, some of whom, no doubt, were suffering from the common cold or harbouring incipient or suppressed symptoms of influenza or even of Covid-19 (which, as we now know, had already been on the loose for several, possibly many, months at that time). Not for a moment did this disturb me.

Like all those in good health and unafflicted by obsessive-compulsive disorder, I judged the hasard of stepping out boldly into the microbial soup which surrounds and permeates our existence to be a risk worth taking in exchange for the spontaneous social interaction without which human beings cannot thrive. I never guessed that this could be the last time I would be free to enjoy a day of such unexceptionable pleasures. True, rumblings of the pandemic had been growing over the previous weeks, but memories of previous damp squibs – SARS, bird flu, swine flu – which the worst-case speculations of computer-modellers had repeatedly failed to ignite encouraged me to hope that present reports from China and Italy, too, would soon fade into a penumbra of failed sensationalism.

[..] And the lockdowns, distancing and masking began. For close on a year now official statistics and figures spun out by a team of approved government experts into webs of cautionary speculation have justified rule by decree, depriving us all of autonomy and of the comforting, real-world support of friends and family, and robbing the less fortunate among us of health, of livelihoods, and, in the worst cases, of life itself. To anyone with the most rudimentary understanding of economic interdependence, the consequences of this decision to quarantine the whole nation were obvious from the start, and were uncannily favourable to the objectives of Agendas 21 and 2030, as handed down from the UN, via national administrations, to local governments throughout the world: but the people of the UK, it seemed, were convinced by the official “narrative”, thousands of them assembling on their doorsteps each Thursday evening to shake their fists at The Virus, and demonstrate solidarity with the NHS.

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Ha ha!

“As one of President Trump’s MOST LOYAL supporters, I think that YOU, deserve the great honor of adding your name to the Official Trump ‘Thank You’ Card.”

Trump Sends Legal Notice To GOP To Stop Using His Name (Pol.)

Lawyers for former President DONALD TRUMP sent out cease-and-desist letters Friday to the three largest fundraising entities for the Republican Party — the RNC, NRCC and NRSC — for using his name and likeness on fundraising emails and merchandise, a Trump adviser tells Playbook. We reported yesterday that Trump was furious that his name has been bandied about by organizations that help Republicans who voted to impeach him — without his permission. Trump, who made his fortune in licensing, has always been sensitive to how his name has been used to fundraise and support members, even while in office.

On Friday, the RNC sent out two emails asking supporters to donate as a way to add their name to a “thank you” card for Trump. “President Trump will ALWAYS stand up for the American People, and I just thought of the perfect way for you to show that you support him!” the email states. “As one of President Trump’s MOST LOYAL supporters, I think that YOU, deserve the great honor of adding your name to the Official Trump ‘Thank You’ Card.” A follow-up email was sent hours later to “President Trump’s TOP supporters” warning of a deadline of 10 hours to get their names on the card.

None of the committees returned a request for comment. But privately GOP campaign types say it’s impossible not to use Trump’s name, as his policies are so popular with the base. If Trump really wants to help flip Congress, they argue he should be more generous. His team, however, sees this differently. “President Trump remains committed to the Republican Party and electing America First conservatives, but that doesn’t give anyone – friend or foe – permission to use his likeness without explicit approval,” said a Trump adviser.

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They’ll refuse.

Congressmen Demand Twitter’s Internal Docs Regarding Trump Censorship (JTN)

Two Republican representatives are renewing a demand that Twitter hand over internal documents regarding its decisions to censor and moderate content on its platforms, accusing the tech company of harboring significant bias against a large part of its user base. Reps. Jim Jordan and Ken Buck claimed in a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey this week that Twitter itself has played “a leading role in silencing and censoring political speech of conservative Americans.” The letter repeats a request that Jordan lodged last summer with which Twitter reportedly did not comply.


“In recent months, Twitter throttled the dissemination of a mainstream newspaper article critical of then-candidate Joe Biden’s son,” they wrote in the letter, “and later took the unprecedented step of de-platforming the sitting President of the United States. If Twitter can do this to the President of the United States, it can do it to any American for any reason.” The politicians demanded that Twitter hand over “an accounting of all content moderation decisions made by Twitter over the past year for users located within the United States, including which Twitter rule or policy the user allegedly violated and the content of the moderated tweet,” as well as “all documents and communications” related to its decision to censor several of then-President Donald Trump’s tweets last year.

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“Why would a state sponsored hacking campaign, especially from China, actually want that? Why would China want to attract more negative news about its country?”

Is China Hacking Random Servers To Put Itself Into A Bad Light? (MoA)

In January 2021, through its Network Security Monitoring service, Volexity detected anomalous activity from two of its customers’ Microsoft Exchange servers. Volexity identified a large amount of data being sent to IP addresses it believed were not tied to legitimate users. A closer inspection of the IIS logs from the Exchange servers revealed rather alarming results. … Through its analysis of system memory, Volexity determined the attacker was exploiting a zero-day server-side request forgery (SSRF) vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange (CVE-2021-26855). The attacker was using the vulnerability to steal the full contents of several user mailboxes. This vulnerability is remotely exploitable and does not require authentication of any kind, nor does it require any special knowledge or access to a target environment. The attacker only needs to know the server running Exchange and the account from which they want to extract e-mail.

The hackers used four different zero-day security holes in Exchange Server products. A zero-day security hole is one that was previously unknown and has never been used before. To find new zero-day security holes is difficult and expensive. But after they are found and made operational they are often easy to use. Whoever did this hack has invested quite some effort. Besides extracting emails the hackers also installed backdoors that give them remote access to the hacked Exchange systems. On March 2 Microsoft released patches for the four security holes. In its release it accused China of being behind the hack:

“Today, we’re sharing information about a state-sponsored threat actor identified by the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) that we are calling Hafnium. Hafnium operates from China, and this is the first time we’re discussing its activity. It is a highly skilled and sophisticated actor. Historically, Hafnium primarily targets entities in the United States for the purpose of exfiltrating information from a number of industry sectors, including infectious disease researchers, law firms, higher education institutions, defense contractors, policy think tanks and NGOs. While Hafnium is based in China, it conducts its operations primarily from leased virtual private servers (VPS) in the United States.”

[..] The attribution Microsoft makes is in light of the above quite weak. The direct attacks came from rented virtual private servers within the U.S. These were, says Microsoft, operated through machines in China. But how does Microsoft know who has actually control over those machines in China? Could they not be hacked too? Couldn’t the real actors sit anywhere on this planet and access them through the Internet? Microsoft also says that its attribution is “based on observed victimology, tactics and procedures”. The victims are described as “infectious disease researchers, law firms, higher education institutions, defense contractors, policy think tanks and NGOs”.

For a state sponsored campaign, especially one that burns four expensive zero-days, that victimology is unusually wide. It practically guaranteed that the attack would be detected fairly soon. “Tactics and procedures” are something that is even harder to attribute than the code used in the attack. Microsoft details some of these: “HAFNIUM has previously compromised victims by exploiting vulnerabilities in internet-facing servers, and has used legitimate open-source frameworks, like Covenant, for command and control. Once they’ve gained access to a victim network, HAFNIUM typically exfiltrates data to file sharing sites like MEGA.

This hack used legitimate open source tools that are widely available and are also used by many cybercrime organizations and secret services. What then are the specific ‘tactics and procedures’ which attribute this to China? Microsoft won’t say. There is also a fact that the hackers have gone into overdrive as soon as Microsoft released the patches. They now infect any system they can find. That surely will result in an extreme amount of international publicity. Why would a state sponsored hacking campaign, especially from China, actually want that? Why would China want to attract more negative news about its country? Could there be some other country that has an interest in pushing public accusations against China by linking it to massive global hacking campaign?

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Governments and central banks want control.

Bitcoin Could Soon Run Head First Into US Money Laundering Laws (ZH)

Among the challenges in regulating bitcoin will be the Biden administration’s handling of recent anti-money laundering laws put into place by the Trump administration pertaining to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The rules, implemented at the last-minute by the Trump administration, seek requirements for financial services firms to report identities of cryptocurrency holders, according to Bloomberg. The point of the rules is to stop attempts to use crypto as a means of transferring money illicitly. Lobbying against the regulations are “heavyweights from both K Street and Wall Street”, according to Bloomberg, including Fidelity and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce has said the rule would have “unintended long-term consequences” on the virtual currency industry.

Also lobbying against the rule have been “Republican lawmakers, including former Representative Cynthia Lummis, who is now a Wyoming senator; Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton and Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii”. The rules were implemented by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN, after President Trump lost the 2020 election. The move drew criticism and even the threat of lawsuits from pro-crypto trade groups. The rule would require filings to the Treasury every time a customer moves at least $10,000 worth of virtual currency into a wallet not hosted at an exchange. These are similar to the reports that banks already send under existing AML laws when customers take out $10,000 or more in cash.

The regulation would also require banks and exchanges to keep records of customers who send $3,000 or more of virtual currencies to someone else’s unhosted wallet. Obviously, such regulation would maim one of bitcoin’s biggest “assets”: the ability to transfer money anonymously and “outside the system”. Should Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen move forward with the rules, crypto services could wind up becoming more expensive – and some cryptocurrencies could even disappear altogether.

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Nice take.

The Dark Side Of “Eating Lower On The Food Chain” (Turchin)

Nine years ago I made one of the most consequential decisions of my life—I switched to the so-called Paleo Diet (“paleo” is a bit misleading, as I explain in the post). Had I not done so, I would certainly have contributed to the rising obesity statistics for the United States. Within six months of switching to Paleo diet I lost 20 pounds before equilibrating at my current weight. But weight is actually the least important thing. Much more important was a dramatic improvement of my general health I experienced in the months since switching. I feel better today than ten years ago, despite being (obviously enough) ten years older. The major change was eating much higher on the food chain. The only way to get protein on a purely plant-based diet is to eat grains and pulses, which means wheat and beans.

But those are precisely the foods elimination of which resulted in my health improvement. I sometimes unknowingly consume small amounts of wheat, when a restaurant chef uses flour for the sauce (despite explicit entreaties not do so). The next day I know that I had been poisoned. The other thing is that it’s not just protein deficiency. Your body doesn’t need that much protein. The biggest problem with purely plant diet is that you don’t get enough healthful fat. Instead you end up poisoning yourself with seed oils. This is why I watch with increasing alarm the current trend to “cancel” meat. Last year the town of Cambridge, home of one of two best universities in UK, banned meat. So Cambridge is now off my list of places to go to (fortunately, I visited it years ago, when it was still safe for carnivores).

I am very worried that the veganism tide will continue spreading, leaving us carnivores on reservations (or even driving people following Paleo diet to extinction). Somebody is sure to immediately accuse me that I don’t care about the environment. Au contraire. Some of the most depressing environments that I’ve seen are giant agricultural fields (e.g. driving through Iowa).

Compare it to what they looked like before:

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“..children who frequently use mobile devices are more likely to process stimuli on a “local” level, for example they “process the details” of an image first rather than the overall image itself.”

Mobile Devices Alter Children’s Minds, Change How They Perceive The World (JTN)

Researchers in Hungary this week announced the findings of studies into what effects digital devices have on young minds, concluding that the increased usage of such technology has changed how younger individuals interact with the world around them. In a press release, scientists at Eötvös Loránd University said that children of the “Alpha Generation,” or those born after 2010, “typically grow up with mobile devices in their hands” which “seems to change how they perceive the world.” Summarizing their findings, the Hungarian researchers claim that children who frequently use mobile devices are more likely to process stimuli on a “local” level, for example they “process the details” of an image first rather than the overall image itself.


The results “show that the type of experiences children meet matters much,” the release said, “because at this age the brain is very plastic, so such massive early exposure may have a significant long-term effect.” “The atypical attentional style in mobile user children is not necessarily bad,” one of the scholars commented, “but different for sure, and we cannot ignore this – for example in pedagogy.

Read more …

 

 

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Jan 262021
 


James McNeill Whistler Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville 1865

 

EU Threatens To Block Covid Vaccine Exports Amid AstraZeneca Shortfall (G.)
COVID19 Has Cost Global Workers $3.7 Trillion In Lost Earnings – ILO (G.)
House Delivers Impeachment Article To Senate (ZH)
Joe Biden On Donald Trump’s Impeachment Trial: ‘It Has To Happen’ (G.)
Sen. Leahy To Preside Over Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial (JTN)
Democrats Have Released A Roadmap To One-Party Rule (RCP)
Poll: Trump ‘Patriot Party’ Would Win 23% Of Voters, Drop GOP To Third (JTN)
Democrat Sens. Manchin, Sinema Won’t Back Elimination Of The Filibuster (JTN)
Janet Yellen Confirmed As Treasury Secretary (Axios)
Twitter Launches Birdwatch, A Wikipedia-Style Approach To Fight Misinformation (F.)
Ex-CIA Engineer Tells Judge He’s Incarcerated Like An Animal (Ind.)
Leon Black To Step Down From Apollo Global After Epstein Investigation (F.)
Flying Blind (Jim Kunstler)
Let Nuke Plants Run for 100 Years? (CP)

 

 

We passed 100 million cases overnight.

 

 

And off to the bullfight we go. Still not a word on HCQ, ivermectin or even vitamin D. Is it really just incompetence?

EU Threatens To Block Covid Vaccine Exports Amid Astrazeneca Shortfall (G.)

The EU has threatened to block exports of coronavirus vaccines to countries outside the bloc such as Britain, after AstraZeneca was accused of failing to give a satisfactory explanation for a huge shortfall of promised doses to member states. The pharmaceutical company’s new distribution plans were said to be “unacceptable” after it “surprisingly” informed the European commission on Friday that there would be significant shortfalls on the original schedule. The EU has been due to receive 100m doses in the first quarter of this year. But it is feared that the bloc will only receive half of that despite making large advance purchases ahead of authorisation of the vaccine by the European medicines agency.

In a heated call with AstraZeneca’s chief executive, Pascal Soriot, on Monday, the European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said the company must live up to its contractual obligations. The EMA is expected to authorise the vaccine by the end of this week. Von der Leyen’s spokesperson said: “She made it clear that she expects AstraZeneca to deliver on the contractual arrangements foreseen in the advance purchasing agreement. “She reminded Mr Soriot that the EU has invested significant amounts in the company up front precisely to ensure that production is ramped up even before the conditional market authorisation is delivered by the European Medicines Agency. “Of course, production issues can appear with the complex vaccine, but we expect the company to find solutions and to exploit all possible flexibilities to deliver swiftly.”

The EU’s health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, made a televised statement to express her frustration at the company’s behaviour, warning that the answers so far provided had not been satisfactory. Late on Monday evening following discussions with executives representing the pharmaceutical company, Kyriakides tweeted: “Discussions with AstraZeneca today resulted in dissatisfaction with the lack of clarity and insufficient explanations. “EU member states are united: vaccine developers have societal and contractual responsibilities they need to uphold. “With our member states, we have requested from [Astrazeneca] a detailed planning of vaccine deliveries and when distribution will take place to member states. Another meeting will be convened on Wednesday to discuss the matter further.”

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On the bright side, at least we know where those trillions are. Safely in the hands of Bezos, Musk et al.

COVID19 Has Cost Global Workers $3.7 Trillion In Lost Earnings – ILO (G.)

The economic blow from Covid-19 has cost workers around the world $3.7tn (£2.7tn) in lost earnings, after the pandemic wiped out four times the number of working hours lost in the 2008 financial crisis, according to the UN’s labour body. The International Labour Organization (ILO) said women and younger workers had borne the brunt of job losses and reductions in hours, and warned that people in sectors hardest-hit by the crisis – such as hospitality and retail – risked being left behind when the economy recovers. Sounding the alarm that entrenched levels of inequality risked becoming a defining feature of the economic rebound from Covid-19, the Geneva-based agency said that governments around the world needed to take urgent action to support those at the heart of the storm.

In its annual analysis of the global jobs market, it said 8.8% of working hours were lost in 2020 relative to the end of 2019, equivalent to 255m full-time jobs. This is approximately four times bigger than the damage suffered by workers as a consequence of the 2008-9 financial crisis. These “massive losses” resulted in an 8.3% decline in global labour income, before government support measures are included, according to the ILO, equivalent to $3.7tn in earnings – about 4.4% of global GDP. Women have been more affected than men by the disruption to the jobs market, with female workers more likely to drop out of work altogether and stop looking for a new job. Younger workers have also been particularly hard hit, either losing jobs, dropping out of the labour force or delaying the search for a first job.

The ILO said there were some encouraging signs of recovery at the start of 2021 as the Covid-19 vaccine is gradually deployed around the world. However, it still estimated the continuing economic fallout would lead to a 3% loss of working hours globally in 2021 compared with the end of 2019, equivalent to 90m full-time jobs. In a pessimistic scenario, which assumes slow progress on vaccination, working hours would fall by 4.6% this year, while on an optimistic path the world economy would still lose 1.3% of working hours.

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They’re so hungry for blood they can’t see how ridiculous they look.

House Delivers Impeachment Article To Senate (ZH)

The House delivered its single impeachment article against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday, setting the stage for a February 8 trial. Just three Senate Republicans were present during the formal delivery of the article; Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney and Roger Marshall. Senators will get sworn in as jurors on Tuesday, according to a previous statement by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), while both the impeachment managers who will argue the House Democrats’ case, and Trump’s defense team, will have time to draft and file legal briefs, according to CNBC. “The managers, headed by lead manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., carried the article across the Capitol to the Senate on Monday in masked pairs as part of a formal procession. As Raskin read the charge against Trump, a smattering of senators wearing face coverings looked on from within the chamber.” -CNBC

Ironically, Trump – the only president to be impeached twice by the House – is unlikely to be convicted according to none other than President Biden, who told CNN he believed the outcome would be different if Trump had six months left in office – but that he doubts the required 17 GOP senators will vote to convict. Which begs the question if the entire exercise is moot, then why do it as it will only further polarize the already deeply divided US society and certainly not help the “unity” that Biden is allegedly striving to achieve. Trump was charged by the House with incitement of insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6 by, as House Democrats claim, ‘falsely claiming that widespread election fraud cost him the 2020 election,’ and then encouraging his supporters to show up and challenge the electoral college count.

According to the article, Trump “threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government,” and “thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”

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Twitter comment:

“DC will stay under military occupation while the opposition leader is put on trial..”

Joe Biden On Donald Trump’s Impeachment Trial: ‘It Has To Happen’ (G.)

The impeachment trial of Donald Trump “has to happen”, Joe Biden told CNN on Monday. While acknowledging the effect it could have on his agenda, the president said there would be “a worse effect if it didn’t happen”. Biden said he didn’t think enough Republican senators would vote for impeachment to convict, though he also said the outcome might well have been different if Trump had had six months left in his term. “The Senate has changed since I was there, but it hasn’t changed that much,” Biden said. The US House on Monday delivered its article of impeachment against Trump to the Senate, setting the stage for Trump’s second impeachment trial and the first ever Senate trial of a former US president.


Trump has been charged with inciting the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, when an assault by a violent pro-Trump mob lead to the deaths of five people. Monday’s delivery and formal reading of the charge marks the opening of the trial, although arguments are set to start the week of 8 February. Republicans and Democrats last week agreed to a two-week delay to the start of the proceedings to allow both sides to prepare arguments and give senators a fortnight to negotiate vital legislation to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus and consider Biden’s cabinet appointments. Following Trump’s impeachment in the House on 13 January, Biden had said he hoped senators would “deal with their constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation”.

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Judge, jury and henchman. Where’s the impartiality? Isn’t that required in a trial?

Sen. Leahy To Preside Over Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial (JTN)

Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy is presiding over the upcoming impeachment trial of former President Trump in the Democratic-led Senate, the lawmakers announced in a statement on Monday. Chief Justice John Roberts presided over the first impeachment trial against Trump, which centered on his phone conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, in which he brought up Hunter Biden’s work with a Ukrainian gas company while his father, Joe Biden, was U.S. vice president. Leahy, the new Senate president pro tempore, voted in favor of convicting Trump on both articles of impeachment during the first trial against Trump in February 2020. Trump was ultimately acquitted by the Republican-led Senate.


“The president pro tempore has historically presided over Senate impeachment trials of non-presidents. When presiding over an impeachment trial, the president pro tempore takes an additional special oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws,” Leahy said in a statement on Monday. “It is an oath that I take extraordinarily seriously.” Leahy also said he considers holding the president pro tempore position “one of the highest honors and most serious responsibilities” of his political career. “When I preside over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, I will not waver from my constitutional and sworn obligations to administer the trial with fairness, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws,” he said.

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“Mark Zuckerberg alone poured $419 million into this scheme.”

Democrats Have Released A Roadmap To One-Party Rule (RCP)

The Democrats appear intent on instituting one-party rule in the United States. They’re trying to use the U.S. Capitol riots as an excuse to criminalize dissent and banish conservative voices from the public sphere, and at the same time they’re hoping to use their temporary, razor-thin majority in Congress to rewrite the rules governing our elections in a way designed to keep the Democratic Party entrenched in power for decades to come. In the House, Democrats have revived sweeping election reform legislation that died in the Senate during the previous session, perhaps hoping they can browbeat enough Republicans into going along with them. If that happens, the “Grand Old Party” of Abraham Lincoln might as well disband, because Republicans would never have any hope of regaining a congressional majority or controlling the White House under the rules that HR 1 would put in place.

Although the Constitution explicitly places state legislatures in charge of managing federal elections, HR 1 seeks to use the power of the purse to bludgeon the states into conforming to a centralized system pioneered in California and other deep-blue states. Congress can’t technically compel the states to change their voting laws, but seasoned politicians know that the states have become dependent on federal money to run their elections, and can’t afford to pick up the tab themselves. To make matters worse, HR 1 declares that Congress possesses “ultimate supervisory power over Federal elections” — an extraordinary usurpation of governmental authority that the Founders specifically assigned to the states. The 2020 election witnessed private interests dictating the manner in which the election was conducted in the nation’s urban cores.

Mark Zuckerberg alone poured $419 million into this scheme. The goal of centralizing power in the hands of the federal government has long been at the heart of liberal politics, and this legislation demonstrates why. HR 1 would codify the very practices — many of them currently illegal in most states — that created widespread irregularities in the 2020 elections and contributed greatly to public mistrust of the electoral process. In 2020, state and local officials used the COVID-19 pandemic as justification to ignore or deliberately violate state election laws. If HR 1 is enacted, they won’t need any such excuse in 2022 because the states will have no choice but to implement policies such as legalized ballot harvesting, early voting, and universal mail-in voting, as well as repeal of voter ID laws, signature-matching laws, and other ballot security measures.

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Democrats’ wet dream.

Poll: Trump ‘Patriot Party’ Would Win 23% Of Voters, Drop GOP To Third (JTN)

A hypothetical “Patriot Party” led by former President Donald Trump would win the support of almost a quarter — 23% — of the electorate, bumping the GOP down to third place with just 17%, according to a new Just the News poll with Scott Rasmussen. The startling survey result comes amid reports that Senate Republican support for convicting Trump in an impeachment trial is fast eroding. A Trump third party could provoke a pivotal realignment in American politics. With the support of 46% of registered voters in the new poll, Democrats would reap the benefits of a fractured opposition and entrench themselves as the nation’s dominant party — even without majority support.

Among “very conservative” voters — who make up a disproportionately large bloc within the Republican primary electorate — a Trump Patriot Party crushes the GOP 55%-24%. Should Trump remain in the GOP, his wide lead among these highly motivated voters affords him great leverage to influence the direction of the party by wielding the threat of conservative primary challenges against establishment Republicans ill at ease with the former president’s combative brew of conservatism infused with populism and nationalism. Despite Trump’s outperformance in 2020 of recent GOP presidential candidates among minorities, African-American and Hispanic voters effectively split evenly between the GOP and a Patriot Party in the the new poll.

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Move the goalposts.

Democrat Sens. Manchin, Sinema Won’t Back Elimination Of The Filibuster (JTN)

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema will not back the elimination of the filibuster. “I do not support doing away with the filibuster under any condition. It’s not who I am,” West Virginia’s Manchin said on Monday, according to The Hill. “If I haven’t said it very plain, maybe Sen. McConnell hasn’t understood, I want to basically say it for you. That I will not vote in this Congress, that’s two years, right? I will not vote” to alter the filibuster, the senator said in an interview on Monday, according to Politico. Sinema of Arizona is also unwilling to support nixing the filibuster. According to the Washington Post, a Sinema spokesperson said that the lawmaker is “against eliminating the filibuster, and she is not open to changing her mind about eliminating the filibuster.” “The Senate filibuster has evolved over the course of its history into a de facto supermajority requirement, necessitating 60 votes to end debate and advance legislation,” according to the Post.

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Vicious circles: as Fed president, she lowered interest rates, which as Treasury Secretary she can now use to excuse “acting big”.

Janet Yellen Confirmed As Treasury Secretary (Axios)

The Senate voted 84-15 to confirm Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary on Monday. Yellen is the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary, a Cabinet position that will be crucial in helping steer the country out of the pandemic-induced economic crisis. Yellen previously served as the first female chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton and the first female chair of the Federal Reserve under President Obama. Her confirmation as Treasury secretary makes her the first person to have held all three economic power positions in the federal government. Yellen told senators during her confirmation hearings that her immediate focus would be pandemic relief. With her confirmation, she can immediately start negotiating and working with Congress to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal.


“The damage has been sweeping, and as the President-elect said last Thursday, our response must be, too,” Yellen said last week. Yellen also endorsed Biden’s tax reform plan in her testimony, but she said the administration’s top legislative priority would be economic stimulus, with infrastructure not too far behind. “The focus right now is on providing relief and on helping families keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, and not on raising taxes.” “Neither the president-elect nor I propose this relief package without an appreciation for the country’s debt burden. But right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big.”

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Big Bird is watching you.

Twitter Launches Birdwatch, A Wikipedia-Style Approach To Fight Misinformation (F.)

In a significant attempt to overhaul how it moderates content, Twitter on Monday unveiled Birdwatch, a pilot program to crowdsource fact-checks to combat misinformation. Birdwatch will allow regular users, called “Birdwatchers,” to identify tweets they think have misinformation and write notes with more information and context, which is similar to Wikipedia, where registered volunteers write, update and edit articles for accuracy. Anyone can apply to be a Birdwatcher, and the only requirements are a valid phone number, email and no recent violations of Twitter’s rules. Birdwatch notes will appear beneath a tweet, and in an effort to prevent people from gaming the system, Birdwatchers will be able to rate the effectiveness of each note, impacting the note’s ranking.

The program is currently a pilot, and is only available via a separate website, but eventually the company wants to expand Birdwatch to the rest of Twitter. During the pilot, Twitter said it wants to focus on making Birdwatch “resistant to manipulation attempts and ensure “it isn’t dominated by a simple majority or biased based on its distribution of contributors.” “We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable. Eventually we aim to make notes visible directly on Tweets for the global Twitter audience, when there is consensus from a broad and diverse set of contributors,” Twitter Vice President Keith Coleman said in a blog post.

Twitter has long been under pressure to prevent misinformation from spreading on its platform. But it wasn’t until this year that the company took more aggressive action. Twitter fact-checked tweets from former president Donald Trump and other politicians about Covid-19, mail-in voting and the election results. Those labels linked to news organizations or other institutions offering credible information. The social network eventually banned Trump entirely, citing tweets that could incite more violence following the Capitol riot. The intention of Birdwatch, though, is to expand those efforts beyond “circumstances where something breaks our rules or receives widespread public attention,” Coleman said.

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Gitmo in Manhattan.

“Schulte has been in solitary confinement and not been outdoors in over two years..”

“Schulte’s filthy cell, the size of a parking space, is infested with rodents, rodent droppings, cockroaches and mold and there is no heating, air conditioning or functioning plumbing..”

Ex-CIA Engineer Tells Judge He’s Incarcerated Like An Animal (Ind.)

A former CIA software engineer charged with leaking government secrets to WikiLeaks says it’s cruel and unusual punishment that he’s awaiting trial in solitary confinement, housed in a vermin-infested cell of a jail unit where inmates are treated like “caged animals ” Joshua Schulte, 32, has asked a Manhattan federal judge to force the federal Bureau of Prisons to improve conditions at the Metropolitan Correction Center, where he has been held for over two years under highly restrictive conditions usually reserved for terrorism defendants. In court papers Tuesday, Schulte maintained he is held in conditions “below that of impoverished persons living in third world countries.” “It is barbaric and inhumane to lock human beings into boxes for years and years — it is a punishment worse than death,” the court filing said.

Last year, a jury deadlocked on espionage charges alleging that Schulte stole a massive trove of the agency’s hacking tools and gave it to the organization that publishes news leaks. He was convicted of lesser charges of contempt of court and making false statements. He is scheduled for another trial on espionage charges in June in what was said to be the largest leak in CIA history involving classified information. Afterward, he faces a separate trial on child pornography charges. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. In his 20s, Schulte, originally from Lubbock, Texas, worked as a coder at the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where digital sleuths design computer code to spy on foreign adversaries.

The so-called Vault 7 leak published in March 2017 by WikiLeaks revealed how the CIA hacked Apple and Android smartphones in overseas spying operations and efforts to turn internet-connected televisions into listening devices. After a yearlong probe, investigators blamed Schulte, who had already left the agency after falling out with colleagues and supervisors and moved to New York City to work at a news agency. At trial, a prosecutor called the leaks “devastating to national security.” A defense lawyer said the materials could have been accessed and stolen by hundreds of people. Juror Alexis Anthony said she never thought the evidence was strong enough to convict Schulte of espionage-related charges.

According to the court papers, Schulte has been in solitary confinement and not been outdoors in over two years under special administrative measures designed to severely restrict an inmate’s communications and interactions with others. Prosecutors say the measures are necessary after Schulte tried to leak even more classified information using a contraband cellphone that had been smuggled into the jail. They said he declared an “information war” and was “prepared to burn down the United States government.” Schulte’s filthy cell, the size of a parking space, is infested with rodents, rodent droppings, cockroaches and mold and there is no heating, air conditioning or functioning plumbing, the court papers said, while sunlight is blocked by a blacked out window. Television access is permitted for one hour per week.

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“Black paid Epstein a stunning $158 million in fees for services..”

Leon Black To Step Down From Apollo Global After Epstein Investigation (F.)

Leon Black, the billionaire co-founder of private equity giant Apollo Global Management, will be stepping down from his role as CEO of the $433 billion in assets firm. Black, who will remain as chairman, will be replaced by co-founder Marc Rowan by mid-year. The announcement of changed leadership came on Monday evening as Apollo released findings of an investigation directed by its board of directors into Black’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the deceased financier who was criminally charged with human trafficking in 2019. Apollo said its investigation, conducted by law firm Dechert, found “no evidence that Mr. Black was involved in any way with Mr. Epstein’s criminal activities at any time.”

However, the report did show that Black paid Epstein a stunning $158 million in fees for services, loaned him over $30 million in loans and made a $10 million donation to Epstein’s charity, all figures that are multiples of what was previously reported. While the changing of guard atop one of the world’s largest private equity firms was characterized as part of its succession planning—Black is turning 70 this year and has been one of Wall Street’s most feared dealmakers for decades—it is also a maneuver by Apollo to move past well over a year of Epstein-related questions, which have slowed the firm’s growth, sunk its stock at times, and been a troubling mystery for its investors.

Black is the most prominent Wall Street A-lister connected to Epstein, a disgraced financier who was convicted and jailed for sex trafficking charges in 2008. After a Miami Herald investigation into Epstein in 2018, it was revealed that his trafficking operation was far greater than the public had known due to a sweetheart deal he cut with Florida prosecutors. The Herald found Epstein’s alleged trafficking was international and included numerous victims who came forward with allegations. The investigation, which won reporter Julia K. Brown a Pulitzer prize, caused prosecutors to reopen their investigations of Epstein, and exposed deep ties between Epstein, Wall Street power players like Black and well connected politicians and heads of state.

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“There will be plenty of work for former professors of Intersectionality in the sorghum fields.”

Flying Blind (Jim Kunstler)

Growing food and getting it to markets is the most critical activity. Poor Bill Gates, addled by his fortune, has bought up something like a quarter-million acres of farmland. His grandiosity prompts him to believe he can organize farming on the super-giant scale — Walmart for corn and turnips. Nothing could be further from the real coming trend: a reduction of scale and scope of farming and of the distribution supply lines that serve it. Poor Bill doesn’t seem to realize that the oil-and-gas-based “inputs” (fertilizers, pesticides) won’t be there for him, nor will the million-dollar diesel-powered combines. Nor the trucking industry. He could do more good for mankind getting into the mule business. (He won’t. Lacks razzle-dazzle.)

The transition between the old giant agri-biz model of farming and the emergent system of small-scaled farms based on human and animal labor will be arduous and disorderly in the early going. A lot of people will miss a lot of meals, and you know what that means. Working on a farm will be one way to make sure you get enough to eat. But also consider all the businesses that have to be created from scratch on the local level to serve the logistics of farming. You are already seeing many food products unavailable in the supermarkets. That will become more distressingly obvious in the disorders of 2021. When food deliveries to the supermarkets get really spotty, the farmers’ markets will not just be for schmoozing over lattes and almond croissants.

For those perhaps not paying attention, Covid-19 has destroyed what remains of education, especially the public school system. It was already moribund, waiting to crash, reduced to a pension racket for teachers. Going forward, the money won’t be there to operate these giant centralized schools and their yellow buses (while paying out pensions). The virus has kick-started exactly the kind of home-schooling pod system (several families combining) that can be reorganized into small-scale schooling for people who want it. People who don’t want it can move into their future without knowing how to read or do arithmetic. We’ll finally get a good test of the noble savage hypothesis. As for the colleges and universities, their business models are toast. They’ll be downscaling and shuttering as far ahead as the eye can see. Whatever remains will be more like finishing schools for neo-medieval ladies and gentlemen — and, by the way, the distinction between men and women will be reestablished. Why? Because reality insists on it. There will be plenty of work for former professors of Intersectionality in the sorghum fields.

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“..when they began being built were not seen as running for more than 40 years because of radioactivity embrittling metal parts and otherwise causing safety problems..”

Let Nuke Plants Run for 100 Years? (CP)

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a “public meeting” last week on what it titled “Development of Guidance Documents To Support License Renewal For 100 Years Of Plant Operation.” Comments from the “public” were strongly opposed to the NRC’s desire for it to let nuclear power plants run for a century. “I request you pause and consider before you go ahead on this reckless path,” testified Michel Lee, chairman of the New York-based Council on Energy & Conservation Policy. “Our position and that of our constituents is a resounding no,” declared Paul Gunter, director of the Reactor Oversight Project at the national organization Beyond Nuclear.

“It’s time to stop this whole nuke con job,” said Erica Grey, nuclear issues chair of the Virginia Sierra Club. There is “no solution” to dealing with nuclear waste, she said. It is “unethical to continue to make the most toxic waste known to mankind.” And, “renewable energy” with solar and wind “can power the world.” Jan Boudart, a board member of the Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service, spoke, too, of the lack of consideration of nuclear waste. Cited was the higher likelihood of accidents with plants permitted to run for 100 years. Whether the NRC—often called the Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission—listens is highly unlikely considering its record of rubberstamping whatever has been sought by other nuclear promoters in government and the nuclear industry.

Nuclear power plants when they began being built were not seen as running for more than 40 years because of radioactivity embrittling metal parts and otherwise causing safety problems. So operating licenses were limited to 40 years. But with the major decline of nuclear power—the U.S. is down to 94 plants from a high of 129 and only two are now under construction—the nuclear promoters in the U.S. government and nuclear industry are pushing to let nuclear power plants run for 100 years to somehow keep nuclear power going.

Read more …

 

 

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Jan 022021
 
 January 2, 2021  Posted by at 10:06 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  53 Responses »


Pierre-Auguste Renoir Les Grands Boulevards 1875

 

Israel Zooms Past 1 Million Vaccinations In Sprint To Vanquish Pandemic (ToI)
100s Of Israelis Get Infected With COVID19 After Receiving Pfizer Vaccine (RT)
Fauci Says Mandatory COVID19 Vaccines Possible For Travel, School (NYP)
Fauci Says US Will Not Delay Second Doses Of COVID Vaccine (G.)
The Missing Flu Riddle: ‘Influenza Has Been Renamed COVID’ (JTN)
2 Minnesota Lawmakers Demand Nationwide Audit of COVID19 Deaths (ET)
All Primary Schools In London To Remain Closed After U-turn (G.)
Ireland Covid Cases Surge As Health Official Warns Virus Is ‘Absolutely Rampant’ (G.)
Judge Rejects Election Lawsuit Against VP Pence (JTN)
Janet Yellen Made Millions In Wall Street, Corporate Speeches (Pol.)
Paper Dollars in Circulation Globally Spike amid Hot Demand (WS)
Schumer Begins 2021 Promising To Fight – Then Immediately Surrenders (DP)
Forecast 2021 (Jim Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

ISRAEL: 11.5%; UK: 1.39%; US: 0.84%; GLOBAL AVERAGE: 0.13%

Israel Zooms Past 1 Million Vaccinations In Sprint To Vanquish Pandemic (ToI)

Israel has vaccinated 1 million people against COVID-19, more than a tenth of its population, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday, as the country’s inoculation drive cemented its status as the world’s most rapid thus far. Netanyahu was on hand to mark what he said was the millionth Israeli to receive a vaccine, in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm. Netanyahu called it a moment of “great excitement.” “We are breaking all of the records. We brought millions of vaccines to the State of Israel,” he said. We are ahead of the entire world… with our excellent HMOs.” Arabs make up around 20 percent of Israel’s population and have been relatively slow to embrace the vaccination campaign, prompting Netanyahu to launch a series of visits to Arab localities, his first in years, in what is also seen by many as an attempt to score political points ahead of the March elections.


Netanyahu said that “it’s important for me that the Arab public in Israel will get vaccinated quickly” as “it’s saving lives.” He delivered the same message at a vaccination center in Tira, another Arab town, on Thursday. The Jewish state has so far greatly outpaced other countries, per capita, with 11.55% of the population inoculated, according to statistics from the Our World in Data website operated by Oxford University. Second place is held by Bahrain with 3.45%, followed by the UK with 1.39% (though the latter’s data is a few days old). The US stands at 0.84%. The world average is 0.13%. Israel is currently in its third nationwide lockdown to contain the outbreak. It has reported more than 426,000 cases and at least 3,338 deaths since the pandemic began.

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Not great PR.

100s Of Israelis Get Infected With COVID19 After Receiving Pfizer Vaccine (RT)

With the vaccine not providing immediate immunity to the coronavirus, over two hundred Israeli citizens have been diagnosed with the disease days after getting the Pfizer/BioNTech jabs, local media reported. The number of those who got Covid-19 despite being vaccinated was at around 240 people, according to data from Channel 13 News. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which the Israeli health authorities rely on, doesn’t contain the coronavirus and can’t infect the recipient. But time is needed for the genetic code in the drug to train the immune system to recognize and attack the disease.

The course of the US-made vaccine requires two shots. According to the studies, immunity to Covid-19 increases only eight to ten days after the first injection and eventually reaches 50 percent. The second jab is administered 21 days from the first one, while the declared immunity of 95 percent is achieved only a week after that. And, of course, there’s still a five percent chance of getting infected even if the vaccine is at its full potential. Israeli news outlets which reported the figures urged the public to remain vigilant and thoroughly follow all Covid-19 precautions during the month after the first shot of the vaccine is administered.

The Jewish state is currently undertaking a massive vaccination campaign, which already saw over one million people or almost 12 percent of the population getting the Pfizer/BioNTech jab. That’s the largest span per capita in the world, according to Oxford University. The first phase of the program aims to immunize medics and elderly people before expanding on to other categories. Around one in a thousand people have reported mild side effects after the injection, including weakness, dizziness and fever as well as pain, swelling and redness in the spot where the shot was given. Only a few dozen of them required medical attention, the Health Ministry said.

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A passport stating you had a jab that doesn’t protect people around you. Logic?

Fauci Says Mandatory COVID19 Vaccines Possible For Travel, School (NYP)

Dr. Anthony Fauci said it’s possible that COVID-19 vaccines will become mandatory in order to travel to other countries or attend school. “Everything will be on the table for discussion,” Fauci, who will be chief medical adviser to President-elect Joe Biden, told Newsweek. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases stressed that it’s “not up to me to make a decision,” but added that “these are all things that will be discussed [under the Biden administration].” “I’m not sure [the COVID-19 vaccine] going to be mandatory from a central government standpoint, like federal government mandates,” Fauci said, though he added that he’s “sure” that some individual institutions will require the shot.


Fauci said vaccine requirements in schools are “possible,” but they would come from mandates at the state or city level. “A citywide school system might require it in some cities but not other cities. And that’s what I mean by things not being done centrally but locally,” Fauci said. In regard to travel, Fauci said the US could potentially issue COVID-19 vaccine passports — similar to the ones planned for Israel that would allow residents to travel abroad without being tested for coronavirus. The coronavirus vaccine might also become required by other countries to go there, Fauci said. “So we, in this country, don’t require [people] to get a yellow fever vaccine when you go someplace. It’s the place to which you are going that requires it,” he said.

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The UK is playing around with what the producer says should be done.

Fauci Says US Will Not Delay Second Doses Of COVID Vaccine (G.)

The American infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has said he does not agree with the UK’s approach of delaying the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. On Friday, Dr Fauci told CNN that the United States would not be following in the UK’s footsteps and would follow Pfizer and BioNTech’s guidance to administer the second dose of its vaccine three weeks after the first. Despite an outcry from doctors, the UK’s chief medical officers defended their plans this week to delay the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to patients, meaning people would now wait up to 12 weeks. The change is to prioritise giving more people their first dose.


Dr Fauci told CNN: “We know from the clinical trials that the optimal time is to give it on one day and for [the Moderna jab which is also approved in the US] wait 28 days and for Pfizer 21 days later.” He added that while you can “make the argument” for stretching out the doses, he would not be in favour of doing that. Pfizer and BioNTech also warned that the two doses were crucial to achieving maximum protection against Covid, saying that they did not have evidence that the first dose alone would protect patients after three weeks. In the UK, the new move will apply to people who were expecting to have their second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine after 4 January. Patients getting the first jab of the newly approved AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine will also have to wait up to 12 weeks.

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The numbers are stark:

“This week one year ago, the positive clinical rate was 22%, where now it stands at 0.1%.”

The Missing Flu Riddle: ‘Influenza Has Been Renamed COVID’ (JTN)

Rates of influenza have remained persistently low through late 2020 and into 2021, cratering from levels a year ago and raising the puzzling specter of sharply reduced influenza transmission rates even as positive tests for COVID-19 have shattered numerous records over the last several weeks. Where have all the flu cases gone? Epidemiologist Knut Wittkowski thinks he can answer the riddle. “Influenza has been renamed COVID in large part,” said the former head of biostatistics, epidemiology and research design at Rockefeller University. “There may be quite a number of influenza cases included in the ‘presumed COVID’ category of people who have COVID symptoms (which Influenza symptoms can be mistaken for), but are not tested for SARS RNA,” Wittkowski told Just the News on Thursday.


Those patients, he argued, “also may have some SARS RNA sitting in their nose while being infected with Influenza, in which case the influenza would be ‘confirmed’ to be COVID.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly influenza surveillance tracker reports that the cumulative positive influenza test rate from late September into the week of Dec. 19 stands at 0.2% as measured by clinical labs. That’s compared to a cumulative 8.7% from a year before. The weekly comparisons are even starker: This week one year ago, the positive clinical rate was 22%, where now it stands at 0.1%. Those low numbers continue trends observed earlier in the year in which flu rates have remained at near-zero levels. The trend is not limited to the U.S. Worldwide, health authorities have all reported sharply decreased influenza levels throughout what is normally peak flu season in the northern hemisphere.

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Of course you must have this.

2 Minnesota Lawmakers Demand Nationwide Audit of COVID19 Deaths (ET)

Two Minnesota legislators who believe their state’s COVID-19 death count is inaccurate are calling for a nationwide audit to find out how many people died from something other than the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus but were added to the pandemic death totals. Republican State Rep. Mary Franson said she has enlisted a team to examine data provided by Minnesota’s health department. Her team allegedly found that COVID-19 was blamed for some deaths clearly not linked to the respiratory disease. “We found clear-cut examples from the Minnesota Department of Health’s own files—public records—of suicide, a drowning, an auto accident where the passenger was ejected from the vehicle, we found dementia … and strokes,” Franson said during an interview with Fox News, adding that she was “so shocked at what I found that I just could not keep silent.”


“The citizens of our country are being led in fear, and that fear is leading them to make irrational decisions based on the governors with their shutdowns,” she added. “So we need this audit. We need the truth.” Franson was joined by Republican State Sen. Scott Jensen, a practicing physician. Jensen has become the subject of two state probes earlier this year for arguing that the federal and state guidelines on reporting COVID-19 deaths could pressure local authorities to misclassify and inflate their numbers, and that doctors and hospitals are motivated to do so for more health care dollars. “If you could hit a threshold of 161 admissions to your hospital with COVID-19 diagnosis between January and June, you received $77,000 of additional money for each one of those admissions” through the CARES Act, Jensen told Fox News. “I don’t think there’s any questions that reverse incentives have been created.”

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Make it up as you go along.

All Primary Schools In London To Remain Closed After U-turn (G.)

All primary schools in London are to remain closed for the start of the new term after the government bowed to protests and legal pressure from the capital’s local authorities. Under the government’s initial plan, secondary schools and colleges were set to be closed to most pupils for the first two weeks of January, while primary schools within 50 local authorities in London and the south of England were also told to keep their doors shut until 18 January. But the list omitted several London areas where Covid-19 transmission rates remain high including the borough of Haringey, whose leaders said they were prepared to defy the government and support any schools that decided to close to protect staff and pupils.


The protests from local authority leaders came to a head with a letter to the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, from nine London authorities asking for their primary schools to be closed to all except vulnerable children and those whose parents were key workers. The action provoked an emergency Cabinet Office meeting on New Year’s Day, which signed off on the revision, adding the remaining 10 London education authorities to the government’s “contingency areas”. Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said primaries across the country should close. “What is right for London is right for the rest of the country,” she said. “It is time for the government to protect its citizens, and in particular its children, by shutting all primary schools for two weeks in order for the situation to be properly assessed, schools made much safer and children and their families protected.”

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“The virus is absolutely rampant now in the community. Everybody is at extreme risk of contracting the virus.”

Ireland Covid Cases Surge As Health Official Warns Virus Is ‘Absolutely Rampant’ (G.)

Ireland is bracing for 9,000 more Covid cases to be added to the official tally as the system struggles to handle a surge in positive results, with health officials warning hospitals will not be able to cope if the trend continues. The sharp rise in positive results led to delays in formal reporting, said Professor Philip Nolan from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), though he said it “does not affect case management or contact tracing or our overall monitoring and modelling of the pandemic”. On Thursday, NPHET estimated the number of positive tests still pending registration was 4,000, more than doubling to 9,000 the following day. On Friday, Ireland formally reported a daily record 1,754 confirmed cases, surpassing 1,500 daily cases for the fourth day in a row. Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said the biggest worry was the rapid rise in hospitalisations.


“We are now admitting between 50 to 70 people a day to our hospital system. Unfortunately, we expect this to get worse before it gets better. Our health system will not continue to cope with this level of impact.” “We have also seen a significant increase in positive laboratory tests in recent days reflecting a true increase in the incidence of the disease as well as the delay in people coming forward for testing over the Christmas period. As our systems catch up with these effects it places significant pressure on our reporting system.” On New Year’s Eve, Ireland entered a level-five lockdown, with non-essential shops closing, a 5km travel limit, restrictions on household gatherings and schools staying closed. Paul Reid, CEO of the Health Service Executive (HSE), told RTÉ Radio 1: “The virus is absolutely rampant now in the community. Everybody is at extreme risk of contracting the virus.”

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“..the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this case and must dismiss the action..”

Judge Rejects Election Lawsuit Against VP Pence (JTN)

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Friday night against Vice President Mike Pence filed by a Texas congressman seeking to reject Joe Biden’s electors when Congress certifies the election next week. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle ruled that Rep. Louie Gohmert lacked standing to bring the legal action that would prevent Pence from confirming Joe Biden’s electoral victory. “Plaintiff Louie Gohmert, the United States Representative for Texas’s First Congressional District, alleges at most an institutional injury to the House of Representatives. Under well-settled Supreme Court authority, that is insufficient to support standing,” the judge ruled.


“The other Plaintiffs, the slate of Republican Presidential Electors for the State of Arizona (the “Nominee-Electors”), allege an injury that is not fairly traceable to the Defendant, the Vice President of the United States, and is unlikely to be redressed by the requested relief. Accordingly, as explained below, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this case and must dismiss the action,” he added.

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… and you ain’t in it..

Janet Yellen Made Millions In Wall Street, Corporate Speeches (Pol.)

In the past two years, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to be Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, has raked in more than $7.2 million in speaking fees from Wall Street and large corporations including Citi, Goldman Sachs, Google, City National Bank, UBS, Citadel LLC, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Salesforce and more. Yellen’s financial disclosure is one of three filed by the Biden team at the end of 2020 that could become politically problematic with the left wing of the Democratic Party when confirmation hearings begin in January. A Biden transition official said they filed the forms “mid-week” before the Office of Government Ethics posted the forms late Thursday, New Year’s Eve.

Yellen, the former chair of the Federal Reserve, brought in nearly $1 million giving nine speeches to Citi alone. She earned more than $800,000 speaking to Citadel, a hedge fund founded by the Republican megadonor Ken Griffin. She also spoke to the law and lobbying firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. In addition to Yellen, Antony Blinken, Biden’s nominee to be secretary of State, disclosed the clients he advised through WestExec Advisors, the consulting firm he co-founded with other Obama administration alumni. Those clients included the investment giant Blackstone, Bank of America, Facebook, Uber, McKinsey & Company, the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, the pharmaceutical company Gilead, the investment bank Lazard, Boeing, AT&T, the Royal Bank of Canada, LinkedIn and the venerable Sotheby’s auction house.

The disclosures cracked open WestExec’s closely held client list, which the firm had previously refused to divulge. WestExec has paid Blinken nearly $1.2 million over the past two years, according to the filing, with another estimated $250,000 to $500,000 owed for his work this year.

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To the mattresses.

Paper Dollars in Circulation Globally Spike amid Hot Demand (WS)

The amount of “currency in circulation” – the paper dollars wadded up in people’s pockets and purses, stuffed under mattresses, or packed into suitcases and safes overseas – jumped again in the week ended December 30 to a new record of $2.09 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, where currency in circulation is a liability, not an asset. This was up by 16%, or by $293 billion, from February before the Pandemic. The amount has doubled since 2011. This amount of currency in circulation is a function of demand – and that demand has been red hot: US Banks have to have enough paper dollars on hand to satisfy demand at ATMs and bank branches.

Foreign banks will also request paper dollars from their correspondent banks in the US, or return unneeded cash to them. When there is demand for paper dollars, banks buy more of them from the Fed. They pay for them usually with Treasury securities they hold or with excess reserves they have on deposit at the Fed. The surge of paper dollars is a sign of hoarding, not of increased payments. In the US, the share of paper dollars for payments has been declining for years, replaced by electronic payment methods, such as credit and debit cards, PayPal, Zelle and similar systems, all kinds of smartphone-based payment systems, the automated clearinghouse (ACH) system, and checks every now and then.


During periods of uncertainty, people load up on cash, as they have done leading up to Y2K, during the Financial Crisis, and now during the Pandemic. But much of the hoarding of US dollars takes place overseas, with demand for those paper dollars then winding its way to the US banking system via the correspondent banks. These paper dollars also lubricate all kinds of corruption, drug trafficking, and other activities – and laundering this cash is a big profitable industry.

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The stench….

Schumer Begins 2021 Promising To Fight – Then Immediately Surrenders (DP)

Senator Bernie Sanders spent New Year’s morning making one last attempt to halt the defense bill in order to force Republican leader Mitch McConnell allow a vote on $2,000 checks — and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer spent the morning treating everyone like we’re gullible idiots. “I just took to the floor again to demand a vote on $2000 survival checks,” Schumer declared, and he slammed Republican lawmakers for objecting. He promised: “Democrats will not stop fighting.” Then moments later, Schumer and most Senate Democrats surrendered — live on C-Span for everyone to see, they obediently voted for McConnell’s motion to move forward the defense bill for final passage, so that the Senate can close down without any vote on the $2,000 checks. Most Democrats then voted for final passage as well.

Put another way: Schumer tweeted out his promise to fight for starving Americans, while knowing that moments later he would be on live television surrendering to Republicans. Democrats didn’t even muster enough votes on the procedural motions to keep it close enough to force Georgia incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue off the campaign trail to help McConnell — a scenario that could have provided a huge boost to Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, who have been campaigning hard for the $2,000 checks.

[..] Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and president-elect Joe Biden played particularly pernicious roles helping McConnell slash the original stimulus bill in half. And Schumer’s behavior today — pretending to be fighting hard, while voting with McConnell — was the icing on the cake. Liberal pundits and billionaire-owned media corporations outed themselves as absurdly-detached elitists — making the fake argument that the $2,000 survival checks might go to some people who don’t really need help, and the baffling claim that Americans will probably just save the checks because they can’t go to restaurants (which are still fully open in most states) or travel on airplanes (yes, people are still flying).

The only players who come off well in any of this are the handful of Democratic senators who had the guts to vote against all of McConnell’s key procedural motions (Sanders, Markey, Merkley, Warren, Wyden and Van Hollen) and rank-and-file House Democrats who were willing to use their power to pass the $2,000 checks (and yeah, Pelosi deserves some credit for quickly delivering the $2,000 checks amendment to the Senate).

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A long column.

Forecast 2021 (Jim Kunstler)

Life in the USA, and other “advanced” nations will reset, but not in the way that most people blabbering about “the Great Reset” think or say it will. Surely, there are groups, gangs, claques, and covens of people in the world who have some consensual agreement about how things might work, and how they would run them to their benefit, in their hypothetical ideal disposition of things. For instance, the so-called “Davos Crowd.” What are they? A convocation of bankers, market movers, politicians, business moguls, tech entrepreneurs, Hollywood catamites, black ops runners, and PR errand boys who have plenty of financial and political mojo in their own realms, but not enough collectively to carry out the kind of global coup that comprises the standard paranoid Great Reset fantasy.

That they meet-up in an ultra-luxurious setting out of a James Bond movie every year stokes terrific fascination, envy, anger, and paranoia that they are capable of anything beyond a festival of ass-kissing, mutual self-congratulation, and status-jockeying, which are the actual activities at the Davos meet-up. For another thing, in the USA, at least, there are too many pissed-off people with small arms, hardened by years of proffered bad faith and dishonesty from the political/media/higher-ed complex, to just bend over and take it up the back-door from a gang of seditious, would-be aristo-totalitarians with lèse-majesté dreams of nostalgie-de-la-boue Marxist redemption. If you have any doubt about how disruptive angry people with small arms and lots of ammo might be to condescending elites, just review the events in the Middle East the past twenty years and imagine those dynamics transferred to Kansas.

What does the “reset” fantasy supposedly include? A “new world order,” a phantasm of a unified world government, which is preposterous because the macro-trend at this moment of history worldwide is the opposite of consolidation and centralization of power, but rather breakup, downscaling, and re-localization. Why? As you saw in the Econ chapter, because the scale, pitch, and range of all our activities must be reduced to survive in the post-industrial conditions of resource and capital scarcity. And it will happen whether we like it or not and despite anybody’s objections. What else is in the Reset grab-bag? Supposedly a single world currency, also absurd for reasons already stated — unless you are talking about gold and silver, which may eventually become the universally-accepted medium of exchange (and store of value, index of price) if the post-industrial contraction is severe and destructive enough.

But fuggeddabowt “digital currencies,” especially in the USA because too many people are “un-banked,” or otherwise depend on cash-money in the informal “gray” economy of just-getting-by (and there will be a lot more of these types as the middle-class gets pounded further down into the mud), plus a large cohort of digitally-capable people just plain ornery about being herded into an IRS surveillance cul-de-sac — and the whole lot of them will fight like hell to prevent government-sponsored crypto-dollars from replacing what used to be considered money. And, if, in the unlikely event that rebellion fails, it’s back to gold and silver by default — and that might literally mean by default.

Read more …

 

 

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Jun 192019
 


Gustave Courbet The village maidens 1852

 

I intentionally start writing this mere minutes away from Fed chair Jay Powell’s latest comments. Intentionally, because the importance ascribed to those comments only means we have gotten so far removed from what capitalism and free markets are supposed to be about, that it’s pathetic. The comments mean something for rich socialists, but nothing for the man in the street. Or, rather, they mean that the man in the street will get screwed worse for longer.

And it’s not just the Fed, all central banks have it and do it. They play around with rates and definitions and semantics until the cows can never come home again. And they have such levels of control over their respective societies and economies that the mere use of the word “markets” should result in loud and unending ridicule. There are no markets, because there is no price discovery, the Fed and ECB and BOJ got it all covered. Any downside risks, that is.

But it doesn’t, because the people who pretend they’re in those markets hang on central banks’ every word for their meal tickets. These are the same people we once knew as traders and investors, but who today function only as rich socialists sucking the Fed’s teats for ever more mother’s milk.

Our economic systems have been destroyed by our central bankers. Who pretend they’re saving them. And we all eat it up hook line and sinker. Because the rich bankers and their media have no reasons to counter Fed or ECB actions and word plays, and because anyone who’s not a rich banker or investor is kept by the media from understanding those reasons.

 

What the Fed and ECB have done, and the BOJ, between Greenspan and Bernanke and Yellen and Powell and Draghi and Kuroda, is they have made it impossible for economies to let zombies go to die as they should. They have instead kept those zombies, banks, corporations, alive to the point where they are today a very big live threat to those economies, and growing. Look at Deutsche Bank.

How healthy do you think your economy can be if all the wealthy people are focused on whether Powell uses the word “patient” or not in his notes? Why would a vibrant company or entrepreneur give a flying damn about whether he does or not use a certain word? There is no reason.

But we have let our central banks take over, and that’s what they did. And it will be very hard to take back that power, but we will have to. Because central banks, while pretending to guard over the entire economy, in fact only protect the interests of commercial banks, and rich “investors”. And then tell you it’s the same difference.

There’s a case to be made that Paul Volcker was right when he raised US interest rate in the 1980s, but after Volcker it’s only been one big power and money grab for Wall Street, starting with Alan Greenspan and the housing bubble he blew. The Oracle my behind.

 

Japan is only just beginning to assess the damage Kuroda and Abenomics have done, and that’s at a point where both these men are still in power, and hell bent on doing more of the same. Something all central banks have in common; there are very few tools in their boxes, so they just repeat and repeat even as they fail. And that failure, by the way, is inevitable.

The Bank of Japan by now owns half the country, and they just want to do more. Kuroda’s plan to get rid of deflation was to force the Japanese to spend their money/savings. But the fully predictable result was that the grandmas did the exact opposite: they clued into the fact that if he wanted that, they had reason to be afraid, and so they sat on their money. And now it’s ten years later.

 

Draghi is going to leave in a few months’ time, and he’ll lower rates even more (towards 0º Kelvin), even if he knows that’s a really bad idea (it is), because at this point it’s about his legacy (after me, the flood). Same thing that Bernanke, Yellen did, clueless intellectuals who told themselves they had a grip on this. They never came near. That’s why they were elected, for being clueless. Wall Street doesn’t want Fed heads who know.

The pivotal moment was when Bernanke said they were running into “uncharted territory”, and then never looked back and started pretending he knew where he was. He didn’t and none of them ever did since. But they have academic degrees, and they’re willing to sell their souls for money, so there you are.

 

Central banks, or let’s say handing them the powers that we have, are the worst thing we have ever invented, and that’s saying something in the age of Pompeo and Bolton and Trump and the Clintons. The latter may take us into war with Iran, or any other country from a long list, but central banks are set to destroy our societies and economies from within.

It’s real simple: your central bank does NOT serve your interests. So get rid of it. Don’t wonder whether it’ll use the word “patient” or raise or lower rates by 25 or 50 points, get rid of the entire thing. There’s nothing there that benefits you, it only ever benefits bankers.

Now, of course, if you’re a banker…..

 

Note: I knicked the headline from something Tyler Durden said yesterday, that central banks are back to square minus zero. Too good to let go. Draghi back to square one, but then again not. Central banks should be abolished.

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 272019
 


Salvador Dali Remorse – Sphinx Embedded in the Sand 1931

 

Michael Cohen Testimony: Trump A ‘Racist’, ‘Cheat’ And ‘Conman’ (G.)
3 Days That Will Decide Brexit – March 12-14th Will Seal Britain’s Fate (Exp.)
UK Economy Could Be 9% Weaker Under No-Deal Brexit – Government (G.)
The UK Doesn’t Have The Right Pallets For Exporting To The EU (BI)
The War on Venezuela is Built on Lies (Pilger)
Survival of the Richest (Nomi Prins)
Hey Yellen, It Was Trump Who Was Right (Every)
Now that Housing Bubble #2 Is Bursting…How Low Will It Go? (CHS)
Russia’s Share Of European Gas Market Surges To Almost 37%, Dwarfing LNG (RT)
UK Hunger Survey To Measure Food Insecurity (G.)
Glyphosate Found In 95% Of Wine And Beer (Ind.)
Am I The Only One Who’s Terrified About The Warm Weather? (G.)

 

 

Lots of wet panties, male and female, today in anticipation of Michael Cohen’s testimony. Of course, it’s been leaked, full text is here. A few quotes:

I may once again be in a party of one, but I think it’s awfully weak, it’s grasping for stuff rather than conveying it. First, there’s the inevitable Assange link:

In July 2016 [..] Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of “wouldn’t that be great.”

Anything related to Assange, whether from Mueller or Cohen, lacks credibility as long as he can’t defend himself against it. And Trump merely says: wouldn’t that be great? Not exactly the stuff of collusion or conspiracy.

Just as inevitable in smear campaigns: Trump the racist.

Mr. Trump is a racist. The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries “shitholes.” While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.

Calling a country a shithole is not racist. The policies that have created a situation in which many shithole countries are populated by black people stem from many decades of US/Europe policies that predate Trump. The rest is not racist either, if you look closer. Perhaps Trump is a bit racist, like so many Americans. But Cohen’s prepared words don’t show that.

Also: Trump doesn’t tell the full truth about his wealth. But Michael Cohen always has…

It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.

Gee, lock him up. I don’t get it. There’s so much wrong with Trump, but politics and media have singled out Russia collusion, and then failed to prove a thing about it, and now they switch to ‘racist conman’, with the weakest of accusations. I swear, they might as well all be working for the Donald.

Michael Cohen Testimony: Trump A ‘Racist’, ‘Cheat’ And ‘Conman’ (G.)

Michael Cohen is to accuse Donald Trump of being a “conman” and a “cheat” who had advanced knowledge that a longtime adviser was communicating with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign, according to opening testimony he will deliver to Congress on Wednesday. Cohen’s prepared remarks, confirmed by the Guardian, include a series of explosive allegations about the presidential campaign. The president’s former lawyer, who will publicly testify before the House oversight committee on Wednesday, will state that Trump was told by Roger Stone that WikiLeaks would publish emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr Trump put Mr Stone on the speakerphone,” Cohen’s opening statement reads. “Mr Stone told Mr Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr Assange told Mr Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Mr Trump responded by stating to the effect of ‘wouldn’t that be great.’” The remarkable allegations by Cohen go further than what has been made public thus far by the special counsel investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign in Moscow.

Cohen will also suggest his instructions to lie to Congress about a possible Trump Tower deal in Moscow during the 2016 campaign came from the president – albeit not directly. “In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing,” Cohen will say. “In his way, he was telling me to lie.” “Mr Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates,” he will add.

Read more …

Humor me and please read this. It’s so confusing that you almost forget it’s also complete madness.

3 Days That Will Decide Brexit – March 12-14th Will Seal Britain’s Fate (Exp.)

In a dramatic statement to the House of Commons, Mrs May confirmed that she will put her Withdrawal Agreement – including whatever additional assurances she has secured from Brussels – to a “meaningful vote” by March 12. If that fails, MPs will be offered two separate votes the following day – one on a no-deal Brexit, and the other on requesting an extension to the two-year Article 50 negotiation process to delay EU withdrawal beyond March 29. The sequence of votes will be proposed in an amendable motion tabled by the Prime Minister for debate and vote in the Commons on Wednesday. To uproar in the Commons, Mrs May told MPs: “They are commitments I am making as Prime Minister and I will stick by them, as I have previous commitments to make statements and table amendable motions by specific dates.”

Deputy Political Editor for Sky News Beth Rigby tweeted of Mrs May’s speech: “This really is a big shift. “May has finally played her cards and sided with the Europhile wing of her party .. “Vote for her deal (March 12) Vote for no-deal (March 13) Vote for delay (March 14) .. “Only yesterday she refused to even acknowledge there might have to be a delay to Brexit.”

Mrs May has declared a meaningful vote will take place by March 12, where MPs will vote on her Brexit deal. Should this deal not be voted through, on March 13, MPs will then be offered two separate votes by March 13 on whether the UK leaves with no deal or delays Brexit beyond March 29. The delay will then be voted on March 14, when a motion would be brought forward on whether Parliament wishes to seek a short limited extension to Article 50. If the House votes for an extension, this extension will have to be approved by the House with the EU and then necessary legislation will be brought forward to change the exit date.

[..] In her statement to MPs following a Cabinet meeting with senior colleagues at 10 Downing Street, Theresa May said she wanted to set out “three further commitments” to the Commons. She said: “First, we will hold a second meaningful vote by Tuesday, March 12 at the latest. “Second, if the Government has not won a meaningful vote by Tuesday, March 12, then it will – in addition to its obligations to table a neutral amendable motion under Section 13 of the EU Withdrawal Act – table a motion to be voted on by Wednesday March 13 at the latest, asking this House if it supports leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement and a framework for a future relationship on March 29.

“So the United Kingdom will only leave without a deal on March 29 if there is explicit consent in the House for that outcome. “Third, if the House, having rejected the deal negotiated with the EU, then rejects leaving on March 29 without a Withdrawal Agreement and future framework, the Government will on March 14 bring forward a motion on whether Parliament wants to seek a short, limited extension to Article 50.” The Prime Minister also said she still believes she will be able to secure a deal: “I’ve had a real sense from the meetings I’ve had, and the conversations I’ve had in recent days, that we can achieve that deal. “It’s within our grasp to leave with a deal on March 29 and that’s where all of my energies are going to be focused.”

Read more …

Scared yet? Because that’s the idea.

UK Economy Could Be 9% Weaker Under No-Deal Brexit – Government (G.)

The government has issued a bleak warning over a no-deal Brexit, estimating the UK economy could be 9% weaker in the long run, businesses in Northern Ireland might go bust and food prices will increase. In an official document only published after repeated demands by the former Conservative MP Anna Soubry, the government also revealed it was behind on contingency planning for a third of “critical projects” in relation to business and trade. The latest no-deal notice states:

• The economy would be 6%-9% smaller over the next 15 years than it otherwise might have been, in the event of no deal, in line with Bank of England forecasts. • The flow of goods through Dover would be “very significantly reduced for months”. • With 30% of food coming from the EU, prices are likely to increase and there is a risk that panic buying might create shortages. • Only six of the 40 planned international trade agreements have been signed.

The document was published just hours after Theresa May was forced to promise two key votes, allowing MPs the option to reject no deal and to potentially delay Brexit for a short period, following pressure from remain-minded cabinet ministers. The prime minister set out a timetable that includes a vote on her Brexit deal by 12 March; if that fails, a vote the following day to support no deal, and if that also fails, a vote on 14 March on extending article 50. The delay is likely to further agitate the Tory party’s Eurosceptics, with Brexiter ministers including Andrea Leadsom and Liz Truss expressing their frustration over the issue in cabinet on Tuesday morning. Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, May did not specify the length of any delay, saying only that she would prefer it to be the shortest possible. An extension beyond the end of June would involve the UK taking part in the European parliament elections.

[..] The no-deal notice said customs checks alone could cost businesses £13bn a year and that it was impossible to predict the impact of new tariffs. It said this was partly because the government’s communications to businesses and individuals about the need to prepare for no deal had not been effective. [..] The EU, which would treat the UK as a third country in the event of no deal, could impose tariffs of 70% on beef exports, 45% on lamb and 10% on cars, it said. “This would be compounded by the challenges of even modest reductions in flow at the border.”

Read more …

Absolutely fabulous.

The UK Doesn’t Have The Right Pallets For Exporting To The EU (BI)

The UK government is due to hold emergency talks with industry leaders on Tuesday after discovering that the country doesn’t have the right pallets to continue exporting goods to the European Union if it leaves without a deal next month. Under strict EU rules, pallets – wooden or plastic structures that companies use to transport large volumes of goods – arriving from non-member states must be heat-treated or cleaned to prevent contamination and have specific markings to confirm that they meet standards. Most pallets that British exporters are using do not conform to the rules for non-EU countries, or “third countries,” as EU member states follow a much more relaxed set of regulations.

The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs last week told business leaders that the UK would not have enough EU-approved pallets for exporting to the continent if it leaves without a withdrawal agreement next month. That means UK companies would be competing for a small number of pallets that meet EU rules, and those that miss out would be forced to wait for new pallets, which could take weeks to be ready. DEFRA has arranged for a conference call on Tuesday morning to discuss the pallet shortage, with 31 days until Brexit day on March 29. “It is the tiny, procedural, mundane-seeming stuff that will absolutely trip people up,” one industry figure briefed by Theresa May’s government told Business Insider, adding that the country was “not even remotely ready” for a no-deal Brexit.

Read more …

Chavez is the guy US intelligence have been chasing for so long, and still trying to get at after his death.

Got to love the man quoting world literature. Also because in the next article, Nomi Prins does the same.

The War on Venezuela is Built on Lies (Pilger)

Travelling with Hugo Chavez, I soon understood the threat of Venezuela. At a farming co-operative in Lara state, people waited patiently and with good humor in the heat. Jugs of water and melon juice were passed around. A guitar was played; a woman, Katarina, stood and sang with a husky contralto. “What did her words say?” I asked. “That we are proud,” was the reply. The applause for her merged with the arrival of Chavez. Under one arm he carried a satchel bursting with books. He wore his big red shirt and greeted people by name, stopping to listen. What struck me was his capacity to listen. But now he read. For almost two hours he read into the microphone from the stack of books beside him: Orwell, Dickens, Tolstoy, Zola, Hemingway, Chomsky, Neruda: a page here, a line or two there. People clapped and whistled as he moved from author to author.

Then farmers took the microphone and told him what they knew, and what they needed; one ancient face, carved it seemed from a nearby banyan, made a long, critical speech on the subject of irrigation; Chavez took notes. Wine is grown here, a dark Syrah type grape. “John, John, come up here,” said El Presidente, having watched me fall asleep in the heat and the depths of Oliver Twist. “He likes red wine,” Chavez told the cheering, whistling audience, and presented me with a bottle of “vino de la gente.” My few words in bad Spanish brought whistles and laughter. Watching Chavez with the people, la gente, made sense of a man who promised, on coming to power, that his every move would be subject to the will of the people. In eight years, Chavez won eight elections and referendums: a world record. He was electorally the most popular head of state in the Western Hemisphere, probably in the world.

Read more …

See? Like Pilger and Chavez, Nomi talks about literature. No space here to do this justice, please go read it. Key point: unlike the poor(er), the rich don’t live off the rewards of labor, but of that of wealth.

Survival of the Richest (Nomi Prins)

In George Orwell’s iconic 1945 novel, Animal Farm, the pigs who gain control in a rebellion against a human farmer eventually impose a dictatorship on the other animals on the basis of a single commandment: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” In terms of the American republic, the modern equivalent would be: “All citizens are equal, but the wealthy are so much more equal than anyone else (and plan to remain that way).” Certainly, inequality is the economic great wall between those with power and those without it. As the animals of Orwell’s farm grew ever less equal, so in the present moment in a country that still claims equal opportunity for its citizens, one in which three Americans now have as much wealth as the bottom half of society (160 million people), you could certainly say that we live in an increasingly Orwellian society.

Or perhaps an increasingly Twainian one. After all, Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner wrote a classic 1873 novel that put an unforgettable label on their moment and could do the same for ours. The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today depicted the greed and political corruption of post-Civil War America. Its title caught the spirit of what proved to be a long moment when the uber-rich came to dominate Washington and the rest of America. It was a period saturated with robber barons, professional grifters, and incomprehensibly wealthy banking magnates. (Anything sound familiar?) The main difference between that last century’s gilded moment and this one was that those robber barons built tangible things like railroads.

Today’s equivalent crew of the mega-wealthy build remarkably intangible things like tech and electronic platforms, while a grifter of a president opts for the only new infrastructure in sight, a great wall to nowhere. In Twain’s epoch, the U.S. was emerging from the Civil War. Opportunists were rising from the ashes of the nation’s battered soul. Land speculation, government lobbying, and shady deals soon converged to create an unequal society of the first order (at least until now). Soon after their novel came out, a series of recessions ravaged the country, followed by a 1907 financial panic in New York City caused by a speculator-led copper-market scam.

To fully grasp the nature of inequality in our twenty-first-century gilded age, it’s important to understand the difference between wealth and income and what kinds of inequality stem from each. Simply put, income is how much money you make in terms of paid work or any return on investments or assets (or other things you own that have the potential to change in value). Wealth is simply the gross accumulation of those very assets and any return or appreciation on them. The more wealth you have, the easier it is to have a higher annual income.

Read more …

Tyler got his hands on a piece by Michael Every at Dutch Rabobank.

Hey Yellen, It Was Trump Who Was Right (Every)

Rabo are already predicting a US recession in 2020, which will drag many down with it, and as the OECD now warns that swollen corporate debt piles, which central banks have so encouraged, is of ever lower quality and potentially more dangerous than it was back in 2008. 54% of investment grade bonds are now BBB-rated, up from 30% in 2008. The OECD argues “In the case of a downturn, highly leveraged companies would face difficulties in servicing their debt, which in turn, through higher default rates, may amplify the effects…Any developments in these areas will come at a time when non-financial companies in the next three years will have to pay back or refinance about USD4 trillion worth of corporate bonds. This is close to the total balance sheet of the US Federal Reserve.”

Guess what guys? China is right ahead of you on that curve – which is why it is trying to find another whale to nuke ASAP: things are looking truly ugly given many firms can’t even pay the interest on their debt, let alone the principle. And guess what else? That OECD and China warning sounds like an admission of the Minsky debt dynamic that you might have thought all central banks would have to have learned the lessons of post-GFC. Apparently not, however – because they think they already know everything. As former Fed Chair Yellen mocked yesterday, Trump doesn’t understand what the Fed’s dual mandates of price stability and stable employment are. That might well be true.

But was it the Fed or Trump who publicly called out how dangerous continuous Fed rate hikes are in a debt-laden, Minsky-teetering financial system where the yield curve is still inverted 9bps on 1s-5s even after a pause? I think Yellen will find it was Trump who was right and the Fed who was forced into a humiliating and frankly incongruous policy U-turn. So much expertise! Trump also made a similar intervention over oil prices overnight, and once again they dipped, though are opening up strongly this morning in Asia. [..] easy policy in the UK; ultra-easy policy in China; promises of more easing in Japan; an ECB U-turn to come(?); and the Fed on hold and stopping QT soon at least. And that’s with bullish markets and reasonable global growth – just wait until things head south: if all you have is a nuke, everything looks like a whale.

Read more …

Every bubble that bursts ends up below its starting level. Nicole had these graphs, Tulip, South Sea etc., that showed just that. This graph doesn’t quite do that.

Now that Housing Bubble #2 Is Bursting…How Low Will It Go? (CHS)

There are two generalities that can be applied to all asset bubbles: 1. Bubbles inflate for longer and reach higher levels than most pre-bubble analysts expected 2. All bubbles burst, despite mantra-like claims that “this time it’s different” The bubble burst tends to follow a symmetrical reversal of very similar time durations and magnitudes as the initial rise. If the bubble took four years to inflate and rose by X, the retrace tends to take about the same length of time and tends to retrace much or all of X. If we look at the chart of the Case-Shiller Housing Index below, this symmetry is visible in Housing Bubble #1 which skyrocketed from 2003-2007 and burst from 2008-2012.

Housing Bubble #1 wasn’t allowed to fully retrace the bubble, as the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to near-zero in 2009 and bought $1+ trillion in sketchy mortgage-backed securities (MBS), essentially turning America’s mortgage market into a branch of the central bank and federal agency guarantors of mortgages (Fannie and Freddie, VA, FHA). These unprecedented measures stopped the bubble decline by instantly making millions of people who previously could not qualify for a privately originated mortgage qualified buyers. This vast expansion of the pool of buyers (expanded by a flood of buyers from China and other hot-money locales) drove sales and prices higher for six years (2012-2018).

As noted on the chart below, this suggests the bubble burst will likely run from 2019-2025, give or take a few quarters. The question is: what’s the likely magnitude of the decline? Scenario 1 (blue line) is a symmetrical repeat of Housing Bubble #2: a retrace of the majority of the bubble’s rise but not 100%, which reverses off this somewhat higher base to start Housing Bubble #3. Since the mainstream consensus denies the possibility that Housing Bubble #2 even exists (perish the thought that real estate prices could ever–gasp–drop), they most certainly deny the possibility that prices could retrace much of the gains since 2012.

More realistic analysts would probably agree that if the current slowdown (never say recession, it might cost you your job) gathers momentum, some decline in housing prices is possible. They would likely agree with Scenario 1 that any such decline would be modest and would simply set the stage for an even grander housing bubble #3. But there is a good case for Scenario 2, in which price plummets below the 2012 lows and keeps on going, ultimately retracing the entire housing bubble gains from 2003.

Read more …

Interesting how Europe smears Putin wherever it can, except where it counts.

Russia’s Share Of European Gas Market Surges To Almost 37%, Dwarfing LNG (RT)

Russia’s state-run energy major Gazprom said its share of sales of natural gas in the European Union has increased to 36.7 percent last year, rising over two percent against 34.2 percent in 2017. “In 2018, according to preliminary data, the share of gas supplies to the EU countries and Turkey has reached an all-time high and totaled 36.7 percent,” the director general of Gazprom Export Elena Burmistrova said at Gazprom’s Investor Day event, taking place in Singapore. Burmistrova added that Gazprom’s gas exports to Europe last year amounted to record 201.8 billion cubic meters, and is expected to significantly grow by 2035 due to the increasing demand.

According to a member of Gazprom’s management committee, Oleg Aksyutin, the company saw no threat to Gazprom’s business in the European market from global producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG), including the US. The company’s gas exports to Europe are reportedly three times more than the amount of LNG shipped to Europe by all global producers combined. Though the share of LNG shipments have been growing, it still makes up only 13 percent of the entire gas market, according to Burmistrova. The executive added that prices for natural gas saw a significant surge. “In 2018, in accordance with linked fuel prices, the average price of Gazprom gas increased by 24.6 percent to $245.5 for 1,000 cubic meters,” she said, stressing that in 2016 it stood at $167.

When it comes to China, one of the world’s biggest energy consumers, Gazprom is planning to become the country’s biggest supplier as soon as 2035, with the company’s share expected to reach 13 percent of Chinese overall consumption by the same year.

Read more …

It’s completely insane that any western country would have to do a Hunger Survey. Don’t fall for thinking it’s normal.

UK Hunger Survey To Measure Food Insecurity (G.)

The government is to introduce an official measure of how often low-income families across the UK skip meals or go hungry because they cannot afford to buy enough food, the Guardian can reveal. A national index of food insecurity is to be incorporated into an established UK-wide annual survey run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that monitors household incomes and living standards. Campaigners, who have been calling for the measure for three years, said the move was “a massive step forward” that would provide authoritative evidence of the extent and causes of hunger in the UK. They say food insecurity is strongly linked to poverty caused by austerity and welfare cuts and is driving widening health inequality.

Food insecurity is generally defined as experiencing hunger, the inability to secure food of sufficient quality and quantity to enable good health and participation in society, and cutting down on food because of a lack of money. The decision, which took campaigners by surprise, was revealed at an informal meeting on Tuesday attended by the DWP, the Office for National Statistics, Public Health England and the Scottish and Welsh governments, as well as a number of food poverty charities. Ministers have for years resisted calls to bring England into line with the US and Canada by measuring food insecurity. Critics said this was to avoid shedding unwanted light on the impact of welfare policy and the public health consequences of being unable to eat regularly or healthily.

Read more …

Why the hunger? Here’s why: we feed ourselves with plastics and poison.

Glyphosate Found In 95% Of Wine And Beer (Ind.)

A new study has shown that traces of a commonly-used and possibly cancerous weed killer can be found in the majority of wine and beer. Researches tested five wines and 15 beers from the US, Asia and Europe for traces of pesticide glyphosate. The research found that of the 20 samples, 19 (95 per cent) contained particles of the chemical, including products labelled as organic. The US Public Interest Research Group, which conducted the study, said the levels of the pesticide aren’t necessarily dangerous, but are still concerning. In 2015, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency categorised glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”, leading the state of California to add it to its list of chemicals that can cause cancer, which makes companies responsible for providing warnings to potential consumers.

The findings of the study coincide with the beginning of a class action lawsuit against Bayer, which acquired Monsanto last year. The suit claims that Roundup caused thousands of plaintiffs to develop non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. The first plaintiff, Ed Hardeman, testified this week, alleging that his use of the chemical on his 56 acres of land caused him to develop cancer aged 66. [..] Bayer has not commented on the results of the study, but the researchers are calling for glyphosate to be banned unless it can be proven safe.

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The earth’s weather system is far too complex to draw conclusions from a sunny day. The only things we can say about the climate must be based on long-term stats. This kind of article doesn’t help one bit, it merely points out the author literally doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Am I The Only One Who’s Terrified About The Warm Weather? (G.)

They were everywhere in London on the weekend. The people in short sleeves or sandals. The ones with sunglasses ostentatiously hanging from the front of their shirts or balanced on top of their heads. The beer gardens and riverside pubs of the capital were heaving; corner shops ran out of ice-cream. Outside it was 17C (62F). Monday was another warm day, without a cloud in the sky, and in the late afternoon the light took on a magical, honey-coloured hue. It brought to mind one of those summer evenings you remember from childhood, when you’d be in the park all day and your parents let you stay out until bedtime, and you felt like you were doing something deliciously naughty just by being there.

Except it isn’t early summer: it’s February. And the entire developed world has not so much been doing something slightly naughty as systematically attacking the global ecosystem over a period of decades, and that’s how we go into this mess. We should try to hold on to this fact as young, posh men the nation over develop a strange delusion that anyone would want to see their elbows; this is not supposed to be happening. Less than a month ago, there was video footage of extreme cold weather coming out of Chicago. Forks supported in midair by suddenly frozen noodles, water poured from kettles instantly freezing on its way to the ground: you know the sort of thing.

OK, that was on the other side of the world, and was extreme and terrifying enough. But at least it was terrifying in the right direction. On Monday, though, the temperature hit 20.3C in Ceredigion, west Wales: the highest February temperature ever recorded in Britain and the first time the thermometer had breached 20C in winter. The BBC weather account tweeted it out with a gif of the sunshine icon and the same excitable breathlessness with which Springwatch would announce it had found a new type of vole. My response contained a single word, repeated seven times. It began with F.

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