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CDC Claims Link Between Heart Inflammation And COVID-19 Vaccines Wasn"t Known For Most Of 2021

CDC Claims Link Between Heart Inflammation And COVID-19 Vaccines Wasn't Known For Most Of 2021 Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has claimed that there was no known association between heart inflammation and COVID-19 vaccines as late as October 2021. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks in Washington on June 16, 2022. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) CDC officials made the claim, which is false, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request for reports from a CDC team that is focused on analyzing the risk of post-vaccination myocarditis and pericarditis, two forms of heart inflammation. Both began detected at higher-than-expected rates after COVID-19 vaccination in the spring of 2021. The team focuses on studying data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a passive surveillance system co-run by the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The date range for the search was April 2, 2021, to Oct. 2, 2021. “The National Center for Emerging Zoonotic Infectious Diseases performed a search of our records that failed to reveal any documents pertaining to your request,” Roger Andoh, a CDC records officer, told The Epoch Times. The center is part of the CDC. No abstractions or reports were available because “an association between myocarditis and mRNA COVID-19 vaccination was not known at that time,” Andoh added. Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are built on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. Earliest Myocarditis Reports Reports of heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccination were first made public in April 2021 by the U.S. military, which detected the issue along with Israeli authorities well before the CDC. While Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, said that month that the agency had looked for a safety signal in its data and found none, by the end of June CDC researchers were saying that the available data “suggest an association with immunization,” and in August described (pdf) the issue as a “harm” from vaccination. The claim that the link wasn’t known “is provably false,” Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, told The Epoch Times via email. “Either the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing at CDC, or federal health officials are disseminating misinformation about what they knew about myocarditis following mRNA COVID vaccines and when they knew it.” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said that the FOIA response “raises even more questions about the agency’s honesty, transparency, and use, or lack thereof, of its safety surveillance systems, such as VAERS, to detect COVID-19 vaccine adverse events.” “I have sent two letters to the CDC about the agency’s inability to find records demonstrating its use of the vaccine surveillance systems. To date, the CDC has failed to respond to my letters,” he added. A nurse prepares the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Southfield, Mich., on Nov. 5, 2021. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images) ‘Correction’ “Apparently CDC needs to make a correction!” a spokeswoman for the agency told The Epoch Times in an email. The agency is acknowledging that by June 2021, data began to indicate a link between the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and heart inflammation, outlined that month in two presentations made to government vaccine advisory panels. Read more here... Tyler Durden Fri, 08/05/2022 - 20:20.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 5th, 2022

CDC Claims Link Between Heart Inflammation And COVID-19 Vaccines Wasn"t Known For Most Of 2021

CDC Claims Link Between Heart Inflammation And COVID-19 Vaccines Wasn't Known For Most Of 2021 Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has claimed that there was no known association between heart inflammation and COVID-19 vaccines as late as October 2021. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks in Washington on June 16, 2022. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) CDC officials made the claim, which is false, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request for reports from a CDC team that is focused on analyzing the risk of post-vaccination myocarditis and pericarditis, two forms of heart inflammation. Both began detected at higher-than-expected rates after COVID-19 vaccination in the spring of 2021. The team focuses on studying data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a passive surveillance system co-run by the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The date range for the search was April 2, 2021, to Oct. 2, 2021. “The National Center for Emerging Zoonotic Infectious Diseases performed a search of our records that failed to reveal any documents pertaining to your request,” Roger Andoh, a CDC records officer, told The Epoch Times. The center is part of the CDC. No abstractions or reports were available because “an association between myocarditis and mRNA COVID-19 vaccination was not known at that time,” Andoh added. Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are built on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. Earliest Myocarditis Reports Reports of heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccination were first made public in April 2021 by the U.S. military, which detected the issue along with Israeli authorities well before the CDC. While Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, said that month that the agency had looked for a safety signal in its data and found none, by the end of June CDC researchers were saying that the available data “suggest an association with immunization,” and in August described (pdf) the issue as a “harm” from vaccination. The claim that the link wasn’t known “is provably false,” Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, told The Epoch Times via email. “Either the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing at CDC, or federal health officials are disseminating misinformation about what they knew about myocarditis following mRNA COVID vaccines and when they knew it.” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said that the FOIA response “raises even more questions about the agency’s honesty, transparency, and use, or lack thereof, of its safety surveillance systems, such as VAERS, to detect COVID-19 vaccine adverse events.” “I have sent two letters to the CDC about the agency’s inability to find records demonstrating its use of the vaccine surveillance systems. To date, the CDC has failed to respond to my letters,” he added. A nurse prepares the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Southfield, Mich., on Nov. 5, 2021. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images) ‘Correction’ “Apparently CDC needs to make a correction!” a spokeswoman for the agency told The Epoch Times in an email. The agency is acknowledging that by June 2021, data began to indicate a link between the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and heart inflammation, outlined that month in two presentations made to government vaccine advisory panels. Read more here... Tyler Durden Fri, 08/05/2022 - 20:20.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 5th, 2022

Military Official Predicted mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Might Be Paused Over Heart Inflammation

Military Official Predicted mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Might Be Paused Over Heart Inflammation Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), A U.S. military official predicted a pause in the administration of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines could happen if more cases of post-vaccination heart inflammation were detected, according to newly obtained emails. A nurse prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Hartford, Conn., on Jan. 6, 2022. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images) Harry Chang, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, made the prediction on April 27, 2021—the same day the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the agency was not seeing a safety signal when it came to heart inflammation experienced after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Chang noted the pause in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over blood clots and said an increased number of heart inflammation issues could trigger a similar action. “A pause of the Pfizer/Moderna administration (much like the J&J blood clot pause) will have an adverse impact on US/CA vaccination rates; assessed as unlikely due to causes of myocarditis can come from multiple sources (eg. COVID, other conditions, other vaccines/prescriptions, etc),” Chang wrote in an email. Myocarditis is a type of heart inflammation. “However, increased reported #s & media attention is likely to trigger a safety review pause by ACIP/FDA,” he added, referring to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the CDC on vaccines, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which decides whether to clear immunizations. Chang was talking to Tricia Blocher, an official at the California Department of Public Health, and other California and military officials. He was reacting to a story about the U.S. Department of Defense detecting a higher-than-expected number of cases of heart inflammation in troops following COVID-19 vaccination.” The email was one of 19 pages of messages obtained by The Epoch Times through a Freedom of Information Act request. Members of ACIP’s COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical Work Group (VaST) were sent the Pentagon story, as were some CDC officials, the emails show. Among them was Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, a leader of the Vaccine Safety Team, part of the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. Shimabukuro almost immediately asked colleagues for data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a tracking system co-run by the CDC and nine health care organizations to monitor vaccine safety. Eric Weintraub, the project leader for the datalink, found that 24 cases of myocarditis had been automatically detected in the tracking system. The email chain ended there, with no indication that the officials probed further to see if there was a possible link between the vaccines and heart inflammation. Weintraub did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Chang, who assessed that the discovery of heart issues was “likely to add to further concerns by general public over vaccine safety and make the ‘vaccine wall’ more challenging to overcome.” The emails “reveal there was an early red flag with post-mRNA COVID vaccine-related myocarditis reports in the U.S. and Israel” but that officials were concerned that acknowledging the risk “would have a negative effect on public perception of COVID vaccine safety and uptake,” Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, told The Epoch Times in an email. “The historic reluctance of public health officials to acknowledge that vaccines carry serious risks, which are greater for some people, is one of the biggest impediments to improving the safety of the mass vaccination system,” she added. Both the Moderna and Pfizer shots are built on messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology. On the same day as the emails, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, told reporters during a virtual briefing that after learning of the Pentagon’s discovery, the CDC examined its data and did not see an elevated rate. “We have not seen a signal, and we’ve actually looked intentionally for the signal in the over 200 million doses we’ve given,” she said. It’s not clear what data Walensky was relying upon. She did not respond to an inquiry. Shimabukuro, asked if he had advised Walensky on whether a pause should be imposed, referred comment to the CDC. A spokeswoman for the agency told The Epoch Times in an email, “Vaccination policy is the purview of CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and it would be best to contact the CDC ACIP staff with questions concerning pausing vaccination.” The CDC sets vaccination policy, but often consults with the ACIP before doing so. The ACIP did not return emailed questions. “To think that Walensky said she had reviewed the data and wasn’t convinced of the causal nature of this—really, really perplexing,” Dr. Anish Koka, a cardiologist based in Philadelphia, told The Epoch Times in a Twitter message. Myocarditis and a similar condition, pericarditis, are serious issues that often force people to stop exercising and undertaking other physical activities for a period of time. In some cases, the conditions may lead to death. Most cases detected following vaccination require hospitalization. Some people are suffering long-term effects. “I understand that the public health authorities are using a very different risk/benefit calculus because the disease in question is infectious, but there were certainly other options to consider rather than take a one note approach of 2 vaccines for every young healthy male 20 some days apart,” Koka said. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are administered in 2-dose primary series. Boosters are now recommended because the vaccines aren’t as effective as previously claimed. Neither the CDC nor ACIP released reports on post-vaccination heart inflammation for weeks after the Pentagon detection went public. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, answers questions during a Senate committee hearing in Washington on Jan. 11, 2022. (Greg Nash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images) The first report from ACIP, a summary of presentations given behind closed doors, said that myocarditis rates after vaccination did not differ from expected rates, which are established using baselines based on the regular occurrence of the condition in the general population. A few weeks later, however, the panel acknowledged that there were higher than expected rates of post-vaccination heart inflammation, detailing the numbers in a report dated May 24, 2021. Shimabukuro presented data on the higher-than-expected rates during public meetings the following month. He revealed that myocarditis and pericarditis were being reported at much higher rates than expected in males aged 12 to 29, but claimed it was too soon to indicate a link between the issues and the vaccines. He and others soon said data points “suggest an association with immunization,” and VaST said the data suggested a “likely association.” Around the same time, the FDA added warnings about heart inflammation to fact sheets that are distributed to vaccine recipients, caregivers of recipients, and medical professionals who administer the shots, and military doctors reported more cases than expected among troops who received one of the vaccines. Approximately 341 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis following vaccination had been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a passive system managed by the CDC and the FDA, by the end of April 2021. As of June 8, over 5,000 cases have been reported. Some reports have been deleted, potentially skewing the numbers. Additionally, studies indicate reports to VAERS are an undercount. Based on the reports that have been made, rates of myocarditis are higher than expected in males as young as 5 and as old as 49 after the second dose, according to data Shimabukuro shared at an FDA meeting on June 7. The highest rate is among 16- and 17-year-old males, with 76 reports per one million second doses and 24 cases per one million third doses. “The current evidence supports a causal association between mRNA COVID-19 vaccination and myocarditis and pericarditis,” Shimabukuro said. The CDC in February advised some people to wait longer between the first and second shots to try to minimize the risk of heart inflammation. But some experts say the rates mean that healthy, young people should not get any of the doses, since COVID-19 primarily presents severe problems to the elderly and those with underlying conditions such as kidney disease. “Based on currently available data, the risks of administering COVID-19 vaccination among healthy children may outweigh the benefits,” Dr. Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s surgeon general, said earlier this year. Multiple countries have paused the Moderna vaccine for youth, due to the heart inflammation. Other experts say at least one dose is recommended, while still others, and the CDC, continue to recommend vaccination for virtually all Americans 5 and older. The pause on Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine over blood clots was eventually lifted, but the FDA in May restricted its use. There was never a pause on the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines in the United States. Tyler Durden Sat, 06/11/2022 - 23:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 11th, 2022

The Anatomy Of Big Pharma"s Political Reach

The Anatomy Of Big Pharma's Political Reach Authored by Rebecca Strong via Medium.com, They keep telling us to “trust the science.” But who paid for it? After graduating from Columbia University with a chemical engineering degree, my grandfather went on to work for Pfizer for almost two decades, culminating his career as the company’s Global Director of New Products. I was rather proud of this fact growing up — it felt as if this father figure, who raised me for several years during my childhood, had somehow played a role in saving lives. But in recent years, my perspective on Pfizer — and other companies in its class — has shifted. Blame it on the insidious big pharma corruption laid bare by whistleblowers in recent years. Blame it on the endless string of big pharma lawsuits revealing fraud, deception, and cover-ups. Blame it on the fact that I witnessed some of their most profitable drugs ruin the lives of those I love most. All I know is, that pride I once felt has been overshadowed by a sticky skepticism I just can’t seem to shake. In 1973, my grandpa and his colleagues celebrated as Pfizer crossed a milestone: the one-billion-dollar sales mark. These days, Pfizer rakes in $81 billion a year, making it the 28th most valuable company in the world. Johnson & Johnson ranks 15th, with $93.77 billion. To put things into perspective, that makes said companies wealthier than most countries in the world. And thanks to those astronomical profit margins, the Pharmaceuticals and Health Products industry is able to spend more on lobbying than any other industry in America. While big pharma lobbying can take several different forms, these companies tend to target their contributions to senior legislators in Congress — you know, the ones they need to keep in their corner, because they have the power to draft healthcare laws. Pfizer has outspent its peers in six of the last eight election cycles, coughing up almost $9.7 million. During the 2016 election, pharmaceutical companies gave more than $7 million to 97 senators at an average of $75,000 per member. They also contributed $6.3 million to president Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. The question is: what did big pharma get in return? When you've got 1,500 Big Pharma lobbyists on Capitol Hill for 535 members of Congress, it's not too hard to figure out why prescription drug prices in this country are, on average, 256% HIGHER than in other major countries. — Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 3, 2022 ALEC’s Off-the-Record Sway To truly grasp big pharma’s power, you need to understand how The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) works. ALEC, which was founded in 1973 by conservative activists working on Ronald Reagan’s campaign, is a super secretive pay-to-play operation where corporate lobbyists — including in the pharma sector — hold confidential meetings about “model” bills. A large portion of these bills is eventually approved and become law. A rundown of ALEC’s greatest hits will tell you everything you need to know about the council’s motives and priorities. In 1995, ALEC promoted a bill that restricts consumers’ rights to sue for damages resulting from taking a particular medication. They also endorsed the Statute of Limitation Reduction Act, which put a time limit on when someone could sue after a medication-induced injury or death. Over the years, ALEC has promoted many other pharma-friendly bills that would: weaken FDA oversight of new drugs and therapies, limit FDA authority over drug advertising, and oppose regulations on financial incentives for doctors to prescribe specific drugs. But what makes these ALEC collaborations feel particularly problematic is that there’s little transparency — all of this happens behind closed doors. Congressional leaders and other committee members involved in ALEC aren’t required to publish any records of their meetings and other communications with pharma lobbyists, and the roster of ALEC members is completely confidential. All we know is that in 2020, more than two-thirds of Congress — 72 senators and 302 House of Representatives members — cashed a campaign check from a pharma company. Big Pharma Funding Research The public typically relies on an endorsement from government agencies to help them decide whether or not a new drug, vaccine, or medical device is safe and effective. And those agencies, like the FDA, count on clinical research. As already established, big pharma is notorious for getting its hooks into influential government officials. Here’s another sobering truth: The majority of scientific research is paid for by — wait for it — the pharmaceutical companies. When the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published 73 studies of new drugs over the course of a single year, they found that a staggering 82% of them had been funded by the pharmaceutical company selling the product, 68% had authors who were employees of that company, and 50% had lead researchers who accepted money from a drug company. According to 2013 research conducted at the University of Arizona College of Law, even when pharma companies aren’t directly funding the research, company stockholders, consultants, directors, and officers are almost always involved in conducting them. A 2017 report by the peer-reviewed journal The BMJ also showed that about half of medical journal editors receive payments from drug companies, with the average payment per editor hovering around $28,000. But these statistics are only accurate if researchers and editors are transparent about payments from pharma. And a 2022 investigative analysis of two of the most influential medical journals found that 81% of study authors failed to disclose millions in payments from drug companies, as they’re required to do. Unfortunately, this trend shows no sign of slowing down. The number of clinical trials funded by the pharmaceutical industry has been climbing every year since 2006, according to a John Hopkins University report, while independent studies have been harder to find. And there are some serious consequences to these conflicts of interest. Take Avandia, for instance, a diabetes drug produced by GlaxoSmithCline (GSK). Avandia was eventually linked to a dramatically increased risk of heart attacks and heart failure. And a BMJ report revealed that almost 90% of scientists who initially wrote glowing articles about Avandia had financial ties to GSK. But here’s the unnerving part: if the pharmaceutical industry is successfully biasing the science, then that means the physicians who rely on the science are biased in their prescribing decisions. Photo credit: UN Women Europe & Central Asia Where the lines get really blurry is with “ghostwriting.” Big pharma execs know citizens are way more likely to trust a report written by a board-certified doctor than one of their representatives. That’s why they pay physicians to list their names as authors — even though the MDs had little to no involvement in the research, and the report was actually written by the drug company. This practice started in the ’50s and ’60s when tobacco execs were clamoring to prove that cigarettes didn’t cause cancer (spoiler alert: they do!), so they commissioned doctors to slap their name on papers undermining the risks of smoking. It’s still a pretty common tactic today: more than one in 10 articles published in the NEJM was co-written by a ghostwriter. While a very small percentage of medical journals have clear policies against ghostwriting, it’s still technically legal —despite the fact that the consequences can be deadly. Case in point: in the late ’90s and early 2000s, Merck paid for 73 ghostwritten articles to play up the benefits of its arthritis drug Vioxx. It was later revealed that Merck failed to report all of the heart attacks experienced by trial participants. In fact, a study published in the NEJM revealed that an estimated 160,000 Americans experienced heart attacks or strokes from taking Vioxx. That research was conducted by Dr. David Graham, Associate Director of the FDA’s Office of Drug Safety, who understandably concluded the drug was not safe. But the FDA’s Office of New Drugs, which not only was responsible for initially approving Vioxx but also regulating it, tried to sweep his findings under the rug. "I was pressured to change my conclusions and recommendations, and basically threatened that if I did not change them, I would not be permitted to present the paper at the conference," he wrote in his 2004 U.S. Senate testimony on Vioxx. "One Drug Safety manager recommended that I should be barred from presenting the poster at the meeting." Eventually, the FDA issued a public health advisory about Vioxx and Merck withdrew this product. But it was a little late for repercussions — 38,000 of those Vioxx-takers who suffered heart attacks had already died. Graham called this a “profound regulatory failure,” adding that scientific standards the FDA apply to drug safety “guarantee that unsafe and deadly drugs will remain on the U.S. market.” This should come as no surprise, but research has also repeatedly shown that a paper written by a pharmaceutical company is more likely to emphasize the benefits of a drug, vaccine, or device while downplaying the dangers. (If you want to understand more about this practice, a former ghostwriter outlines all the ethical reasons why she quit this job in a PLOS Medicine report.) While adverse drug effects appear in 95% of clinical research, only 46% of published reports disclose them. Of course, all of this often ends up misleading doctors into thinking a drug is safer than it actually is. Big Pharma Influence On Doctors Pharmaceutical companies aren’t just paying medical journal editors and authors to make their products look good, either. There’s a long, sordid history of pharmaceutical companies incentivizing doctors to prescribe their products through financial rewards. For instance, Pfizer and AstraZeneca doled out a combined $100 million to doctors in 2018, with some earning anywhere from $6 million to $29 million in a year. And research has shown this strategy works: when doctors accept these gifts and payments, they’re significantly more likely to prescribe those companies’ drugs. Novartis comes to mind — the company famously spent over $100 million paying for doctors’ extravagant meals, golf outings, and more, all while also providing a generous kickback program that made them richer every time they prescribed certain blood pressure and diabetes meds. Side note: the Open Payments portal contains a nifty little database where you can find out if any of your own doctors received money from drug companies. Knowing that my mother was put on a laundry list of meds after a near-fatal car accident, I was curious — so I did a quick search for her providers. While her PCP only banked a modest amount from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, her previous psychiatrist — who prescribed a cocktail of contraindicated medications without treating her in person — collected quadruple-digit payments from pharmaceutical companies. And her pain care specialist, who prescribed her jaw-dropping doses of opioid pain medication for more than 20 years (far longer than the 5-day safety guideline), was raking in thousands from Purdue Pharma, AKA the opioid crisis’ kingpin. Purdue is now infamous for its wildly aggressive OxyContin campaign in the ’90s. At the time, the company billed it as a non-addictive wonder drug for pain sufferers. Internal emails show Pursue sales representatives were instructed to “sell, sell, sell” OxyContin, and the more they were able to push, the more they were rewarded with promotions and bonuses. With the stakes so high, these reps stopped at nothing to get doctors on board — even going so far as to send boxes of doughnuts spelling out “OxyContin” to unconvinced physicians. Purdue had stumbled upon the perfect system for generating tons of profit — off of other people’s pain. Documentation later proved that not only was Purdue aware it was highly addictive and that many people were abusing it, but that they also encouraged doctors to continue prescribing increasingly higher doses of it (and sent them on lavish luxury vacations for some motivation). In testimony to Congress, Purdue exec Paul Goldenheim played dumb about OxyContin addiction and overdose rates, but emails that were later exposed showed that he requested his colleagues remove all mentions of addiction from their correspondence about the drug. Even after it was proven in court that Purdue fraudulently marketed OxyContin while concealing its addictive nature, no one from the company spent a single day behind bars. Instead, the company got a slap on the wrist and a $600 million fine for a misdemeanor, the equivalent of a speeding ticket compared to the $9 billion they made off OxyContin up until 2006. Meanwhile, thanks to Purdue’s recklessness, more than 247,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2009. And that’s not even factoring in all the people who died of heroin overdoses once OxyContin was no longer attainable to them. The NIH reports that 80% of people who use heroin started by misusing prescription opioids. Former sales rep Carol Panara told me in an interview that when she looks back on her time at Purdue, it all feels like a “bad dream.” Panara started working for Purdue in 2008, one year after the company pled guilty to “misbranding” charges for OxyContin. At this point, Purdue was “regrouping and expanding,” says Panara, and to that end, had developed a clever new approach for making money off OxyContin: sales reps were now targeting general practitioners and family doctors, rather than just pain management specialists. On top of that, Purdue soon introduced three new strengths for OxyContin: 15, 30, and 60 milligrams, creating smaller increments Panara believes were aimed at making doctors feel more comfortable increasing their patients’ dosages. According to Panara, there were internal company rankings for sales reps based on the number of prescriptions for each OxyContin dosing strength in their territory. “They were sneaky about it,” she said. “Their plan was to go in and sell these doctors on the idea of starting with 10 milligrams, which is very low, knowing full well that once they get started down that path — that’s all they need. Because eventually, they’re going to build a tolerance and need a higher dose.” Occasionally, doctors expressed concerns about a patient becoming addicted, but Purdue had already developed a way around that. Sales reps like Panara were taught to reassure those doctors that someone in pain might experience addiction-like symptoms called “pseudoaddiction,” but that didn’t mean they were truly addicted. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to support that this concept is legit, of course. But the most disturbing part? Reps were trained to tell doctors that “pseudoaddiction” signaled the patient’s pain wasn’t being managed well enough, and the solution was simply to prescribe a higher dose of OxyContin. Panara finally quit Purdue in 2013. One of the breaking points was when two pharmacies in her territory were robbed at gunpoint specifically for OxyContin. In 2020, Purdue pled guilty to three criminal charges in an $8.3 billion deal, but the company is now under court protection after filing for bankruptcy. Despite all the damage that’s been done, the FDA’s policies for approving opioids remain essentially unchanged. Photo credit: Jennifer Durban Purdue probably wouldn’t have been able to pull this off if it weren’t for an FDA examiner named Curtis Wright, and his assistant Douglas Kramer. While Purdue was pursuing Wright’s stamp of approval on OxyContin, Wright took an outright sketchy approach to their application, instructing the company to mail documents to his home office rather than the FDA, and enlisting Purdue employees to help him review trials about the safety of the drug. The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that the FDA have access to at least two randomized controlled trials before deeming a drug as safe and effective, but in the case of OxyContin, it got approved with data from just one measly two-week study — in osteoarthritis patients, no less. When both Wright and Kramer left the FDA, they went on to work for none other than (drumroll, please) Purdue, with Wright earning three times his FDA salary. By the way — this is just one example of the FDA’s notoriously incestuous relationship with big pharma, often referred to as “the revolving door”. In fact, a 2018 Science report revealed that 11 out of 16 FDA reviewers ended up at the same companies they had been regulating products for. While doing an independent investigation, “Empire of Pain” author and New Yorker columnist Patrick Radden Keefe tried to gain access to documentation of Wright’s communications with Purdue during the OxyContin approval process. “The FDA came back and said, ‘Oh, it’s the weirdest thing, but we don’t have anything. It’s all either been lost or destroyed,’” Keefe told Fortune in an interview. “But it’s not just the FDA. It’s Congress, it’s the Department of Justice, it’s big parts of the medical establishment … the sheer amount of money involved, I think, has meant that a lot of the checks that should be in place in society to not just achieve justice, but also to protect us as consumers, were not there because they had been co-opted.” Big pharma may be to blame for creating the opioids that caused this public health catastrophe, but the FDA deserves just as much scrutiny — because its countless failures also played a part in enabling it. And many of those more recent fails happened under the supervision of Dr. Janet Woodcock. Woodcock was named FDA’s acting commissioner mere hours after Joe Biden was inaugurated as president. She would have been a logical choice, being an FDA vet of 35 years, but then again it’s impossible to forget that she played a starring role in the FDA’s perpetuating the opioid epidemic. She’s also known for overruling her own scientific advisors when they vote against approving a drug. Not only did Woodcock approve OxyContin for children as young as 11 years old, but she also gave the green light to several other highly controversial extended-release opioid pain drugs without sufficient evidence of safety or efficacy. One of those was Zohydro: in 2011, the FDA’s advisory committee voted 11:2 against approving it due to safety concerns about inappropriate use, but Woodcock went ahead and pushed it through, anyway. Under Woodcock’s supervision, the FDA also approved Opana, which is twice as powerful as OxyContin — only to then beg the drug maker to take it off the market 10 years later due to “abuse and manipulation.” And then there was Dsuvia, a potent painkiller 1,000 times stronger than morphine and 10 times more powerful than fentanyl. According to a head of one of the FDA’s advisory committees, the U.S. military had helped to develop this particular drug, and Woodcock said there was “pressure from the Pentagon” to push it through approvals. The FBI, members of congress, public health advocates, and patient safety experts alike called this decision into question, pointing out that with hundreds of opioids already on the market there’s no need for another — particularly one that comes with such high risks. Most recently, Woodcock served as the therapeutics lead for Operation Warp Speed, overseeing COVID-19 vaccine development. Big Pharma Lawsuits, Scandals, and Cover-Ups While the OxyContin craze is undoubtedly one of the highest-profile examples of big pharma’s deception, there are dozens of other stories like this. Here are a few standouts: In the 1980s, Bayer continued selling blood clotting products to third-world countries even though they were fully aware those products had been contaminated with HIV. The reason? The “financial investment in the product was considered too high to destroy the inventory.” Predictably, about 20,000 of the hemophiliacs who were infused with these tainted products then tested positive for HIV and eventually developed AIDS, and many later died of it. In 2004, Johnson & Johnson was slapped with a series of lawsuits for illegally promoting off-label use of their heartburn drug Propulsid for children despite internal company emails confirming major safety concerns (as in, deaths during the drug trials). Documentation from the lawsuits showed that dozens of studies sponsored by Johnson & Johnson highlighting the risks of this drug were never published. The FDA estimates that GSK’s Avandia caused 83,000 heart attacks between 1999 and 2007. Internal documents from GSK prove that when they began studying the effects of the drug as early as 1999, they discovered it caused a higher risk of heart attacks than a similar drug it was meant to replace. Rather than publish these findings, they spent a decade illegally concealing them (and meanwhile, banking $3.2 billion annually for this drug by 2006). Finally, a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine study linked Avandia to a 43% increased risk of heart attacks, and a 64% increased risk of death from heart disease. Avandia is still FDA approved and available in the U.S. In 2009, Pfizer was forced to pay $2.3 billion, the largest healthcare fraud settlement in history at that time, for paying illegal kickbacks to doctors and promoting off-label uses of its drugs. Specifically, a former employee revealed that Pfizer reps were encouraged and incentivized to sell Bextra and 12 other drugs for conditions they were never FDA approved for, and at doses up to eight times what’s recommended. “I was expected to increase profits at all costs, even when sales meant endangering lives,” the whistleblower said. When it was discovered that AstraZeneca was promoting the antipsychotic medication Seroquel for uses that were not approved by the FDA as safe and effective, the company was hit with a $520 million fine in 2010. For years, AstraZeneca had been encouraging psychiatrists and other physicians to prescribe Seroquel for a vast range of seemingly unrelated off-label conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, anger management, ADHD, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sleeplessness. AstraZeneca also violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute by paying doctors to spread the word about these unapproved uses of Seroquel via promotional lectures and while traveling to resort locations. In 2012, GSK paid a $3 billion fine for bribing doctors by flying them and their spouses to five-star resorts, and for illegally promoting drugs for off-label uses. What’s worse — GSK withheld clinical trial results that showed its antidepressant Paxil not only doesn’t work for adolescents and children but more alarmingly, that it can increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts in this group. A 1998 GSK internal memo revealed that the company intentionally concealed this data to minimize any “potential negative commercial impact.” In 2021, an ex-AstraZeneca sales rep sued her former employer, claiming they fired her for refusing to promote drugs for uses that weren’t FDA-approved. The employee alleges that on multiple occasions, she expressed concerns to her boss about “misleading” information that didn’t have enough support from medical research, and off-label promotions of certain drugs. Her supervisor reportedly not only ignored these concerns but pressured her to approve statements she didn’t agree with and threatened to remove her from regional and national positions if she didn’t comply. According to the plaintiff, she missed out on a raise and a bonus because she refused to break the law. At the top of 2022, a panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit against Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, and GE Healthcare, which claims they helped finance terrorist attacks against U.S. service members and other Americans in Iraq. The suit alleges that from 2005–2011, these companies regularly offered bribes (including free drugs and medical devices) totaling millions of dollars annually to Iraq’s Ministry of Health in order to secure drug contracts. These corrupt payments then allegedly funded weapons and training for the Mahdi Army, which until 2008, was largely considered one of the most dangerous groups in Iraq. Another especially worrisome factor is that pharmaceutical companies are conducting an ever-increasing number of clinical trials in third-world countries, where people may be less educated, and there are also far fewer safety regulations. Pfizer’s 1996 experimental trials with Trovan on Nigerian children with meningitis — without informed consent — is just one nauseating example. When a former medical director in Pfizer’s central research division warned the company both before and after the study that their methods in this trial were “improper and unsafe,” he was promptly fired. Families of the Nigerian children who died or were left blind, brain damaged, or paralyzed after the study sued Pfizer, and the company ultimately settled out of court. In 1998, the FDA approved Trovan only for adults. The drug was later banned from European markets due to reports of fatal liver disease and restricted to strictly emergency care in the U.S. Pfizer still denies any wrongdoing. “Nurse prepares to vaccinate children” by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 But all that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to dive a little further down the rabbit hole — and I’ll warn you, it’s a deep one — a quick Google search for “big pharma lawsuits” will reveal the industry’s dark track record of bribery, dishonesty, and fraud. In fact, big pharma happens to be the biggest defrauder of the federal government when it comes to the False Claims Act, otherwise known as the “Lincoln Law.” During our interview, Panara told me she has friends still working for big pharma who would be willing to speak out about crooked activity they’ve observed, but are too afraid of being blacklisted by the industry. A newly proposed update to the False Claims Act would help to protect and support whistleblowers in their efforts to hold pharmaceutical companies liable, by helping to prevent that kind of retaliation and making it harder for the companies charged to dismiss these cases. It should come as no surprise that Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, and a flock of other big pharma firms are currently lobbying to block the update. Naturally, they wouldn’t want to make it any easier for ex-employees to expose their wrongdoings, potentially costing them billions more in fines. Something to keep in mind: these are the same people who produced, marketed, and are profiting from the COVID-19 vaccines. The same people who manipulate research, pay off decision-makers to push their drugs, cover up negative research results to avoid financial losses, and knowingly put innocent citizens in harm’s way. The same people who told America: “Take as much OxyContin as you want around the clock! It’s very safe and not addictive!” (while laughing all the way to the bank). So, ask yourself this: if a partner, friend, or family member repeatedly lied to you — and not just little white lies, but big ones that put your health and safety at risk — would you continue to trust them? Backing the Big Four: Big Pharma and the FDA, WHO, NIH, CDC I know what you’re thinking. Big pharma is amoral and the FDA’s devastating slips are a dime a dozen — old news. But what about agencies and organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)? Don’t they have an obligation to provide unbiased guidance to protect citizens? Don’t worry, I’m getting there. The WHO’s guidance is undeniably influential across the globe. For most of this organization’s history, dating back to 1948, it could not receive donations from pharmaceutical companies — only member states. But that changed in 2005 when the WHO updated its financial policy to permit private money into its system. Since then, the WHO has accepted many financial contributions from big pharma. In fact, it’s only 20% financed by member states today, with a whopping 80% of financing coming from private donors. For instance, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is now one of its main contributors, providing up to 13% of its funds — about $250–300 million a year. Nowadays, the BMGF provides more donations to the WHO than the entire United States. Dr. Arata Kochi, former head of WHO’s malaria program, expressed concerns to director-general Dr. Margaret Chan in 2007 that taking the BMGF’s money could have “far-reaching, largely unintended consequences” including “stifling a diversity of views among scientists.” “The big concerns are that the Gates Foundation isn’t fully transparent and accountable,” Lawrence Gostin, director of WHO’s Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, told Devex in an interview. “By wielding such influence, it could steer WHO priorities … It would enable a single rich philanthropist to set the global health agenda.” Photo credit: National Institutes of Health Take a peek at the WHO’s list of donors and you’ll find a few other familiar names like AstraZeneca, Bayer, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck. The NIH has the same problem, it seems. Science journalist Paul Thacker, who previously examined financial links between physicians and pharma companies as a lead investigator of the United States Senate Committee, wrote in The Washington Post that this agency “often ignored” very “obvious” conflicts of interest. He also claimed that “its industry ties go back decades.” In 2018, it was discovered that a $100 million alcohol consumption study run by NIH scientists was funded mostly by beer and liquor companies. Emails proved that NIH researchers were in frequent contact with those companies while designing the study — which, here’s a shocker — were aimed at highlighting the benefits and not the risks of moderate drinking. So, the NIH ultimately had to squash the trial. And then there’s the CDC. It used to be that this agency couldn’t take contributions from pharmaceutical companies, but in 1992 they found a loophole: new legislation passed by Congress allowed them to accept private funding through a nonprofit called the CDC Foundation. From 2014 through 2018 alone, the CDC Foundation received $79.6 million from corporations like Pfizer, Biogen, and Merck. Of course, if a pharmaceutical company wants to get a drug, vaccine, or other product approved, they really need to cozy up to the FDA. That explains why in 2017, pharma companies paid for a whopping 75% of the FDA’s scientific review budgets, up from 27% in 1993. It wasn’t always like this. But in 1992, an act of Congress changed the FDA’s funding stream, enlisting pharma companies to pay “user fees,” which help the FDA speed up the approval process for their drugs. A 2018 Science investigation found that 40 out of 107 physician advisors on the FDA’s committees received more than $10,000 from big pharma companies trying to get their drugs approved, with some banking up to $1 million or more. The FDA claims it has a well-functioning system to identify and prevent these possible conflicts of interest. Unfortunately, their system only works for spotting payments before advisory panels meet, and the Science investigation showed many FDA panel members get their payments after the fact. It’s a little like “you scratch my back now, and I’ll scratch your back once I get what I want” — drug companies promise FDA employees a future bonus contingent on whether things go their way. Here’s why this dynamic proves problematic: a 2000 investigation revealed that when the FDA approved the rotavirus vaccine in 1998, it didn’t exactly do its due diligence. That probably had something to do with the fact that committee members had financial ties to the manufacturer, Merck — many owned tens of thousands of dollars of stock in the company, or even held patents on the vaccine itself. Later, the Adverse Event Reporting System revealed that the vaccine was causing serious bowel obstructions in some children, and it was finally pulled from the U.S. market in October 1999. Then, in June of 2021, the FDA overruled concerns raised by its very own scientific advisory committee to approve Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm — a move widely criticized by physicians. The drug not only showed very little efficacy but also potentially serious side effects like brain bleeding and swelling, in clinical trials. Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a Harvard Medical School professor who was on the FDA’s scientific advisory committee, called it the “worst drug approval” in recent history, and noted that meetings between the FDA and Biogen had a “strange dynamic” suggesting an unusually close relationship. Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, told CNN that he believes the FDA started working in “inappropriately close collaboration with Biogen” back in 2019. “They were not objective, unbiased regulators,” he added in the CNN interview. “It seems as if the decision was preordained.” That brings me to perhaps the biggest conflict of interest yet: Dr. Anthony Fauci’s NIAID is just one of many institutes that comprises the NIH — and the NIH owns half the patent for the Moderna vaccine — as well as thousands more pharma patents to boot. The NIAID is poised to earn millions of dollars from Moderna’s vaccine revenue, with individual officials also receiving up to $150,000 annually. Operation Warp Speed In December of 2020, Pfizer became the first company to receive an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA for a COVID-19 vaccine. EUAs — which allow the distribution of an unapproved drug or other product during a declared public health emergency — are actually a pretty new thing: the first one was issued in 2005 so military personnel could get an anthrax vaccine. To get a full FDA approval, there needs to be substantial evidence that the product is safe and effective. But for an EUA, the FDA just needs to determine that it may be effective. Since EUAs are granted so quickly, the FDA doesn’t have enough time to gather all the information they’d usually need to approve a drug or vaccine. “Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Event” by The White House is licensed under CC PDM 1.0 Pfizer CEO and chairman Albert Bourla has said his company was “operating at the speed of science” to bring a vaccine to market. However, a 2021 report in The BMJ revealed that this speed might have come at the expense of “data integrity and patient safety.” Brook Jackson, regional director for the Ventavia Research Group, which carried out these trials, told The BMJ that her former company “falsified data, unblinded patients, and employed inadequately trained vaccinators” in Pfizer’s pivotal phase 3 trial. Just some of the other concerning events witnessed included: adverse events not being reported correctly or at all, lack of reporting on protocol deviations, informed consent errors, and mislabeling of lab specimens. An audio recording of Ventavia employees from September 2020 revealed that they were so overwhelmed by issues arising during the study that they became unable to “quantify the types and number of errors” when assessing quality control. One Ventavia employee told The BMJ she’d never once seen a research environment as disorderly as Ventavia’s Pfizer vaccine trial, while another called it a “crazy mess.” Over the course of her two-decades-long career, Jackson has worked on hundreds of clinical trials, and two of her areas of expertise happen to be immunology and infectious diseases. She told me that from her first day on the Pfizer trial in September of 2020, she discovered “such egregious misconduct” that she recommended they stop enrolling participants into the study to do an internal audit. “To my complete shock and horror, Ventavia agreed to pause enrollment but then devised a plan to conceal what I found and to keep ICON and Pfizer in the dark,” Jackson said during our interview. “The site was in full clean-up mode. When missing data points were discovered the information was fabricated, including forged signatures on the informed consent forms.” A screenshot Jackson shared with me shows she was invited to a meeting titled “COVID 1001 Clean up Call” on Sept. 21, 2020. She refused to participate in the call. Jackson repeatedly warned her superiors about patient safety concerns and data integrity issues. “I knew that the entire world was counting on clinical researchers to develop a safe and effective vaccine and I did not want to be a part of that failure by not reporting what I saw,” she told me. When her employer failed to act, Jackson filed a complaint with the FDA on Sept. 25, and Ventavia fired her hours later that same day under the pretense that she was “not a good fit.” After reviewing her concerns over the phone, she claims the FDA never followed up or inspected the Ventavia site. Ten weeks later, the FDA authorized the EUA for the vaccine. Meanwhile, Pfizer hired Ventavia to handle the research for four more vaccine clinical trials, including one involving children and young adults, one for pregnant women, and another for the booster. Not only that, but Ventavia handled the clinical trials for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax. Jackson is currently pursuing a False Claims Act lawsuit against Pfizer and Ventavia Research Group. Last year, Pfizer banked nearly $37 billion from its COVID vaccine, making it one of the most lucrative products in global history. Its overall revenues doubled in 2021 to reach $81.3 billion, and it’s slated to reach a record-breaking $98-$102 billion this year. “Corporations like Pfizer should never have been put in charge of a global vaccination rollout, because it was inevitable they would make life-and-death decisions based on what’s in the short-term interest of their shareholders,” writes Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now. As previously mentioned, it’s super common for pharmaceutical companies to fund the research on their own products. Here’s why that’s scary. One 1999 meta-analysis showed that industry-funded research is eight times less likely to achieve unfavorable results compared to independent trials. In other words, if a pharmaceutical company wants to prove that a medication, supplement, vaccine, or device is safe and effective, they’ll find a way. With that in mind, I recently examined the 2020 study on Pfizer’s COVID vaccine to see if there were any conflicts of interest. Lo and behold, the lengthy attached disclosure form shows that of the 29 authors, 18 are employees of Pfizer and hold stock in the company, one received a research grant from Pfizer during the study, and two reported being paid “personal fees” by Pfizer. In another 2021 study on the Pfizer vaccine, seven of the 15 authors are employees of and hold stock in Pfizer. The other eight authors received financial support from Pfizer during the study. Photo credit: Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) via Unsplash As of the day I’m writing this, about 64% of Americans are fully vaccinated, and 76% have gotten at least one dose. The FDA has repeatedly promised “full transparency” when it comes to these vaccines. Yet in December of 2021, the FDA asked for permission to wait 75 years before releasing information pertaining to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, including safety data, effectiveness data, and adverse reaction reports. That means no one would see this information until the year 2096 — conveniently, after many of us have departed this crazy world. To recap: the FDA only needed 10 weeks to review the 329,000 pages worth of data before approving the EUA for the vaccine — but apparently, they need three-quarters of a century to publicize it. In response to the FDA’s ludicrous request, PHMPT — a group of over 200 medical and public health experts from Harvard, Yale, Brown, UCLA, and other institutions — filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act demanding that the FDA produce this data sooner. And their efforts paid off: U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman issued an order for the FDA to produce 12,000 pages by Jan. 31, and then at least 55,000 pages per month thereafter. In his statement to the FDA, Pittman quoted the late John F. Kennedy: “A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” As for why the FDA wanted to keep this data hidden, the first batch of documentation revealed that there were more than 1,200 vaccine-related deaths in just the first 90 days after the Pfizer vaccine was introduced. Of 32 pregnancies with a known outcome, 28 resulted in fetal death. The CDC also recently unveiled data showing a total of 1,088,560 reports of adverse events from COVID vaccines were submitted between Dec. 14, 2020, and Jan. 28, 2022. That data included 23,149 reports of deaths and 183,311 reports of serious injuries. There were 4,993 reported adverse events in pregnant women after getting vaccinated, including 1,597 reports of miscarriage or premature birth. A 2022 study published in JAMA, meanwhile, revealed that there have been more than 1,900 reported cases of myocarditis — or inflammation of the heart muscle — mostly in people 30 and under, within 7 days of getting the vaccine. In those cases, 96% of people were hospitalized. “It is understandable that the FDA does not want independent scientists to review the documents it relied upon to license Pfizer’s vaccine given that it is not as effective as the FDA originally claimed, does not prevent transmission, does not prevent against certain emerging variants, can cause serious heart inflammation in younger individuals, and has numerous other undisputed safety issues,” writes Aaron Siri, the attorney representing PHMPT in its lawsuit against the FDA. Siri told me in an email that his office phone has been ringing off the hook in recent months. “We are overwhelmed by inquiries from individuals calling about an injury from a COVID-19 vaccine,” he said. By the way — it’s worth noting that adverse effects caused by COVID-19 vaccinations are still not covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Companies like Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are protected under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, which grants them total immunity from liability with their vaccines. And no matter what happens to you, you can’t sue the FDA for authorizing the EUA, or your employer for requiring you to get it, either. Billions of taxpayer dollars went to fund the research and development of these vaccines, and in Moderna’s case, licensing its vaccine was made possible entirely by public funds. But apparently, that still warrants citizens no insurance. Should something go wrong, you’re basically on your own. Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine business model: government gives them billions, gives them immunity for any injuries or if doesn't work, promotes their products for free, and mandates their products. Sounds crazy? Yes, but it is our current reality. — Aaron Siri (@AaronSiriSG) February 2, 2022 The Hypocrisy of “Misinformation” I find it interesting that “misinformation” has become such a pervasive term lately, but more alarmingly, that it’s become an excuse for blatant censorship on social media and in journalism. It’s impossible not to wonder what’s driving this movement to control the narrative. In a world where we still very clearly don’t have all the answers, why shouldn’t we be open to exploring all the possibilities? And while we’re on the subject, what about all of the COVID-related untruths that have been spread by our leaders and officials? Why should they get a free pass? Photo credit: @upgradeur_life, www.instagram.com/upgradeur_life Fauci, President Biden, and the CDC’s Rochelle Walensky all promised us with total confidence the vaccine would prevent us from getting or spreading COVID, something we now know is a myth. (In fact, the CDC recently had to change its very definition of “vaccine ” to promise “protection” from a disease rather than “immunity”— an important distinction). At one point, the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) and former Governor Andrew Cuomo prepared a social media campaign with misleading messaging that the vaccine was “approved by the FDA” and “went through the same rigorous approval process that all vaccines go through,” when in reality the FDA only authorized the vaccines under an EUA, and the vaccines were still undergoing clinical trials. While the NYS DOH eventually responded to pressures to remove these false claims, a few weeks later the Department posted on Facebook that “no serious side effects related to the vaccines have been reported,” when in actuality, roughly 16,000 reports of adverse events and over 3,000 reports of serious adverse events related to a COVID-19 vaccination had been reported in the first two months of use. One would think we’d hold the people in power to the same level of accountability — if not more — than an average citizen. So, in the interest of avoiding hypocrisy, should we “cancel” all these experts and leaders for their “misinformation,” too? Vaccine-hesitant people have been fired from their jobs, refused from restaurants, denied the right to travel and see their families, banned from social media channels, and blatantly shamed and villainized in the media. Some have even lost custody of their children. These people are frequently labeled “anti-vax,” which is misleading given that many (like the NBA’s Jonathan Isaac) have made it repeatedly clear they are not against all vaccines, but simply making a personal choice not to get this one. (As such, I’ll suggest switching to a more accurate label: “pro-choice.”) Fauci has repeatedly said federally mandating the vaccine would not be “appropriate” or “enforceable” and doing so would be “encroaching upon a person’s freedom to make their own choice.” So it’s remarkable that still, some individual employers and U.S. states, like my beloved Massachusetts, have taken it upon themselves to enforce some of these mandates, anyway. Meanwhile, a Feb. 7 bulletin posted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security indicates that if you spread information that undermines public trust in a government institution (like the CDC or FDA), you could be considered a terrorist. In case you were wondering about the current state of free speech. The definition of institutional oppression is “the systematic mistreatment of people within a social identity group, supported and enforced by the society and its institutions, solely based on the person’s membership in the social identity group.” It is defined as occurring when established laws and practices “systematically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups.” Sound familiar? As you continue to watch the persecution of the unvaccinated unfold, remember this. Historically, when society has oppressed a particular group of people whether due to their gender, race, social class, religious beliefs, or sexuality, it’s always been because they pose some kind of threat to the status quo. The same is true for today’s unvaccinated. Since we know the vaccine doesn’t prevent the spread of COVID, however, this much is clear: the unvaccinated don’t pose a threat to the health and safety of their fellow citizens — but rather, to the bottom line of powerful pharmaceutical giants and the many global organizations they finance. And with more than $100 billion on the line in 2021 alone, I can understand the motivation to silence them. The unvaccinated have been called selfish. Stupid. Fauci has said it’s “almost inexplicable” that they are still resisting. But is it? What if these people aren’t crazy or uncaring, but rather have — unsurprisingly so — lost their faith in the agencies that are supposed to protect them? Can you blame them? Citizens are being bullied into getting a vaccine that was created, evaluated, and authorized in under a year, with no access to the bulk of the safety data for said vaccine, and no rights whatsoever to pursue legal action if they experience adverse effects from it. What these people need right now is to know they can depend on their fellow citizens to respect their choices, not fuel the segregation by launching a full-fledged witch hunt. Instead, for some inexplicable reason I imagine stems from fear, many continue rallying around big pharma rather than each other. A 2022 Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports survey of Democratic voters found that 59% of respondents support a government policy requiring unvaccinated individuals to remain confined in their home at all times, 55% support handing a fine to anyone who won’t get the vaccine, and 48% think the government should flat out imprison people who publicly question the efficacy of the vaccines on social media, TV, or online in digital publications. Even Orwell couldn’t make this stuff up. Photo credit: DJ Paine on Unsplash Let me be very clear. While there are a lot of bad actors out there — there are also a lot of well-meaning people in the science and medical industries, too. I’m lucky enough to know some of them. There are doctors who fend off pharma reps’ influence and take an extremely cautious approach to prescribing. Medical journal authors who fiercely pursue transparency and truth — as is evident in “The Influence of Money on Medical Science,” a report by the first female editor of JAMA. Pharmacists, like Dan Schneider, who refuse to fill prescriptions they deem risky or irresponsible. Whistleblowers, like Graham and Jackson, who tenaciously call attention to safety issues for pharma products in the approval pipeline. And I’m certain there are many people in the pharmaceutical industry, like Panara and my grandfather, who pursued this field with the goal of helping others, not just earning a six- or seven-figure salary. We need more of these people. Sadly, it seems they are outliers who exist in a corrupt, deep-rooted system of quid-pro-quo relationships. They can only do so much. I’m not here to tell you whether or not you should get the vaccine or booster doses. What you put in your body is not for me — or anyone else — to decide. It’s not a simple choice, but rather one that may depend on your physical condition, medical history, age, religious beliefs, and level of risk tolerance. My grandfather passed away in 2008, and lately, I find myself missing him more than ever, wishing I could talk to him about the pandemic and hear what he makes of all this madness. I don’t really know how he’d feel about the COVID vaccine, or whether he would have gotten it or encouraged me to. What I do know is that he’d listen to my concerns, and he’d carefully consider them. He would remind me my feelings are valid. His eyes would light up and he’d grin with amusement as I fervidly expressed my frustration. He’d tell me to keep pushing forward, digging deeper, asking questions. In his endearing Bronx accent, he used to always say: “go get ‘em, kid.” If I stop typing for a moment and listen hard enough, I can almost hear him saying it now. People keep saying “trust the science.” But when trust is broken, it must be earned back. And as long as our legislative system, public health agencies, physicians, and research journals keep accepting pharmaceutical money (with strings attached) — and our justice system keeps letting these companies off the hook when their negligence causes harm, there’s no reason for big pharma to change. They’re holding the bag, and money is power. I have a dream that one day, we’ll live in a world where we are armed with all the thorough, unbiased data necessary to make informed decisions about our health. Alas, we’re not even close. What that means is that it’s up to you to educate yourself as much as possible, and remain ever-vigilant in evaluating information before forming an opinion. You can start by reading clinical trials yourself, rather than relying on the media to translate them for you. Scroll to the bottom of every single study to the “conflicts of interest” section and find out who funded it. Look at how many subjects were involved. Confirm whether or not blinding was used to eliminate bias. You may also choose to follow Public Citizen’s Health Research Group’s rule whenever possible: that means avoiding a new drug until five years after an FDA approval (not an EUA, an actual approval) — when there’s enough data on the long-term safety and effectiveness to establish that the benefits outweigh the risks. When it comes to the news, you can seek out independent, nonprofit outlets, which are less likely to be biased due to pharma funding. And most importantly, when it appears an organization is making concerted efforts to conceal information from you — like the FDA recently did with the COVID vaccine — it’s time to ask yourself: why? What are they trying to hide? In the 2019 film “Dark Waters” — which is based on the true story of one of the greatest corporate cover-ups in American history — Mark Ruffalo as attorney Rob Bilott says: “The system is rigged. They want us to think it’ll protect us, but that’s a lie. We protect us. We do. Nobody else. Not the companies. Not the scientists. Not the government. Us.” Words to live by. Tyler Durden Sat, 04/09/2022 - 22:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 9th, 2022

The roots of ivermectin mania: How South America incubated a fake-medicine craze that took the US by storm

Retracted scientific studies, populist politicians and a Fox News host have fuelled the popularity of unproven drug ivermectin as a COVID treatment. A supporter of President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro waves a box of ivermectin at a pro-government demonstration in Brasilia in May 2021. Andressa Anholete/Getty Images The popularity of unproven anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment is surging. Its use has roots in South America, where it was hyped by populist leaders citing debunked research. "Nobody paid attention... now we see the same" in the US, a Peruvian official told Insider. In May 2020, when the coronavirus was sweeping the South American nation of Peru, Dr. Patricia Garcia of the country's health ministry began receiving disturbing reports from the country's hospitals. They detailed injuries not caused by COVID-19, but a drug people thought would help them: the anti-parasitic substance ivermectin. "The kind of things they were telling was people that were coming with severe gastritis [stomach inflammation], and also pancreatitis, because they were taking the ivermectin in desperation," Garcia told Insider.As the coronavirus continued to spread, people's faith in ivermectin as a way out of the crisis grew more fervent, said Garcia.It would be almost a year before ivermectin would become widely discussed in the US, as a subset of Americans began to insist on receiving it.The US demand for ivermectin surged as vaccination - the most effective COVID countermeasure - became increasingly politicized. Doctors strongly advise against taking it but, as of October 16, more than two-dozen lawsuits had been filed around the US from people demanding access to it."History is repeating," said Garcia. "Nobody paid attention about what was happening in Latin America and now we see the same situation."A fake cure with real backing A municipal worker sprays disinfectant past a street vendor at a market in Puno, Peru, near the border with Bolivia, on June 10, 2020. CARLOS MAMANI/AFP via Getty Images In the Peru of May 2020, there were no vaccines, and ivermectin's rise was being driven by hope and desperation.Pharmacies fast ran out of pills as thousands sought to obtain it, and a lucrative ivermectin black market emerged, as local media reported at the time. Adherents recommended both that healthy people take ivermectin as a preventative, and that it be used to treat COVID-19 after infection.Many resorted to a stronger version of the drug, normally used to deworm horses. That form is taken by injection, and people who took it were left with serious skin lesions, said Garcia. As the fervor spread, evangelical groups based in southern Peru injected 5,000 people from indigenous communities with the drug.In some cities, including the capital, Lima, public health officials distributed the stronger, dangerous form of the drug to whole neighborhoods.Retracted study fuels the craze The belief that ivermectin could work against COVID-19 is almost as old as the pandemic, predating vaccines and even proper testing.Almost two years later, there is still no conclusive evidence that ivermectin is effective against COVID-19, and it has been repeatedly debunked, including by the FDA in September.It said that taking large doses of any kind of ivermectin is dangerous, and that humans should never take drugs intended for treating animals. Carlos Chaccour, a researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, pointed to an obscure research paper in early 2020 which appeared to answer the desperate desire for a workable treatment.A lie is bornThe paper drew on data from Surgisphere Corporation, a small research group in Chicago, which published it in April 2020 seeing to establish a link between taking ivermectin and surviving COVID-19. A pharmacist in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, with doses of ivermectin. Rodrigo Urzagasti/picture alliance via Getty Images The researchers, who also touted hydroxychloroquine, said the paper's basis was data from thousands of hospitals around the world. Their research was published by top-tier medical journals including The Lancet and The New England Medical Journal.But doubts soon emerged the authenticity of Surgisphere's data, the credentials of its team, and the methodology they used.The Lancet and The New England Medical Journal retracted the study after a backlash from the scientific community and an investigation by The Guardian. But by then, said Chaccour, the damage was done. In summer 2020, government officials in Peru, Bolivia, and Guatemala made ivermectin part of their COVID-19 strategies, often citing the retracted study as evidence.Chaccour told Insider that the drug was embraced so readily because it seemed to present a simple solution, was relatively cheap, and was already widely used in the region. He noted that a danger of the drug - perhaps worse than its adverse effects - was that people who believed it to be effective against COVID-19 were more likely to ignore actions that actually work. "One of the risks of ivermectin is not just the safety, but the hazard of people not using masks or not getting vaccines or not doing social distancing because they think they are protected," he said. A second surgeAs a second wave of the coronavirus hit South America in the latter half of 2020, ivermectin became more popular still. The city of Cali in Colombia handed it out to all of its COVID patients in late July. Weeks later the state of Chiapas in Mexico followed suit. In Brazil, South America's most-populous country, the drug was endorsed by the country's populist president, Jair Bolsonaro, and by his allies at a regional and national level. But it wasn't just politicians. They were riding a wave of social-media misinformation that was still spreading. In groups on Facebook and WhatsApp, misinformation about ivermectin was being shared by millions, experts told Insider. Among its influential promoters was COMUSAV, a group of renegade medics based in Bolivia, whose core product was a kind of industrial bleach promoted as a miracle cure for a vast array of ailments that included COVID-19.They pushed ivermectin to their followers across the continent on their Facebook pages, which had tens of thousands of followers.(Many of the group's pages were removed following an investigation by Insider in March 2021.)From South America to NorthA data analyst, Juan Chamie, was among those who helped to bring the enthusiasm for ivermectin from the populists of South America to their equivalents in the US, experts told Insider. Chamie claimed to have data showing lower COVID-19 mortality in parts of South America where public health authorities approved ivermectin.But Chaccour and data scientist Joe Brew have said his analyses are misleading, and ignore other factors that could explain the differences."Just because things are associated does not necessarily mean that one thing causes the other," they said.That hasn't stopped Chamie's analyses being shared widely, until his account was suspended by Twitter. Among those taking note was Laura Ingraham, primetime host of Fox News' show "The Ingraham Angle."-Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) December 3, 2020In December 2020 Ingraham posted a graph of data attributed to Chamie to her 3.8 million followers.It purported to show a reduction in COVID-19 cases, comparing areas of Chiapas, Mexico, where officials did and did not distribute ivermectin.Chaccour said that, as with Chamie's other claims, the decrease could be coincidental or due to other factors. Ingraham already had a history of promoting ivermectin. As far back as March 2020, Ingraham had tweeted about the Surgisphere research that was later debunked.Chaccour believes that Ingraham's advocacy was a tipping point for ivermectin in the US. Progressive campaign group Media Matters noted that Ingraham's enthusiasm extended to her widely-viewed Fox News show.In two episodes in December 2020, Ingraham claimed that medical authorities were conspiring to suppress the substance and ignoring evidence of its effectiveness. Andrew Lawrence, a Media Matters staffer, told Insider that Ingraham was "definitely the leader" among network hosts promoting the substance.A Fox News spokesperson said in Ingraham's defense that she never explicitly told viewers to take the drug.In comments to The Washington Post, Ingraham criticized attempts to "silence" scientists with unorthodox messages. "Just like the scientific consensus, the medical consensus is evolving. It changes," she sad.Chamie also formed contacts with the Front Line Critical Care Alliance (FLCCA), a group of US medics who were influential in pushing ivermectin in the US, as detailed in a September investigation by Insider's Hilary Brueck.Chamie describes himself as a senior data analyst for FLCCA on his LinkedIn page, and the group cites his research on its website. The group has been instrumental in brokering ties between the pro-ivermectin movement and Republican lawmakers who promoted the drug. Last December, Dr Pierre Kory, a member of the group, testified before the US Senate about ivermectin in what one critic, Brown University dean Dr. Ashish Jha, described in The New York Times as a "misinformation super-spreader event." Dr. Pierre Kory testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday, December 8, 2020. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images In a statement to Insider, the FLCCC defended its position on ivermectin, forwarding Insider a list of studies based on anecdotal evidence suggesting that ivermectin may be effective in reducing COVID-19 deaths. These studies are not considered conclusive by experts. The group did not respond to questions regarding Chamie's research, and Chamie himself did not respond to requests for comment from Insider.As proponents in the US clamored for wider use of ivermectin, in South America disillusioned officials were reversing their position.In February Peru removed ivermectin from its COVID treatment protocol altogether because of the absence of evidence that it worked."It's incredible for me that we, a whole region, already went through this terrible situation in which lots of people have died," Garcia, the Peruvian official, told Insider."They were taking ivermectin because it was known to us, so it was easy for us. And it didn't work." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 6th, 2021

COVID Vaccine Injuries Quietly Being Compensated Around The World

COVID Vaccine Injuries Quietly Being Compensated Around The World Authored by Jennifer Margulis and Joe Wang via The Epoch Times, Programs in countries around the world have begun quietly compensating people who have been injured by or died as a result of the COVID-19 vaccines. A person draws out Moderna vaccine during a drive through COVID-19 vaccine clinic at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario, on Jan. 2, 2022. (The Canadian Press/Lars Hagberg) Humans are biologically diverse, with respect to both genetic makeup and past environmental exposures. Because of this, explained neurologist Dr. Robert Lowry, people can react very differently to the same medication or vaccination. Whenever a new drug or biologic hits the market, some people will have bad reactions and others may even suffer serious adverse events as a result. Even under the best testing conditions, rare reactions will be missed. This is especially true for any product which is fast-tracked or authorized for emergency use before all the phases of necessary testing are complete. COVID-19 vaccines are no exception. Despite the fact that we are constantly and consistently assured that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and that severe adverse reactions are “very rare,” the FDA and the CDC with its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, as well as the scientists and executives at each of the participating drug companies, know that some people will become permanently disabled or even die as a result of vaccination. In fact, in 2011 the Supreme Court of the United States (pdf) reiterated the idea that vaccines, like other pharmaceutical products, are “unavoidably unsafe.” In many countries around the world, consumers who are injured as a result of vaccines are covered by government compensation programs. In the United States there are two government-funded programs that are designed to compensate consumers for injuries, at the same time shielding vaccine manufacturers from liability for any serious injuries their products cause: The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) and the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP). Not a Single Claim Compensated in United States As of July 1, 2022, not a single claim has been compensated by the CICP. However, 31 COVID-19 countermeasure claims have been denied, “because the standard of proof for causation was not met and/or a covered injury was not sustained,” according to the CICP website. “One COVID-19 countermeasure claim, a COVID-19 vaccine claim due to an anaphylactic reaction, has been determined eligible for compensation and is pending a review of eligible expenses.” At the same time, countries around the world are quietly compensating families whose loved ones have been injured or have died as a result of COVID-19 vaccines. Japan Pays Bereaved Family of 91-Year-Old The Japan Times reported this week that a 91-year-old woman who died after suffering an allergic response and sudden heart attack is the first person in Japan to be compensated for a COVID vaccine injury. A ministry of health panel ruled that a causal relationship “could not be denied” in her case. Her family will receive a lump sum worth approximately $325,000. The panel reviewed another 11 cases ranging in age from 20s to 90s but did not reach any other ruling. So far in Japan, according to the article, 3,680 people have applied for compensation, 820 have been approved and 62 denied, with decisions on another 16 being “postponed.” Taiwan Compensates 10 Claimants On June 24, 2022, Taiwan’s National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program held a meeting to review 65 cases, according to the Taipei Times. The Taiwanese program awarded compensation to 10 claimants. These awards included a lump sum worth $116,877 to the family of someone who died after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. This patient was hospitalized 10 days after receiving the vaccine due to a headache and vomiting. Testing revealed thrombocytopenia, a sometimes-lethal blood disorder that is characterized by low platelets. However, the patient was discharged the next day, only to return that evening after losing consciousness. The patient died of intracerebral hemorrhage, a common cause of stroke. When the vaccination program first rolled out in the United States, in December of 2020, an otherwise healthy obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Gregory Michael, 56, of Miami Beach, Florida, also died of thrombocytopenia. Although his death occurred approximately two weeks after he got Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, and prompted an article exploring this side effect in the New York Times, the coroner deemed that there was no medical certainty that the complications from immune thrombocytopenia was vaccine-induced. UK Pays Out for Vaccine Injuries Vicki Spit was the first of a handful of people in the United Kingdom to be awarded compensation for injuries due to COVID vaccines, according to a June 24, 2022 article in the British Medical Journal. Spit’s 48-year-old partner, Zion, became ill eight days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine and died. The victims were awarded the maximum: $150,000. As of May 2022, 1,681 claims for vaccine injury following COVID-19 vaccinations had been filed. As quoted in the BMJ, Sarah Moore, a spokeswoman for the law firm representing the victims or their families, pointed out that though the awards will not do much to alleviate the financial hardships caused by the injuries, they constitute “the clearest statement yet, by the government, that in some rare instances the COVID-19 vaccines have caused very significant injury or death.” Moore believes most of the compensation awards were for vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) or cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. At the same time, Yahoo News has reported that 444 cases of VITT have been recorded in the United Kingdom from 49 million doses of the vaccine, with 81 deaths. Canada Received More Than 700 Claims, Approved 8 According to Canada’s Vaccine Injury Support Program (VISP), from June 1, 2021 to June 1, 2022, 774 claims have been received. Eight of these claims were “approved by the Medical Review Board,” meaning “these claims represent cases where it has been determined by the Medical Review Board that there is a probable link between the injury and the vaccine and that the injury is serious and permanent.” According to the VISP website, “eligible individuals may receive income replacement indemnities; injury indemnities; death benefits; coverage for funeral expenses; reimbursement of eligible costs such as otherwise uncovered medical expenses.” Post Shot Blood Clots Thrombocytopenia can lead to blood clots as well as hemorrhaging. Thrombosis is another word for blood clots. Since it is very unusual for an otherwise healthy younger person to suffer from blood clots, the connection between the vaccines and this injury are difficult to refute. Scandinavian countries have paid more attention to COVID-19 vaccine injuries than other countries. Norway compensated its first three victims in July of last year, a woman in her 40s who died, as well as a man and a woman in their 30s who both survived their vaccine injuries. All three were healthcare workers who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, which Norway stopped administering on March 11, 2021, due to reports of serious blood clots, low platelet counts, and abnormal bleeding. In fact, Norwegian doctors were among the first to point out the connection between the vaccine and these injuries. Denmark, too, has been quickly and quietly processing vaccine injury claims. The Danish government awarded compensation for their first case of VITT in May of 2021. At the time, 158 people had filed claims for COVID-19 vaccine injuries. The director of the patient compensation board, Karen Inger-Bast, said, “Generally, we often see injuries from vaccination. We also see them from, for example, vaccination against influenza and children’s diseases. That’s also how it will be with COVID-19, with up to 5 million people being vaccinated.” No Financial Assistance for Americans Harmed by Vaccines Yet, while other countries are compensating people who have been injured by COVID-19 vaccines, America has yet to financially assist a single claimant. According to the Health Resources and Service Administration, as of July 1, 2022, the CICP had yet to award compensation to anyone for damages due to a COVID-19 vaccine. Read more here... Tyler Durden Tue, 08/02/2022 - 20:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 2nd, 2022

COVID-19 Linked To Alzheimer"s-Like Brain Changes, Study Suggests

COVID-19 Linked To Alzheimer's-Like Brain Changes, Study Suggests Authored by Jennifer Margulis via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), For some, it’s just a sniffle. But for others, COVID-19 can hit hard. Either way, some people who get COVID-19 will suffer from long-term effects. This is known as “long COVID,” and its sufferers are often referred to as “long haulers.” Chances are you already know about long COVID and you may even have been affected by it or have friends or family who are. What is less well known, however, is that neurological issues are common in long COVID. New research may explain one way COVID-19 may contribute to neurological ailments.(Photo_imagery/Shutterstock) Broken Brains Brain inflammation, stroke, chronic headache, disturbed consciousness, cognitive impairment, and “brain fog” (an all-encompassing phrase to describe a condition that usually manifests as slow thinking, memory lapses, and difficulty concentrating) can all result after infection with the virus known as SARS-CoV-2. Even the illness’s unusual hallmarks, hyposmia, and hypogeusia—better known to us non-scientists as loss of smell and taste—are thought to be due to changes in nervous system function. But while both clinicians and patients have noticed a myriad of brain issues post infection, scientists don’t know very much about how SARS-CoV-2 infections can lead to impaired brain function. That may be changing. A study published on Feb. 3 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia sheds light on a potential physiological mechanism behind the neurological problems COVID-19 survivors experience. While the deeper insight into what is going on is good news, unfortunately, there’s bad news, too. The new study, “Alzheimer’s-Like Signaling in Brains of COVID-19 Patients,” includes some disturbing findings. Attacking ACE2 Receptors The study, led by Andrew R. Marks, a cardiologist and chair of the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in Manhattan, consisted of analysis of brain tissue collected from 10 people who died from COVID-19. Marks’s team looked posthumously at the brains of four women who ranged in age from 38 to 80, and six men, ages 57 to 84. It’s already known that the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 binds to ACE2 receptors all over the body, including in the heart, lungs, kidneys, and epithelial cells that line the blood vessels. Scientists also believe that the multi-system failure that can result in death from COVID-19 is likely due to this invasion of heart and lung cells via these ACE2 receptors. Since the receptors have been invaded by the virus, the activity of the enzyme associated with the receptors (angiotensin-converting enzyme) is reduced, as scientists explained in a 2021 article published on The Conversation. The damage to the lungs and heart is usually uppermost in doctors’ minds when patients are experiencing severe illness. But, it turns out, there are also ACE2 receptors in the brain. Unless you’re a neuroscientist, this is pretty technical. Stay with me anyway. Decreased ACE2 activity is associated with increased activity in transforming growth factor-beta (“TGF-beta”). And high levels of TGF-beta in the brain are associated with irregularities in the “tau” proteins that stabilize nerve cells, specifically due to something called “hyperphosphorylation.” Phosphorylation, a normal biological process, is the addition of phosphate to an organic molecule, in this case, the tau protein. Hyperphosphorylation is the addition of too many phosphate groups at too many sites. Hyperphosphorylation can result in proteins with excess filaments that get tangled up. And these tau filament “tangles” are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Leaky Brains Marks and his five colleagues at Columbia University investigated whether people who died of COVID-19 exhibited evidence of tau protein irregularities that are associated with Alzheimer’s. A significant body of recent research suggests that calcium ions “leaking” from certain ion channels in the brain, known as ryanodine receptors, may cause these tau irregularities. Ion channels enable the flow of ions through cell membranes, including brain cells (neurons). In a nutshell, ions enable the flow of electrical charges throughout the body and this flow is critical to the function of all cells. It’s, in one sense, the communication system of the body and one of the primary mechanisms of brain function. Healthy brain function relies on ion channels, such as the ryanodine receptors just mentioned, operating as they should. Just as there are dangers when an electrical wire is “leaking” electricity due to a short, there are risks when these ion channels leak ions. Oxidative stress may be responsible for depleting calbindin, a protein that helps keep these channels closed, preventing them from leaking. When the levels of calbindin are low, channels that should remain closed may start to leak calcium. Too many calcium ions floating around in the brain or anywhere else in the body can cause a number of health problems. Marks’s team examined the brain tissue of the 10 people who died from COVID to see if there was evidence of leaks. More specifically, they analyzed the contents of the brain tissue for markers of TGF-beta activity. They found evidence of increased TGF-beta activity in both the cortex and the cerebellum. They also found evidence of increased oxidative stress. Cerebellum Concerns People who suffer from Alzheimer’s show evidence of tau filament “tangles” only in the cortexes of their brains, not in the cerebellum. However, this Columbia University research indicated that, unlike with Alzheimer’s, COVID may cause disturbances in the cerebellum as well. The cerebellum is involved in balance, coordination of movement, language, and posture, according to the University of Texas Health Science Center. Other recent research has shown that 74 percent of hospitalized COVID patients have had coordination problems. If COVID is compromising the cerebellum as well as the cortex, this may help explain the coordination issues clinicians have observed. Interestingly, though this was a small study, all the people who died had evidence of brain pathology. The TGF-beta marker was found in all the brains, even those of the younger patients who had exhibited no sign of dementia prior to coming down with COVID-19. Most people have heard that the presence of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain is an indication of Alzheimer’s. Even though lowered ACE2 activity is also associated with an increase in beta-amyloid plaques, the Columbia team didn’t find any changes in the pathways that lead to the formation of amyloid beta in the brains of the patients who died from COVID (with the exception of one 84-year-old male who was previously suffering from dementia). This is one notable distinction between the pathology of COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s or dementia. Treating Neurological Symptoms Marks’s interest in the ryanodine ion channels is long-standing, and his recent COVID-related research may lead to financial benefits should other researchers affirm his findings. In 2011, a research team led by Marks demonstrated that a class of drugs, Rycals, may be effective in treating heart failure and muscle disorders by stabilizing the same ryanodine ion channels this new research indicates may be affected by COVID-19 infections. One drug from this class, ARM210, has been in the clinical-trial stage but has been officially classified as an orphan drug because the illness it was intended to treat was so rare. Marks told ScienceDaily that his study indicates a potential target for therapeutic interventions for the neurological symptoms of COVID. “My greatest hope is that other laboratories will look into our findings, and if they are validated, generate interest in a clinical trial for long COVID,” he said. Both Columbia University and Marks own stock in ARMGO Pharma, Inc., the company that has been developing drugs to target ryanodine channels. They also own patents on Rycals, according to a conflict of interest statement at the bottom of this study. Another of the study’s co-authors, Steven Reiken, has been consulting for ARMGO. While conflicts of interest like these are fairly typical for published scientific research, and they don’t invalidate the research, they are an important part of the overall picture that shouldn’t be ignored. It also isn’t unusual for a drug created for one purpose to find new life treating other conditions. In some cases, these new uses prove more important than the original intended use of the drug. In their paper, the Columbia team wrote that “ex vivo treatment of COVID-19 patient brain samples with the Rycal drug ARM210 … fixed the channel leak.” While that may suggest a promising avenue for further investigation, applying a drug to brain tissue in the lab is a long way from giving it to living patients. Vaccine-Linked Neurological Damage While COVID is linked to neurological issues, the same also appears to be true with the vaccine itself. My colleague Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of the book “Toxic Legacy,” is concerned that COVID-19 vaccines also have the potential to cause brain damage. “Vaccines produce the spike protein, which is the part of the virus that binds to the ACE2 receptors,” said Seneff, who wasn’t involved in the Columbia research. “I suspect this means that the vaccine could also disable the receptors and cause the same neurological damage.” In fact, Seneff said, brain damage from the vaccine may be more common than brain damage from the naturally acquired infection. Vaccine-induced spike proteins “get into the brain more easily than the virus does,” she said. “The virus only gets into the brain when a person has a compromised immune system. But the vaccine is injected into the muscle, which means it bypasses natural barriers that would normally keep the virus out of the brain.” In May 2021, Seneff and her colleague Dr. Greg Nigh, an oncologist based in Portland, Oregon, published a paper in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice, and Research explaining their hypothesis that the mRNA vaccines may be worse than the disease itself. Since then, she said, she has been studying the reports of vaccine adverse events that are collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this new research, Seneff has found that 96 percent of all of the reported adverse outcomes in the year 2021 that have been related to neurological issues are connected to COVID vaccines. These adverse neurological events include memory disorders, mobility issues, difficulty swallowing, and loss of sense of smell. “All these things that are showing up in VAERS are striking,” Seneff said. “Overwhelmingly, the events that show neurological issues are following COVID-19 vaccines. I honestly don’t know why people aren’t absolutely shocked by these numbers. Compared to the other vaccines, these vaccines seem tremendously dangerous.” *  *  * Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is an award-winning journalist and author of “Your Baby, Your Way: Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Parenting Decisions for a Happier, Healthier Family.” A Fulbright awardee and mother of four, she has worked on a child survival campaign in West Africa, advocated for an end to child slavery in Pakistan on prime-time TV in Paris, and taught post-colonial literature to non-traditional students in inner-city Atlanta. Learn more about her at JenniferMargulis.net. Tyler Durden Sat, 04/16/2022 - 21:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytApr 16th, 2022

US Futures Ignore China Implosion, Reverse Overnight Losses as Oil Tumbles

US Futures Ignore China Implosion, Reverse Overnight Losses as Oil Tumbles Welcome to another rollercoaster session where US equity futures first tumbled alongside the second consecutive day of stocks plunging in China, which also dragged Europe lower, only to hit a U-turn around 5am at which point sentiment reversed higher, ahead of tomorrow’s expected Federal Reserve rate hike and amid mounting risks from the war in Ukraine and a Chinese equity rout. Nasdaq 100 contracts trade 0.5% higher at 7:15 a.m. after earlier slumping as much as 0.8% following the first bear-market close for the first time since March 2020. S&P 500 futures also turned 0.3% green, as did Dow futures. Much of the reversal in sentiment has been attributed to the latest drop in oil which tumbled over $8/bbl or 5.5%, sliding as low as $98 after hitting $139 one week ago. WTI crude oil also fell below $100 a barrel a barrel as traders reassessed the potential impact of disruptions in Russian oil supplies and a decline in demand from China. Iron ore futures fell for a sixth day, the longest streak since September. In other words, commodities are not sliding because of hopes for Russia peace, but because of fears about a global recession, but try explaining it all to algos. Treasuries gained, though the 10-year yield remains near the highest level since 2019. Yields across the euro region also declined. The dollar slipped, while the euro pushed higher and bitcoin dropped again. Earlier in the session, a selloff across Chinese equities deepened as concerns about ties with Russia, a growing covid crisis, and persistent regulatory pressure sent a key index to its lowest level since 2008. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong, sank 6.6%, following a plunge in the previous session that was the biggest since the global financial crisis. The Hang Seng index tumbled Tech giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. led the decline. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index slumped 5.7%, its biggest fall since July 2015. China’s equities are looking increasingly risky on concerns that Beijing’s ties with Russia could spark new U.S. sanctions. That’s adding to worries from regulatory developments including a possible delisting from the U.S. exchanges. While upbeat economic data was a rare bright spot in the market, growing lockdowns in major Chinese cities are dimming the outlook. "The selloff is overdone, but so is everything else,” said Andy Maynard, head of equities at China Renaissance Securities. "The market is crazy -- there’s no fundamentals anymore. This might be worse than the 2008 financial crisis." “Risk-off sentiment stemming from both the Russia-Ukraine war and the current wave of Covid-19 in China has driven equity markets sharply weaker this morning,” Siobhan Redford, an analyst at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg, said in a client note.  “This has been compounded by falling commodity prices as the intersection between limited supply -- given sanctions on Russia and the war in Ukraine -- and a weaker demand trajectory -- given further waves of the pandemic -- create a perfect storm of sorts.” With zero liquidity, and trigger happy traders looking to sell any rally, swings in S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures signaled another volatile day ahead for U.S. stocks. U.S.-listed Chinese stocks sank again on Tuesday, following a brutal rout in Asia, amid concerns that China’s ties with Russia may bring sanctions to Beijing, while persistent regulatory pressures also weighed. Alibaba (BABA US) fell 6.5% in premarket trading, while rival JD.com (JD US) declined 4.5%. Apple Inc. inched lower, heading toward a bear market -- defined as a 20% drop from recent highs -- on worries that lockdowns in China to contain a surge in Covid-19 cases could worsen supply-chain constraints. Other notable premarket movers: Shares in big U.S. energy companies slide in premarket trading as crude price fall, declining after last week’s rally as worries over growing coronavirus cases in top crude importer China weigh. Exxon Mobil (XOM US) -3.1% and Chevron (CVX US) -3.7%. Coupa Software (COUP US) slides 30% in postmarket trading after the company’s revenue forecast for the first quarter misses the average analyst estimate. Gitlab (GTLB US) shares rose 12% in extended trading on Monday, after the software company reported fourth-quarter revenue that beat expectations and gave a full-year forecast that is stronger than the analyst consensus. U.S. technology stocks have been particularly hard hit in the past week with the Federal Reserve expected to begin a rate-hike cycle on Wednesday, another negative for growth stocks valued on future profits. Investors are also looking for cues from the central bank about how aggressively it plans to continue tightening monetary policy as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent commodity prices soaring when inflation was already running high. A reading on the producer price index is due on Tuesday. “If we are entering a world of above-target inflation for several years to come, investors should ditch the easy answers,” said Sahil Mahtani, strategist at Ninety One. “Conventional 60-40 type portfolios are likely to struggle. Investors should reflect about what specifically is driving the inflationary process and invest in equities that have pricing power but are not at frothy valuations.” The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell more than 1.5%, with basic resources, consumer and technology stocks leading a broad-based decline.  All sectors are in the red. Euro Stoxx 50 slumps 2.4%. IBEX outperforms peers but still trades off ~1.5%. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Ahold Delhaize shares gain as much as 3.2%, the best performer in the Stoxx 600’s personal care, drug and grocery stores subgroup, after being upgraded to buy from neutral at UBS, which says the stock is at an “attractive entry point.” S&T rallied in Frankfurt, climbing as much as 18%, after the Austrian company said a forensic audit by Deloitte found allegations by short seller Viceroy Research were almost completely inaccurate. Sensirion shares spike as much as 13%, the most since June 2020, after the Swiss sensor manufacturer reported full- year sales and gave a revenue forecast that blew past analysts’ estimates. Stifel says the company’s growth is driven by all end markets and the performance of new environmental sensors looks “impressive.” Wacker Chemie shares gain as much as 6.9%, as Baader sees dividend proposal 56% above and midpoint ‘22 Ebitda guidance 3% ahead of consensus. Tecan falls as much as 16% after reporting sales for the full year that missed the average analyst estimate, and as the outlook disappointed. Dr. Martens shares tumble as much as 11% to the lowest since listing in January 2021 after RBC cut its price target to a Street-low, citing the bootmaker’s growth outlook. Swedish Match drops as much as 8.4%, the most intraday since February 2021, after the company suspended the spinoff of its U.S. cigar business. The move highlights regulatory risk, according to JPMorgan. Meanwhile, Russia has started the payment process of two bond coupons due this week. Investors are waiting to see if the nation defaults after the U.S. and its allies froze Russia’s foreign-currency reserves. The ruble gained in Moscow trading. Asian stocks plunged, on track for a third-straight daily loss, as the selloff in Chinese technology stocks continued after Monday’s plunge, while traders tried to gauge the impact of an imminent interest-rate hike by the Federal Reserve. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 1.9%, heading for its lowest close since August 2020. Tencent and Alibaba Group were among the biggest drags on the regional index, along with TSMC. The sustained selling pressure came as investors mulled the potential consequences of China’s assistance for Russia’s war in Ukraine and delisting risk for Chinese stocks traded in the U.S. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index tumbled 5.7%, its biggest fall since July 2015, while the Hang Seng Tech Index lost 8.1% following a wild intraday swing. Read: Relentless Selling in China Stocks Evokes Memories of 2008 Crash China’s CSI 300 Index slumped 4.6% as the nation’s strong set of economic data failed to lift sentiment amid market jitters on the rising case numbers of Covid-19. Japanese stocks rose for a second day as a weaker yen boosted the outlook for the nation’s exporters. “There are plenty of storms blowing through China right now,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda Asia Pacific. “Fears continue to dog stock markets, that lockdowns could spread, which would severely impact China’s growth.” The risk of tighter monetary policies globally remained on investors’ minds as the Fed this week is expected to announce its first interest rate hike in three years in a bid to curb rising inflation amid surging commodity prices. Markets are now pricing in as many as seven quarter-point hikes for the full year. Lockdowns in major Chinese cities are dimming the outlook for economic growth and posing risks for energy and raw-materials demand, just as concerns about the country’s relationship with Russia stoke a relentless stock selloff.  The virus is also making a comeback in Europe: Germany on Tuesday set a fresh record for infection rates for the four straight day. Austria has also reached new highs, while cases in the Netherlands have doubled since lifting curbs on Feb. 25. Japanese equities rose, extending their rebound to a second day, supported by gains in exporters on a weaker yen. Auto and chemical makers were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which climbed 0.8%. KDDI and Recruit were the biggest contributors to a 0.2% rise in the Nikkei 225, while Fast Retailing fell. The Japanese currency extended its loss against the dollar to a seventh-straight session, weakening more than 3% in that span. Despite its “haven” status,” the yen has dropped as Russia’s war in Ukraine has driven up prices of oil and other raw materials which Japan imports. “The market has already factored in a lot of bad news” regarding Russia and Ukraine, said Hajime Sakai, chief fund manager at Mito Securities. “The weakening of the yen is positive for exporting, but looking further on we need to think of the negative effect from import costs.” In rates, Treasuries unwound a portion of Monday’s sharp selloff with yields richer by up to 4.5bp across front-end of the curve into early U.S. session. U.S. 10-year yield near 2.12% is down ~2bp vs Monday’s close, outperforming bunds and gilts in the sector by ~1bp; 2-year yield drop back to ~1.83% after topping near 1.89% during Asia session. Gilts and bund curves bull-flatten while Treasuries bull-steepen; short-dated USTs outperform bunds and gilts by roughly 2bps. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1% after rising to its highest level since July 2020 in early Asian trade. Treasury yields fell by up to 4bps led by the front-end after rising in early Asian session, when the 10-year yield climbed to 2.17%, the highest since June 2019. Antipodean currencies as well as the Canadian dollar and Norwegian krone were steady to lower as commodities extended losses. The euro extended an Asia session gain, to touch $1.1020 before paring. European benchmark bond yields also fell, yet underperforming Treasuries. Sweden’s krona advanced after inflation expectations rose considerably for the coming two years. Australia’s dollar pares reased an intraday loss, in part on short covering seen after Chinese economic data beat estimates. Reserve Bank said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has the potential to prolong a period of elevated consumer-price growth and is clouding the economic outlook, minutes of its March 1 policy meeting showed. The yen whipsawed in the spot market as stocks and oil turned south, but options wagers suggest fresh lows versus the dollar may be in store. Whether the greenback can extend its recent rally and maintain its bullish momentum for long depends on options pricing changing course. In commodities, crude futures decline. WTI drifts 5.3% lower to trade around $97.50. Brent falls 5.3% but holds above $101. Most base metals trade in the red; LME aluminum falls 2.3%, underperforming peers. LME tin outperforms, adding 0.4%. Spot gold falls roughly $17 to trade near $1,934/oz. Elsewhere, nickel trading will resume on the London Metal Exchange on Wednesday, over a week after being suspended amid a historic short squeeze. Looking to the day ahead now, markets have PPI for February in the US. In Europe, Germany’s ZEW survey expectations, UK jobless claims change, ILO unemployment rate 3 months, Eurozone ZEW survey expectations and industrial production are all due. Elsewhere, housing starts and manufacturing sales in Canada will be released. Earnings include Volkswagen, RWE and Generali. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.4% to 4,154.75 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.7% to 429.03 MXAP down 1.7% to 165.53 MXAPJ down 2.9% to 531.41 Nikkei up 0.2% to 25,346.48 Topix up 0.8% to 1,826.63 Hang Seng Index down 5.7% to 18,415.08 Shanghai Composite down 5.0% to 3,063.97 Sensex down 1.4% to 55,702.16 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.7% to 7,097.45 Kospi down 0.9% to 2,621.53 Brent Futures down 5.7% to $100.79/bbl Gold spot down 0.9% to $1,934.19 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.21% to 98.79 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.33% Euro up 0.5% to $1.0995 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Germany is preparing to boost the supply of a scarce bond entangled in Russian sanctions, a move that will likely ease pockets of tension in European repo markets. The nation is looking to sell on Tuesday an additional 5.5 billion euros ($6.1 billion) of the notes maturing 2024, which the German government believed became difficult to source after sanctions were imposed against some bondholders Chinese stocks suffered another deep selloff on Tuesday as concerns about the country’s ties with Russia and persistent regulatory pressure sent shares on a downward spiral. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong, sank 6.6%, following a plunge in the previous session that was the biggest since the global financial crisis Fund managers are leery of buying Chinese stocks as the country’s close ties to Russia, extreme Covid-19 curbs and lack of clarity on the end of regulatory crackdowns overwhelm the dip buying opportunity presented by the 75% plunge from their peak China wants to avoid being impacted by U.S. sanctions over Russia’s war, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, in one of Beijing’s most explicit statements yet on American penalties that are contributing to a historic market selloff The global economy is bracing for greater disruption as China scrambles to contain its worst outbreak of Covid-19 since the pandemic began Russia’s economy is fraying, its currency has collapsed, and its debt is junk. Next up is a potential default that could cost investors billions and shut the country out of most funding markets The dollar has powered ahead of every major currency over the past nine months due to the prospect of Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes but the end of its rally may be in sight, if history is any guide. The U.S. currency has weakened by an average of 4.1% during the Federal Open Market Committee’s four previous tightening cycles Traders are ramping up their bets on the amount of Federal Reserve rate hikes in 2022 but are still toying with the possibility of a rate cut as soon as next year U.K. unemployment dropped below its pre- pandemic level for the first time as companies generated more jobs and granted higher wages than expected. The jobless rate fell to 3.9% in the three months through January, the lowest since the start of 2020 US Event Calendar 8:30am: Feb. PPI Final Demand YoY, est. 10.0%, prior 9.7%; MoM, est. 0.9%, prior 1.0% 8:30am: Feb. PPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 8.7%, prior 8.3%; MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.8% 8:30am: March Empire Manufacturing, est. 6.1, prior 3.1 4pm: Jan. Total Net TIC Flows, prior -$52.4b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Some hints of positive diplomatic developments in the Ukraine crisis that materialised on Sunday night helped contribute to another major sell-off in bonds and a mild risk on move in European equities yesterday. While in the States, the reality of the impending Fed tightening cycle pushed yields higher and drove equities lower. Bonds are in a strange situation at the moment as we seem to have reached a point where higher energy prices are deemed to be signalling recessionary risks and encourage flight to quality flows that push nominal yields lower, outweighing the potentially savage inflationary impact. Conversely, the collapse in the likes of oil and gas since early last week has led to a huge rise in yields as it appears policy tightening is back on the central bank menu. Brent is around -25% from its intra-day highs last Tuesday and 10yr bunds are +46.6bps higher since hitting -0.10% last Monday morning. Meanwhile, 1-month futures on Dutch Gas have fallen from a high of 335 last Monday morning to 110.50 at the close last night. Remarkable moves. On the conflict, Russia and Ukraine finished a fourth day of negotiations yesterday and decided to take a pause to assess outcomes. Still, it seems that negotiations are making some progress. Meanwhile, President Zelensky is set to address the US Congress tomorrow, while there were reports that President Biden was considering a trip to Europe to express the US’s steadfast support for NATO allies. Overnight in Asia, most equity markets are down with Hong Kong and Chinese stocks leading regional losses. The Hang Seng (-3.56%) opened sharply lower, slipping more than 4% before recovering slightly as a resurgence of Covid-19 in Hong Kong and China and potential delisting of Chinese stocks from US exchanges weighed on sentiment. The Shanghai Composite (-2.18%) and CSI (-1.75%) are also down even if losses were pared following the release of stronger-than-anticipated economic data. A fresh lockdown in China’s Jilin province of 24 million people is offsetting this. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (+0.33%) is advancing while the Kospi (-0.56%) is lagging. Moving forward, equity futures on the S&P 500 (+0.17%) and Nasdaq (+0.47%) are higher while DAX contracts (-0.45%) are weak. On that China data, industrial output rose a more-than-expected +7.5% y/y in January and February, (vs market estimates of +4.0%) and against a +9.6% gain in December while retail sales grew +6.7% y/y in the same period compared with analyst estimates of a +3.0% increase amid rising demand during the Lunar New Year holidays and the Winter Olympic Games. Meanwhile, fixed asset investment also beat, up by +12.2% y/y YTD in February and well above the forecast for a +5.0% increase. Separately, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) unexpectedly kept the one-year medium-term lending facility rate (MLF) at 2.85%, resulting in a net injection of 100 billion yuan in fresh funds. The central banks’ action dashed hopes of a rate cut as the policymakers may want to avoid widening policy divergence with the US ahead of their expected hike tomorrow. Oil prices have extended their recent declines this morning with Brent futures sliding -4.0% to trade at $102.64/bbl and with WTI futures -4.2%, breaking below $100/bbl. It saw a similar fall yesterday after opening the week above $109/bbl. Elsewhere, the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note is roughly flat at 2.138%. As discussed at the top, the calm in yields overnight followed a rout yesterday. 10yr bunds eventually rose +11.9bps yesterday as risk premium eased, and to the highest level since November 2018. With a modest +2.2bps uptick in breakevens, most of the move was in real yields. Note that page 24 of the “Dislocations” chart book shows that 10yr real bund yields last week hit all-time low levels. Since those lows last week we’ve backed up +48.8bps. The move in other European sovereign yields was remarkably similar to bunds yesterday with BTPs (+11.3bps), Spanish (+11.0bps) and even Greek (+11.8bps) bonds seeing hardly any change in spreads. US Treasury yields sold even more (10yr +14.1bps) and unlike in Europe, higher yields were met with falling breakevens (-2.3bps) with real yields +16.4bps putting in their biggest daily move since February 2021. No small feat given the considerable sell-off in real rates that marked the beginning of this year. The 2s10s (+2.8bps) curve steepened a little which might be welcomed by the Fed. Yields across the US curve notched fresh cycle highs, with those on 2y (+11.3bps) and 10y reaching the highest levels since summer 2019. Notably, US futures moved to fully price in 7 Fed hikes in 2022 for the first time this cycle, in line with our US econ team’s view. While there were reports of incoming corporate issuance and hedging flows driving the Treasury rate sell-off, it appears markets are waking up to the magnitude of tightening the Fed is about to embark on, starting this week. If the war wasn’t enough to get the ECB to strike a dovish tone, the Fed will be all the more emboldened given fewer direct linkages to growth shocks from the conflict and the higher starting point for inflation. Indeed, in a new periodical we launched yesterday, Questions for the Chair, link here, DB Research personnel offer the questions they would ask Chair Powell at his FOMC press conference. A common question was wouldn’t policy rates need to be higher than current forecasts given the inflationary outlook. It seems markets are coming around to that view. That line of thinking passed through to US equities, where the S&P 500 slid -0.74%. The tech-heavy NASDAQ, which is more exposed to rising rates, underperformed, falling -2.04%. Sector-wise, amid plummeting oil prices energy stocks (-2.93%) performed the worst after a sustained run of outperformance, while financials (+1.23%) were the top performers in the S&P 500 amid a steeper yield curve. European stocks outperformed their American counterparts, with the positive geopolitical noise outweighing a tighter monetary policy path to push major indices into positive territory. The STOXX 600 rallied +1.20%, but gains in country-level benchmarks like the German DAX (+2.21%) and the French CAC 40 (+1.75%) were even more startling amid recent sharp underperformance relative to their US counterparts. The same positive risk sentiment pushed commodity prices lower. We've already mentioned the slump in Oil but European gas prices also fell, with front month Dutch TTF contracts losing -17.29%. Oil prices fell despite no additional supply via Iran, US, Venezuela, or OPEC appearing likely. Instead, it seems as though Russian supply may make its way to buyers such as China and India with fewer frictions than were previously feared. As a secondary consideration, reports of Covid-19 lockdowns in China may have pushed prices lower due to potential lower demand needs. Industrial metals lost steam as well, with aluminium and copper falling -4.69% and -2.24%, respectively, while gold lost -1.89% as markets revised geopolitical risks downwards. One developing story with unclear implications so far is Russia’s request for Chinese support of its invasion. There have been conflicting reports about the veracity of the original claims. We do know that the US National Security Advisor met with his Chinese counterpart yesterday to try and dissuade China from offering any such support. One to keep a very close eye on. To the day ahead now. In today’s data releases, markets have PPI for February in the US. In Europe, Germany’s ZEW survey expectations, UK jobless claims change, ILO unemployment rate 3 months, Eurozone ZEW survey expectations and industrial production are all due. Elsewhere, housing starts and manufacturing sales in Canada will be released. Earnings include Volkswagen, RWE and Generali. Tyler Durden Tue, 03/15/2022 - 07:53.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMar 15th, 2022

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From "Insurrection" To Authoritarianism

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From 'Insurrection' To Authoritarianism Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Cornell University (Email: dbc6@cornell.edu, Twitter: @DavidBCollum), I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance. ~  Carl Sagan, 1995, apparently having invented a time machine Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. Read Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives here... Read Part 2 - Heart Of Darkness & The Rise Of Centralized Healthcare here... So, here we are at the third and final part of the 2021 Year in Review and it’s no longer 2021. Sorry about that pfuck-up. Think of it as not in 2021 but from 2021. You may have noticed that the first 200 pages (parts 1 and 2) were laced with a recurring catchphrase, “WTF is happening?” It was a literary device for noting that the events ceased to make sense within a conventional worldview, suggesting it is time to torch the old model and start anew. Our response to a disease that was killing a very small slice of the population was to sequester and vaccinate the entire population with an experimental drug of real but unquantified fatality rate. The apparent scientific illiteracy was not some mass psychosis. Y’all just got suckered by America’s Most Trusted Psychopathic Mass Murderer assisted by an epic media blitz sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry that had a distinct authoritarian quality. Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ~ Albert Einstein During the brief period after uploading part 2 while grinding on this last portion, the Supreme Court took on the vaccine mandate issue, ruling that the only people forfeiting control of their own healthcare are the healthcare workersref 2 The court also illustrated their profound ignorance of the pandemic and what they were even charged to assess—the Constitutionality of mandates, not the efficacy.ref 3 The CEO of a major insurer reported a 40% spike in fatalities within the 18–65 age bracket that was not from Covid.ref 4 He said 10% would be a 3-sigma, once-every-200-year event: 40% is unheard of. Although he refrained from identifying a cause—deaths of despair, neglected healthcare, or a toxic vaccine—he knows precisely what did them in. They have been studying this stuff for centuries. I suspect his real message was that the insurance industry is about to contribute to inflation with rising premiums. Meanwhile, the pathological liars running the covid grift decided after two years the masks you’ve been wearing served no medical purpose and that the vaccines don’t work either. Wait: who said the masks and vaccines don’t work? We have known for many months that COVID-19 is airborne and therefore, a simple cloth mask is not going to cut it…Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. ~ Leana Wen, MD, CNN medical expert with no admitted ties to the CCPref 5 Two doses of the vaccine offers very limited protection, if any. Three doses with a booster offer reasonable protection against hospitalization and deaths. Less protection against infection. ~ Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEOref 6 Here is my most heartfelt response to them: You psychopathic lying sacks of shit. You had us wear rags across our faces and put rags across the kids’ faces when clinical studies that could be read by people with half your IQs showed they were worthless. Suicide rates and other deaths of despair soared while you petty tyrants played your little games and generated billions of dollars of profits while destroying the middle class. You have maimed or killed an unknown number of gullible victims with your lockdowns, vaccines, remdesivir, and oppression of Ivermectin. You jammed a vaccine that bypassed animal trials into the fetuses of pregnant women, assuring them it was safe. If we spoke up, we got muzzled. If we refused the vaccine, we got fired. You should all hang from your necks until dead. I will piss on your graves. I feel better already. Very refreshing. Meanwhile, many of my friends and colleagues look at the same data and say, “Oh. I guess I better get the booster and a KN95 mask.” You have got to unfuck yourselves. You’ve been duped. It will get worse. The tactics used to oppress us would have made Stalin smirk. Australia was a beta test for what is to come in the rest of the west if we don’t wake up soon. They are gonna keep coming for one simple reason: we accepted it. We got bent over and squealed like pigs. What normalization does is transform the morally extraordinary into the ordinary. It makes us able to tolerate what was once intolerable by making it seem as if this is the way things have always been. ~ Jason Stanley, How Fascism Works A person is considered ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ by the community simply because he accepts most of its social standards and behavioral patterns; which means, in fact, that he is susceptible to suggestion and has been persuaded to go with the majority on most ordinary or extraordinary occasions. ~ William Sargant, in Battle of the Mind Meanwhile, the financial world became even more dominated by central bankers who haven’t the slightest understanding of free-market capitalism. These twits or criminals—maybe both—have blown the most colossal bubble in history if you account for both price and breadth across the spectrum of asset classes. For the layperson, that means they have set us up for a colossal failure. Go back and re-read Valuations if you cannot picture the epic financial carnage lying dead ahead. The gap between the Fed funds rate and headline inflation has never been this large. These pinheads believe that if the markets do not coincide with their world views, the markets must be wrong. I am not an economist, but it appears that none of them are either. The notion that a dozen nitwits should set the most important price of them all—the price of capital—rather than letting the markets set it through price discovery is financial authoritarianism or what some call State Capitalism. I am angry in case it doesn’t show. Meanwhile, in 2020–21 the Fed contributed to destroying upwards of a half-million mom ’n’ pop businesses—they gutted the middle class—while giving BlackRock credit at 0.15% interest rates to buy up all their houses. Here is my advice to those day trading criminals: look both ways as you enter crosswalks. What I believe the response of society to a severe downturn given the current political climate will be epic. Big downturns come after euphorias. We have never entered a downturn with society at large this grumpy. We are in the early stages of The Fourth Turning.ref 7 The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded. ~ Charles-Louis De Secondat When a State has mortgaged all of its future revenues the State, by necessity, lapses into tranquility, langor, and impotence. ~ David Hume, 1752 So, WTF is going on here? In this final part, I address geopolitics. It begins with a relatively benign analysis of Biden’s first year in office, culminating with what I think Afghanistan is really about. The second section addresses my view of what may prove to be the most important day in US History—January 6, 2021. Although it is my best shot—Dave’s Narrative—I will not attempt to nor will I inadvertently spread the love to both sides of the political spectrum. It is a right-wing view that most right-wing politicians and pundits are too cowardly to state in polite company. The final section addresses the Rise of Global Authoritarianism. For a topic covered by thousands of treatises to call my knowledge skeletal is a reach. I have merely created an intellectual foundation—a chalk outline—to ponder why authoritarianism is here and what could stop it. (Plot spoiler: I do not believe it can be stopped.) They know where we are, they know our names, they know from our iPhones if we’re on our way to the grocery store or not. But they haven’t acted on that to put people in camps yet. They could do it. We could be East Germany in weeks, in a month. Huge concentration camps and so forth. ~ Daniel Ellsberg (@DanielEllsberg), author of The Pentagon Papers and Secrets Before moving on, let me give a plug for a book.ref 8 I have not even finished it yet, but it will change your worldview. Look at those ratings! I can guarantee none of those readers enjoyed it. Kennedy will curdle your bone marrow describing 35 years of atrocities commited by America’s Most Trusted Madman. It is emblematic of a much larger problem. Evil is powerless if good men are unafraid – Americans don’t realize what they have to lose. ~ Ronald Reagan The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. ~ H. L. Mencken Biden – Freshman Year Scorecard Let’s go, Brandon! ~ Cheers across America Most presidents begin their reign with a calling. Reagan raised our national self-esteem after a period of economic and political malaise. Bush Sr. took on the Gulf War, for better or worse. Clinton oversaw the economic boom and bank deregulation, again for better or worse. Bush Jr. was handed 9/11 and, in my opinion, boned it badly. Obama had to wrestle with the Great Financial Crisis. Trump was charged with disturbing the peace—drain the swamp if you will. Biden undeniably needed to begin healing the social discord that, regardless of its source, left the country wounded and divided. Maybe that was not Biden’s calling, but I wanted to see him become the president of all the people. This is not revisionist history of my failing memory: Biden’s the last of the Old Guard, which is probably why he was slipped into the office by the DNC old guard. I am guessing there will be no Supreme Court stacking; that was just rhetoric (I hope). There will be wars just like every president (except Trump, who brought troops home.) Congress is more balanced again and, at the time of this writing, the Senate is still in Republican hands. Hopefully, the gridlock will usher in some garden-variety dysfunction. I have subtle concerns about a Harris presidency. Admittedly, my opinion is based on precious few facts, but Harris displays a concerning shallowness of character, a lack of a moral compass, and the potential to slide to the left of Bernie. (I sometimes reflect on what it must have been like raising the teenaged Kamala.) I am trying to reserve judgment because first impressions scavenged from the digital world are sketchy if not worthless. ~ 2020 Year in Review By this description, Biden tanked his GPA. He ushered in a Crusade to erase the Trump era and its supporters. The weaponizing of social media and censorship against one’s opponents was probably unavoidable, but the downside will be revealed when the wind changes. Team Biden took banishing of political opponents on social media to new levels by, as noted by Jen Psaki, flagging “problematic posts” and the “spread of disinformation” for censorship. NY Timeslapdog Kevin Roose called for a “reality Czar,” not noticing the Russian metaphor problem. The War on Domestic Terror may prove to be a turning point in American history, one that risks extinguishing the flame of the Great American Experiment. Significant erosions of Constitutionally granted civil liberties discussed throughout the rest of this document may not have been Biden’s fault, but they occurred on his watch. If you see an injustice and remain silent, you own it. I can’t remain silent. Biden is the epitome of the empty, amoral creature produced by our system of legalized bribery. His long political career in Congress was defined by representing the interests of big business, especially the credit card companies based in Delaware. He was nicknamed Senator Credit Card. He has always glibly told the public what it wants to hear and then sold them out. ~ Chris Hedges, right-wing hatchet man Team Biden. Books have been written about Trump’s fumbles in the first months (or four years) of his presidency. See Josh Rogin’s Chaos Under Heaven in Books or Michael Lewis’ less balanced The Fifth Risk reviewed in last year’s YIR. The Cracker Jack team assembled for Joe reveals a glob of feisty alt-left activists and omnipresent neocons. According to Rickards, two dozen players on Biden’s roster were recruited from the consulting firm WestExec Advisors (including Psaki and Blinken.)ref 1 That’s power and groupthink. David Axelrod: You must ask yourself, ‘Why are we allowing him to roll around in the hallways doing impromptu interviews?’ Jen Psaki: That is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times we say ‘don’t take questions.’ Young black entrepreneurs are just as capable of succeeding given the chance as white entrepreneurs are, but they don’t have lawyers; they don’t have accountants. ~ Joe Biden Joe Biden, President – Joe is the Big Guy. In an odd sense, he is immunized from criticism because he is visibly losing his marbles. His cognitive decline is on full display; this 52 seconds of gibberish about inflation is emblematic.ref 2 He’s 80 years old, for Cripes sake. I read a book this year entitled, When the Air Hits Your Brain, which derives from a neurosurgical aphorism that finishes with “you ain’t never the same.” Wanna guess who had two brain aneurysms (one rupturing) years ago leading to a miraculous recovery?ref 3 You’re the most famous African-American baseball player. ~ Joe Biden to the Pope, context unknown (possibly even a deep fake)ref 4 I am neither reveling in Joe’s problems nor do I believe he is calling the shots. Claims that the puppet master is Harris are, no offense, on the low side of clueless. Obama seems like a better guess but Barrack was a front man too. Having an impaired leader of a superpower, however, is disquieting and potentially destabilizing, especially with Taiwan in play. Biden’s energy policy that clamped down on fossil fuel production only to ask OPEC to open the spigots is one for the ages. The covid policies bridging both administrations were catastrophic, but throwing workers out of jobs into the teeth of unprecedented labor shortages makes zero sense. The nouveau inflation—Bidenflation—may stick to him like it stuck to Jimmy Carter, but that is unfair to both presidents. Look to the Fed in both cases for blame. Troubles at the southern border and the Afghanistan pullout are a couple of serious logs for a raging inferno that represents Biden’s first year in office. As discussed in a later section, demonizing “white supremacists”—not just political opponents but opponents labeled by their race—will not be viewed well by historians unless history is at a serious fork and Joe is ultimately protrayed as the founder of some new Fatherland. Kamala Harris, Vice President – Whenever situations heat up, Harris is off like a prom dress. During the crisis at the border that she was charged with overseeing, she took off to Europe, cackling about never even visiting the border. Kamala endorsed and claimed credit for the Kabul evacuation.ref 5,6 Realizing she had pulled yet another boner she pulled out before they renamed it Kamalabad. (Hey: At least I had the decency to pass on the Kamalatoe joke.) In a moment of surreal comedy, Harris hosted a public chat with Bill Clinton on “empowering women.”ref 7 She can even serve up semi-reasonable ideas with dollops of cringe. If the Democrats nominate her in 2024, may God have mercy on their souls—she is unelectable—or maybe on our souls—I could be wrong. Jen Psaki, Press Secretary – The role of any press secretary is to calm the press down with nuggets of insight—to feed the birds. When that fails, lie your ass off, all with a cold, calculating sociopathy. I would say she did the best job imaginable given the hand she was dealt. Disagree? I’ll just have to circle back with you on that. Ron Klain, Whitehouse Chief of Staff – This guy might be the rainmaker, but I haven’t quite figured him out. He has the durability of Andrei Gromyko, maintaining a central role through three democratic administrations. Keep an eye on him. Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury – We have yet to find out Yellen’s role because she has not been pressed into service by a crisis. To resolve the minor “meme stock” bruhaha, which did not call for a resolution, she needed an ethics waiver owing to the soft corruption of her bank-sponsored million-dollar speaking tour. My expectations of her are quite low, and I imagine she will meet them. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State – He has a good resume. Like Psaki, he is forced to play a weak hand. He lacks Psaki’s skills. Jennifer Mulhern Granholm, US Energy Secretary – In a press conference she was asked how many barrels of oil a day the US consumes and said, “I do not have those numbers in front of me.” ‘Nuff said. Get her out of there. Merrick Garland, Attorney General – The press will tear anybody a new one so snippets with bad optics are always dangerous. I would say, however, ordering the FBI to investigate parents who get irate at school boards—even those who seem rather threatening—is over the top. Leave that to the local and state police. His role in the January 6th event and push into domestic terrorism is potentially sinister and moves him onto my shitlist. Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency – This one blows my circuits. She is what in the vernacular is called “a commie” straight from Kazakhstan with a thesis on Marxism—a devout believer that the State should run the show. She also hails from Cornell Law School. (Yeah. I know. STFU.) Matthew Continetti of the National Review noted she is, “an activist intellectual who is—and I say this in the kindest way possible—a nut.”ref 8 There will be no more private bank deposit accounts and all of the deposit accounts will be held directly at the Fed. ~ Saule Omarova, Cornell Law Professor   We want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change. ~ Saule Omarova, on oil and gas companies For those who have seen the horror movie The Ring, Cornell tried to exorcise the demon by sending “the VHS tape” to Washington, D.C., but it came back stamped “Return to Sender.” She withdrew. Hey Team Biden: you could want to snatch up MIT’s Venezuelan-derived president who is already on the board of the World Economic Forum and was instrumental in pushing Aaron Swartz to off himself.ref 9 John Kerry, Climate Czar – Don’t we have enough Czars? John is charged with flying around the world in his private jet, setting the stage for a 30-year $150 trillion push to make many bank accounts much My disdain for the climate movement catches Kerry in the splash zone. Pete Buttegieg, Transportation Secretary – I must confess to liking Mayor Pete and would have been happier if he had gotten the crash course in the oval office rather than Joe. The one criticism I would make is that taking two months of paternity leave during the nation’s greatest transportation crisis seemed odd. I think when you are in such an important position you find a way. Get a nanny. Bring the twins to your office. Leave them with your spouse. For Pete’s sake (sorry), stay at your post. For the record, after my youngest son was born my wife had health problems. I used to bring him to work and lecture with him in a Snugly and changed a shitload of diapers. You could have done it too, Pete. Samantha Power, Head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – Sam is a garden-variety neocon, having served as ambassador to the UN and on the National Security Council, both under Obama. She was central to the planning behind destabilizing Libya,ref 10 which sure looks like a bad idea unless destabilizing the Middle East is our foreign policy. Please just don’t fuck up too much. Cass Sunstein, Homeland Security employee. This is not really an appointment, per se. Cass is the Harvard-employed husband of neocon Samantha Powers. In his 2008 book, Conspiracy Theories, Cass declared “the existence of both domestic and foreign conspiracy theories” to be our greatest threat, outlining five possible solutions, and I quote, “(1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might engage in counter-speech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counter-speech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help.” Guys like Cass who come out of Harvard’s CIA training camps are menaces to society. Marvelous hire, Joe. Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary for Political Affairs – She is famous for her hot mic “Fuck the EU” comment and for engineering the coup in Ukraine—a Wonder Bread neocon. William J. Burns, Head of the CIA – I’ve got nothing on Bill, not even a fingerprint. It would be difficult for me to grade him poorly on a curve with the likes of John Brennan, William Casey, and Alan Dulles. (I once had dinner with a former CIA head John Deutch. What a dick.) Christopher Wray, Head of the FBI – As the FBI increasingly looks like the Praetorian Guard for the power elite (both in and out of public office), Wray has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors like J. Edgar Hoover and James Comie to be both top cop and dubious scoundrel. Wray’s fate might be dictated by the ongoing Durham investigation, but I have not seen any heads roll inside the Beltway since Watergate a half-century ago. Tony Fauci, Director of NIAID – That bipartisan, power-hungry authoritarian—The Most Trusted Madman in America—is a recurring theme. He doesn’t know any science. He is a political hack—a chameleon—who survived 35 years multiple administrations by being able slither out of anybody’s claws and regrow his tail. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC – She got serious attention in part 2. I am horrified by her sociopathy. I think she is evil. Amy Gutmann, Ambassador to Germany – Guttman was given the job after giving the Big Guy more than $900,000 in speaking fees and an honorary degree from UPenn when she was the University’s president. I am sure every ambassador pays market rates for the job.  Cathy Russell, Biden’s Director of Presidential Personnel–She is married to Tom Donlin, Chairman of the gargantuan multinational investment firm, BlackRock. Their daughter made it into the Whitehouse National Security Council. A talented family enjoying the political respect accorded to billionaires. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Head of the Office of Science – Despite scientific chops as a climate-change-supporting agronomist, she has no administrative experience and is inexperienced in the scientific programs that she is overseeing. Of course, everything is now about the $150 trillion climate grift, so she’s our girl. Jared Bernstein, Whitehouse Economic Advisor – He is highly educated, with a bachelor’s degree in music, master’s degrees in social work and philosophy, and a Ph.D. in social welfare. His greatest strength may be his complete lack of training in economics. Shalanda Baker, Deputy Director for Energy Justice in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the Department of Energy – Is that a salaried position? ‘Nuff said. General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Mark transitioned from the Trump administration. It caused a stir when he went more “woke” than Chelsea Manning. We will no longer defeat our enemy but assign them pronouns and include them. This was followed by a scandal outlined in Bob Woodward’s book in which he instructed military leaders in a secret meeting to bypass Trump on important military decisions.ref 11 He then unilaterally told his peer in the Chinese military that he would drop a dime if there was an impending military conflict. He tried to hang it on the Secretary of Defense, but the Secretary spit the bit fast.ref 12 My theory is that the sudden wokeness was to commandeer allies on the far left knowing that scandal was coming. It worked. He looks like he is right out of Dr. Strangelove without the lip gloss and eye shadow. Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services. He refuses to acknowledge the merits of natural Covid-19 immunity. That puts him near the top of my shitlist. Becerra has no medical or scientific training. He’s a lawyer, but at least he is from an underrepresented group. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services – I know little about her. She might be the most qualified candidate, certainly more so than her boss Becerra. Call me skeptical of a purely merit-based appointment. Hunter Biden. I was going to place Hunter in the bullets and call him Head of the DEA and National Association of the Arts, but I had reservations. There are sad, heartwarming, and troubling roles played by Hunter Biden. His addiction is a highly personal problem that is difficult for the first family to deal with, especially given other tragedies in their lives. Joe Rogan succinctly explained Hunter’s remarkably odd behavior: “he is a crackhead.” They are part and parcel of being dopesick. Leaked emails from the laptop show Dad to be a compassionate and loving father struggling to save his son. Ironically, old footage surfaced of Joe ranting about how we have to deal with crackheads severely no matter whom they know.ref 13 It did not age well. It is clear that Hunter Biden was selling access and influence. It appears that Joe Biden was aware of that effort. That is very serious. If these emails are false, this is a major story. If they are true, this is a major scandal. ~ Jonathan Turley Before you start blubbering, however, recall that Hunter’s laptop revealed that he was playing critical roles in Russian and Chinese dealings for the Biden family. The Kleenex gets tossed and the gloves now come off. Hunter’s business partner stepped forward admitting nefarious deals were made with Joe involved. Joe denied knowing the clown, but a then photo of the two surfaced.ref 14 This year Hunter also began selling his artwork for up to $500,000 a pop behind a “Chinese Wall”—a veil that ensures we cannot find out who bought the art.ref 15,16,17 The money might literally be from behind a Chinese wall. That buys a lot of crack even after the Big Guy’s 10% cut. Figure 1 shows two paintings, one by a Hunter and the other by two elephants. (No joke, elephants have been painting brilliant pictures free-trunk for decades.) Figure 1. Biden art (left) brought $500,000. The elephant painting (shown being painted) brought $39,000. We are a democracy…there are things you can’t do by executive order unless you are a dictator. ~ Joe Biden, several years ago Executive Orders. Before the first week of his presidency was over, Biden had signed 37 of those beauties. Some, such as the order extending rent moratoria, were overtly unconstitutional. Some merely unwound Trump’s orders that had unwound Obama’s orders. This is dodge ball. While Yale was battling a civil rights case for discriminatory admissions practices, the Biden DOJ dismissed it without comment.ref 18 Yale is said to have promptly destroyed the evidence, which shows they have good lawyers. Transgender athletes were reinstated in women’s sports, ensuring that longstanding records will be shattered.ref 19 It got surreal when UPenn’s transgender swimmer was beaten by Yale’s transgender swimmer.ref 19a An executive order giving the IRS direct access to our bank accounts seems both sinister and inevitable…death and taxes as they say.ref 20 There are a lot of Republicans out there giving speeches about how outraged they are about the situation at the border. Not many who are putting forward solutions. ~ Jen Psaki, forgetting about the wall idea Crisis at the Border. The mainstream press covered this one exhaustively. There are parallels here with the North Africans crossing into Europe several years back. It looks intentional, but why? Don’t tell me about building a democratic base. That is too far in the future and too simplistic. It is far easier to control the elections at the server level. Baffling details include the administration’s suggestion that border agents should be empowered to authorize the immigration of “climate migrants.”ref 21 That could boost a few agents salaries. Rumors of US military planes transporting illegals into the US suggests somebody could punk the elite: load up a boat and drop a couple hundred on Martha’s Vineyard. On further thought, rather than offering Vineyardians more gardeners, drop off some Afghans.ref 22Whoever is calling the shots, this is neither about civil rights nor climate change. Attorney General Merrick Garland clarified the immigration challenge: Today marks a step forward in our effort to make the asylum process fairer and more expeditious. This rule will both reduce the caseload in our immigration courts and protect the rights of those fleeing persecution and violence. If you do that, that will set off a mass migration that’s like nothing that we have ever seen in this country because the entire world will then come on through to get their asylum, essentially legalizing illegal immigration, in a very clever way. ~ Attorney General Merrick Garland WTF did Garland just say? Both his meaning and intent are unclear. The immigrants, of course, were all unvaccinated, which would have been OK by me had the administration not gone Third Reich to vaccinate US citizens. The administration also wanted to offer $450,000 to every immigrant family separated from their loved ones: why?ref 23They seemed to walk that third-trimester idea back and then walked it forward again. A half-billion-dollar, no-bid contract to manage the immigrants went to friends of the administration.ref 24 Your tax dollars at work. At least we are back to business as usual. By the way, where is Border Czar Kamala Harris while all this is going on? Making creepy videos.ref 25,26 People who like quotes love meaningless generalizations. ~ Graham Greene Miscellaneous issues surfaced that either went away or are still festering quietly. On the positive side, stacking the Supreme Court—increasing the number of justices to get a left-leaning majority—seems to have been only a political football. Granting Washington DC statehood, while to a plebe like me doesn’t seem nuts, has the trappings of a massive powershift to the left in national elections. Joe invaded the legal process by declaring Chauvin guilty and Kyle Rittenhouse a white supremacist. Would Obama have done this? I don’t think so. Rittenhouse may get his “10% for the Young Guy” in defamation suits against Joe and every media outlet on the planet. Joe checking his watch five times at the funeral of dead marines didn’t play well,ref 27 but if you put a camera on me I wouldn’t make it to lunchtime without serving up Jim Acosta fresh meat. The main drama of Biden’s first year, however, played out in a distant land.   Afghanistan—where empires go to die. ~ Mike Malloy Afghanistan. I’ve been groping for nomenclature — Afghazi, Afghazistan, Benghanistan, Benghazistan, Saigonistan, Clusterfuckistan, and Bidenistan—to describe this odd moment in history. That 20-year skirmish cost an estimated $2.3 trillion.ref 28 The idea that it was only a few thousand troops with no fatalities in the last year or two makes me question my wisdom, but I can’t start revising history. Whether for right or wrong, I was glad we were getting out. The ensuing Crisis in Kabul looked like the graveyard of a presidency—a combination of the Bay of Pigs and the Iran Hostage Crisis that would dog us for years. They are chanting “Death to America”, but they seemed friendly at the same time. ~ CNN reporter wearing a burka looking for a husband Even before the evacuation started we were hearing about huge caches of weapons that would be abandoned.ref 29 In an eat-and-dash that would make an IHOP waiter wince, we bugged out at 2:00 AM without telling anybody.ref 30Jalalabad Joe had assured us repeatedly the 300,000-strong Afghan army would hang tough. They were defeated in time to chow down on some goat stew for dinner. Images of desperate Afghan’s clinging to transport planes brought up images of the Saigon Embassy rooftop. We left service dogs in cages.ref 31 Marines would never do that. Stranded Americans and Afghan collaborators were begging for help to get to the airport and even to get into the airport.ref 32The administration used a drone to strike on some kids and their dads loading water into a truck to change the news cycle briefly.ref 33 The Afghan who is credited with saving Joe Biden and John Kerry in a disastrous excursion to Afghanistan years earlier got left behind pleading for help:ref 34 Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family. Don’t forget me here. Mercenaries like Blackwater’s Erik Prince tried to prevent Americans from taking The Final Exit,ref 35 only to get stonewalled by the Whitehouse. Meanwhile, the top commander and four-star Wokie, Mark Milley, was too mired in scandal.ref 36 Retired generals were calling for the active-duty generals to resign.ref 37 The withdrawal could not be botched worse if you tried. The populace are now facing a winter of profound famine.ref 38 Rural Afghanistan has been rocked by climate change. The past three decades have brought floods and drought that have destroyed crops and left people hungry. And the Taliban — likely without knowing climate change was the cause — has taken advantage of that pain. ~ CBS News, sticking it like a Russian gymnast This vexing story was from the Theater of the Absurd. Starting with the caches of military equipment left behind, I have two simple solutions that a group of teenagers could have concocted: Announce Blow Shit Up Friday (BSUF). Provide the military personnel with some grenade launchers and a few kegs of beer, grill up some goat burgers, and start blowing shit up. That would be a blast. If that is too unprofessional, you gather all armaments and anything of else of value into an open space. Once the wheels go up on the last troop transport, drop a MOAB—Mother of All Bombs.ref 39 Tough luck for those who were trying to hotwire the stuff when the MOAB arrives. It will take a year to get them out…If you use those billions of dollars of weapons behind I promise they’ll be using them against your grandchildren and mine someday. ~ Joe Biden, Presidential Candidate, 2007ref 40 The collapse of the Afghan Army also couldn’t have come as a surprise. The military and CIA certainly knew that those troops wouldn’t withstand a West Side Story-level brawl.ref 41 The soldiers were paid by the US for their service COD, and there was no C left. Shockingly, most of the payroll booty had long-since been snarfed up by the politicians and top military brass from the only swamp in Afghanistan.ref 42 Whocouldanode? Taliban can murder as many people as they want. But if they keep trolling Biden like this they’re gonna get kicked off of social media. ~ Jesse Kelley, noting the Taliban has an active Twitter feed Here is a script playing out in my noggin. The Crisis in Kabul was an arms deal—Fast and Furious 2.0. One of our top diplomats called the Taliban and said, “We are pulling out in a month. We’ll leave the keys in the ignition and pallets of $100 billsref 43 to help pay for upkeep. If you guys let us sneak out unmolested, you can party like it’s 999—an authentic Taliban-themed fraternity party. We will leave you guns, money, nice facilities, and even a few wives. If you fuck this up, however, we will be right back here.” The Whitehouse also lent a legitimizing tone to the regime when speaking about “working with the Taliban” as part of the deal. In return, the State Department called on the Taliban to form an “inclusive and representative government,”ref 44 so there’s that bit of risible nonsense. Neville Chamberlain couldn’t have done any better. The bottom line: 90% of Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan were able to leave Afghanistan. ~ Jalalabad Joe Biden That might be a great poll number or inflated final exam grade at a college Joe erroneously claimed to attend, but I am not sure “90%” is impressive in this context. The actual evacuation was ineptly executed from the get-go. Mr. Rogers, with the help of his viewing audience of toddlers, could have Kabuled together a better plan based on the simple precept, “pull out the civilians then the military.” Baffling claims the Whitehouse was obstructing evacuations of charter flights containing Americans was not right-wing propaganda: Where are they going to land? A number of these planes have a handful of Americans, but they may have several hundred individuals who do not have proper documentation of identity….we don’t have manifests for them, we don’t know what the security protocols are for them, we don’t know what their documentation is…hard choices you face in government. ~ Jen Psaki, press conference WTF actually happened? When nothing makes sense your model is wrong. Glenn Greenwald got the scent that withdrawal was intentionally mishandled, suggesting this is “fully within the character of the deep-state operatives.”ref 45We also forgot to destroy our sophisticated FBI-derived software and a complete database containing the biometrics of Friends of the USA,ref 46,47,48 enabling the Taliban to find potential detractors for an attitude correction. Think of it as Afghanistan’s high-tech War on Domestic Terror. The stonewalling of help from other countries also makes no sense using a conventional model.ref 49 Biden’s CIA Director met with Taliban leadership covertly—so covertly we all knew about it—to concoct a “deal”, but what kind of deal?ref 50 During the evacuation, we gave the Taliban names of American citizens, green card holders, and Afghan allies supposedly to let them pass through the militant-controlled perimeter of the city’s airport.ref 51 They would never abuse this list, right? A large number of Afghan refugees—possibly as many as 100,000 according to Tucker Carlson—entering the US are consistent with our open border policy along the Mexican border, but what is that all about? Afghans, by the way, are reputed to be always recalcitrant to assimilate in Europe just in case you’re thinking of renting out your basement as an Airbnb.ref 52 What happened in Afghanistan is not incompetence. We are not that incompetent. ~ General George Flynn The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war. ~ Julian Assange, 2011ref y I have no doubt that blood was shed after we left. More than a few US sympathizers surely lost their heads. As to the stranded Americans, why were they still there? China had evacuated their citizens months earlier.ref 53(Hmmm…Chinese citizens were there?) Two dozen students from the Cajon Valley Union School District and 16 parents there for an enriching summer trip were stranded.ref 54 How did they get visas? That field trip will generate a few college essays that will beat any written about dead grandparents, although Kabul State College may be their only option. This is now on-track, Peter, to be the largest airlift in U.S. history. I would not say that is anything but a success. ~ Jen Psaki to Peter Doucy The media can create, steer, or smother narratives at will. I have a question: Where are all the dead Americans—thousands of them—said to be left behind? Horror stories should be surfacing daily, but they’re not. We shit a mudbrick when One Dead Kashoggi (ODK) got fed to the camels in Saudi Arabia. Three thousand fatalities on 9/11 got us into Afghanistan in the first place. We supposedly left behind “thousands of Americans” but without generating a single headline? So much for that Bay of Pigs­–Iran Hostage Crisis analogy. So here are my next questions and I am deadly serious: Did we get duped? Was the whole thing more sham than farce? There is no such thing as a true account of anything. ~ Gore Vidal Here is Dave’s Narrative. We installed the Taliban as the rulers of Afghanistan as the best of many bad options. The winners are the Taliban and China. The two are inking deals for mineral rights as I type. The chaos was intentional. But why accept such a profound humiliation and dashed hopes of future alliances in global hotspots? I think that the Taliban winning the war in Afghanistan, and then the way our exit happened, has absolutely inspired jihadists all over the world. The Taliban is saying, we just didn’t defeat the United States, we defeated NATO. We defeated the world’s greatest military power, ever. I think, not only will the jihadists be inspired, but a lot of them are going to come to Afghanistan to be part of the celebration, to be part of jihadist central. We are more at risk, without a doubt. ~ Michael Morell, former CIA Director under Obama Maybe China has way more than just Hunter’s laptop to blackmail us and is about to take possession of Taiwan soon. While we await the next Kyle Rittenhouse trial to preoccupy ourselves, take a peek at this video. Skip over the election stuff since we all have rock-hard opinions on that and go to minute 55:30. Xi Jinping’s right-hand man, Di Dongsheng, publicly explained the extent Beijing controls US politics:ref 55 There is nothing in the world that money can’t fix, right? If one wad of cash can’t handle it, then I’ll have two wads. (laughter) Of course this is how I do things. In fact, to be a bit blunt, in the past 30 years or past 40 years, we manipulated the core power circle in the United States, right? I mentioned earlier that Wall Street started to have a very strong influence on U.S. domestic and foreign affairs in the 1970s. So we figured out our path and those we could be dependent on. But the problem is that Wall Street’s status has declined after 2008. More importantly, starting in 2016 Wall Street has no influence on Trump. Why? It is awkward. Trump had a soft breach of contract on Wall Street once, so the two sides had conflicts. They tried to help during the Sino-US trade war. As far as I know, friends from the U.S. told me that they tried to help, but they were too weak. But now we see that Biden has come to power. (crowd laughs) The traditional elites, political elites, and the establishment have a very close relationship with Wall Street. You all see it: Trump talked about Biden’s son, “You have investment funds around the world.” Who helped him build the funds? You understand? There are transactions involved. (laughter) So at this point in time, we use an appropriate way to express a certain kind of goodwill. (applause) ~Di Dongsheng, Vice Director and Secretary of the Center for Foreign Strategic Studies of Chinaref 55 January 6th Capitol Insurrection Alec Baldwin killed more people in 2021 than did the January 6th insurrectionists. Anybody reading this far knows that the January 6th riots stemmed from the right-wing voters who doubted the veracity of the 2020 election. Twitter polls show that view is not as partisan or as rare as the media would lead you to believe. I happen to doubt U.S. election integrity but have for quite a few election cycles. ref 1 Hacked Stratfor emails show the democrats rigged the vote in ’08 ref 2 and Republicans rigged it in ’04.ref 3 It is bipartisan Capture the Flag with red and blue pinnies.ref 4 In any event, Trump’s Green Goblin strategy was to beckon the MAGA faithful to the Capitol to protest the Electoral College signing off on the results. It was not so different than the mobs outside the courthouses trying to subvert the Rittenhouse and Chauvin trials, but the scale of January 6th was much larger and the optics were Biblical. It got out of hand and, at times, even a little Helter Skelter. Mob psychology elicits dramatic changes in brain chemistry and has been the topic of many laboratory studies.”ref 5 Temporary insanity is not a crazy defense. My Tweet got some hysterically hateful responses from the Right who missed the sarcasm and the Left who did not. I think I squandered more of my valuable time left on this planet burrowing through the January 6th story than on the Covid-Vaccine combo platter. I should preface this section by noting that I was praised by a thoughtful long-time reader for being “balanced and measured and carefully worded, even on edgy topics.” I may be on the cusp of disappointing him. It’s impossible to peer at the The Great Insurrection through a non-partisan lens. Both sides may find common ground in the belief that January 6th is a profound fork in the road of the American Experiment. The sock-starching Left will celebrate it as a national holiday every year while the bed-wetting Right will try to ignore it. Both are wrong. Look at that photo and pause to ponder its implications. Put a funny caption to it. Let’s hear from some Republicans first: We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House — every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack. ~ Liz Cheney I think Lizard nailed it. We’re on the same page. Let’s keep going… January 6 was worse than 9/11, because it’s continued to rip our country apart and get permission for people to pursue autocratic means, and so I think we’re in a much worse place than we’ve been. I think we’re in the most perilous point in time since 1861 in the advent of the Civil War. ~ Michael Dowd, former Bush strategist I would like to see January 6th burned into the American mind as firmly as 9/11 because it was that scale of a shock to the system. ~ George Will, syndicated columnist Mike and George are as unhinged as I am but on different hinges. I think they are delusional and offensive. Edging forward… The 1/6 attack for the future of the country was a profoundly more dangerous event than the 9/11 attacks. And in the end, the 1/6 attacks are likely to kill a lot more Americans than were killed in the 9/11 attacks, which will include the casualties of the wars that lasted 20 years following. ~ Steve Smith, Lincoln Project co-founder Now I’m getting the heebie-jeebies if for no other reason than the Lincoln Project is filled with Democratic operatives (or at least neocons) pretending to be Republicans—as authentic as the Indians at the Boston Tea Party or stepmoms on PornHub. We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within…There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home… But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit. ~ George W. Bush, a thinly veiled allusion to January 6 George got some serious guff from more than a few of the 80 million Fox-watching extremists including the Grand Wizard: So interesting to watch former President Bush, who is responsible for getting us into the quicksand of the Middle East (and then not winning!), as he lectures us that terrorists on the ‘right’ are a bigger problem than those from foreign countries that hate America. ~ Donald Trump He nailed it. I have stated previously that Bush committed war crimes. Of course, the National Security Machine chimed in… The No. 1 national security threat I’ve ever seen in my life to this country’s democracy is the party that I’m in — the Republican Party. It is the No. 1 national security threat to the United States of America. ~ Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official Dude! You just tarred about 80 million asses with that brushstroke. Let’s move further left to find some middle ground: They swooned for him on 9/11 because he gave them what they most crave: the view that Al Qaeda is comparable to those who protested at the Capitol on 1/6. ~ Glenn Greenwald, on George Bush’s comments Glenn is part of a growing cadre of liberals including Matt Taibbi, Tim Pool, Bill Maher, The Weinstein Brothers, and Joe Rogan who are unafraid to extend olive branches across The Great Partisan Divide at risk of being labled white supremacists and Nazis, but they are hardly emblematic of the Left. From the elite Left… I think we also had very real security concerns. We still don’t yet feel safe around other members of Congress.  ~ AOC AOC’s comment prompted one pundit to tell her to “get a therapist”, which seems correct given her moment of maximum drama was when a security guard was screaming outside her door, “Are you OK, Ma’am?” #AlexandriaOcasioSmollett began trending on social media when it was disclosed that she was not even in the building when Ragnar and his buddies showed up.ref 6 They will have to decide if Donald J. Trump incited the erection…the insurrection. ~ Chuck Schumerref 7 What ya thinking about Chuckie? We are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War. The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on Jan. 6. ~ Joe Biden Joe may be on the A-Team, but he hasn’t found his way out of the locker room. The blue-check-marked liberals did not mince words… The 9/11 terrorists and Osama bin Laden never threatened the heart of the American experiment. The 1/6 terrorists and Donald Trump absolutely did exactly that. Trump continues that effort today. ~ S.V. Dáte, Huffington Post’s senior White House correspondent The only effective way for the government to respond to an act of war by domestic terrorists is to be prepared to meet them with machine guns and flamethrowers and mow them down. Not one of those terrorists who broke through police lines should have escaped alive. ~ a Washington Post commenter Moving as far left as you can by tuning into the most cunning commie who can outfox any Western leader… Do you know that 450 individuals were arrested after entering the Congress? They came there with political demands. ~ Vladimir Putin The Cast of this Drama. This Kafkaesque narrative will be scrutinized by historians and democratic operatives for years to come. The Left will cast this event as a truly unique moment in US history, but it was precedented. I see parallels with the 1920’s Bonus Army in which World War I veterans were pissed off about unpaid post-war benefits.ref 8 In the saddest of ironies, many were killed by Army regulars. Some authorities, including a young Dwight Eisenhower, thought it was a benign protest while others thought it was an assault on America. Grumpy crowds appear at the Capitol only on days of the week that end in “y.” Recently, f.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeFeb 6th, 2022

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2020, we said that the year would be a very tough act to follow as there "could not have been more regime shifts, volatility moments, and memes than 2020." And yet despite the exceedingly high bar for 2021, the year did not disappoint and proved to be a successful contender, and if judging by the sheer breadth of narratives, stories, surprises, plot twists and unexpected developments, 2021 was even more memorable and event-filled than 2020. Where does one start? While covid was the story of 2020, the pandemic that emerged out of a (Fauci-funded) genetic lab team in Wuhan, China dominated newsflow, politics and capital markets for the second year in a row. And while the biggest plot twist of 2020 was Biden's victory over Trump in the presidential election (it took the pandemic lockdowns and mail-in ballots to hand the outcome to Biden), largely thanks to Covid, Biden failed to hold to his biggest presidential promise of defeating covid, and not only did he admit in late 2021 that there is "no Federal solution" to covid waving a white flag of surrender less than a year into his presidency, but following the recent emergence of the Xi, pardon Omicron variant, the number of covid cases in the US has just shattered all records. The silver lining is not only that deaths and hospitalizations have failed to follow the number of cases, but that the scaremongering narrative itself is starting to melt in response to growing grassroots discontent with vaccine after vaccine and booster after booster, which by now it is clear, do nothing to contain the pandemic. And now that it is clear that omicron is about as mild as a moderate case of the flu, the hope has finally emerged that this latest strain will finally kill off the pandemic as it becomes the dominant, rapidly-spreading variant, leading to worldwide herd immunity thanks to the immune system's natural response. Yes, it may mean billions less in revenue for Pfizer and Moderna, but it will be a colossal victory for the entire world. The second biggest story of 2021 was undoubtedly the scourge of soaring inflation, which contrary to macrotourist predictions that it would prove "transitory", refused to do so and kept rising, and rising, and rising, until it hit levels not seen since the Volcker galloping inflation days of the 1980s. The only difference of course is that back then, the Fed Funds rate hit 20%. Now it is at 0%, and any attempts to hike aggressively will lead to a horrific market crash, something the Fed knows very well. Whether this was due to supply-chain blockages and a lack of goods and services pushing prices higher, or due to massive stimulus pushing demand for goods - and also prices - higher, or simply the result of a record injection of central bank liquidity into the system, is irrelevant but what does matter is that it got so bad that even Biden, facing a mauling for his Democratic party in next year's midterm elections, freaked out about soaring prices and pushed hard to lower the price of gasoline, ordering releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and vowing to punish energy companies that dare to make a profit, while ordering Powell to contain the surge in prices even if means the market is hit. Unfortunately for Biden, the market will be hit even as inflation still remain red hot for much of the coming year. And speaking of markets, while 2022 may be a year when the piper finally gets paid, 2021 was yet another blockbuster year for risk assets, largely on the back of the continued global response to the 2020 covid pandemic, when as we wrote last year, we saw "the official arrival of global Helicopter Money, tens of trillions in fiscal and monetary stimulus, an overhaul of the global economy punctuated by an unprecedented explosion in world debt, an Orwellian crackdown on civil liberties by governments everywhere, and ultimately set the scene for what even the World Economic Forum called simply "The Great Reset." Yes, the staggering liquidity injections that started in 2020, continued throughout 2021 and the final tally is that after $3 trillion in emergency liquidity injections in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic to stabilize the world, the Fed injected almost $2 trillion in the subsequent period, of which $1.5 trillion in 2021, a year where economists were "puzzled" why inflation was soaring. This, of course, excludes the tens of trillions of monetary stimulus injected by other central banks as well as the boundless fiscal stimulus that was greenlighted with the launch of helicopter money (i.e., MMT) in 2020. It's also why with inflation running red hot and real rates the lowest they have ever been, everyone was forced to rush into the "safety" of stocks (or stonks as they came to be known among GenZ), and why after last year's torrid stock market returns, the S&P rose another 27% in 2021 and up a staggering 114% from the March 2020 lows, in the process trouncing all previous mega-rallies (including those in 1929, 1938, 1974 and 2009)... ... making this the third consecutive year of double-digit returns. This reminds us of something we said last year: "it's almost as if the world's richest asset owners requested the covid pandemic." A year later, we got confirmation for this rhetorical statement, when we calculated that in the 18 months since the covid pandemic, the richest 1% of US society have seen their net worth increase by over $30 trillion. As a result, the US is now officially a banana republic where the middle 60% of US households by income - a measure economists use as a definition of the middle class - saw their combined assets drop from 26.7% to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data, while for the first time the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%. Yes, the 1% now own more wealth than the entire US middle class, a definition traditionally reserve for kleptocracies and despotic African banana republics. It wasn't just the rich, however: politicians the world over would benefit from the transition from QE to outright helicopter money and MMT which made the over monetization of deficits widely accepted in the blink of an eye. The common theme here is simple: no matter what happens, capital markets can never again be allowed to drop, regardless of the cost or how much more debt has to be incurred. Indeed, as we look back at the news barrage over the past year, and past decade for that matter, the one thing that becomes especially clear amid the constant din of markets, of politics, of social upheaval and geopolitical strife - and now pandemics -  in fact a world that is so flooded with constant conflicting newsflow and changing storylines that many now say it has become virtually impossible to even try to predict the future, is that despite the people's desire for change, for something original and untried, the world's established forces will not allow it and will fight to preserve the broken status quo at any price - even global coordinated shutdowns - which is perhaps why it always boils down to one thing - capital markets, that bedrock of Western capitalism and the "modern way of life", where control, even if it means central planning the likes of which have not been seen since the days of the USSR, and an upward trajectory must be preserved at all costs, as the alternative is a global, socio-economic collapse. And since it is the daily gyrations of stocks that sway popular moods the interplay between capital markets and politics has never been more profound or more consequential. The more powerful message here is the implicit realization and admission by politicians, not just Trump who had a penchant of tweeting about the S&P every time it rose, but also his peers on both sides of the aisle, that the stock market is now seen as the consummate barometer of one's political achievements and approval. Which is also why capital markets are now, more than ever, a political tool whose purpose is no longer to distribute capital efficiently and discount the future, but to manipulate voter sentiments far more efficiently than any fake Russian election interference attempt ever could. Which brings us back to 2021 and the past decade, which was best summarized by a recent Bill Blain article who said that "the last 10-years has been a story of massive central banking distortion to address the 2008 crisis. Now central banks face the consequences and are trapped. The distortion can’t go uncorrected indefinitely." He is right: the distortion will eventually collapse especially if the Fed follows through with its attempt rate hikes some time in mid-2020, but so far the establishment and the "top 1%" have been successful - perhaps the correct word is lucky - in preserving the value of risk assets: on the back of the Fed's firehose of liquidity the S&P500 returned an impressive 27% in 2021, following a 15.5% return in 2020 and 28.50% in 2019. It did so by staging the greatest rally off all time from the March lows, surpassing all of the 4 greatest rallies off the lows of the past century (1929,1938, 1974, and 2009). Yet this continued can-kicking by the establishment - all of which was made possible by the covid pandemic and lockdowns which served as an all too convenient scapegoat for the unprecedented response that served to propel risk assets (and fiat alternatives such as gold and bitcoin) to all time highs - has come with a price... and an increasingly higher price in fact. As even Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett admits, Fed's response to the the pandemic "worsened inequality" as the value of financial assets - Wall Street -  relative to economy - Main Street - hit all-time high of 6.3x. And while the Fed was the dynamo that has propelled markets higher ever since the Lehman collapse, last year certainly had its share of breakout moments. Here is a sampling. Gamestop and the emergence of meme stonks and the daytrading apes: In January markets were hypnotized by the massive trading volumes, rolling short squeezes and surging share prices of unremarkable established companies such as consoles retailer GameStop and cinema chain AMC and various other micro and midcap names. What began as a discussion on untapped value at GameStop on Reddit months earlier by Keith Gill, better known as Roaring Kitty, morphed into a hedge fund-orchestrated, crowdsourced effort to squeeze out the short position held by a hedge fund, Melvin Capital. The momentum flooded through the retail market, where daytraders shunned stocks and bought massive out of the money calls, sparking rampant "gamma squeezes" in the process forcing some brokers to curb trading. Robinhood, a popular broker for day traders and Citadel's most lucrative "subsidiary", required a cash injection to withstand the demands placed on it by its clearing house. The company IPOed later in the year only to see its shares collapse as it emerged its business model was disappointing hollow absent constant retail euphoria. Ultimately, the market received a crash course in the power of retail investors on a mission. Ultimately, "retail favorite" stocks ended the year on a subdued note as the trading frenzy from earlier in the year petered out, but despite underperforming the S&P500, retail traders still outperformed hedge funds by more than 100%. Failed seven-year Treasury auction:  Whereas auctions of seven-year US government debt generally spark interest only among specialists, on on February 25 2021, one such typically boring event sparked shockwaves across financial markets, as the weakest demand on record hit prices across the whole spectrum of Treasury bonds. The five-, seven- and 10-year notes all fell sharply in price. Researchers at the Federal Reserve called it a “flash event”; we called it a "catastrophic, tailing" auction, the closest thing the US has had to a failed Trasury auction. The flare-up, as the FT put it, reflects one of the most pressing investor concerns of the year: inflation. At the time, fund managers were just starting to realize that consumer price rises were back with a vengeance — a huge threat to the bond market which still remembers the dire days of the Volcker Fed when inflation was about as high as it is today but the 30Y was trading around 15%. The February auaction also illustrated that the world’s most important market was far less liquid and not as structurally robust as investors had hoped. It was an extreme example of a long-running issue: since the financial crisis the traditional providers of liquidity, a group of 24 Wall Street banks, have pulled back because of higher costs associated with post-2008 capital requirements, while leaving liquidity provision to the Fed. Those banks, in their reduced role, as well as the hedge funds and high-frequency traders that have stepped into their place, have tended to withdraw in moments of market volatility. Needless to say, with the Fed now tapering its record QE, we expect many more such "flash" episodes in the bond market in the year ahead. The arch ego of Archegos: In March 2021 several banks received a brutal reminder that some of family offices, which manage some $6 trillion in wealth of successful billionaires and entrepreneurs and which have minimal reporting requirements, take risks that would make the most serrated hedge fund manager wince, when Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management imploded in spectacular style. As we learned in late March when several high-flying stocks suddenly collapsed, Hwang - a former protege of fabled hedge fund group Tiger Management - had built up a vast pile of leverage using opaque Total Return Swaps with a handful of banks to boost bets on a small number of stocks (the same banks were quite happy to help despite Hwang’s having been barred from US markets in 2013 over allegations of an insider-trading scheme, as he paid generously for the privilege of borrowing the banks' balance sheet). When one of Archegos more recent bets, ViacomCBS, suddenly tumbled it set off a liquidation cascade that left banks including Credit Suisse and Nomura with billions of dollars in losses. Conveniently, as the FT noted, the damage was contained to the banks rather than leaking across financial markets, but the episode sparked a rethink among banks over how to treat these clients and how much leverage to extend. The second coming of cryptos: After hitting an all time high in late 2017 and subsequently slumping into a "crypto winter", cryptocurrencies enjoyed a huge rebound in early 2021 which sent their prices soaring amid fears of galloping inflation (as shown below, and contrary to some financial speculation, the crypto space has traditionally been a hedge either to too much liquidity or a hedge to too much inflation). As a result, Bitcoin rose to a series of new record highs that culminated at just below $62,000, nearly three times higher than their previous all time high. But the smooth ride came to a halt in May when China’s crackdown on the cryptocurrency and its production, or “mining”, sparked the first serious crash of 2021. The price of bitcoin then collapsed as much as 30% on May 19, hitting a low of $30,000 amid a liquidation of levered positions in chaotic trading conditions following a warning from Chinese authorities of tighter curbs ahead. A public acceptance by Tesla chief and crypto cheerleader Elon Musk of the industry’s environmental impact added to the declines. However, as with all previous crypto crashes, this one too proved transitory, and prices resumed their upward trajectory in late September when investors started to price in the launch of futures-based bitcoin exchange traded funds in the US. The launch of these contracts subsequently pushed bitcoin to a new all-time high in early November before prices stumbled again in early December, this time due to a rise in institutional ownership when an overall drop in the market dragged down cryptos as well. That demonstrated the growing linkage between Wall Street and cryptocurrencies, due to the growing sway of large investors in digital markets. China's common prosperity crash: China’s education and tech sectors were one of the perennial Wall Street darlings. Companies such as New Oriental, TAL Education as well as Alibaba and Didi had come to be worth billions of dollars after highly publicized US stock market flotations. So when Beijing effectively outlawed swaths of the country’s for-profit education industry in July 2021, followed by draconian anti-trust regulations on the country's fintech names (where Xi Jinping also meant to teach the country's billionaire class a lesson who is truly in charge), the short-term market impact was brutal. Beijing’s initial measures emerged as part of a wider effort to make education more affordable as part of president Xi Jinping’s drive for "common prosperity" but that quickly raised questions over whether growth prospects across corporate China are countered by the capacity of the government to overhaul entire business models overnight. Sure enough, volatility stemming from the education sector was soon overshadowed by another set of government reforms related to common prosperity, a crackdown on leverage across the real estate sector where the biggest casualty was Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer. The company, whose boss was not long ago China's 2nd richest man, was engulfed by a liquidity crisis in the summer that eventually resulted in a default in early December. Still, as the FT notes, China continues to draw in huge amounts of foreign capital, pushing the Chinese yuan to end 2021 at the strongest level since May 2018, a major hurdle to China's attempts to kickstart its slowing economy, and surely a precursor to even more monetary easing. Natgas hyperinflation: Natural gas supplanted crude oil as the world’s most important commodity in October and December as prices exploded to unprecedented levels and the world scrambled for scarce supplies amid the developed world's catastrophic transition to "green" energy. The crunch was particularly acute in Europe, which has become increasingly reliant on imports. Futures linked to TTF, the region’s wholesale gas price, hit a record €137 per megawatt hour in early October, rising more than 75%. In Asia, spot liquefied natural gas prices briefly passed the equivalent of more than $320 a barrel of oil in October. (At the time, Brent crude was trading at $80). A number of factors contributed, including rising demand as pandemic restrictions eased, supply disruptions in the LNG market and weather-induced shortfalls in renewable energy. In Europe, this was aggravated by plunging export volumes from Gazprom, Russia’s state-backed monopoly pipeline supplier, amid a bitter political fight over the launch of the Nordstream 2 pipeline. And with delays to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, analysts say the European gas market - where storage is only 66% full - a cold snap or supply disruption away from another price spike Turkey's (latest) currency crisis:  As the FT's Jonathan Wheatley writes, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once a source of strength for the Turkish lira, and in his first five years in power from 2003, the currency rallied from TL1.6 per US dollar to near parity at TL1.2. But those days are long gone, as Erdogan's bizarre fascination with unorthodox economics, namely the theory that lower rates lead to lower inflation also known as "Erdoganomics", has sparked a historic collapse in the: having traded at about TL7 to the dollar in February, it has since fallen beyond TL17, making it the worst performing currency of 2021. The lira’s defining moment in 2021 came on November 18 when the central bank, in spite of soaring inflation, cut its policy rate for the third time since September, at Erdogan’s behest (any central banker in Turkey who disagrees with "Erdoganomics" is promptly fired and replaced with an ideological puppet). The lira recovered some of its losses in late December when Erdogan came up with the "brilliant" idea of erecting the infamous "doom loop" which ties Turkey's balance sheet to its currency. It has worked for now (the lira surged from TL18 against the dollar to TL12, but this particular band aid solution will only last so long). The lira’s problems are not only Erdogan’s doing. A strengthening dollar, rising oil prices, the relentless covid pandemic and weak growth in developing economies have been bad for other emerging market currencies, too, but as long as Erdogan is in charge, shorting the lira remains the best trade entering 2022. While these, and many more, stories provided a diversion from the boring existence of centrally-planned markets, we are confident that the trends observed in recent years will continue: coming years will be marked by even bigger government (because only more government can "fix" problems created by government), higher stock prices and dollar debasement (because only more Fed intervention can "fix" the problems created by the Fed), and a policy flip from monetary and QE to fiscal & MMT, all of which will keep inflation at scorching levels, much to the persistent confusion of economists everywhere. Of course, we said much of this last year as well, but while we got most trends right, we were wrong about one thing: we were confident that China's aggressive roll out of the digital yuan would be a bang - or as we put it "it is very likely that while 2020 was an insane year, it may prove to be just an appetizer to the shockwaves that will be unleashed in 2021 when we see the first stage of the most historic overhaul of the fiat payment system in history" - however it turned out to be a whimper. A big reason for that was that the initial reception of the "revolutionary" currency was nothing short of disastrous, with Chinese admitting they were "not at all excited" about the prospect of yet one more surveillance mechanism for Beijing, because that's really what digital currencies are: a way for central banks everywhere to micromanage and scrutinize every single transaction, allowing the powers that be to demonetize any one person - or whole groups - with the flick of a switch. Then again, while digital money may not have made its triumphant arrival in 2021, we are confident that the launch date has merely been pushed back to 2022 when the rollout of the next monetary revolution is expected to begin in earnest. Here we should again note one thing: in a world undergoing historic transformations, any free press must be throttled and controlled, and over the past year we have seen unprecedented efforts by legacy media and its corporate owners, as well as the new "social media" overlords do everything in their power to stifle independent thought. For us it had been especially "personal" on more than one occasions. Last January, Twitter suspended our account because we dared to challenge the conventional narrative about the source of the Wuhan virus. It was only six months later that Twitter apologized, and set us free, admitting it had made a mistake. Yet barely had twitter readmitted us, when something even more unprecedented happened: for the first time ever (to our knowledge) Google - the world's largest online ad provider and monopoly - demonetized our website not because of any complaints about our writing but because of the contents of our comment section. It then held us hostage until we agreed to implement some prerequisite screening and moderation of the comments section. Google's action was followed by the likes of PayPal, Amazon, and many other financial and ad platforms, who rushed to demonetize and suspend us simply because they disagreed with what we had to say. This was a stark lesson in how quickly an ad-funded business can disintegrate in this world which resembles the dystopia of 1984 more and more each day, and we have since taken measures. One year ago, for the first time in our 13 year history, we launched a paid version of our website, which is entirely ad and moderation free, and offers readers a variety of premium content. It wasn't our intention to make this transformation but unfortunately we know which way the wind is blowing and it is only a matter of time before the gatekeepers of online ad spending block us again. As such, if we are to have any hope in continuing it will come directly from you, our readers. We will keep the free website running for as long as possible, but we are certain that it is only a matter of time before the hammer falls as the censorship bandwagon rolls out much more aggressively in the coming year. That said, whether the story of 2022, and the next decade for that matter, is one of helicopter or digital money, of (hyper)inflation or deflation: what is key, and what we learned in the past decade, is that the status quo will throw anything at the problem to kick the can, it will certainly not let any crisis go to waste... even the deadliest pandemic in over a century. And while many already knew that, the events of 2021 made it clear to a fault that not even a modest market correction can be tolerated going forward. After all, if central banks aim to punish all selling, then the logical outcome is to buy everything, and investors, traders and speculators did just that armed with the clearest backstop guarantee from the Fed, which in the deapths of the covid crash crossed the Rubicon when it formally nationalized the bond market as it started buying both investment grade bonds and junk bond ETFs in the open market. As such it is no longer even a debatable issue if the Fed will buy stocks after the next crash - the only question is when. Meanwhile, for all those lamenting the relentless coverage of politics in a financial blog, why finance appears to have taken a secondary role, and why the political "narrative" has taken a dominant role for financial analysts, the past year showed vividly why that is the case: in a world where markets gyrated, and "rotated" from value stocks to growth and vice versa, purely on speculation of how big the next stimulus out of Washington will be, the narrative over Biden's trillions proved to be one of the biggest market moving events for much of the year. And with the Biden stimulus plan off the table for now, the Fed will find it very difficult to tighten financial conditions, especially if it does so just as the economy is slowing. Here we like to remind readers of one of our favorite charts: every financial crisis is the result of Fed tightening. As for predictions about the future, as the past two years so vividly showed, when it comes to actual surprises and all true "black swans", it won't be what anyone had expected. And so while many themes, both in the political and financial realm, did get some accelerated closure courtesy of China's covid pandemic, dramatic changes in 2021 persisted, and will continue to manifest themselves in often violent and unexpected ways - from the ongoing record polarization in the US political arena, to "populist" upheavals around the developed world, to the gradual transition to a global Universal Basic (i.e., socialized) Income regime, to China's ongoing fight with preserving stability in its gargantuan financial system which is now two and a half times the size of the US. As always, we thank all of our readers for making this website - which has never seen one dollar of outside funding (and despite amusing recurring allegations, has certainly never seen a ruble from the KGB either, although now that the entire Russian hysteria episode is over, those allegations have finally quieted down), and has never spent one dollar on marketing - a small (or not so small) part of your daily routine. Which also brings us to another critical topic: that of fake news, and something we - and others who do not comply with the established narrative - have been accused of. While we find the narrative of fake news laughable, after all every single article in this website is backed by facts and links to outside sources, it is clearly a dangerous development, and a very slippery slope that the entire developed world is pushing for what is, when stripped of fancy jargon, internet censorship under the guise of protecting the average person from "dangerous, fake information." It's also why we are preparing for the next onslaught against independent thought and why we had no choice but to roll out a premium version of this website. In addition to the other themes noted above, we expect the crackdown on free speech to accelerate in the coming year when key midterm elections will be held, especially as the following list of Top 20 articles for 2021 reveals, many of the most popular articles in the past year were precisely those which the conventional media would not touch out of fear of repercussions, which in turn allowed the alternative media to continue to flourish in an orchestrated information vacuum and take significant market share from the established outlets by covering topics which the public relations arm of established media outlets refused to do, in the process earning itself the derogatory "fake news" condemnation. We are grateful that our readers - who hit a new record high in 2021 - have realized it is incumbent upon them to decide what is, and isn't "fake news." * * * And so, before we get into the details of what has now become an annual tradition for the last day of the year, those who wish to jog down memory lane, can refresh our most popular articles for every year during our no longer that brief, almost 11-year existence, starting with 2009 and continuing with 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. So without further ado, here are the articles that you, our readers, found to be the most engaging, interesting and popular based on the number of hits, during the past year. In 20th spot with 600,000 reads, was an article that touched on one of the most defining features of the market: the reflation theme the sparked a massive rally at the start of the year courtesy of the surprise outcome in the Georgia Senate race, where Democrats ended up wining both seats up for grabs, effectively giving the Dems a majority in both the House and the Senate, where despite the even, 50-seat split, Kamala Harris would cast the winning tie-breaker vote to pursue a historic fiscal stimulus. And sure enough, as we described in "Bitcoin Surges To Record High, Stocks & Bonds Battered As Dems Look Set To Take Both Georgia Senate Seats", with trillions in "stimmies" flooding both the economy and the market, not only did retail traders enjoy unprecedented returns when trading meme "stonks" and forcing short squeezes that crippled numerous hedge funds, but expectations of sharply higher inflation also helped push bitcoin and the entire crypto sector to new all time highs, which in turn legitimized the product across institutional investors and helped it reach a market cap north of $3 trillion.  In 19th spot, over 613,000 readers were thrilled to read at the start of September that "Biden Unveils Most Severe COVID Actions Yet: Mandates Vax For All Federal Workers, Contractors, & Large Private Companies." Of course, just a few weeks later much of Biden's mandate would be struck down in courts, where it is now headed to a decision by SCOTUS, while the constantly shifting "scientific" goal posts mean that just a few months later the latest set of CDC regulations have seen regulators and officials reverse the constant drone of fearmongering and are now even seeking to cut back on the duration of quarantine and other lockdown measures amid a public mood that is growing increasingly hostile to the government response. One of the defining political events of 2021 was the so-called "Jan 6 Insurrection", which the for America's conservatives was blown wildly out of proportion yet which the leftist media and Democrats in Congress have been periodically trying to push to the front pages in hopes of distracting from the growing list of failures of the Obama admin. Yet as we asked back in January, "Why Was Founder Of Far-Left BLM Group Filming Inside Capitol As Police Shot Protester?" No less than 614,000 readers found this question worthy of a response. Since then many more questions have emerged surrounding this event, many of which focus on what role the FBI had in organizing and encouraging this event, including the use of various informants and instigators. For now, a response will have to wait at least until the mid-term elections of 2022 when Republicans are expected to sweep one if not both chambers. Linked to the above, the 17th most read article of 2021 with 617,000 views, was an article we published on the very same day, which detailed that "Armed Protesters Begin To Arrive At State Capitols Around The Nation." At the end of the day, it was much ado about nothing and all protests concluded peacefully and without incident: perhaps the FBI was simply spread too thin? 2021 was a year defined by various waves of the covid pandemic which hammered poor Americans forced to hunker down at home and missing on pay, and crippled countless small mom and pop businesses. And yet, it was also a bonanza for a handful of pharma companies such as Pfizer and Moderna which made billions from the sale of "vaccines" which we now know do little if anything to halt the spread of the virus, and are instead now being pitched as palliatives, preventing a far worse clinical outcome. The same pharma companies also benefited from an unconditional indemnity, which surely would come in useful when the full side-effects of their mRNA-based therapies became apparent. One such condition to emerge was myocarditis among a subset of the vaxxed. And while the vaccines continue to be broadly rolled out across most developed nations, one place that said enough was Sweden. As over 620,000 readers found out in "Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely After Vaxxed Patients Develop Crippling Heart Condition", not every country was willing to use its citizens as experimental guniea pigs. This was enough to make the article the 16th most read on these pages, but perhaps in light of the (lack of) debate over the pros and cons of the covid vaccines, this should have been the most read article this year? Moving on to the 15th most popular article, 628,000 readers were shocked to learn that "Chase Bank Cancels General Mike Flynn's Credit Cards." The action, which was taken by the largest US bank due to "reputational risk" echoed a broad push by tech giants to deplatform and silence dissenting voices by literally freezing them out of the financial system. In the end, following widespread blowback from millions of Americans, JPMorgan reversed, and reactivated Flynn's cards saying the action was made in error, but unfortunately this is just one example of how those in power can lock out any dissenters with the flick of a switch. And while democrats cheer such deplatforming today, the political winds are fickle, and we doubt they will be as excited once they find themselves on the receiving end of such actions. And speaking of censorship and media blackouts, few terms sparked greater response from those in power than the term Ivermectin. Viewed by millions as a cheap, effective alternative to offerings from the pharmaceutical complex, social networks did everything in their power to silence any mention of a drug which the Journal of Antibiotics said in 2017 was an "enigmatic multifaceted ‘wonder’ drug which continues to surprise and exceed expectations." Nowhere was this more obvious than in the discussion of how widespread use of Ivermectin beat Covid in India, the topic of the 14th most popular article of 2021 "India's Ivermectin Blackout" which was read by over 653,000 readers. Unfortunately, while vaccines continue to fail upward and now some countries are now pushing with a 4th, 5th and even 6th vaccine, Ivermectin remains a dirty word. There was more covid coverage in the 13th most popular article of 2021, "Surprise Surprise - Fauci Lied Again": Rand Paul Reacts To Wuhan Bombshell" which was viewed no less than 725,000 times. Paul's reaction came following a report which revealed that Anthony Fauci's NIAID and its parent, the NIH, funded Gain-of-Function research in Wuhan, China, strongly hinting that the emergence of covid was the result of illicit US funding. Not that long ago, Fauci had called Paul a 'liar' for accusing him of funding the risky research, in which viruses are genetically modified or otherwise altered to make them more transmissible to humans. And while we could say that Paul got the last laugh, Fauci still remains Biden's top covid advisor, which may explain why one year after Biden vowed he would shut down the pandemic, the number of new cases just hit a new all time high. One hope we have for 2022 is that people will finally open their eyes... 2021 was not just about covid - soaring prices and relentless inflation were one of the most poignant topics. It got so bad that Biden's approval rating - and that of Democrats in general - tumbled toward the end of the year, putting their mid-term ambitions in jeopardy, as the public mood soured dramatically in response to the explosion in prices. And while one can debate whether it was due to supply-issues, such as the collapse in trans-pacific supply chains and the chronic lack of labor to grow the US infrastructure, or due to roaring demand sparked by trillions in fiscal stimulus, but when the "Big Short" Michael Burry warned that hyperinflation is coming, the people listened, and with over 731,000 reads, the 12th most popular article of 2021 was "Michael Burry Warns Weimar Hyperinflation Is Coming."  Of course, Burry did not say anything we haven't warned about for the past 12 years, but at least he got the people's attention, and even mainstream names such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey agreed with him, predicting that bitcoin will be what is left after the dollar has collapsed. While hyperinflation may will be the endgame, the question remains: when. For the 11th most read article of 2021, we go back to a topic touched upon moments ago when we addressed the full-blown media campaign seeking to discredit Ivermectin, in this case via the D-grade liberal tabloid Rolling Stone (whose modern incarnation is sadly a pale shadow of the legend that house Hunter S. Thompson's unforgettable dispatches) which published the very definition of fake news when it called Ivermectin a "horse dewormer" and claimed that, according to a hospital employee, people were overdosing on it. Just a few hours later, the article was retracted as we explained in "Rolling Stone Issues 'Update' After Horse Dewormer Hit-Piece Debunked" and over 812,000 readers found out that pretty much everything had been a fabrication. But of course, by then it was too late, and the reputation of Ivermectin as a potential covid cure had been further tarnished, much to the relief of the pharma giants who had a carte blanche to sell their experimental wares. The 10th most popular article of 2021 brings us to another issue that had split America down the middle, namely the story surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse and the full-blown media campaign that declared the teenager guilty, even when eventually proven innocent. Just days before the dramatic acquittal, we learned that "FBI Sat On Bombshell Footage From Kyle Rittenhouse Shooting", which was read by over 822,000 readers. It was unfortunate to learn that once again the scandal-plagued FBI stood at the center of yet another attempt at mass misinformation, and we can only hope that one day this "deep state" agency will be overhauled from its core, or better yet, shut down completely. As for Kyle, he will have the last laugh: according to unconfirmed rumors, his numerous legal settlements with various media outlets will be in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.  And from the great US social schism, we again go back to Covid for the 9th most popular article of 2021, which described the terrifying details of one of the most draconian responses to covid in the entire world: that of Australia. Over 900,000 readers were stunned to read that the "Australian Army Begins Transferring COVID-Positive Cases, Contacts To Quarantine Camps." Alas, the latest surge in Australian cases to nosebleed, record highs merely confirms that this unprecedented government lockdown - including masks and vaccines - is nothing more than an exercise in how far government can treat its population as a herd of sheep without provoking a violent response.  The 8th most popular article of 2021 looks at the market insanity of early 2021 when, at the end of January, we saw some of the most-shorted, "meme" stocks explode higher as the Reddit daytrading horde fixed their sights on a handful of hedge funds and spent billions in stimmies in an attempt to force unprecedented ramps. That was the case with "GME Soars 75% After-Hours, Erases Losses After Liquidity-Constrained Robinhood Lifts Trading Ban", which profiled the daytrading craze that gave an entire generation the feeling that it too could win in these manipulated capital markets. Then again, judging by the waning retail interest, it is possible that the excitement of the daytrading army is fading as rapidly as it first emerged, and that absent more "stimmies" markets will remain the playground of the rich and central banks. Kyle Rittenhouse may soon be a very rich man after the ordeal he went through, but the media's mission of further polarizing US society succeeded, and millions of Americans will never accept that the teenager was innocent. It's also why with just over 1 million reads, the 7th most read article on Zero Hedge this year was that "Portland Rittenhouse Protest Escalates Into Riot." Luckily, this is not a mid-term election year and there were no moneyed interests seeking to prolong this particular riot, unlike what happened in the summer of 2020... and what we are very much afraid will again happen next year when very critical elections are on deck.  With just over 1.03 million views, the 6th most popular post focused on a viral Twitter thread on Friday from Dr Robert Laone, which laid out a disturbing trend; the most-vaccinated countries in the world are experiencing  a surge in COVID-19 cases, while the least-vaccinated countries were not. As we originally discussed in ""This Is Worrying Me Quite A Bit": mRNA Vaccine Inventor Shares Viral Thread Showing COVID Surge In Most-Vaxxed Countries", this trend has only accelerated in recent weeks with the emergence of the Omicron strain. Unfortunately, instead of engaging in a constructive discussion to see why the science keeps failing again and again, Twitter's response was chilling: with just days left in 2021, it suspended the account of Dr. Malone, one of the inventors of mRNA technology. Which brings to mind something Aaron Rogers said: "If science can't be questioned it's not science anymore it's propaganda & that's the truth." In a year that was marked a flurry of domestic fiascoes by the Biden administration, it is easy to forget that the aged president was also responsible for the biggest US foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, when the botched evacuation of Afghanistan made the US laughing stock of the world after 12 US servicemembers were killed. So it's probably not surprising that over 1.1 million readers were stunned to watch what happened next, which we profiled in the 5th most popular post of 2021, where in response to the Afghan trajedy, "Biden Delivers Surreal Press Conference, Vows To Hunt Down Isis, Blames Trump." One person watching the Biden presser was Xi Jinping, who may have once harbored doubts about reclaiming Taiwan but certainly does not any more. The 4th most popular article of 2021 again has to do with with covid, and specifically the increasingly bizarre clinical response to the disease. As we detailed in "Something Really Strange Is Happening At Hospitals All Over America" while emergency rooms were overflowing, it certainly wasn't from covid cases. Even more curiously, one of the primary ailments leading to an onslaught on ERs across the nation was heart-related issues, whether arrhytmia, cardiac incidents or general heart conditions. We hope that one day there will be a candid discussion on this topic, but until then it remains one of the topics seen as taboo by the mainstream media and the deplatforming overlords, so we'll just leave it at that. We previously discussed the anti-Ivermectin narrative that dominated the mainstream press throughout 2021 and the 3rd most popular article of the year may hold clues as to why: in late September, pharma giant Pfizer and one of the two companies to peddle an mRNA based vaccine, announced that it's launching an accelerated Phase 2/3 trial for a COVID prophylactic pill designed to ward off COVID in those may have come in contact with the disease. And, as we described in "Pfizer Launches Final Study For COVID Drug That's Suspiciously Similar To 'Horse Paste'," 1.75 million readers learned that Pfizer's drug shared at least one mechanism of action as Ivermectin - an anti-parasitic used in humans for decades, which functions as a protease inhibitor against Covid-19, which researchers speculate "could be the biophysical basis behind its antiviral efficiency." Surely, this too was just another huge coincidence. In the second most popular article of 2021, almost 2 million readers discovered (to their "shock") that Fauci and the rest of Biden's COVID advisors were proven wrong about "the science" of COVID vaccines yet again. After telling Americans that vaccines offer better protection than natural infection, a new study out of Israel suggested the opposite is true: natural infection offers a much better shield against the delta variant than vaccines, something we profiled in "This Ends The Debate' - Israeli Study Shows Natural Immunity 13x More Effective Than Vaccines At Stopping Delta." We were right about one thing: anyone who dared to suggest that natural immunity was indeed more effective than vaccines was promptly canceled and censored, and all debate almost instantly ended. Since then we have had tens of millions of "breakout" cases where vaccinated people catch covid again, while any discussion why those with natural immunity do much better remains under lock and key. It may come as a surprise to many that the most read article of 2021 was not about covid, or Biden, or inflation, or China, or even the extremely polarized US congress (and/or society), but was about one of the most long-suffering topics on these pages: precious metals and their prices. Yes, back in February the retail mania briefly targeted silver and as millions of reddit daytraders piled in in hopes of squeezing the precious metal higher, the price of silver surged higher only to tumble just as quickly as it has risen as the seller(s) once again proved more powerful than the buyers. We described this in "Silver Futures Soar 8%, Rise Above $29 As Reddit Hordes Pile In", an article which some 2.4 million gold and silver bugs read with hope, only to see their favorite precious metals slump for much of the rest of the year. And yes, the fact that both gold and silver ended the year sharply lower than where they started even though inflation hit the highest level in 40 years, remains one of the great mysteries of 2021. With all that behind us, and as we wave goodbye to another bizarre, exciting, surreal year, what lies in store for 2022, and the next decade? We don't know: as frequent and not so frequent readers are aware, we do not pretend to be able to predict the future and we don't try despite endless allegations that we constantly predict the collapse of civilization: we leave the predicting to the "smartest people in the room" who year after year have been consistently wrong about everything, and never more so than in 2021 (even the Fed admitted it is clueless when Powell said it was time to retire the term "transitory"), which destroyed the reputation of central banks, of economists, of conventional media and the professional "polling" and "strategist" class forever, not to mention all those "scientists" who made a mockery of the "expertise class" with their bungled response to the covid pandemic. We merely observe, find what is unexpected, entertaining, amusing, surprising or grotesque in an increasingly bizarre, sad, and increasingly crazy world, and then just write about it. We do know, however, that after a record $30 trillion in stimulus was conjured out of thin air by the world's central banks and politicians in the past two years, the attempt to reverse this monetary and fiscal firehose in a world addicted to trillions in newly created liquidity now that central banks are freaking out after finally getting ot the inflation they were hoping to create for so long, will end in tears. We are confident, however, that in the end it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who will eventually be revealed as fully naked. When that happens and what happens after is anyone's guess. But, as we have promised - and delivered - every year for the past 13, we will be there to document every aspect of it. Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck in 2022, with much success in trading and every other avenue of life. We bid farewell to 2021 with our traditional and unwavering year-end promise: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day - usually with a cynical smile - helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that defines every aspect of our increasingly broken system. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/02/2022 - 03:44.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 2nd, 2022

A Myth Is Born: How CDC, FDA, & Media Wove A Web Of Ivermectin Lies That Outlives The Truth

A Myth Is Born: How CDC, FDA, & Media Wove A Web Of Ivermectin Lies That Outlives The Truth Via RESCUE with Michael Capuzzo Substack, New Mexico officials admit they were wrong: Two people died from covid. NOT from ivermectin. Yet the CDC generated the nation's highest health alert and a thousand fake headlines on false cases. Linda Bonvie  and Mary Beth Pfeiffer When a Texas cattleman, seventy-nine, died last September in New Mexico after contracting covid, his family never anticipated the worldwide headlines that would ensue. In a ballyhooed press conference, New Mexico Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase, the state’s top health chief, announced New Mexico’s first ivermectin “overdose,” soon adding a second fatality allegedly from “ivermectin toxicity.” An ornament with a photo of the Texas cattleman, whose death was falsely attributed to ivermectin and used as part of a deliberate effort to make that perfectly safe drug appear to be highly dangerous, is lovingly hung on the family Christmas tree by his daughter.  Now, Scrase has acknowledged that his repeated, what he called “offhand,” assertions were groundless. Two deaths were not caused by ivermectin, a long-used generic drug that was emerging as a covid treatment. Instead, he said that the pair died because they “actually just delayed their care with covid.”  That is a big difference. Scrase backpedaled on December 1 in a little-noticed online press briefing and only after we pressed his agency to provide evidence for its claims of so-called “ivermectin deaths.” Officials had repeatedly said they were awaiting a toxicology report on the cattleman’s death. Yet we learned that the report was never even ordered or done, and, moreover, the man’s death was ruled by the state’s coroner as being from “natural” causes. Not a single media outlet reported Scrase’s admission, even as dozens, including the The Hill and The New York Times, had eagerly covered his original assertions about ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2015. “I don’t want more people to die,” read one early headline, quoting Scrase. “It’s the wrong medicine for something really serious,” Scrase said in the Times article. Doctors, scientists, and toxicologists worldwide were puzzled by the assertions, because ivermectin is an extraordinarily safe, FDA-approved drug. A fixture on the WHO’s list of 100 essential medicines all hospital systems are recommended to carry, nearly four billion doses have been given in four decades. New Mexico became a key player in a broad pattern of governmental deception late last summer to portray ivermectin as dangerous, in tandem with three related developments. Research strongly supported the drug’s efficacy against covid; prescriptions were soaring; and public health officials were single-mindedly focused not on treatment but on vaccination. We previously reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s tweeted warning last August against using ivermectin meant for livestock was prompted by incorrect—and unverified—information from Mississippi. Health officials there had posted an alert suggesting the state’s poison control center was deluged with hundreds of calls over ingestion of livestock ivermectin; in reality, we found, four reports were received. But, fueled by bits of contorted evidence like this, the anti-ivermectin train was unstoppable. We have now learned that, in the rush to bury a drug described as “astonishingly safe” and long used globally to quell animal and human parasites, FDA was not alone. Emails we obtained from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control show that an influential August 26 national health alert on ivermectin was spurred, like the FDA tweet, by a sliver of evidence: just three cases of alleged ivermectin side effects, two involving animal formulations. No patient died; one appeared to have been hospitalized, and one declined any medical help. Nonetheless, those three reports, obtained by Atlanta-based CDC from the Georgia poison control center, sealed the decision to issue the nation’s highest-level health warning, according to the emails.  Shortly after learning of three cases, CDC's Michael Yeh writes, “we have evidence of significant toxicity.” Referring to planning for the health alert, “the consensus was that unless we’re seeing bad adverse effects from ivermectin, we’d hold off,” wrote a CDC medical toxicity officer, Dr. Michael Yeh, in an August 17 email. “Now it sounds like we have evidence of significant toxicity.” That email was written seventy-two minutes after brief information on three reports arrived in a separate email. While CDC’s intention might have been to protect people, the alert is emblematic of what had become a national obsession: Portray an early treatment for covid—whether in the animal or human form—as potentially toxic. CDC hopped aboard. In an email later that day, Yeh laid out the evidence. The most serious case involved a man, seventy-seven, who had was said to have taken a dose of ivermectin “apparently meant for an 1800 lb. bovine.” He had “hallucinations and tremors, which improved but he was eventually diagnosed with COVID-19” for which he needed only supplemental oxygen, Yeh notes. In two other cases, a woman who took the human form of the drug was said to have suffered “some confusion.” Another woman had “subjective visual disturbances” after taking “a product meant for sheep” but declined medical help. These side effects are in keeping with what the National Institutes of Health calls a “well-tolerated” anti-parasitic drug with such adverse effects as “dizziness, pruritis, nausea, or diarrhea.” French researchers published a review last March of 350 ivermectin articles in the medical literature and found adverse effects to be “infrequent and usually mild to moderate.” The study, by the French drugmaker MedinCell, noted that no deaths were reported even after accidental overdoses or suicide attempts. In view of ivermectin’s well-established safety profile, our request for CDC documents under the Freedom of Information Act sought the rationale for the health alert and specifically asked for the data CDC used from the American Association of Poison Control Centers, to which state centers report. (AAPCC had refused to provide it.) In response to the FOIA request, CDC asserted, quite remarkably, that it “no longer possesses or has access to the data” because its “licensing agreement” with AAPCC had lapsed. The data might have specified, for example, just how many calls were related either to animal or human formulations; the alert instead lumps all reports together, making it difficult to fathom the extent of livestock ivermectin use. The CDC asserts in a letter to us that it no longer possesses the data on which a national health alert was based. An increase in ivermectin calls to poison control centers in 2021 is not in dispute, especially as doctors learned of studies showing fewer deaths, shorter hospitalizations, and outpatient success. Poison control centers often see upticks in calls when new drugs come into use, with many callers seeking only information. Centers also field calls on old, long-established medications. Acetaminophen alone generated 47,000 reports in 2019 and led to 164 deaths, according to the AAPCC. This context, of course, was missing from CDC’s alert. Calls to poison control centers for use of animal and human ivermectin grew five- to eight-fold from “pre-pandemic levels,” the alert ominously reported. At the same time, it said, ivermectin prescriptions had soared twenty-four-fold—in a perfectly legal trend led by physicians but one the CDC clearly found unacceptable and alarming. No distinction was made between animal and human formulations in the alert, which was peppered with phrases like “ivermectin misuse and overdose;” “seizures, coma, and death;” “sheep drench,” “severe illness,” and “rapid increase.” The message: Don’t use either form, even as seventy-one studies show 64 percent of 50,180 patients improved after taking ivermectin for covid. Despite the alert and New Mexico’s unfounded pronouncements, no one has died from ivermectin poisoning among 2,112 cases logged by AAPCC from January 1 to December 14, 2021. Two percent of those reports, about forty-two, involved a “major” effect, an AAPCC bulletin states. Seventy percent were dismissed as having no effect, “nontoxic exposure,” and the like. One category of those calls might rightfully have been classified as anti-ivermectin hysteria. New Mexico, for example, urged citizens to report any known ivermectin use to the state’s poison control center, even if  “someone you know has taken it.”  We asked Dr. Paul Marik, a founder of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, his thoughts on the effort to vilify ivermectin as dangerous. “Ivermectin is one of the safest medications on this planet; far safer than aspirin or acetaminophen,” he said. “This is a fairy tale. Disney could not come up with a better fairy tale.”  But it was no kind of fantasy for the cattleman’s family when he got sick. It was a painful experience with a politicized health system. A “Very Puzzling” Phone Call It wasn’t a secret that a cattleman, who died while in New Mexico from covid, took an animal formulation of ivermectin. It is a drug he was well versed in using, having routinely administered it to his herds in Texas. Others in the family also used Ivomec, a liquid formulation of ivermectin for cattle, since news spread of ivermectin’s effectiveness against covid. “Practically everyone I know takes it,” we were told by a close family friend and business associate of the Texan. (We are withholding the man’s name at the family’s request.) Ivermectin is just one of 167 drugs tested for safety and approved by the FDA for both animals and humans. Yet those who take either form of ivermectin for covid have been characterized as being anti-science and influenced by “misinformation.” The Texan is one of two individuals who, according to repeated statements from New Mexico officials, died from “ivermectin toxicity.” While their identities were not revealed by the department of health, a source familiar with the cases released them to us during this investigation. Documents and interviews with those knowledgeable about the death of the rancher tell a different story than the narrative put forth by New Mexico health officials. When the cattleman arrived at the ER on the evening of September 2 with his wife, he was soon diagnosed as suffering from acute dehydration as well as being covid positive. His daughter arrived at the hospital several hours later. In an interview, she told of the surprise eightieth birthday party for her dad the weekend before, where eight of the eleven family members attending ended up with covid. Everyone seemed to have mild symptoms, she recalled. With her dad in New Mexico and not feeling well, she suggested he be checked out. “My father was not very good at keeping himself hydrated,” she said, and at that point he didn’t seem to be drinking at all. He arrived at the hospital dehydrated to the point that his kidneys had become damaged, doctors told the family. Lacking a proper dialysis machine at the Lincoln County Medical Center, the family was told that they were trying to locate another hospital to send him to. Unfortunately, he never made it out of Ruidoso, dying on September 3. But what happened while his wife and daughter anxiously waited outside the ICU, soon after being informed that the Texan was likely going to pass away, struck them as most peculiar.   His daughter recalled a “very puzzling” phone call her mother received—so disturbing, in fact, that she felt like “yanking the phone from her.” An unknown man was on the line asking if her father took ivermectin. It was the only time she remembers that particular drug being discussed in the hospital. “I feel like they were pushing her. It was really irritating,” she said, adding, “it was not a doctor or nurse, but mom cannot remember who it was or what they represented.” They were most interested, she recalled, in grilling her mother about her dad’s use of Ivomec. At the very next press briefing, Dr. Scrase announced that a “reliable source” reported the state’s “first death” from someone who took ivermectin. While he hedged his bets about the role of ivermectin—and mentioned delayed care—he nonetheless repeatedly characterized the man’s death and one other as specifically being caused by ivermectin. However, the cattleman’s death certificate, filed at the end of September, says otherwise. It stated he passed away from “natural” causes. His death was not listed as requiring any type of “pending investigation,” and the medical examiner’s office confirmed the fact that no autopsy or toxicology report was done. But Dr. Scrase’s original tale proved to be very popular with the media. USA Today liked it so much the paper released several versions. “Two die of ivermectin poisoning,” it announced the same day the death certificate was officiated. Five days after that, a headline in The Hill trumpeted, “New Mexico reports two deaths from ivermectin.” The New Mexico Department of Health has yet to respond to any questions about why a straightforward correction was not made to the media early on regarding the two deaths that were erroneously attributed to ivermectin. It is also not clear why at a recent press briefing the agency was continuing to perpetuate this fallacy even after admitting it was untruthful, rather than correcting the record—and why they have alleged another ivermectin-related death, again without offering any evidence to that effect. The second supposed ivermectin death involved a thirty-eight-year-old woman from Cuba, New Mexico, reportedly of Navajo heritage. An autopsy was done, but the results have yet to be released. While Scrase has acknowledged that the two deaths were from covid, not ivermectin, he nonetheless announced what he called yet a “third” ivermectin death at his December 1 briefing. The new death, Scrase said, is a “60-year-old man who took a horse preparation. This gentleman took 150 milligrams, [suffered] liver failure, kidney failure and actually died from the ivermectin without the covid.”  As with the first two cases, the cause of death remains to be seen. According to Dr. Marik, 150 milligrams of ivermectin can be safely tolerated. “I do not know of a single case of liver failure and organ failure due to ivermectin,” he wrote in an email. Both the CDC and New Mexico Department of Health declined to answer questions for this article. Despite ongoing requests by the New Mexico Department of Health for residents to report any ivermectin use, as this slide displayed during a December 1 press conference shows, only 29 calls came into the state’s poison control center for most all of 2021. The graphic also states that ivermectin caused three deaths in the state, despite the fact that during that very same press briefing it was acknowledged that the first two of the alleged deaths were due to covid, not ivermectin (with no evidence released to support the third claim). The CDC emails suggest it took very little to convince the agency to issue a national warning about the use of ivermectin. Details on those three cases are scant, the emails show.  Ivermectin dosages are missing or, in one case, described as “concentration unknown.” One woman “was sent to the hospital, but her baseline mental status was unclear.” Another woman was to be contacted for follow-up after declining aid, but there is no indication this was done.   These anecdotal bits are the threads from which a mythical tapestry about so-called “ivermectin toxicity” has been woven. This myth lives on in easily accessed online articles. Among them: Mississippi’s health alert on August 19 said 70 percent of poison-control calls were for ingestion of livestock ivermectin. The actual figure was 2 percent; it was not corrected for forty-six days. FDA claimed last March to have “received multiple reports” of injury and hospitalization after people took livestock ivermectin. In reality, the agency relied on four reports, a spokesperson said in an email. CDC officials referenced the FDA “consumer warning” when planning their own contribution to the myth of ivermectin harm. It matters little that false Mississippi figures were corrected (at our behest) by The New York Times, twice, and The Washington Post. What matters is the hurricane of fear, whipped up by New Mexico, Mississippi, the FDA, and CDC—and abetted by media—made ivermectin into something it was not. So where do we stand as vaccines fail and cases rise? On October 28, WisPolitics.com reported the case of a family that failed to convince a court to give FDA-approved ivermectin to their dying loved one. “There have been multiple reports nationally,” the website reported, “of people taking the version of the drug intended for animals to combat COVID-19 and sickening themselves in the process.” Unsupported in the medical literature, the false image of ivermectin convinced doctors in that case to suggest that “the prescribed dosage may be lethal.” Indeed, the invented peril, rather than promise, of ivermectin has become ingrained in the national media and consciousness. That is the story that lives. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/24/2021 - 23:15.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 25th, 2021

"Follow The Science": A Potent Source Of Authority For Politicians

'Follow The Science': A Potent Source Of Authority For Politicians Authored by Nathan Worcester via The Epoch Times, To hear the way some politicians talk, when it comes to COVID-19, they’re all “following the science,” not to mention “the data.” “Look at the data. Follow the science. Listen to the experts. Be smart,” now-former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote on Twitter in May 2020, after “Two Weeks to Flatten the Curve” had fully transitioned to “The New Normal.” “We’ve been operating on facts and data and science from the very beginning,” said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker in a campaign ad titled simply “Follow The Science.” President Joe Biden has frequently appealed to “the science.” In an executive order announcing a vaccine mandate for federal workers, for instance, he said his administration used “the best available data and science-based public health measures.” In an article criticizing Biden’s move to push vaccine boosters in September, StatNews’s Lev Facher described “Follow the Science” as “a mantra” for the administration. White House chief medical adviser on COVID-19 Dr. Anthony Fauci stands at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., on Feb. 11, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images) “The science” emerged long before 2020 as a potent source of authority for politicians. Yet while the scientific method is a powerful tool for advancing human potential, the belief that it alone can guide us is an example of “scientism.” Scientism is, in the words of public intellectual Scott Masson, “the belief that moral or evaluative judgments are merely subjective and that only the ‘hard’ sciences—think physics, chemistry, or biology—furnish legitimate objective knowledge.” While few American politicians would openly endorse this position, the actions many have taken during the COVID-19 pandemic reflect scientism in deed, if not in word. Scientism lets politicians off the hook for their decisions. They didn’t really make a decision—they merely “followed the science.” As a scientistic credo, “Follow the science” doesn’t just abrogate leaders’ accountability as decision-makers. It also does violence to the nature of science, which seldom offers the clear-cut, politically useful conclusions that politicians want. People wearing face masks stand in line as they wait to be vaccinated at the Sydney Olympic Park Vaccination Centre at Homebush in Sydney, Australia, on Aug. 16, 2021. (David Gray/AFP via Getty Images) A popular meme contrasts the “scientific method” with the “science worshiper’s method.” While the former moves in a rigorous, self-correcting way toward results that may or may not align with a specific hypothesis, the latter constructs a model and then only accepts the data that will confirm that model. At its most extreme, “following the science” is inflexibly dogmatic. When less inflexible, “following the science” can lead to sudden, sharp changes in public policy, often in the face of other evidence and goals separate from the COVID-19 response—for example, avoiding other health problems or economic disruption traceable to such policies. Masking In the case of masking, “following the science” has led to a series of dramatic reversals. Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks to members of Congress in Washington on Sept. 9, 2020. (Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images) In February 2020, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams wrote on Twitter that Americans should “STOP BUYING MASKS!” as they were “not effective.” In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) maintained that healthy individuals didn’t need to wear masks. Yet as mask production ramped up in the United States, U.S. public health authorities changed their tune. In early April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that Americans consider wearing cloth masks. By June 2020, WHO recommended that healthy members of the general public wear masks in situations where physical distancing wasn’t possible, citing new scientific evidence on transmission. A man enters the headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 15, 2021. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images) In 2021, the CDC repeatedly shifted on masking. In July 2021, it reversed a May recommendation that vaccinated people need not wear masks, drawing rebukes from Republican governors. Some experts believe that such shifts mark a significant departure from our understanding of masking before the pandemic. “When it comes to the point of certain interventions that are sort of weakly supported, and if you go back and look at everything that was published before 2020, and come to this completely different conclusion if you read the things that published later on in 2020, about masks or the ability of lockdowns to stop and end spread indefinitely—long-term lockdowns that have devastating collateral damage—and that type of thing. And then you realize how politicized this really has become,” immunologist Steven Templeton, a professor at Indiana University, formerly with the CDC, said in an interview with The Epoch Times’ EpochTV. One of the most politicized issues is the masking of young children. While advocates have argued that children could be major transmitters of COVID-19, opponents have argued that children are neither major vectors of the disease nor vulnerable to serious illness or death. They have also pointed out the understudied developmental and physiological risks of masking young children. A pupil wearing a face mask attends a class in a file photo. (JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images) One 2021 preprint found no correlation between mask mandates and COVID-19 case rates among students and faculty across schools in Florida, New York, and Massachusetts, though the authors included caveats about how well their findings could be generalized. Still, for many schools, “following the science” has led to universal mask mandates. Portland Public Schools, for example, requires the masking of children at all times and places, indoor or outdoor, and irrespective of vaccination status, “except when eating, drinking or playing a musical wind instrument.” You realize how politicized this really has become. — Steven Templeton, professor at Indiana University In one instance, guerilla footage showed kindergartners “eating” while sitting outside on buckets in 40-degree weather while socially distanced from playmates. In cases such as these, “following the science” has the look and feel of political theater. Men wearing protective suits make their way at a bus stop at Narita international airport on the first day of closed borders to prevent the spread of the new Omicron variant amid the pandemic in Narita, east of Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 30, 2021. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters) Omicron and Beyond The Omicron variant of COVID-19 hasn’t yet caused a surge in serious COVID-19 cases. Yet as soon as the new strain made international headlines, governments across the world were ready to “follow the science,” or at least take some sort of action in its name. The United States, the UK, and other countries have banned travel from many countries in southern Africa, where Omicron was first detected. Japan, meanwhile, barred entry of all foreign nationals. WHO and other scientists and physicians argued that these bans weren’t warranted, in part because they would do little to slow the variant’s spread. As the new strain made international headlines, governments across the world were ready to ‘Follow the Science.’ The CEO of Pfizer, too, has speculated that the variant could push up the debut of its latest booster, telling CNBC, “I think we will need a fourth dose.” For now, however, the new variant appears to be mild. To date, Omicron doesn’t seem to have caused a single verifiable death. World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference organized by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on July 3, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via Reuters) When asked by The Epoch Times if Omicron had led to a single confirmed fatality, a WHO spokesperson sent its weekly epidemiological update for Dec. 7. According to that guide: “All of the 212 confirmed cases identified in 18 European Union countries for which there was information available on severity were asymptomatic or mild. While South Africa saw an 82 percent increase in hospital admissions due to COVID-19 (from 502 to 912) during the week 28 November–4 December 2021, it is not yet known the proportion of these with the Omicron variant.” In addition, the WHO spokesperson said, “For Omicron, we have not had any deaths reported, but it is still early in the clinical course of disease and this may change.” The CDC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times on whether there were any confirmed Omicron deaths. Other examples abound. For instance, while data show vaccinated individuals are significantly less likely to die of COVID-19 than the unvaccinated, “following the science” to preapproved conclusions may prematurely foreclose or minimize serious concerns about vaccine safety, particularly in relation to heart inflammation or other cardiovascular disease. In September testimony before the FDA in its evaluation of the Pfizer booster, entrepreneur Steve Kirsch said that Pfizer’s vaccines kill more people than they save, citing Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) data, among other information. Just days ago, physicians and scientists in the UK reportedly warned that post-pandemic stress disorder is driving a rise in heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues, including among younger patients. Some commentators speculated that the rise could be related to vaccines. Candace Owens wrote on Twitter in response to the story: “I’ve just learned that the sudden increase in heart-related illnesses is likely due to **checks Big Pharma notes** Post-Pandemic Stress Disorder. Nothing to see here!” Following Science, Not ‘Following the Science’ While New York and New York City have pursued hardline policies, including the city’s vaccine pass system applicable to children as young as 5, the state of Florida has blocked mandates and prioritized individual choice. Today, case rates in Florida are lower than in New York, likely in part because of the disease’s seasonality. Moreover, while Floridians are on average older than New York residents, suggesting that they should be more vulnerable to COVID-19, the death rate per 100,000 is still lower in that state than in New York, according to NBC News. New York City itself has had more than 34,000 deaths, due partly to major early clusters in nursing homes in the city. People visit Clearwater Beach after Governor Ron DeSantis opened the beaches at 7 a.m. on May 4, 2020 in Clearwater, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) The Senate’s Dec. 8 vote to block Biden’s OSHA vaccine mandate for large employers, which came soon after the 6th Circuit Court overruled the same mandate, could signal the resilience of checks and balances against compulsion in the name of “the science.” Elsewhere in the world, “following the science,” often in spite of other scientific evidence, is leading to more draconian policies. New Brunswick, Canada, has permitted grocery stores to exclude the unvaccinated, violating the basic human right to food articulated in Article 25 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada–U.S. border crossing in Windsor, Ont., in a file photo. (The Canadian Press/Rob Gurdebeke) Numerous studies have raised questions about whether vaccination stems transmission, with some suggesting that vaccinated people with suppressed symptoms of the disease may even be major drivers of new infection. Regardless, “the science” demands greater sacrifices by the day. Good science can and should inform our judgments as well as those of politicians. But unthinking gestures toward “the science” don’t shield any of us from responsibility—though as Jeffrey A. Tucker of The Brownstone Institute points out, the bureaucrats whose banalities enforce our new scientistic consensuses shirk any blame for its self-evident failures. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/17/2021 - 22:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 17th, 2021

Futures Surge After Powell-Driven Rout Proves To Be "Transitory"

Futures Surge After Powell-Driven Rout Proves To Be "Transitory" Heading into yesterday's painful close to one of the ugliest months since March 2020, which saw a huge forced liquidation rebalance with more than $8 billion in Market on Close orders, we said that while we are seeing "forced selling dump into the close today" this would be followed by "forced Dec 1 buying frontrunning after the close." Forced selling dump into the close today. Forced Dec 1 buying frontrunning after the close — zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 30, 2021 And just as expected, despite yesterday's dramatic hawkish pivot by Powell, who said it was time to retire the word transitory in describing the inflation outlook (the same word the Fed used hundreds of times earlier in 2021 sparking relentless mockery from this website for being clueless as usual) while also saying the U.S. central bank would consider bringing forward plans for tapering its bond buying program at its next meeting in two weeks, the frontrunning of new monthly inflows is in full force with S&P futures rising over 1.2%, Nasdaq futures up 1.3%, and Dow futures up 0.9%, recovering almost all of Tuesday’s decline. The seemingly 'hawkish' comments served as a double whammy for markets, which were already nervous about the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and its potential to hinder a global economic recovery. "At this point, COVID does not appear to be the biggest long-term Street fear, although it could have the largest impact if the new (or next) variant turns out to be worse than expected," Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst for S&P and Dow Jones indices, said in a note. "That honor goes to inflation, which continues to be fed by supply shortages, labor costs, worker shortages, as well as consumers, who have not pulled back." However, new month fund flows proved too powerful to sustain yesterday's month-end dump and with futures rising - and panic receding - safe havens were sold and the 10-year Treasury yield jumped almost 6bps, approaching 1.50%. The gap between yields on 5-year and 30-year Treasuries was around the narrowest since March last year. Crude oil and commodity-linked currencies rebounded. Gold remained just under $1,800 and bitcoin traded just over $57,000. There was more good news on the covid front with a WHO official saying some of the early indications are that most Omicron cases are mild with no severe cases. Separately Merck gained 3.8% in premarket trade after a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration narrowly voted to recommend the agency authorize the drugmaker's antiviral pill to treat COVID-19. Travel and leisure stocks also rebounded, with cruiseliners Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean rising more than 2.5% each. Easing of covid fears also pushed airlines and travel stocks higher in premarket trading: Southwest +2.9%, Delta +2.5%, Spirit +2.3%, American +2.2%, United +1.9%, JetBlue +1.3%. Vaccine makers traded modestly lower in pre-market trading after soaring in recent days as Wall Street weighs the widening spread of the omicron variant. Merck & Co. bucked the trend after its Covid-19 pill narrowly gained a key recommendation from advisers to U.S. regulators. Moderna slips 2.1%, BioNTech dips 1.3% and Pfizer is down 0.2%. Elsewhere, Occidental Petroleum led gains among the energy stocks, up 3.2% as oil prices climbed over 4% ahead of OPEC's meeting. Shares of major Wall Street lenders also moved higher after steep falls on Tuesday. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: Salesforce (CRM US) drops 5.9% in premarket trading after results and guidance missed estimates, with analysts highlighting currency-related headwinds and plateauing growth at the MuleSoft integration software business. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE US) falls 1.3% in premarket after the computer equipment maker’s quarterly results showed the impact of the global supply chain crunch. Analysts noted solid order trends. Merck (MRK US) shares rise 5.8% in premarket after the company’s Covid-19 pill narrowly wins backing from FDA advisers, which analysts say is a sign of progress despite lingering challenges. Chinese electric vehicle makers were higher in premarket, leading U.S. peers up, after Nio, Li and XPeng reported strong deliveries for November; Nio (NIO US) +4%, Li (LI US ) +6%, XPeng (XPEV US) +4.3%. Ardelyx (ARDX US) shares gain as much as 34% in premarket, extending the biotech’s bounce after announcing plans to launch its irritable bowel syndrome treatment Ibsrela in the second quarter. CTI BioPharma (CTIC US) shares sink 18% in premarket after the company said the FDA extended the review period for a new drug application for pacritinib. Allbirds (BIRD US) fell 7.5% postmarket after the low end of the shoe retailer’s 2021 revenue forecast missed the average analyst estimate. Zscaler (ZS US) posted “yet another impressive quarter,” according to BMO. Several analysts increased their price targets for the security software company. Shares rose 4.6% in postmarket. Ambarella (AMBA US) rose 14% in postmarket after forecasting revenue for the fourth quarter that beat the average analyst estimate. Emcore (EMKR US) fell 9% postmarket after the aerospace and communications supplier reported fiscal fourth-quarter Ebitda that missed the average analyst estimate. Box (BOX US) shares gained as much as 10% in postmarket trading after the cloud company raised its revenue forecast for the full year. Meanwhile, the omicron variant continues to spread around the globe, though symptoms so far appear to be relatively mild. The Biden administration plans to tighten rules on travel to the U.S., and Japan said it would bar foreign residents returning from 10 southern African nations. As Bloomberg notes, volatility is buffeting markets as investors scrutinize whether the pandemic recovery can weather diminishing monetary policy support and potential risks from the omicron virus variant. Global manufacturing activity stabilized last month, purchasing managers’ gauges showed Wednesday, and while central banks are scaling back ultra-loose settings, financial conditions remain favorable in key economies. “The reality is hotter inflation coupled with a strong economic backdrop could end the Fed’s bond buying program as early as the first quarter of next year,” Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment Management, said in emailed comments. “With potential changes in policy on the horizon, market participants should expect additional market volatility in this uncharted territory.” Looking ahead, Powell is back on the Hill for day 2, and is due to testify before a House Financial Services Committee hybrid hearing at 10 a.m. ET. On the economic data front, November readings on U.S. private payrolls and manufacturing activity will be closely watched later in the day to gauge the health of the American economy. Investors are also awaiting the Fed's latest "Beige Book" due at 2:00 p.m. ET. On the economic data front, November readings on U.S. private payrolls and manufacturing activity will be closely watched later in the day to gauge the health of the American economy. European equities soared more than 1.2%, with travel stocks and carmakers leading broad-based gain in the Stoxx Europe 600 index, all but wiping out Tuesday’s decline that capped only the third monthly loss for the benchmark this year.  Travel, miners and autos are the strongest sectors. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Proximus shares rise as much as 6.5% after the company said it’s started preliminary talks regarding a potential deal involving TeleSign, with a SPAC merger among options under consideration. Dr. Martens gains as much as 4.6% to the highest since Sept. 8 after being upgraded to overweight from equal- weight at Barclays, which says the stock’s de-rating is overdone. Husqvarna advances as much as 5.3% after the company upgraded financial targets ahead of its capital markets day, including raising the profit margin target to 13% from 10%. Wizz Air, Lufthansa and other travel shares were among the biggest gainers as the sector rebounded after Tuesday’s losses; at a conference Wizz Air’s CEO reiterated expansion plans. Wizz Air gains as much as 7.5%, Lufthansa as much as 6.8% Elis, Accor and other stocks in the French travel and hospitality sector also rise after the country’s government pledged to support an industry that’s starting to get hit by the latest Covid-19 wave. Pendragon climbs as much as 6.5% after the car dealer boosted its outlook after the company said a supply crunch in the new vehicle market wasn’t as bad as it had anticipated. UniCredit rises as much as 3.6%, outperforming the Stoxx 600 Banks Index, after Deutsche Bank added the stock to its “top picks” list alongside UBS, and Bank of Ireland, Erste, Lloyds and Societe Generale. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks also soared, snapping a three-day losing streak, led by energy and technology shares, as traders assessed the potential impact from the omicron coronavirus variant and U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s hawkish pivot. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 1.3% Wednesday. South Korea led regional gains after reporting strong export figures, which bolsters growth prospects despite record domestic Covid-19 cases. Hong Kong stocks also bounced back after falling Tuesday to their lowest level since September 2020. Asia’s stock benchmark rebounded from a one-year low, though sentiment remained clouded by lingering concerns on the omicron strain and Fed’s potentially faster tapering pace. Powell earlier hinted that the U.S. central bank will accelerate its asset purchases at its meeting later this month.  “A faster taper in the U.S. is still dependent on omicron not causing a big setback to the outlook in the next few weeks,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, adding that he expects the Fed’s policy rate “will still be low through next year, which should still enable good global growth which will benefit Asia.” Chinese equities edged up after the latest economic data showed manufacturing activity remained at relatively weak levels in November, missing economists’ expectations. Earlier, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said he’s fully confident in the nation’s economic growth in 2022 Japanese stocks rose, overcoming early volatility as traders parsed hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Electronics and auto makers were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which closed 0.4% higher after swinging between a gain of 0.9% and loss of 0.7% in the morning session. Daikin and Fanuc were the largest contributors to a 0.4% rise in the Nikkei 225, which similarly fluctuated. The Topix had dropped 4.8% over the previous three sessions due to concerns over the omicron virus variant. The benchmark fell 3.6% in November, its worst month since July 2020. “The market’s tolerance to risk is quite low at the moment, with people responding in a big way to the smallest bit of negative news,” said Tomo Kinoshita, a global market strategist at Invesco Asset Management in Tokyo. “But the decline in Japanese equities was far worse than those of other developed markets, so today’s market may find a bit of calm.” U.S. shares tumbled Tuesday after Powell said officials should weigh removing pandemic support at a faster pace and retired the word “transitory” to describe stubbornly high inflation In rates, bonds trade heavy, as yield curves bear-flatten. Treasuries extended declines with belly of the curve cheapening vs wings as traders continue to price in additional rate-hike premium over the next two years. Treasury yields were cheaper by up to 5bp across belly of the curve, cheapening 2s5s30s spread by ~5.5bp on the day; 10-year yields around 1.48%, cheaper by ~4bp, while gilts lag by additional 2bp in the sector. The short-end of the gilt curve markedly underperforms bunds and Treasuries with 2y yields rising ~11bps near 0.568%. Peripheral spreads widen with belly of the Italian curve lagging. The flattening Treasury yield curve “doesn’t suggest imminent doom for the equity market in and of itself,” Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Co., said on Bloomberg Television. “Alarm bells go off in terms of recession” when the curve gets closer to inverting, she said. In FX, the Turkish lira had a wild session, offered in early London trade before fading. USD/TRY dropped sharply to lows of 12.4267 on reports of central bank FX intervention due to “unhealthy price formations” before, once again, fading TRY strength after comments from Erdogan. The rest of G-10 FX is choppy; commodity currencies retain Asia’s bid tone, havens are sold: the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched lower, as the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers. The euro moved in a narrow range and Bund yields followed U.S. yields higher. The pound advanced as risk sentiment stabilized with focus still on news about the omicron variant. The U.K. 10-, 30-year curve flirted with inversion as gilts flattened, with money markets betting on 10bps of BOE tightening this month for the first time since Friday. The Australian and New Zealand dollars advanced as rising commodity prices fuel demand from exporters and leveraged funds. Better-than-expected growth data also aided the Aussie, with GDP expanding by 3.9% in the third quarter from a year earlier, beating the 3% estimated by economists. Austrian lawmakers extended a nationwide lockdown for a second 10-day period to suppress the latest wave of coronavirus infections before the Christmas holiday period.  The yen declined by the most among the Group-of-10 currencies as Powell’s comments renewed focus on yield differentials. 10-year yields rose ahead of Thursday’s debt auction In commodities, crude futures rally. WTI adds over 4% to trade on a $69-handle, Brent recovers near $72.40 after Goldman said overnight that oil had gotten extremely oversold. Spot gold fades a pop higher to trade near $1,785/oz. Base metals trade well with LME copper and nickel outperforming. Looking at the day ahead, once again we’ll have Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen appearing, this time before the House Financial Services Committee. In addition to that, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and BoE Governor Bailey is also speaking. On the data front, the main release will be the manufacturing PMIs from around the world, but there’s also the ADP’s report of private payrolls for November in the US, the ISM manufacturing reading in the US as well for November, and German retail sales for October. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1.2% to 4,620.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.0% to 467.58 MXAP up 0.9% to 191.52 MXAPJ up 1.1% to 626.09 Nikkei up 0.4% to 27,935.62 Topix up 0.4% to 1,936.74 Hang Seng Index up 0.8% to 23,658.92 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,576.89 Sensex up 1.0% to 57,656.51 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,235.85 Kospi up 2.1% to 2,899.72 Brent Futures up 4.2% to $72.15/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,778.93 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 95.98 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.31% Euro down 0.1% to $1.1326 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Thursday, the first direct contact between officials of the two countries in weeks as tensions grow amid western fears Russia may be planning to invade Ukraine Oil rebounded from a sharp drop on speculation that recent deep losses were excessive and OPEC+ may on Thursday decide to pause hikes in production, with the abrupt reversal fanning already- elevated volatility The EU is set to recommend that member states review essential travel restrictions on a daily basis in the wake of the omicron variant, according to a draft EU document seen by Bloomberg China is planning to ban companies from going public on foreign stock markets through variable interest entities, according to people familiar with the matter, closing a loophole long used by the country’s technology industry to raise capital from overseas investors Manufacturing activity in Asia outside China stabilized last month amid easing lockdown and border restrictions, setting the sector on course to face a possible new challenge from the omicron variant of the coronavirus Germany urgently needs stricter measures to check a surge in Covid-19 infections and protect hospitals from a “particularly dangerous situation,” according to the head of the country’s DIVI intensive-care medicine lobby. A more detailed breakdown of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mostly positive as regional bourses atoned for the prior day’s losses that were triggered by Omicron concerns, but with some of the momentum tempered by recent comments from Fed Chair Powell and mixed data releases including the miss on Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI. ASX 200 (-0.3%) was led lower by underperformance in consumer stocks and with utilities also pressured as reports noted that Shell and Telstra’s entrance in the domestic electricity market is set to ignite fierce competition and force existing players to overhaul their operations, although the losses in the index were cushioned following the latest GDP data which showed a narrower than feared quarterly contraction in Australia’s economy. Nikkei 225 (+0.4%) was on the mend after yesterday’s sell-off with the index helped by favourable currency flows and following a jump in company profits for Q3, while the KOSPI (+2.1%) was also boosted by strong trade data. Hang Seng (+0.8%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) were somewhat varied as a tech resurgence in Hong Kong overcompensated for the continued weakness in casinos stocks amid ongoing SunCity woes which closed all VIP gaming rooms in Macau after its Chairman's recent arrest, while the mood in the mainland was more reserved after a PBoC liquidity drain and disappointing Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI data which fell short of estimates and slipped back into contraction territory. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower amid the gains in Japanese stocks and after the pullback in global fixed income peers in the aftermath of Fed Chair Powell’s hawkish comments, while a lack of BoJ purchases further contributed to the subdued demand for JGBs. Top Asian News Asia Stocks Bounce Back from One-Year Low Despite Looming Risks Gold Swings on Omicron’s Widening Spread, Inflation Worries Shell Sees Hedge Funds Moving to LNG, Supporting Higher Prices Abe Warns China Invading Taiwan Would Be ‘Economic Suicide’ Bourses in Europe are firmer across the board (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.6%; Stoxx 600 +1.1%) as the positive APAC sentiment reverberated into European markets. US equity futures are also on the front foot with the cyclical RTY (+2.0%) outpacing its peers: ES (+1.2%), NQ (+1.5%), YM (+0.8%). COVID remains a central theme for the time being as the Omicron variant is observed for any effects of concern – which thus far have not been reported. Analysts at UBS expect market focus to shift away from the variant and more towards growth and earnings. The analysts expect Omicron to fuse into the ongoing Delta outbreak that economies have already been tackling. Under this scenario, the desk expects some of the more cyclical markets and sectors to outperform. The desk also flags two tails risks, including an evasive variant and central bank tightening – particularly after Fed chair Powell’s commentary yesterday. Meanwhile, BofA looks for an over-10% fall in European stocks next year. Sticking with macro updates, the OECD, in their latest economic outlook, cut US, China, Eurozone growth forecasts for 2021 and 2022, with Omicron cited as a factor. Back to trade, broad-based gains are seen across European cash markets. Sectors hold a clear cyclical bias which consists of Travel & Leisure, Basic Resources, Autos, Retail and Oil & Gas as the top performers – with the former bolstered by the seemingly low appetite for coordination on restrictions and measures at an EU level – Deutsche Lufthansa (+6%) and IAG (+5.1%) now reside at the top of the Stoxx 600. The other side of the spectrum sees the defensive sectors – with Healthcare, Household Goods, Food & Beverages as the straddlers. In terms of induvial movers, German-listed Adler Group (+22%) following a divestment, whilst Blue Prism (+1.7%) is firmer after SS&C raised its offer for the Co. Top European News Wizz Says Travelers Are Booking at Shorter and Shorter Notice Turkey Central Bank Intervenes in FX Markets to Stabilize Lira Gold Swings on Omicron’s Widening Spread, Inflation Worries Former ABG Sundal Collier Partner Starts Advisory Firm In FX, the Dollar remains mixed against majors, but well off highs prompted by Fed chair Powell ditching transitory from the list of adjectives used to describe inflation and flagging that a faster pace of tapering will be on the agenda at December’s FOMC. However, the index is keeping tabs on the 96.000 handle and has retrenched into a tighter 95.774-96.138 range, for the time being, as trade remains very choppy and volatility elevated awaiting clearer medical data and analysis on Omicron to gauge its impact compared to the Delta strain and earlier COVID-19 variants. In the interim, US macro fundamentals might have some bearing, but the bar is high before NFP on Friday unless ADP or ISM really deviate from consensus or outside the forecast range. Instead, Fed chair Powell part II may be more pivotal if he opts to manage hawkish market expectations, while the Beige Book prepared for next month’s policy meeting could also add some additional insight. NZD/AUD/CAD/GBP - Broad risk sentiment continues to swing from side to side, and currently back in favour of the high beta, commodity and cyclical types, so the Kiwi has bounced firmly from worst levels on Tuesday ahead of NZ terms of trade, the Aussie has pared a chunk of its declines with some assistance from a smaller than anticipated GDP contraction and the Loonie is licking wounds alongside WTI in advance of Canadian building permits and Markit’s manufacturing PMI. Similarly, Sterling has regained some poise irrespective of relatively dovish remarks from BoE’s Mann and a slender downward revision to the final UK manufacturing PMI. Nzd/Usd is firmly back above 0.6800, Aud/Usd close to 0.7150 again, Usd/Cad straddling 1.2750 and Cable hovering on the 1.3300 handle compared to circa 0.6772, 0.7063, 1.2837 and 1.3195 respectively at various fairly adjacent stages yesterday. JPY/EUR/CHF - All undermined by the aforementioned latest upturn in risk appetite or less angst about coronavirus contagion, albeit to varying degrees, as the Yen retreats to retest support sub-113.50, Euro treads water above 1.1300 and Franc straddles 0.9200 after firmer than forecast Swiss CPI data vs a dip in the manufacturing PMI. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are recovering following yesterday’s COVID and Powell-induced declines in the run-up to the OPEC meetings later today. The complex has also been underpinned by the reduced prospects of coordinated EU-wide restrictions, as per the abandonment of the COVID video conference between EU leaders. However, OPEC+ will take centre stage over the next couple of days, with a deluge of source reports likely as OPEC tests the waters. The case for OPEC+ to pause the planned monthly relaxation of output curbs by 400k BPD has been strengthening. There have been major supply and demand developments since the prior meeting. The recent emergence of the Omicron COVID variant and coordinated release of oil reserves have shifted the balance of expectations relative to earlier in the month (full Newsquawk preview available in the Research Suite). In terms of the schedule, the OPEC meeting is slated for 13:00GMT/08:00EST followed by the JTC meeting at 15:00GMT/10:00EST, whilst tomorrow sees the JMMC meeting at 12:00GMT/07:00EST; OPEC+ meeting at 13:00GMT/08:00EST. WTI Jan has reclaimed a USD 69/bbl handle (vs USD 66.20/bbl low) while Brent Feb hovers around USD 72.50/bbl (vs low USD 69.38/bbl) at the time of writing. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver trade with modest gains and largely in tandem with the Buck. Spot gold failed to sustain gains above the cluster of DMAs under USD 1,800/oz (100 DMA at USD 1,792/oz, 200 DMA at USD 1,791/oz, and 50 DMA at USD 1,790/oz) – trader should be aware of the potential for a technical Golden Cross (50 DMA > 200 DMA). Turning to base metals, copper is supported by the overall risk appetite, with the LME contract back above USD 9,500/t. Overnight, Chinese coking coal and coke futures rose over 5% apiece, with traders citing disrupted supply from Mongolia amid the COVID outbreak in the region. US Event Calendar 7am: Nov. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 1.8% 8:15am: Nov. ADP Employment Change, est. 525,000, prior 571,000 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 59.1, prior 59.1 10am: Oct. Construction Spending MoM, est. 0.4%, prior -0.5% 10am: Nov. ISM Manufacturing, est. 61.2, prior 60.8 2pm: U.S. Federal Reserve Releases Beige Book Nov. Wards Total Vehicle Sales, est. 13.4m, prior 13m Central Banks 10am: Powell, Yellen Testify Before House Panel on CARES Act Relief DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap If you’re under 10 and reading this there’s a spoiler alert today in this first para so please skip beyond and onto the second. Yes my heart broke a little last night as my little 6-year old Maisie said to me at bedtime that “Santa isn’t real is he Daddy?”. I lied (I think it’s a lie) and said yes he was. I made up an elaborate story about how when we renovated our 100 year old house we deliberately kept the chimney purely to let Santa come down it once a year. Otherwise why would we have kept it? She then asked what about her friend who lives in a flat? I tried to bluff my way through it but maybe my answer sounded a bit like my answers as to what will happen with Omicron. I’ll test both out on clients later to see which is more convincing. Before we get to the latest on the virus, given it’s the start of the month, we’ll shortly be publishing our November performance review looking at how different assets fared over the month just gone and YTD. It arrived late on but Omicron was obviously the dominant story and led to some of the biggest swings of the year so far. It meant that oil (which is still the top performer on a YTD basis) was the worst performer in our monthly sample, with WTI and Brent seeing their worst monthly performances since the initial wave of market turmoil over Covid back in March 2020. And at the other end, sovereign bonds outperformed in November as Omicron’s emergence saw investors push back the likelihood of imminent rate hikes from central banks. So what was shaping up to be a good month for risk and a bad one for bonds flipped around in injury time. Watch out for the report soon from Henry. Back to yesterday now, and frankly the main takeaway was that markets were desperate for any piece of news they could get their hands on about the Omicron variant, particularly given the lack of proper hard data at the moment. The morning started with a sharp selloff as we discussed at the top yesterday, as some of the more optimistic noises from Monday were outweighed by that FT interview, whereby Moderna’s chief executive had said that the existing vaccines wouldn’t be as effective against the new variant. Then we had some further negative news from Regeneron, who said that analysis and modelling of the Omicron mutations indicated that its antibody drug may not be as effective, but that they were doing further analysis to confirm this. However, we later got some comments from a University of Oxford spokesperson, who said that there wasn’t any evidence so far that vaccinations wouldn’t provide high levels of protection against severe disease, which coincided with a shift in sentiment early in the European afternoon as equities begun to pare back their losses. The CEO of BioNTech and the Israeli health minister expressed similar sentiments, noting that vaccines were still likely to protect against severe disease even among those infected by Omicron, joining other officials encouraging people to get vaccinated or get booster shots. Another reassuring sign came in an update from the EU’s ECDC yesterday, who said that all of the 44 confirmed cases where information was available on severity “were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.” After the close, the FDA endorsed Merck’s antiviral Covid pill. While it’s not clear how the pill interacts with Omicron, the proliferation of more Covid treatments is still good news as we head into another winter. The other big piece of news came from Fed Chair Powell’s testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, where the main headline was his tapering comment that “It is appropriate to consider wrapping up a few months sooner.” So that would indicate an acceleration in the pace, which would be consistent with the view from our US economists that we’ll see a doubling in the pace of reductions at the December meeting that’s only two weeks from today. The Fed Chair made a forceful case for a faster taper despite lingering Omicron uncertainties, noting inflation is likely to stay elevated, the labour market has improved without a commensurate increase in labour supply (those sidelined because of Covid are likely to stay there), spending has remained strong, and that tapering was a removal of accommodation (which the economy doesn’t need more of given the first three points). Powell took pains to stress the risk of higher inflation, going so far as to ‘retire’ the use of the term ‘transitory’ when describing the current inflation outlook. So team transitory have seemingly had the pitch taken away from them mid match. The Chair left an exit clause that this outlook would be informed by incoming inflation, employment, and Omicron data before the December FOMC meeting. A faster taper ostensibly opens the door to earlier rate hikes and Powell’s comment led to a sharp move higher in shorter-dated Treasury yields, with the 2yr yield up +8.1bps on the day, having actually been more than -4bps lower when Powell began speaking. They were as low as 0.44% then and got as high as 0.57% before closing at 0.56%. 2yr yields have taken another leg higher overnight, increasing +2.5bps to 0.592%. Long-end yields moved lower though and failed to back up the early day moves even after Powell, leading to a major flattening in the yield curve on the back of those remarks, with the 2s10s down -13.7bps to 87.3bps, which is its flattest level since early January. Overnight 10yr yields are back up +3bps but the curve is only a touch steeper. My 2 cents on the yield curve are that the 2s10s continues to be my favourite US recession indicator. It’s worked over more cycles through history than any other. No recession since the early 1950s has occurred without the 2s10s inverting. But it takes on average 12-18 months from inversion to recession. The shortest was the covid recession at around 7 months which clearly doesn’t count but I think we were very late cycle in early 2020 and the probability of recession in the not too distant future was quite high but we will never know.The shortest outside of that was around 9 months. So with the curve still at c.+90bps we are moving in a more worrying direction but I would still say 2023-24 is the very earliest a recession is likely to occur (outside of a unexpected shock) and we’ll need a rapid flattening in 22 to encourage that. History also suggests markets tend to ignore the YC until it’s too late. So I wouldn’t base my market views in 22 on the yield curve and recession signal yet. However its something to look at as the Fed seemingly embarks on a tightening cycle in the months ahead. Onto markets and those remarks from Powell (along with the additional earlier pessimism about Omicron) proved incredibly unhelpful for equities yesterday, with the S&P 500 (-1.90%) giving up the previous day’s gains to close at its lowest level in over a month. It’s hard to overstate how broad-based this decline was, as just 7 companies in the entire S&P moved higher yesterday, which is the lowest number of the entire year so far and the lowest since June 11th, 2020, when 1 company ended in the green. Over in Europe it was much the same story, although they were relatively less affected by Powell’s remarks, and the STOXX 600 (-0.92%) moved lower on the day as well. Overnight in Asia, stocks are trading higher though with the KOSPI (+2.02%), Hang Seng (+1.40%), the Nikkei (+0.37%), Shanghai Composite (+0.11%) and CSI (+0.09%) all in the green. Australia’s Q3 GDP contracted (-1.9% qoq) less than -2.7% consensus while India’s Q3 GDP grew at a firm +8.4% year-on-year beating the +8.3% consensus. In China the Caixin Manufacturing PMI for November came in at 49.9 against a 50.6 consensus. Futures markets are indicating a positive start to markets in US & Europe with the S&P 500 (+0.73%) and DAX (+0.44%) trading higher again. Back in Europe, there was a significant inflation story amidst the other headlines above, since Euro Area inflation rose to its highest level since the creation of the single currency, with the flash estimate for November up to +4.9% (vs. +4.5% expected). That exceeded every economist’s estimate on Bloomberg, and core inflation also surpassed expectations at +2.6% (vs. +2.3% expected), again surpassing the all-time high since the single currency began. That’s only going to add to the pressure on the ECB, and yesterday saw Germany’s incoming Chancellor Scholz say that “we have to do something” if inflation doesn’t ease. European sovereign bonds rallied in spite of the inflation reading, with those on 10yr bunds (-3.1bps), OATs (-3.5bps) and BTPs (-0.9bps) all moving lower. Peripheral spreads widened once again though, and the gap between Italian and German 10yr yields closed at its highest level in just over a year. Meanwhile governments continued to move towards further action as the Omicron variant spreads, and Greece said that vaccinations would be mandatory for everyone over 60 soon, with those refusing having to pay a monthly €100 fine. Separately in Germany, incoming Chancellor Scholz said that there would be a parliamentary vote on the question of compulsory vaccinations, saying to the Bild newspaper in an interview that “My recommendation is that we don’t do this as a government, because it’s an issue of conscience”. In terms of other data yesterday, German unemployment fell by -34k in November (vs. -25k expected). Separately, the November CPI readings from France at +3.4% (vs. +3.2% expected) and Italy at +4.0% (vs. +3.3% expected) surprised to the upside as well. In the US, however, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure in November fell to its lowest since February at 109.5 (vs. 110.9 expected), and the MNI Chicago PMI for November fell to 61.8 9vs. 67.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and once again we’ll have Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen appearing, this time before the House Financial Services Committee. In addition to that, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and BoE Governor Bailey is also speaking. On the data front, the main release will be the manufacturing PMIs from around the world, but there’s also the ADP’s report of private payrolls for November in the US, the ISM manufacturing reading in the US as well for November, and German retail sales for October. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 07:47.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 1st, 2021

Futures Slide As Dollar Jumps, Yields Rebound Ahead Of Massive Data Dump

Futures Slide As Dollar Jumps, Yields Rebound Ahead Of Massive Data Dump For the third day in a row, US equity futures have been weighed down by rising (real) rates even as traders moderated their expectations for monetary-policy tightening after New Zealand’s measured approach to rate hikes where the central banks hiked rates but not as much as some had expected. Traders also braced for an epic data dump in the US, which includes is an epic data dump which includes an update to Q3 GDP, advance trade balance, initial jobless claims, wholesale and retail inventories, durable goods, personal income and spending, UMich consumer sentiment, new home sales, and the FOMC Minutes The two-year U.S. yield shed two basis points. The dollar extended its rising streak against a basket of peers to a fourth day. At 730am, S&P 500 e-mini futures dropped 0.3%, just off session lows, while Nasdaq futures dropping 0.34%. In premarket trading, Nordstrom sank 27% after the Seattle-based retailer posted third-quarter results featuring what Citi called a big earnings per share miss. The company reported higher labor and fulfillment costs in the third quarter while sales remained stubbornly below pre-pandemic levels and profit missed analyst estimates. Telecom Italia SpA surged in Europe on enhanced takeover interest. Oil prices fluctuated as producers and major consuming nations headed for a confrontation. Other notable premarket movers: Gap (GPS US) sank 20% premarket after the clothing retailer reported quarterly results that missed estimates and cut its net sales forecast for the full year. Analysts lowered their price targets. Nordstrom (JWN US) tumbles 27% in premarket after the Seattle-based retailer posted third-quarter results featuring what Citi called a big earnings per share miss. Jefferies, meanwhile, downgrades the stock to hold from buy as transformation costs are rising. Guess (GES US) posted quarterly results which analysts say included impressive sales and margins, and showed the company navigating supply-chain issues successfully. The shares closed 9.2% higher in U.S. postmarket trading. HP (HPQ US) shares are up 8.4% in premarket after quarterly results. Analysts note strong demand and pricing in the personal computer market. Meme stocks were mixed in premarket after tumbling the most since June on Tuesday as investors bailed out of riskier assets. Anaplan (PLAN US) slides 18% in premarket as a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss wasn’t enough to stem a downward trend. Analysts slashed price targets. Autodesk (ADSK US) shares slump 14% in premarket after the building software maker narrowed its full-year outlook. Analysts are concerned that issues with supply chains and the pandemic could impact its targets for 2023. GoHealth (GOCO US) gained 8.4% in postmarket trading after the insurer’s CEO and chief strategy officer added to their holdings. As Bloomberg notes, investors are on the edge as they face a wall of worry from a resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe to signs of persistent consumer-price growth. Damping inflation is now center-stage for policy makers, with ultra-loose, pandemic-era stimulus set to be wound down. The slew of U.S. data as well as Federal Reserve minutes due today may provide the next catalysts for market moves. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index erased earlier gains of up to 0.4% to trade down -0.1%, with tech and travel and leisure leading declines. Miners gained 0.8%, tracking higher copper prices on easing concerns over Chinese demand, while travel stocks slid over 1% on prospects of harsher travel curbs: Italy and France are debating new measures to cope with Covid’s resurgence while Germany isn’t ruling out fresh curbs. Oil stocks rose 1.2%, set for their biggest jump in over a month, with crude prices inching higher as investors remained sceptical about the effectiveness of a U.S.-led release of oil from strategic reserves. Here are some of the most notable European equity movers: Mulberry shares surge as much as 24%, the most since March 12, after the U.K. luxury company swung to a 1H profit from a year earlier and reported an increase in sales. Telecom Italia shares rise as much as 10% following a Bloomberg report that KKR is considering to raise its offer for the company after top investor Vivendi said the bid was too low. However, the stock is still trading below the initial non-binding offer from KKR. Golden Ocean gains as much as 9.6%, most since Feb., after earnings. DNB says “Golden Ocean delivered solid Q3 results” and adds “Furthermore, guidance for Q4 should lift consensus estimates and solidify further dividend potential in our view.” Intertek shares gain as much as 6.7%, the most since May 2020, after the company issued a trading update. UBS says the company’s accelerating momentum and reiterated targets are “reassuring.” Aegon shares rise as much as 5.5% after Credit Suisse upgraded its recommendation to outperform from neutral and raised the PT to EU5.30 from EU4.00. IQE shares slump as much as 21% for the biggest intraday drop since March 2020, falling to their lowest level since June 2020 after the semiconductor company said it sees softening demand in 4Q. Genus shares fall as much 15% after the animal genetics firm lowered its FY22 earnings guidance, leading Peel Hunt and Liberum to cut estimates. European stocks are on course for weekly losses, as the return of COVID-19 curbs, rate hike and inflation concerns sparked fears of a weaker economic growth outlook. "There's a two-way pull between macro concerns and what's happening bottoms-up in terms of corporate profits," said Nick Nelson, head of European equity strategy at UBS, adding that while the third quarter has been one of the decade's best reporting seasons for Europe, macro concerns such as a rise in U.S. bond yields and COVID-19 cases have been holding stocks back. Earlier in the session, Asian equities declined, on track for a third-straight session of losses, as higher U.S. Treasury yields continued to weigh on technology stocks in the region. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.6%, with Japan stocks leading losses as traders returned from a holiday to access the prospect of tighter U.S. monetary policy to curb inflation. TSMC and Tencent were among the biggest drags on the regional gauge. READ: Samsung Plans $17 Billion Texas Chip Plant, Creating 2,000 Jobs The renomination of Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve chair earlier this week has sent U.S. 10-year Treasury yields to about levels near 1.65%, implying higher borrowing costs. That’s adding to concerns about weak earnings growth in Asia as well as ongoing supply-chain constraints. Investors will now turn their attention to U.S. gross domestic product data and FOMC minutes due out after Asian markets close Wednesday.  “A cautious tone may still seem to prevail for now,” Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia, said in a note. “Markets continue to shift their expectations towards a tighter Fed monetary policy.” New Zealand’s stock gauge added 0.6% after the central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points, less than the 50 points that some economists had predicted. Singapore authorities, meanwhile, expect gross domestic product to expand 3% to 5% next year, a slower pace than this year as the country rebounds from the pandemic. Indian stocks fell ahead of the November monthly expiry on Thursday, led by technology companies. The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.6% to 58,340.99 in Mumbai to close at its lowest level in two months. The gauge gained 0.3% on Tuesday, snapping four sessions of selloff.   The NSE Nifty 50 Index declined 0.5% on Wednesday, reversing intraday gains of as much as 0.6%. Software exporter Infosys Ltd. was the biggest drag on both gauges and slipped more than 2%. Of the 30 shares in the Sensex, 21 dropped and nine rose.  Investors roll over positions ahead of the expiry of derivatives contracts on the last Thursday of every month. Fourteen of 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. fell, led by a measure of IT companies. “The scheduled monthly expiry would keep the traders busy on Thursday,” Ajit Mishra, vice president research at Religare Broking Ltd. wrote in a note. “We suggest continuing with negative bias on the index while keeping a check on leveraged positions.” In Fx, the most notable movers was the drop in the kiwi: New Zealand’s currency ironically slid to the weakest in nearly two months and the nation’s bond rallied as the central bank’s 25 basis-point rate hike disappointed traders betting on a bigger increase. The central bank projected 2% benchmark borrowing costs by the end of 2022. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced a fourth consecutive day as the greenback gained versus all Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen, which reversed its losses after falling to the lowest since March 2017. The euro underperformed, nearing the $1.12 handle amid broad dollar strength even before data showing German business confidence took another hit in November and amid renewed fears that Germany may be considering a full lockdown and mandatory vaccines. RBNZ Governor Adrian Orr said policy makers considered a 50bps move before deciding on 25bps, and he sees the OCR climbing to around 2.5% by end-2023.  Elsewhere, Turkey’s lira stabilized after Tuesday’s plunge. MSCI’s gauge of emerging-market stocks edged lower for a sixth session.   In rates, Treasuries were richer by 1bp to 2bp across the curve, paced by European bonds ahead of a raft of U.S. data preceding Thursday’s market close. 10-year Treasury yields were richer by ~1bp on the day at around 1.655%, slightly trailing bunds; most curve spreads are within a basis point of Tuesday’s close with comparable shifts across tenors. During Asia session, Treasuries were supported by wider gains across Kiwi bonds after RBNZ hiked policy rates, but still erred on the dovish side. Bunds remain supported during European morning as haven demand stems from prospect of a nationwide German lockdown. Italian bonds snapped a two-day decline. In commodities, oil futures in New York swung between gains and losses following an announcement by the U.S. and other nations of a coordinated release of strategic reserves. Focus now turns to OPEC+ on how the group will respond to the moves. The alliance has already said that such releases were unjustified by market conditions and it may reconsider plans to add more supply at a meeting next week. Base metals are well bid with LME nickel adding over 2% to outperform peers. LME copper rises over 1% to best levels for the week. Crude futures fade a modest push higher fading after a brief push through Tuesday’s best levels. WTI trades flat, having briefly printed above $79; Brent prints highs of $83 before fading. Spot gold holds a narrow range close to $1,790/oz To the day ahead now, and there’s a significant amount of US data ahead of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday. That includes the weekly initial jobless claims, the second estimate of Q3 GDP, October’s personal income and personal spending, new home sales, and the preliminary October readings for durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Over in Germany, there’s also the Ifo’s business climate indicator for November. Finally on the central bank side, there’s the release of the FOMC’s November meeting minutes, and speakers include the ECB’s Panetta and Schnabel, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 4,683.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 480.66 MXAP down 0.5% to 196.76 MXAPJ down 0.1% to 643.18 Nikkei down 1.6% to 29,302.66 Topix down 1.2% to 2,019.12 Hang Seng Index up 0.1% to 24,685.50 Shanghai Composite up 0.1% to 3,592.70 Sensex down 0.3% to 58,499.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,399.44 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,994.29 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $82.63/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,791.37 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.57 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.22% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1231 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Olaf Scholz is set to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor after forging an unprecedented alliance that aims to revamp Europe’s largest economy by tackling climate change and promoting digital technologies The European Commission is set to announce the recommendations for the entire EU as soon as Thursday, Politico’s Playbook newsletter reported, citing three unidentified officials and diplomats Italy’s government is debating tough new measures to stem an increase in coronavirus cases, which could include restrictions on unvaccinated people and be approved as soon as Wednesday The ECB’s pandemic purchasing program may enter a “waiting room” rather than be abolished completely once net purchases are set to end in March, Governing Council member Robert Holzmann said at briefing in Vienna The U.K.’s biggest business lobby group has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to back down in its dispute with the European Union over Northern Ireland and not follow through with threats to suspend parts of the Brexit divorce deal Polish central bank Governor Adam Glapinski said further weakening of the zloty wouldn’t be consistent with the country’s economic fundamentals, helping lift the embattled currency from 12-year lows The supply crunch that’s helped drive inflation to multi- decade highs shows some signs of easing in the U.S. -- but it’s still getting worse in Europe. That’s the takeaway from the latest readings on Bloomberg Economics’ new set of supply indicators The unraveling of the Turkish lira threatens to erode Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s grasp on the economy and is already emboldening his political opponents. Small protests erupted in Istanbul and Ankara overnight, calling for an end to economic mismanagement that’s unleashed rapid inflation and triggered the currency’s longest losing streak in two decades A more detailed breakdown of global news courtesy of newsquawk Asia-Pac equity indices were mixed following the choppy performance of their US counterparts where energy rallied despite the SPR announcement and tech lagged as yields continued to gain, with the latest RBNZ rate hike, as well as looming FOMC Minutes and US data releases adding to the tentative mood. ASX 200 (-0.2%) was rangebound with the index subdued by losses in tech and gold miners which suffered from the rising yield environment, but with downside cushioned by strength in the largest weighted financials sector and with outperformance in energy after oil prices rallied in the aftermath of the widely anticipated SPR announcement. The strength in oil was attributed to several reasons including a “sell the rumour/buy the news” play and expectations of a response from OPEC+, while an administration official kept the prospect of an oil export ban on the table which is seen as bullish as it would remove US supply from the global market. Nikkei 225 (-1.6%) was the laggard on return from holiday amid flows into the local currency and with reports also suggesting the BoJ is considering tweaking its pandemic relief program. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.1%) swung between gains and losses with early indecision due to the broad tech weakness tech which was not helped by reports that Chinese cyberspace regulators and police summoned Alibaba (9988 HK) and Baidu’s (9888 HK) cloud unit for telecoms network fraud, although the losses for Chinese bourses were eventually reversed amid gains in the energy heavyweights and after a mild PBoC liquidity injection. Finally, 10yr JGBs opened lower on spillover selling from global peers but gradually pared some of the losses after rebounding from support at 151.50 and with the BoJ in the market for nearly JPY 1.5tln of JGBs with up to 10yr maturities. Top Asian News Shinsei Drops Poison Pill Against SBI in Japan Takeover Saga Morgan Stanley to Repay Hong Kong Staff $5,100 for Quarantine KKR, Equinix Among Suitors for $11 Billion Global Switch Japan to Issue $192 Billion in Debt for Stimulus: Nikkei European equities attempted to claw back some of the week’s losses (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2%; Stoxx 600 -0.2%) at the open with Monday and Tuesday’s session dominated by ongoing COVID angst in the region. Lockdown measures were enough to see investors shrug off yesterday’s better-than-expected PMI metrics for the Eurozone with today’s slightly softer than hoped for German Ifo report having little sway on price action. Despite the upside seen at the open, optimism has faded throughout the session as speculation mounts over whether the announcement of the German coalition deal (set to be unveiled at 14:00GMT) could prompt further lockdown measures for the nation. Furthermore, reports note that the Italian government is debating potential restrictions on the unvaccinated; measures could be approved as soon as today. On a more positive footing French Finance Minister Le Maire says at the moment he does not see any need for further COVID-related restrictions in France. However, it remains to be seen how long this viewpoint can be sustained. Stateside, futures are a touch softer with losses across the majors of a relatively equal magnitude (ES -0.1%) in the final full session of the week ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Given the shortened week, today sees a deluge of data from the US with releases including key personal income, spending and PCE data for October, a second look at Q3 GDP, final Michigan consumer sentiment data, as well as weekly jobless claims and energy inventory data. All of which is followed by the FOMC minutes from the November meeting. In a recent note, BNP Paribas stated it is of the view that equities will go on to provide the highest returns across asset classes in 2022 with the French bank targeting 5100 (currently 4690) for the S&P 500 by the end of next year. From a European perspective, BNP expects the Euro Stoxx 50 to close 2022 out at 4500 (currently 4300) with the market “too pessimistic” on margins; albeit the Bank concedes that the resurgence of COVID presents a risk to its view. Sectors in Europe are mostly constructive with Oil & Gas and Basic Resources underpinned by gains in the underlying commodities with the former continuing to garner support post-yesterday’s SPR announcement. The Travel & Leisure sector lags peers with the Travel element of the group hampered by reports that the European Commission is preparing new COVID travel recommendations for the whole of the EU. For Leisure names, Entain (-5.0%) and Flutter Entertainment (-3.0%) have been hit by news that over 160 UK MPs and peers are said to be demanding that online gambling limits are lowered. Finally, Telecom Italia (+9.7%) is the best performer in the Stoxx 600 after source reports suggesting that KKR is considering a higher bid for the Co. in an attempt to win over support from Vivendi.   Top European News Scholz Seals Coalition Deal to Become Next German Chancellor Italy Readies Curbs on the Unvaccinated as Covid Cases Rise Booking Agrees to Buy CVC’s Etraveli for About EU1.63b Orange CEO Convicted in $453 Million Arbitration Fraud Case In FX, the Dollar index has gained traction and continued its gains above 96.500+ status in early European hours before eclipsing resistance at 96.700 to a fresh YTD peak at 96.758, with US players also preparing to wind down for the long weekend. Before that, the Buck will be facing a plethora of Tier 1 US data, including Prelim GDP (Q3), weekly Jobless Claims, and monthly PCE in the run-up to the FOMC Minutes – which will be eyed for clues on what could warrant an adjustment of the pace of tapering (Full preview available in the Newsquawk Research Suite). On the downside, immediate support will likely be at yesterday’s 96.308 low before this week’s current 96.035 trough. In terms of early month-end FX flows (on account of the holiday-shortened week), Morgan Stanley’s model points towards USD weakness against most G10 peers. EUR, GBP - The single currency dipped a 16-month low just before the release of the German Ifo survey, which unsurprisingly voiced cautiousness against the backdrop of COVID and supply chain issues – with Ifo forecasting a growth stagnation this current quarter, whilst ING believe that today’s Ifo signals that “The risk of stagnation or even recession in the German economy at the turn of the year has clearly increased.” The currency came under further pressure in what coincided with reports that Germany is mulling a full COVID lockdown and mandatory vaccinations, although the piece failed to cite any sources nor officials and seemed to be more an extrapolation of recent remarks from the German Health Minister. EUR/USD fell through pivotal support at 1.1210 to a current low at 1.1206 ahead of 1.1200. Traders should also be cognizant of several chunky OpEx clips including EUR 1.3bln between 1.1195-1.1200. Ahead, the SPD, Greens and FDP set to unveil their coalition deal at 14:00GMT. ECB speak today include from the likes Schnabel after Panetta and Holzmann failed to spur action across EU assets. Elsewhere, the GBP/USD is flat intraday and saw little reaction to BoE Governor Bailey yesterday, suggesting he does not think the MPC will go back to a hard form of guidance and stated that it is not off the table that they give no guidance at all on rates. Bailey also stated that decisions are made meeting by meeting and that they have a very tight labour market. From a political standpoint, European Commission VP Sefcovic said EU-UK talks on Northern Ireland trade rules will probably drag into 2022. Cable remains within a 1.3353-89 range whilst EUR/GBP trades on either side of 0.8400. Looking ahead, BoE’s Tenreyro speaking at the Oxford Economics Society – with early-Nov commentary from the MPC member suggesting that monetary policy will have to bite if there are signs of second-round inflation effects, but policy cannot fix energy price spikes. NZD, AUD - The Kiwi stands as the G10 laggard following a dovish 25bps hike by the RBNZ, with the board citing optionality. Desks suggest that FX was clearly gearing for a hawkish surprise from the central bank, with markets pricing some 35% of a 50bps hike heading into the meeting given the inflation survey earlier this month. Money markets were also disappointed, with participants flagging that the 2yr swap fell over 15bps despite the RBNZ upping its 2023 OCR forecast to 2.3% (prev. 1.7%). NZD/USD fell further beneath the 0.7000 mark to a current 0.6957 low. AUD meanwhile sees its losses cushioned from another day of firm gains in iron ore, whilst cross-currency flows help the AUD/NZD test 1.0450 to the upside. Nonetheless, the cautious market mood keeps AUD/USD around the flat mark after the pair found support at 0.7200. JPY - The traditional haven outperforms as risk aversion creeps into the market. USD/JPY pivots the 115.00 market after hitting an overnight high of 115.23. Some desks suggest that offers are seen from 115.30 on Wednesday, with more around the 115.50 area, according to IFR citing Tokyo sources. In terms of notable OpEx, USD/JPY sees USD 1.7bln between 115.00-10. In commodities, WTI and Brent Jan futures consolidate following yesterday’s gains post-SPR announcement. The release disappointed the oil bears given the widely telegraphed nature of the announcement coupled with relatively small contributions from members. Desks have also highlighted that the reserves will need to be replenished at some time in the future, and thus, analysts have passed the effects from the SPR release as temporary; although, cautioning that if the desired impact is not achieved, then further action can be taken – with a temporary export ban still on the table. Meanwhile, on the demand side, futures dipped after CNBC reported that Germany could head into a full lockdown, but the piece did not make a mention of officials nor sources but seemed to be more an extrapolation of recent comments from the Germany Health Minister, with an announcement on this matter potentially to come today. Further, tomorrow could see revised travel guidance for the whole of the EU, according to Politico sources, although "The biggest overall change will be a move away from a country-based approach and to a person-based one, which takes into account a citizen’s individual COVID status." Despite this month’s European COVID developments, JPMorgan sees global oil demand growing by another 3.5mln BPD next year to reach 99.8mln BPD (280k BPD above 2019 level); 2023 demand is expected to average around 101.5mln BPD (1.9mln BPD above pre-COVID levels) and suggested that global oil demand is on track to exceed 2019 levels by March 2022 and strengthen further. As a reminder, next week also sees the OPEC+ meeting whereby the group is expected to continue with plans of monthly output increases of 400k BPD, with a risk of a more dovish decision and/or commentary. WTI Jan trades around USD 78.50/bbl (vs high 79.23/bbl) and Brent Jan around USD 82.25/bbl (vs high 83.00/bbl). Elsewhere, spot gold is interestingly unfazed by the rampant Dollar as prices remain caged within a cluster of DMAs (100 around 1,793, 200 around 1,791 and 50 around 1,788). Copper prices are again on the grind higher with LME around USD 9,800/t at the time of writing – with participants citing underlying demand, particularly from China. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 3Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 2.2%, prior 2.0% 8:30am: 3Q GDP Price Index, est. 5.7%, prior 5.7% 8:30am: 3Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 4.5%, prior 4.5% 8:30am: 3Q Personal Consumption, est. 1.6%, prior 1.6% 8:30am: Oct. Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.2%, prior -0.3% 8:30am: Oct. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.8%; - Less Transportation, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5% 8:30am: Oct. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 1.4% 8:30am: Oct. Retail Inventories MoM, est. 0.3%, prior -0.2%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.4% 8:30am: Oct. Advance Goods Trade Balance, est. - $95b, prior -$96.3b 8:30am: Nov. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 260,000, prior 268,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.03m, prior 2.08m 9:45am: Nov. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 50.7 10am: Oct. Personal Income, est. 0.2%, prior -1.0%; 10am: Oct. Personal Spending, est. 1.0%, prior 0.6% 10am: Oct. Real Personal Spending, est. 0.6%, prior 0.3% 10am: Oct. New Home Sales, est. 800,000, prior 800,000 10am: Oct. New Home Sales MoM, est. 0%, prior 14.0% 10am: Oct. PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.3% 10am: Oct. PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.2% 10am: Oct. PCE Deflator YoY, est. 5.1%, prior 4.4% 10am: Oct. PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 4.1%, prior 3.6% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 67.0, prior 66.8 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 2.9% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, prior 4.9% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Current Conditions, prior 73.2 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Expectations, prior 62.8 2pm: Nov. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap We’ve had a number of requests to bring back our Covid tables in the EMR. At the moment I’m resisting as they take a considerable amount of time. While we work out an efficient form of articulating the current wave on a daily basis, in today’s EMR we show graphs of the daily rolling 7-day cases and fatalities per million in the population for the G7. We’ve also included Austria, given how topical that is, and also The Netherlands, given mounting problems there. These act as a useful reference point for some of the more stressed countries. The cases chart should be in the text below and the fatalities one visible when you click “view report”. Germany is probably the main one to watch in the G7 at the moment and overnight reported 66,884 new cases (a record) compared with 45,362 the day before. A reminder that yesterday we published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. See here for the full report. Craig has also put out a more detailed HY 2022 strategy document here and Karthik a more detailed IG equivalent here. Basically we think spreads will widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY due to a response to a more dramatic appreciation of the Fed being well behind the curve. This sort of move is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. We also published the results of our ESG issuer and investor survey where around 530 responded. Please see the results here. As we hit Thanksgiving Eve and a US data dump of a day given the holiday tomorrow, the big story over the last 2-3 business days has been real rates in the US. As recently as Friday, after the Austria lockdown news, 10yr real rates hit -1.2%. Yesterday they traded above -0.95% before closing at -0.97%, +4.0bps higher than the previous close. Our view in the 2022 credit strategy document is that credit is more tied to real rates than nominal rates and if the market attacks the Fed as we expect, then they should go up. However, note that I’ve also said I suspect they’ll stay negative for the rest of my career so while higher real yields are likely, I suspect that this is a trade rather than a structural long-term journey given likely long-term financial repression. Anyway, rising real yields, a fresh covid wave and belief over a less dovish Fed post the Powell reappointment saw a tough day for equities, especially in Europe, before the US managed to eke out a gain into the close. The S&P 500 (+0.17%) was up for the first time in 3 days, whilst Europe’s STOXX 600 (-1.28%) posted its worst daily performance in nearly 2 months. On a sector level, it was the same story in the US, where energy (+3.04%) shares benefitted from climbing oil prices and financials (+1.55%) gained on steeper and higher yields. Larger tech firms retreated on the higher discount rates, with the Nasdaq declining -0.50%. Meanwhile the VIX index of volatility was back above the 20-mark for the first time in over a month, coinciding with a broader tightening of financial conditions. However, we dipped back below 20 into the stronger close. Honing in on bonds now and there was a major selloff yesterday that hit a number of European countries in particular. By the close of trade, yields on 10yr bunds were up +8.1bps, which is their single-biggest daily increase in over a year, actually since the day we found out that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had proven successful in trials and was set to be rolled out. The move came about entirely due to higher real rates, with Germany 10yr inflation breakevens actually down -2.0bps on the day. Similar moves were seen elsewhere on the continent, with yields on 10yr OATs (+8.6bps) and BTPs (+10.5bps) seeing sharp rises of their own, which occurred in part on the back of stronger than expected flash PMI data raising the prospect of a quicker drawdown in monetary stimulus, not least with inflation still running some way ahead of the ECB’s target. For US Treasuries, yields were a touch more subdued, and the yield curve twist steepened. 2yr yields declined -1.8bp whilst every other maturity increased, and all tenors out to 7 years are at post-pandemic highs. The 5yr nominal yield increased +2.2bps to 1.34%. The 10yr was up +4.1bps to 1.67% due, as we discussed above, to real yields. 10yr breakevens were flat (+0.2bp) at 2.63%. The 10 year is 7.5bps off of 2021 closing highs and in the 430 plus business days since the pandemic started there have only been 14 days with a higher close than last nights. Elsewhere yesterday, we had an important piece of news on the energy front, as the US announced that it would be releasing 50m barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with the move occurring alongside similar decisions in China, India, Japan, South Korea and the UK. 32m of those 50m will be an exchange, whereby oil is released over the next few months that is then returned over the coming years, while another 18m are coming from an acceleration of an oil sale that Congress had already authorised. Oil prices rose following the release however, with Brent crude (+3.27%) and WTI (+2.28%) both seeing decent advances, in part because the contribution from other nations was smaller than many had anticipated, but also because the potential release from the SPR had been widely reported in advance, thus sending prices lower from their peak around a month ago. Even with the news, there’s no sign that inflationary pressures will be going away just yet, since much of what happens next will depend on the reaction of the OPEC+ group. If they move to cancel plans to increase production, then that could put upward pressure on prices again and help counter the impact of the move from the various energy consumers. And as we’ve been discussing, inflationary pressures have been widening for some time now, stretching beyond specific categories like energy and used cars to an array of other areas. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly in the red with the CSI (-0.03%), Hang Seng (-0.06%), Shanghai Composite (-0.10%), KOSPI (-0.48%) and the Nikkei (-1.35%) all lower. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has raised interest rates for the second consecutive month and lifted the official cash rate 25bps to 0.75%. There was some who expected 50bps so bonds are rallying with 2yr and 10yrs -5.5bps and -7.5bps lower, respectively. The central bank were pretty hawkish in their comments though. US Treasuries are 2-4bps lower across the curve overnight as well. Staying on New Zealand, the country eased its travel restrictions by allowing fully vaccinated travellers (and other eligible travellers) from Australia without any isolation from Jan 17 and those from the rest of the world from February 14. Elsewhere, South Korea reported its highest ever daily new cases of 4,115 with 586 critical cases with the PM announcing the situation is "more serious than expected". Futures are indicating a slightly weaker start in the US and Europe with the S&P 500 (-0.24%) and DAX (-0.09%) lower. Over in Europe, there’s no sign of the pandemic letting up just yet, with French health minister Veran saying in parliament that “we are sadly well and truly in a fifth wave of the epidemic” as France announced 30,454 new cases yesterday. Austria has been the main country in the headlines recently as it moved into a nationwide lockdown, but the reality is that the trend lines have been moving higher across the continent, raising the prospect of fresh restrictions. In terms of yesterday’s developments, the Netherlands announced that social distancing would be reintroduced on a mandatory basis, and that people should stay 1.5m apart, and Poland saw the biggest daily increase in hospitalisations since April. Elsewhere, Slovakia’s PM said that he was considering following the steps adopted in Austria, and the outgoing Czech PM said that mandatory vaccines for the over-60s were being considered. In spite of the growing Covid wave across Europe, the flash PMIs released yesterday actually proved better than the consensus was expecting, and even saw something of an uptick from the October readings. The Euro Area composite PMI ended a run of 3 successive declines as it rose to 55.8 (vs. 53.0 expected), with both manufacturing (58.6) and services (56.6) rising relative to a month ago. And both the German (52.8) and the French (56.3) composite PMIs were also better than expected. On the other hand, the US had somewhat underwhelming readings, with the flash services PMI down to 57.0 (vs. 59.0 expected), as the composite PMI fell to 56.5. To the day ahead now, and there’s a significant amount of US data ahead of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday. That includes the weekly initial jobless claims, the second estimate of Q3 GDP, October’s personal income and personal spending, new home sales, and the preliminary October readings for durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Over in Germany, there’s also the Ifo’s business climate indicator for November. Finally on the central bank side, there’s the release of the FOMC’s November meeting minutes, and speakers include the ECB’s Panetta and Schnabel, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 08:07.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 24th, 2021

Futures Trade Near All Time High As Traders Shrug At Inflation, Covid Concerns

Futures Trade Near All Time High As Traders Shrug At Inflation, Covid Concerns US equity futures and European markets started the Thanksgiving week on an upbeat note as investors set aside fear of surging inflation and focused on a pickup in M&A activity while China signaled possible easing measures. The euphoria which lifted S&P futures up some 0.5% overnight and just shy of all time highs ended abruptly and futures reversed after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Covid situation in the country is worse than anything so far and tighter curbs are needed. At 730 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 95 points, or 0.26%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 12.25 points, or 0.26% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 58.75 points, or 0.357%. U.S. stocks trade near record levels, outpacing the rest of the world, as investors see few alternatives amid rising inflation and a persistent pandemic that undermines global recovery. Concerns about high valuations and the potential for the economy to run too hot on the back of loose monetary and fiscal policies have interrupted, but not stopped the rally. In other words, as Bloomberg puts it "bears are winning the argument, bulls are winning in the market" while Nasdaq futures hit another record high as demand for technology stocks remained strong. “Based on historical data, the Thanksgiving week is a strong week for U.S. equities,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, wrote in a note. “Black Friday sales will be closely watched. The good news is, people still have money to spend, even though they get less goods and services in exchange of what’s spent.” In premarket moves, heavyweights, including most FAANG majors, rose in premarket trade. Vonage Holdings Corp. jumped 26% in premarket trading after Ericsson agreed to buy it. Telecom Italia SpA jumped as much as 30% in Europe after KKR offered to buy it for $12 billion. Energy stocks recovered slightly from last week's losses, although anticipation of several economic readings this week kept gains in check. Bank stocks rose in premarket trading as the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield climbed for the first time in three sessions to about 1.58%. S&P 500 futures gain as much as 0.5% on Monday morning. Tesla gained 2.8% after Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted that Model S Plaid will "probably" be coming to China around March. Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) slipped 1.1% after a media report that the video game publisher's top boss, Bobby Kotick, would consider leaving if he cannot quickly fix culture problems. Travel and energy stocks, which were among the worst performers last week, also marked small gains before the open. Here is a list of the other notable premarket movers: Astra Space (ASTR US) shares surge 33% in premarket trading after the company said its rocket reached orbit. Aurora Innovation (AUR US) falls 8% in premarket, after soaring 71% last week amid a surge in popularity for self-driving technology companies among retail traders. Chinese electric-carmaker Xpeng (XPEV US) rises as much as 2.8% premarket after co. unveils a large sports-utility vehicle pitted more directly against Tesla’s Model Y and Nio’s ES series. Stocks of other EV makers are mixed. Monster Beverage (MNST US)., the maker of energy drinks, is exploring a combination with Corona brewer Constellation Brands (STZ US), according to people familiar with the matter. CASI Pharma (CASI US) jumped 17% in postmarket trading after CEO Wei-Wu He disclosed the purchase of 400,000 shares in a regulatory filing. Along with an eye on the Fed's plans for tightening policy, investors are also watching for an announcement from Joe Biden on his pick for the next Fed chair. Powell was supposed to make his decision by the weekend but has since delayed it repeatedly. Investors expect current chair Jerome Powell to stay on for another term, although Fed Governor Lael Brainard is also seen as a candidate for the position. “Bringing the most dovish of the doves wouldn’t guarantee a longer period of zero rates,” Ozkardeskaya wrote. “If the decisions are based on economic fundamentals, the economy is calling for a rate hike. And it’s calling for it quite soon.” The Stoxx 600 trimmed gains after German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for tighter Covid-19 restrictions. European telecom shares surged after KKR’s offer to buy Telecom Italia for about $12 billion, which boosted sentiment about M&A in the sector. The Stoxx 600 Telecommunications Index gained as much as 1.6%, the best-performing sector gauge for the region: Telefonica +4.8%, Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane +4%, KPN +2.7%. Meanwhile, telecom equipment stock Ericsson underperforms the rest of the SXKP index, falling as much as 4.9% after a deal to buy U.S. cloud communication provider Vonage; Danske Bank says the price is “quite steep”. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell as Covid-19 resurgences in Europe triggered risk-off sentiment across markets amid weaker oil prices, a strong U.S. dollar and higher bond yields. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.3%, with India’s Sensex measure slumping the most since April as Paytm’s IPO weighed on sentiment. The country’s oil giant Reliance dragged down the Asian index after scrapping a deal with Saudi Aramco, and energy and financials were the biggest sector losers in the region. Asian markets have turned softer after capping their first weekly retreat this month, following lackluster moves from economically sensitive sectors in the U.S., while investors continue to monitor earnings reports of big Chinese technology firms this week. “Some impact from the regulatory risks and dull macroeconomic conditions have shown up in several Chinese big-tech earnings and that may put investors on the sidelines as earnings season continues,” Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte., wrote in a note. China’s equity gauge posted a second straight day of gains after the central bank’s quarterly report indicated a shift toward easing measures to bolster the economic recovery. South Korea led gains in the region, with the Kospi adding more than 1%, helped by chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix. Asia’s chip-related shares rose after comments from Micron Technology CEO Sanjay Mehrotra added to optimism the global shortage of semiconductors is easing. Reports of Japan earmarking $6.8 billion to bolster domestic chipmaking and Samsung planning to announce the location of its new chip plant in the U.S. also aided sentiment. Japanese stocks fluctuated after U.S. shares retreated on Friday following hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve officials. The Topix index was virtually unchanged at 2,044.16 as of 2:21 p.m. Tokyo time, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.1% to 29,783.92. Out of 2,180 shares in the index, 1,107 rose and 948 fell, while 125 were unchanged. “There are uncertainties surrounding the direction of U.S. monetary policy,” said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute Co. “The latest comments from FRB members are spurring talk that steps to taper could accelerate.” Australian stocks sunk as banks tumbled to almost a 4-month low. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6% to close at 7,353.10, weighed down by banks and technology stocks as the measure for financial shares finished at the lowest level since July 30.  Nickel Mines was the top performer after agreeing to expand its strategic partnership with Shanghai Decent. Flight Centre fell for a second session, ending at its lowest close since Sept. 20, as the Covid-19 situation worsens in Europe. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 1% to 12,607.64. In FX, the Bloomberg dollar index holds Asia’s narrow range, trading little changed on the day. AUD outperforms G-10 peers, extending Asia’s modest gains. SEK and JPY are the weakest. RUB lags in EMFX, dropping as much as 1% versus the dollar with USD/RUB on a 74-handle. According to Bloomberg, hedge funds’ bullishness toward the dollar is starting to evaporate amid speculation the U.S. currency has risen too much given the Federal Reserve remains adamant it’s in no rush to raise interest rates. Meanwhile, the euro pared modest Asia session losses to trade below $1.13, while European bond yields edged higher, led by bunds and gilts. The pound dipped after comments from Bank of England policy makers raised questions about the certainty of an interest-rate increase in December. Governor Andrew Bailey said that the risks to the U.K. economy are “two-sided” in a weekend interview. Australian dollar advanced against the kiwi on position tweaking ahead of Wednesday’s RBNZ’s rate decision, and after China’s central bank removed sticking with “normal monetary policy” from its policy outlook. Yen declines as speculation China will steer toward more accommodative policy damps the currency’s haven appeal. Hungary’s forint tumbled to a record low against the euro as back-to-back interest rate increases failed to shield it during a rapidly deteriorating pandemic and a flight to safer assets. In commodities, crude futures drifted higher. WTI rises 0.3% near $76.20, Brent regains at $79-handle. Spot gold has a quiet session trading near $1,844/oz. Base metal are mixed: LME copper, tin and zinc post small losses; lead and nickel are in the green Looking at today's calendar, we get the October Chicago Fed national activity index, existing home sales data, and the Euro Area advance November consumer confidence. Zoom is among the companies reporting earnings. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,710.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 487.45 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.34% Euro little changed at $1.1283 MXAP down 0.2% to 198.88 MXAPJ down 0.2% to 647.20 Nikkei little changed at 29,774.11 Topix little changed at 2,042.82 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 24,951.34 Shanghai Composite up 0.6% to 3,582.08 Sensex down 2.0% to 58,450.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.6% to 7,353.08 Kospi up 1.4% to 3,013.25 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $79.22/bbl Gold spot little changed at $1,846.10 U.S. Dollar Index also little changed at 96.08 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Negotiators hammering out details of a transformative new global corporate tax regime are shaping the deal to maximize its chance of winning acceptance in the U.S., whose companies face the biggest impact from the overhaul The U.S. has shared intelligence including maps with European allies that shows a buildup of Russian troops and artillery to prepare for a rapid, large-scale push into Ukraine from multiple locations if President Vladimir Putin decided to invade, according to people familiar with the conversations. The ruble slid to the weakest since August and the hryvnia fell With investors ramping up expectations for the Federal Reserve and other developed-market central banks to tighten policy, the likes of the Brazilian real and Hungarian forint have been weighed down by inflation and political concerns even as local officials pushed up borrowing costs. The Chinese yuan, Taiwanese dollar and Russian ruble have been among the few to stand their ground An organization formed by key participants in China’s currency market urged banks to limit speculative foreign-exchange trading after the yuan climbed to a six-year high versus peers The Avalanche cryptocurrency has surged in the past several days, taking it briefly into the top 10 by market value and surpassing Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, after a deal related to improvement of U.S. disaster-relief funding A more detailed breakdown of overnight news courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed following last Friday's mostly negative performance stateside, where risk appetite was dampened by concerns of a fourth COVID wave in Europe and recent hawkish Fed rhetoric. Weekend newsflow was light and the mood was tentative heading into this week's risk events including FOMC minutes and US GDP data before the Thanksgiving holiday. The ASX 200 (-0.6%) was subdued with declines led by weakness in gold miners and the energy sector. The Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was lacklustre after last week’s inflows into the JPY but with downside eventually reversed as the currency faded some of the gains and following the recent cabinet approval of the stimulus spending. The KOSPI (+1.4%) outperformed and reclaimed the 3k level with shares in index heavyweight Samsung Electronics rallying as its de facto leader tours the US which spurred hopes the Co. could deploy its USD 100bln cash pile. The Hang Seng (-0.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.6%) diverged with the mainland kept afloat after the PBoC conducted a mild liquidity injection and maintained its Loan Prime Rate for a 19th consecutive month as expected, although Hong Kong was pressured by losses in energy and cautiousness among developers, as well as the recent announcement of increased constituents in the local benchmark. Finally, 10yr JGBs eked marginal gains amid the cautious risk tone in Asia and following firmer demand at the enhanced liquidity auction for 2yr-20yr JGBs, but with upside capped as T-note futures continued to fade Friday’s early gains that were fuelled by the COVID-19 concerns in Europe before the advances were later halted by hawkish Fed rhetoric calling for a discussion on speeding up the tapering at next month’s meeting. Top Asian News China Blocks Peng Shuai News as It Seeks to Reassure World China FX Panel Urges Banks to Cap Speculation as Yuan Surges Paytm Founder Compares Himself to Musk After Historic IPO Flop China Tech Stocks Are Nearing Inflection Point, UBS GWM Says European cash bourses kicked off the new trading week with mild gains (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) following a mixed APAC handover. Some have been attributing the mild gains across Europe in the context of the different approaches of the Fed and ECB, with the latter expected to remain dovish as the former moves tighter, while COVID lockdowns will restrict economic activity. News flow in the European morning has however been sparse, as participants look ahead to FOMC Minutes, Flash PMIs and US GDP ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday (full Newsquawk Desk Schedule on the headline feed) alongside the Fed Chair update from President Biden and a speech from him on the economy. US equity futures see modestly more pronounced gains, with the more cyclically-exposed RTY (+0.6%) performing better than then NQ (+0.4%), ES (+0.4%) and YM (+0.4%). Since the European cash open, the initial mildly positive momentum has somewhat waned across European cash and futures, with the region now conforming to a more mixed picture. Spain's IBEX (+0.7%) is the clear regional outperforming, aided by index heavyweight Telefonica (+5.0%), which benefits from the sectorial boost received by a couple of major M&A updates. Firstly, Telecom Italia (+22%) gapped higher at the open after KKR presented a EUR 0.505/shr offer for Telecom Italia. The offer presents a ~45% premium on Friday's close. Second, Ericsson (-3.5%) made a bid to acquire American publicly held business cloud communications provider Vonage in a deal worth USD 6.2bln. As things stand, the Telecom sector is the clear outperformer, closely followed by banks amid a revival in yields. The other end of the spectrum sees Travel & Leisure back at the foot of the bunch as COVID fears in Europe mount. In terms of individual movers, Vestas Wind Systems (-2.0%) was hit as a cyber incident that impacted parts of its internal IT structure and data has been compromised. Looking ahead, it’s worth noting that volume will likely be more muted towards the latter half of the week on account of the Thanksgiving holiday. Top European News Scholz Closer to German Chancellery as Cabinet Takes Shape Austria Back in Lockdown Ahead of Mandatory Vaccine Policy Energy Crunch Drives Carbon to Record as Europe Burns More Coal BP Goes on Hydrogen Hiring Spree in Bid for 10% Market Share In FX, the Antipodean Dollars are outperforming at the start of the new week on specific supportive factors, like a bounce in the price of iron ore and a further re-opening from pandemic restrictions in both Australia and New Zealand, while the REINZ shadow board is ‘overwhelmingly’ behind another RBNZ rate hike this week. Aud/Usd is holding around 0.7250 and Nzd/Usd is hovering circa 0.7000 as the Aud/Nzd cross pivots 1.0350 in the run up to flash Aussie PMIs and NZ retail sales. DXY - Aussie and Kiwi strength aside, the Greenback retains a solid underlying bid on safe haven and increasingly hawkish Fed grounds after a run of recent much better than expected US data. In index terms, a base just above 96.000 provides a platform to retest last week’s peaks at 96.245 and 96.266 vs 96.223 so far, but Monday’s agenda may not give bulls much in the way of encouragement via data with only existing home sales scheduled. Instead, the Buck could derive more impetus from Treasuries given front-loaded supply ahead of Thanksgiving in the form of Usd 58 bn 2 year and Usd 59 bn 5 year notes. CHF/CAD/EUR/GBP/JPY - All narrowly mixed against their US rival, as the Franc keeps its head above 0.9300 and meanders between 1.0485-61 vs the Euro amidst some signs of official intervention from a rise in weekly Swiss sight deposits at domestic banks. Meanwhile, the Loonie has some leverage from a mild rebound in crude prices to pare declines from sub-1.2650 and should glean support into 1.2700 from 1 bn option expiries at 1.2685 on any further risk aversion or fallout in WTI. Conversely, 1 bn option expiry interest from 1.1300-05 could scupper Euro recoveries from Friday’s new y-t-d low around 1.1250 against the backdrop of ongoing COVID-19 contagion and pre-ECB speakers plus preliminary Eurozone consumer confidence. Elsewhere, the Pound is weighing up BoE tightening prospects and the impact of no breakthrough between the UK and EU on NI Protocol as Cable and Eur/Gbp straddle the 1.3435-40 zone and 0.8400 respectively, while the Yen has unwound more of its safe haven premium within a 114.27-113.91 range eyeing UST yields in relation to JGBs alongside overall risk sentiment. SCANDI/EM - The Nok is deriving some traction from Brent back over Usd 79/brl, but geopolitical concerns are preventing the Rub from benefiting and the Mxn is also on a weaker footing along with most EM currencies. However, the Try is striving to draw a line in the sand irrespective of a marked deterioration in Turkish consumer sentiment and the Cnh/Cny are holding up well regardless of a softer PBoC fix for the onshore unit as LPRs were unchanged yet again and China’s FX regulator told banks to limit Yuan spec trades. In CEE, the Pln has plunged on diplomatic strains between Poland and the EU, the Huf has depreciated to all time lows on virus fears and the Czk has been hampered by CNB’s Holub downplaying the chances of more big tightening surprises such as the aggressive hike last time. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures see some consolidation following Friday’s slide in prices. In terms of the fundamentals, the demand side of the equations continues to be threatened by the fourth wave of COVID, namely in the European nations that have not had a successful vaccine rollout. As a reminder, Austria is in a 20-day nationwide lockdown as of today, whilst Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands see tighter restrictions, with the latter two also experiencing COVID-related social unrest over the weekend. The European Commission will on Wednesday issue a set of new recommendations to its member states on non-essential travel, a senior EU diplomat said, which will be watched for activity and jet fuel demand. Over to the supply side, There were weekend reports that Japan and the US are planning a joint announcement regarding the SPR release, although a key Japanese official later noted there was no fixed plan yet on releasing reserves. Japanese PM Kishida confirmed that they are considering releasing oil reserves to curb prices. Meanwhile, Iranian nuclear talks are regaining focus as negotiations are poised to resume on the 29th of November – it is likely we’ll see officials telegraph their stances heading into the meeting. Eyes will be on whether the US offers an olive branch as Tehran stands firm. Elsewhere, the next OPEC+ meeting is also looming, but against the backdrop of lower prices, COVID risk and SPR releases, it is difficult to see a scenario where OPEC+ will be more hawkish than dovish. WTI and Brent Jan trade on either side of USD 76/bbl and USD 79/bbl respectively and within relatively narrow bands. Spot gold and silver meanwhile see a mild divergence, with the yellow metal constrained by resistance in the USD 1,850/oz area, whilst spot silver rebounded off support at USD 24.50/oz. Finally, base metals are relatively mixed with no standout performers to point out. LME copper is flat but holds onto USD 9,500+/t status. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Oct. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.10, prior -0.13 10am: Oct. Existing Home Sales MoM, est. -1.8%, prior 7.0% 10am: Oct. Home Resales with Condos, est. 6.18m, prior 6.29m DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap This morning we’ve just published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. 2021 has been one of the lowest vol years for credit on record but we think this is unlikely to last and spreads will sell-off at some point in H1 when markets reappraise how far behind the curve the Fed is. Even with covid restrictions mounting again in Europe as we go to print, we think it’s more likely that we’ll be in a “growthflationary” environment for 2022 and think overheating risks are more acute than the stagflation risk, especially in the US. Strong growth and high liquidity should mean that full year 2022 is a reasonable year for credit overall but if we’re correct there’ll be regular pockets of inflationary/interest rate concerns in the market, which we think is more likely to happen in H1. At the H1 wides, we could see spreads widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY which is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. However, with the potential for a shift in the narrative to potential late-cycle dynamics, we think spreads will close 2022 slightly wider than they are today. We will be watching the yield curve closely through the year for clues as to how the cycle will evolve into 2023. This has the ability to move our YE 22 forecasts in both directions as the year progresses. This week will be heavily compressed given Thanksgiving on Thursday. The highlight though will be a likely choice of Fed governor before this, assuming the timetable doesn’t slip again. Overnight it’s been announced that Biden will give a speech to the American people tomorrow on the economy and prices. It’s possible the Fed Chair gets announced here and perhaps plans to release oil from the strategic reserve. We will see. Following that, Wednesday is especially busy as a pre-holiday US data dump descends upon us. We’ll see the minutes of the November 3rd FOMC meeting and earlier that day the core PCE deflator (the Fed's preferred inflation metric), Durable Goods, the UoM sentiment index (including latest inflation expectations), new home sales and jobless claims amongst a few other releases. More internationally, covid will be focus, especially in Europe as Austria enters lockdown today after the shock announcement on Friday. Germany is probably the swing factor here for sentiment in Europe so case numbers will be watched closely. Staying with Germany, there’s anticipation that a coalition agreement could be reached in Germany between the SPD, Greens and the FDP, almost two months after their federal election. Otherwise, the flash PMIs for November will be in focus, with the ECB following the Fed and releasing the minutes from their recent meeting on Thursday. As discussed at the top the most important market event this week is likely to be on the future leadership of the Federal Reserve, as it’s been widely reported that President Biden is expected to announce his choice on who’ll be the next Fed Chair by Thanksgiving on Thursday. Previous deadlines have slipped on this announcement, but time is becoming increasingly limited given the need for Senate confirmation ahead of Chair Powell’s current four-year term expiring in early February. The two names that are quite obviously in the frame are incumbent Chair Powell and Governor Brainard, but there are also a number of other positions to fill at the Fed in the coming months, with Vice Chair Clarida’s term as an FOMC governor expiring in January, Randal Quarles set to leave the Board by the end of this year, and another vacant post still unfilled. So a significant opportunity for the Biden administration to reshape the top positions at the Fed. In spite of all the speculation over the position of the Fed Chair, our US economists write in their latest Fed update (link here), that the decision is unlikely to have a material impact on the broad policy trajectory. Inflation in 2022 is likely to remain at levels that make most Fed officials uncomfortable, whilst the regional Fed presidents rotating as voters lean more hawkish next year, so there’ll be constraints to how policy could shift in a dovish direction, even if an incoming chair wanted to move things that way. Another unconfirmed but much anticipated announcement this week could come from Germany, where there’s hope that the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the liberal FDP will finally reach a coalition agreement. The general secretaries of all three parties have recently said that they hope next week will be when a deal is reached, and a deal would pave the way for the SPD’s Olaf Scholz to become chancellor at the head of a 3-party coalition. Nevertheless, there are still some hurdles to clear before then, since an agreement would mark the start of internal party approval processes. The FDP and the SPD are set to hold a party convention, whilst the Greens have announced that their members will vote on the agreement. On the virus, there is no doubt things are getting worse in Europe but it’s worth putting some of the vaccine numbers in some context. Austria (64% of total population) has a double vaccination rate that is somewhat lower than the likes of Spain (79%), Italy (74%), France (69%), the UK (69%) and Germany (68%). The UK for all its pandemic fighting faults is probably as well placed as any due to it being more advanced on the booster campaign due to an earlier vaccine start date and also due to higher natural infections. It was also a conscious decision back in the summer in the UK to flatten the peak to take load off the winter wave. So this is an area where scientists and the government may have made a calculated decision that pays off. Europe is a bit behind on boosters versus the UK but perhaps these will accelerate as more people get 6 months from their second jab, albeit a bit too late to stop some kind of winter wave. There may also be notable divergence within Europe. Countries like Italy and Spain (and to a slightly lesser extent France) that were hit hard in the initial waves have a high vaccination rate so it seems less likely they will suffer the dramatic escalation that Austria has seen. Germany is in the balance as they have had lower infection rates which unfortunately may have encouraged slightly lower vaccination rates. The irony here is that there is some correlation between early success/lower infections and lower subsequent vaccination rates. The opposite is also true - i.e. early bad outcomes but high vaccination rates. The US is another contradiction as it’s vaccination rate of 58% is very low in the developed world but it has had high levels of natural infections and has a higher intolerance for lockdowns. So tough to model all the above. Overall given that last winter we had no vaccines and this year we have very high levels of protection it seems unfathomable that we’ll have an outcome anywhere near as bad. Yes there will be selected countries where the virus will have a more severe impact but most developed countries will likely get by without lockdowns in my opinion even if the headlines aren’t always going to be pleasant. Famous last words but those are my thoughts. In light of the rising caseloads, the November flash PMIs should provide some context for how the global economy has performed into the month. We’ve already seen a deceleration in the composite PMIs for the Euro Area since the summer, so it’ll be interesting to see if that’s maintained. If anything the US data has reaccelerated in Q4 with the Atlanta Fed GDPNow series at 8.2% for the quarter after what will likely be a revised 2.2% print on Wednesday for Q3. Time will tell if Covid temporarily dampens this again. Elsewhere datawise, we’ll also get the Ifo’s latest business climate indicator for Germany on Wednesday, which has experienced a similar deceleration to other European data since the summer. The rest of the week ahead appears as usual in the day-by-day calendar at the end. Overnight in Asia stocks are mixed with the KOSPI (+1.31%) leading the pack followed by the Shanghai Composite (+0.65%) and CSI (+0.53%), while the Nikkei (-0.18%) and Hang Seng (-0.35%) are lower. Stocks in China are being boosted by optimism that the PBOC would be easing its policy stance after its quarterly monetary policy report on Friday dropped a few hints to that effect. Futures are pointing towards a positive start in the US and Europe with S&P 500 futures (+0.31%) and DAX futures (+0.14%) both in the green. Turning to last week now, rising Covid cases prompted renewed lockdown measures to varying degrees and hit risk sentiment. Countries across Europe implemented new lockdown measures and vaccine requirements to combat the latest rise in Covid cases. The standouts included Austria and Germany. Austria will start a nationwide lockdown starting today and will implement a compulsory Covid vaccine mandate from February. Germany will restrict leisure activities and access to public transportation for unvaccinated citizens and announced a plan to improve vaccination efforts. DM ten-year yields decreased following the headline. Treasury, bund, and gilt yields declined -3.8bps, -6.7bps, and -4.6bps on Friday, respectively, bringing the weekly totals to -1.3bps, -8.3bps, and -3.5bps, respectively. The broad dollar appreciated +0.54% Friday, and +0.98% over the week. Brent and WTI futures declined -2.89% and -3.68% on Friday following global demand fears, after drifting -4.27% and -5.79% lower throughout the week as headlines circulated that the US and allies were weighing whether to release strategic reserves. European equity indices declined late in the week as the renewed lockdown measures were publicized. The Stoxx 600, DAX, and CAC 40 declined -0.33%, -0.38%, and -0.42%, respectively on Friday, bringing their weekly totals to -0.14%, +0.41%, and +0.29%. The S&P 500 index was also hit ending the week +0.32% higher after declining -0.14% Friday, though weekly gains were concentrated in big technology and consumer discretionary stocks. U.S. risk markets were likely supported by the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Biden Administration’s climate and social spending bill. The bill will proceed to the Senate, where its fate lays with a few key moderate Democrats. This follows President Biden signing a physical infrastructure bill into law on Monday. On the Fed, communications from officials took a decidedly more hawkish turn on inflation dynamics, especially from dovish members. Whether the Fed decides to accelerate its asset purchase taper at the December FOMC will likely be the key focus in markets heading into the meeting. Ending the weekly wrap up with some positive Covid news: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Pfizer and Moderna booster shots for all adults. Additionally, the US will order 10 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid pill. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/22/2021 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021

FDA Adviser Explains Why He Abstained From Vote On Pfizer"s COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids

FDA Adviser Explains Why He Abstained From Vote On Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times, The only Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory panel member to abstain from a major vote this week that essentially authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 5 said he did so because of limited safety and efficacy data. All 17 others voted to advise the administration, or the FDA, to authorize the jab for children between the ages of 5 and 11. The agency already supported doing so and is expected to formalize the authorization soon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would then decide which children should get the shot. The vote was preceded by nearly eight hours of discussions and presentations, with multiple members expressing concern about the scant data on how the vaccine will affect the age group. But Dr. Michael Kurilla, an expert on infectious diseases and pathology who directs a division inside the National Institutes of Health, was the only one who didn’t support the recommendation. Kurilla told The Epoch Times in an email that he opposed the specific, binary wording of the question, which opens up the possibility that any child between 5 and 11 will be able to get the Pfizer vaccine. He was also concerned about the longest follow-up for the clinical trial involving the age group being only three months, data that shows children experience severe cases of COVID-19 much less often than adults, and how a large chunk of them have already had the disease, giving them some level of immunity. If the authorization goes through as expected, at least some of the age group will be able to get two doses of 10 micrograms each, spaced three weeks apart. The same dosage interval, with a dosage level three times as high, is currently in place for adults. But adults have seen waning effectiveness, especially against infection, prompting the recent authorization of booster doses. Because the interval is the same, it can be predicted that the effectiveness will also wane in children, Kurilla said. The lower dosage level, meanwhile, brings into question whether the protection against severe disease and hospitalization will be as strong as in adults. “Real-world evidence involving adults suggest the 3-week dosing interval is suboptimal in terms of durability and is likely to be similar in children, leading to waning immunity within 4–6 months,” Kurilla said. “Because the Pfizer vaccine offers protection against serious disease even after antibody titers have waned, there is some other basis for immunity, but at the lower dose in children, there is no expectation that those same immune processes will behave similarly to the higher adult dose.” Pfizer/BioNTech’s new pediatric COVID-19 vaccine vials are seen in this undated handout photo. (Pfizer via Reuters) Low Hospitalization Rate During the meeting, members heard that among children 5 to 11 in the United States, there have been over 1.9 million infections since the start of the pandemic, but just 0.4 percent, or 8,400 of those cases, have required hospital care. And just 94 of them ended up dying. They also heard that an estimated 20 percent of the hospitalized children were admitted for a reason besides COVID-19 and that nearly seven out of 10 of the children had existing serious health conditions like heart disease, illustrating just how little risk COVID-19 poses to healthy children. Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 40 percent of children in the age group have already had COVID-19. Recovery from COVID-19 bestows some level of immunity, studies show, with multiple studies indicating the level is actually higher than vaccines provide. “The benefit here is assumed to be prevention of severe disease, which is what we’re all hoping for,” Kurilla said during the meeting. But among the recovered, he added later, “The question really becomes, does this vaccine offer any benefits to them at all?” Kurilla signaled he would have voted “yes” if the FDA had proposed opening up access to the vaccine to a subset of the 5–11 group. He also explained why he abstained. “My abstention was based on the specific question the FDA asked. A ‘no’ vote would have been misconstrued as my opinion about the vaccine,” he told The Epoch Times. “There are high-risk groups within the 5–11 age group that would benefit from the vaccine, suggesting a more tailored approach.” In this image from video, Dr. Michael Kurilla (C) questions the CDC’s Dr. Fiona Havers (R) during an FDA advisory panel meeting on Oct. 26, 2021. (The Epoch Times via FDA) Others Question Widespread Use Additional panel members openly questioned whether all young children should get the vaccine. “I’m torn. On one hand, we know that many mothers and fathers and parents are eager to administer this vaccine to children because they’re so frightened, perhaps overly so, … that they really are anticipating having access to this vaccine in children,” said Dr. Cody Meissner, the director of pediatric infectious disease at Tufts Medical Center. “On the other hand, I think we saw that approximately 68 percent of the children who are hospitalized with COVID-19 have underlying comorbidities. That means about 32 percent do not. And then if we were to take 40 percent of that group that may have immunity already, we’re getting down to a very small percent of otherwise healthy 6- to 11-year-old children who might derive some benefit,” he added. But others said they saw the need for the vaccination. The protection it gives would prevent more hospitalizations and ensure schools remain open, some argued. “We don’t want children to be dying of COVID, even if it is far fewer children than adults, and we don’t want them in the ICU,” said Dr. Amanda Cohn, a CDC official. Jeannette Lee, a biostatistics professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, said she was impressed by the data presented by Pfizer, which relied on an approach called immunobridging. In this case, Pfizer’s trial showed the vaccine triggered antibodies in children. The antibodies were compared to those elicited in older groups, and that was used as proof the vaccine will protect the kids against COVID-19. Kurilla, though, voiced disapproval with the approach, telling colleagues “it’s being based on an immunogenicity marker that we know wanes.” He said he hoped for more flexibility in the authorization, including a single dose for some children and no doses for others, based on factors like prior infection. “There are high-risk individuals and I think they do need to be attended to, that we do need to provide a vaccine for them. But for many others, one dose—or no dose, even, if they’ve had prior COVID infection. I think they may not need anything more,” he said. A 14-year-old girl gets a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Hartford, Conn., on May 13, 2021. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images) Side Effects Cases of heart inflammation after receipt of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are highest in youth, especially boys in their teens. Based on reports submitted to the federally run Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), the cases are higher than expected in males aged 12 to 49 after the second Pfizer dose and females 12 to 24 after the second Pfizer dose. Over half of the children with confirmed myocarditis or pericarditis studied in the Vaccine Safety Datalink surveillance system required hospital care, though no post-vaccination deaths due to the conditions have been confirmed, according to federal authorities. Pfizer said none of the 5- to 11-year-olds in its trials experienced post-vaccination heart inflammation. Using a third of the amount of that given to older people is, in part, an attempt to curb side effects, though how that will ultimately turn out is unknown. FDA scientists said they determined the vaccine would prevent more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among the age group than vaccine-linked heart inflammation cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. They assumed a vaccine efficacy of 70 percent against COVID-19 cases and an efficacy of 80 percent against hospitalizations linked to the disease. Among young males, “the benefits appear to outweigh the risks,” Hong Yang, an FDA scientist, told members. Among young females, “the benefits clearly outweigh the risks,” she added. “What will the actual myocarditis rate be in these younger kids?” Dr. Ofer Levy, director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, wondered. That group “may be less susceptible to myocarditis, but right now that’s a speculation,” he added. “We don’t know that for sure.” Members of the public also expressed concern, arguing the safety data wasn’t sufficient to authorize the vaccine for children so young. But other members pointed to the trial data, the fact fewer reports have come in for 12- to 15-year-olds than 16- and 17-year-olds, and how, generally, fewer younger children experience heart inflammation versus older ones. “I am not as concerned about myocarditis in this age group as I am in the older kids,” Dr. Melinda Wharton, another CDC official, said. Surveillance systems like VAERS will help detect if inflammation becomes an issue in the younger children, members said. “If the surveillance systems do start seeing severe outcomes and deaths from vaccination, I’m quite confident that those surveillance systems will tell us that we need to pause like we did with the J&J vaccine to really have a good idea of what the effects are vaccinating this age group,” said Dr. Patrick Moore, professor at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. In this image from video, Dr. Eric Rubin (L) explains why he will vote to advise the FDA to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for young children during an FDA advisory panel meeting on Oct. 26, 2021. (The Epoch Times via FDA) The ‘Yes’ Votes Ultimately, most members said the benefits and predicted benefits of the vaccine in the 5- to 11-year-olds outweighed the risks and potential risks. “I think this vaccine will likely be effective in reducing pediatric COVID in this age group and may also help reduce transmission. On the safety end, I’m encouraged by the lower dose, … finding a dose that’s immunogenic and had not too much in terms of reactogenicity,” said Dr. Ofer Levy, director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Eric Rubin, an adjunct professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said he wanted to give parents the choice to vaccinate their kids, imagining he had a child who was a transplant recipient, though he joined others in saying there are probably some younger children who shouldn’t get the vaccine. “The question of how broadly to use it, though, I think is a substantial one. And I know it’s not our question, but I—and I know we’re kind of punting that to [the CDC’s advisory panel]—but I do think that it’s a relatively close call,” he said. Soon after, in a comment that was widely distributed online, he added: “We’re never going to learn about how safe this vaccine is unless we start giving it. That’s just the way it goes. That’s how we found out about rare complications of other vaccines, like the rotavirus vaccine.” Rubin told The Epoch Times in an email, responding to critics: “The clinical trial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children showed no adverse events. All data to date indicate that it is safe. It will prevent the hospitalization of children with severe disease, as it does with adults. The vaccine works, and saves lives.” Tyler Durden Fri, 10/29/2021 - 08:47.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 29th, 2021

COVID Authoritarians Are The Cause Of America"s Problems, Not The Unvaccinated

COVID Authoritarians Are The Cause Of America's Problems, Not The Unvaccinated Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, It’s an odd dynamic – One would think that if the covid vaccines were a generally benevolent program that actually “followed the science” then there would be no need to pile drive the public with an endless barrage of vax propaganda. After all, if science and morality are on the side of the covid cult then the rest would naturally take care of itself and the overwhelming majority of Americans would have already voluntarily taken the experimental mRNA cocktail without any threats required. And, if some people still refused, then the science would dictate that it doesn’t matter, because if the vax actually works then those people present no threat whatsoever to the rest of society. It is highly revealing that this is not the case, and the more resistance the establishment encounters on mandates the more aggressive they become and the more they lie about the facts and evidence. Remember when Fauci and company said they only needed 70% of the population vaccinated to hit herd immunity? That concept was thrown down the memory hole and now they want 96% (really 100%) of the population vaccinated. They claimed that the vaccination programs were a success with between 70% to almost 80% of the public taking the double jab, and that was a lie as state numbers continue to contradict federal and CDC numbers. They claimed that the only pandemic still ongoing was a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”, and this was of course a lie as we have seen studies from multiple states and mostly vaccinated countries showing that the vaccinated now make up the bulk of infections and hospitalizations. They said the vaccines offered more reliable protection when compared to natural immunity, yet medical studies from around the world show that this was a lie and that natural immunity offers up to 27 times more protection than the vaccines do. And, they said that the vaccines were “safe and effective”, yet there is no long term data to prove they are safe, and multiple studies show that vaccine effectiveness is questionable to say the least. Lie after lie after lie. If the vaccines actually worked, there would be no need for so much deceit, and if their true intention was to “protect public health” then the establishment would be promoting treatment programs and natural immunity, not untested vaccines that continue to disappoint. Numerous fully vaccinated people including political figures like Colin Powell have died from covid but the mainstream media STILL claims this doesn’t disprove the efficacy of the jab. At the same time, unvaccinated alternative media figures like Joe Rogan beat covid in 3 days using treatments like Ivermectin, and the MSM attacks him relentlessly as some kind of charlatan merely because he dared to not die. The elitists think that the public doesn’t notice massive contradictions like this, but we do. We are not dumb, we see everything. In Washington State, for example, studies show that there have been at least 51,000 “breakthrough cases” of covid in the past 10 months. Breakthrough cases are people who are fully vaccinated but were still infected with covid. Of those 51,000 people, 493 people died. When calculating the percentage of dead vs infected, we get around 0.96%. The median death rate of covid among unvaccinated people is only 0.27% according to dozens of peer reviewed medical studies. This means that the death rate of fully vaccinated people in Washington is actually HIGHER than that of unvaxxed people. We have seen similar results in states like Massachusetts, where there were 5100 breakthrough cases in a single month and 80 deaths of fully vaccinated people, which is a 1.5% death rate for the vaxxed as opposed to 0.27% for the unvaxxed. Studies on death rates are going to have to take into account vaccinated deaths vs unvaccinated deaths from now on. And what about studies from highly vaccinated countries like Israel, which show that the majority of infections and hospitalizations are among vaccinated people, with infections spiking well after the vaccines were introduced. Right after Israel became one of the most vaccinated nations on the planet, it also had one of the highest infection rates on the planet. It should also be noted that the peak of US infections in 2020 ended well before the vaccine rollout even started in early 2021. Meaning, the vaccines did NOTHING to reduce infection rates. They dropped off on their own. This is a scientific fact that the mainstream avoids, just as they avoid admitting that the median death rate of covid is a mere 0.27%. The solution that the establishment offers is not surprising – They claim we need MORE vaccines through booster requirements. As the old saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And so the demented propaganda machine continues into infinity. The public is growing tired of the games as is evident in mass walkouts, sick-outs and other protests against Biden’s vaccine mandates for companies with more than 100 employees as well as most government institutions. We are seeing up to 50% of employees and government workers in many cases refusing to take the experimental jab despite the fact that they are being threatened with losing their jobs. This dynamic seems to have bewildered the covid cult and the globalists; they can’t wrap their heads around this level of resistance to their agenda. It’s not a new thing, but I have noticed an increasing number of vax propaganda commercials and articles featuring Donald Trump in the past month. All of them herald Trump’s pro-vaccination stance, which is odd because leftists spent most of 2020 saying they would not take any vaccine that Trump was responsible for producing. I was recently doing some research on YouTube and was annoyed to have to watch yet another vax ad, but this one had an odd tone. It showed clips of Trump making favorable statements on the mRNA vaccines, he and his wife taking the vaccines with dramatic music, and then a message at the end which said “There’s A Covid Vaccine Waiting For You, Too.” The bizarre commercial was clearly aimed at conservatives, but it displays an obvious disconnect that the covid cult and the media have when it comes to conservative thinking and principles. Leftists, collectivists and globalists function according to majority rule and herd mentality. They have gatekeepers, and the gatekeepers set the agenda and dictate decision making responsibilities for the group. Leftist herds wait patiently for top-down orders from their designated gatekeepers and most of them obey without question. This is how they operate. Liberty minded people operate in the opposite fashion. Our “leaders” are always under scrutiny, and this includes political mascots like Donald Trump. This is why, during a recent speech in Alabama, Trump was booed by a crowd of supporters after he called for them to get the covid vaccine. Conservatives generally don’t care about the person promoting the message, they only care if the message passes the smell test. Leftists and globalists are incapable of grasping conservative principles or the conservative mindset. This fact is hilariously evident in the style of propaganda they have consistently used to try to intimidate or pressure the conservative public into compliance with the mandates. We don’t view Trump as a philosophical leader; in fact, there were so many underlying issues with his cabinet and his policies that his leadership became suspect. At most, conservatives enjoyed Trump’s administration simply because his presence in the White House drove leftist authoritarians to greater madness. We definitely don’t care what Trump has to say on the vaccines. There is further evidence of the disconnect I describe in the actions of leftists and the establishment when it comes to vax mandates in the workplace. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the argument from covid cultists that conservatives “Might say we will refuse to comply, but when our livelihoods are threatened we will submit.” They believe this because that’s how THEY would respond. They are cowardly weaklings with no heart, no principles and no morals. They think that since they would cave in to the pressure, the rest of us would cave in as well. The past month has proven them oh so wrong as millions of people stage protests and walk outs across the country. There is even refusal among around 25% of the armed forced averaged across all branches, as well as up to 50% of city police forces. Most employers and government offices can barely function as is; there is zero chance they will be able to cope with a 10% loss of workforce, let alone a 25% to 50% loss. They would crumble. This was obviously not the plan; the globalists were not prepared for this level of resistance in the US and this is evident in their pathetic propaganda scramble. That does not mean they don’t have contingencies in place. I am already seeing a fledgling narrative in the media which is implanting the idea that any breakdown of the system in the US will actually be the fault of the unvaccinated. Biden has been a fervent culprit behind the narrative that everything from economic instability and supply chain problems to social divisions should be blamed on unvaccinated Americans. That’s right, the majority of these disasters started on Biden’s watch and because of his policies, but somehow WE are the real danger. Yes, the draconian mandates are illegal and unconstitutional and yes, mandates are not laws in any form, and yes, Biden and his handlers are acting like dictators and there is no reason to do anything they say. But, we are the bad guys. This is classic communist gaslighting. Here’s an idea: Stop trying to enforce covid mandates and vaccine passports. Stop paying people to stay home from work with covid welfare bribes. Stop generating trillions of dollars in fiat stimulus from thin air to pay for even more useless programs we don’t need. Then watch how quickly stagflation, economic instability, the workforce shortages and most other problems in the US suddenly disappear. The unvaccinated are not the source of American distress, the globalists and errand boys like Biden and blue state governors are the cause. Remove them from the equation and America’s future looks much brighter. *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 00:10.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 22nd, 2021

Why Whitney Isn’t Persuaded By Facebook’s Defense

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discusing why he is not persuaded by Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)’s defense; responses to his letter to Sheryl Sandberg; other reader feedback and his comments. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Why I’m Not Persuaded By Facebook’s Defense 1) In yesterday’s e-mail, I shared Facebook’s (FB) defense to the […] Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discusing why he is not persuaded by Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)’s defense; responses to his letter to Sheryl Sandberg; other reader feedback and his comments. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Why I'm Not Persuaded By Facebook's Defense 1) In yesterday's e-mail, I shared Facebook's (FB) defense to the latest charges of bad behavior by whistleblower and former employee Frances Haugen, as articulated by founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as a friend who knows the company well. My take: I'm not buying what they're selling... Zuckerberg's post is laughably bad. In the face of Haugen's compelling testimony and her release of thousands of pages of damning internal company documents – which has led to overwhelming, bipartisan criticism – Zuckerberg's 16-paragraph, 1,316-word post doesn't once acknowledge any problem, much less any contrition, much less any indication that he and his company might need to do even a few things differently. His tone deafness is matched only by his arrogance. My friend, on the other hand, at least acknowledges that "there is a huge problem," but says, "I disagree Facebook is blind to it." (Quick correction: I misquoted him yesterday here: "This extends to idiots on Facebook's board as well by the way." Here's what he wrote: "I have no opinion on FB's board – I was referring to board members at other companies who try to tell the CEO how to run a company when they have no idea what is really happening. That is why a board's role is to hire and fire the CEO, not to run the company.") In most of his response, however, he criticizes Haugen, saying that she: ... had no direct reports, never met a senior executive at Facebook, started with extreme bias, and then only found/extracted information that confirmed it. She never worked in the areas she is "so knowledgeable about" – like teens – so has no idea what Facebook is trying to do... ... she is basically as knowledgeable as a tabloid – at best. It's like the janitor telling Zuckerberg how to run Facebook... She's an idiot looking for five minutes of fame. Industry veterans are cringing. I couldn't disagree more. First, Haugen was hardly the "janitor." She's a Harvard Business School graduate with more than 10 years of experience in the social media sector, nearly two years of which was at Facebook (from 2019 to 2021 – see her LinkedIn profile) – plenty of time to see what was going on. As for the argument that she wasn't a C-suite executive and therefore wasn't in the loop for high-level decisions, I'd argue the opposite... She was perfectly positioned to be a whistleblower both because of the group she was in – the Civic Integrity unit, which was responsible for preventing the spread of election misinformation and addressing other bad behavior – as well as her level: as a Product Manager, she was senior enough to see what was really happening, but not so high up that she wouldn't know the details. Moreover, Haugen's testimony, to both 60 Minutes and Congress, was compelling. I've been watching 60 Minutes since I was a kid in the 1970s, and she was one of the most impressive people I've ever seen on the show. And my opinion is widely shared: Senators on both sides of the aisle praised her, as did Mike Isaac of the New York Times, who wrote: We're moving into hour three of Ms. Haugen's testimony and she hasn't shown any signs of flagging. Confident, poised, and accurate, for my money she is one of the most impressive critics of Facebook I've seen appear on Capitol Hill. Lastly, Haugen's testimony is corroborated by: a) thousands of pages of internal company documents she copied... b) the long, sordid history of Zuckerberg and Facebook, dating back to the very founding of this company (for more on this, read this shocking article: How Facebook Was Founded) – also, note that my friend wrote that Haugen "said nothing we all didn't already know"... and c) many other former company insiders. For example, here's an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times by Roddy Lindsay, a former Facebook data scientist: I Designed Algorithms at Facebook. Here's How to Regulate Them. Excerpt: Washington was entranced Tuesday by the revelations from Frances Haugen, the Facebook product manager-turned-whistle-blower. But time and again, the public has seen high-profile congressional hearings into the company followed by inaction. For those of us who work at the intersection of technology and policy, there's little cause for optimism that Washington will turn this latest outrage into legislative action. Even more damning are the comments of Alex Stamos, the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and a former head of security at Facebook: Brazen Is the Order of the Day at Facebook. Excerpt: I think the overall theme of the leaked documents and the Wall Street Journal series is that since 2016 Facebook has built teams of hundreds of data scientists, social scientists and investigators to study the negative effects of the company's products. Unfortunately, it looks like the motivational structure around how products are built, measured and adjusted has not changed to account for the evidence that some Facebook products can have a negative impact on users' well-being, leading to a restive group of employees who are willing to leak or quit when the problems they work on aren't appropriately addressed. I agree with Stamos' recommendation: I think Zuckerberg is going to need to step down as CEO if these problems are going to be solved. Having a company led by the founder has a lot of benefits, but one of the big problems is that it makes it close to impossible to significantly change the corporate culture. It's not just Zuckerberg; the top ranks of Facebook are full of people who have been there for a dozen years. They were part of making key decisions and supporting key cultural touchstones that might have been appropriate when Facebook was a scrappy upstart but that must be abandoned as a global juggernaut. It is really hard for individuals to recognize when it is time to change their minds, and I think it would be better if the people setting the goals for the company were changed for this new era of the company, starting with Zuckerberg. With new leadership, you could see the company adopting safety countermetrics on the same level as engagement and satisfaction metrics, and building a product management culture where product teams are not only celebrated for their success in the marketplace but held accountable for the downstream effects of their decisions. Zuckerberg is, of course, never going to step down voluntarily, and given that he controls 58% of the voting shares, how could he ever be removed? Here's how: the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") – which, thanks to Haugen, is now investigating Facebook for misleading investors – could force him out. I don't think it's likely – but it's not impossible. I think there's a 25% chance that Zuckerberg is no longer CEO within two years... Responses To My Letter To Sheryl Sandberg 2) I received huge amounts of feedback in response to my open letter to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Below is some of it, with my responses in some cases... "Instead of lambasting Sheryl and Mark (unfairly in my eyes), you should have sent your letter to Congress. Congress (and then the courts) has full responsibility for regulating our communication systems. All best (& I love reading your newsletter – I really do & enjoy pics also)." – Paul B. My reply: Thanks for your feedback, Paul. In fact, I sent my letter to a dozen members I know in the House and Senate, one of whom replied: "Wow, wow, wow. Thanks for sharing. I hope it is read." Another replied: "A powerfully written letter. I agree with every word of it, although I doubt that Facebook will find the wisdom to follow your advice. I am going to sign up for your newsletter "I agree with your assessment of Facebook (and your letter to Sheryl Sandberg), but your recommendation for them to rehire Haugen will never happen. She is considered a traitor by Facebook and they will never rehire a traitor. Based on Zuckerberg's reply, I'm skeptical that they are willing to address and fix the issues until the government force them to do so." – Sid My reply: I agree. "I'm so glad you compared them to the Sacklers. I hope this wakes them up." – Alex B. [But another reader disagreed...] "Good email but would recommend not equating people with Sacklers in the future unless they are literally killing people by knowingly promoting something dangerous (like Oxycontin). To me, the Sacklers fall into a group of historical miscreants that can only be used narrowly for an analogy – otherwise, it's overkill and can dilute from your point. Sandberg may read your email and dismiss it, saying to herself, 'We are not the Sacklers.' You could also substitute Hitler for the Sacklers and you can see my point. I'd only use Hitler as an analogy for a leader who is mass killing people, like Pol Pot. My two cents. Always enjoy your daily email!" – Bruce Z. My reply: Hi Bruce, to be clear, I didn't say they currently are equivalent to the Sacklers, but rather they "are on a trajectory to have legacies that rival the Sacklers." To understand why I say this, read the following articles: Facebook Admits It Was Used to Incite Violence in Myanmar Sri Lanka: Facebook apologizes for role in 2018 anti-Muslim riots Hate Speech on Facebook Is Pushing Ethiopia Dangerously Close to a Genocide NGO: Facebook approved ads inciting violence in N Ireland Bangladesh: Fake news on Facebook fuels communal violence When Social Media Fuels Gang Violence Civil rights leaders condemn Zuckerberg, Facebook for fueling racial hatred and violence Domestic violence and Facebook: harassment takes new forms in the social media age "I really do not understand what the fuss is about. If I hear or see something on radio or TV that I find to be dangerous or offensive I turn the channel. Nobody is forced to use Facebook or Instagram, or Snapchat or any of the other social media platforms. Just delete the apps. If you don't want your children to use them, then delete them from their phones. Take some personal or parental responsibility. I truly do not want someone else deciding what I can listen to or watch. Let me decide." – T. H. My reply: Hi T.H., in a perfect, rational world, I'd agree with you. But in the real, messy world, I can't. "I have found it very hard to get anyone who works at Facebook to engage openly about anything at the company, even in a social/casual off the record context. I can't think of another company whose employees are so unwilling to speak off the record. It makes me wonder if they really know deep down how bad what they are doing is." – B.B. "Thank you Whitney for sharing a BIG story of our time. I agree with some of the defensive remarks – the issue of 'bad actors,' misinformation, and hate speech on social media is not unique to FB, but FB is certainly guilty of providing a platform that has allowed all of the above to be promoted on its platform. "It took the World Jewish Congress five years of complaining to FB to finally get them via Sheryl Sandberg to put in more strict algorithms regarding Holocaust denial and misinformation on FB – five years of effort! Now, FB users are directed to factual information when they make up falsehoods about it. But this only pertains to the U.S. and U.K., so the fight continues with FB to get them to implement this in Arabic and other languages and countries. This is incredibly frustrating and hurtful. "Why are the Mullahs in Iran permitted to use Twitter (TWTR) to spread Islamist and hate speech, for example? So as much as I dislike government interference into business practices, I do see a necessity given the extent of damage being done. "Thanks for all you do to share carefully researched information that provide opportunities to empower our lives." – Andrea L. "I spent 15 years in the Valley, much of it in the same orbits as the leadership at Facebook (I'm being vague purposefully). I actually can't say for sure they are well-intentioned." – Matty G. "Thanks Whitney on behalf of the multitudes who have truly mixed feelings about Facebook. We're thrilled about the connections we relish with wonderful people, but deplore the damage it has done to our society and body politic." – Andrew S. "I'm on board with [your] evaluation and solution 100%. Let's hope they both have the courage to right the ship. The country that I love and have fought for is losing its grip. Let's show some respect. Thank you very much." – Ken J., former Ranger "Zuck and the rest knew what they were doing. They were complicit in all of it in order to rake in ad revenue. Wall Street Capitalism only measures 'good' in terms of money. I think you are right: they will do a PR apology tour and that's all." – Grant P. "Isn't Zuck a bit too narcissistic to care? The company was born in betrayal. Ironic that such a complete asocial person is in charge of the way we socialize in this country. I think he'll do anything he can get away with and is too arrogant to think there will be consequences." – Leigh S. "Hello Whitney... I am one of those folks who believes when someone does something good, it should be recognized. You and I are very different in our perspectives about most subjects. I read your letter to Facebook just a few minutes ago. "Your letter to the COO was simply and completely what they needed to hear. Although I still have a FB account, I have not actively used FB in over three years. It seemed the vitriol just got worse and worse, regardless of the subject matter, but especially politically. I decided I would not be a part of that, as it can consume you, if you allow it to take up your time. You have to realize that every person has a viewpoint, and it is not likely you will be successful in changing someone's mind, although it does happen on an infrequent basis. "I commend you for reaching out to them, as I am sure others will do. I have a concern that the size of this organization will make government intervention likely. I am not a fan of big government, big brother, as it were, but this situation, if they do not turn it around on their own, government may be the only answer. All the best." – Larry F. "You said everything I was thinking, but ever so much better. I will hope the letter is taken to heart and sweeping changes made so FB can continue to be the great business that it COULD be but has failed so badly to be." – Stacey G "I think you nailed it, my friend! Well, reasoned and direct, to the point, your letter will hopefully bring the FB team and Ms. Haugen together again to make a better, stronger company that serves our social interactions in an honest and forthright manner." – Chuck M. "After reading Zuckerberg's lengthy response I am more convinced that he and the FB team know exactly what they are doing and the harm they are causing. A CEO that wants to be regulated rather than taking the necessary steps to clean up their business strategies is only creating cover for themselves. Unfortunately FB is not only damaging to young girls but to our society as a whole. Through their technology and algorithms they easily manipulate the masses of uniformed customers to be persuaded in any direction they chose. Unfortunately this is like leading blind sheep to slaughter. Yes FB needs to be regulated but not in a way Zuckerberg would approve of. He knows Congress isn't capable of passing any type of regulation to make FB clean up its act and this gives him plenty of cover to continue their unethical business practices." – David L. Other Reader Feedback 3) Lastly, here is one reader's response to Zuckerberg's post: Here are some questions that came to mind when I read Zuckerberg's message: He wrote: Many of the claims don't make any sense. My reply: Which ones don't make any sense? And which ones do make sense? He wrote: If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place? My reply: Because you need to do the research to maximize 'engagement.' This is clearly consistent with profit maximization. He wrote: If we didn't care about fighting harmful content, then why would we employ so many more people dedicated to this than any other company in our space – even ones larger than us? My reply: Is this demonstrably true? What companies in your space are larger? He wrote: If we wanted to hide our results, why would we have established an industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting on what we're doing? My reply: What is this "industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting?" Where can I learn more about these standards? If FB transparency standard is so high, then where are the reports of your research? He wrote: And if social media were as responsible for polarizing society as some people claim, then why are we seeing polarization increase in the U.S. while it stays flat or declines in many countries with just as heavy use of social media around the world? My reply: Which countries are not becoming more polarized? Excluding authoritarian regimes, are there any? Just saying things doesn't make them true – though if we've learned anything in recent years, it's that saying things over and over again can convince large numbers of people that they are true. Prime examples – claiming rampant election irregularities when none exist; vaccines are the government's plots to control the population; pizza-gate. – Randy J. Thank you, as always, to my readers for sharing their insightful and provocative thoughts! Best regards, Whitney P.S. I welcome your feedback at WTDfeedback@empirefinancialresearch.com. P.P.S. My colleague Enrique Abeyta is looking to hire a junior analyst to help him launch his upcoming newsletter, Empire Elite Crypto, later this fall. If you geek out on cryptos and enjoy writing, we'd like to hear from you. Send us your résumé and a one-page write-up of your favorite crypto investment idea right here. Updated on Oct 7, 2021, 2:11 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 7th, 2021

Fox Guarding The Henhouse? Yes, Indeed!

Fox Guarding The Henhouse? Yes, Indeed! Authored by Terry Paulding via AmericanThinker.com, The compulsion to find out whether the Wu Flu started in the Wuhan lab, and at whose behest the research was done, has been almost as strong as the desperate drive to stop anyone from finding the answer.  On Sunday Morning Futures, Maria Bartiromo discussed this with Devin Nunes, wishing for the answer.  Concurrently with watching the show, I opened my email and found a link from Alex Berenson to the March 24, 2018 document outlining the gain of function research. The document is a detailed description of the proposed research, complete with a chart of expected milestones (page 31).   Page 10 has an easy, colorful chart (unlike the density of the verbiage) showing us laypeople what they intend.  Page 22 shows a management plan, divided into Host-pathogen prediction and Intervention development stages.  This one document is the "holy s---!" origin proof. Notice that Peter Daszak wrote it.   Besides being the head of EcoHealth Alliance, which proposed and arranged for the research in Wuhan, he was the only U.S. representative in the WHO's investigation of...COVID's origins — the same man oft-quoted as saying there is "NO evidence" that the lab leak theory is true. Daszak has ties to Fauci.   Before this research started, Fauci provided $600,000 to the Wuhan lab supporting it.  That information was obfuscated, and emails between the two were redacted but finally released in July. I think if I were to put together a Venn diagram of COVID, the central connector would be one Dr. Fauci.  He funded EcoHealth Alliance, which funded and administered the Wuhan research.  Fauci also has close ties to Moderna, including the fact that NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), which he's chaired since 1984, funded the Moderna trial.  He pushed Remdesivir, an expensive drug that didn't work to cure COVID patients.  And he was a key player in denigrating and banning hydroxychloroquine, the first cheap, easily obtainable drug that worked to stop COVID's progress. Fauci's been at it a long time, and there's a world of history to follow if you want.  His wife, Christine Grady, heads the department of bioethics at the NIH (National Institutes of Health).  You know, the body that presides over the ethical questions of testing vaccines. I could go on, but I want to get to my "part two."   After plowing through the Daszak document (I admit I have an unhealthy inability to stay awake when reading scientific papers, but I got enough to know it's real), I listened to Dr. Scott Atlas in a lengthy interview the Epoch Times sponsored.  It's an hour you won't regret if you have the time. Atlas, who you may remember served briefly on Trump's advisory committee on COVID, has a book, A Plague upon Our House, coming out in November.  He's a measured, reasoned voice.  I don't agree with everything he says, but he talks about the ethics of vaccinating children and the unknown long-term effects of the vaccines. Atlas makes a lot of good points.  He talks about the politicization of virus and vaccines as a mistake.  Starting around minute 23, he talks about the heart inflammation issues in young males.  He talks about censorship and how it has destroyed our trust in professors and doctors.  If you can't listen to the whole thing, I recommend picking up at minute 23 and listening for the next 10 minutes or so.  His ethical questions about using our children as shields for our own health are logical and impactful.  You may find yourself going back and listening from the beginning. We now know beyond a doubt that the whole pandemic has been mishandled, and is continuing to be mishandled, in the U.S. and elsewhere.  We also can see alternative approaches: Norway, for instance, just decreed that normal life should resume, downgrading the pandemic to an endemic problem, meaning something that will always be with us, like the flu. It's time to take a critical look at our COVID response and then to change it drastically.  With no leadership from the top, this may be impossible. Dr. Fauci is still the voice of COVID USA.  He's had his hand in every aspect of the virus, from creating it to masking us, shutting society, and resisting early treatment, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths.  His current stance, that everyone should be vaccinated regardless of age, health status, or previous COVID infection, is destructive to our lives and economy. Far from being the face of our public health, Fauci is the face of destruction.  It's time he was indicted, not extolled.  It's also time we stood up and said "no" as loudly as possible — no to vaccinating our children, no to mandates, no to masks, and no to all the rules that keep us from living free lives.  The more of us do that, the faster this will end. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/29/2021 - 18:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 29th, 2021

Why "Natural Immunity" Is A Political Problem For The Regime

Why "Natural Immunity" Is A Political Problem For The Regime Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute, Since 2020, public health technocrats and their allies among elected officials have clung to the position that absolutely every person who can possibly get a covid vaccine should get one. Both the Mayo Clinic website and the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, for example, insist that “research has not yet shown” that people who have recovered from covid have any sort of reliable protection. Moreover, the CDC page points to a single study from Kentucky claiming that people with natural immunity are more than twice as likely to contract covid again, compared to people who have been vaccinated. This narrative is reflected in the fact that the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates are a one-size-fits-all policy insisting that virtually all adults, regardless of whether or not they’ve already had the disease, receive a covid vaccine. The official position is apparently this: nothing except the vaccine can provide any sort of resistance or immunity. So get a vaccine. No exceptions! Health technocrats have repeatedly insisted that “the science” points unambiguously toward everyone receiving a vaccine, even to the point of pushing vaccines for children. All this in spite of the fact the risk to children from covid is far less than the risk a dozen common daily risks, such as riding in an automobile. The regime has attached itself closely to a vaccinate-everybody-no-matter-what policy, and a sudden u-turn would be politically problematic. So it's no wonder there's so little interest in the topic. Indeed, in a September 10 interview, senior covid technocrat Anthony Fauci claimed that the matter of natural immunity was not even being discussed at government health agencies. Fauci’s response suggested that the facts of natural immunity warranted discussion at some point in the future. But the comment certainly fit the dominant regime narrative nonetheless: the facts of natural immunity don’t matter for now. Everyone should just get vaccinated: CNN's Sanjay Gupta asked if people who have already recovered from COVID-19 should still be required to get the vaccine."I don't have a really firm answer for you on that," [Fauci] said Thursday on CNN. "I think that is something that we need to sit down and discuss seriously." Maybe someday they’ll get to talking about it. But some physicians aren’t as obsessed with pushing vaccine mandates as Anthony Fauci, and the evidence in favor of natural immunity is becoming so undeniable that even mainstream publications are starting to admit it. In an op-ed for the Washington Post last week, Marty Makary of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine argues that the medical profession has hurt its credibility in pretending that natural immunity is virtually irrelevant to the covid equation. Moreover, the dogmatic "get vaccinated" position constitutes a lack of honesty about the data. Rather, Makary concludes: [W]e can encourage all Americans to get vaccinated while still being honest about the data. In my clinical experience, I have found patients to be extremely forgiving with evolving data if you are honest and transparent with them. Yet, when asked the common question, “I’ve recovered from covid, is it absolutely essential that I get vaccinated?” many public health officials have put aside the data and responded with a synchronized “yes,” even as studies have shown that reinfections are rare and often asymptomatic or mild when they do occur. And what are these studies? Makary continues: More than 15 studies have demonstrated the power of immunity acquired by previously having the virus. A 700,000-person study from Israel two weeks ago found that those who had experienced prior infections were 27 times less likely to get a second symptomatic covid infection than those who were vaccinated. This affirmed a June Cleveland Clinic study of health-care workers (who are often exposed to the virus), in which none who had previously tested positive for the coronavirus got reinfected. The study authors concluded that “individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from covid-19 vaccination.” And in May, a Washington University study found that even a mild covid infection resulted in long-lasting immunity. The policy bias in favor of vaccines ignores many other facts as well, such as the relative risks of vaccines, especially for the young: The current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention position about vaccinating children also dismisses the benefits of natural immunity. The Los Angeles County School District recently mandated vaccines for students ages 12 and up who want to learn in person. But young people are less likely to suffer severe or long-lasting symptoms from covid-19 than adults, and have experienced rare heart complications from the vaccines. In Israel, heart inflammation has been observed in between 1 in 3,000 and 1 in 6,000 males age 16 to 24; the CDC has confirmed 854 reports nationally in people age 30 and younger who got the vaccine. A second dose of the two-shot mRNA vaccine like that produced by Pfizer and Moderna may not even be necessary in children who had covid. Since February, Israel’s Health Ministry has been recommending that anyone, adult or adolescent, who has recovered from covid-19 receive a only single mRNA vaccine dose, instead of two. Even though the risk of severe illness during a reinfection is exceedingly low, some data has demonstrated a slight benefit to one dose in this situation. Other countries use a similar approach. The United States could adopt this strategy now as a reasonable next step in transitioning from an overly rigid to a more flexible vaccine requirement policy. For comparison, the CDC has long recommended that kids do not get the chickenpox vaccine if they had chickenpox infection in the past. The nonscientific, ideology-induced blind spot for natural immunity also prompted The BMJ  (the journal of the British Medical Association) to note that "[w]hen the vaccine rollout began in mid-December 2020, more than one quarter of Americans—91 million—had been infected with SARS-CoV-2…. As of this May, that proportion had risen to more than a third of the population, including 44% of adults aged 18–59." And yet, the authors note this fact doesn't appear to be a part of any policy discussion at all:  The substantial number of infections, coupled with the increasing scientific evidence that natural immunity was durable, led some medical observers to ask why natural immunity didn’t seem to be factored into decisions about prioritising vaccination. This problem is reflected in the Biden administration’s drive for booster shots—announced in mid-August—even before there was any clinical research on booster shots at all. Even by mid-September, as one hospital’s chief medical officer put it, “the data is not compelling one way or another.” But those sorts of details don’t trouble federal “public health” officials, and the Biden administration quickly moved toward pushing booster shots for everyone.  This Is Why There Should Be No Mandatory Medical Treatment Of course, mandating vaccines—like mandating any medical treatment—would still be immoral even if we could list a dozen studies suggesting boosters are a boon and that natural immunity is no good. What if there were twenty-five studies "proving" vaccines are better than natural immunity, but only twenty studies "proving" natural immunity is better? Would coercive vaccine mandates then suddenly be justified? Unfortunately, that's exactly how many advocates for repressive covid policies think the world should work. For these people, policy is just a matter of adding up the number of studies "proving" their side is right, and then claiming this justifies forcing mandatory medications on millions of human beings.  (It never works in reverse, of course. The fact that there's a lot of evidence—as Makary points out—against vaccines for those who have natural immunity, the dominant narrative is nonetheless that vaccines are “necessary” and “worth it” for everybody, always and everywhere.) In the real world, however, many medications—including these new vaccines—come with risks that must be weighed against potential benefits. These decisions can only be made at the individual level, where patients must make their own decisions about what substances to put into their own bodies. In other words, blanket policies proclaiming "everyone must receive this medical treatment immediately, or else" contradicts the realities of the uncertainties and varying risk levels that affect individuals. The facts of uncertainty and informed consent were once considered a mainstay of medical ethics—and of any political ideology that actually respects self-determination and basic human rights. Unfortunately, the philosophy of "public health" appears to be uninterested in such trivialities. At this point, it would be embarrassing for the regime to admit what actual scientific inquiry has shown: that natural immunity is generally superior to receiving the vaccine. The regime doesn't like to be embarrassed, and neither do the countless doctors and nurses who have long toed the regime's political line. So expect more of the same.  Tyler Durden Wed, 09/29/2021 - 16:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 29th, 2021

As Advisory Panel Warned, CDC Director"s Anti-Science Decision Makes Boosters "Available To Anyone Who Wants One"

As Advisory Panel Warned, CDC Director's Anti-Science Decision Makes Boosters 'Available To Anyone Who Wants One' Now that CDC chief Dr. Rochelle Walensky - possibly working on behalf of her political puppet masters - has overridden her agency's advisory panel to expand the eligibility for Pfizer booster jabs to high-risk workers (a group that ACIP, the advisory panel, had decided to exclude given a paucity of efficacy and safety data), many employers are confused about whether the new guidance applies to them - and whether they might be left in a difficult situation with employees who didn't get the first two vaccines. At the end of the day, the big worry is that hundreds of thousands of shots allocated for workers might simply go unused, left to expire while dozens of poorer countries would be overjoyed to have them. According to the Hill, chaotic and at times contradictory messaging from federal health officials has culminated in a confusing set of recommendations about who should, and shouldn't receive booster jabs, and why? Panel members initially said they had excluded approving jabs on an employment basis because there wasn't enough evidence those people were losing protection. That decision was clearly a disappointment to the Biden Administration, which is possibly why Dr. Walensky interceded. The depth of Dr. Walsensky's contradiction of the science can be found in the exact wording of her decree: Starting immediately, anyone between the ages of 18 and 64 who is at increased risk of COVID-19 "exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting" can get a third dose. Legal experts told the Hill that those words are so vague, practically anyone could qualify. Already, many local level officials appear to be leaning toward simply giving boosters to anyone who asks. "There's going to be confusion. If we are going to create guidelines that are essentially making the vaccine available to almost everyone, the simplest solution is, make it available to everyone," said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at NYU and Bellevue Hospital. "The best public health programs are the ones that are simple and easy to understand and clear, and the more complexity you build into it, the more difficult it is to roll out." That statement above about not creating obstacles to the third shot - that's coming from a scientist who doubted whether they were even necessary. Gounder, who advised the Biden transition team on COVID-19, has been critical of the administration's fervent push for boosters, and said the evidence for a third dose based on occupation was mixed at best. "You have to step back and ask the question, why is it that we're vaccinating people in high risk settings? Is it because they as individuals are at high risk, or is it because it would be disruptive to the workplace," Gounder said. As far as the dramatic conclusion to what was supposed to be a 'staid' scientific process - the CDC director overruling her advisory panel on the issue of occupancy-based eligibility in a late night statement - that should be enough to alert Americans that something strange is happening. Despite the panel's claims, Dr. Walensky took to the White House press briefing on Friday to claim that she did not "overrule" the advisory committee and that she had listened to both sides on the issue of whether to approve boosters by occupational risk. Amusingly, the assiduously pro-Democratic the Washington Post was willing to dismiss this usurpation of "the science" as simply another communications breakdown from the doddering Dems. “Everyone is kind of confused,” he said. The current discontent has deep roots. In April, Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla said a third coronavirus dose was “likely” to be needed. In late July, Pfizer-BioNTech announced that their vaccine’s efficacy waned over time. Data from Israel confirmed a drop. Then, last month, as the delta variant of the coronavirus surged and the World Health Organization decried the distribution of third shots in wealthy countries while poor countries were lacking first doses, President Biden announced that most Americans could begin getting boosters of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines Sept. 20 — subject to the government’s regulatory processes, which unfolded in recent days and focused only on Pfizer. Regulators already allowed third shots for the immunocompromised who have received Pfizer or Moderna shots but have not yet made recommendations for all recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The deluge of phone calls about booster shots to Primary Health clinics in Southwestern Idaho began weeks ago. On Friday morning, the group’s Garden City clinic, where Maddie Morris fields inquiries, saw an increase in calls, mostly from senior citizens. “The calls seem pretty nonstop,” the customer service representative said. “It seems like a lot of people are anxious to get a booster.” Doctors say confusion clouds patients’ willingness to receive boosters. In Idaho, the problem coincides with the primary health-care system’s struggle to meet the demands of the latest covid-19 crush, which earlier this month plunged the state into crisis standards of care — essentially the rationing of health care as demand overwhelms resources. Unfortunately for them, it looks like the whole thing is back-firing... Maybe they'll think twice next time around (though we doubt it, since 'next time' is literally happening in the coming weeks when they do this all again with Moderna). Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 13:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 26th, 2021