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UN Says Yemen War Death Toll Will Reach 377,000 By End Of 2021

UN Says Yemen War Death Toll Will Reach 377,000 By End Of 2021 Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com, A UN agency published a report Tuesday that estimates the war in Yemen will have killed 377,000 people by the end of 2021. The report from the UN Development Program (UNDP) found that direct violence will have killed over 150,000 people while preventable disease and starvation caused by the US-backed Saudi-led siege on the country accounts for about 60 percent of the death toll. Image via The Guardian As always is the case, children are suffering the most from the war. "In 2021, a Yemeni child under the age of five dies every nine minutes because of the conflict," the UNDP said. The report estimates 70 percent of those killed would be children under five. Looking further in the future, the report says if the war continues through 2031, it will claim 1.3 million lives. Last year, the UN estimated that the war claimed the lives of 233,000 people by the end of 2020. As high as these death tolls are, the estimate is likely on the lower end, and the actual number of Yemenis that have starved to death since the Saudi-led coalition intervened is not known. In February, other UN agencies warned that if conditions didn’t change in Yemen, 400,000 children under the age of five would starve to death this year alone. Those conditions haven’t changed, the war continues, and the blockade is still being enforced. Over the past few months, fighting has been raging around the city of Maarib, the last significant piece of territory held by Saudi-backed forces that the Houthis are advancing on. Since mid-June, nearly 15,000 Houthis have been killed in the fighting, mostly by Saudi airstrikes. UN report gives dreadful estimates on Yemen's seven-year-old war: - 377,000 lives will be claimed by end of 2021 - Nearly 60% of deaths will be caused by lack of safe water, hunger and disease - Fighting will directly kill over 150,000 people pic.twitter.com/CG9rf97GfF — TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) November 23, 2021 Saudi Arabia’s air force is still being maintained by the US despite President Biden’s earlier vow to end support for "offensive" operations in Yemen. Without US support, Saudi warplanes would quickly be grounded, and Riyadh would be forced to negotiate with the Houthis. In a sign of continued support, the Biden administration recently approved a $650 million missile sale for the Saudis. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/25/2021 - 04:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

15 Common Dynamics Of SHTF Collapses

15 Common Dynamics Of SHTF Collapses Authored by Fabian Ommar via The Organic Prepper blog, When it comes to how we see and prepare for SHTF, thinking in terms of real and probable rather than fictional and possible can make a big difference. Even though SHTF has many forms and levels and is in essence complex, random, diverse and unsystematic, some patterns and principles are common to the way things unfold when it hits the fan. With Toby and Selco’s Seven Pillars of Urban Preparedness as inspiration, I came up with a different list of the 15 dynamics and realities of collapses. #1 SHTF is nuanced and happens in stages Thinking about SHTF as an ON/OFF, all-or-nothing endgame is a common mistake that can lead to severe misjudgments and failures in critical areas of preparedness. Part (or parts) of the system crash, freeze, fail, or become impaired. This is how SHTF happens in the real world. And when it does, people run for safety first, i.e., resort to more familiar behaviors, expecting things to “go back to normal soon.”  By “normal behaviors,” I mean everything from hoarding stuff (toilet paper?) to rioting, looting, and crime, and yes, using cash – as these happen all the time, even when things are normal. But no one becomes a barterer, a peddler, a precious metals specialist in a week. Society adapts as time passes (and the situation requires). That’s why preppers who are also SHTF survivors (and thus talk from personal experience) insist that abandoning fantasies and caring for basics first is crucial. This is not a coincidence. It is how things happen in the real world.  Recently I wrote about black markets and the role of cash in SHTFs, emphasizing these things take precedence except in a full-blown apocalypse – which no one can say if, when, or how will happen (because it never has?). Now, I don’t pretend to be the owner of the truth, but those insisting changes in society happen radically or abruptly should check this article about the fallout in Myanmar. #2 Everything crawls until everything runs Number two is a corollary to #1. SHTF happens in stair-steps, but most people failing to prepare and getting caught off-guard is evidence of the difficulty of the human brain to fully grasp the concept of exponential growth. It bears telling the analogy of the stadium being filled with water drops to illustrate this. Let’s say we add one drop into a watertight baseball stadium. The deposited volume doubles every minute (i.e., one minute later, we add two more drops, then four in the next minute, eight in the next, then sixteen, and so on). How long would it take to fill the entire stadium? Sitting at the top row, we’d watch for 45 minutes as the water covered the field. Then at the 48-minute mark, 50% of the stadium would be filled. Yes, that’s only 3 minutes from practically empty to half full. At this point, we have just 60 seconds to get out: the water will be spilling before the clock hits 49 minutes. This is an important dynamic to understand and keep in mind because it applies to most things. Another example: it took over 2 million years of human prehistory and history for the world’s population to reach 1 billion, and less than 250 years more to grow to almost 8 billion.  #3 The system doesn’t vanish or change suddenly Based on history, the Mad Max-like scenario some so feverishly advocate is not in our near future.   The Roman Empire unraveled over 500 years. We may not be at the tipping point of our collapse or the last minute of the flooding stadium, as illustrated in #2 above. But time is relative, and those 60 seconds can last five, ten, fifteen years. Things are accelerating, but there’s no way to tell at which point in the curve we are. That doesn’t mean things will be normal in that period. A lot has happened to people and places all over the Roman empire during those five-plus centuries: wars, plagues, invasions, droughts, shortages, all hell broke loose. Our civilization has already hit the iceberg, and the current order is crumbling. There will be shocks along the way, some small and some big. But SHTF is a process, not an event. #4 History repeats, but always with a twist That’s because nature works in cycles, and humans react to scarcity and abundance predictably and in the same ways. Also, we’re helpless in the face of the most significant and recurring events. But things are never the same. Technology improves, social rules change, humankind advances, the population grows. This (and lots more) adds a variability factor to the magnitude, gravity, and reach of outcomes. What better proof than the COVID-19 pandemic just surpassing the 1918 Spanish Flu death toll in the US? It’ll probably do so everywhere else, too. Even if we don’t believe the official data (then or now), we’re not yet out of this new coronavirus situation.  #5 SHTF is about scarcity A shrink in resources invariably leads to changes in the individual’s standard of living or entire society (depending on the circumstances, depth, and reach of the disaster or collapse). Then it starts affecting life itself (i.e., people dying). Essentially, when things really hit the fan, abundance vanishes, and pretty much everything reverts to the mean: food becomes replenishment, drinking becomes hydration, sleeping becomes rest, home becomes shelter, and so on. Surviving is accepting and adapting to that.  #6 The consequences matter more than the type of event I’ll admit to being guilty of debating probable causes of SHTF more often than I should, mainly when it comes to the economy and finance going bust. That’s from living in a third-world country, with all the crap that comes with it.  It’s what I have to talk, warn, and give advice about. I still find it essential to be aware and thoughtful of the causes. But it’s for the consequences that we must prepare for: instability, corruption, bureaucracy, criminality, inflation, social unrest, divisiveness, wars, and all sorts of conflicts and disruptions that affect us directly. #7 Life goes on  Humankind advances through hardship but thrives in routine. We crave normalcy and peace, and over the long term, pursue them. Contrary to what many think, life goes on even during SHTF. And things tend to return to normal after the immediate threats cease or get contained.  At least some level of normal, considering the circumstances. For example, in occupied France, the bistros and cafés continued serving and entertaining the population and even the invaders (the Nazi army). It was hard, as is always the case anywhere there’s war, poverty, tyranny – but that doesn’t mean the world has ended.  #8 SHTF pileup Disasters and collapses add instability, volatility, and fragility to the system, which can compound and cause further disruptions. Sometimes, unfavorable cycles on various fronts (nature and civilization) can also converge and generate a perfect storm. It’s crucial to consider that and try to prepare as best we can for multiple disasters happening at once or in sequence, on various levels, collective and individual – even if psychologically and mentally. And if the signs are any indication, we’re entering such a period of simultaneous challenges. #9 Snowball effect Daisy based her excellent article on the 10 most likely ways to die when SHTF on the principle of large-scale die-off caused by a major disaster, like an EMP or other. This theory is controversial and the object of endless discussions. Some say it’s an exaggeration. But in my opinion, that’s leaving a critical factor out of the equation. Consider the following: according to WPR and the CDC, before COVID-19, the mortality rate in the US was well below 1% (2.850.000 per year, or about 8.100 per day). If the mortality rate increases to just 5%, this alone would spark other SHTFs, potentially more serious and harmful than the first. That five-fold jump in mortality would result in more than 16 million dead per year or 44.000 per day. That’s 5% we’re talking about, not 20 or 30. If there’s even a protocol to deal with something like that, I’m not aware. It would be catastrophic on many levels over a shorter period (say, a few months). Early in the CV19 pandemic, some cities had trouble burying the dead, and the death rate was still below 1%. Sure, other factors were playing. But the point is, things can snowball: consequences and implications are too complex and potentially far-reaching. Think about the effects on the system. #10 SHTF is a situation, but it’s also a place  Things are hitting the fan somewhere right now. Not in the overblowing media but the physical world: the Texas border, third-world prisons, gang-ruled Haiti, in Taliban-raided Afghanistan, in the crackhouse just a few blocks from an affluent neighborhood, under the bridges of many big cities worldwide, in volcano-hit islands.  There are thousands of places where people are bugging out, suffering, or dying of all causes at this very moment. If you’re not in any SHTF, consider yourself lucky. Be grateful, too: being able to prepare is a luxury.  #11 Choosing one way or another has a price Being unprepared and wrong has a price. However, so does being prepared and wrong. Though some benefits exist regardless of what happens, the investment in terms of time, finance, and emotion to be prepared could be applied elsewhere or used for other finalities (career, a business, relationships, etc.) rather than some far-out collapse. Since so much in SHTF is unknown and open, and resources are limited even when things are normal, survival and preparedness are essentially trade-offs. We must read the signals, weigh the options, consider the probabilities, make an option, and face the consequences. That’s why striving for balance is so important. #12 SHTF is dirty, smelly, ugly This is undoubtedly one of the most striking characteristics of SHTF: how bad some places and situations can be. Most people have no idea, and they don’t want to know about this. Those who fantasize about being in SHTF should think twice. Abject misery and despair have a distinct smell of excrement, sewage, death, rotting material, pollution, trash, burned stuff, and all kinds of dirt imaginable. And insects. The movies don’t show these things. But bad smells and insects infest everything and everywhere, and it can be maddening.  During my street survival training, I get to visit some really awful places and witness horrible things. The folks eventually going out with me invariably get shocked, sometimes even sickened, when they see decadence up and close for the first time. Even ones used to dealing with the nasties – it’s hard not to get affected.  For instance, drug consumption hotspots are so smelly and nasty that someone really must have to be on crack just to stand being there. It’s hell on earth, and I can’t think of another way to describe these and other places like third-world prisons, trash deposits, and many others. Early on, being in these places would make me question why I do this. It never becomes “normal.” We just adapt. But seeing these realities changes our life and the way we see things. #13 The Grid is fragile It’s baffling how this escapes so many. Most people I know are in constant marvel with modern civilization. They look around, pointing and saying, “Are you crazy? Too big to fail! There’s no way this can go away! Nothing has ever happened!“.  We have someone to take our trash, slaughter, process our food, treat our sick, purify our water, treat our sewage, protect us from wrongdoers and evil people (and keep them locked), control the traffic, and defend our rights.  Peeking behind the curtains is a red pill moment. What keeps The Grid up and running is not something small, but it’s fragile. The natural state of things is not an insipid, artificially controlled environment. On the positive side, it makes us feel more grateful, humble, and also more responsible.   #14 The frog in the boiling water That’s you and me and everyone around us. There’s no other way around it. We’re the suckers who get squeezed and pay the bill whenever something happens, anywhere and everywhere. It’s always our freedom, rights, money, and privacy that gets attacked, threatened, stolen.   Not only because the 1% screws us at the top, but because we’re the big numbers, the masses. And only those who work and produce something can bear the brunt of whatever bad happens to society and civilization.  Make no mistake: whenever the brown stuff hits the fan, it will fall on us. It’s no reason to revolt but to acknowledge that, ultimately, we’re responsible for ourselves.  #15 People can make things worse Just have a look around and see what’s happening. Selco himself will tell you that the most dangerous thing about the SHTF is other people. Conclusion Sometimes, the mechanics, brutality, and harshness of SHTF end up in the background of personal narratives and emotional accounts. Being more knowledgeable and cognizant of some general aspects of collapses may allow flexibility, creativity, improvisation, adaptation, resiliency, and other broad and effective strategies. Or, simply provide material for reflection and debate, really.  Either way, even those who haven’t been through collapse can still learn from history, from others’ experiences, from human behavior, from the facts. Just be sure to see the world for what it is and not from what you think. Because it will go its own way, and reality will assert itself all the same. What are your thoughts about the dynamics of an SHTF scenario? Are there any you want to add? Does this match up with your personal expectations? Let’s discuss it in the comments. *  *  * Fabian Ommar is the author of The ULTIMATE Survival Gear Handbook and  Street Survivalism Tyler Durden Fri, 10/08/2021 - 22:20.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

Buchanan: Who Is Killing 10,000 Black Americans Every Year?

Buchanan: Who Is Killing 10,000 Black Americans Every Year? Authored by Pat Buchanan, “Unfortunately, Jan. 6 was not an isolated event,” warned FBI Director Christopher Wray last winter: “The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now, and it’s not going away anytime soon.” Since he became director in 2017, said Wray, FBI domestic terrorism investigations had doubled in number to more than 2,000, and FBI investigations of white supremacists had tripled. Listening to Wray, one came away with the impression that right-wing terrorism was our foremost internal security issue, that the Jan. 6 riot was a manifestation of that terrorism, and that white supremacists top the list of dangerous enemies inside our own country. The vast turnout of police and press for the Sept. 18 protest on the Mall to demand fairness for the Jan. 6 “patriots” suggested that our elites shared Wray’s alarm. All seemed disappointed when the brownshirts failed to show up. Yet, with this week’s release of FBI statistics on violent crime in America, showing a record 30% surge in homicides in 2020 over 2019, questions arise. What caused the number of U.S. victims of murder and manslaughter to explode by almost 5,000 last year to reach a total of 21,500? Why are homicides rising another 10% this year? Why are murders and manslaughters rising so dramatically in the USA? For that number of killings, 21,500 in 2021, is three times the number of U.S. soldiers dead in 20 years of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. The New York Times and Washington Post both made the FBI figures front-page news. And the Times gave some insight as to who the victims of homicide in this country were and are. Here is the relevant passage in the Times story: “The (FBI) report … breaks down last year’s homicide victims by race, ethnicity and sex, although not all law enforcement agencies provided such data. Of the people killed in 2020, at least 9,913 were Black, 7,029 were white, 497 were from other races and 315 were of unknown race. There were at least 14,146 men killed and 3,573 women.” The startling number here: There were nearly 3,000 more Black victims who wound up dead in America from criminal violence than there were white victims, though Blacks, at 12-13% of the U.S. population, are only one-fifth the size of the white population. Translation: Black Americans are being shot, stabbed and beaten to death at a rate six to seven times that of whites. And by the end of this year, well over 10,000 Blacks will have been made the victims of homicide in America. That figure breaks down to roughly 200 Black folks dead every single week in this country from gunshot wounds and other criminal violence — a weekly death toll that rivals U.S. losses in Vietnam at the height of the war. The question unanswered and unasked in the Times’ and Post’s stories is: Who is doing this? Who is killing all these Black people? If, as the slogan proclaims, “Black lives matter,” why is there not greater public alarm at BLM in who is killing so many Black people? About the number of dead in the infamous Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, histories and historians differ. Some say the number of Black victims was no more than 30. Others say it was as high as 300. But, again, in one year, the number of Blacks killed in violent crimes in America, 3-in-4 by gunshots, will exceed 10,000. Who is doing this? How many of these Black folks are victims of the right-wing extremists and white supremacists that Wray sees as our greatest domestic security threat? How many Blacks in 2021 and this year were victims of the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers or 3 Percenters or neo-Nazis or the Klan? If rogue white cops are the scourge of Black America, as we have been instructed to believe, how many killings of unarmed Blacks were done by white cops this year and last? In 2020, homicides in Washington, D.C., rose for the third straight year, reaching almost 200, the deadliest year in the city since 2004. More than 920 people were shot in 2020, a 64% increase from three years ago. Again, how many of these Washington shootings, averaging three a day, were the lethal work of Washington white supremacists? Within the Post and Times there were explanations offered for the 30% surge in homicides. Among them were the proliferation of guns and gun ownership, and the “police legitimacy crisis.” In the wake of George Floyd’s death, “Defund the Police!” became the chant of 100 leftist protests. Police funds were cut. Elites turned hostile to cops they once hailed as “first responders.” Demoralized, many police ceased to be proactive. Police resignations and retirements came in record numbers. When the peace forces in our society were morally disarmed, their natural enemies, the criminal element, seized the opportunity. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/02/2021 - 21:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 2nd, 2021

The supply chain crisis is wreaking havoc on the environment as carbon emissions from ships and seaports reach the highest rate since 2008

Emissions at the heavily backlogged ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are up by double and two-thirds, respectively, according to a recent report. A container cargo ship in Rotterdam Harbour on April 4, 2021 in the Netherlands.Niels Wenstedt/BSR Agency/Getty Images Carbon emissions at seaports are up significantly since the start of the pandemic, a report found.  The rise stems from an increase in consumer demand and congested ports during the supply chain crisis.  Emissions at four of the world's largest ports are up 79% since the start of the pandemic, according to the study. The supply chain crisis is taking a toll on more than just shipping, its also wreaking havoc on the environment. Carbon emissions at major seaports have reached the highest rates since 2008, according to a recent report from Singapore's Nanyang Technological University. According to the study, pollutant emissions across four of the world's largest shipping ports — in locations including Singapore, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Hamburg, Germany, — have increased by 79% since the start of the pandemic.And though maritime shipping currently accounts for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions — a higher rate than airplanes — scientists predict that at current rates it could comprise upwards of 17% by 2050. Pollutant emissions, which started rising in response to increased consumer demand during COVID-19 lockdowns,  have been further exacerbated by historic levels of port congestion. The backlogs are contributing to "prolonged turnaround time" and extended idling, during which ships continue to emit harmful gases, according to the report. Adding to the problem, container ships — which the NTU report found to have the sharpest increased rate of emissions — have started increasing their speed by 22% if weather permits to account for increased demand, Mike Konstantinidis, CEO of METIS Cyberspace Technology, told Quartz."Lockdown measures and other COVID-19 restrictions on human activity have upended the landscape for the shipping sector and significantly affected the operating patterns of maritime and trade, revealing significant increases in pollutant emissions in the seaports in our study," Adrian Law Wing-Keung, a professor at NTU's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, wrote in the report. Southern California, home to the biggest seaports in the US, has been hit particularly hard by the supply chain crisis. As of Wednesday, Marine Exchange reports there are 134 ships waiting off the coasts of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as 110,000 empty containers currently litter shipping yards and roads in the region. Now, increased carbon emissions mark the latest in a series of growing challenges for the cities. According to the NTU report, emissions at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach increased by double and two-thirds, respectively.Looking ahead, environmental organizations are calling for change from some of the world's largest retailers. A report released earlier this week by Stand.earth and Pacific Environment found that Walmart, Target, Amazon, and IKEA contributed to a collective increase of 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions between 2018 and 2020. "The retail brands that fill our homes and lives with their products bear a direct responsibility both for the pollution that the maritime shipping in their supply chains creates and for taking the necessary actions to demand emissions reductions now and 100 per cent zero emissions shipping this decade," the report said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 2nd, 2021

The most popular Netflix movies of all time, including "Red Notice" and "Bird Box"

"Red Notice" is now Netflix's biggest original movie of all time, with 328 million hours watched since it debuted. (L-R) Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds in "Red Notice."Netflix "Red Notice" is now Netflix's biggest original movie ever, with 328 million hours watched since it debuted in early November. It beat "Bird Box" to claim the top spot. Netflix previously reported viewership based on the number of accounts that watched at least two minutes of a title. Its new metric of hours viewed in the first 28 days gives a boost to longer movies like the three-and-a-half-hour "Irishman." 10. "The Old Guard" (2020) — 186 million hoursCharlize Theron in "The Old Guard."NetflixDescription: "Four undying warriors who've secretly protected humanity for centuries become targeted for their mysterious powers just as they discover a new immortal."Rotten Tomatoes critics score: 80%What critics said: "Given a team of highly regarded actors in Charlize Theron, Chiwetel Ejiofor and KiKi Layne, Prince-Bythewood delivers both satisfying, high-octane fights and a proper storyline to stitch them together." — The Undefeated9. "Army of the Dead" (2021) — 187 million hoursNetflixDescription: "After a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries takes the ultimate gamble by venturing into the quarantine zone for the greatest heist ever."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 67%What critics said: "Zack Snyder lives for excessive storytelling by stuffing as many insignificant details into his stories as possible." — io98. "Enola Holmes" (2020) — 190 million hours"Enola Holmes."NetflixDescription: "While searching for her missing mother, intrepid teen Enola Holmes uses her sleuthing skills to outsmart big brother Sherlock and help a runaway lord."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 91%What critics said: "While the mystery might be elementary (my dear, notably absent, Watson), the storytelling is winkingly subversive, proclaiming that a new and welcome game is afoot." — Entertainment Weekly7. "Spenser Confidential" (2020) — 197 million hoursNetflixDescription: "Spenser, an ex-cop and ex-con, teams up with aspiring fighter Hawk to uncover a sinister conspiracy tied to the deaths of two Boston police officers."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 37%What critics said: "It's an action-comedy-mystery-thriller that manages to spectacularly fail at all the above, an algorithmic abomination that's as coldly constructed as it is clumsily made." — Guardian6. "6 Underground" (2019) — 205 million hoursNetflixDescription: "After faking his death, a tech billionaire recruits a team of international operatives for a bold and bloody mission to take down a brutal dictator."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 36%What critics said: "Bay's clumsy but visually impressive movie should partly sate anyone waiting for the superior thrills and spills of the next Fast & Furious outing." — NME5. "The Kissing Booth 2" (2020) — 209 million hours"The Kissing Booth 2"NetflixDescription: "With college decisions looming, Elle juggles her long-distance romance with Noah, changing relationship with bestie Lee and feelings for a new classmate."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 27%What critics said: "You can soak in the movie's basic premise and overacting just as long as you know this pool's shallow." — RogerEbert.com4. "The Irishman" (2019) — 215 million hoursNetflixDescription: "Hit man Frank Sheeran looks back at the secrets he kept as a loyal member of the Bufalino crime family in this acclaimed film from Martin Scorsese."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 95%What critics said: "While 'The Irishman' is like many mob movies about violence and betrayal, it's a work of a filmmaker who has earned the right to sum up this genre." — NPR3. "Extraction" (2020) — 231 million hoursNetflixDescription: "A hardened mercenary's mission becomes a soul-searching race to survive when he's sent into Bangladesh to rescue a drug lord's kidnapped son."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 67%What critics said: "The one big weapon it has — Hemsworth's ability to juxtapose his brawn with approachable charm — is one it never pulls from its holster." — Polygon 2. "Bird Box" (2018) — 282 million hours"Bird Box"NetflixDescription: "Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a survivor and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 64%What critics said: "Unfortunately, Bird Box puts these performers through familiar paces, in roles of such tight typecasting that they seem like recurring characters in an extended TV series." — New Yorker1. "Red Notice" (2021) — 328 million hoursDwayne Johnson in "Red Notice."NetflixDescription: "An FBI profiler pursuing the world's most wanted art thief becomes his reluctant partner in crime to catch an elusive crook who's always one step ahead."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 35%What critics said: "Red Notice is limp and dull, and does more to showcase the shortcomings of each of its marquee idols than it does to highlight their bankable charisma." — Vanity FairRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 1st, 2021

Escobar: Fauci As Darth Vader Of The COVID Wars

Escobar: Fauci As Darth Vader Of The COVID Wars Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times, Robert F Kennedy Jr’s The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health should be front-page news in all the news media in the US. Instead, it has been met with the proverbial thundering silence. Critics seeking to have Kennedy dismissed as a kook trading on a famous name had scored a hit in February, when Instagram permanently deleted his account, allegedly for making false claims about coronavirus and vaccines. Nevertheless, the book, published only a few days ago, is already a certified pop hit on Amazon. RFK Jr., chairman of the board of and chief legal counsel for Children’s Health Defense, sets out to deconstruct a New Normal, encroaching upon all of us since early 2020. In my early 2021 book Raging Twenties I have termed this force techno-feudalism. Kennedy describes it as “rising totalitarianism,” complete with “mass propaganda and censorship, the orchestrated promotion of terror, the manipulation of science, the suppression of debate, the vilification of dissent and use of force to prevent protest.” Focusing on Dr Anthony Fauci as the fulcrum of the biggest story of the 21st century allows RFK Jr to paint a complex canvas of planned militarization and, especially, monetization of medicine, a toxic process managed by Big Pharma, Big Tech and the military/intel complex – and dutifully promoted by mainstream media. By now everyone knows that the big winners have been Big Finance, Big Pharma, Big Tech and Big Data, with a special niche for Silicon Valley behemoths. Why Fauci? RFK Jr. argues that for five decades, he has been essentially a Big Pharma agent, nurturing “a complex web of financial entanglements among pharmaceutical companies and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and its employees that has transformed NIAID into a seamless subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry. Fauci unabashedly promotes his sweetheart relationship with Pharma as a ‘public-private partnership.’” Arguably the full contours of this very convoluted story have never before been examined along these lines, extensively documented and with a wealth of links. Fauci may not be a household name outside of the US and especially across the Global South. And yet it’s this global audience that should be particularly interested in his story. RFK Jr accuses Fauci of having pursued nefarious strategies since the onset of Covid-19 – from falsifying science to suppressing and sabotaging competitive products that bring lower profit margins. Kennedy’s verdict is stark: “Tony Fauci does not do public health; he is a businessman, who has used his office to enrich his pharmaceutical partners and expand the reach of influence that has made him the most powerful – and despotic – doctor in human history.” This is a very serious accusation. It’s up to readers to examine the facts of the case and decide whether Fauci is some kind of medical Dr Strangelove. No Vitamin D? Pride of place goes to the Fauci-privileged modeling that overestimated Covid deaths by 525%, cooked up by fabricator Neil Ferguson of the Imperial College in London, duly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This is the model, later debunked, that justified lockdown hysteria all across the planet. Kennedy attributes to Canadian vaccine researcher Dr Jessica Rose the charge that Fauci was at the frontline of erasing the notion of natural immunity even as throughout 2020 the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) admitted that people with healthy immune systems bear minimal risk of dying from Covid. Dr Pierre Kory, president of Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance, was among those who denounced Fauci’s modus operandi of privileging the development of tech vaccines while allowing no space for repurposed medications effective against Covid: “It is absolutely shocking that he recommended no outpatient care, not even Vitamin D.” Clinical cardiologist Peter McCullough and his team of frontline doctors tested prophylactic protocols using, for instance, ivermectin – “we had terrific data from medical teams in Bangladesh” – and added other medications such as azithromycin, zinc, Vitamin D and IV Vitamin C. And all this while across Asia there was widespread use of saline nasal lavages. By July 1, 2020, McCullough and his team submitted their first, ground-breaking protocol to the American Journal of Medicine. It became the most-downloaded paper in the world helping doctors to treat Covid-19. McCullough complained last year that Fauci has never, to date, published anything on how to treat a Covid patient.” He additionally alleged: “Anyone who tries to publish a new treatment protocol will find themselves airtight blocked by the journals that are all under Fauci’s control.” It got much worse. McCullough: “The whole medical establishment was trying to shut down early treatment and silence all the doctors who talked about success. A whole generation of doctors just stopped practicing medicine.” (A contrarian view would argue that McCullough got carried away: A million US doctors – the approximate number practicing at any given time – could not all have been in on it.) The book argues that the reasons there was a lack of original research on how to fight Covid were the dependence of much-vaunted American academics on the billions of dollars granted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the fact they were terrified of contradicting Fauci. Frontline Covid specialists Kory and McCullough are quoted as charging that Fauci’s suppression of early treatment and off-patent medication was responsible for up to 80% of deaths attributed to Covid in the US. How to kill the competition The book offers a detailed outline of an alleged offensive by Big Pharma to kill hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) – with research mercenaries funded by the Gates-Fauci axis allegedly misinterpreting and misreporting negative results by employing faulty protocols. Kennedy says that Bill Gates by 2020 virtually controlled the whole WHO apparatus, as the largest funder after the US government (before Trump pulled the US out of the WHO) and used the agency to fully discredit HCQ. The book also addresses Lancetgate – when the world’s top two scientific journals, The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine published fraudulent studies from a nonexistent database owned by a previously unknown company. Only a few weeks later both journals – deeply embarrassed and with their hard-earned credibility challenged – withdrew the studies. There was never any explanation as to why they got involved in what could be interpreted as one of the most serious frauds in the history of scientific publishing. But it all served a purpose. For Big Pharma, says Kennedy, killing HCQ and, later, Ivermectin (IVM) were top priorities. Ivermectin happens to be a low-profit competitor to a Merck product, molnupiravir, which is essentially a copycat but capable of retailing at a profitable $700 per course. Fauci was quite excited by a promising study of Gilead’s remdesivir – which not only is not effective against Covid but is a de facto deadly poison, at $3,000 for each treatment. The book suggests that Fauci might have wanted to kill HCQ and IVM because under federal US rules, the FDA’s recognition of both HCQ and IVM would automatically kill remdesivir. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation happens to have a large equity stake in Gilead. A key point for Kennedy is that vaccines were Big Pharma’s Holy Grail. He details how what could be construed as a Fauci-Gates alliance put “billions of taxpayer and tax-deducted dollars into developing” an mRNA “platform for vaccines that, in theory, would allow them to quickly produce new ‘boosters’ to combat each ‘escape variant.'” Vaccines, he writes, “are one of the rare commercial products that multiply profits by failing.… The good news for Pharma was that all of humanity would be permanently dependent on biannual or even triannual booster shots.” Any similarities with our current “booster” reality are not mere coincidence. The final summary of Pfizer’s clinical trial data will raise countless eyebrows. The whole process lasted a mere six months. This is the document that Pfizer submitted to the FDA to win approval for its vaccine. It beggars belief that Pfizer won the FDA’s emergency approval despite showing that the vaccine might prevent one (italics mine) Covid death in every 22,000 vaccine recipients. Peter McCullough: “Because the clinical trial showed that vaccines reduce absolute risk less than 1 percent, those vaccines can’t possibly influence epidemic curves. It’s mathematically impossible.” The Gates matrix Bill Gates – Teflon-protected by virtually all Western mainstream media – describes the operational philosophy of his foundation as “philantrocapitalism.” It’s more like strategic self-philantropy, as both the foundation’s capital and his net worth have been ballooning in style ($23 billion just during the 2020 lockdowns). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – “a nonprofit fighting poverty, disease and inequity around the world” – invests in multinational pharma, food, agriculture, energy, telecom and global tech companies. It exercises considerable de facto control over international health and agricultural agencies as well as mainstream media – as the Columbia Journalism Review showed in August 2020. Gates, without a graduate degree, not to mention medical school degree (like author Kennedy, it must be noted, whose training was as a lawyer), dispenses wisdom around the world as a health expert. The foundation holds corporate stocks and bonds in Pfizer, Merck, GSK, Novartis and Sanofi, among other giants, and substantial positions in Gilead, AstraZeneca and Moderna. The book delves in minute detail into how Gates controls the WHO (the largest direct donor: $604.2 million in 2018-2019, the latest available numbers). Already in 2011 Gates ordered: “All 183 member states, you must make vaccines a central focus of your health systems.” The next year, the World Health Assembly, which sets the WHO agenda, adopted a Global Vaccine Plan designed by – who else? – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation also controls the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), the top advisory group to the WHO on vaccines, as well as the crucial GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), which is the second-largest donor to the WHO. GAVI is a Gates “public-private partnership” that essentially corrals bulk sales of vaccines from Big Pharma to poor nations. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, only three month ago, proclaimed that “GAVI is the new NATO”. GAVI’s global HQ is in Geneva. Switzerland has given Gates full diplomatic immunity. Few in East and West know that it was Gates who in 2017 handpicked the WHO’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – who brought no medical degree and a quite dodgy background. Dr Vandana Shiva, India’s leading human rights activist (routinely accused of being merely anti-vax), sums up: “Gates has hijacked the WHO and transformed it into an instrument of personal power that he wields for the cynical purpose of increasing pharmaceutical profits. He has single-handedly destroyed the infrastructure of public health globally. He has privatized our health systems and our food systems to serve his own purposes.” Gaming pandemics The book’s Chapter 12, Germ Games, may be arguably its most explosive, as it focuses on the US bioweapons and biosecurity apparatus, with a special mention to Robert Kadlec, who might claim leadership of the – contagious – logic according to which infectious disease poses a national security threat to the US, thus requiring a militarized response. The book argues that Kadlec, closely linked to spy agencies, Big Pharma, the Pentagon and assorted military contractors, is also linked to Fauci investments in “gain of function” experiments capable of engineering pandemic superbugs. Fauci strongly denies he’s promoted such experiments. Already in 1998 Kadlec had written an internal strategy paper for the Pentagon – though not for Fauci – promoting the role of pandemic pathogens as stealth weapons leaving no fingerprints. Since 2005 DARPA, which invented the internet by building the ARPANET in 1969, has funded biological weapons research. DARPA – call it the Pentagon’s angel investor – also developed the GPS, stealth bombers, weather satellites, pilotless drones, and that prodigy of combat, the M16 rifle. It’s important to remember that in 2017 DARPA funneled $6.5 million through Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance to fund “gain of function” work at the Wuhan lab, on top of gain of function experiments at Fort Detrick. EcoHealth Alliance was the organization through which Kadlec, Fauci and DARPA financed these gain of function experiments. DARPA also developed the GPS, stealth bombers, weather satellites, pilotless drones, and that prodigy of combat, the M16 rifle. In 2017 DARPA funneled $6.5 million through Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance to fund “gain of function” work at the Wuhan lab, on top of gain of function experiments at Fort Detrick. EcoHealth Alliance was the organization through which Kadlec, Fauci and DARPA financed these gain of function experiments, Few people know that DARPA also financed the key tech for the Moderna vaccine, starting way back in 2013. RFK Jr dutifully connects the Germ Games progress, starting with Dark Winter in 2001, which emphasized the Pentagon’s drive towards bioweapon vaccines (the code name was coined by Kadlec); the anthrax attack three weeks after 9/11; Atlantic Storm in 2003 and 2005, focused on the response to a terrorist attack unleashing smallpox; Global Mercury 2003; and Lockstep in 2010, which developed a scenario funded by the Rockefeller Foundation where we find this pearl: During the pandemic, national leaders around the world flexed their authority and imposed airtight rules and restrictions, from the mandatory wearing of face masks to body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces like train stations and supermarkets. Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified. In order to protect themselves from the spread of increasingly global problems – from pandemics and transnational terrorism to environmental crises and rising poverty – leaders around the world took a firmer grip on power. RFK Jr paints a picture in which, by mid-2017, the Rockefeller Foundation and US intel agencies had all but crowned Bill Gates as the top financier for the intel/military pandemic simulation business. Enter the MARS (Mountain Associated Respiratory Virus) simulation during the G20 in Germany in 2017. MARS was about a novel respiratory virus that spread out of busy markets in a mountainous border of an unnamed nation that looked very much like China. It gets curiouser and curiouser when one learns that MARS’s two moderators were very close to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and one of them, David Heymann, sat with the Moderna CEO on the Merieux Foundation USA Board. BioMerieux happens to be the French company that built the Wuhan lab. Big Pharma kisses Western intel Afterward came SPARS 2017 at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation happen to be major funders of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. SPARS 2017 gamed a coronavirus pandemic running from 2025 to 2028. As RFK Jr. notes, “the exercise turned out to be an eerily precise predictor of the Covid-19 pandemic.” By 2018 bioweapons expert Peter Daszak was enthroned as the key connector through whom Fauci, Kadlec, DARPA and USAID – which used to be a CIA cover and now reports to the National Security Council – moved grants to fund gain-of-function research, including at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Biosafety Lab. Crimson Contagion, overseen by Kadlec after eight months of planning, came in August 2019. Fauci was on board the self-described “functional exercise,” representing the NIH, alongside the CDC’s Robert Redfield and several members of the National Security Council. The war game was held in secret, nationwide. The After-Action Crimson Contagion Report only came out via a FOIA request. The star of the Gates pandemic show was undoubtedly Event 201 in October 2019, held only 3 weeks before US intel may – or may not – have suspected that Covid-19 was circulating in Wuhan. Event 201 was about a global coronavirus pandemic. RFK Jr. persuasively argues that Event 201 was as close as possible to a “real-time” simulation. The book’s Germ Games chapter leads the reader to acknowledge what mainstream media have simply refused to report: how the pervasive involvement of US (and UK) intel has a secretive – yet dominating – presence in the whole response to Covid-19. A very good example is the Wellcome Trust – the UK version of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – which is a spin-off of Big Pharma’s GlaxoSmith Kline. This epitomizes the marriage between Big Pharma and Western intel. The Wellcome Trust chair, from 2015 to 2020, used to be a former director general of MI5, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller. She was also chair of the Imperial College since 2001. The “English Dr. Fauci,” Neil Ferguson, of the infamous, deadly wrong models that led to all lockdowns, was an epidemiologist working for the Wellcome Trust. These are only a few of the insights and connections woven through RFK Jr’s book. As a matter of public service, the whole lot should be available for popular scrutiny worldwide. These matters concern the whole planet, especially the Global South. Nobel laureate Luc Montaigner has noted how, “tragically for humanity, there are many, many untruths emanating from Fauci and his minions.” Even more tragic is what emanates from his masters. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/30/2021 - 23:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 1st, 2021

DaVita (DVA) Study Favors mRNA Vaccines for Dialysis Patients

DaVita's (DVA) latest study indicates favorable outcomes for ESKD patients regarding the COVID-19 vaccines. DaVita Inc. DVA recently announced that its DaVita Clinical Research (“DCR”) study has found that dialysis patients who received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were at a lower risk of contracting the COVID-19 infection post-vaccination. The study also found that vaccinated patients were less likely to be hospitalized or die following breakthrough infection, unlike the unvaccinated patients.The DCR study result was published online ahead of print by the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.The favorable study outcome regarding vaccination of patients suffering from end-stage kidney disease (“ESKD”) is expected to be a major achievement for DaVita.Background of the StudyPer estimates, more than 500,000 Americans who have been diagnosed with ESKD receive life-sustaining dialysis care. Although these patients are at high risk of contracting the COVID-19 infection due to underlying health conditions that compromise their immune systems, they were not represented in the Phase III clinical trials of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.Hence, to evaluate the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in this patient population, researchers analyzed electronic health records of DaVita dialysis patients who were vaccinated, which they compared with the unvaccinated controlled groups. The patients were observed to check for future COVID-19 infections and related clinical outcomes.Significance of the DCR Study OutcomeThe study results indicated that the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were quite effective in preventing COVID-19 infections. Further, the study demonstrated that the severeness of the COVID-19 infection was much less in vaccinated dialysis patients unlike the unvaccinated dialysis patients. Additionally, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were detected in rates similar to those seen in the broader Phase III clinical trials among the vaccinated dialysis patients.Per management, the first large study aimed at understanding the clinical effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in the highly vulnerable ESKD patient population offers reassurance that COVID-19 mRNA vaccination is an effective clinical strategy to help protect such patients from COVID-19, and from associated hospitalization or death.Industry ProspectsPer a report by ReportLinker published on GlobeNewswire, the global end-stage renal disease market was estimated at $30.85 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $69.92 billion by 2026 at a CAGR 14.6%.  Factors like higher risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection in dialysis patients and increasing number of patients suffering from chronic kidney disease are likely to drive the market.Given the market potential, the latest positive study outcome is expected to significantly boost DaVita’s business on a global scale.Notable DevelopmentsOf late, DaVita has witnessed a few notable developments across its business.This month, the company presented eight research abstracts from company representatives and medical professionals during the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week.In October, DaVita reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2021, where it registered strong dialysis patient service revenues. It also acquired several dialysis centers, both within the United States and overseas.Price PerformanceShares of the company have lost 10.8% in the past year compared with the industry’s 41.1% fall. The S&P 500 composite rose 26.1% in the said time frame.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderCurrently, DaVita carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).Some better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space that have announced quarterly results are West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. WST, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. TMO and Chemed Corporation CHE.West Pharmaceutical, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $2.06, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13.2%. Third-quarter revenues of $706.5 million outpaced the consensus mark by 3.2%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.West Pharmaceutical has an estimated long-term growth rate of 27.6%. The company surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 29.38%.Thermo Fisher reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $5.76, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 23.3%. Third-quarter revenues of $9.33 billion outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 12%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.Thermo Fisher has an estimated long-term growth rate of 14%. The company surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 9.02%.Chemed reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $5.06, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13.5%. Third-quarter revenues of $538.7 million outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.3%. It currently has a Zacks Rank #2.Chemed has an estimated long-term growth rate of 7.7%. The company surpassed estimates in three out of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 5.59%. Tech IPOs With Massive Profit Potential: Last years top IPOs surged as much as 299% within the first two months. With record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs and a record-setting stock market, this year could be even more lucrative. See Zacks’ Hottest Tech IPOs Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report DaVita Inc. (DVA): Free Stock Analysis Report Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (TMO): Free Stock Analysis Report West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (WST): Free Stock Analysis Report Chemed Corporation (CHE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 30th, 2021

Victim Hopes For Justice In Ghislaine Maxwell Trial

Victim Hopes For Justice In Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Authored by Charlotte Cuthbertson via The Epoch Times, Jeffrey Epstein molested her and she didn’t tell a soul for 17 years. Teresa Helm was 22, and she had already patched her life back together after being sexually abused by a close family member, starting at age 8. “I really suffered in silence,” Helm told The Epoch Times’ “Insight” magazine. As a child, she had told her mother about the abuse in the hope that she’d make it stop. Instead, her mother told her not to tell anyone, and it continued for 3 1/2 years. “I just didn’t get help, even though I kept asking for it. And so after what happened with Jeffrey, I suffered in silence, just like I had always kind of done,” she said. In 2002, Helm had moved to California from Ohio and was attending a massage therapy school, positive of a bright future. It became even more exciting when a fellow student, a year ahead of her, approached her about an opportunity for a traveling massage therapist job. Helm was interested and was connected with another young woman, whom she subsequently met at Santa Monica to discuss the potential job. “We looked similar, we were at a similar age, so I connected with her,” Helm said. “I never felt like anything she was saying to me wasn’t legitimate, or I never felt fearful.” Teresa Helm at age 21. (Courtesy of Teresa Helm) Helm said the woman painted a phenomenal picture of what life would be like as “Miss Maxwell’s” personal traveling massage therapist—private jets, top chefs, access to the best education all over the world. “So I’d say that she did her job very well. Because in an hour or so of walking around the boardwalk, I was like, ‘Wow. This is really great. I’m so lucky, this is meant to be.'” Wanting to grasp the incredible opportunity, Helm told the woman she was interested, and was informed that she’d need to fly to New York City and meet Maxwell for the final interview. Two weeks later, Helm’s travel to New York City had been arranged—flights, driver, an Upper East Side apartment to stay in, a gift basket waiting. “I go meet with Miss Maxwell. I was expecting to give a massage because that’s what the interview was pertaining to. And everything with Ghislaine Maxwell was legitimate and pleasant, and she was very polite. Her home was stunning,” Helm said. “I was super impressed with her because she’s this very well-spoken woman, and she’s clearly successful because of her beautiful home, and she has photos on the wall of ex-president Bill Clinton. And I’m thinking: ‘Wow, she’s really something special, she’s worked hard. She’s accomplished a lot in her life.'” Helm spent a couple of hours in the home before Maxwell told her she was next going to meet up with Maxwell’s partner, Jeffrey. It was the first time Helm had heard of a partner, but nothing had indicated she should feel alarmed or that she was in any kind of danger. Any red flags, she realized in hindsight, had been easily normalized and explained away. Even when Maxwell told her to “give Jeffrey whatever he wants” during his massage because he “always gets what he wants,” Helm thought Maxwell clearly must mean, “Do a good job, because he’s had a lot of professional massages.” “Because of my trust with [Maxwell]—she was able to create that trusting bond within me in a matter of hours—I literally walked myself to the man of the house who was going to assault me,” Helm said. “I took myself there, because those three women did their job perfectly well and I didn’t suspect a darn thing. When I look back at the fact that three women set me up to be assaulted, it’s just disgusting. It’s a different level of betrayal.” Helm said Epstein sexually assaulted her in his office during the interview and threatened her as she ran out of the house, her world shaking and head spinning. Shocked to the core and full of shame, Helm returned to California the following day. (Photo and illustration by The Epoch Times) “The shame was overwhelming, it was paralyzing,” she recalled. “I was just so ashamed to say anything.” Her life spiraled down, and three months later she broke her lease, dropped out of school, and returned to Ohio. For the next five years, Helm fell into a destructive pattern. But just weeks before her 28th birthday, she found out she was pregnant, and life shifted again—this time toward the positive. “That’s what really saved my life and turned my life around,” she said. “It was the first time I really valued myself. It was like that sense of purpose. And knowing that I was going to protect my child the way that I was never protected. “Then after having him, I was so honored to be his mom. And then it really actually dug up, it was like, almost hatred toward my mom and Jeffrey. That first year of my son’s life was a lot of emotional processing for me. And I just wanted to kind of remove myself from the world and just be a mom. And that’s what I did.” Helm’s son has just turned 14, and she also has a daughter who is 7. She is the full-time caregiver for both. ‘The World Shifted’ Helm, who had moved to Florida, was folding laundry one Thursday evening in July 2019 when she went online and saw a headline about Epstein after he’d been arrested for sex trafficking. She clicked the link to open the article and came face-to-face with her abuser. In that instant, she realized “Jeffrey” was Epstein. Stunned, she sat down and googled Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein. “It was life changing, just in that moment. It was like retraumatization, No. 1. No. 2, it was like the world shifted and changed all over again. It’s been different ever since that moment, like the world changed yet again, in that moment and it has not gone back. Nor will it,” Helm said. “Because I didn’t know there were others. I didn’t know that this was this huge thing with these people.” The following day, after a regular yoga class, Helm sat in her car and sobbed as the emotions swirled. She decided it was time to break her silence. The opportunity to speak out presented itself quickly. Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10, 2019, one month after his arrest. A medical examiner ruled it a suicide by hanging nine days later. The New York judge, Richard Berman, would be forced to dismiss the charges against Epstein—which included the sex trafficking of dozens of minors from as early as 1995—but not before he allowed survivors to speak. Twenty-three women spoke in the courthouse on Aug. 27 about being sexually abused by Epstein, either in person or through a lawyer. “I’m coming forward because it is time to bring light to that darkness, and it’s time to replace that darkness with light,” Helm said that day. She had only decided that morning to speak out and use her name publicly. Another survivor, “Jane Doe 9,” said she was 15 when she met Epstein, in 2004. “I flew on Jeffrey Epstein’s plane to Zorro Ranch, where I was sexually molested by him for many hours.” she said through a lawyer. “What I remember most vividly was him explaining to me how beneficial the experience was for me and how much he was helping me to grow. Yikes.” Epstein’s Zorro Ranch is in New Mexico. He also owned multimillion dollar properties in New York, Florida, and France, and his own islands in the Caribbean, Little St. James Island and Great St. James Island. Epstein has been linked with a veritable who’s who of the fashion and political worlds. Attorney Gloria Allred (R) and her client Teala Davies, who claims to have been a victim of sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein when she was a minor, at a press conference to announce a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate, in New York on Nov. 21, 2019. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images) Chauntae Davies also spoke in the courtroom. She said she was recruited by Maxwell while doing a massage apprenticeship. “Upon my first meeting her, I wouldn’t know I had been recruited until many years later, when I would read it in a headline,” Davies said. She said Maxwell and Epstein took her in, sent her to school, and gave her a job. “They flew me around the world, introduced me to a world I had only dreamt of and made me feel as though I had become a part of their family—another thing I was desperately searching for,” Davies said. “But on my third or fourth time meeting them, they brought me to Jeffrey’s island for the first time.” Davies said a knock on her door late at night indicated that Epstein was ready for another massage, so she hesitantly went to his villa. As Epstein began his assault on her, Davies said she told him, “No, please stop.” “But that just seemed to excite him more. He continued to rape me, and when he was finished, he hopped off and went to the shower.” Davies said she ran out of the villa, cried herself to sleep, and then spent two weeks in a Los Angeles hospital throwing up from a neurological disorder that manifests into violent vomiting attacks, largely triggered by stress. “Jeffrey’s abuse would continue for the next three years, and I allowed it to continue because I had been taken advantage of my entire life and had been conditioned to just accept it.” A protestor holds up a sign of Jeffrey Epstein in front of the federal courthouse in New York City on July 8, 2019. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images) Maxwell on Trial Helm had finally broken her silence, and it was a watershed moment. She didn’t get to see Epstein face his charges, but she’s eager to be in court to see Maxwell face hers. FBI agents arrested Maxwell at her New Hampshire estate on July 2, 2020. She has been in a Brooklyn jail since. Bail has been denied several times, with Judge Alison Nathan ruling that she is a flight risk. The trial was originally set for July, but was delayed until Nov. 29 and is expected to last six weeks. Jury selection began on Nov. 16. Maxwell is charged with sex trafficking children, perjury, and the enticement of minors while she was a close associate of Epstein, according to a superseding indictment filed in the Southern District of New York on March 29. “In particular, from at least in or about 1994, up to and including at least in or about 2004, Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18,” the indictment alleges. “Moreover, in an effort to conceal her crimes, Maxwell repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct, including in relation to some of the minor victims described herein, when providing testimony under oath in 2016.” Virginia Giuffre (formerly Virginia Roberts), one of Epstein’s most well-known accusers, claimed in a 2016 deposition that she was directed by Maxwell to have sex with a number of rich and powerful men, including “foreign presidents,” a “well-known” prime minister, and “other world leaders.” None of the men Giuffre named in the documents have been charged, and all have denied the claims. A court officer stands outside a Manhattan courthouse where media have gathered for the arraignment hearing of Ghislaine Maxwell in New York City on July 14, 2020. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Maxwell, often described as a British socialite, maintains her innocence on all charges and in a 2016 deposition claimed she had no idea Epstein abused young girls. During the deposition, Maxwell was asked: “Did Jeffrey Epstein have a scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages? If you know.” She replied: “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” according to the transcript. “I never saw any inappropriate underage activities with Jeffrey ever.” Maxwell acknowledged that former President Bill Clinton traveled on Epstein’s plane, but denied introducing Britain’s Prince Andrew to underage sex partners. “I’m ready for this trial to start,” Helm said. “I really aim to be there and look at her right in her face, and equally as important is for her to see me.” Helm isn’t named in the indictment and won’t be testifying, but that doesn’t matter. “I’m hopeful that there will be justice in this, that she will finally be held accountable and finally be sentenced for crimes that she has committed and for the lives that she has just willingly stepped in and ruined. This is a woman that changed the entire trajectory of my life and not for the better.” Helm said she hopes Maxwell is found guilty on all charges and receives the maximum penalties. “I don’t think for a moment that she deserves to be on the outside of a jail cell,” she said. “I and other girls, we’re on the outside of these bars, and yet we haven’t fully regained our freedom back. So I hope she gets the maximum sentence. She doesn’t deserve any less than that.” Helm said she often gets asked if she thinks Epstein’s death means Maxwell is now a scapegoat and is being punished for his crimes. “No, I do not. She knew what she was doing. She didn’t think twice about doing it. She did it countless times. She did it … very masterfully, very successfully,” she said. “You don’t help facilitate and run and orchestrate one of the largest sex trafficking rings on this globe, on this earth, without knowing what you’re doing and intentionally doing it.” An exterior view of the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City on July 14, 2020. (Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) The indictment alleges that Maxwell befriended some of Epstein’s minor victims prior to their abuse, including by asking the victims about their lives, their schools, and their families. Other times, Maxwell and Epstein would take the victim shopping or to the movies, or pay travel or education expenses. “Having developed a rapport with a victim, Maxwell would try to normalize sexual abuse for a minor victim by, among other things, discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein,” the court document states. The indictment goes on to say that in order to “maintain and increase his supply of victims,” Epstein, Maxwell, and other Epstein employees also paid certain victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly abused by Epstein. Helm said she has tried to understand what would cause a woman such as Ghislaine to intentionally set girls up to be forever traumatized. She said she has read how Ghislaine lost her father, whom she was very close to, and met Epstein not long afterwards. Helm said she lost her own father unexpectedly almost seven years ago. “I still to this very day miss him incredibly, and I am not out there hurting people,” she said. “There’s no grievance, or there’s no tragedy that justifies you turning around becoming literally a monster.” Maxwell’s lawyers didn’t respond to a request for comment by Insight. Epstein avoided criminal charges for years, raising questions about being protected by the rich and powerful. In September 2007, he entered into a nonprosecution agreement that gave him immunity against prosecution for numerous federal sex crimes in the Southern District of Florida. As part of the deal, in 2008, Epstein ultimately pled guilty to state charges of procuring a minor for prostitution and was registered as a sex offender. He spent 13 months in jail but was granted work release for 12 hours a day, six days a week. The Grooming Process Grooming and recruitment are critical steps in the sex trafficking industry. “If you don’t have a successful grooming process, you don’t have the abuse, because it just doesn’t make it that far,” Helm said. Jennifer Hill, assistant executive director of the Children’s Assessment Center in Houston, said her organization sees 5,000 children a year who’ve been sexually abused, both by family members or through trafficking. And that’s just the children who have spoken up. “I think most people never, ever tell. And that’s what’s tragic,” she said. Hill said it’s hard to discern how many children don’t report abuse, but statistics show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they’re 18. Common events—the divorce of parents, a breakup, bullying, or the death of a family member—can all make a child vulnerable. Many trafficked children come from the foster care system. But sexual abuse is the most common source of vulnerability for sex-trafficked children—70 to 90 percent of these children have a history of sexual abuse, according to anti-trafficking organization Path2Freedom. Hill said the grooming and recruitment process takes different forms, but involves getting access to the intended victim and gaining their trust so that eventually they’ll be willing to listen to that person, and that person has some control over their behavior. For children, it can include buying gifts, listening to their problems, or helping them in some way. These days, a lot of grooming occurs online through messaging apps or social media and gaming platforms. Post-abuse, children can be threatened to stay silent. Hill said she hopes the Maxwell trial will spur other victims of trafficking and sexual abuse to come forward. As a former prosecutor of child sex abuse cases, she said a lot of abusers are teachers or trusted adults in the community, which can be intimidating for victims. Her organization conducts awareness trainings for law enforcement, medical professionals, mental health professionals, teachers, and the community on recognizing and reporting trafficking. Helm said so many lessons can be taken from the Maxwell case, “like the fact that it can be a woman.” “That woman groomed me precisely well, beautifully. And that grooming process is so crucial for parents to identify that this is what’s happening to their children. Or for a child to think I think this might be happening to me. Because that grooming process is such a transfer of power [and] a gatekeeper to the abuse.” During 2019, the National Human Trafficking hotline received reports of 11,500 human trafficking cases, representing more than 22,000 victims. California, Texas, and Florida are identified as the worst three states for human trafficking. In Texas alone, more than 79,000 children are being trafficked for sex, according to a study by the University of Texas at Austin. “There’s not one single zip code in this nation, not one that is exempt from trafficking,” Helm said. “It happens in the wealthiest of the wealthiest, to the most impoverished, and everything in between. It has exploded online.” A residence belonging to Jeffrey Epstein on East 71st St. on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City on July 8, 2019. (Kevin Hagen/Getty Images) The Threat Online Fifty-five percent of domestic sex-trafficking survivors who entered the life in 2015 or later met their trafficker for the first time using a mobile app, website, or text, said Tammy Toney-Butler, an anti-human trafficking consultant for Path2Freedom. Predators ramped up their sexual enticement of minors and the posting of child sexual abuse material as schools closed and kids worked online from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The number of reports of online child sexual abuse materials reported to the NCMEC during the first six months of 2020 surged 90 percent to more than 12 million, the center reported. Reports of predators enticing minors went up 93 percent to more than 13,200. Facebook was used for most (59 percent) of the online recruitment in active sex trafficking cases in 2020, according to the Human Trafficking Institute’s annual trafficking report. That makes Facebook “by far the most frequently referenced website or app in public sources connected with these prosecutions, which was also true in 2019,” the report found. In June, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that Facebook could be held liable if sex traffickers use the platform to prey on children, arguing the social media website isn’t a “lawless no-man’s-land.” The ruling was made following three Houston-area lawsuits involving teenage trafficking victims who alleged that they met their abusers through Facebook’s messaging service. Prosecutors also said that Facebook was negligent by not doing more to block sex traffickers from using the site. The court said the victims can move forward with their lawsuits against Facebook. They claimed that the company violated the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, which was approved in 2009. Toney-Butler said the income traffickers can make from one victim can be close to $400,000 a year, and survivors have reported being forced to have sex more than 20 times a day while being six to seven months pregnant. And once a woman is over 18, she’s often seen by society as “a drug-addicted prostitute” rather than a victim of sex trafficking, she said. A child, after being pulled into sex trafficking, “only lives for seven years before they succumb to the environment,” Toney-Butler said. Suicide, drug overdose, and violence are often the killers. Teresa Helm (R) with three other sex-trafficking survivors, (L–R) Cathy Hoffman, Sabrina Lopez, and Nissi Hamilton, in Houston on April 24. (Kathleen O. Ryan) The Future Now 41, Helm is hopeful. Aside from looking after her children, she’s a fierce advocate and mentor to other survivors and a consultant to organizations and politicians to ensure laws and programs are victim-centered. “Helping others is the ultimate payback. That I didn’t completely break forever. I’ve been broken and I have repaired myself stronger,” she said. She referred to the old Japanese art form called kintsukuroi, or “to repair with gold,” which is the practice of repairing broken ceramics with gold, making them stronger and more beautiful than before. “And I definitely kind of view myself as that, in the fact that I can turn around and leverage this pain into purpose and help others—that’s the ultimate thing for me, to be able to be strong enough to go out and help others, help them change their lives, help them recover their lives and recover their power.” For Help The National Human Trafficking Hotline is confidential, toll-free, and available 24/7 in more than 200 languages. Call: 1-888-373-7888 Text: “Help” or “Info” to 233733 Chat: humantraffickinghotline.org Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 30th, 2021

Disney Under Fire For Blocking Simpsons Episode From Hong Kong Streaming Services

Disney Under Fire For Blocking Simpsons Episode From Hong Kong Streaming Services A month ago we reported that Hong Kong's new pro-China film censorship law could see an eventual ban on Netflix and Amazon and other streaming services. The legislation was part of the continuing unfolding of the sweeping pro-China 'national security law' of June 2020, with the film censorship even working retroactively for any movies or programming "found to be contrary to national security interests". Questions are now being asked about why Disney's streaming service in Hong Kong, Disney Plus, has blocked a popular episode of the "Simpsons". The episode in question features reference to the famous "tank man" photo from the June 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre. The episode entitled "Goo Goo Gai Pan" also features jokes or references that could be deemed offensive to people of Chinese or Asian descent. The Simpsons The censorship law which was enacted late last month brings Hong Kong in closer to conformity to the kind of blatant censoring and wholesale blocking of content that's long existed on the mainland. The law spells out that films are prohibited from any content aiming to "endorse, support, glorify, encourage and incite activities that might endanger national security." According to The Wall Street Journal on Monday: Disney launched its streaming service, Disney+, earlier in November in Hong Kong featuring an array of programming owned by the entertainment giant, including 32 seasons of the animated comedy series. Yet one episode is missing from "The Simpsons" lineup: Titled "Goo Goo Gai Pan," the episode from season 16 centers on a trip to China by the show’s namesake family. Along the way they encounter a plaque at Tiananmen Square in Beijing that reads: "On this site, in 1989, nothing happened." The scene is an obvious sarcastic shot aimed directly at Chinese Communist propaganda and its well-known whitewashing of the whole events of June 4, when the PLA military declared martial law and occupied central parts of Beijing, forcibly quelling the protests through gunfire. In the episode the family actually takes a trip to China where they happen upon the iconic square where "nothing happened".  Chinese state official have downplayed the death toll, saying in the past that up to 200 civilians died in the mayhem, while activists and student leaders have said over 3,000 or more deaths resulted in the PLA crackdown, which included live ammunition, and use of tanks against civilian crowds. Official Chinese media and politicians tens to only reference what they dub "the incident". Confirmed this second by a friend in Hong Kong. S16E12 of The Simpsons is removed from Disney+ in Hong Kong. pic.twitter.com/9QIp2vcOCD — Thor J (@thorcmd) November 27, 2021 The WSJ notes that it's as yet unclear if Disney caved to pressure from China, as the US company has yet to publicly comment on why the episode in question remains blocked. But there's little doubt Disney has in the recent past shown its willingness to "play nice" and avoid offending Beijing while protecting its billions in revenue there: "Disney has huge business interests in China, a market that it and other Hollywood studios are careful not to offend for fear of losing access," the WSJ report describes. "Disney, with resorts in China and Hong Kong and extensive sales from its movie business in the region, has moved aggressively to maintain the peace with China over the years, a fact that has brought it some controversy in the U.S." Shortly after the HK policy was enacted, there were questions over how it would impact US-based streaming services. The AFP observed at the time: "Pro-Beijing lawmakers criticized the government for not including online streaming companies in the current wording, meaning services like Netflix, HBO and Amazon may not be covered but the new rules." But "In response, Commerce Secretary Edward Yau said all screenings, both physical and online, were covered by the new national security law." Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 19:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 29th, 2021

Will 2022 Midterms Be The Next Great Crisis Backlash?

Will 2022 Midterms Be The Next Great Crisis Backlash? Authored by Andrew Busch via RealClearPolitics.com, At least twice in U.S. history, big political shakeups occurred in midterm elections that served as endpoints to periods of crisis, privation, and extraordinary government expansion and regimentation. The first was in November 1918. That election was held in the midst of the Spanish flu pandemic and just days before the armistice was signed ending World War I. The Allied breakthrough in France was well advanced and the handwriting was on the wall for the kaiser’s forces. Since entering the war in April 1917, Americans had endured extreme regimentation under the auspices of Woodrow Wilson’s “war socialism.” Rationing of consumer items was coupled with unprecedented government control over basic features of economic life, including a federal takeover of the nation’s railroads. These economic controls were combined with stringent political and social controls. With Wilson’s support, Congress passed the Sedition Act and the Espionage Act, clamping down (among other things) on publication or dissemination of arguments critical of the war effort or otherwise detrimental to national morale. Hundreds were imprisoned, including the Socialist Party’s perennial presidential candidate, Eugene Debs, who had urged young men not to comply with the draft. Spurred by war propaganda and encouraged by the administration, some exuberant patriots persecuted German Americans. Campaigning in 1918 was curtailed due to the Spanish flu, as was turnout on Election Day. Nevertheless, Republicans, including former President Theodore Roosevelt, campaigned vigorously as skeptics of Wilson’s Fourteen Points and critics of his war measures.  Republican candidates around the country demanded the end of wartime controls and regimentation. In 1920, Warren G. Harding would win the presidency on the promise of “A return to normalcy,” but it was Republicans in 1918 who first tested that theme, as they promised “a speedy victory and a return to normal conditions.” In the end, Republicans gained 25 seats in the House and five in the Senate, enough to give them majorities in both chambers for the first time since 1910. Aided by the end of the war, they used those majorities to force Wilson to release his grip on the economy. In short order, the 66th Congress repealed over 60 wartime laws.           ‘Had Enough?’ A comparable case came at the end of the Second World War. Franklin Roosevelt refrained from some of Wilson’s more extreme steps, such as takeover of the railroads. Nevertheless, FDR copied much of Wilson’s war socialism. The federal government rationed food and a wide range of consumer goods, converting much of the economy to wartime production. Bureaucracies such as the Office of War Mobilization, Office of Price Administration, National War Labor Board, and Supply and Priorities Allocation Board exerted economic control. Civil liberties again suffered, with censorship, internment of Japanese Americans, and Smith Act prosecution of the leaders of the German American Bund. In both world wars (as in the Cold War later), it was a reasonable question how far the Constitution should be stretched to defend the United States against enemies who would destroy constitutional liberty entirely if they could – but there was no question that it was stretched. Although fighting ended in 1945, President Harry Truman had not yet issued a proclamation formally ending the state of war when the 1946 campaign got underway. Rationing of items such as meat, as well as wage and price controls, remained in place, to the growing anger of Americans on the home front. The war was over, and many asked why they were still subject to these measures. Republicans, out of power since the early years of the Great Depression, sought to capitalize on the discontent. Using a slogan of “Had Enough?,” they hammered Democrats and the Truman administration for economic privation and for holding on to extraordinary powers even after the crisis had passed. It was time, they implied – though without using the phrase – to return to normalcy. Three weeks before Election Day, Truman decontrolled meat in a bid to stave off electoral disaster; still, at the end of October 1946, he registered a 27% job approval rating in the Gallup Poll. When the votes came in, Republicans had ended the Democratic hold on Congress. The GOP gained 45 seats in the House and 12 seats in the Senate, winning a majority in each chamber for the first time since 1930. The repudiation was so severe that Sen. William Fulbright of Arkansas suggested that Truman should appoint a Republican secretary of state and then resign, an act that would have made that Republican the next president, given the legal order of presidential succession in 1946 (the office of vice president had been vacant since Truman became president upon FDR’s death). Truman declined to take that step, but in short order, he ended the state of war, rescinded most wartime controls, and disbanded the Office of Price Administration. He also proposed a balanced budget. If some New Dealers had hoped that the wartime expansion of federal power over the economy could be smoothly converted into equivalent peacetime power, 1946 disabused them.  1918, 1946 – and 2022 The elections of 1918 and 1946 were not identical. One happened while war still raged, though the issue seemed decided; the other did not occur until over a year after fighting had stopped. Republican gains in 1946 were roughly twice what they had been 28 years earlier. In one case (1918), Republicans subsequently held on to congressional majorities for a dozen years; in the other, they managed to do so for only a single term. Nevertheless, 1918 and 1946 share enough with one another, and with our current situation, to make it worthwhile to ask what they might tell us about 2022. At the least, these two elections represented decisive electoral backlash against crisis policies – policies that voters tolerated while the crisis was hot but turned against when the danger had seemingly passed. Our crisis, a pandemic, is not a war, but it has been costly in lives lost. The U.S. is nearing a COVID death toll twice as great as the number of Americans who died in World War II. Like the world wars, the crisis has also been costly in terms of government spending, the bill for which is coming due in the form of higher inflation. And the crisis has occasioned a forceful intrusion of government into daily life unparalleled since World War II, from mask mandates to proposed vaccine mandates to lockdowns that closed thousands of businesses, churches, and schools. Whatever the efficacy of these measures – they will be debated for years to come – there can be little doubt that they represented an extraordinary degree of regimentation and an extraordinary challenge to civil liberties. Is a backlash building ahead of the 2022 midterms? Republican successes in the 2021 elections would seem to suggest so. Some evidence indicates that backlash against COVID restrictions was part of the story behind GOP successes in Virginia and New Jersey. In some Virginia exit polls, education was the second-most important issue; while the battle over critical race theory in schools received the most attention, some suburban women voters said that COVID-related school closures also played an important role in their swing toward Republicans. In New Jersey, truck driver Edward Durr defeated longtime state Senate President Steve Sweeney. Durr called his victory “a repudiation of the [COVID] policies that have been forced down [the people’s] throats.” Incoming Republican Senate leader Steve Oroho agreed. “I think it had to do with the message coming from people who were just annoyed at all the executive orders and all the mandates and being sick and tired of being told what they can and can’t do,” he said. At the gubernatorial level, a long-shot Republican nearly rode the backlash to victory against incumbent Phil Murphy, whose response to COVID had been one of the nation’s most draconian – and most ineffective, if measured by deaths per 100,000. In California, Gavin Newsom turned back a recall attempt in September. The recall effort itself was largely driven by dissatisfaction with the governor’s coronavirus response and violation of his own mask mandate at a private dinner for lobbyists at the swanky French Laundry restaurant. Though Newsom held on to his office by a wide margin, recall organizers’ success in getting 1.7 million valid signatures on petitions in the Golden State was itself evidence of public anger, as was Newsom’s perilous standing in polls a month before recall Election Day. More generally in the realm of public opinion, Gallup has reported that sentiment on the question of whether government should be more active or less – a question that a majority answered in favor of more action in 2020 – has reverted to form. Government, a majority now says, is too big and does too much. Not all evidence points the same way, though. Newsom and Murphy ultimately won, and exit polls showed a Virginia electorate ambivalent about the COVID response, not one that had turned decisively against the COVID regime. For example, most Virginians still said they supported mask mandates in schools, and a slight plurality said that they trusted Terry McAuliffe more than Glen Youngkin on COVID policy. At most, 2021 exposed the potential for a stronger backlash ahead.  Perhaps the biggest difference between 1918 and 1946, on the one hand, and 2021, on the other, was that in 2021 the crisis was still not in the rearview mirror. If and when it finally gets there, watch out. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 19:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 29th, 2021

Goldman Slams Omicron Panic: "This Mutation Is Unlikely To Be More Malicious; No Reason For Portfolio Changes"

Goldman Slams Omicron Panic: "This Mutation Is Unlikely To Be More Malicious; No Reason For Portfolio Changes" One look at the ridiculous plunge across asset markets on Friday, which sent oil into one of its biggest tailspins in history (which as Goldman calculated would only make sense if the Omicron lockdowns are twice as bad as anything observed so far), and one would think that the Omicron variant - which as Edward Snowden so aptly put it "sounds like the name of an 80s movie's evil Robot King" (of course, the WHO had no choice but to skip the Xi variant, located right before Omicron in the Greek alphabet for obvious propaganda reasons) - is several times more aggressive and far more deadly than the Delta or any other Covid variant to date. Neither is the case, and in fact, as even Tom Peacock, one of the original Imperial College narrative-setters admitted, "it may turn out to be an odd cluster that is not very transmissable." Alas, that would not help politicians who kill a lot of birds with just one brand new and "horrifying" variant, including getting a carte blanche for trillions in new vote-buying stimmies, enforcing even more ruthless and authoritarian government restrictions a dream come true for all liberal fans of big government, and most importantly forcing another round of mail-in ballot elections one year from today.  And yet, perhaps the pandemic apocalypse is not just around the corner. On one hand, Angelique Coetzee, the chairwoman of the South African Medical Association said today that “the new Omicron variant of the Coronavirus results in MILD disease, WITHOUT prominent symptoms.” On the other, none other than the most important bank on Wall Street - Goldman "Vampire Squid" Sachs - which sets the narrative that all other banks dutifully follow, has decided that it's not worth starting a panic crash over this mutation and in a note published late on Friday writes that "this mutation is unlikely to be more malicious and that the existing vaccines will most likely continue to be effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths" and as a result, while Goldman "would monitor the situation in Gauteng closely over the next month, we do not think that the new variant is sufficient reason to make major portfolio changes." Translation: brace for a face-ripping rally come Monday when carbon-based traders finally take over from the idiot algos. Below are more details from Goldman's London trader Borislav Vladimirov who penned his "Initial thoughts on risks from the B.1.1.529 variant and market implications." Main points While we do not have sufficient information to forecast a global B.1.1.529 wave, a high rate of transmission almost inevitably leads to a variant’s dominance. Nevertheless, the South Africa NICD (link to their Q&A here) note that this mutation is unlikely to be more malicious and that the existing vaccines will most likely continue to be effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths. The current PCR and antigen tests are expected to continue to identify the mutation. As such, while we would monitor the situation in Gauteng closely over the next month, we do not think that the new variant is sufficient reason to make major portfolio changes. Having said that, given the time of the year and liquidity as well as policy risks in December, investors could consider short term hedges for growth sensitive risky assets. We would start from what we know: The variant has a large number of mutations It has the P681 H spike protein mutation associated with the higher transmissibility of Delta Currently no unusual symptoms have been reported following infection with the B.1.1.529 variant and as with other variants some individuals are asymptomatic. It is easy to identify and hence monitor - The B.1.1.529 lineage has a deletion (△69-70) within the S gene that allowed for rapid identification of this variant in South Africa and will enable continued monitoring of this lineage irrespective of available sequence data. Most likely current PCR and Antigen test will continue to identify it well. Potentially high transmissibility has triggered market concern: It is gaining pace rapidly sequencing  90% of new cases just 2 weeks since emergence. For comparison the Delta needed 3 months to reach that intensity. This is the most concerning data point that has attracted market attention. One caveat is that the fast acceleration data could be skewed by location. The virus is spreading in Gauteng which is the largest and most densely populated province of SA. (15.2mio people with population density that is 17.3x higher than the country average) The level of restrictions in SA at the moment (measured by the government stringency index) is low (relative to Israel or Austria for example, see chart below). This can be helping faster spread that isn’t necessarily driven exclusively by the virus characteristics Cases of B.1.1.529 have been identified in Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong. If the variant is highly transmissible, it is most likely that it will eventually spread despite travel restrictions. What we still do not know... We have no information on the variant’s impact on hospitalizations and mortality. A careful monitoring of the Gauteng data over the next two weeks is essential. There are reports that two of the cases were fully vaccinated. This is a very small sample to make any conclusions and we do not know for how long the patients were vaccinated. What we know from Delta is that antibody levels wear off between 6 and 9 months after the second vaccine and that while the vaccines are less effective in preventing infection, they are still highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death. For the time being there is no reason to believe that this variant will be different in that respect. Will the Pfizer pill be effective against the new mutation? Is the European wave driven by the new variant? While the new variant could be present in Europe, the rapid rise in cases is driven by the Delta variant (see information below) The European data comes with about a month delay from sequencing time so we should know more by the third week of December (unless the process accelerates due to the attention on the new variant) Efforts to limit the current Delta wave in a number of European countries could help preventing the spread of B.1.1.529, if already present. Is the above a reason to be concerned? A very broad press focus in the past 24h has received high market attention. It will take weeks before we get additional official information and scientific evidence about the potential risks. This comes at a time when investors have been surprised by some of the lockdown measures announced in Europe And also when real growth is likely to fall meaningfully on higher inflation (even though nominal growth is likely to stay well above average) At this time of the year positions in risky assets, especially after strong YTD gains, could be vulnerable to short term corrections (ie 2018 template) Travel restrictions will delay the process of logistics network normalization which would imply that the supply capacity constraints easing anticipated for H2-2022 might take longer to materialize. Meanwhile, monetary policy has recently shifted gears to signal faster removal of accommodation which could add to a short-term risk aversion into the December FOMC.   Conclusion: while we do not have sufficient information to forecast a global B.1.1.529 wave, a high rate of transmission almost inevitably leads to a variant dominance. Nevertheless, we can have reasonable degree of confidence that this mutation is unlikely to be more malicious and that the existing vaccines will most likely continue to be effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths. As such, while we would monitor the situation in Gauteng closely over the next month, we do not think that the new variant is sufficient reason to make major portfolio changes.  Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 16:59.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 27th, 2021

Bureaucrat"s False Promise: Take Two COVID Shots And We Will Reopen

Bureaucrat's False Promise: Take Two COVID Shots And We Will Reopen Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com, More lockdowns are underway in Europe. What happened to reopen promises? Fury Over Lockdowns  Global markets are reeling in the wake of more lockdowns and threats of them. The Economist (paywall) notes surge of deadly covid cases in Europe is met by popular fury over lockdowns. The sight of 40,000 unvaccinated Austrians marching through their capital, Vienna, in recent days was troubling twice over. The tightly packed opponents of lockdown measures were at risk of spreading the coronavirus. They also threatened to stir up an already tense political situation. Karl Nehammer, Austria’s interior minister, warned that anti-vaxxers in the Alpine republic are growing more radicalised. He called the demonstration’s mood “incensed” and “aggressive”. Some protesters were extremely provocative, carrying placards likening Alexander Schallenberg, Austria’s new chancellor, to Josef Mengele, the sadistic physician at the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz. The protesters were marching against Austria’s increasingly tough measures against anti-vaxxers. On November 22nd the government imposed a full lockdown once again, to last for at least ten days. That compels Austria’s 9m people to hunker down at home, leaving only for work, essential shopping and exercise. Austria is also the first Western democracy to make covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for all, starting on February 1st 2022. “For a long time—maybe too long—I and others assumed that it must be possible to convince people in Austria to get vaccinated voluntarily,” said Mr Schallenberg when he announced his “very difficult” decision. Let Our Guard Down The Washington Post (paywalled) reports ‘We let our guard down’: Frustrated Europe heads into second pandemic winter Life was finally starting to feel normal. An online flier for an October party in this Belgian beach town cursed the coronavirus and invited people to dance and drink again, to “get your clacker back from the attic” and kick off Carnival season. Hundreds attended that event and another Carnival party the next night. Most of the town is vaccinated, and people were required to show proof, or a recent negative test, to enter. But it wasn’t enough. Coronavirus cases spiked the week after. Officials worried about pressure on the local hospital. And soon the town found itself under semi-lockdown once more. As Americans catch up with family and friends this holiday week, with some trepidation about enduring risk, Europe is facing another wave of the virus — and a gloomy and frustrating second pandemic winter. New Heavily Mutated Covid Variant CNBC reports Belgium Confirms Case of New, Heavily Mutated Covid Variant. The emerging variant arrives in Europe amid an already devastating Covid surge linked to the delta strain. Europe saw more than 2.4 million new Covid cases over the week ended Nov. 21, an increase of 11% from the previous seven days, according to the WHO’s most recent epidemiological update. Europe represented 67% of all Covid cases reported globally during that span, the WHO measured. Belgium tightened restrictions this week to stop the spread of the virus, requiring people to work from home four days a week through the middle of December. Austria started its fourth lockdown of the pandemic on Monday, with a nationwide vaccine mandate scheduled to take effect on Feb. 1. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg has said that the lockdown will last for at most 20 days. New Lockdowns and Restrictions Slovakia declared a two-week lockdown on Wednesday. People can leave home for a limited number of reasons, including buying groceries, going to work and to school, and getting vaccinated. And starting next week, all workers will have to show they’ve been vaccinated, recovered from the coronavirus or had a recent negative test. Austria, imposed a lockdown that will last at least 10 days and up to 20.  The Netherlands ordered bars and restaurants to close at 8 p.m. Belgium has mandated that all but essential employees work from home four days a week. Belgium also reinstituted an indoor mask mandate this month. Merkel pushed for a German lockdown as its death toll passed 100,000. The U.K.  halted flights from six countries in the region, and European Union member states have collectively agree to pause travel to and from southern Africa. Singapore banned flights from southern Africa Japan is increasing border controls for travelers from the region. Italy requires proof of vaccination or recovery for access to many parts of public life. Vaccination restrictions fcome into effect on December 6 and last until January 15. Mess in Germany  Eurointelligence comments on Germany's Federal Virus. The massive outbreak in Covid-19 hospitalizations and fatalities in Germany raises disturbing questions about who is in charge. Having failed to achieve the right levels of vaccine procurement early on during the pandemic, the German authorities have repeated the same mistake. They did not procure the booster shots they needed. They have not set up a network of vaccination centres to deliver them rapidly. As of this weekend, only 11.4% of the population has received booster shots. It is very difficult to get an appointment. Only doctor's surgeries are allowed to deliver them. The network has not been expanded to pharmacies.  So why is this happening again? The answer is that the German healthcare system, well-funded as it is, is not set up for a pandemic, or indeed for public health emergencies in general. This is a publicly-funded, but privately run, healthcare system. The states are in charge of the local healthcare administrations and hospitals. Health insurance is a matter for the federal government, but states supervise the health insurance companies. What can possibly go wrong? Message From German Stats In Germany, over 45% of people hospitalized for Covid-19 are fully vaccinated. That last stat sounds more shocking than it really is. Germany is 68% fully vaccinated. Thus 55% of the hospitalizations cases come from 32% of the population. Only 11% of Germany received a booster. Given vaccinations wear off, the proper take away is get a booster, not flout the stats.  Vaccine Mandate US In the US, the Biden administration imposed a vaccine mandate vis OSHA on companies with more than 100 employees. On November 15, I noted Appeals Court Blocks Biden's Vaccine Mandate in a Blistering Rebuke The rebuke was a huge attack on the competence of Biden's mandate. My position, upfront was the mandate was unconstitutional.  Given multiple attacks on the mandate, jurisdiction, the case moved from the 5th Circuit to the 6th Circuit, where Biden doubled down.  On November 23, I commented Biden Doubles Down on Vaccine Mandate With Another Circuit Court The justice department files an emergency motion with the 6th circuit court arguing the 5th circuit's postponement of the OSHA vaccine mandate was unjustified I strongly suspect the 6th Circuit will reaffirm the previous ruling. Meanwhile, protests or not, mutations go on and on.  What Covid Lockdowns and Disruptions in Europe Signal to the U.S. False Promise "Take two shots and we will reopen society. That turned out to be a false promise." It's been one false promise after another, by Dr. Fauci, by Trump, by Biden, by Merkel, globally everywhere. Trust is essentially gone and rising protests are proof. *  *  * Like these reports? If so, please Subscribe to MishTalk Email Alerts. Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 13:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 27th, 2021

German Health Minister Calls For "Massive Contact Restrictions" To Fight COVID

German Health Minister Calls For "Massive Contact Restrictions" To Fight COVID By TheLocal.de, German Health Minister Jens Spahn has urged the incoming government to take drastic measures after more than 76,000 new Covid infections were reported within a day, saying the situation was "more serious than any other time in this pandemic." Health Minister Jens Spahn addresses reporters at a press conference in Berlin on November 26th, 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd von Jutrczenka The situation is dramatically serious,” the CDU politician told reporters gathered in Berlin on Friday. “More serious than at any other time in this pandemic.” Calling the current situation in Germany a ‘national emergency’, Spahn claimed that the incoming government was doing too little, too late to try and stem the tide. “We must stop this wave now,” he warned. On Friday, the weekly incidence of Covid infections hit yet another new peak of 438 infections per 100,000 people, while the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported a record-breaking 76,000 new infections within a day. In the worst-hit region of Saxony, the 7-day incidence recently topped 1,000 per 100,000 people. In the meantime, weekly hospitalisations have been edging up and now stand at 5.97 per 100,000 people nationally. The daily Covid death toll hit 357 on Friday, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 100,476.   Criticising politicians who he said had underestimated the scale of the crisis, Spahn warned that the Covid wave would “continue to move west and north” from the regions in the south and east of Germany that have been badly affected so far. In the short term, he said, there is only one thing that will make a decisive difference: “The number of contacts must be reduced, significantly, otherwise (the measures) are no use at all.” States should introduce consistent access rules that allow entry only to vaccinated and recovered people who have a negative test to hand (a system known as 2G plus) and should consider the cancellation of festive celebrations and large events, he said. Appearing at the press conference alongside Spahn, RKI president Lothar Wieler also urged lawmakers to take decisive action in order to stem the spread of the virus. RKI president Lothar Wieler appears at a press conference alongside Jens Spahn on Friday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa “I now expect decision-makers to initiate all possible measures to jointly bring the case numbers down,” he said, adding that contact restrictions should once again be brought into play. “With every contact we don’t have, with every meeting we forgo, with every crowd we avoid, we help slow the spread of the virus,” Wieler said. He appealed to Germans: “Please get vaccinated or get your booster jabs, and please also comply with all the measures adopted in the federal states.” South African ‘supervariant’ At the press conference on Friday morning, Spahn also expressed concern about the new ‘supervariant’ (B.1.1.529) that has recently appeared in South Africa. As The Local reported on Friday, the discovery of the new variant has prompted Germany to ban all incoming travel from the country for people who don’t live in Germany or hold German citizenship. The aim must be to avoid the entry of this variant as far as possible, the caretaker health minister said. “The arrival of a new variant is the last thing we need now in our current situation,” he added. Spahn urged all people who have arrived in Germany from South Africa and the surrounding countries in recent days to get tested for the virus with a PCR test to be on the safe side. RKI chief Wieler said that, as of Friday morning, he was not aware that the virus variant had made it into Europe or Germany. At the same time, he stressed: “We are very concerned. And I very much hope that stringent work will be done to at least limit the spread of this variant as much as possible through travel restrictions.” In some provinces of South Africa, there’s been a stark upswing in the number of infections over the past few days, which experts believe could be due to the new variant. Compared to Delta, which has two mutations, and Beta, which has three, the as-yet unnamed South African variant has ten mutations, meaning it could be more resistant to vaccines, spread faster and place more strain on the human immune system. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is said to be studying the newly emerged variant to see if it should be classed as variant of ‘interest’ or ‘concern’. Meeting of state leaders On Thursday, November 25th, Germany’s ‘epidemic situation of national importance’ was allowed to expire after almost a year and a half. The epidemic situation clause had granted sweeping powers to the federal government and states to impose Covid restrictions such as lockdowns and mandatory masks without consulting parliament. The incoming government has opted to replace the clause with amendments to the Infection Protection Act, but critics from the opposition CDU/CSU parties say the new regulation does not go far enough. In order to get their amended Act through the upper house of parliament, the three ‘traffic light’ parties were forced to strike a deal with Merkel’s conservatives. The deal ensured that the bill would be allowed to pass in the Bundesrat – but only if it was subject to review at the next meeting of state leaders on December 9th. Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) holds up a graph to reporters at Friday’s press conference. Photo: picture alliance/dpa With the Covid situation worsening daily, however, outgoing Health Minister Spahn has been calling on state leaders to bring the meeting forward. The meeting should ideally be held over the next few days, he said. In light of the rising number of Covid patients on intensive care wards, urgent operations are currently having to be cancelled and postponed, while up to 100 intensive care patients have had to be moved to other hospitals in Germany where medical staff are less overburdened, Spahn revealed. But these are only temporary solutions and cannot continue indefinitely, he said. According to Spahn, however, there is one piece of good news: “The vaccination campaign is picking up again.” In the past three days, there have been more than 300,000 new vaccinations against Covid, while this week, more than two million booster vaccinations have been administered. “Every vaccination gives hope that this winter will not be as dark as it currently looks,” the Health Minister said. Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 27th, 2021

A Scared Nu World: Here"s What We Know About The COVID "Omicron" Strain

A Scared Nu World: Here's What We Know About The COVID "Omicron" Strain Summarizing of our post from last might (which we urge everyone to read) for those who are just now waking up to the global chaos resulting from the B.1.1.529 variant, which today got the Greek letter designation Omicron... Omicron sounds like the name of an 80s movie's evil Robot King. — Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 26, 2021 ... skipping the widely expected letter Nu (and certainly the one following it, Xi), here is what we know, courtesy of Newsquawk, Credit Suisse and Citi. Background Regarded as the most heavily mutated variant of the Coronavirus, thus far, as it has 32 mutations in the spike protein and 50 overall. More specifically, scientists have highlighted that there are 10 mutations vs 2 in the Delta variant regarding the receptor binding domain, which is the portion of the virus that makes initial contact with cells. The Omicron variant was identified 5 days ago initially in Botswana with subsequent confirmation and sequencing in South Africa with about 100 confirmed cases. Cases have been detected in Israel and Hong Kong and as of this morning, in Belgium. Sequencing data suggests 8.1.1.529 has a different evolutionary pathway, but shares a few common mutations with the C.1.2, Beta and Delta variants. That said, as we cautioned last night, a significant number of mutations may not necessarily be a ‘negative’ as it is dependent on how these mutations function, which scientists are yet to establish. Then again, since it is the job of science to fearmonger so that Pfizer can buy an even bigger yacht, assume it will be "very very horrifying" until proven innocuous. Is it more deadly It is currently too early to determine if the new variant has higher mortality than previous variants. Reported cases only started rising in South Africa on 19 November, so any impact on hospitalizations and COVID-related deaths will not have yet emerged. Testing and Detectability Tulio de Oliveria, the Director of the Centre for Epidemic Response & innovation (CERI), South Africa, has written that the variant can be detected by a normal PCR test and as such it will be "easy for the world to track it". It wasn't immediately clear if this is one of those "excess false positive PCR tests" but it's safe to assume for now that it is. According to Credit Suisse, "one silver lining may come in the ease of identifying this variant via qPCR tests. B.1.1.529 has a deletion within the s-gene which can be identified easily via widely-used PCR tests. More complex sequencing analysis is needed to differentiate the delta variant. This will help track the spread of B.1.1.529, both within Southern Africa and across the globe." How widespread is it As of Thursday there were almost 100 cases detected in South Africa, where it’s become the dominant strain among new infections. Early PCR test results showed that 90% of 1,100 new cases reported Wednesday in the South African province that includes Johannesburg were caused by the new variant, according to de Oliveira. In neighboring Botswana, officials recorded four cases on Monday in people who were fully vaccinated. In Hong Kong, a traveler from South Africa was found to have the variant, and another case was identified in a person quarantined in a hotel room across the hall. Israel has also identified one case in a man who recently traveled to Malawi. Belgium has also reported two new cases. According to de Oliveira, this new variant, B.1.1.529 "seems to spread very quick! In less than 2 weeks now dominates all infections following a devastating Delta wave in South Africa (Blue new variant, now at 75% of last genomes and soon to reach 100%)" This new variant, B.1.1.529 seems to spread very quick! In less than 2 weeks now dominates all infections following a devastating Delta wave in South Africa (Blue new variant, now at 75% of last genomes and soon to reach 100%) pic.twitter.com/Z9mde45Qe0 — Tulio de Oliveira (@Tuliodna) November 25, 2021 Transmission Oliveria, explains that the new variant is spreading very quickly, in under two-weeks it is now dominating all infections in South Africa following the Delta waves domination – writing that it the variant is “now at 75% of last genomes and soon to reach 100%”. Additionally, the virus contains mutations that have been seen in other variants and appear to make transmission easier. Outside of Africa, two cases have been reported in Hong Kong, one from a traveller from the region and another who was quarantining in the adjacent hotel room. Most recently, a case has been reported in Israel. In response to this, the UK has placed much of southern Africa on the red list, with Israel India, Japan and Singapore also taking similar measures. Additionally, EU Commission President von der Leyen is to propose activation of the emergency air brake, to halt travel from southern Africa. Vaccines It is too early to accurately determine the vaccine response to the new variant. However, the significant number of variants increase the likelihood that current vaccines, which were designed with the original COVID-19 strain in mind, may be less effective. Known variants include those that make it more challenging for antibodies to recognise their presence. Laboratory testing is already underway according to the South Africa National Institute for Communicable Diseases Initial thoughts from the institute are that partial immune escape is likely, a view that seems possible given the numerous mutations in comparison to the sequence that existing vaccines were designed against. The first view on this to be from in vitro immunogenicity test or perhaps from computer modelling of the sequence. Credit Suisse estimates initial lab data could take less than 1 week to generate given the sequence is already known and work is already ongoing. New Vaccine Would be Available in 100 days According to Pfizer, if a vaccine-escape variant emerges, the company expects to develop, produce a tailor-made vaccine against that variant in 100 days. Impact of efficacy of existing drugs antibodies is unknown. There have been significant advances in treatment of COVID since it emerged in the disease waves of 2020: the use of widely-available steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Roche's Actemra have significantly improved survival outcomes. More recently, antibody therapies targeting COVID (LLY, REGN/Roche, AZN) have significantly improved outcomes against COVID variants to date. It will need to be seen if their efficacy is equal against the new B1.1.529 variant. Lastly the recent positive data from oral anti-viral agents (PFE, MRK/Ridgeback) may also have the potential to slow the spread of any new waves of COVID. The effectiveness of these treatments against new variants of concern will need to be tested, but lab results should be expected relatively quickly. In-human studies should also yield results relatively quickly if they are run in areas where the prevalence of 8.1.1.529 is high. What's next According to Citi, concern over Omicron needs to be balanced against the failure of other concerning variants such as Beta (also first identified in Africa) to out-compete delta. The next two weeks will be critical to: (i) determine whether Omicron outcompetes delta in high delta prevalence countries (2-3 weeks), (ii) engineered pseudoviruses for Omicron to determine neutralization by serum of vaccination and previously infected patients (2-4 weeks), and (iii) real world data to determine rates of hospitalisation and death (c. 6-8 weeks). The implementation of travel restrictions and public health measures may push back some of the above timeline estimates. Novel oral anti-virals should retain activity against Omicron but resistance may emerge with time. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/26/2021 - 09:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 26th, 2021

A Scared Nu World: Here"s What We Know About The New COVID Strain

A Scared Nu World: Here's What We Know About The New COVID Strain Summarizing of our post from last might (which we urge everyone to read) for those who are just now waking up to the global chaos resulting from the B.1.1.529 variant, which later today is expected to be named with the Greek letter Nu, here is what we know, courtesy of Newsquawk, Credit Suisse and Citi. Background Regarded as the most heavily mutated variant of the Coronavirus, thus far, as it has 32 mutations in the spike protein and 50 overall. More specifically, scientists have highlighted that there are 10 mutations vs 2 in the Delta variant regarding the receptor binding domain, which is the portion of the virus that makes initial contact with cells. The Nu variant was identified 5 days ago initially in Botswana with subsequent confirmation and sequencing in South Africa with about 100 confirmed cases. Cases have been detected in Israel and Hong Kong and as of this morning, in Belgium. Sequencing data suggests 8.1.1.529 has a different evolutionary pathway, but shares a few common mutations with the C.1.2, Beta and Delta variants. That said, as we cautioned last night, a significant number of mutations may not necessarily be a ‘negative’ as it is dependent on how these mutations function, which scientists are yet to establish. Then again, since it is the job of science to fearmonger so that Pfizer can buy an even bigger yacht, assume it will be "very very horrifying" until proven innocuous. Is it more deadly It is currently too early to determine if the new variant has higher mortality than previous variants. Reported cases only started rising in South Africa on 19 November, so any impact on hospitalizations and COVID-related deaths will not have yet emerged. Testing and Detectability Tulio de Oliveria, the Director of the Centre for Epidemic Response & innovation (CERI), South Africa, has written that the variant can be detected by a normal PCR test and as such it will be "easy for the world to track it". It wasn't immediately clear if this is one of those "excess false positive PCR tests" but it's safe to assume for now that it is. According to Credit Suisse, "one silver lining may come in the ease of identifying this variant via qPCR tests. B.1.1.529 has a deletion within the s-gene which can be identified easily via widely-used PCR tests. More complex sequencing analysis is needed to differentiate the delta variant. This will help track the spread of B.1.1.529, both within Southern Africa and across the globe." How widespread is it As of Thursday there were almost 100 cases detected in South Africa, where it’s become the dominant strain among new infections. Early PCR test results showed that 90% of 1,100 new cases reported Wednesday in the South African province that includes Johannesburg were caused by the new variant, according to de Oliveira. In neighboring Botswana, officials recorded four cases on Monday in people who were fully vaccinated. In Hong Kong, a traveler from South Africa was found to have the variant, and another case was identified in a person quarantined in a hotel room across the hall. Israel has also identified one case in a man who recently traveled to Malawi. Belgium has also reported two new cases. According to de Oliveira, this new variant, B.1.1.529 "seems to spread very quick! In less than 2 weeks now dominates all infections following a devastating Delta wave in South Africa (Blue new variant, now at 75% of last genomes and soon to reach 100%)" This new variant, B.1.1.529 seems to spread very quick! In less than 2 weeks now dominates all infections following a devastating Delta wave in South Africa (Blue new variant, now at 75% of last genomes and soon to reach 100%) pic.twitter.com/Z9mde45Qe0 — Tulio de Oliveira (@Tuliodna) November 25, 2021 Transmission Oliveria, explains that the new variant is spreading very quickly, in under two-weeks it is now dominating all infections in South Africa following the Delta waves domination – writing that it the variant is “now at 75% of last genomes and soon to reach 100%”. Additionally, the virus contains mutations that have been seen in other variants and appear to make transmission easier. Outside of Africa, two cases have been reported in Hong Kong, one from a traveller from the region and another who was quarantining in the adjacent hotel room. Most recently, a case has been reported in Israel. In response to this, the UK has placed much of southern Africa on the red list, with Israel India, Japan and Singapore also taking similar measures. Additionally, EU Commission President von der Leyen is to propose activation of the emergency air brake, to halt travel from southern Africa. Vaccines It is too early to accurately determine the vaccine response to the new variant. However, the significant number of variants increase the likelihood that current vaccines, which were designed with the original COVID-19 strain in mind, may be less effective. Known variants include those that make it more challenging for antibodies to recognise their presence. Laboratory testing is already underway according to the South Africa National Institute for Communicable Diseases Initial thoughts from the institute are that partial immune escape is likely, a view that seems possible given the numerous mutations in comparison to the sequence that existing vaccines were designed against. The first view on this to be from in vitro immunogenicity test or perhaps from computer modelling of the sequence. Credit Suisse estimates initial lab data could take less than 1 week to generate given the sequence is already known and work is already ongoing. New Vaccine Would be Available in 100 days According to Pfizer, if a vaccine-escape variant emerges, the company expects to develop, produce a tailor-made vaccine against that variant in 100 days. Impact of efficacy of existing drugs antibodies is unknown. There have been significant advances in treatment of COVID since it emerged in the disease waves of 2020: the use of widely-available steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Roche's Actemra have significantly improved survival outcomes. More recently, antibody therapies targeting COVID (LLY, REGN/Roche, AZN) have significantly improved outcomes against COVID variants to date. It will need to be seen if their efficacy is equal against the new B1.1.529 variant. Lastly the recent positive data from oral anti-viral agents (PFE, MRK/Ridgeback) may also have the potential to slow the spread of any new waves of COVID. The effectiveness of these treatments against new variants of concern will need to be tested, but lab results should be expected relatively quickly. In-human studies should also yield results relatively quickly if they are run in areas where the prevalence of 8.1.1.529 is high. What's next According to Citi, concern over Nu needs to be balanced against the failure of other concerning variants such as Beta (also first identified in Africa) to out-compete delta. The next two weeks will be critical to: (i) determine whether Nu outcompetes delta in high delta prevalence countries (2-3 weeks), (ii) engineered pseudoviruses for Nu to determine neutralization by serum of vaccination and previously infected patients (2-4 weeks), and (iii) real world data to determine rates of hospitalisation and death (c. 6-8 weeks). The implementation of travel restrictions and public health measures may push back some of the above timeline estimates. Novel oral anti-virals should retain activity against Nu but resistance may emerge with time. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/26/2021 - 09:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 26th, 2021

UN Says Yemen War Death Toll Will Reach 377,000 By End Of 2021

UN Says Yemen War Death Toll Will Reach 377,000 By End Of 2021 Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com, A UN agency published a report Tuesday that estimates the war in Yemen will have killed 377,000 people by the end of 2021. The report from the UN Development Program (UNDP) found that direct violence will have killed over 150,000 people while preventable disease and starvation caused by the US-backed Saudi-led siege on the country accounts for about 60 percent of the death toll. Image via The Guardian As always is the case, children are suffering the most from the war. "In 2021, a Yemeni child under the age of five dies every nine minutes because of the conflict," the UNDP said. The report estimates 70 percent of those killed would be children under five. Looking further in the future, the report says if the war continues through 2031, it will claim 1.3 million lives. Last year, the UN estimated that the war claimed the lives of 233,000 people by the end of 2020. As high as these death tolls are, the estimate is likely on the lower end, and the actual number of Yemenis that have starved to death since the Saudi-led coalition intervened is not known. In February, other UN agencies warned that if conditions didn’t change in Yemen, 400,000 children under the age of five would starve to death this year alone. Those conditions haven’t changed, the war continues, and the blockade is still being enforced. Over the past few months, fighting has been raging around the city of Maarib, the last significant piece of territory held by Saudi-backed forces that the Houthis are advancing on. Since mid-June, nearly 15,000 Houthis have been killed in the fighting, mostly by Saudi airstrikes. UN report gives dreadful estimates on Yemen's seven-year-old war: - 377,000 lives will be claimed by end of 2021 - Nearly 60% of deaths will be caused by lack of safe water, hunger and disease - Fighting will directly kill over 150,000 people pic.twitter.com/CG9rf97GfF — TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) November 23, 2021 Saudi Arabia’s air force is still being maintained by the US despite President Biden’s earlier vow to end support for "offensive" operations in Yemen. Without US support, Saudi warplanes would quickly be grounded, and Riyadh would be forced to negotiate with the Houthis. In a sign of continued support, the Biden administration recently approved a $650 million missile sale for the Saudis. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/25/2021 - 04:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

With Low Vaccination Rates, Africa"s COVID Deaths Remain Far Below Europe & US

With Low Vaccination Rates, Africa's COVID Deaths Remain Far Below Europe & US Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute, Since the very beginning of the covid panic, the narrative has been this: implement severe lockdowns or your population will experience a bloodbath. Morgues will be overwhelmed, the death total toll will be astounding. On the other hand, we were assured those jurisdictions that do lock down would see only a fraction of the death toll. Then, once vaccines became available, the narrative was modified to: "Get shots in arms and then covid will stop spreading. Those countries without vaccines, on the other hand, will continue to face mass casualties." The lockdown narrative, of course, has already been thoroughly overturned. Jurisdictions that did not lock down or adopted only weak and short lockdowns ended up with covid death tolls that were either similar to—or even better than—death tolls in countries that adopted draconian lockdowns. Lockdown advocates said locked-down countries would be overwhelmingly better off. These people were clearly wrong.  Undaunted by the increasing implausibility of the lockdown narrative, the global health bureaucrats are nonetheless doubling down on forced vaccines—as we now see in Austria—and we continue to be assured that only countries with high vaccination rates can hope to avoid disastrous covid outcomes.  Yet, the experience in sub-Saharan Africa calls both these narratives into question: Africa's numbers have been far, far lower than the experts warned would be the case.  For example, the AP reported this week that in spite of low vaccination rates, Africa has fared better than most of the world: [T]here is something “mysterious” going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. “Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better,” she said…. Fewer than 6% of people in Africa are vaccinated. For months, the WHO has described Africa as “one of the least affected regions in the world” in its weekly pandemic reports. Yet disaster for Africa has long been predicted for several reasons even beyond the availability of vaccines. For instance, it is known that lockdowns are especially impractical in the poorest parts of the world. This is because populations in places with undeveloped economies can’t simply sit at home and live off savings or debt. Rather, these people must go out into the world and earn a living on a day-to-day basis. Starvation is the alternative. Moreover, much of this work is done in the informal economy, so enforcing lockdowns becomes especially difficult. Source: Our World in Data (Confirmed Deaths per Million, November 19, 2021;  Share of People Vaccinated against Covid-19, November 19, 2021). It was also assumed covid would be especially deadly in Africa due to the fact many large households live in small housing units. But that "conventional wisdom" flies in the face of the reality of covid in Africa, which is that there have been fewer deaths. The "experts" have groped around, looking for possible explanations. Some sources, for example, insist that the low death totals are only an artifact of incomplete reporting on covid infections and that "a lack of good qualitative data was the issue." But Richard Wamai at Northeastern University rejects the claim it’s all about case reporting, and says that "local systems for reporting deaths in Africa make it difficult to hide COVID-19 casualties." In a paper for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Wamai and his coauthors conclude, "[T]here is no evidence that COVID-19 mortality data is less accurately reported in Africa than elsewhere" and "While the true picture of infections and mortality in the continent has yet to fully emerge, the quality of data for other diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, indicates that Africa has the capacity to collect and report valid disease surveillance data." In any case, the World Health Organization reports that covid deaths in Africa make up only 2.9 percent of covid deaths, while Africa’s population is 16 percent of the global total. Africa’s covid total could double or triple, and Africa would still be faring far better than Europe and the Americas. Wamai et al. also note that at this point "[i]t is likely that SARS-CoV-2 has already been widely disseminated through Africa…. If so, widespread infection is likely to also result in widespread natural immunity." In other words, continued claims by health officials—both in Africa and elsewhere—that mass death is right around the corner with the "next wave" look increasingly implausible.  It looks increasingly likely that the lack of covid mortality in Africa is not due to a data issue nor a situation in which covid has been "contained" up until now. So then why is Africa doing so much better than the wealthy West? Naturally, the advocates of forced lockdowns and coerced vaccines would prefer to ignore this issue altogether, but the undeniable reality of Africa’s experience has forced mainstream researchers to publicly admit the many ways that many factors can explain covid's prevalence beyond vaccination rates and mask mandates. For instance, mentioning that obesity is an important factor in covid mortality has in the past been likely to get one savaged in the media for "fat shaming." Yet the Africa situation has forced the well informed to admit that yes, obese populations clearly suffer more from covid. In Africa, not surprisingly, we find that obesity rates are far below those found in North America and Europe. Other possible explanations forwarded as reasons for Africa’s situation include past exposure to other coronaviruses, youthful populations, fewer patients lacking zinc and vitamin D, past use of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccination, climate, genetic background, and parasite load.  In addressing the African "enigma" one group of researchers in the journal Colombia medica dared even suggest it’s possible—although not conclusively shown at this point—that “a mass public health preventive campaign against COVID-19 may have taken place, inadvertently, in some African countries with massive community ivermectin use.” Source: "Global Obesity Levels," ProCon.org, last modified March 27, 2020; Our World in Data (Share of People Vaccinated against Covid-19, November 19, 2021). In the West, however, the media drumbeat around covid has consistently been "Shut up, stay home, get jabbed, and stop doubting the experts on forced vaccines." Fortunately, however, the African situation has forced many researchers to ask inconvenient questions. In fact, it’s amazing Africa has not been overcome by mass death considering that covid lockdowns and covid "mitigation" measures have contributed to the impoverishment and mass starvation on the continent. Or as Germany’s DW News puts it, “Measures put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus are pushing millions of people in Africa into severe hunger.” And as Wamai notes, “[S]ome of the excess deaths in Africa “can be attributed not to the disease, but to lockdown measures that cut off access to medical care for other illnesses.” But Africa hasn’t gotten the bloodbath that was promised, and as one Nigerian put it, "They said there will be dead bodies on the streets and all that, but nothing like that happened." Tyler Durden Thu, 11/25/2021 - 05:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

Russian Lawmaker Says He Would "Execute" People By Firing Squad For Buying And Selling Fake Vaxx Cards 

Russian Lawmaker Says He Would 'Execute' People By Firing Squad For Buying And Selling Fake Vaxx Cards  The rise in counterfeit vaccine certificates has enranged one Russian lawmaker who proposed that anyone who buys or sells certificates be executed by firing squad. He even said he would pull the trigger himself.  Vladimir Sidorov, a Russian lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party serving in the region of Duma in Ryazan, told fellow legislators on Tuesday the need for harsher punishments for people who buy and sell the documents illegally. "It is necessary to shoot them," he shouted. Sidorov said he "would participate in the shootings." "Be sure to do it! You and I have no other choice," he urged fellow lawmakers.  The emotionally charged lawmaker immediately walked back his speech after it went viral on social media and sparked criticism among netizens. He said he was emotionally overwhelmed during his rant after the loss of his wife to COVID. He did emphasize that anyone who buys or sells fake vaccination certificates should face "tough punishment." He added that "no one likes restrictions, but vaccination is the key to surviving a pandemic." As Russians flock to the black market for fake vaccine certificates, provincial lawmaker Vladimir Sidorov offers a solution: Shoot them all. “I’d join the firing squad myself,” he says, apparently not joking. Obviously the United Russia member never did anything to skirt rules. pic.twitter.com/4CyYvMPzpw — Matthew Luxmoore (@mjluxmoore) November 24, 2021 Shindorov's call for harsher punishments coincided with the Russian Ministry of Health's proposal to slap anyone who sells fake vaccination cards with fines up to $67,150. The severity of the penalty depends on if the person acted alone or as part of an organized crime gang.  Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova announced plans earlier this month to make QR codes on smartphones a form of health passport for entry into restaurants and retail shops across the country to combat counterfeit vaccines certificates.  Russia is battling the fourth wave of the virus pandemic as the death toll continues to climb to near all-time highs, but the number of new infections has waned. The surge in deaths comes amid low vaccination rates.  Governments worldwide are cracking down on fake COVID certificates. No politician (besides one in Russia) has dared to mention they would execute someone for selling fake vaxx cards but rather slap them with hefty fines.  Tyler Durden Thu, 11/25/2021 - 05:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

Shellenberger: Why Anti-Police Activism Kills

Shellenberger: Why Anti-Police Activism Kills Authored by Michael Shellenberger via Substack, In response to anti-police protests, many officers quit, resulting in shortages and a spike in avoidable deaths, from homicides to heart attacks, of innocents... Will Yurek with three of his four children including Drew (far right) who called 911 when his father suffered a heart attack. First responders say the city of Seattle failed to save Will’s life because of a police shortage. At 1:24pm on Nov. 2, 13-year-old Drew Yurek called 911 to report an emergency: his father Will didn’t feel well and needed help. Medics arrived six minutes later, but were told by dispatch to wait for the police before entering; there was a cautionary note that flagged the occupant of the address as being hostile to first responders. But the note was outdated, and referred to a previous tenant. Because of a shortage of police officers first reported by Seattle journalist Jason Rantz, the medics were left to wait outside the house until cops could arrive. At 1:37pm, Drew called 911 again, desperate. He needed help. Medics waited two more minutes before deciding to ignore the order and enter the building. They found Will and started to perform CPR and apply a defibrillator. But by then it was too late. Despite their best efforts, Will, 45 and a father of four, died of a heart attack as Drew looked on. The police did not arrive until 1:45pm. Now Drew’s mother, Meagan Petersen, is planning to sue the city of Seattle. “People need to know how the city let this happen,” said Meagan, who is divorced from Will and lives in Utah. “They could have saved Will if the system was working like it should.” Firefighters and police officers I spoke to said they believe they could have saved the man’s life had there not been a shortage of cops. By the end of 2020, 200 police officers had left the Seattle police force. What happened to Will Yurek and what his son had to suffer is a tragic but cautionary tale of what happens when activism and moral cowardice at the top of government destroys public safety and common sense in society. It has happened in Seattle, but many other parts of the country have also fallen victim — with many more in peril, too. Before a vaccine mandate took 100 police officers off the street in mid-October, the Seattle police department was short at least 400 police officers to be at the minimum considered necessary to protect public safety. Why is that? The overwhelming and unavoidable reason is anti-police protests by Black Lives Matter activists. This happened nationwide, but was worse in Seattle, where Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and progressive members of the Seattle City Council allowed anarchists to briefly take over the downtown Capitol Hill neighborhood in the summer of 2020. Durkan did so to show solidarity with anti-police protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. The anti-police protests in Seattle were surprising because in 2018 the City Council had hired a black woman, Carmen Best, for the first time to serve as the city’s police chief. Best opened up for the first time about what happened last summer in an interview with me for my book, “San Fransicko,” earlier this year. Best is also one of the candidates NYC’s Mayor-Elect Eric Adams is considering for NYPD Commissioner. Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, left, talks with activist Raz Simone, right front, and others near a plywood-covered and closed police precinct behind them on June 9, 2020. “I refuse to work for this socialist City Council and their political agenda,” said one officer. “It ultimately will destroy the fabric of this once fine city.” Another said the city’s progressive City Council “will be the downfall of the city of Seattle.”  Anti-police protests took a toll around the country. At least two dozen other police chiefs or senior officers resigned, retired, or took disability leave in America’s 50 biggest cities in 2020, while 3,700 beat officers left. Today there are fewer police officers per capita in America than at any time since 1992. In 2020, the homicide rate increased on average by more than one-third in America’s 57 largest cities. Homicides rose in 51 cities and declined in just six of them. Homicides rose 35 percent in Los Angeles, 31 percent in Oakland, 74 percent in Seattle, 63 percent in Portland, 60 percent in Chicago, and 47 percent in New York City.  Some blamed the coronavirus pandemic, and higher gun sales, which rose in March. But homicides in 2020 only started to rise in June, after Black Lives Matter protests, not March. And there had been a similar spike in homicides in 2015 when there was no coronavirus pandemic.  The lack of sufficient police may have made communities more vulnerable to the spikes in homicides seen in 2015 and 2020, as police were redirected to deal with anti-police protests. “When you have your officers and detectives every night on the front line dealing with demonstration after demonstration after demonstration,” said former police chief Best, “they are not engaging with community members. They are not talking to young people. All of that is not happening because the focus now is on the nightly demonstrations.”  “When people believe the procedures of formal social control are unjust,” notes University of Missouri criminologist Richard Rosenfeld, whose research is relied upon by the Department of Justice, “they are less likely to obey the law.”  Counter to the claims of those who advocate defunding the police as a way to reduce violence, the evidence suggests that fewer cops may mean more police misconduct, because the remaining officers must work longer and more stressful hours. Research has found that fatigue predicts a rise in public complaints against cops: a 13-hour rather than 10-hour shift significantly boosts their prevalence, while back-to-back shifts quadruple their odds. The people who suffer most from anti-police activism are black. Nationally, 30 times more African Americans were killed by civilians than by police in 2019. Today, black Americans are seven to eight times more likely to die from homicide than white Americans. If anti-police protests increase homicides, why do groups like Black Lives Matter do it? Because they are after radical system change, not less violence. Radical thinkers, from anarchists to socialists, have for 200 years blamed our capitalist system for crime, and justified crime as a revolutionary act. Crime is a rational response to the high levels of inequality created by capitalism, they argue. For the most part, societies, including in Seattle, have dismissed these radical arguments. “The anarchists had always been a cosplay clown joke,” Seattle Police officer Christopher Young told me earlier this year. “On May Day they would come and fight the police and break some windows. We’d be like, ‘Okay guys, go back to your mother’s basement.’” But after the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016, the anarchists rebranded themselves as “anti-fascists,” said Young, and that increased their legitimacy in the eyes of Seattle’s progressive voters. “They said, ‘We’re here to fight the racists and fascists.’” “The community really wanted more cops,” she told me. “At least three City Council members campaigned on more cops. They wanted better response times.” They also wanted more racial and gender diversity and so, said Best, she created a plan “to have a lot more diversity with our hiring, for women and people of color both. We got to almost 40 percent of either minority or women representation as new hires.” But after the Floyd killing, Seattle anarchists started attacking the police. “Within that large group of people who were there peacefully protesting,” said Best, “there were groups there to create mayhem, throw rocks, bottles, and incendiary stuff, and point lasers at the officers.”  In June, somebody removed a police barricade that had prevented demonstrators from protesting in front of the East Precinct downtown. “It was decided,” said Best, “to remove the barricade and to allow the demonstrators to fill in the street in front of the precinct. We didn’t want to give up the precinct. I have to tell you it was not my decision.”  Progressive members of the Seattle City Council had pressured Mayor Durkan to order the police to abandon their precinct building.  “The next morning,” said Best, “there were these folks out there armed with long rifles, telling the officers who responded that it was their ‘sovereign land.’ ‘What sovereign property are they talking about?’” Best asked her colleagues. “Well, they’re talking about Twelfth Avenue.” She laughed. “We had never experienced anything like that.”  And therein began CHAZ, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Chief Carmen Best Later, the organizers would rename the area CHOP, for Capitol Hill Occupied Protest. The anarchist leaders invited hundreds of Seattle’s homeless residents to move into the occupied zone, and many did. When asked, Seattle’s mayor insisted that everything would work out fine.  “How long do you think Seattle and those few blocks [will] look like this?” CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked Seattle’s mayor. “I don’t know,” she replied. “We could have a summer of love!”  But soon after, said Best, “We were getting reports of rape, robbery, assault… I don’t know what the Wild West was like, but it couldn’t have been any worse than that.”  Armed residents at CHOP shot two teenage boys just before it was shut down. At least one of them could have been saved. But CHOP’s unelected leaders didn’t allow first responders in until hours later. The homicides led Chief Best to demand permission from the City Attorney to retake the neighborhood, which she did a few days later.  But then, in August 2020, a few weeks later, the Seattle City Council voted to cut the budget of the Seattle Police Department. “That means that all these new people that we hired who are black, people of color, and women will be the first ones to go,” Best told the City Council. “Because it’s first in, first out.”  The council said they wanted Best to go through and pick the people to fire.  “Let me get this straight,” she said she told the council. “You want me to pick the white people to go? Are you crazy?’ They were highly dismissive. It was the most bizarre thing that I had ever dealt with.”  Best criticized the City Council. “I said that they were being reckless and dangerous and that people are going to suffer for it,” she said. “The next day, one of the city councilors said, ‘We need to cut her salary by 40 percent.’ It wasn’t even on the agenda for them to talk about. It was highly punitive and retaliatory.” And so Best resigned. By the end of 2020, 200 police officers had left the Seattle police force.  In truth, much of what people believe about the police is wrong. Police killings of African Americans in our 58 largest cities declined from 217 per year in the 1970s to 157 per year in the 2010s. And there are no racial differences in police killings when accounting for whether or not the suspect was armed or a threat (“justified” vs “unjustified” shooting). Reducing homicides and other crimes will require more police, and that will require community and political leaders to educate voters, and publicly apologize for their role in unfairly demonizing police officers. Most of all, we should seek to make amends to the victims of anti-police activism, including the Yurek family, who are mourning the loss of a young father at Thanksgiving time. “Mr. Yurek’s young son acted quickly and competently. Unfortunately, the city of Seattle was neither quick nor competent,” said the family’s attorney, Mark Lindquist of the Herrmann Law Group. But Will Yurek’s death could gain new meaning if it helps us, as Americans, to view police officers as vital, if imperfect, public servants, and take the measures necessary to affirm their role, and recruit them back into our city police forces. *  *  * Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine "Hero of the Environment,"Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He is author of just launched book San Fransicko (Harper Collins) and the best-selling book, Apocalypse Never (Harper Collins June 30, 2020). Subscribe To Michael's substack here Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 23:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

Alzheimer"s nasal vaccine to enter human trials for the first time, spurring renewed hope for preventing the disease

Brigham and Women's Hospital is conducting the first human trial of an Alzheimer's nasal vaccine meant to prevent or slow the disease's progression. A laboratory worker tests a nasal spray (not related to Alzheimer's) at the Pharma and Beauty factory in Saint-Chamas, France, on January 21, 2021.Nicolas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images Brigham and Women's Hospital is spearheading the first human trial of an Alzheimer's nasal vaccine. The vaccine is designed to prevent or slow the progression of the disease. It uses a drug, Protollin, to stimulate immune cells to remove sticky plaque from the brain. Alzheimer's treatments seemed like an unlikely prospect mere months ago.Drug trials tried and failed for 20 years to produce treatments that would stop the progression of the disease, and several large pharmaceutical companies abandoned the mission of developing Alzheimer's treatments altogether. So patients' only hopes of improvement were drugs that lessened Alzheimer's symptoms — including memory loss, insomnia, and loss of language or reasoning skills — for a limited time.Now, the field of Alzheimer's treatments may finally be opening up.Last week, Brigham and Women's Hospital announced it would spearhead the first human trial of a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer's, designed to prevent or slow the disease's progression.The trial is small — 16 people between ages 60 to 85 with Alzheimer's symptoms will receive two doses of the vaccine one week apart. But it builds on decades of research suggesting that stimulating the immune system can help clear out beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. The sticky plaques are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. They form when pieces of beta-amyloid protein accumulate between nerve cells, potentially disrupting a person's ability to think or recall information. The vaccine sprays a drug called Protollin directly into the nasal passage, with the goal of activating immune cells to remove the plaque. The concept isn't entirely new, but it's particularly promising now that scientists better understand how to treat the disease, Jeffrey Cummings, a brain science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told Insider."The idea of activating immune cells is becoming more and more central to the idea of treating Alzheimer's disease," Cummings said. He added a nasal spray could be better at delivering Protollin to immune cells than an infusion or inhaler.The trial results could tell us more about how to thwart the disease's progression, since participants must be at an early stage in their illness and otherwise in good health. Before the nasal vaccine can advance to larger trials, though, researchers must demonstrate that it's safe and determine what dose to give.Approving new Alzheimer's drugs in the wake of controversyThe Food & Drug Administration campus in Silver Spring, Md., on October 14, 2015.AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, FileThe nasal vaccine trial comes during a prolific year for Alzheimer's treatments. In June, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first new Alzheimer's drug in nearly 20 years, an antibody infusion called Aduhelm. But that approval quickly became controversial: Many scientists questioned whether the drug warranted the FDA's green light, since it didn't definitively improve memory or cognition in clinical trials. Aduhelm was shown to lower the levels of sticky plaque on the brains of Alzheimer's patients, but an FDA advisory committee determined that there wasn't enough evidence to confirm it worked as a treatment. Part of the skepticism stemmed from the fact that the drug's maker, Biogen, discontinued late-stage clinical trials in 2019, assuming the drug would fail. Then, roughly six months later, a small group of participants started to show positive results. "Biogen stopped the trial thinking that it was futile, then followed the patients and it turned out not to be futile — but of course that created a lot of controversy in the interpretation of the data," Cummings said. The FDA voted to approve the drug under a special accelerated pathway, which greenlights drugs that are likely to benefit patients even when there's uncertainty about how well they work.Scientists say they've 'turned a corner' on Alzheimer's researchDr. William Burke reviews a PET brain scan at Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.Matt York/Associated PressAs many as 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's — a leading cause of death among US adults. Nearly 122,000 Americans died of the disease in 2019, according to the latest available data.Alzheimer's deaths are also becoming more frequent as more Americans reach old age. From 1999 to 2019, the US mortality rate from Alzheimer's rose 88% — from 16 deaths per 100,000 people to 30 deaths per 100,000 people. That death rate may be an underestimate, since people with cognitive decline sometimes have difficulty seeking an Alzheimer's diagnosis or suffer from other health conditions.But in the last five years or so, Cummings said, new technologies such as brain scans and blood tests have made it easier to confirm Alzheimer's diagnoses and measure how well treatments are working."It just feels like we have turned a corner," Cummings said. In addition to Aduhelm, he said, a few other antibody drugs have shown promise. Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly plans to submit data for its Alzheimer's drug, donanemab, to the FDA by the end of the year, putting it on track for possible approval in 2022. Two more companies, Biogen and Eisai, are also jointly completing an FDA application for their antibody drug, lecanemab."These other drugs that are very like [Aduhelm] all seem to be producing clinical benefit," Cummings said. "That's the key: Are patients better, or at least losing their cognitive capacity less rapidly, if they are treated? That seems to be true across this whole class of drugs." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 24th, 2021

Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 near 259 million and U.S. cases up 25% in last two weeks

The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 258.9 million on Wednesday, while the death toll edged above 5.16 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. continues to lead the world with a total of 47.9 million cases and 773,857 deaths. The U.S. is still averaging more than 1,100 deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, and cases and hospitalizations are rising again, just as Americans prepare to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday. Michigan and Minnesota are leading the nation by new cases on a per capita basis and federal medical workers are traveling to Minnesota to support hospital staffing. Cases are up 25% in the last two weeks nationally, and up more than 40% in those states and 12 others. Overall, despite the arrival of vaccines in spring that can stop hospitalization and death, more Americans have died of COVID in 2021 than in 2020, the Times reported, as many unvaccinated people succumbed to the illness. Experts also say early relaxation of safety measures have contributed to the grim toll. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization's weekly epidemiological update shows Europe is still the only region with cases rising on a weekly basis. India is second by cases after the U.S. at 34.5 million and has suffered 466,584 deaths. Brazil has second highest death toll at 613,066 and 22 million cases. In Europe, Russia has the most fatalities at 262,733 deaths, followed by the U.K. at 144,579.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchNov 24th, 2021