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US officials believe Russia may be behind the suspected directed-energy attacks that are getting government employees sick around the world, report says

The US investigation into personnel falling ill around the world is focusing on whether Russia's GRU spy agency is involved, officials told Politico. Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mikhail Klimentyev/Getty Images The US has been .....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 11th, 2021

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The "Spartacus COVID Letter" That"s Gone Viral

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The 'Spartacus COVID Letter' That's Gone Viral Via The Automatic Earth blog, This is an anonymously posted document by someone who calls themselves Spartacus. Because it’s anonymous, I can’t contact them to ask for permission to publish. So I hesitated for a while, but it’s simply the best document I’ve seen on Covid, vaccines, etc. Whoever Spartacus is, they have a very elaborate knowledge in “the field”. If you want to know a lot more about the no. 1 issue in the world today, read it. And don’t worry if you don’t understand every single word, neither do I. But I learned a lot. The original PDF doc is here: Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter Hello, My name is Spartacus, and I’ve had enough. We have been forced to watch America and the Free World spin into inexorable decline due to a biowarfare attack. We, along with countless others, have been victimized and gaslit by propaganda and psychological warfare operations being conducted by an unelected, unaccountable Elite against the American people and our allies. Our mental and physical health have suffered immensely over the course of the past year and a half. We have felt the sting of isolation, lockdown, masking, quarantines, and other completely nonsensical acts of healthcare theater that have done absolutely nothing to protect the health or wellbeing of the public from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we are watching the medical establishment inject literal poison into millions of our fellow Americans without so much as a fight. We have been told that we will be fired and denied our livelihoods if we refuse to vaccinate. This was the last straw. We have spent thousands of hours analyzing leaked footage from Wuhan, scientific papers from primary sources, as well as the paper trails left by the medical establishment. What we have discovered would shock anyone to their core. First, we will summarize our findings, and then, we will explain them in detail. References will be placed at the end. Summary: COVID-19 is a blood and blood vessel disease. SARS-CoV-2 infects the lining of human blood vessels, causing them to leak into the lungs. Current treatment protocols (e.g. invasive ventilation) are actively harmful to patients, accelerating oxidative stress and causing severe VILI (ventilator-induced lung injuries). The continued use of ventilators in the absence of any proven medical benefit constitutes mass murder. Existing countermeasures are inadequate to slow the spread of what is an aerosolized and potentially wastewater-borne virus, and constitute a form of medical theater. Various non-vaccine interventions have been suppressed by both the media and the medical establishment in favor of vaccines and expensive patented drugs. The authorities have denied the usefulness of natural immunity against COVID-19, despite the fact that natural immunity confers protection against all of the virus’s proteins, and not just one. Vaccines will do more harm than good. The antigen that these vaccines are based on, SARS-CoV- 2 Spike, is a toxic protein. SARS-CoV-2 may have ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement; current antibodies may not neutralize future strains, but instead help them infect immune cells. Also, vaccinating during a pandemic with a leaky vaccine removes the evolutionary pressure for a virus to become less lethal. There is a vast and appalling criminal conspiracy that directly links both Anthony Fauci and Moderna to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. COVID-19 vaccine researchers are directly linked to scientists involved in brain-computer interface (“neural lace”) tech, one of whom was indicted for taking grant money from China. Independent researchers have discovered mysterious nanoparticles inside the vaccines that are not supposed to be present. The entire pandemic is being used as an excuse for a vast political and economic transformation of Western society that will enrich the already rich and turn the rest of us into serfs and untouchables. COVID-19 Pathophysiology and Treatments: COVID-19 is not a viral pneumonia. It is a viral vascular endotheliitis and attacks the lining of blood vessels, particularly the small pulmonary alveolar capillaries, leading to endothelial cell activation and sloughing, coagulopathy, sepsis, pulmonary edema, and ARDS-like symptoms. This is a disease of the blood and blood vessels. The circulatory system. Any pneumonia that it causes is secondary to that. In severe cases, this leads to sepsis, blood clots, and multiple organ failure, including hypoxic and inflammatory damage to various vital organs, such as the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines. Some of the most common laboratory findings in COVID-19 are elevated D-dimer, elevated prothrombin time, elevated C-reactive protein, neutrophilia, lymphopenia, hypocalcemia, and hyperferritinemia, essentially matching a profile of coagulopathy and immune system hyperactivation/immune cell exhaustion. COVID-19 can present as almost anything, due to the wide tropism of SARS-CoV-2 for various tissues in the body’s vital organs. While its most common initial presentation is respiratory illness and flu-like symptoms, it can present as brain inflammation, gastrointestinal disease, or even heart attack or pulmonary embolism. COVID-19 is more severe in those with specific comorbidities, such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. This is because these conditions involve endothelial dysfunction, which renders the circulatory system more susceptible to infection and injury by this particular virus. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild and do not cause significant disease. In known cases, there is something known as the 80/20 rule, where 80% of cases are mild and 20% are severe or critical. However, this ratio is only correct for known cases, not all infections. The number of actual infections is much, much higher. Consequently, the mortality and morbidity rate is lower. However, COVID-19 spreads very quickly, meaning that there are a significant number of severely-ill and critically-ill patients appearing in a short time frame. In those who have critical COVID-19-induced sepsis, hypoxia, coagulopathy, and ARDS, the most common treatments are intubation, injected corticosteroids, and blood thinners. This is not the correct treatment for COVID-19. In severe hypoxia, cellular metabolic shifts cause ATP to break down into hypoxanthine, which, upon the reintroduction of oxygen, causes xanthine oxidase to produce tons of highly damaging radicals that attack tissue. This is called ischemia-reperfusion injury, and it’s why the majority of people who go on a ventilator are dying. In the mitochondria, succinate buildup due to sepsis does the same exact thing; when oxygen is reintroduced, it makes superoxide radicals. Make no mistake, intubation will kill people who have COVID-19. The end-stage of COVID-19 is severe lipid peroxidation, where fats in the body start to “rust” due to damage by oxidative stress. This drives autoimmunity. Oxidized lipids appear as foreign objects to the immune system, which recognizes and forms antibodies against OSEs, or oxidation-specific epitopes. Also, oxidized lipids feed directly into pattern recognition receptors, triggering even more inflammation and summoning even more cells of the innate immune system that release even more destructive enzymes. This is similar to the pathophysiology of Lupus. COVID-19’s pathology is dominated by extreme oxidative stress and neutrophil respiratory burst, to the point where hemoglobin becomes incapable of carrying oxygen due to heme iron being stripped out of heme by hypochlorous acid. No amount of supplemental oxygen can oxygenate blood that chemically refuses to bind O2. The breakdown of the pathology is as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike binds to ACE2. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 is an enzyme that is part of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS. The RAAS is a hormone control system that moderates fluid volume in the body and in the bloodstream (i.e. osmolarity) by controlling salt retention and excretion. This protein, ACE2, is ubiquitous in every part of the body that interfaces with the circulatory system, particularly in vascular endothelial cells and pericytes, brain astrocytes, renal tubules and podocytes, pancreatic islet cells, bile duct and intestinal epithelial cells, and the seminiferous ducts of the testis, all of which SARS-CoV-2 can infect, not just the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 infects a cell as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike undergoes a conformational change where the S1 trimers flip up and extend, locking onto ACE2 bound to the surface of a cell. TMPRSS2, or transmembrane protease serine 2, comes along and cuts off the heads of the Spike, exposing the S2 stalk-shaped subunit inside. The remainder of the Spike undergoes a conformational change that causes it to unfold like an extension ladder, embedding itself in the cell membrane. Then, it folds back upon itself, pulling the viral membrane and the cell membrane together. The two membranes fuse, with the virus’s proteins migrating out onto the surface of the cell. The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid enters the cell, disgorging its genetic material and beginning the viral replication process, hijacking the cell’s own structures to produce more virus. SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins embedded in a cell can actually cause human cells to fuse together, forming syncytia/MGCs (multinuclear giant cells). They also have other pathogenic, harmful effects. SARS-CoV- 2’s viroporins, such as its Envelope protein, act as calcium ion channels, introducing calcium into infected cells. The virus suppresses the natural interferon response, resulting in delayed inflammation. SARS-CoV-2 N protein can also directly activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. Also, it suppresses the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway. The suppression of ACE2 by binding with Spike causes a buildup of bradykinin that would otherwise be broken down by ACE2. This constant calcium influx into the cells results in (or is accompanied by) noticeable hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium, especially in people with Vitamin D deficiencies and pre-existing endothelial dysfunction. Bradykinin upregulates cAMP, cGMP, COX, and Phospholipase C activity. This results in prostaglandin release and vastly increased intracellular calcium signaling, which promotes highly aggressive ROS release and ATP depletion. NADPH oxidase releases superoxide into the extracellular space. Superoxide radicals react with nitric oxide to form peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite reacts with the tetrahydrobiopterin cofactor needed by endothelial nitric oxide synthase, destroying it and “uncoupling” the enzymes, causing nitric oxide synthase to synthesize more superoxide instead. This proceeds in a positive feedback loop until nitric oxide bioavailability in the circulatory system is depleted. Dissolved nitric oxide gas produced constantly by eNOS serves many important functions, but it is also antiviral against SARS-like coronaviruses, preventing the palmitoylation of the viral Spike protein and making it harder for it to bind to host receptors. The loss of NO allows the virus to begin replicating with impunity in the body. Those with endothelial dysfunction (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, obesity, old age, African-American race) have redox equilibrium issues to begin with, giving the virus an advantage. Due to the extreme cytokine release triggered by these processes, the body summons a great deal of neutrophils and monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages to the lungs. Cells of the innate immune system are the first-line defenders against pathogens. They work by engulfing invaders and trying to attack them with enzymes that produce powerful oxidants, like SOD and MPO. Superoxide dismutase takes superoxide and makes hydrogen peroxide, and myeloperoxidase takes hydrogen peroxide and chlorine ions and makes hypochlorous acid, which is many, many times more reactive than sodium hypochlorite bleach. Neutrophils have a nasty trick. They can also eject these enzymes into the extracellular space, where they will continuously spit out peroxide and bleach into the bloodstream. This is called neutrophil extracellular trap formation, or, when it becomes pathogenic and counterproductive, NETosis. In severe and critical COVID-19, there is actually rather severe NETosis. Hypochlorous acid building up in the bloodstream begins to bleach the iron out of heme and compete for O2 binding sites. Red blood cells lose the ability to transport oxygen, causing the sufferer to turn blue in the face. Unliganded iron, hydrogen peroxide, and superoxide in the bloodstream undergo the Haber- Weiss and Fenton reactions, producing extremely reactive hydroxyl radicals that violently strip electrons from surrounding fats and DNA, oxidizing them severely. This condition is not unknown to medical science. The actual name for all of this is acute sepsis. We know this is happening in COVID-19 because people who have died of the disease have noticeable ferroptosis signatures in their tissues, as well as various other oxidative stress markers such as nitrotyrosine, 4-HNE, and malondialdehyde. When you intubate someone with this condition, you are setting off a free radical bomb by supplying the cells with O2. It’s a catch-22, because we need oxygen to make Adenosine Triphosphate (that is, to live), but O2 is also the precursor of all these damaging radicals that lead to lipid peroxidation. The correct treatment for severe COVID-19 related sepsis is non-invasive ventilation, steroids, and antioxidant infusions. Most of the drugs repurposed for COVID-19 that show any benefit whatsoever in rescuing critically-ill COVID-19 patients are antioxidants. N-acetylcysteine, melatonin, fluvoxamine, budesonide, famotidine, cimetidine, and ranitidine are all antioxidants. Indomethacin prevents iron- driven oxidation of arachidonic acid to isoprostanes. There are powerful antioxidants such as apocynin that have not even been tested on COVID-19 patients yet which could defang neutrophils, prevent lipid peroxidation, restore endothelial health, and restore oxygenation to the tissues. Scientists who know anything about pulmonary neutrophilia, ARDS, and redox biology have known or surmised much of this since March 2020. In April 2020, Swiss scientists confirmed that COVID-19 was a vascular endotheliitis. By late 2020, experts had already concluded that COVID-19 causes a form of viral sepsis. They also know that sepsis can be effectively treated with antioxidants. None of this information is particularly new, and yet, for the most part, it has not been acted upon. Doctors continue to use damaging intubation techniques with high PEEP settings despite high lung compliance and poor oxygenation, killing an untold number of critically ill patients with medical malpractice. Because of the way they are constructed, Randomized Control Trials will never show any benefit for any antiviral against COVID-19. Not Remdesivir, not Kaletra, not HCQ, and not Ivermectin. The reason for this is simple; for the patients that they have recruited for these studies, such as Oxford’s ludicrous RECOVERY study, the intervention is too late to have any positive effect. The clinical course of COVID-19 is such that by the time most people seek medical attention for hypoxia, their viral load has already tapered off to almost nothing. If someone is about 10 days post-exposure and has already been symptomatic for five days, there is hardly any virus left in their bodies, only cellular damage and derangement that has initiated a hyperinflammatory response. It is from this group that the clinical trials for antivirals have recruited, pretty much exclusively. In these trials, they give antivirals to severely ill patients who have no virus in their bodies, only a delayed hyperinflammatory response, and then absurdly claim that antivirals have no utility in treating or preventing COVID-19. These clinical trials do not recruit people who are pre-symptomatic. They do not test pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis. This is like using a defibrillator to shock only flatline, and then absurdly claiming that defibrillators have no medical utility whatsoever when the patients refuse to rise from the dead. The intervention is too late. These trials for antivirals show systematic, egregious selection bias. They are providing a treatment that is futile to the specific cohort they are enrolling. India went against the instructions of the WHO and mandated the prophylactic usage of Ivermectin. They have almost completely eradicated COVID-19. The Indian Bar Association of Mumbai has brought criminal charges against WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan for recommending against the use of Ivermectin. Ivermectin is not “horse dewormer”. Yes, it is sold in veterinary paste form as a dewormer for animals. It has also been available in pill form for humans for decades, as an antiparasitic drug. The media have disingenuously claimed that because Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug, it has no utility as an antivirus. This is incorrect. Ivermectin has utility as an antiviral. It blocks importin, preventing nuclear import, effectively inhibiting viral access to cell nuclei. Many drugs currently on the market have multiple modes of action. Ivermectin is one such drug. It is both antiparasitic and antiviral. In Bangladesh, Ivermectin costs $1.80 for an entire 5-day course. Remdesivir, which is toxic to the liver, costs $3,120 for a 5-day course of the drug. Billions of dollars of utterly useless Remdesivir were sold to our governments on the taxpayer’s dime, and it ended up being totally useless for treating hyperinflammatory COVID-19. The media has hardly even covered this at all. The opposition to the use of generic Ivermectin is not based in science. It is purely financially and politically-motivated. An effective non-vaccine intervention would jeopardize the rushed FDA approval of patented vaccines and medicines for which the pharmaceutical industry stands to rake in billions upon billions of dollars in sales on an ongoing basis. The majority of the public are scientifically illiterate and cannot grasp what any of this even means, thanks to a pathetic educational system that has miseducated them. You would be lucky to find 1 in 100 people who have even the faintest clue what any of this actually means. COVID-19 Transmission: COVID-19 is airborne. The WHO carried water for China by claiming that the virus was only droplet- borne. Our own CDC absurdly claimed that it was mostly transmitted by fomite-to-face contact, which, given its rapid spread from Wuhan to the rest of the world, would have been physically impossible. The ridiculous belief in fomite-to-face being a primary mode of transmission led to the use of surface disinfection protocols that wasted time, energy, productivity, and disinfectant. The 6-foot guidelines are absolutely useless. The minimum safe distance to protect oneself from an aerosolized virus is to be 15+ feet away from an infected person, no closer. Realistically, no public transit is safe. Surgical masks do not protect you from aerosols. The virus is too small and the filter media has too large of gaps to filter it out. They may catch respiratory droplets and keep the virus from being expelled by someone who is sick, but they do not filter a cloud of infectious aerosols if someone were to walk into said cloud. The minimum level of protection against this virus is quite literally a P100 respirator, a PAPR/CAPR, or a 40mm NATO CBRN respirator, ideally paired with a full-body tyvek or tychem suit, gloves, and booties, with all the holes and gaps taped. Live SARS-CoV-2 may potentially be detected in sewage outflows, and there may be oral-fecal transmission. During the SARS outbreak in 2003, in the Amoy Gardens incident, hundreds of people were infected by aerosolized fecal matter rising from floor drains in their apartments. COVID-19 Vaccine Dangers: The vaccines for COVID-19 are not sterilizing and do not prevent infection or transmission. They are “leaky” vaccines. This means they remove the evolutionary pressure on the virus to become less lethal. It also means that the vaccinated are perfect carriers. In other words, those who are vaccinated are a threat to the unvaccinated, not the other way around. All of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use have undergone minimal testing, with highly accelerated clinical trials. Though they appear to limit severe illness, the long-term safety profile of these vaccines remains unknown. Some of these so-called “vaccines” utilize an untested new technology that has never been used in vaccines before. Traditional vaccines use weakened or killed virus to stimulate an immune response. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines do not. They are purported to consist of an intramuscular shot containing a suspension of lipid nanoparticles filled with messenger RNA. The way they generate an immune response is by fusing with cells in a vaccine recipient’s shoulder, undergoing endocytosis, releasing their mRNA cargo into those cells, and then utilizing the ribosomes in those cells to synthesize modified SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins in-situ. These modified Spike proteins then migrate to the surface of the cell, where they are anchored in place by a transmembrane domain. The adaptive immune system detects the non-human viral protein being expressed by these cells, and then forms antibodies against that protein. This is purported to confer protection against the virus, by training the adaptive immune system to recognize and produce antibodies against the Spike on the actual virus. The J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines do something similar, but use an adenovirus vector for genetic material delivery instead of a lipid nanoparticle. These vaccines were produced or validated with the aid of fetal cell lines HEK-293 and PER.C6, which people with certain religious convictions may object strongly to. SARS-CoV-2 Spike is a highly pathogenic protein on its own. It is impossible to overstate the danger presented by introducing this protein into the human body. It is claimed by vaccine manufacturers that the vaccine remains in cells in the shoulder, and that SARS- CoV-2 Spike produced and expressed by these cells from the vaccine’s genetic material is harmless and inert, thanks to the insertion of prolines in the Spike sequence to stabilize it in the prefusion conformation, preventing the Spike from becoming active and fusing with other cells. However, a pharmacokinetic study from Japan showed that the lipid nanoparticles and mRNA from the Pfizer vaccine did not stay in the shoulder, and in fact bioaccumulated in many different organs, including the reproductive organs and adrenal glands, meaning that modified Spike is being expressed quite literally all over the place. These lipid nanoparticles may trigger anaphylaxis in an unlucky few, but far more concerning is the unregulated expression of Spike in various somatic cell lines far from the injection site and the unknown consequences of that. Messenger RNA is normally consumed right after it is produced in the body, being translated into a protein by a ribosome. COVID-19 vaccine mRNA is produced outside the body, long before a ribosome translates it. In the meantime, it could accumulate damage if inadequately preserved. When a ribosome attempts to translate a damaged strand of mRNA, it can become stalled. When this happens, the ribosome becomes useless for translating proteins because it now has a piece of mRNA stuck in it, like a lace card in an old punch card reader. The whole thing has to be cleaned up and new ribosomes synthesized to replace it. In cells with low ribosome turnover, like nerve cells, this can lead to reduced protein synthesis, cytopathic effects, and neuropathies. Certain proteins, including SARS-CoV-2 Spike, have proteolytic cleavage sites that are basically like little dotted lines that say “cut here”, which attract a living organism’s own proteases (essentially, molecular scissors) to cut them. There is a possibility that S1 may be proteolytically cleaved from S2, causing active S1 to float away into the bloodstream while leaving the S2 “stalk” embedded in the membrane of the cell that expressed the protein. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a Superantigenic region (SAg), which may promote extreme inflammation. Anti-Spike antibodies were found in one study to function as autoantibodies and attack the body’s own cells. Those who have been immunized with COVID-19 vaccines have developed blood clots, myocarditis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Bell’s Palsy, and multiple sclerosis flares, indicating that the vaccine promotes autoimmune reactions against healthy tissue. SARS-CoV-2 Spike does not only bind to ACE2. It was suspected to have regions that bind to basigin, integrins, neuropilin-1, and bacterial lipopolysaccharides as well. SARS-CoV-2 Spike, on its own, can potentially bind any of these things and act as a ligand for them, triggering unspecified and likely highly inflammatory cellular activity. SARS-CoV-2 Spike contains an unusual PRRA insert that forms a furin cleavage site. Furin is a ubiquitous human protease, making this an ideal property for the Spike to have, giving it a high degree of cell tropism. No wild-type SARS-like coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2 possess this feature, making it highly suspicious, and perhaps a sign of human tampering. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a prion-like domain that enhances its infectiousness. The Spike S1 RBD may bind to heparin-binding proteins and promote amyloid aggregation. In humans, this could lead to Parkinson’s, Lewy Body Dementia, premature Alzheimer’s, or various other neurodegenerative diseases. This is very concerning because SARS-CoV-2 S1 is capable of injuring and penetrating the blood-brain barrier and entering the brain. It is also capable of increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to other molecules. SARS-CoV-2, like other betacoronaviruses, may have Dengue-like ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement of disease. For those who aren’t aware, some viruses, including betacoronaviruses, have a feature called ADE. There is also something called Original Antigenic Sin, which is the observation that the body prefers to produce antibodies based on previously-encountered strains of a virus over newly- encountered ones. In ADE, antibodies from a previous infection become non-neutralizing due to mutations in the virus’s proteins. These non-neutralizing antibodies then act as trojan horses, allowing live, active virus to be pulled into macrophages through their Fc receptor pathways, allowing the virus to infect immune cells that it would not have been able to infect before. This has been known to happen with Dengue Fever; when someone gets sick with Dengue, recovers, and then contracts a different strain, they can get very, very ill. If someone is vaccinated with mRNA based on the Spike from the initial Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2, and then they become infected with a future, mutated strain of the virus, they may become severely ill. In other words, it is possible for vaccines to sensitize someone to disease. There is a precedent for this in recent history. Sanofi’s Dengvaxia vaccine for Dengue failed because it caused immune sensitization in people whose immune systems were Dengue-naive. In mice immunized against SARS-CoV and challenged with the virus, a close relative of SARS-CoV-2, they developed immune sensitization, Th2 immunopathology, and eosinophil infiltration in their lungs. We have been told that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines cannot be integrated into the human genome, because messenger RNA cannot be turned back into DNA. This is false. There are elements in human cells called LINE-1 retrotransposons, which can indeed integrate mRNA into a human genome by endogenous reverse transcription. Because the mRNA used in the vaccines is stabilized, it hangs around in cells longer, increasing the chances for this to happen. If the gene for SARS-CoV-2 Spike is integrated into a portion of the genome that is not silent and actually expresses a protein, it is possible that people who take this vaccine may continuously express SARS-CoV-2 Spike from their somatic cells for the rest of their lives. By inoculating people with a vaccine that causes their bodies to produce Spike in-situ, they are being inoculated with a pathogenic protein. A toxin that may cause long-term inflammation, heart problems, and a raised risk of cancers. In the long-term, it may also potentially lead to premature neurodegenerative disease. Absolutely nobody should be compelled to take this vaccine under any circumstances, and in actual fact, the vaccination campaign must be stopped immediately. COVID-19 Criminal Conspiracy: The vaccine and the virus were made by the same people. In 2014, there was a moratorium on SARS gain-of-function research that lasted until 2017. This research was not halted. Instead, it was outsourced, with the federal grants being laundered through NGOs. Ralph Baric is a virologist and SARS expert at UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina. This is who Anthony Fauci was referring to when he insisted, before Congress, that if any gain-of-function research was being conducted, it was being conducted in North Carolina. This was a lie. Anthony Fauci lied before Congress. A felony. Ralph Baric and Shi Zhengli are colleagues and have co-written papers together. Ralph Baric mentored Shi Zhengli in his gain-of-function manipulation techniques, particularly serial passage, which results in a virus that appears as if it originated naturally. In other words, deniable bioweapons. Serial passage in humanized hACE2 mice may have produced something like SARS-CoV-2. The funding for the gain-of-function research being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology came from Peter Daszak. Peter Daszak runs an NGO called EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth Alliance received millions of dollars in grant money from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (that is, Anthony Fauci), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (part of the US Department of Defense), and the United States Agency for International Development. NIH/NIAID contributed a few million dollars, and DTRA and USAID each contributed tens of millions of dollars towards this research. Altogether, it was over a hundred million dollars. EcoHealth Alliance subcontracted these grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab in China with a very questionable safety record and poorly trained staff, so that they could conduct gain-of-function research, not in their fancy P4 lab, but in a level-2 lab where technicians wore nothing more sophisticated than perhaps a hairnet, latex gloves, and a surgical mask, instead of the bubble suits used when working with dangerous viruses. Chinese scientists in Wuhan reported being routinely bitten and urinated on by laboratory animals. Why anyone would outsource this dangerous and delicate work to the People’s Republic of China, a country infamous for industrial accidents and massive explosions that have claimed hundreds of lives, is completely beyond me, unless the aim was to start a pandemic on purpose. In November of 2019, three technicians at the Wuhan Institute of Virology developed symptoms consistent with a flu-like illness. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, and Ralph Baric knew at once what had happened, because back channels exist between this laboratory and our scientists and officials. December 12th, 2019, Ralph Baric signed a Material Transfer Agreement (essentially, an NDA) to receive Coronavirus mRNA vaccine-related materials co-owned by Moderna and NIH. It wasn’t until a whole month later, on January 11th, 2020, that China allegedly sent us the sequence to what would become known as SARS-CoV-2. Moderna claims, rather absurdly, that they developed a working vaccine from this sequence in under 48 hours. Stephane Bancel, the current CEO of Moderna, was formerly the CEO of bioMerieux, a French multinational corporation specializing in medical diagnostic tech, founded by one Alain Merieux. Alain Merieux was one of the individuals who was instrumental in the construction of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s P4 lab. The sequence given as the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2, RaTG13, is not a real virus. It is a forgery. It was made by entering a gene sequence by hand into a database, to create a cover story for the existence of SARS-CoV-2, which is very likely a gain-of-function chimera produced at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and was either leaked by accident or intentionally released. The animal reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 has never been found. This is not a conspiracy “theory”. It is an actual criminal conspiracy, in which people connected to the development of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 are directly connected to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and their gain-of-function research by very few degrees of separation, if any. The paper trail is well- established. The lab-leak theory has been suppressed because pulling that thread leads one to inevitably conclude that there is enough circumstantial evidence to link Moderna, the NIH, the WIV, and both the vaccine and the virus’s creation together. In a sane country, this would have immediately led to the world’s biggest RICO and mass murder case. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, Ralph Baric, Shi Zhengli, and Stephane Bancel, and their accomplices, would have been indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Instead, billions of our tax dollars were awarded to the perpetrators. The FBI raided Allure Medical in Shelby Township north of Detroit for billing insurance for “fraudulent COVID-19 cures”. The treatment they were using? Intravenous Vitamin C. An antioxidant. Which, as described above, is an entirely valid treatment for COVID-19-induced sepsis, and indeed, is now part of the MATH+ protocol advanced by Dr. Paul E. Marik. The FDA banned ranitidine (Zantac) due to supposed NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) contamination. Ranitidine is not only an H2 blocker used as antacid, but also has a powerful antioxidant effect, scavenging hydroxyl radicals. This gives it utility in treating COVID-19. The FDA also attempted to take N-acetylcysteine, a harmless amino acid supplement and antioxidant, off the shelves, compelling Amazon to remove it from their online storefront. This leaves us with a chilling question: did the FDA knowingly suppress antioxidants useful for treating COVID-19 sepsis as part of a criminal conspiracy against the American public? The establishment is cooperating with, and facilitating, the worst criminals in human history, and are actively suppressing non-vaccine treatments and therapies in order to compel us to inject these criminals’ products into our bodies. This is absolutely unacceptable. COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Links to Transhumanism: This section deals with some more speculative aspects of the pandemic and the medical and scientific establishment’s reaction to it, as well as the disturbing links between scientists involved in vaccine research and scientists whose work involved merging nanotechnology with living cells. On June 9th, 2020, Charles Lieber, a Harvard nanotechnology researcher with decades of experience, was indicted by the DOJ for fraud. Charles Lieber received millions of dollars in grant money from the US Department of Defense, specifically the military think tanks DARPA, AFOSR, and ONR, as well as NIH and MITRE. His specialty is the use of silicon nanowires in lieu of patch clamp electrodes to monitor and modulate intracellular activity, something he has been working on at Harvard for the past twenty years. He was claimed to have been working on silicon nanowire batteries in China, but none of his colleagues can recall him ever having worked on battery technology in his life; all of his research deals with bionanotechnology, or the blending of nanotech with living cells. The indictment was over his collaboration with the Wuhan University of Technology. He had double- dipped, against the terms of his DOD grants, and taken money from the PRC’s Thousand Talents plan, a program which the Chinese government uses to bribe Western scientists into sharing proprietary R&D information that can be exploited by the PLA for strategic advantage. Charles Lieber’s own papers describe the use of silicon nanowires for brain-computer interfaces, or “neural lace” technology. His papers describe how neurons can endocytose whole silicon nanowires or parts of them, monitoring and even modulating neuronal activity. Charles Lieber was a colleague of Robert Langer. Together, along with Daniel S. Kohane, they worked on a paper describing artificial tissue scaffolds that could be implanted in a human heart to monitor its activity remotely. Robert Langer, an MIT alumnus and expert in nanotech drug delivery, is one of the co-founders of Moderna. His net worth is now $5.1 billion USD thanks to Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine sales. Both Charles Lieber and Robert Langer’s bibliographies describe, essentially, techniques for human enhancement, i.e. transhumanism. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum and the architect behind the so-called “Great Reset”, has long spoken of the “blending of biology and machinery” in his books. Since these revelations, it has come to the attention of independent researchers that the COVID-19 vaccines may contain reduced graphene oxide nanoparticles. Japanese researchers have also found unexplained contaminants in COVID-19 vaccines. Graphene oxide is an anxiolytic. It has been shown to reduce the anxiety of laboratory mice when injected into their brains. Indeed, given SARS-CoV-2 Spike’s propensity to compromise the blood-brain barrier and increase its permeability, it is the perfect protein for preparing brain tissue for extravasation of nanoparticles from the bloodstream and into the brain. Graphene is also highly conductive and, in some circumstances, paramagnetic. In 2013, under the Obama administration, DARPA launched the BRAIN Initiative; BRAIN is an acronym for Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies®. This program involves the development of brain-computer interface technologies for the military, particularly non-invasive, injectable systems that cause minimal damage to brain tissue when removed. Supposedly, this technology would be used for healing wounded soldiers with traumatic brain injuries, the direct brain control of prosthetic limbs, and even new abilities such as controlling drones with one’s mind. Various methods have been proposed for achieving this, including optogenetics, magnetogenetics, ultrasound, implanted electrodes, and transcranial electromagnetic stimulation. In all instances, the goal is to obtain read or read-write capability over neurons, either by stimulating and probing them, or by rendering them especially sensitive to stimulation and probing. However, the notion of the widespread use of BCI technology, such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink device, raises many concerns over privacy and personal autonomy. Reading from neurons is problematic enough on its own. Wireless brain-computer interfaces may interact with current or future wireless GSM infrastructure, creating neurological data security concerns. A hacker or other malicious actor may compromise such networks to obtain people’s brain data, and then exploit it for nefarious purposes. However, a device capable of writing to human neurons, not just reading from them, presents another, even more serious set of ethical concerns. A BCI that is capable of altering the contents of one’s mind for innocuous purposes, such as projecting a heads-up display onto their brain’s visual center or sending audio into one’s auditory cortex, would also theoretically be capable of altering mood and personality, or perhaps even subjugating someone’s very will, rendering them utterly obedient to authority. This technology would be a tyrant’s wet dream. Imagine soldiers who would shoot their own countrymen without hesitation, or helpless serfs who are satisfied to live in literal dog kennels. BCIs could be used to unscrupulously alter perceptions of basic things such as emotions and values, changing people’s thresholds of satiety, happiness, anger, disgust, and so forth. This is not inconsequential. Someone’s entire regime of behaviors could be altered by a BCI, including such things as suppressing their appetite or desire for virtually anything on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Anything is possible when you have direct access to someone’s brain and its contents. Someone who is obese could be made to feel disgust at the sight of food. Someone who is involuntarily celibate could have their libido disabled so they don’t even desire sex to begin with. Someone who is racist could be forced to feel delight over cohabiting with people of other races. Someone who is violent could be forced to be meek and submissive. These things might sound good to you if you are a tyrant, but to normal people, the idea of personal autonomy being overridden to such a degree is appalling. For the wealthy, neural laces would be an unequaled boon, giving them the opportunity to enhance their intelligence with neuroprosthetics (i.e. an “exocortex”), and to deliver irresistible commands directly into the minds of their BCI-augmented servants, even physically or sexually abusive commands that they would normally refuse. If the vaccine is a method to surreptitiously introduce an injectable BCI into millions of people without their knowledge or consent, then what we are witnessing is the rise of a tyrannical regime unlike anything ever seen before on the face of this planet, one that fully intends to strip every man, woman, and child of our free will. Our flaws are what make us human. A utopia arrived at by removing people’s free will is not a utopia at all. It is a monomaniacal nightmare. Furthermore, the people who rule over us are Dark Triad types who cannot be trusted with such power. Imagine being beaten and sexually assaulted by a wealthy and powerful psychopath and being forced to smile and laugh over it because your neural lace gives you no choice but to obey your master. The Elites are forging ahead with this technology without giving people any room to question the social or ethical ramifications, or to establish regulatory frameworks that ensure that our personal agency and autonomy will not be overridden by these devices. They do this because they secretly dream of a future where they can treat you worse than an animal and you cannot even fight back. If this evil plan is allowed to continue, it will spell the end of humanity as we know it. Conclusions: The current pandemic was produced and perpetuated by the establishment, through the use of a virus engineered in a PLA-connected Chinese biowarfare laboratory, with the aid of American taxpayer dollars and French expertise. This research was conducted under the absolutely ridiculous euphemism of “gain-of-function” research, which is supposedly carried out in order to determine which viruses have the highest potential for zoonotic spillover and preemptively vaccinate or guard against them. Gain-of-function/gain-of-threat research, a.k.a. “Dual-Use Research of Concern”, or DURC, is bioweapon research by another, friendlier-sounding name, simply to avoid the taboo of calling it what it actually is. It has always been bioweapon research. The people who are conducting this research fully understand that they are taking wild pathogens that are not infectious in humans and making them more infectious, often taking grants from military think tanks encouraging them to do so. These virologists conducting this type of research are enemies of their fellow man, like pyromaniac firefighters. GOF research has never protected anyone from any pandemic. In fact, it has now started one, meaning its utility for preventing pandemics is actually negative. It should have been banned globally, and the lunatics performing it should have been put in straitjackets long ago. Either through a leak or an intentional release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a deadly SARS strain is now endemic across the globe, after the WHO and CDC and public officials first downplayed the risks, and then intentionally incited a panic and lockdowns that jeopardized people’s health and their livelihoods. This was then used by the utterly depraved and psychopathic aristocratic class who rule over us as an excuse to coerce people into accepting an injected poison which may be a depopulation agent, a mind control/pacification agent in the form of injectable “smart dust”, or both in one. They believe they can get away with this by weaponizing the social stigma of vaccine refusal. They are incorrect. Their motives are clear and obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. These megalomaniacs have raided the pension funds of the free world. Wall Street is insolvent and has had an ongoing liquidity crisis since the end of 2019. The aim now is to exert total, full-spectrum physical, mental, and financial control over humanity before we realize just how badly we’ve been extorted by these maniacs. The pandemic and its response served multiple purposes for the Elite: Concealing a depression brought on by the usurious plunder of our economies conducted by rentier-capitalists and absentee owners who produce absolutely nothing of any value to society whatsoever. Instead of us having a very predictable Occupy Wall Street Part II, the Elites and their stooges got to stand up on television and paint themselves as wise and all-powerful saviors instead of the marauding cabal of despicable land pirates that they are. Destroying small businesses and eroding the middle class. Transferring trillions of dollars of wealth from the American public and into the pockets of billionaires and special interests. Engaging in insider trading, buying stock in biotech companies and shorting brick-and-mortar businesses and travel companies, with the aim of collapsing face-to-face commerce and tourism and replacing it with e-commerce and servitization. Creating a casus belli for war with China, encouraging us to attack them, wasting American lives and treasure and driving us to the brink of nuclear armageddon. Establishing technological and biosecurity frameworks for population control and technocratic- socialist “smart cities” where everyone’s movements are despotically tracked, all in anticipation of widespread automation, joblessness, and food shortages, by using the false guise of a vaccine to compel cooperation. Any one of these things would constitute a vicious rape of Western society. Taken together, they beggar belief; they are a complete inversion of our most treasured values. What is the purpose of all of this? One can only speculate as to the perpetrators’ motives, however, we have some theories. The Elites are trying to pull up the ladder, erase upward mobility for large segments of the population, cull political opponents and other “undesirables”, and put the remainder of humanity on a tight leash, rationing our access to certain goods and services that they have deemed “high-impact”, such as automobile use, tourism, meat consumption, and so on. Naturally, they will continue to have their own luxuries, as part of a strict caste system akin to feudalism. Why are they doing this? Simple. The Elites are Neo-Malthusians and believe that we are overpopulated and that resource depletion will collapse civilization in a matter of a few short decades. They are not necessarily incorrect in this belief. We are overpopulated, and we are consuming too many resources. However, orchestrating such a gruesome and murderous power grab in response to a looming crisis demonstrates that they have nothing but the utmost contempt for their fellow man. To those who are participating in this disgusting farce without any understanding of what they are doing, we have one word for you. Stop. You are causing irreparable harm to your country and to your fellow citizens. To those who may be reading this warning and have full knowledge and understanding of what they are doing and how it will unjustly harm millions of innocent people, we have a few more words. Damn you to hell. You will not destroy America and the Free World, and you will not have your New World Order. We will make certain of that. *  *  * This PDF document contains 14 pages, followed by another 17 pages of references. For those, please visit the original PDF file at Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter. *  *  * We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support. Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Donate with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt1 hr. 52 min. ago

30 Facts You Need To Know: A COVID Cribsheet

30 Facts You Need To Know: A COVID Cribsheet Authored by Kit Knightly via Off-Guardian.org, You asked for it, so we made it. A collection of all the arguments you’ll ever need. We get a lot of e-mails and private messages along these lines “do you have a source for X?” or “can you point me to mask studies?” or “I know I saw a graph for mortality, but I can’t find it anymore”. And we understand, it’s been a long 18 months, and there are so many statistics and numbers to try and keep straight in your head. So, to deal with all these requests, we decided to make a bullet-pointed and sourced list for all the key points. A one-stop-shop. Here are key facts and sources about the alleged “pandemic”, that will help you get a grasp on what has happened to the world since January 2020, and help you enlighten any of your friends who might be still trapped in the New Normal fog: “Covid deaths” – Lockdowns – PCR Tests – “asymptomatic infection” – Ventilators – Masks – Vaccines – Deception & Foreknowledge *  *  * PART I: “COVID DEATHS” & MORTALITY 1. The survival rate of “Covid” is over 99%. Government medical experts went out of their way to underline, from the beginning of the pandemic, that the vast majority of the population are not in any danger from Covid. Almost all studies on the infection-fatality ratio (IFR) of Covid have returned results between 0.04% and 0.5%. Meaning Covid’s survival rate is at least 99.5%. * 2. There has been NO unusual excess mortality. The press has called 2020 the UK’s “deadliest year since world war two”, but this is misleading because it ignores the massive increase in the population since that time. A more reasonable statistical measure of mortality is Age-Standardised Mortality Rate (ASMR): By this measure, 2020 isn’t even the worst year for mortality since 2000, In fact since 1943 only 9 years have been better than 2020. Similarly, in the US the ASMR for 2020 is only at 2004 levels: For a detailed breakdown of how Covid affected mortality across Western Europe and the US click here. What increases in mortality we have seen could be attributable to non-Covid causes [facts 7, 9 & 19]. * 3. “Covid death” counts are artificially inflated. Countries around the globe have been defining a “Covid death” as a “death by any cause within 28/30/60 days of a positive test”. Healthcare officials from Italy, Germany, the UK, US, Northern Ireland and others have all admitted to this practice: Removing any distinction between dying of Covid, and dying of something else after testing positive for Covid will naturally lead to over-counting of “Covid deaths”. British pathologist Dr John Lee was warning of this “substantial over-estimate” as early as last spring. Other mainstream sources have reported it, too. Considering the huge percentage of “asymptomatic” Covid infections [14], the well-known prevalence of serious comorbidities [fact 4] and the potential for false-positive tests [fact 18], this renders the Covid death numbers an extremely unreliable statistic. * 4. The vast majority of covid deaths have serious comorbidities. In March 2020, the Italian government published statistics showing 99.2% of their “Covid deaths” had at least one serious comorbidity. These included cancer, heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, kidney failure and diabetes (among others). Over 50% of them had three or more serious pre-existing conditions. This pattern has held up in all other countries over the course of the “pandemic”. An October 2020 FOIA request to the UK’s ONS revealed less than 10% of the official “Covid death” count at that time had Covid as the sole cause of death. * 5. Average age of “Covid death” is greater than the average life expectancy. The average age of a “Covid death” in the UK is 82.5 years. In Italy it’s 86. Germany, 83. Switzerland, 86. Canada, 86. The US, 78, Australia, 82. In almost all cases the median age of a “Covid death” is higher than the national life expectancy. As such, for most of the world, the “pandemic” has had little-to-no impact on life expectancy. Contrast this with the Spanish flu, which saw a 28% drop in life expectancy in the US in just over a year. [source] * 6. Covid mortality exactly mirrors the natural mortality curve. Statistical studies from the UK and India have shown that the curve for “Covid death” follows the curve for expected mortality almost exactly: The risk of death “from Covid” follows, almost exactly, your background risk of death in general. The small increase for some of the older age groups can be accounted for by other factors.[facts 7, 9 & 19] * 7. There has been a massive increase in the use of “unlawful” DNRs. Watchdogs and government agencies have reported huge increases in the use of Do Not Resuscitate Orders (DNRs) over the last twenty months. In the US, hospitals considered “universal DNRs” for any patient who tested positive for Covid, and whistleblowing nurses have admitted the DNR system was abused in New York. In the UK there was an “unprecdented” rise in “illegal” DNRs for disabled people, GP surgeries sent out letters to non-terminal patients recommending they sign DNR orders, whilst other doctors signed “blanket DNRs” for entire nursing homes. A study done by Sheffield Univerisity found over one-third of all “suspected” Covid patients had a DNR attached to their file within 24 hours of hospital admission. Blanket use of coerced or illegal DNR orders could account for any increases in mortality in 2020/21.[Facts 2 & 6] *  *  * PART II: LOCKDOWNS 8. Lockdowns do not prevent the spread of disease. There is little to no evidence lockdowns have any impact on limiting “Covid deaths”. If you compare regions that locked down to regions that did not, you can see no pattern at all. “Covid deaths” in Florida (no lockdown) vs California (lockdown) “Covid deaths” in Sweden (no lockdown) vs UK (lockdown) * 9. Lockdowns kill people. There is strong evidence that lockdowns – through social, economic and other public health damage – are deadlier than the “virus”. Dr David Nabarro, World Health Organization special envoy for Covid-19 described lockdowns as a “global catastrophe” in October 2020: We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of the virus[…] it seems we may have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition […] This is a terrible, ghastly global catastrophe.” A UN report from April 2020 warned of 100,000s of children being killed by the economic impact of lockdowns, while tens of millions more face possible poverty and famine. Unemployment, poverty, suicide, alcoholism, drug use and other social/mental health crises are spiking all over the world. While missed and delayed surgeries and screenings are going to see increased mortality from heart disease, cancer et al. in the near future. The impact of lockdown would account for the small increases in excess mortality [Facts 2 & 6] * 10. Hospitals were never unusually over-burdened. the main argument used to defend lockdowns is that “flattening the curve” would prevent a rapid influx of cases and protect healthcare systems from collapse. But most healthcare systems were never close to collapse at all. In March 2020 it was reported that hospitals in Spain and Italy were over-flowing with patients, but this happens every flu season. In 2017 Spanish hospitals were at 200% capacity, and 2015 saw patients sleeping in corridors. A paper JAMA paper from March 2020 found that Italian hospitals “typically run at 85-90% capacity in the winter months”. In the UK, the NHS is regularly stretched to breaking point over the winter. As part of their Covid policy, the NHS announced in Spring of 2020 that they would be “re-organizing hospital capacity in new ways to treat Covid and non-Covid patients separately” and that “as result hospitals will experience capacity pressures at lower overall occupancy rates than would previously have been the case.” This means they removed thousands of beds. During an alleged deadly pandemic, they reduced the maximum occupancy of hospitals. Despite this, the NHS never felt pressure beyond your typical flu season, and at times actually had 4x more empty beds than normal. In both the UK and US millions were spent on temporary emergency hospitals that were never used. *  *  * PART III: PCR TESTS 11. PCR tests were not designed to diagnose illness. The Reverse-Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test is described in the media as the “gold standard” for Covid diagnosis. But the Nobel Prize-winning inventor of the process never intended it to be used as a diagnostic tool, and said so publicly: PCR is just a process that allows you to make a whole lot of something out of something. It doesn’t tell you that you are sick, or that the thing that you ended up with was going to hurt you or anything like that.” * 12. PCR Tests have a history of being inaccurate and unreliable. The “gold standard” PCR tests for Covid are known to produce a lot of false-positive results, by reacting to DNA material that is not specific to Sars-Cov-2. A Chinese study found the same patient could get two different results from the same test on the same day. In Germany, tests are known to have reacted to common cold viruses. A 2006 study found PCR tests for one virus responded to other viruses too. In 2007, a reliance on PCR tests resulted in an “outbreak” of Whooping Cough that never actually existed. Some tests in the US even reacted to the negative control sample. The late President of Tanzania, John Magufuli, submitted samples goat, pawpaw and motor oil for PCR testing, all came back positive for the virus. As early as February of 2020 experts were admitting the test was unreliable. Dr Wang Cheng, president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences told Chinese state television “The accuracy of the tests is only 30-50%”. The Australian government’s own website claimed “There is limited evidence available to assess the accuracy and clinical utility of available COVID-19 tests.” And a Portuguese court ruled that PCR tests were “unreliable” and should not be used for diagnosis. You can read detailed breakdowns of the failings of PCR tests here, here and here. * 13. The CT values of the PCR tests are too high. PCR tests are run in cycles, the number of cycles you use to get your result is known as your “cycle threshold” or CT value. Kary Mullis said: “If you have to go more than 40 cycles[…]there is something seriously wrong with your PCR.” The MIQE PCR guidelines agree, stating: “[CT] values higher than 40 are suspect because of the implied low efficiency and generally should not be reported,” Dr Fauci himself even admitted anything over 35 cycles is almost never culturable. Dr Juliet Morrison, virologist at the University of California, Riverside, told the New York Times: Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive…I’m shocked that people would think that 40 [cycles] could represent a positive…A more reasonable cutoff would be 30 to 35″. In the same article Dr Michael Mina, of the Harvard School of Public Health, said the limit should be 30, and the author goes on to point out that reducing the CT from 40 to 30 would have reduced “covid cases” in some states by as much as 90%. The CDC’s own data suggests no sample over 33 cycles could be cultured, and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute says nothing over 30 cycles is likely to be infectious. Despite this, it is known almost all the labs in the US are running their tests at least 37 cycles and sometimes as high as 45. The NHS “standard operating procedure” for PCR tests rules set the limit at 40 cycles. Based on what we know about the CT values, the majority of PCR test results are at best questionable. * 14. The World Health Organization (Twice) Admitted PCR tests produced false positives. In December 2020 WHO put out a briefing memo on the PCR process instructing labs to be wary of high CT values causing false positive results: when specimens return a high Ct value, it means that many cycles were required to detect virus. In some circumstances, the distinction between background noise and actual presence of the target virus is difficult to ascertain. Then, in January 2021, the WHO released another memo, this time warning that “asymptomatic” positive PCR tests should be re-tested because they might be false positives: Where test results do not correspond with the clinical presentation, a new specimen should be taken and retested using the same or different NAT technology. * 15. The scientific basis for Covid tests is questionable. The genome of the Sars-Cov-2 virus was supposedly sequenced by Chinese scientists in December 2019, then published on January 10th 2020. Less than two weeks later, German virologists (Christian Drosten et al.) had allegedly used the genome to create assays for PCR tests. They wrote a paper, Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR, which was submitted for publication on January 21st 2020, and then accepted on January 22nd. Meaning the paper was allegedly “peer-reviewed” in less than 24 hours. A process that typically takes weeks. Since then, a consortium of over forty life scientists has petitioned for the withdrawal of the paper, writing a lengthy report detailing 10 major errors in the paper’s methodology. They have also requested the release of the journal’s peer-review report, to prove the paper really did pass through the peer-review process. The journal has yet to comply. The Corman-Drosten assays are the root of every Covid PCR test in the world. If the paper is questionable, every PCR test is also questionable. *  *  * PART IV: “ASYMPTOMATIC INFECTION” 16. The majority of Covid infections are “asymptomatic”. From as early as March 2020, studies done in Italy were suggesting 50-75% of positive Covid tests had no symptoms. Another UK study from August 2020 found as much as 86% of “Covid patients” experienced no viral symptoms at all. It is literally impossible to tell the difference between an “asymptomatic case” and a false-positive test result. * 17. There is very little evidence supporting the alleged danger of “asymptomatic transmission”. In June 2020, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said: From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” A meta-analysis of Covid studies, published by Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in December 2020, found that asymptomatic carriers had a less than 1% chance of infecting people within their household. Another study, done on influenza in 2009, found: …limited evidence to suggest the importance of [asymptomatic] transmission. The role of asymptomatic or presymptomatic influenza-infected individuals in disease transmission may have been overestimated…” Given the known flaws of the PCR tests, many “asymptomatic cases” may be false positives.[fact 14] *  *  * PART V: VENTILATORS 18. Ventilation is NOT a treatment for respiratory viruses. Mechanical ventilation is not, and never has been, recommended treatment for respiratory infection of any kind. In the early days of the pandemic, many doctors came forward questioning the use of ventilators to treat “Covid”. Writing in The Spectator, Dr Matt Strauss stated: Ventilators do not cure any disease. They can fill your lungs with air when you find yourself unable to do so yourself. They are associated with lung diseases in the public’s consciousness, but this is not in fact their most common or most appropriate application. German Pulmonologist Dr Thomas Voshaar, chairman of Association of Pneumatological Clinics said: When we read the first studies and reports from China and Italy, we immediately asked ourselves why intubation was so common there. This contradicted our clinical experience with viral pneumonia. Despite this, the WHO, CDC, ECDC and NHS all “recommended” Covid patients be ventilated instead of using non-invasive methods. This was not a medical policy designed to best treat the patients, but rather to reduce the hypothetical spread of Covid by preventing patients from exhaling aerosol droplets. * 19. Ventilators killed people. Putting someone who is suffering from influenza, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or any other condition which restricts breathing or affects the lungs, will not alleviate any of those symptoms. In fact, it will almost certainly make it worse, and will kill many of them. Intubation tubes are a source of potential a infection known as “ventilator-associated pneumonia”, which studies show affects up to 28% of all people put on ventilators, and kills 20-55% of those infected. Mechanical ventilation is also damaging to the physical structure of the lungs, resulting in “ventilator-induced lung injury”, which can dramatically impact quality of life, and even result in death. Experts estimate 40-50% of ventilated patients die, regardless of their disease. Around the world, between 66 and 86% of all “Covid patients” put on ventilators died. According to the “undercover nurse”, ventilators were being used so improperly in New York, they were destroying patients’ lungs: This policy was negligence at best, and potentially deliberate murder at worst. This misuse of ventilators could account for any increase in mortality in 2020/21 [Facts 2 & 6] *  *  * PART VI: MASKS 20. Masks don’t work. At least a dozen scientific studies have shown that masks do nothing to stop the spread of respiratory viruses. One meta-analysis published by the CDC in May 2020 found “no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks”. Another study with over 8000 subjects found masks “did not seem to be effective against laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections nor against clinical respiratory infection.” There are literally too many to quote them all, but you can read them: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Or read a summary by SPR here. While some studies have been done claiming to show mask do work for Covid, they are all seriously flawed. One relied on self-reported surveys as data. Another was so badly designed a panel of experts demand it be withdrawn. A third was withdrawn after its predictions proved entirely incorrect. The WHO commissioned their own meta-analysis in the Lancet, but that study looked only at N95 masks and only in hospitals. [For full run down on the bad data in this study click here.] Aside from scientific evidence, there’s plenty of real-world evidence that masks do nothing to halt the spread of disease. For example, North Dakota and South Dakota had near-identical case figures, despite one having a mask-mandate and the other not: In Kansas, counties without mask mandates actually had fewer Covid “cases” than counties with mask mandates. And despite masks being very common in Japan, they had their worst flu outbreak in decades in 2019. * 21. Masks are bad for your health. Wearing a mask for long periods, wearing the same mask more than once, and other aspects of cloth masks can be bad for your health. A long study on the detrimental effects of mask-wearing was recently published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Dr. James Meehan reported in August 2020 he was seeing increases in bacterial pneumonia, fungal infections, facial rashes . Masks are also known to contain plastic microfibers, which damage the lungs when inhaled and may be potentially carcinogenic. Childen wearing masks encourages mouth-breathing, which results in facial deformities. People around the world have passed out due to CO2 poisoning while wearing their masks, and some children in China even suffered sudden cardiac arrest. * 22. Masks are bad for the planet. Millions upon millions of disposable masks have been used per month for over a year. A report from the UN found the Covid19 pandemic will likely result in plastic waste more than doubling in the next few years., and the vast majority of that is face masks. The report goes on to warn these masks (and other medical waste) will clog sewage and irrigation systems, which will have knock on effects on public health, irrigation and agriculture. A study from the University of Swansea found “heavy metals and plastic fibres were released when throw-away masks were submerged in water.” These materials are toxic to both people and wildlife. *  *  * PART VII: VACCINES 23. Covid “vaccines” are totally unprecedented. Before 2020 no successful vaccine against a human coronavirus had ever been developed. Since then we have allegedly made 20 of them in 18 months. Scientists have been trying to develop a SARS and MERS vaccine for years with little success. Some of the failed SARS vaccines actually caused hypersensitivity to the SARS virus. Meaning that vaccinated mice could potentially get the disease more severely than unvaccinated mice. Another attempt caused liver damage in ferrets. While traditional vaccines work by exposing the body to a weakened strain of the microorganism responsible for causing the disease, these new Covid vaccines are mRNA vaccines. mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccines theoretically work by injecting viral mRNA into the body, where it replicates inside your cells and encourages your body to recognise, and make antigens for, the “spike proteins” of the virus. They have been the subject of research since the 1990s, but before 2020 no mRNA vaccine was ever approved for use. * 24. Vaccines do not confer immunity or prevent transmission. It is readily admitted that Covid “vaccines” do not confer immunity from infection and do not prevent you from passing the disease onto others. Indeed, an article in the British Medical Journal highlighted that the vaccine studies were not designed to even try and assess if the “vaccines” limited transmission. The vaccine manufacturers themselves, upon releasing the untested mRNA gene therapies, were quite clear their product’s “efficacy” was based on “reducing the severity of symptoms”. * 25. The vaccines were rushed and have unknown longterm effects. Vaccine development is a slow, laborious process. Usually, from development through testing and finally being approved for public use takes many years. The various vaccines for Covid were all developed and approved in less than a year. Obviously there can be no long-term safety data on chemicals which are less than a year old. Pfizer even admit this is true in the leaked supply contract between the pharmaceutical giant, and the government of Albania: the long-term effects and efficacy of the Vaccine are not currently known and that there may be adverse effects of the Vaccine that are not currently known Further, none of the vaccines have been subject to proper trials. Many of them skipped early-stage trials entirely, and the late-stage human trials have either not been peer-reviewed, have not released their data, will not finish until 2023 or were abandoned after “severe adverse effects”. * 26. Vaccine manufacturers have been granted legal indemnity should they cause harm. The USA’s Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP) grants immunity until at least 2024. The EU’s product licensing law does the same, and there are reports of confidential liability clauses in the contracts the EU signed with vaccine manufacturers. The UK went even further, granting permanent legal indemnity to the government, and any employees thereof, for any harm done when a patient is being treated for Covid19 or “suspected Covid19”. Again, the leaked Albanian contract suggests that Pfizer, at least, made this indemnity a standard demand of supplying Covid vaccines: Purchaser hereby agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Pfizer […] from and against any and all suits, claims, actions, demands, losses, damages, liabilities, settlements, penalties, fines, costs and expenses *  *  * PART VIII: DECEPTION & FOREKNOWLEDGE 27. The EU was preparing “vaccine passports” at least a YEAR before the pandemic began. Proposed COVID countermeasures, presented to the public as improvised emergency measures, have existed since before the emergence of the disease. Two EU documents published in 2018, the “2018 State of Vaccine Confidence” and a technical report titled “Designing and implementing an immunisation information system” discussed the plausibility of an EU-wide vaccination monitoring system. These documents were combined into the 2019 “Vaccination Roadmap”, which (among other things) established a “feasibility study” on vaccine passports to begin in 2019 and finish in 2021: This report’s final conclusions were released to the public in September 2019, just a month before Event 201 (below). * 28. A “training exercise” predicted the pandemic just weeks before it started. In October 2019 the World Economic Forum and Johns Hopkins University held Event 201. This was a training exercise based on a zoonotic coronavirus starting a worldwide pandemic. The exercise was sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and GAVI the vaccine alliance. The exercise published its findings and recommendations in November 2019 as a “call to action”. One month later, China recorded their first case of “Covid”. * 29. Since the beginning of 2020, the Flu has “disappeared”. In the United States, since Februart 2020, influenza cases have allegedly dropped by over 98%. It’s not just the US either, globally flu has apparently almost completely disappeared. Meanwhile, a new disease called “Covid”, which has identical symptoms and a similar mortality rate to influenza, is supposedly sweeping the globe. * 30. The elite have made fortunes during the pandemic. Since the beginning of lockdown the wealthiest people have become significantly wealthier. Forbes reported that 40 new billionaires have been created “fighting the coronavirus”, with 9 of them being vaccine manufacturers. Business Insider reported that “billionaires saw their net worth increase by half a trillion dollars” by October 2020. Clearly that number will be even bigger by now. *  *  * These are the vital facts of the pandemic, presented here as a resource to help formulate and support your arguments with friends or strangers. Thanks to all the researchers who have collated and collected this information over the last twenty months, especially Swiss Policy Research. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 07:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt17 hr. 40 min. ago

Brandon Smith: Organizing Patriots In The Face Of Government Informants And False Flags

Brandon Smith: Organizing Patriots In The Face Of Government Informants And False Flags Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, There is a simple fact that must be understood when it comes to the fight for liberty: Such a fight cannot be won by lone individuals. Freedom requires organized resistance and it does not matter how many millions of people stand against an authoritarian regime, if they are completely isolated from each other they WILL lose. It’s a guarantee. This is why a considerable portion of establishment money, energy and propaganda is directed at defusing or sabotaging any semblance of conservative organization. This includes engineering false flag events and creating potential terror attacks from thin air so that they can be blamed on constitutionally minded groups. The strategy is called “4th Generation Warfare” and it is not conspiracy theory, this is conspiracy fact. For example, as we now know according to court documentation, the supposed scheme by a Michigan “militia” made up of anarchists to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and “try her as a tyrant” was heavily infiltrated by at least a dozen FBI agents and informants. The group was so infiltrated, in fact, that the entire plot for the kidnapping was essentially planned out by the FBI. This is the very definition of a false flag. The corruption and entrapment involved in the operation was so egregious that even the leftist media has reported on it. I recall a very similar situation occurred during the Malheur incident when Ammon Bundy (son of Cliven Bundy) and a group of patriots decided to annex the wildlife refuge and its obscure ranger buildings as a launching point for a revolution. Though I was a supporter of the efforts at Bundy Ranch, I was vehemently against Malheur because the whole situation seemed grossly suspect. The strategy made no sense, the rationale made no sense, the site of the standoff made no sense and the public optics were terrible. It was an anti-Bundy Ranch; a situation in which all of the dynamics were in favor of the feds and against the liberty movement. And, not surprisingly, Malhuer had also been influenced and in some cases was arranged by federal informants and agents. These people were whispering in the ear of Ammon Bundy the entire time while the FBI authorized them to commit criminal acts. There were so many paid employees of the FBI at Malheur that jurors decided to drop all charges against most of the defendants involved. And what about the latest “J6” rally in Washington DC, which was planned by a virtually unknown former Trump aid and was quickly exposed as a potential “honeypot” designed to lure in conservatives? The army of plain clothes undercover feds was so prevalent that riot cops accidentally arrested an armed FBI agent thinking he was a protester. Now, there are many people in the alternative media that are breathing a sigh of relief that almost no one showed up for the J6 protest or “fell into the trap”. In fact, there were far more reporters and feds there than actual activists. However, I think we need to look at the bigger picture of why the government is staging such events in the first place, and it’s not just to entrap a few conservatives . If you think about it, the entire strategy is high cost/minimum reward if we only look at it in terms of actual arrests. If the idea is to catch and prosecute patriots, then they could infiltrate groups and engineer criminal actions for decades and achieve little to nothing. Obviously, this is not the purpose of informants. Rather, the strategy is not to invade groups unnoticed; the strategy is to BE NOTICED, to make sure the whole of the liberty movement believe that if they ever try to organize in any way the feds will be there to set them up. In other words, the primary goal of the FBI is to instill paranoia and fear among patriots and ensure they never effectively organize to resist. When we cheer the “failure” of J6, we need to keep in mind that the establishment does not care. Getting people to show up was not their main intent; making people afraid to show up for any other events in the future is what they want. The issue presents a Catch-22. If conservatives organize there is the chance that some groups will be infiltrated or set up and used to make the entire movement look bad. If we don’t organize, then we have lost the fight. It will be over before it even truly begins (and no, the real fight has not started yet). So what is the solution? I think it’s odd but maybe not surprising that the standoff at Bundy Ranch has been memory-holed by the media and is rarely mentioned even among conservative activists these days. Yet, it was probably one of the most successful patriot actions in the past couple of decades. There are a number of reasons for this: 1) The action was spontaneous, not pre-planned and was in response to criminal activity by the FBI (including assaulting women that were protesting and the use of sniper positions to surround the Bundy property similar to Ruby Ridge). The movement took action to remedy a government trespass rather than creating a standoff out of nothing. 2) There was no single person in charge. Groups showed up from all over the country; some of them squared away and some of them screw-ups. This might sound like a bad thing, but in terms of rebellion it is often better to avoid streamlined top-down leadership. Frankly, I am usually suspicious of anyone that tries to anoint themselves the “leader” of the liberty movement or the sole leader of a protest action. Cult of personality is the most useless thing I can think of when it comes to battling tyranny, and top-down leadership can be easily manipulated or controlled. 3) Because of the decentralized nature of the response to Bundy Ranch, the feds had no way to influence or predict the outcome, and they really hate that. Without informants in key positions, the feds did not have the ability to adapt to the quickly changing circumstances. Contrast this with Malheur, where the feds were basically in control from the very beginning. The site itself was so isolated and ill conceived that the FBI was able to dictate every movement of patriots in and out of the area. It was pointless for any militia to occupy it, but it was a great spot for the feds. 4) Patriots arrived at Bundy Ranch peacefully, but with the will to fight if necessary. The Bundy Ranch response had a clear objective – To stop the FBI from harming the Bundy family and to retrieve the stolen cattle if possible. Both of these objectives were accomplished and with no shots fired. A complete success. The group was motivated and unified by the objective, NOT a singular leadership. Without a clear objective there is no purpose to any action. It is important to understand the difference between a Lexington Bridge moment and a Fort Sumter moment – During Lexington Bridge, the revolutionaries took action to stop a British detachment from arresting colonial leaders and confiscating rifles and powder stores. The British were in the midst of an undeniable attempt to disarm and snuff out the resistance. At Fort Sumter, the Confederate attack was in response to an attempted resupply of the fort itself; which made sense strategically but looked like an act of pure aggression to the wider public. The concept of states rights (more prominent in the minds of the confederates than the issue of slavery) fell by the wayside. Eventually tyranny has to put boots on the ground. A totalitarian system can function for a time on color of law and implied threats, but it will crumble unless it is able to establish a physical presence of force. Once those jackboots touch soil in a visible way and the agents of the state try to expand oppressive measures, rebels then have a free hand to disrupt them or bring them down. But this only works if there are objectives and enough decentralization to prevent misdirection of the movement. Some organization is essential. It cannot be avoided. All the “Gray Men” and secret squirrel preppers out there that think they are going to simply weather the storm in isolation and pop out of their bug-out locations to rebuild are suffering from serious delusions. I can’t help but think of that moment in ‘Lord Of The Rings’ when the Ents refuse to organize to fight against the invading orcs. Pippen suggests to Merry that the problem is too big for them and that they should go back to the Shire to wait out the war. Merry laments: “The fires of Isengard will spread. And the woods of Tuckborough and Buckland will burn. And all that was once green and good in this world will be gone. There won’t be a Shire, Pippin.” If this fight is not pursued now, there will be no world worth coming back to, even if one was able to successfully hide from it. There will be a “new world order” as the globalists like to call it. There will be nothing left of freedom. So, organization must be accomplished, and it should be built at the local level. This is far more important than any dreams of a national organization, at least for now. There is no one we can trust to lead such a nationwide revolt, and that includes political leaders like Donald Trump. Will federal intrusions happen? Of course, but at the local level it is much easier to vet people according to their behaviors and root out bad actors. Hold your local meetings to discuss current events and create a place for people to network and get to know each other. Talk to local businesses or your county sheriff to see where they stand on issues like the vaccine passports and Biden mandates. Put things in motion now or you will regret it later when your community is completely disjointed and paralyzed by fear during crisis or government subjugation. And, what about the first guy at your meetings that starts talking about building bombs, drafting “kill lists” or kidnapping governors? Kick his ass out promptly and make sure everyone knows why you did it. Most likely he is a fed or he is on an informant payroll. As our national composure breaks down and the manure hits the fan, fed informants and agents will suddenly disappear from these groups without a trace. They are not going to stick around for what happens next; the government doesn’t pay them enough for that. And knowing who the patriots are will not help the federal government if the patriots are organized to defend themselves. This is the reality which they do not want us to wake up to. *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Future of Surveillance And Control

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Future of Surveillance And Control Submitted by Ronan Manly, BullionStar.com One of the most potentially far-reaching trends in the financial landscape right now is the imminent roll-out of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), and the parallel attacks which central bankers are waging on private digital currencies and tokens as they tee up the launch of their CBDCs. First some clarifications. While the majority of central bank issued currencies (fiat currencies) in existence around the world are already in digital form, a fiat currency held in digital form is not the same as a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). What is a CBDC? A CBDC generally refers to electronic or virtual central bank (fiat) money that is created in the form of digital tokens or account balances which are digital claims on the central bank. CBDCs will be issued by central banks and will be legal tender. Many CBDCs that are being researched and developed employ Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), with the recording of transactions on a blockchain.  However unlike private cryptocurrencies which use a permissionless and open design, CBDCs that use DLT will use permissioned variants (deciding who has access to the network and who can view and update records in the ledger). See here for a discussion of permissionless vs permissioned blockchains. CBDCs - The antithesis to decentralized private cryptocurrencies and tokens Critically, as the name suggests, CBDCs will be centralized and governed by the issuing authority (i.e. a central bank). So, in their design and structure, CBDCs can be viewed as the very antithesis to decentralized private cryptocurrencies and tokens. Central banks have already working on two types of CBDCs, ‘wholesale’ digital tokens that would have access restricted to banks and financial entities to be used for activities like interbank payments and wholesale market transactions, and ‘general purpose’ (retail) CBDC for the general public to be used in retail transactions. It is this ‘general purpose’ CBDC which most people are referring to when they discuss central bank digital currencies, and it is these ‘general purpose’ CBDCs that will be most important to watch when  central banks and governments begin to attempt their roll-outs to distribute CBDCs to billions of people across the world either through account-based CBDCs or ‘digital cash’ tokens. As you can guess, account-based CBDCs will be tied to user identities and Digital IDs, and straight off the bat they allow for total surveillance by the State and torpedo any chance of anonymity. For this reason, they are already a favourite among central banks. Given that CBDCs will be centralized ledgers and can be programmable, the ‘digital cash’ token option is not much better in terms of privacy and freedom. The Bank for International Settlements - The Dark Tower of Basel Many central banks will probably opt for a hybrid model of both account-based and token based digital cash. As an example, Canada, the one time liberal democracy, perhaps illustrates the account-based vs token based choices best, where Canada’s central bank, the Bank of Canada, in it’s design documentation for CBDCs shows that at the end of the day, it's about surveillance and control, saying that: “anonymous token-based options would be allowable for smaller payments, while account-based access would be required for larger purchases.” Central banks are also experimenting with various models for distribution of CBDCs to the masses, including using private commercial banks and payment providers who will intermediate on the central banks’ behalf, and also direct distribution of payments by a central bank to a population. Either way, you can see that CBDCs greatly facilitate the statists to advance their Orwellian plans for Universal Basic Income (UBI) and dependency on the state.    Accelerating rollout CBDCs are not just a buzzword or a hazy innovation that may appear sometime in the distant future. They are actively being developed now, and in widespread fashion. In January 2020, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) issued the results of a survey on CBDCs that it had conducted in the second half of 2019, and to which 66 central banks had responded. Strikingly, 10% of central bank respondents (which represented a fifth of the world’s population) said that they were likely to issue a ‘general purpose’ CBDC (for the general public) in the near future (within the next 3 years). Another 20% of central bank respondents said they would likely issue a ‘general purpose’ CBDC in the medium term (within 6 years). In August 2020, the BIS published a comprehensive working paper on CBDCs titled “Rise of the central bank digital currencies: drivers, approaches and technologies” one part of which analysed the BIS database of central banker speeches and found that between December 2013 and May 2020, there had been 138 central banker speeches mentioning CBDCs, with a dramatic increase in CBDC related speeches since 2016, a timeframe which coincided with central banks launching research projects on CBDCs. The same BIS report also highlighted that, (totally coincidentally) the Covid-19 'pandemic'  "accelerated work on CBDCs in some jurisdictions."  BIS slide on CBDC global project status - August 2021. Source. Fast forward to right now, and on the website of the globalist Atlantic Council (headquartered in Washington D.C.), there is an interesting Central Bank Digital Currency Tracker which lists all the countries that have either launched or piloted a CBDC or are developing or researching a CBDC. Here we find that 5 central banks have already launched a CBDC, 14 have a CBDC in pilot, 16 have a CBDC in development, and another 32 central banks are at the research stage with their CBDC. That makes 67 central banks (countries in total). While the 5 currency areas that have already launched a CBDC are all islands in the Caribbean, the central banks at the pilot stage include heavy weights such as China, South Korea, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Sweden.   Those at the development stage include the central banks of Canada, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, France and Nigeria. Those at the research stage include the central banks of the US, UK, Australia, Norway, India, Pakistan and Indonesia. So as you can see, this is not some theoretical issue. Centrally controlled digital currencies are coming down the pipe in a big way, and some will be appearing, if not imminently, then very soon. And given the ease with which governments have imposed lockdowns and restrictions on their compliant populations during 2020 and 2021, it is not hard to envisage that these same pliable masses will be easily influenced to embrace CBDCs as being in their 'best interests'. BIS Switzerland - The Usual Suspect    In fact, one third of the entire BIS annual report 2021 is focused on CBDCs in a section titled “CBDCs: an opportunity for the monetary system”. Here, the BIS predictably trumpets the benefits of introducing central bank issued centralized digital currencies while at the same time attempting to undermine private cryptocurrencies. The BIS wording reveals the fact that central banks are in panic over the competitive threat of private cryptos and have accelerated the development of CBDCs partially due to this fear, with the BIS stating that: “Central bank interest in CBDCs comes at a critical time. Several recent developments have placed a number of potential innovations involving digital currencies high on the agenda. The first of these is the growing attention received by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies; the second is the debate on stablecoins; and the third is the entry of large technology firms (big techs) into payment services and financial services more generally.” The BIS then attempts to dismiss each of these 3 threats: Cryptocurrencies, claims the BIS “are speculative assets rather than money, and in many cases are used to facilitate money laundering, ransomware attacks and other financial crimes”. Bitcoin comes in for some special mention with the BIS saying that “Bitcoin in particular has few redeeming public interest attributes when also considering its wasteful energy footprint’. Stablecoins, says the BIS “attempt to import credibility by being backed by real currencies” that are “ultimately only an appendage to the conventional monetary system and not a game changer.” The entry of large tech firms that dominate social networks, search, messaging, and e-commerce into the realm of financial services and payments provision infrastructure seems to especially bother the BIS, and it spins it’s criticism into the argument that although these platforms have large network affects, this creates “further concentration” in the market for payments. The irony is not lost on the fact that it’s the BIS, as the central bank of central banks and one of the most concentrated power centres in the world, that is criticizing others’ “concentration” of power.   Throughout this CBDC pitch, the BIS report refers at numerous points that digital currencies should be “in the public interest”, which really means that digital currencies should be controlled by the BIS and its central bank members, as well as perpetuate their centralized monetary power structure. The BIS even has the gall to claim that CBDCs should respect privacy rights, when in fact the whole architecture, rationale and design of central bank digital currencies will allow central banks and national authorities to invade totally on privacy rights.  But sometimes the BIS let's it's guard down, and reveals it's authoritarian plans for CBDCs. A case in point is a recent interview with Agustín Carstens general manager of the BIS, where he chillingly said:  "We don’t know who’s using a $100 bill today and we don’t know who’s using a 1,000 peso bill today. The key difference with the CBDC is the central bank will have absolute control on the rules and regulations that will determine the use of that expression of central bank liability, and also we will have the technology to enforce that.” See video segment below for Carstens' remarks: Singing from the Same Song Sheet With the BIS is Basel Switzerland as the conductor and orchestrator, it's not surprising that central bank governors and country heads are now singing from the same song sheet, the song being ‘private digital currencies bad, central bank digital currencies good’. Earlier this month (September 2021) at a banking conference in Stockholm, the governor of Sweden’s central bank (Riksbank), Stefan Ingves, commented that ‘private money usually collapses sooner or later’, while conveniently failing to mention the hundreds of government and central bank issued paper currencies that have collapsed throughout history due to overprinting, depreciation and hyperinflation. Nor did Ingves mention Voltaire’s famous quote that “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value - zero”. Ingves, whose country is one of the leaders in promoting a cashless society, also took a derogatory swipe at Bitcoin saying “sure, you can get rich by trading in bitcoin, but it’s comparable to trading in stamps.” All the while the Riksbank is pushing ahead with it’s central bank digital currency, called the e-krona, a CBDC which uses distributed ledger technology, and which the Swedish central bank is currently testing in conjunction with Handelsbanken, one of Sweden’s largest retail banks. In the same week as Ingves’s comments in Sweden, the governor of Mexico’s central bank, Alejandro Diaz de Leon, was also taking a shot at private cryptocurrencies and for good measure he also put the boot into precious metals. Diaz de Leon said that Bitcoin is more like a method of barter than ‘evolved’ fiat money, and continued “in our times, money has evolved to be fiat money issued by central banks. Bitcoin is more like a dimension of precious metals than daily legal tender.” That comment, which attacks two birds with one stone (crypto and precious metals), will definitely please his central bank governor colleagues at thee BIS, and may even earn Diaz de Leon a nomination as the next BIS general manager, to succeed his fellow countryman Agustín Carstens.    Speaking of the BIS, Benoit Coeure, head of the BIS Innovation Hub, also gave a WEF style speech about CBDCs in early September, acknowledging the convenient catalyst of the covid 'pandemic', and the accelerated development of CBDCs by central banks:  "the world is not returning to the old normal. Payments are a case in point. The pandemic has accelerated a longer-running move to digital .... the world's central banks are stepping up efforts to prepare the ground for digital cash – central bank digital currency (CBDC): "A CBDC's goal is ultimately to preserve the best elements of our current systems while still allowing a safe space for tomorrow's innovation. To do so, central banks have to act while the current system is still in place – and to act now." Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also recently joined in the attack on private digital currencies, while simultaneously promoting Turkey’s CBDC. At an event on 18 September, the Turkish president stated that:  “we have absolutely no intention of embracing cryptocurrencies” “on the contrary, we have a separate war, a separate fight against them. We would never lend support to [cryptocurrencies]. Because we will move forward with our own currency that has its own identity.” PBOC SAYS ALL CRYPTO-RELATED TRANSACTIONS ARE ILLEGAL So the digital yuan is a complete disaster eh? — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 24, 2021 China: Digital Yuan - An Ominous Blueprint  A huge red flag over CBDCs and user privacy is that these central bank digital currencies are programmable, as details on China’s ‘Digital Yuan’ already show. For example, the Digital Yuan can be programmed to be activated on a certain date, programmed to expire on a certain date, programmed to be only valid for certain purchases, and ominously, programmed to be only available to citizens who meet certain pre-conditions. As a potential blueprint for other CBDCs, people across the world need to sit up and take notice, because the issuing authorities of these CBDCs coming down the pipe can therefore decide who gets access to CBDCs, what they can transact using those currencies, and how long the purchasing power remains valid. Central Banks can thus influence and control the behaviour of the recipients of this centralised digital cash,  as well as exclude those who they want to penalize or who don’t comply with the State's rules or parameters. And right on cue as this article was just published, Chinese authorities have now announced (on 24 September)  a total ban on all cryptocurrency transactions. Except of course, it's upcoming authoritarian Digital Yuan.    The future according to WEF's Klaus Schwab and his Elite private banker handlers Conclusion - Slavery or Monetary Freedom Although central banks will claim that they are introducing CBDCs for reasons such as improving payments efficiency, boosting financial inclusion for the unbanked and tackling illicit transactions, their real motivations, as always, are for surveillance and control. Surveillance of a population via complete visibility into financial transaction flow and user identities, and centralized control of the money supply within a cashless financial system. Think China’s social credit system on a global dystopian scale, where vax passes evolve into digital IDs and digital IDs link to CBDC issuance and use. In fact, the entire coercion around implementing vaccine passports and digital IDs looks to be a pre-planned stepping stone for the roll-out of central bank digital currencies and global social credit systems. The timing of the accelerated emergence of CBDCs may partially be an attempt by central banks to outflank the numerous private cryptocurrencies, tokens and decentralized finance ecosystems that have emerged and that are a threat to the power of the centralized banking system at whose apex sits the BIS. But it would be naïve to think that central banks that knew in advance about the initiation of a‘WEF’ global technocratic and corpocratic takeover that would begin in 2020, are not now orchestrating the rollout of CBDCs as part of a long-term global agenda, that agenda being the global socialist Agenda 2030, and a future in which, according to the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) “You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy”. BIS and central bank attacks against private cryptocurrencies are to be expected. After all, the same central banks and the BIS have waged a very long war against physical gold and silver. And precious metals have been money since 4000 B.C.. With the launch of CBDCs by central banks and their elitist private banking controllers, that war looks set to intensify. So, do you want a future of monetary freedom, or a future of perpetual slavery to central banker CBDCs?  If you want monetary freedom, then ownership of physical precious metals and private and anonymous digital currencies are now some of the only ways to counter and protect against the ominous CBDC plans which the BIS and its central bank members are intent with imminently rolling out. *  *  * This article originally appeared on the BullionStar.com website under the same title "Central Bank Digital Currencies – A Future of Surveillance and Control" Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 15:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt10 hr. 40 min. ago

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con Authored by Julius Ruechel via Julius Ruechel.com, The Snake-Oil Salesmen and the COVID-Zero Con: A Classic Bait-And-Switch for a Lifetime of Booster Shots (Immunity as a Service) If a plumber with a lifetime of experience were to tell you that water runs uphill, you would know he is lying and that the lie is not accidental. It is a lie with a purpose. If you can also demonstrate that the plumber knows in advance that the product he is promoting with that lie is snake oil, you have evidence for a deliberate con. And once you understand what's really inside that bottle of snake oil, you will begin to understand the purpose of the con. One of the most common reasons given for mass COVID vaccinations is the idea that if we reach herd immunity through vaccination, we can starve the virus out of existence and get our lives back. It's the COVID-Zero strategy or some variant of it. By now it is abundantly clear from the epidemiological data that the vaccinated are able to both catch and spread the disease. Clearly vaccination isn't going to make this virus disappear. Only a mind that has lost its grasp on reality can fail to see how ridiculous all this has become.  But a tour through pre-COVID science demonstrates that, from day one, long before you and I had even heard of this virus, it was 100% inevitable and 100% predictable that these vaccines would never be capable of eradicating this coronavirus and would never lead to any kind of lasting herd immunity. Even worse, lockdowns and mass vaccination have created a dangerous set of circumstances that interferes with our immune system's ability to protect us against other respiratory viruses. They also risk driving the evolution of this virus towards mutations that are more dangerous to both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike. Lockdowns, mass vaccinations, and mass booster shots were never capable of delivering on any of the promises that were made to the public.  And yet, vaccination has been successfully used to control measles and even to eradicate smallpox. So, why not COVID? Immunity is immunity, and a virus is a virus is a virus, right? Wrong! Reality is far more complicated... and more interesting. This Deep Dive exposes why, from day one, the promise of COVID-Zero can only ever have been a deliberately dishonest shell game designed to prey on a lack of public understanding of how our immune systems work and on how most respiratory viruses differ from other viruses that we routinely vaccinate against. We have been sold a fantasy designed to rope us into a pharmaceutical dependency as a deceitful trade-off for access to our lives. Variant by variant. For as long as the public is willing to go along for the ride.  Exposing this story does not require incriminating emails or whistleblower testimony. The story tells itself by diving into the long-established science that every single virologist, immunologist, evolutionary biologist, vaccine developer, and public health official had access to long before COVID began. As is so often the case, the devil is hidden in the details. As this story unfolds it will become clear that the one-two punch of lockdowns and the promise of vaccines as an exit strategy began as a cynical marketing ploy to coerce us into a never-ending regimen of annual booster shots intentionally designed to replace the natural "antivirus security updates" against respiratory viruses that come from hugs and handshakes and from children laughing together at school. We are being played for fools.  This is not to say that there aren't plenty of other opportunists taking advantage of this crisis to pursue other agendas and to tip society into a full-blown police state. One thing quickly morphs into another. But this essay demonstrates that never-ending boosters were the initial motive for this global social-engineering shell game ― the subscription-based business model, adapted for the pharmaceutical industry. "Immunity as a service".  So, let's dive into the fascinating world of immune systems, viruses, and vaccines, layer by layer, to dispel the myths and false expectations that have been created by deceitful public health officials, pharmaceutical lobbyists, and media manipulators. What emerges as the lies are peeled apart is both surprising and more than a little alarming. “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” - Sherlock Homes”  - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Table of Contents:     Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication     SARS: The Exception to the Rule?     Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity     Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses     Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection     Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly     Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu     Leaky Vaccines, Antibody-Dependent Enhancement, and the Marek Effect     Anti-Virus Security Updates: Cross-Reactive Immunity Through Repeated Exposure     The Not-So-Novel Novel Virus: The Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Outbreak Proved We Have Cross-Reactive Immunity     Mother Knows Best: Vitamin D, Playing in Puddles, and Sweaters     The Paradox: Why COVID-Zero Makes People More Vulnerable to Other Viruses     Introducing Immunity as a Service - A Subscription-Based Business Model for the Pharmaceutical Industry (It was always about the money!)     The Path Forward: Neutralizing the Threat and Bullet-Proofing Society to Prevent This Ever Happening Again. *  *  * Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication Eradication of a killer virus sounds like a noble goal. In some cases it is, such as in the case of the smallpox virus. By 1980 we stopped vaccinating against smallpox because, thanks to widespread immunization, we starved the virus of available hosts for so long that it died out. No-one will need to risk their life on the side effects of a smallpox vaccination ever again because the virus is gone. It is a public health success story. Polio will hopefully be next ― we're getting close.  But smallpox is one of only two viruses (along with rinderpest) that have been eradicated thanks to vaccination. Very few diseases meet the necessary criteria. Eradication is hard and only appropriate for very specific families of viruses. Smallpox made sense for eradication because it was a uniquely human virus ― there was no animal reservoir. By contrast, most respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2 (a.k.a. COVID) come from animal reservoirs: swine, birds, bats, etc. As long as there are bats in caves, birds in ponds, pigs in mud baths, and deer living in forests, respiratory viruses are only controllable through individual immunity, but it is not possible to eradicate them. There will always be a near-identical cousin brewing in the wings. Even the current strain of COVID is already cheerfully jumping onwards across species boundaries. According to both National Geographic and Nature magazine, 40% of wild deer tested positive for COVID antibodies in a study conducted in Michigan, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania. It has also been documented in wild mink and has already made the species jump to other captive animals including dogs, cats, otters, leopards, tigers, and gorillas. A lot of viruses are not fussy. They happily adapt to new opportunities. Specialists, like smallpox, eventually go extinct. Generalists, like most respiratory viruses, never run out of hosts to keep the infection cycle going, forever. As long as we share this planet with other animals, it is extremely deceitful to give anyone the impression that we can pursue any scorched earth policy that can put this genie back in the bottle. With an outbreak on this global scale, it was clear that we were always going to have to live with this virus. There are over 200 other endemic respiratory viruses that cause colds and flus, many of which circulate freely between humans and other animals. Now there are 201. They will be with us forever, whether we like it or not. SARS: The Exception to the Rule? This all sounds well and good, but the original SARS virus did disappear, with public health measures like contact tracing and strict quarantine measures taking the credit. However, SARS was the exception to the rule. When it made the species jump to humans, it was so poorly adapted to its new human hosts that it had terrible difficulty spreading. This very poor level of adaptation gave SARS a rather unique combination of properties: SARS was extremely difficult to catch (it was never very contagious) SARS made people extremely sick. SARS did not have pre-symptomatic spread. These three conditions made the SARS outbreak easy to control through contact tracing and through the quarantine of symptomatic individuals. SARS therefore never reached the point where it circulated widely among asymptomatic community members.  By contrast, by January/February of 2020 it was clear from experiences in China, Italy, and the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship (more on that story later) that the unique combination of conditions that made SARS controllable were not going to be the case with COVID. COVID was quite contagious (its rapid spread showed that COVID was already well adapted to spreading easily among its new human hosts), most people would have mild or no symptoms from COVID (making containment impossible), and that it was spreading by aerosols produced by both symptomatic and pre-symptomatic people (making contact tracing a joke). In other words, it was clear by January/February 2020 that this pandemic would follow the normal rules of a readily transmissible respiratory epidemic, which cannot be reined in the way SARS was. Thus, by January/February of 2020, giving the public the impression that the SARS experience could be replicated for COVID was a deliberate lie - this genie was never going back inside the bottle. Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity Once a reasonably contagious respiratory virus begins circulating widely in a community, herd immunity can never be maintained for very long. RNA respiratory viruses (such as influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinoviruses, and coronaviruses) all mutate extremely fast compared to viruses like smallpox, measles, or polio. Understanding the difference between something like measles and a virus like COVID is key to understanding the con that is being perpetrated by our health institutions. Bear with me here, I promise not to get too technical. All viruses survive by creating copies of themselves. And there are always a lot of "imperfect copies" — mutations — produced by the copying process itself. Among RNA respiratory viruses these mutations stack up so quickly that there is rapid genetic drift, which continually produces new strains. Variants are normal. Variants are expected. Variants make it virtually impossible to build the impenetrable wall of long-lasting herd immunity required to starve these respiratory viruses out of existence. That's one of several reasons why flu vaccines don't provide long-lasting immunity and have to be repeated annually ― our immune system constantly needs to be updated to keep pace with the inevitable evolution of countless unnamed "variants."  This never-ending conveyor belt of mutations means that everyone's immunity to COVID was always only going to be temporary and only offer partial cross-reactive protection against future re-infections. Thus, from day one, COVID vaccination was always doomed to the same fate as the flu vaccine ― a lifelong regimen of annual booster shots to try to keep pace with "variants" for those unwilling to expose themselves to the risk of a natural infection. And the hope that by the time the vaccines (and their booster shots) roll off the production line, they won't already be out of date when confronted by the current generation of virus mutations.  Genetic drift caused by mutations is much slower in viruses like measles, polio, or smallpox, which is why herd immunity can be used to control these other viruses (or even eradicate them as in the case of smallpox or polio). The reason the common respiratory viruses have such rapid genetic drift compared to these other viruses has much less to do with how many errors are produced during the copying process and much more to do with how many of those "imperfect" copies are actually able to survive and produce more copies.  A simple virus with an uncomplicated attack strategy for taking over host cells can tolerate a lot more mutations than a complex virus with a complicated attack strategy. Complexity and specialization put limits on how many of those imperfect copies have a chance at becoming successful mutations. Simple machinery doesn't break down as easily if there is an imperfection in the mechanical parts. Complicated high-tech machinery will simply not work if there are even minor flaws in precision parts. For example, before a virus can hijack the DNA of a host cell to begin making copies of itself, the virus needs to unlock the cell wall to gain entry. Cellular walls are made of proteins and are coated by sugars; viruses need to find a way to create a doorway through that protein wall. A virus like influenza uses a very simple strategy to get inside ― it locks onto one of the sugars on the outside of the cell wall in order to piggyback a ride as the sugar is absorbed into the cell (cells use sugar as their energy source). It's such a simple strategy that it allows the influenza virus to go through lots of mutations without losing its ability to gain entry to the cell. Influenza's simplicity makes it very adaptable and allows many different types of mutations to thrive as long as they all use the same piggyback entry strategy to get inside host cells. By contrast, something like the measles virus uses a highly specialized and very complicated strategy to gain entry to a host cell. It relies on very specialized surface proteins to break open a doorway into the host cell. It's a very rigid and complex system that doesn't leave a lot of room for errors in the copying process. Even minor mutations to the measles virus will cause changes to its surface proteins, leaving it unable to gain access to a host cell to make more copies of itself. Thus, even if there are lots of mutations, those mutations are almost all evolutionary dead ends, thus preventing genetic drift. That's one of several reasons why both a natural infection and vaccination against measles creates lifetime immunity ― immunity lasts because new variations don't change much over time.  Most RNA respiratory viruses have a high rate of genetic drift because they all rely on relatively simple attack strategies to gain entry to host cells. This allows mutations to stack up quickly without becoming evolutionary dead ends because they avoid the evolutionary trap of complexity.  Coronaviruses use a different strategy than influenza to gain access to host cells. They have proteins on the virus surface (the infamous S-spike protein, the same one that is mimicked by the vaccine injection), which latches onto a receptor on the cell surface (the ACE2 receptor) ― a kind of key to unlock the door. This attack strategy is a little bit more complicated than the system used by influenza, which is probably why genetic drift in coronaviruses is slightly slower than in influenza, but it is still a much much simpler and much less specialized system than the one used by measles. Coronaviruses, like other respiratory viruses, are therefore constantly producing a never-ending conveyor belt of "variants" that make long-lasting herd immunity impossible. Variants are normal. The alarm raised by our public health authorities about "variants" and the feigned compassion of pharmaceutical companies as they rush to develop fresh boosters capable of fighting variants is a charade, much like expressing surprise about the sun rising in the East. Once you got immunity to smallpox, measles, or polio, you had full protection for a few decades and were protected against severe illness or death for the rest of your life. But for fast-mutating respiratory viruses, including coronaviruses, within a few months they are sufficiently different that your previously acquired immunity will only ever offer partial protection against your next exposure. The fast rate of mutation ensures that you never catch the exact same cold or flu twice, just their closely related constantly evolving cousins. What keeps you from feeling the full brunt of each new infection is cross-reactive immunity, which is another part of the story of how you are being conned, which I will come back to shortly.  Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses But let's pretend for a moment that a miraculous vaccine could be developed that could give us all 100% sterilizing immunity today. The length of time it takes to manufacture and ship 8 billion doses (and then make vaccination appointments for 8 billion people) ensures that by the time the last person gets their last dose, the never-ending conveyor belt of mutations will have already rendered the vaccine partially ineffective. True sterilizing immunity simply won't ever happen with coronaviruses. The logistics of rolling out vaccines to 8 billion people meant that none of our vaccine makers or public health authorities ever could have genuinely believed that vaccines would create lasting herd immunity against COVID. So, for a multitude of reasons, it was a deliberate lie to give the public the impression that if enough people take the vaccine, it would create lasting herd immunity. It was 100% certain, from day one, that by the time the last dose is administered, the rapid evolution of the virus would ensure that it would already be time to start thinking about booster shots. Exactly like the flu shot. Exactly the opposite of a measles vaccine. Vaccines against respiratory viruses can never provide anything more than a temporary cross-reactive immunity "update" ― they are merely a synthetic replacement for your annual natural exposure to the smorgasbord of cold and flu viruses. Immunity as a service, imposed on society by trickery. The only question was always, how long between booster shots? Weeks, months, years?  Feeling conned yet? Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection The current crop of COVID vaccines was never designed to provide sterilizing immunity - that's not how they work. They are merely a tool designed to teach the immune system to attack the S-spike protein, thereby priming the immune system to reduce the severity of infection in preparation for your inevitable future encounter with the real virus. They were never capable of preventing infection, nor of preventing spread. They were merely designed to reduce your chance of being hospitalized or dying if you are infected. As former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is on Pfizer’s board, said: "the original premise behind these vaccines were [sic] that they would substantially reduce the risk of death and severe disease and hospitalization. And that was the data that came out of the initial clinical trials.” Every first-year medical student knows that you cannot get herd immunity from a vaccine that does not stop infection.  In other words, by their design, these vaccines can neither stop you from catching an infection nor stop you from transmitting the infection to someone else. They were never capable of creating herd immunity. They were designed to protect individuals against severe outcomes if they choose to take them - a tool to provide temporary focused protection for the vulnerable, just like the flu vaccine. Pushing for mass vaccination was a con from day one. And the idea of using vaccine passports to separate the vaccinated from the unvaccinated was also a con from day one. The only impact these vaccine passports have on the pandemic is as a coercive tool to get you to roll up your sleeve. Nothing more. Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly There are multiple interconnected parts to why immunity to COVID, or any other respiratory virus, is always only temporary. Not only is the virus constantly mutating but immunity itself fades over time, not unlike the way our brains start forgetting how to do complicated math problems unless they keep practicing. This is true for both immunity acquired through natural infection and immunity acquired through vaccination. Our immune systems have a kind of immunological memory ― basically, how long does your immune system remember how to launch an attack against a specific kind of threat. That memory fades over time. For some vaccines, like diphtheria and tetanus, that immunological memory fades very slowly. The measles vaccine protects for life. But for others, like the flu vaccine, that immunological memory fades very quickly. On average, the flu vaccine is only about 40% effective to begin with. And it begins to fade almost immediately after vaccination. By about 150 days (5 months), it reaches zero. Fading immunity after flu shot (Science, April 18th, 2019) The solution to this strange phenomenon lies in the different types of immune system responses that are triggered by a vaccine (or by exposure to the real thing through a natural infection). This has big implications for coronavirus vaccines, but I'll get to that in a moment. First a little background information... A good analogy is to think of our immune system like a medieval army. The first layer of protection began with generalists - guys armed with clubs that would take a swing at everything - they were good for keeping robbers and brigands at bay and for conducting small skirmishes. But if the attack was bigger, then these generalists were quickly overwhelmed, serving as arrow fodder to blunt the attack on the more specialized troops coming up behind them. Spearmen, swordsmen, archers, cavalry, catapult operators, siege tower engineers, and so on. Each additional layer of defense has a more expensive kit and takes ever greater amounts of time to train (an English longbowman took years to build up the necessary skill and strength to become effective). The more specialized a troop is, the more you want to hold them back from the fight unless it's absolutely necessary because they are expensive to train, expensive to deploy, and make a bigger mess when they fight that needs to be cleaned up afterwards. Always keep your powder dry. Send in the arrow fodder first and slowly ramp up your efforts from there. Our immune system relies on a similar kind of layered system of defense. In addition to various non-specific rapid response layers that take out the brigands, like natural killer cells, macrophages, mast cells, and so on, we also have many adaptive (specialized) layers of antibodies (i.e. IgA, IgG, IgM immunoglobulin) and various types of highly specialized white blood cells, like B-cells and T-cells. Some antibodies are released by regular B-cells. Others are released by blood plasma. Then there are memory B-cells, which are capable of remembering previous threats and creating new antibodies long after the original antibodies fade away. And there are various types of T-cells (again with various degrees of immunological memory), like natural killer T-cells, killer T-cells, and helper T-cells, all of which play various roles in detecting and neutralizing invaders. In short, the greater the threat, the more troops are called into the fight. This is clearly a gross oversimplification of all the different interconnected parts of our immune system, but the point is that a mild infection doesn't trigger as many layers whereas a severe infection enlists the help of deeper layers, which are slower to respond but are much more specialized in their attack capabilities. And if those deeper adaptive layers get involved, they are capable of retaining a memory of the threat in order to be able to mount a quicker attack if a repeat attack is recognized in the future. That's why someone who was infected by the dangerous Spanish Flu in 1918 might still have measurable T-cell immunity a century later but the mild bout of winter flu you had a couple of years ago might not have triggered T-cell immunity, even though both may have been caused by versions of the same H1N1 influenza virus. As a rule of thumb, the broader the immune response, the longer immunological memory will last. Antibodies fade in a matter of months, whereas B-cell and T-cell immunity can last a lifetime. Another rule of thumb is that a higher viral load puts more strain on your immune defenses, thus overwhelming the rapid response layers and forcing the immune system to enlist the deeper adaptive layers. That's why nursing homes and hospitals are more dangerous places for vulnerable people than backyard barbeques. That's why feedlot cattle are more vulnerable to viral diseases than cattle on pasture. Viral load matters a lot to how easily the generalist layers are overwhelmed and how much effort your immune system has to make to neutralize a threat. Where the infection happens in the body also matters. For example, an infection in the upper respiratory tract triggers much less involvement from your adaptive immune system than when it reaches your lungs. Part of this is because your upper respiratory tract is already heavily preloaded with large numbers of generalist immunological cells that are designed to attack germs as they enter, which is why most colds and flus never make it deeper into the lungs. The guys with the clubs are capable of handling most of the threats that try to make through the gate. Most of the specialized troops hold back unless they are needed. Catching a dangerous disease like measles produces lifetime immunity because an infection triggers all the deep layers that will retain a memory of how to fight off future encounters with the virus. So does the measles vaccine. Catching a cold or mild flu generally does not.  From an evolutionary point of view, this actually makes a lot of sense. Why waste valuable resources developing long-lasting immunity (i.e. training archers and building catapults) to defend against a virus that did not put you in mortal danger. A far better evolutionary strategy is to evolve a narrower generalist immune response to mild infections (i.e. most cold and flu viruses), which fades quickly once the threat is conquered, but invest in deep long-term broad-based immunity to dangerous infections, which lasts a very long time in case that threat is ever spotted on the horizon again. Considering the huge number of threats our immune systems face, this strategy avoids the trap of spreading immunological memory too thin. Our immunological memory resources are not limitless - long-term survival requires prioritizing our immunological resources. The take-home lesson is that vaccines will, at best, only last as long as immunity acquired through natural infection and will often fade much faster because the vaccine is often only able to trigger a partial immune response compared to the actual infection. So, if the disease itself doesn't produce a broad-based immune response leading to long-lasting immunity, neither will the vaccine. And in most cases, immunity acquired through vaccination will begin to fade much sooner than immunity acquired through a natural infection. Every vaccine maker and public health official knows this despite bizarrely claiming that the COVID vaccines (based on re-creating the S-protein spike instead of using a whole virus) would somehow become the exception to the rule. That was a lie, and they knew it from day one. That should set your alarm bells ringing at full throttle. So, with this little bit of background knowledge under our belts, let's look at what our public health officials and vaccine makers would have known in advance about coronaviruses and coronavirus vaccines when they told us back in the early Spring of 2020 that COVID vaccines were the path back to normality. From a 2003 study [my emphasis]: "Until SARS appeared, human coronaviruses were known as the cause of 15–30% of colds... Colds are generally mild, self-limited infections, and significant increases in neutralizing antibody titer are found in nasal secretions and serum after infection. Nevertheless, some unlucky individuals can be reinfected with the same coronavirus soon after recovery and get symptoms again." In other words, the coronaviruses involved in colds (there were four human coronaviruses before SARS, MERS, and COVID) all trigger such a weak immune response that they do not lead to any long-lasting immunity whatsoever. And why would they if, for most of us, the threat is so minimal that the generalists are perfectly capable of neutralizing the attack. We also know that immunity against coronaviruses is not durable in other animals either. As any farmer knows well, cycles of reinfection with coronaviruses are the rule rather than the exception among their livestock (for example, coronaviruses are a common cause of pneumonia and various types of diarrheal diseases like scours, shipping fever, and winter dysentery in cattle). Annual farm vaccination schedules are therefore designed accordingly. The lack of long-term immunity to coronaviruses is well documented in veterinary research among cattle, poultry, deer, water buffalo, etc. Furthermore, although animal coronavirus vaccines have been on the market for many years, it is well known that "none are completely efficacious in animals". So, like the fading flu vaccine profile I showed you earlier, none of the animal coronavirus vaccines are capable of providing sterilizing immunity (none were capable of stopping 100% of infections, without which you can never achieve herd immunity) and the partial immunity they offered is well known to fade rather quickly. What about immunity to COVID's close cousin, the deadly SARS coronavirus, which had an 11% case fatality rate during the 2003 outbreak? From a 2007 study: "SARS-specific antibodies were maintained for an average of 2 years... SARS patients might be susceptible to reinfection >3 years after initial exposure."  (Bear in mind that, as with all diseases, re-infection does not mean you are necessarily going to get full-blown SARS; fading immunity after a natural infection tends to offer at least some level of partial protection against severe outcomes for a considerable amount of time after you can already be reinfected and spread it to others - more on that later.) And what about MERS, the deadliest coronavirus to date, which made the jump from camels in 2012 and had a fatality rate of around 35%? It triggered the broadest immune response (due to its severity) and also appears to trigger the longest lasting immunity as a result (> 6yrs) Thus, to pretend that there was any chance that herd immunity to COVID would be anything but short-lived was dishonest at best. For most people, immunity was always going to fade quickly. Just like what happens after most other respiratory virus infections. By February 2020, the epidemiological data showed clearly that for most people COVID was a mild coronavirus (nowhere near as severe than SARS or MERS), so it was virtually a certainty that even the immunity from a natural infection would fade within months, not years. It was also a certainty that vaccination was therefore, at best, only ever going to provide partial protection and that this protection would be temporary, lasting on the order of months. This is a case of false and misleading advertising if there ever was one. If I can allow my farming roots to shine through for a moment, I'd like to explain the implications of what was known about animal coronaviruses vaccines. Baby calves are often vaccinated against bovine coronaviral diarrhea shortly after birth if they are born in the spring mud and slush season, but not if they are born in midsummer on lush pastures where the risk of infection is lower. Likewise, bovine coronavirus vaccines are used to protect cattle before they face stressful conditions during shipping, in a feedlot, or in winter feed pens. Animal coronavirus vaccines are thus used as tools to provide a temporary boost in immunity, in very specific conditions, and only for very specific vulnerable categories of animals. After everything I've laid out so far in this text, the targeted use of bovine coronavirus vaccines should surprise no-one. Pretending that our human coronavirus vaccines would be different was nonsense.  The only rational reason why the WHO and public health officials would withhold all that contextual information from the public as they rolled out lockdowns and held forth vaccines as an exit strategy was to whip the public into irrational fear in order to be able to make a dishonest case for mass vaccination when they should have, at most, been focused on providing focused vaccination of the most vulnerable only. That deception was the Trojan Horse to introduce endless mass booster shots as immunity inevitably fades and as new variants replace old ones.  Now, as all the inevitable limitations and problems with these vaccines become apparent (i.e. fading of vaccine-induced immunity, vaccines proving to only be partially effective, the rise of new variants, and the vaccinated population demonstrably catching and spreading the virus ― a.k.a. the leaky vaccine phenomenon), the surprise that our health authorities are showing simply isn't credible. As I have shown you, all this was 100% to be expected. They intentionally weaponized fear and false expectations to unleash a fraudulent bait-and-switch racket of global proportions. Immunity on demand, forever. Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu At this point you may be wondering, if there is no lasting immunity from infection or vaccination, then are public health officials right to roll out booster shots to protect us from severe outcomes even if their dishonest methods to get us to accept them were unethical? Do we need a lifetime regimen of booster shots to keep us safe from a beast to which we cannot develop durable long-term immunity? The short answer is no.  Contrary to what you might think, the rapid evolution of RNA respiratory viruses actually has several important benefits for us as their involuntary hosts, which protects us without the benefit of broad lifelong immunity. One of those benefits has to do with the natural evolution of the virus towards less dangerous variants. The other is the cross-reactive immunity that comes from frequent re-exposure to closely related "cousins". I'm going to peel apart both of these topics in order to show you the remarkable system that nature designed to keep us safe... and to show you how the policies being forced on us by our public health authorities are knowingly interfering with this system. They are creating a dangerous situation that increases our risk to other respiratory viruses (not just to COVID) and may even push the COVID virus to evolve to become more dangerous to both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. There are growing signs that this nightmare scenario has already begun.  “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."  - President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Let's start with the evolutionary pressures that normally drive viruses towards becoming less dangerous over time. A virus depends on its host to spread it. A lively host is more useful than a bedridden or dead one because a lively host can spread the virus further and will still be around to catch future mutations. Viruses risk becoming evolutionary dead ends if they kill or immobilize their hosts. Plagues came, killed, and then were starved out of existence because their surviving hosts had all acquired herd immunity. Colds come and go every year because their hosts are lively, easily spread the viruses around, and never acquire long-lasting immunity so that last year's hosts can also serve as next year's hosts ― only those who have weak immune systems have much to worry about. In other words, under normal conditions, mutations that are more contagious but less deadly have a survival advantage over less contagious and more deadly variations. From the virus' point of view, the evolutionary golden mean is reached when it can easily infect as many hosts as possible without reducing their mobility and without triggering long-term immunity in most of their hosts. That's the ticket to setting up a sustainable cycle of reinfection, forever. Viruses with slow genetic drift and highly specialized reproductive strategies, like polio or measles, can take centuries or longer to become less deadly and more contagious; some may never reach the relatively harmless status of a cold or mild flu virus (by harmless I mean harmless to the majority of the population despite being extremely dangerous to those with weak or compromised immune systems). But for viruses with fast genetic drift, like respiratory viruses, even a few months can make a dramatic difference. Rapid genetic drift is one of the reasons why the Spanish Flu stopped being a monster disease, but polio and measles haven't. And anyone with training in virology or immunology understands this!  We often speak of evolutionary pressure as though it forces an organism to adapt. In reality, a simple organism like a virus is utterly blind to its environment — all it does is blindly produce genetic copies of itself. "Evolutionary pressure" is actually just a fancy way of saying that environmental conditions will determine which of those millions of copies survives long enough to produce even more copies of itself.  A human adapts to its environment by altering its behaviour (that's one type of adaptation). But the behaviour of a single viral particle never changes. A virus "adapts" over time because some genetic copies with one set of mutations survive and spread faster than other copies with a different set of mutations. Adaptation in viruses has to be seen exclusively through the lens of changes from one generation of virus to the next based on which mutations have a competitive edge over others. And that competitive edge will vary depending on the kinds of environmental conditions a virus encounters. So, fear mongering about the Delta variant being even more contagious leaves out the fact that this is exactly what you would expect as a respiratory virus adapts to its new host species. We would expect new variants to be more contagious but less deadly as the virus fades to become just like the other 200+ respiratory viruses that cause common colds and flus.  That's also why the decision to lock down the healthy population is so sinister. Lockdowns, border closures, and social distancing rules reduced spread among the healthy population, thus creating a situation where mutations produced among the healthy would become sufficiently rare that they might be outnumbered by mutations circulating among the bedridden. Mutations circulating among the healthy are, by definition, going to be the least dangerous mutations since they did not make their hosts s.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 25th, 2021

Futures Rise On Taper, Evergrande Optimism

Futures Rise On Taper, Evergrande Optimism US index futures jumped overnight even as the Fed confirmed that a November tapering was now guaranteed and would be completed by mid-2022 with one rate hike now on deck, while maintaining the possibility to extend stimulus if necessitated by the economy. Sentiment got an additional boost from a strong showing of Evergrande stock - which closed up 17% - during the Chinese session, which peaked just after Bloomberg reported that China told Evergrande to avoid a near-term dollar bond default and which suggested that the "government wants to avoid an imminent collapse of the developer" however that quickly reversed when the WSJ reported, just one hour later, that China was making preparations for Evergrande's demise, and although that hammered stocks, the report explicitly noted that a worst-case scenario for Evergrande would mean a partial or full nationalization as "local-level government agencies and state-owned enterprises have been instructed to step in only at the last minute should Evergrande fail to manage its affairs in an orderly fashion." In other words, both reports are bullish: either foreign creditors are made whole (no default) as per BBG or the situation deteriorates and Evergrande is nationalized ("SOEs step in") as per WSJ. According to Bloomberg, confidence is building that markets can ride out a pullback in Fed stimulus, unlike 2013 when the taper tantrum triggered large losses in bonds and equities. "Investors are betting that the economic and profit recovery will be strong enough to outweigh a reduction in asset purchases, while ultra-low rates will continue to support riskier assets even as concerns linger about contagion from China’s real-estate woes." That's one view: the other is that the Fed has so broken the market's discounting ability we won't know just how bad tapering will get until it actually begins. “The Fed has got to be pleased that their communication on the longer way to tapering has avoided the dreaded fear of the tantrum,” Jeffrey Rosenberg, senior portfolio manager for systematic fixed income at BlackRock Inc., said on Bloomberg Television. “This is a very good outcome for the Fed in terms of signaling their intent to give the market information well ahead of the tapering decision.” Then there is the question of Evergrande: “With regards to Evergrande, all those people who are waiting for a Lehman moment in China will probably have to wait another turn,” said Ken Peng, an investment strategist at Citi Private Bank Asia Pacific. “So I wouldn’t treat this as completely bad, but there are definitely a lot of risks on the horizon.” In any case, today's action is a continuation of the best day in two months for both the Dow and the S&P which staged a strong recovery from two-month lows hit earlier in the week, and as of 745am ET, S&P 500 E-minis were up 25.25 points, or 0.6%, Dow E-minis were up 202 points, or 0.59%, while Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 92.0 points, or 0.60%. In the premarket, electric vehicle startup Lucid Group rose 3.1% in U.S. premarket trading. PAVmed (PVM US) jumps 11% after its Lucid Diagnostics unit announced plans to list on the Global Market of the Nasdaq Stock Market.  Here are some of the biggest movers today: U.S.-listed Chinese stocks rise in premarket trading as fears of contagion from China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis ease. Blackberry (BB US) shares rise 8.7% in premarket after co.’s 2Q adjusted revenue beat the average of analysts’ estimates Eargo (EAR US) falls 57% in Thursday premarket after the hearing aid company revealed it was the target of a Justice Department criminal probe and withdrew its forecasts for the year Amplitude Healthcare Acquisition (AMHC US) doubled in U.S. premarket trading after the SPAC’s shareholders approved the previously announced business combination with Jasper Therapeutics Steelcase (SCS US) fell 4.8% Wednesday postmarket after the office products company reported revenue for the second quarter that missed the average analyst estimate Vertex Energy Inc. (VTNR US) gained 2.1% premarket after saying the planned acquisition of a refinery in Mobile, Alabama from Royal DutVTNR US Equitych Shell Plc is on schedule Synlogic (SYBX US) shares declined 9.7% premarket after it launched a stock offering launched without disclosing a size HB Fuller (FUL US) climbed 2.7% in postmarket trading after third quarter sales beat even the highest analyst estimate Europe's Stoxx 600 index rose 0.9%, lifted by carmakers, tech stocks and utilities, which helped it recover losses sparked earlier in the week by concerns about Evergrande and China’s crackdown on its property sector. The gauge held its gain after surveys of purchasing managers showed business activity in the euro area lost momentum and slowed broadly in September after demand peaked over the summer and supply-chain bottlenecks hurt services and manufacturers. Euro Area Composite PMI (September, Flash): 56.1, consensus 58.5, last 59.0. Euro Area Manufacturing PMI (September, Flash): 58.7, consensus 60.3, last 61.4. Euro Area Services PMI (September, Flash): 56.3, consensus 58.5, last 59.0. Germany Composite PMI (September, Flash): 55.3, consensus 59.2, last 60.0. France Composite PMI (September, Flash): 55.1, consensus 55.7, last 55.9. UK Composite PMI (September, Flash): 54.1, consensus 54.6, last 54.8. Commenting on Europe's PMIs, Goldman said that the Euro area composite PMI declined by 2.9pt to 56.1 in September, well below consensus expectations. The softening was broad-based across countries but primarily led by Germany. The peripheral composite flash PMI also weakened significantly in September but remain very high by historical standards (-2.4pt to 57.5). Across sectors, the September composite decline was also broad-based, with manufacturing output softening (-3.3pt to 55.6) to a similar extent as services (-2.7pt to 56.3). Supply-side issues and upward cost and price pressures continued to be widely reported. Expectations of future output growth declined by less than spot output on the back of delta variant worries and supply issues, remaining far above historically average levels. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose for the first time in four sessions, as Hong Kong helped lead a rally on hopes that troubled property firm China Evergrande Group will make progress on debt repayment. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 0.5%, with Tencent and Meituan providing the biggest boosts. The Hang Seng jumped as much as 2.5%, led by real estate stocks as Evergrande surged more than 30%. Hong Kong shares later pared their gains. Asian markets were also cheered by gains in U.S. stocks overnight even as the Federal Reserve said it may begin scaling back stimulus this year. A $17 billion net liquidity injection from the People’s Bank of China also provided a lift, while the Fed and Bank of Japan downplayed Evergrande risks in comments accompanying policy decisions Wednesday. Evergrande’s stock closed 18% higher in Hong Kong, in a delayed reaction to news a unit of the developer had negotiated interest payments on yuan notes. A coupon payment on its 2022 dollar bond is due on Thursday “Investors are perhaps reassessing the tail risk of a disorderly fallout from Evergrande’s credit issues,” said Chetan Seth, a strategist at Nomura. “However, I am not sure if the fundamental issue around its sustainable deleveraging has been addressed. I suspect markets will likely remain quite volatile until we have some definite direction from authorities on the eventual resolution of Evergrande’s debt problems.” Stocks rose in most markets, with Australia, Taiwan, Singapore and India also among the day’s big winners. South Korea’s benchmark was the lone decliner, while Japan was closed for a holiday In rates, Treasuries were off session lows, with the 10Y trading a 1.34%, but remained under pressure in early U.S. session led by intermediate sectors, where 5Y yield touched highest since July 2. Wednesday’s dramatic yield-curve flattening move unleashed by Fed communications continued, compressing 5s30s spread to 93.8bp, lowest since May 2020. UK 10-year yield climbed 3.4bp to session high 0.833% following BOE rate decision (7-2 vote to keep bond-buying target unchanged); bunds outperformed slightly. Peripheral spreads tighten with long-end Italy outperforming. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index reversed an earlier gain and dropped 0.3% as the dollar weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen amid a more positive sentiment. CAD, NOK and SEK are the strongest performers in G-10, JPY the laggard.  The euro and the pound briefly pared gains after weaker-than-forecast German and British PMIs. The pound rebounded from an eight-month low amid a return of global risk appetite as investors assessed whether the Bank of England will follow the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tone later Thursday. The yield differential between 10-year German and Italian debt narrowed to its tightest since April. Norway’s krone advanced after Norges Bank raised its policy rate in line with expectations and signaled a faster pace of tightening over the coming years. The franc whipsawed as the Swiss National Bank kept its policy rate and deposit rate at record lows, as expected, and reiterated its pledge to wage currency market interventions. The yen fell as a unit of China Evergrande said it had reached an agreement with bond holders over an interest payment, reducing demand for haven assets. Turkey’s lira slumped toa record low against the dollar after the central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates. In commodities, crude futures drifted lower after a rangebound Asia session. WTI was 0.25% lower, trading near $72; Brent dips into the red, so far holding above $76. Spot gold adds $3.5, gentle reversing Asia’s losses to trade near $1,771/oz. Base metals are well bid with LME aluminum leading gains. Bitcoin steadied just below $44,000. Looking at the day ahead, we get the weekly initial jobless claims, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index for August, and the Kansas City fed’s manufacturing activity index for September. From central banks, there’ll be a monetary policy decision from the Bank of England, while the ECB will be publishing their Economic Bulletin and the ECB’s Elderson will also speak. From emerging markets, there’ll also be monetary policy decisions from the Central Bank of Turkey and the South African Reserve Bank. Finally in Germany, there’s an election debate with the lead candidates from the Bundestag parties. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,413.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.1% to 468.32 MXAP up 0.5% to 200.57 MXAPJ up 0.9% to 645.76 Nikkei down 0.7% to 29,639.40 Topix down 1.0% to 2,043.55 Hang Seng Index up 1.2% to 24,510.98 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,642.22 Sensex up 1.4% to 59,728.37 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.0% to 7,370.22 Kospi down 0.4% to 3,127.58 German 10Y yield fell 5.6 bps to -0.306% Euro up 0.4% to $1.1728 Brent Futures up 0.3% to $76.39/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,768.25 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.33% to 93.16 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Financial regulators in Beijing issued a broad set of instructions to China Evergrande Group, telling the embattled developer to focus on completing unfinished properties and repaying individual investors while avoiding a near-term default on dollar bonds China’s central bank net-injected the most short- term liquidity in eight months into the financial system, with markets roiled by concerns over China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis Europe’s worst energy crisis in decades could drag deep into the cold months as Russia is unlikely to boost shipments until at least November Business activity in the euro area “markedly” lost momentum in September after demand peaked over the summer and supply chain bottlenecks hurt both services and manufacturers. Surveys of purchasing managers by IHS Markit showed growth in both sectors slowing more than expected, bringing overall activity to a five-month low. Input costs, meanwhile, surged to the highest in 21 years, according to the report The U.K. private sector had its weakest month since the height of the winter lockdown and inflation pressures escalated in September, adding to evidence that the recovery is running into significant headwinds, IHS Markit said The U.K.’s record- breaking debut green bond sale has given debt chief Robert Stheeman conviction on the benefits of an environmental borrowing program. The 10 billion-pound ($13.7 billion) deal this week was the biggest-ever ethical bond sale and the country is already planning another offering next month A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquaw Asian equity markets traded mostly positive as the region took its cue from the gains in US with the improved global sentiment spurred by some easing of Evergrande concerns and with stocks also unfazed by the marginally more hawkish than anticipated FOMC announcement (detailed above). ASX 200 (+1.0%) was underpinned by outperformance in the commodity-related sectors and strength in defensives, which have more than atoned for the losses in tech and financials, as well as helped markets overlook the record daily COVID-19 infections in Victoria state. Hang Seng (+0.7%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.6%) were also positive after another respectable liquidity operation by the PBoC and with some relief in Evergrande shares which saw early gains of more than 30% after recent reports suggested a potential restructuring by China’s government and with the Co. Chairman noting that the top priority is to help wealth investors redeem their products, although the majority of the Evergrande gains were then pared and unit China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle fully retraced the initial double-digit advances. KOSPI (-0.5%) was the laggard as it played catch up to the recent losses on its first trading day of the week and amid concerns that COVID cases could surge following the holiday period, while Japanese markets were closed in observance of the Autumnal Equinox Day. China Pumps $17 Billion Into System Amid Evergrande Concerns China Stocks From Property to Tech Jump on Evergrande Respite Philippines Holds Key Rate to Spur Growth Amid Higher Prices Taiwan’s Trade Deal Application Sets Up Showdown With China Top Asian News European equities (Stoxx 600 +0.9%) trade on the front-foot and have extended gains since the cash open with the Stoxx 600 now higher on the week after Monday’s heavy losses. From a macro perspective, price action in Europe has been undeterred by a slowdown in Eurozone PMIs which saw the composite metric slip to 56.1 from 59.0 (exp. 58.5) with IHS Markit noting “an unwelcome combination of sharply slower economic growth and steeply rising prices.” Instead, stocks in the region have taken the cue from a firmer US and Asia-Pac handover with performance in Chinese markets aided by further liquidity injections by the PBoC. Some positivity has also been observed on the Evergrande front amid mounting expectations of a potential restructuring at the company. That said, at the time of writing, it remains unclear what the company’s intentions are for repaying its USD 83.5mln onshore coupon payment. Note, ING highlights that “missing that payment today would still leave a 30-day grace period before this is registered as a default”. The most recent reports via WSJ indicate that Chinese authorities are asking local governments to begin preparations for the potential downfall of Evergrande; however, the article highlights that this is a last resort and Beijing is reluctant to step in. Nonetheless, this article has taken the shine off the mornings risk appetite, though we do remain firmer on the session. Stateside, as the dust settles on yesterday’s FOMC announcement, futures are firmer with outperformance in the RTY (+0.8% vs. ES +0.7%). Sectors in Europe are higher across the board with outperformance in Tech and Autos with the latter aided by gains in Faurecia (+4.6%) who sit at the top of the Stoxx 600 after making an unsurprising cut to its guidance, which will at least provide some clarity on the Co.’s near-term future; in sympathy, Valeo (+6.6) is also a notable gainer in the region. To the downside, Entain (+2.6%) sit at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after recent strong gains with the latest newsflow surrounding the Co. noting that MGM Resorts is considering different methods to acquire control of the BetMGM online gambling business JV, following the DraftKings offer for Entain, according to sources. The agreement between Entain and MGM gives MGM the ability to block any deal with competing businesses; MGM officials believe this grants the leverage to take full control of BetMGM without spending much. Top European News BOE Confronts Rising Prices, Slower Growth: Decision Guide La Banque Postale Eyes Retail, Asset Management M&A in Europe Activist Bluebell Raises Pressure on Glaxo CEO Walmsley Norway Delivers Rate Lift-Off With Next Hike Set for December In FX, not much bang for the Buck even though the FOMC matched the most hawkish market expectations and Fed chair Powell arguably went further by concluding in the post-meeting press conference that substantial progress on the lagging labour front is all but done. Hence, assuming the economy remains on course, tapering could start as soon as November and be completed my the middle of 2022, though he continued to play down tightening prospects irrespective of the more hawkish trajectory implied by the latest SEP dot plots that are now skewed towards at least one hike next year and a cumulative seven over the forecast horizon. However, the Greenback only managed to grind out marginally higher highs overnight, with the index reaching 93.526 vs 93.517 at best yesterday before retreating quite sharply and quickly to 93.138 in advance of jobless claims and Markit’s flash PMIs. CAD/NZD/AUD - The Loonie is leading the comeback charge in major circles and only partially assisted by WTI keeping a firm bid mostly beyond Usd 72/brl, and Usd/Cad may remain contained within 1.2796-50 ahead of Canadian retail sales given decent option expiry interest nearby and protecting the downside (1 bn between 1.2650-65 and 2.7 bn from 1.2620-00). Meanwhile, the Kiwi has secured a firmer grip on the 0.7000 handle to test 0.7050 pre-NZ trade and the Aussie is looking much more comfortable beyond 0.7250 amidst signs of improvement in the flash PMIs, albeit with the services and composite headline indices still some way short of the 50.0 mark. NOK/GBP/EUR/CHF - All firmer, and the Norwegian Crown outperforming following confirmation of the start of rate normalisation by the Norges Bank that also underscored another 25 bp hike in December and further tightening via a loftier rate path. Eur/Nok encountered some support around 10.1000 for a while, but is now below, while the Pound has rebounded against the Dollar and Euro in the run up to the BoE at midday. Cable is back up around 1.3770 and Eur/Gbp circa 0.8580 as Eur/Usd hovers in the low 1.1700 area eyeing multiple and a couple of huge option expiries (at the 1.1700 strike in 4.1 bn, 1.1730 in 1 bn, 1.1745-55 totalling 2.7 bn and 1.8 bn from 1.1790-1.1800). Note, Eurozone and UK flash PMIs did not live up to their name, but hardly impacted. Elsewhere, the Franc is lagging either side of 0.9250 vs the Buck and 1.0835 against the Euro on the back of a dovish SNB Quarterly Review that retained a high Chf valuation and necessity to maintain NIRP, with only minor change in the ordering of the language surrounding intervention. JPY - The Yen is struggling to keep its head afloat of 110.00 vs the Greenback as Treasury yields rebound and risk sentiment remains bullish pre-Japanese CPI and in thinner trading conditions due to the Autumn Equinox holiday. In commodities, WTI and Brent have been choppy throughout the morning in-spite of the broadly constructive risk appetite. Benchmarks spent much of the morning in proximity to the unchanged mark but the most recent Evergrande developments, via WSJ, have dampened sentiment and sent WTI and Brent back into negative territory for the session and printing incremental fresh lows at the time of publication. Back to crude, newsflow has once again centred around energy ministry commentary with Iraq making clear that oil exports will continue to increase. Elsewhere, gas remains at the forefront of focus particularly in the UK/Europe but developments today have been somewhat incremental. On the subject, Citi writes that Asia and Europe Nat. Gas prices could reach USD 100/MMBtu of USD 580/BOE in the winter, under their tail-risk scenario. For metals, its very much a case of more of the same with base-metals supportive, albeit off-best given Evergrande, after a robust APAC session post-FOMC. Given the gas issues, desks highlight that some companies are being forced to suspend/reduce production of items such as steel in Asian/European markets, a narrative that could become pertinent for broader prices if the situation continues. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are both modestly firmer but remain well within the range of yesterday’s session and are yet to recovery from the pressure seen in wake of the FOMC. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 320,000, prior 332,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.6m, prior 2.67m 8:30am: Aug. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.50, prior 0.53 9:45am: Sept. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 55.4 9:45am: Sept. Markit US Services PMI, est. 54.9, prior 55.1 9:45am: Sept. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 61.0, prior 61.1 11am: Sept. Kansas City Fed Manf. Activity, est. 25, prior 29 12pm: 2Q US Household Change in Net Wor, prior $5t DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap My wife was at a parents event at school last night so I had to read three lots of bedtime stories just as the Fed were announcing their policy decision. Peppa Pig, Biff and Kipper, and somebody called Wonder Kid were interspersed with Powell’s press conference live on my phone. It’s fair to say the kids weren’t that impressed by the dot plot and just wanted to join them up. The twins (just turned 4) got their first reading book homework this week and it was a bit sad that one of them was deemed ready to have one with words whereas the other one only pictures. The latter was very upset and cried that his brother had words and he didn’t. That should create even more competitive tension! Back to the dots and yesterday’s Fed meeting was on the hawkish side in terms of the dots and also in terms of Powell’s confidence that the taper could be complete by mid-2022. Powell said that the Fed could begin tapering bond purchases as soon as the November FOMC meeting, in line with our US economists’ forecasts. He left some room for uncertainty, saying they would taper only “If the economy continues to progress broadly in line with expectations, and also the overall situation is appropriate for this.” However he made clear that “the timing and pace of the coming reduction in asset purchases will not be intended to carry a direct signal regarding the timing of interest rate liftoff.” The quarterly “dot plot” showed that the 18 FOMC officials were split on whether to start raising rates next year or not. In June, the median dot indicated no rate increases until 2023, but now 6 members see a 25bps raise next year and 3 members see two such hikes. Their inflation forecasts were also revised up and DB’s Matt Luzzetti writes in his FOMC review (link here) that “If inflation is at or below the Fed's current forecast next year of 2.3% core PCE, liftoff is likely to come in 2023, consistent with our view. However, if inflation proves to be higher with inflation expectations continuing to rise, the first rate increase could well migrate into 2022.” Markets took the overall meeting very much in its stride with the biggest impact probably being a yield curve flattening even if US 10yr Treasury yields traded in just over a 4bp range yesterday and finishing -2.2bps lower at 1.301%. The 5y30y curve flattened -6.7bps to 95.6bps, its flattest level since August 2020, while the 2y10y curve was -4.2bps flatter. So the market seems to believe the more hawkish the Fed gets the more likely they’ll control inflation and/or choke the recovery. The puzzle is that even if the dots are correct, real Fed funds should still be negative and very accommodative historically for all of the forecasting period. As such the market has a very dim view of the ability of the economy to withstand rate hikes or alternatively that the QE technicals are overpowering everything at the moment. In equities, the S&P 500 was up nearly +1.0% 15 minutes prior to the Fed, and then rallied a further 0.5% in the immediate aftermath before a late dip look it back to +0.95%. The late dip meant that the S&P still has not seen a 1% up day since July 23. The index’s rise was driven by cyclicals in particular with energy (+3.17%), semiconductors (-2.20%), and banks (+2.13%) leading the way. Asian markets are mostly trading higher this morning with the Hang Seng (+0.69%), Shanghai Comp (+0.58%), ASX (+1.03%) and India’s Nifty (+0.81%) all up. The Kospi (-0.36%) is trading lower though and is still catching up from the early week holidays. Japan’s markets are closed for a holiday today. Futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.25% while those on the Stoxx 50 are up +0.49%. There is no new news on the Evergrande debt crisis however markets participants are likely to pay attention to whether the group is able to make interest rate payment on its 5 year dollar note today after the group had said yesterday that it resolved a domestic bond coupon by negotiations which was also due today. As we highlighted in our CoTD flash poll conducted earlier this week, market participants are not too worried about a wider fallout from the Evergrande crisis and even the Hang Seng Properties index is up +3.93% this morning and is largely back at the levels before the big Monday sell-off of -6.69%. Overnight we have received flash PMIs for Australia which improved as parts of the country have eased the coronavirus restrictions. The services reading came in at 44.9 (vs. 42.9 last month) and the manufacturing print was even stronger at 57.3 (vs. 52.0 last month). Japan’s flash PMIs will be out tomorrow due to today’s holiday. Ahead of the Fed, markets had continued to rebound from their declines earlier in the week, with Europe’s STOXX 600 gaining +0.99% to narrowly put the index in positive territory for the week. This continues the theme of a relative outperformance among European equities compared to the US, with the STOXX 600 having outpaced the S&P 500 for 5 consecutive sessions now, though obviously by a slim margin yesterday. Sovereign bonds in Europe also posted gains, with yields on 10yr bunds (-0.7bps), OATs (-1.0bps) and BTPs (-3.2bps) all moving lower. Furthermore, there was another tightening in peripheral spreads, with the gap in Italian 10yr yields over bunds falling to 98.8bps yesterday, less than half a basis point away from its tightest level since early April. Moving to fiscal and with Democrats seemingly unable to pass the $3.5 trillion Biden budget plan by Monday, when the House is set to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Republican leadership is calling on their members to vote against the bipartisan bill in hopes of delaying the process further. While the there is still a high likelihood the measure will eventually get passed, time is becoming a factor. Congress now has just over a week to get a government funding bill through both chambers of congress as well as raise the debt ceiling by next month. Republicans have told Democrats to do the latter in a partisan manner and include it in the reconciliation process which could mean that a significant portion of the Biden economic agenda – mostly encapsulated in the $3.5 trillion over 10 year budget – may have to be cut down to get the entire Democratic caucus on board. Looking ahead, an event to watch out for today will be the Bank of England’s policy decision at 12:00 London time, where our economists write (link here) that they expect no change in the policy settings. However, they do expect a reaffirmation of the BoE’s updated forward guidance that some tightening will be needed over the next few years to keep inflation in check, even if it’s too early to expect a further hawkish pivot at this stage. Staying on the UK, two further energy suppliers (Avro Energy and Green Supplier) ceased trading yesterday amidst the surge in gas prices, with the two supplying 2.9% of domestic customers between them. We have actually seen a modest fall in European natural gas prices over the last couple of days, with the benchmark future down -4.81% since its close on Monday, although it’s worth noting that still leaves them up +75.90% since the start of August alone. There wasn’t much data to speak of yesterday, though US existing home sales fell to an annualised rate of 5.88 in August (vs. 5.89m expected). Separately, the European Commission’s advance consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area unexpectedly rose to -4.0 in September (vs. -5.9 expected). To the day ahead now, the data highlights include the September flash PMIs from around the world, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index for August, and the Kansas City fed’s manufacturing activity index for September. From central banks, there’ll be a monetary policy decision from the Bank of England, while the ECB will be publishing their Economic Bulletin and the ECB’s Elderson will also speak. From emerging markets, there’ll also be monetary policy decisions from the Central Bank of Turkey and the South African Reserve Bank. Finally in Germany, there’s an election debate with the lead candidates from the Bundestag parties. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 08:13.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

Evergrande Rocked By WSJ Report China "Making Preparations For Its Demise"; EV Unit Stops Paying Staff, Suppliers

Evergrande Rocked By WSJ Report China "Making Preparations For Its Demise"; EV Unit Stops Paying Staff, Suppliers Update (0810ET): Piling on to the chaotic swings in Evergrande, Bloomberg reports that the embattled property developer's electric-car unit has missed salary payments to some of its employees and has fallen behind on paying a number of suppliers for factory equipment, according to people familiar with the matter. Most employees at Evergrande NEV are paid at the start of every month and again on the 20th, however for some mid-level managers, the second installment for September hasn’t arrived, the people said. Several equipment suppliers, meanwhile, began withdrawing their on-site personnel from the Shanghai and Guangzhou sites as early as July after payments for machinery in Evergrande NEV’s factories weren’t made. This is clear evidence that the company's financial fragilities are having an impact beyond its core business. *  *  * It has been a rollercoaster session for Evergrande this morning. It started off optimistically enough, with Evergrande stock - which hit an all time low earlier this week in Hong Kong trading - soaring as much as 30% on furious short covering in early trading following news that the company would make an interest payment on local bonds... ... even though the big question for today was whether foreign creditors, who are also owed an $83.5 million interest payment Thursday, would get their money. In a few hours we will learn the fate of Evergrande's offshore bonds — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 22, 2021 Evergrande pared its gains before the close as selling shareholders took advantage of the price spike to continuing unloading shares, although the mood was decidedly more hopeful than on previous day, and pushed US equity futures sharply higher this morning. Said mood became even more euphoric just after 5am ET when Bloomberg blasted a flashing red headline for a report that China had told Evergrande to avoid a near-term dollar bond default...  ... in which Bloomberg reported that according to "a person familiar with the matter", financial regulators in Beijing "issued a broad set of instructions to China Evergrande Group, telling the embattled developer to focus on completing unfinished properties and repaying individual investors while avoiding a near-term default on dollar bonds." The report added that "in a recent meeting with Evergrande representatives, regulators said the company should communicate proactively with bondholders to avoid a default but didn’t give more specific guidance." And while even Bloomberg conceded that the regulatory guidance "offers few clues about what an Evergrande endgame might look like, it does suggest China’s government wants to avoid an imminent collapse of the developer that might roil financial markets and drag down economic growth." In other words, even more good news, with Beijing explicitly demanding that Evergrande should make foreign creditors whole and the implication being that an Evergrande collapse may be avoided. Or so the market though, until exactly one hour later when in a separate flashing red headline... .. Bloomberg informed the world of a story published away in the WSJ, which delivered just the opposite news, namely that "China Makes Preparations for Evergrande’s Demise" and that "authorities are asking local governments to prepare for the potential downfall of China Evergrande Group." The report, which also cited anonymous "officials familiar with the discussions" who may or may not have major financial exposure to Evergrande - which we assume are different anonymous sources from the ones Bloomberg used - signaled "a reluctance to bail out the debt-saddled property developer while bracing for any economic and social fallout from the company’s travails." The WSJ then notes that "officials characterized the actions being ordered as “getting ready for the possible storm,” but it also gives the suggestion that a nationalization of Evergrande is on the table, quoting those same officials as "saying that local-level government agencies and state-owned enterprises have been instructed to step in only at the last minute should Evergrande fail to manage its affairs in an orderly fashion." They said that local governments have been tasked with preventing unrest and mitigating the ripple effect on home buyers and the broader economy, for example by limiting job losses—scenarios that have grown in likelihood as Evergrande’s situation has worsened. The report also notes that local governments have been ordered to "assemble groups of accountants and legal experts to examine the finances around Evergrande’s operations in their respective regions, talk to local state-owned and private property developers to prepare to take over local real-estate projects and set up law-enforcement teams to monitor public anger and so-called “mass incidents,” a euphemism for protests, according to the people." In other words, just as we explained in "How Evergrande Became Too Big To Fail And Why Beijing Will Have To Bail It Out", Beijing will be dragged in -kicking and screaming - with a bailout of Evergrande one way or another, in order to prevent Beijing's biggest nightmare - mass social unrest. That said, a nationalization scenario does not answer today's $640 billion question: will Evergrande's offshore bondholders be made whole, or will the upcoming nationalization  be part of a broader balance sheet restructuring. What we do know is that as of 645am ET this morning, Bloomberg also reported that two holders of a China Evergrande Group dollar bond with a coupon due later Thursday "said they hadn’t received payment as of 5pm Hong Kong time" with Bloomberg adding that "there was no immediate reply from Evergrande to questions about the interest payment."  In short, total chaos continues, market reaction notwithstanding, and we expect it will get far more confusing from here as Chinese "sources" use reputable US mainstream media sources to not only convey what is going on but to allow themselves (and their conflicts of interest) an exit mechanism. After all, it's not as if anyone will prosecute them for insider trading. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 09:13.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

Fossil Fuel Companies Say Hydrogen Made From Natural Gas Is a Climate Solution. But the Tech May Not Be Very Green

But the tech may not actually be very green As a committee of climate scientists and environmental officials deliberated over how to drastically cut New York State’s carbon footprint last summer, natural gas industry representatives were putting forward a counterintuitive pitch: hydrogen, made from fossil fuels. The concept was simple, explained natural-gas proponents serving on the state’s climate-action council. Industrial hydrogen suppliers had long used a process called steam methane reforming (SMR) to produce what the industry calls “gray” hydrogen from natural gas—a system that accounts for 95% of all current hydrogen production, but releases large amounts of carbon emissions. Emissions-free “green” hydrogen can be produced using water and renewable electricity, but that tends to be more expensive than making gray hydrogen. The solution, gas-industry representatives said, was to pursue a kind of carbon compromise. Instead of making expensive green hydrogen, industrial gray hydrogen facilities could be outfitted with carbon capture systems that buried their emissions underground. Voila: A new color in the hydrogen rainbow—safe, clean, abundant “blue” hydrogen to power the economy of the future. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Bob Howarth, a Cornell University climate scientist serving on the N.Y. State carbon-drawdown committee, decided to look into the gas industry’s arguments. “I’m not surprised that people in the natural gas industry are trying to suggest ways that they keep their industry alive,” he says. “But I was skeptical.” Together with Mark Jacobson, an atmospheric scientist at Stanford University, Howarth set out to document the full emissions picture arising from blue hydrogen production. The results, published Aug. 12 in Energy Science and Engineering, were striking. According to Howarth and Jacobson’s calculations, capturing SMR carbon emissions uses so much energy and results in so much extra leakage of methane—another greenhouse gas that has many times more warming potential than carbon dioxide—that any possible CO2 emissions benefit is nearly canceled out, leaving in place a process that produces about 90% of the emissions of making grey hydrogen. Blue hydrogen is so dirty, in fact, that it’s worse for the climate than burning natural gas for heat in the first place, the researchers found. But in the meantime, blue hydrogen’s proponents were hard at work. Backed up by industry-funded reports, lobbyists had been pushing blue hydrogen to governments around the world, and the governments were listening. The E.U. released a strategy last summer that proposed expanding blue hydrogen production over the next decade. In the U.K., bureaucrats were crafting a national “hydrogen strategy,” released last month, that gives ample support to blue hydrogen development. In the U.S., legislators are currently negotiating a trillion-dollar infrastructure package that, in its current form, would allocate $8 billion to develop so-called “clean” hydrogen, much of it using fossil fuels. To some extent, Howarth’s work had come too late. “Industry marketing is way out ahead of scientific research and policy sometimes,” he says. That’s nothing new. From claims that natural gas could be a “bridge” to lower emissions, to promises of decarbonization through “clean coal,” pie-in-the-sky propositions from the fossil-fuel industry have been a feature of climate policy discussions for years. Now, with worldwide political will finally coalescing around an urgent imperative to draw down carbon emissions, natural-gas producers like Shell and BP and distributors like Engie have allied themselves with companies like Air Liquide that have long produced SMR hydrogen to promote blue hydrogen—which looks clean from certain angles, but from others, appears as CO2-intensive as other fossil fuels—as the future of the energy industry. Industry groups say blue hydrogen will be critical to meeting the world’s climate goals, and can be part of a broad strategy to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. But some scientists and experts say the hydrogen industry’s real purpose is to preserve the value of its natural-gas resources and distribution systems under the cover of climate stewardship, locking the world into a technology that will release yet more methane and CO2 emissions for decades to come. For those of us who have gotten used to seeing hydrogen in the context of sleek concept cars, it can be surprising to learn that large-scale hydrogen production has been around for more than a century. Hydrogen became particularly useful after the early 20th century invention of the Haber process, which combines the gas with nitrogen in the atmosphere to produce ammonia, a compound valuable for its use in fertilizer and explosives. U.S. fossil-fuel companies began operating SMR plants to make hydrogen from natural gas in the 1930s, and the industry grew over the following decades. Oil refineries also use hydrogen to remove sulfur from crude oil, with many refineries currently producing their own hydrogen on-site from natural gas. About 6% of the world’s natural gas (and 2% of coal, through another carbon-intensive process) is currently used to produce hydrogen, emitting 830 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, according to the International Energy Agency. In all, hydrogen production accounts for about 2% of all the world’s carbon emissions. But when used as a fuel, hydrogen has an environmental advantage over fossil fuels: burning hydrogen releases nothing but water vapor. Amid rising public concern over climate change in the early 2000s, hydrogen underwent a PR renaissance. No longer was it just a dirty industrial feedstock—now it was the fuel of the future. Though most hydrogen at the time was produced using SMR, experts knew large amounts of it could, in theory, be extracted from water using solar or wind power. And though the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow, the hydrogen fuel made using those resources could be transported anywhere and used any time, essentially acting like a portable battery to store renewable energy. “Hydrogen fuel cells represent one of the most encouraging, innovative technologies of our era,” said U.S. President George W. Bush in 2003 while announcing a $1.2 billion federal initiative to launch a fledgling hydrogen sector. Promises of a “hydrogen economy” that would see fossil fuels phased out in favor of the lightest element to power everything from stove-top burners to trucks abounded. But hydrogen’s golden hour, particularly in the automotive sector, was to be short lived. In 2009, the new Obama Administration energy secretary and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu publicly lambasted the idea of a fleet of hydrogen-powered cars, saying the technology wasn’t progressing fast enough, and tried to cut government research funding. Congress restored those funds, though the Energy Department succeeded in making deep hydrogen cuts two years later. The next decade saw hydrogen’s prospects further decline. While hydrogen-powered vehicles from the likes of Toyota were beset by cost problems and difficulties building out fueling infrastructure, the battery-electric sector took off, with industry newcomers like Tesla selling half a million cars a year by the end of the next decade. Seeing which way the wind was blowing, other automakers like GM and Nissan quietly backed off hydrogen passenger car projects (though GM has continued to invest heavily in fuel cells for larger commercial vehicles). But hydrogen stalwarts weren’t going down without a fight. In the late 2010s, fossil-fuel companies, automakers, natural-gas grid operators and legacy SMR hydrogen companies, among others, began promoting a new narrative: Hydrogen, they said, was essential to a green-energy transition. “Green” hydrogen made from renewable energy would supply some of the power demand. The “blue” variety, made from natural gas, would make up the rest, with carbon-capture-and-storage technologies mitigating its emissions. That blue hydrogen narrative is largely descended from previous industry hype cycles around so-called “clean coal,” says Jan Rosenow, European Programme Director for the Regulatory Assistance Project, a nonprofit that helps governments implement green-energy goals. Those projects, launched in the 2010s, were largely based on the notion that coal-fired power plants would use carbon-capture equipment to bury their emissions underground—but they ultimately foundered, resulting in costly, federally-funded failures within a few years. After that, Rosenow says, industry switched tack to promoting natural gas as a low-carbon transition fuel, a push that drew environmental outcry over methane leaks along the gas-supply chain. Fossil-fuel companies, Rosenow says, needed a new option. “That’s where the whole discussion around hydrogen comes from,” he says. As China began to cash in on a green-tech manufacturing boom in the late-2010s, European governments eager to dominate a nascent hydrogen sector proved a receptive audience for industry pitches. In 2020, the non-profit watchdog group Corporate Europe Observatory released a report pointing out what it said were worrying signs of industry influence in the E.U. hydrogen strategy. “The bodies being created by the E.U. like the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance are completely industry dominated and industry driven,” says Pascoe Sabido, a researcher at Corporate Europe Observatory. “I don’t know if I’d even call it lobbying—this is the E.U. putting industry in the driving seat.” He frames the hydrogen push as an attempt by fossil fuel companies to shift a coming green energy transition to suit their own interests, pointing to their involvement in hydrogen industry groups like the Hydrogen Council and Hydrogen Europe. The secretariats of both organizations were previously managed by FTI Consulting, a consulting firm that garnered controversy last year over its role in setting up groups like Texans for Natural Gas and the Main Street Investors Coalition as part of a fossil fuel industry influence campaign. Then Bob Howarth and Mark Jacobson came out with their report last month, further sandbagging the blue hydrogen airship. Industry groups representing SMR producers, fossil-fuel companies and other hydrogen players contest their findings, pointing to their own reports, which argue that the technology can produce energy at an emissions cost 80% to 90% lower than pure fossil fuels. Daryl Wilson, executive director of the Hydrogen Council, an industry consortium, argues that Howarth’s blue hydrogen report would have come up with lower methane leakage rates if it had looked only at wells that were following industry best practices. But Howarth says there is little evidence that many in the industry actually operate that way. (Satellite imaging in recent years has found alarming gas leakage from wells and pipelines around the world.) In their calculations, he and Jacobson used the average methane leakage rate across the U.S. natural gas industry, a number they say better reflects real-world conditions. Right now, there are only a handful of blue-hydrogen facilities around the world, but governments are preparing subsidies and investments that, if enacted, will lead to the construction of many more. Chris Jackson, a green-hydrogen entrepreneur who resigned as chair of the U.K. Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association earlier this month over the group’s inclusion of blue-hydrogen proponents, worries that fossil-fuel companies have once again hijacked the green-energy conversation. “Is it really appropriate and right that limited government resources from the public, which are meant to be supporting genuine net-zero technologies, should instead be spent on essentially allowing oil and gas companies to continue to operate the way they do today?,” Jackson says. Plans for new blue-hydrogen facilities, he says, don’t make sense from either an environmental or economic perspective. “You’re putting in infrastructure that’s going to take you five years to build and going to be there for 20 years. Everyone should be asking themselves: ‘if this is an asset…in the middle of 2040, [is it] still going to make sense to be running?’ And if not, you have to ask the question right now: ‘why are you building it?'” Even some with optimistic views of blue hydrogen don’t see why the public should support new facilities. Dolf Gielen, director of the International Renewable Energy Agency’s Innovation and Technology Centre in Bonn, Germany, generally supports blue hydrogen, but disagrees on the question of government assistance. “If blue hydrogen means you add some [carbon-capture equipment] to an existing [methane] reformer facility, why not?” says Gielen. “It’s a different question whether governments should subsidize new blue hydrogen.” Others say it makes little sense to invest limited government funds in a technology that only promises to reduce carbon emissions, rather than eliminate them completely. “We’re talking about 100% reductions in emissions to get to net zero,” says Rosenow, of the Regulatory Assistance Project. “In that context, there isn’t any space for just an 80% reduction. And that’s what blue hydrogen would probably deliver.” In the massive, unthinkably complex task of replacing every boiler, automobile, locomotive, cargo ship, and airplane with a carbon-free alternative—indeed, of tearing out just about every piece of machinery installed over the past hundred years—planners, corporations, governments and citizens generally have two options for what sort of system should take their place: hydrogen or electric. Hydrogen has a high-energy density, which means it would theoretically be lighter, making it good for airplanes, long-haul trucks, and for creating especially high temperatures, like those needed to produce essential materials like steel. But because you lose a lot of energy converting electricity into green hydrogen, and because it requires new infrastructure, electricity is better for smaller scale uses like heating buildings and powering cars. But some industry players are still trying to make hydrogen happen for all sorts of energy uses. Toyota, for instance, has continued what some green energy analysts consider to be a quixotic quest to popularize hydrogen cars, even going so far as to lobby against fuel efficiency rules and gasoline car phase-out requirements around the world that would benefit its battery-electric rivals. European gas companies have sought to show the world that homes can be heated with hydrogen, while industry consortiums push a vision of continent-wide hydrogen distribution networks both to supply gas for industry, and to replace natural-gas home-heating systems. Wilson says such initiatives have a place in an overall decarbonization strategy, and that they could be supplied by both blue and green hydrogen. “The optimized answer for transport and heating will vary region to region,” he says. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer here.” Of course, it’s hard to know for sure; a clear idea about the benefits of blue hydrogen would require spending a few decades and many billions of dollars building the infrastructure necessary to test it. But if blue hydrogen doesn’t pan out, we might be wishing we could go back in time and think a bit harder about investing in that technology now. As for the vast new hydrogen economy it’s intended to supply, many experts say hydrogen-fuel-cell cars are a dead end, with insurmountable cost barriers compared to battery cars, and opponents have characterized hydrogen-based home-heating plans as a gambit intended to extend the life of the gas industry through a vast expenditure of public resources. “The science demands that we keep fossil fuels in the ground,” says Sabido, of the Corporate Europe Observatory. “If we started from that point, [fossil-fuel companies] wouldn’t have a business model. So they’re doing whatever they can to ensure…that the assets they currently have on their books still have value.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 22nd, 2021

While Democrats Try To "Kill Coal" In US, Asia Heads In The Opposite Direction

While Democrats Try To 'Kill Coal' In US, Asia Heads In The Opposite Direction Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration are working towards an ambitious goal of eliminating coal-fired electricity and 'decarbonize' the US electric grid by 2035. To meet such an aggressive deadline, House Democrats unveiled a $150 billion 'clean electricity' program to incentivize utility companies to phase out fossil fuels for clean energy. The Clean Electricity Performance Program, or CEPP, would reward utility that boost their percentage of electricity supplied to the grid from green sources - such as solar, wind and hydro, between 2023 and 2030.  Exhaust rises from the East Bend Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant owned and operated by Duke Energy, along the Ohio River in Union, Kentucky, U.S., September 14, 2017. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder) S&P Global explains more about the program:  To qualify for such a grant, electricity suppliers would have to boost the amount of clean electricity they supply to customers by 4% compared to the previous year. The supplier would receive $150 for each MWh of clean electricity provided that exceeds the amount supplied the previous year by 1.5%. Electricity supplies must use the grants exclusively to benefit customers, including for direct bill assistance, investments in qualified clean electricity and energy efficiency, and worker retention. An electricity supplier that does not meet the criteria by increasing its clean electricity percentage by at least 4% over the prior year would owe a payment to the Energy Department based on its shortfall. For example, if an electricity supplier only increases its clean energy by 2%, the supplier would owe $40 for each MWh that represents the 2% shortfall. In short, Democrats are asking power companies to take a huge gamble on renewable energy - which would effectively 'kill' coal-fired electricity in the US. "The CEPP would eliminate coal-fired electricity by 2030, if not sooner," according to a letter to House reps by Michelle Bloodworth, CEO of America's Power - which represents top miners, who added that the program would also "eliminate or at least drastically curtail the use of natural gas to generate electricity." Biden's plans to decarbonize the power sector by 2035 is an enormous task, however according to America's Power, utilities are already making the switch - rushing headfirst into solar and wind projects which have inherent stability risks. For example, there have been three significant grid issues this year involving renewables, the first in Texas, then California, and the UK. In Texas, a cold snap in early 2021 froze wind turbines and nearly crashed the entire power grid in the state. In California, wildfires strained the clean energy grid where state officials requested the federal government to relax air quality rules to burn natural gas turbines. And in the UK, wind power generation has dropped, straining the grid.   Not all Democrats agree In a break from Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin from the mining state of West Virginia mentioned last month that the coal industry "will be saved, has to be saved, because the country can't survive without it." He believes that there will eventually be "a transition" to other energy sources like atomic fusion, hydrogen gas, and nuclear power.  While coal generation has dropped by half over the past two decades, its use has sharply risen since the pandemic began -  increasing from 15% to 23%. And while US progressives may be able to 'kill' coal in the West (at potentially great cost to grid stability), Asia is headed in the opposite direction. Last month, TIME reported that China is planning to build 43 new coal-fired power plants and 18 new blast furnaces, despite the world's largest polluter pledging to bring its emissions to a peak before 2030, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. China is leading the world in new coal power plants, building more than three times as much new coal power capacity as all other countries in the world combined in 2020. It isn’t alone in its reliance on coal, however. China and four other countries, India, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam, account for more than 80% of the coal power stations planned across the world, according to a June report by the think-tank Carbon Tracker. -TIME As FreightWaves' Greg Miller noted in July, bulk ships full of coal are headed to Asia. "Turns out the news of the demise of coal has been greatly exaggerated," said Stifel analyst Ben Nolan in a new client note. "Despite an unseemly carbon footprint, coal demand is actually accelerating this year" across much of Asia. In other words, China is leading a coal recovery by restarting dozens of shuttered coal mines to increase power demand, while other Asian nations are engaged in their own coal projects. So as Democrats stage a dramatic 'kill the coal' campaign in the United States - an effort which will only be passed along to consumers (hurting low-income families the most), many other parts of the world, including China, Australia, South Africa, and South America, continue to use traditional energy sources as demand shows no signs of abating. Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 23:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

Thinking of Investing in a Green Fund? Many Don’t Live Up to Their Promises, a New Report Claims

Green investment funds are proliferating—and so is the dubious practice of "greenwashing" The number of green investment funds is skyrocketing, but many are investing in companies that aren’t aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. That’s according to a report published on Aug. 27 by InfluenceMap. The London-based climate change think tank accused the majority of green funds of falling short. InfluenceMap assessed 723 equity funds—with over $330 billion in total net assets—marketed using environmental, social and governance (ESG) claims and climate-related key words. It concluded that more than half of the climate-themed funds, which describe themselves with phrases like “low carbon,” “energy transition,” and “clean energy,” fall short of the vision laid out in the Paris treaty. Adopted in 2015, the pact calls on countries to do their best to reduce emissions to keep global temperatures to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels—and preferably no more than 1.5°C—in the hopes of avoiding the worst consequences of climate change. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] More than 70% of the funds with broader ESG goals are also misaligned with global climate targets, according to the think tank. Such funds take ethical criteria into account besides environmental factors. As well as the greenhouse gas emissions of a company, for example, they might also consider how it treats its employees and the diversity of its board. Read More: The Latest IPCC Report Says We’re Probably Going to Pass the 1.5°C Climate Threshold. What’s Next? The report looked at company shares that asset managers held in their portfolios and considered how compatible the planned operations of those companies were with limiting warming to below 2°C (for example, by assessing how many electric, hybrid and internal combustion engines an automotive company might produce). It found a large discrepancy between them. “There exists a wide variability in the market and the InfluenceMap report shines a bright light on that lack of ESG standardization,” says Nina Seega, the research director for sustainable finance at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. The report also alleged shortcomings in the ESG funds of some of the world’s largest asset managers, including UBS Group AG and BlackRock, Inc., whose CEO Larry Fink has promised to put sustainability at the core of how the company invests. It claimed some climate-themed funds had holdings in the fossil-fuel industry, including a BlackRock “fossil fuel screened” fund, and a State Street Corporation “fossil fuel reserves free” fund, which held shares in Marathon Petroleum and Phillips 66—”two of the world’s most egregious fossil fuel lobbying companies preventing policy-based climate action, according to InfluenceMap’s research on corporate lobbying on climate change policy.” This latest analysis adds to a chorus of concerns over “greenwashing”—the practice of claiming spurious environmental benefits—as worry over climate change intensifies . Assets in ESG funds soared to over $1.7 trillion in 2020, according to the industry tracker Morningstar. A report published by the Economist in May found that some of the world’s biggest ESG funds are “stuffed full of polluters and sin stocks.” U.S. and German authorities launched an investigation last month into Deutsche Bank AG’s asset-management arm DWS Group, after a former executive alleged that the firm overstated the environmental credentials of some of its products. (DWS Group rejected the allegations). BlackRock’s former CIO of sustainable investing, Tariq Fancy, accused the financial world of greenwashing in a March op-ed in USA Today. “In truth, sustainable investing boils down to little more than marketing hype, PR spin and disingenuous promises from the investment community,” he said. A BlackRock spokesperson told TIME that the InfluenceMap analysis contained “gaps” and did not include several of its funds, including the Paris-aligned Climate ETFs. BlackRock has also “developed a wide variety of sustainable strategies that support clients in achieving their investing goals, including strategies that reduce exposure to fossil fuels to strategies that that incorporate climate alignment,” the spokesperson said via email. Olivia Offner, a spokesperson for State Street, said: “To meet differing investor needs and risk profiles, we offer a range of ESG strategies, including funds aligned to the Paris Agreement, and funds that meet climate objectives in other ways.” InfluenceMap acknowledged that some funds were outside the scope of its research, and said it only assessed funds within certain parameters set out in the report. Scrutiny of green funds is increasing The global asset management industry stands at more than $100 trillion, and many of the world’s largest asset managers have set climate targets: 128 asset managers with $43 trillion in assets have signed the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, committing to supporting the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. “ESG funds can make a really meaningful impact by reallocating capital away from companies that refuse to be part of the transition to the net zero economy,” says Nick Robins, a professor in practice for sustainable finance at the London School of Economics (LSE). “Using the investor voice to press for change in business practices and policy frameworks is crucial so that we get the system change we need.” Daan Van Acker, the analyst at InfluenceMap who wrote the report, says that he believes there should be a more consistent approach to branding and the marketing language of ESG funds. “It can be quite difficult for investors to accurately be able to analyze whether a fund corresponds to their investment goals,” he says. Regulators across the world are already cracking down. The European Union implemented an ambitious rule in March. Known as the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), it seeks to enhance transparency on just how sustainable financial products actually are. Read More: A Climate Solution Lies Deep Under the Ocean—But Accessing It Could Have Huge Environmental Costs Europe is ahead of the U.S. and Asia in its regulation, but authorities elsewhere are also making changes. Hong Kong’s financial regulator is enhancing disclosure requirements for ESG funds, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) formed a task force early this year to investigate potential misconduct related to companies’ sustainability claims. “Many funds these days brand themselves as green, sustainable, low-carbon, and so on,” SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said on Sept. 1 in a speech delivered to the European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. “I’ve directed staff to review current practices and consider recommendations about whether fund managers should disclose the criteria and underlying data they use to market themselves as such.” Despite the challenges, experts say that the proliferation of green funds is a good thing. “I do think greenwashing is prevalent in the fund industry,” says Dragon Tang, a professor of finance at the University of Hong Kong’s Business School. “Most fund managers cannot just become ESG experts overnight. Many of them are also not truly committed to long-term environmental and social benefits,” But he adds: “While I think it is paramount to guard against greenwashing, I am glad to see the current wave of support for ESG. Some funds may intend to greenwash, but then they may change and really do go green.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 21st, 2021

US troops in Syria seem to be getting hit with directed-energy attacks, and the Pentagon suspects Russia is doing it, report says

The Department of Defense has been investigating incidents since last year, officials told Politico. .....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 22nd, 2021

I stayed at a free 10-day quarantine hotel in NYC when I got COVID-19. Programs like these need to be more widespread if we want to get a hold on the virus.

The program was completely free and helped me keep my roommate safe, but very few people know about it and very few cities have a similar program. A scene from the first floor of the USC Hotel on April 27, 20202 where USC medical staff are allowed to self-quarantine after working in high-risk hospital. Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images I discovered the hotel program after testing positive for COVID-19 and researching places to safely quarantine. The program is open to all New Yorkers and tourists who have tested positive, but few people know about it. As the Delta variant spreads, programs like this are a great way to limit transmission. Catherine Morrison is a writer and recent graduate from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. See more stories on Insider's business page. Dani and his mother Gloria hadn't planned to stay in New York City for long. Traveling from Paraguay, they arrived in New York on June 28. They came to get a vaccination for Dani, 20, an electrical engineering student who is not yet eligible for the COVID vaccine in their home country.The day before they were scheduled to board their flight home, Dani and Gloria found themselves staying in a hotel with scheduled meals, nurses visits, and outdoor breaks. They had tested positive for COVID-19, and the city recommended a stay at a COVID-19 isolation hotel. I met them because I had checked in, too.NYC Health and Hospitals initially implemented the Isolation Hotel Program in April 2020. While the program provides a safe, affordable space for local residents and travelers to quarantine, very few have ever heard of it. So much so that I thought it was an online scam when I was desperately researching places I could stay to avoid infecting my roommate. New York's COVID-19 hotels are a powerful weapon in the arsenal against the pandemic, especially as variants continue to rise.According to a spokesperson for NYC Health and Hospitals, the initial goal of the program was to provide safer spaces for patients suspected or confirmed to be exposed to COVID-19, who had been discharged from inpatient and emergency room settings, and who did not have places to isolate or quarantine. Now, the program is open to any New York residents - individuals who tested positive and their roommates - or out-of-state travelers who have tested positive or have been exposed to the virus.New York operated five hotels at the peak of the pandemic, but hotels were decommissioned as infection rates decreased. Since March 2020, over 24,000 New York residents have checked in, but the hotels have never been at capacity. The Laguardia Plaza Hotel on the afternoon of July 8, captured during a scheduled outdoor break Catherine Morrison While New York's isolation program is not the only one in the country, it is one of the largest. Other major cities like Chicago, Baltimore, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Miami, and cities across California also have programs for those in need of quarantining spaces. More rural areas, however, have yet to implement such programs."We know of no other city that created a hotel program as early or extensively as our own," a spokesperson for NYC Health and Hospitals said.Now that variants have sparked a new wave, officials anticipate the number of patients to increase again, but shouldn't we be doing more to ensure people in need know about this option? Staying in the isolation hotel I checked into the hotel on the same day as Dani and Gloria. I had woken up that morning with a runny nose and a slight cough. To plan for the worst, I made my way to the CityMD walk-in clinic to get a rapid test. As I left the clinic, I got a call from the doctor."I'm sorry, but your result was actually positive," she said. The person I was most worried about infecting was my roommate. After texting her that I was positive, I locked myself in my room until she could go get tested - thankfully she tested negative. Knowing that I wouldn't want to put her at risk by staying in our small apartment, I started looking into options for alternative housing. She was the one who sent me a text about the isolation hotel program. Immediately, I got on the phone and, within three hours, a car was downstairs, ready to drive me off to the hotel - at no charge because they didn't want me to take public transit.Eligible under the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the city offers the program to guests entirely free, including a 10-night stay with three daily meals, a weekly laundry service, and four outdoor breaks a day.During the outdoor breaks, I spoke with the other guests to hear about how they got to the hotel. Everyone I met decided to enroll in fear of getting someone else infected.Dani and Gloria were staying at Dani's aunt's apartment in Astoria, Queens when they got the news. Unsure of what to do, they got a call from the city the next morning informing them of the program and were brought via government-ordered ride share service to the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel."We were scared and we were looking for hotels to go to because we didn't want to infect [Dani's aunt]," Dani said. "And then they called us. We were so relieved." Dani and Gloria on June 30, 2021, two days after arriving in New York City. Catherine Morrison As I met more hotel guests, I questioned why more New Yorkers didn't use this program. Most infected residents probably assume there aren't reasonable alternatives and decide to isolate at home. But as household transmission is responsible for a vast majority of infections, and 77% of those infected with COVID admit they cannot effectively isolate at home, why wouldn't more New Yorkers try to find a safe space to quarantine?While it could be fear of leaving their homes, or being surrounded by other sick guests, or not having the knowledge of the program, it's evident that, in order for these programs to be most successful, the city needs to find ways to make it more accessible and the case for isolating effectively more compelling.No one knows about this programMy classmate who also got infected when I did, Nidhi Upadhyaya, only learned about the program after the city contacted her two days after getting tested, once she had already found alternative accommodation."I was absolutely terrified about infecting my roommate," Upadhyaya said. From social media advertisements to billboards to pamphlets handed out at testing centers around the city, there's so much more the city could do to make individuals aware of the program."The program almost seems intentionally hidden," Jon Orbach, my other classmate who tested positive, said. "There could be advertisements on the subway or online. The only way of knowing about this program would have been word of mouth, so any advertisements would have increased public awareness."A spokesperson from NYC Health and Hospitals explained that the city has released multiple campaigns promoting the hotel program, including on social media - though they have mainly been aimed at individuals with COVID-19 or those who have been exposed. My room at the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel. Catherine Morrison Missing from the hotel were New York's homeless - some of the most vulnerable during the pandemic. Between July 2019 and June 2020, 613 homeless New Yorkers died, a 52% increase from the previous year, indicating the tragic effects of the pandemic. With many of the city's homeless living in shelters, where keeping a safe distance is nearly impossible, COVID was the leading cause of this increase in deaths. However, New York is not alone in facing this problem. With over 580,000 people in the United States experiencing homelessness and COVID breakouts occurring in shelters around the country, it's essential that this community have access to services like hotel isolation programs.A spokesperson from NYC Health and Hospitals told me that people are most commonly referred to the program from a medical setting. Unfortunately, the homeless often don't have access to medical services that would allow for them to access referrals or learn about the isolation program. The spokesperson did say that the Department of Homeless Services also maintains a hotel isolation program. While breakthrough cases were once seen as rare, they are now happening all over the country. As cases continue to increase, it's clear that isolation programs will be even more important. Those living in community living situations, with elderly or sick people in their homes, and those with medical issues themselves benefit tremendously from having a safe place to quarantine.It's important that cities that already have services in place work to better market their programs to reach residents and visitors. As well, it's crucial that they integrate the homeless community into their program to ensure they're able to access the shelter they need to recover.For those cities and states that don't yet have hotel isolation programs at all, it's time to work with cities like New York who have established hotel isolation programs to make quarantining spaces available across the country.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider13 hr. 52 min. ago

The US and 23 other countries enacted laws to try and control content on the internet, study finds

Internet freedom has declined for the past 11 years globally, according to the report from Freedom House. Twitter Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images 24 different countries created new laws or rules determining how online platforms can treat content, a study by Freedom House found. Internet freedom has declined for the past 11 years globally, according to the report. The trend can be attributed to problems like extremism, fraud, and criminal activity in the internet. See more stories on Insider's business page. Authorities in at least 24 different countries, including the US, created new laws or rules determining how online platforms can treat content, a study finds.Freedom House, a Washington DC-based democracy advocacy group, reported that global internet freedom has been on the decline for 11 consecutive years.Freedom House, which publishes its Freedom on the Net report annually, found that at least 48 countries pursued new rules for tech companies on content, data, and competition in 2020, and 24 countries created new rulings specifically on how content is treated on the internet. Some of the rulings include requirements to take down illegal content, stronger transparency, and extremes like political and journalistic censorship, according to the study.Freedom House says the trend can be attributed to problems within society like extremism, exploitative business practices, and criminal activity.The report said there were "few positive exceptions" to the worldwide push to regulate the big tech companies, such as dismantling harmful online harassment and manipulative market practices."While a few measures introduced this year have the potential to hold tech giants more accountable for their performance, most simply impose state and even political responsibilities on private firms without securing greater rights for users," the report said. This past year, officials in India pressured Twitter to remove protest-related commentary and to stop flagging manipulated content shared by the ruling party. In Nigeria, authorities blocked access to Twitter across the country after the social media platform removed incendiary posts by the country's president. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to stop social media companies like Facebook and Twitter from censoring users based on their politics and allows private citizens and the Texas attorney general to sue tech companies who they believe have unfairly kicked someone off a platform, Insider reported. Two major trade groups have sued Abbott and Texas over the bill, saying in the lawsuit it will "unconstitutionally require platforms like YouTube and Facebook to disseminate, for example, pro-Nazi speech, terrorist propaganda, foreign government disinformation, and medical misinformation."Currently, Twitter does not screen content or remove potentially offensive content, according to the company's policy. But targeted abuse or harassment can violate Twitter rules.Facebook, in a white paper released by the company last year, said it wants regulators to create legal standards for content moderation. Earlier this month, a meeting of Facebook leaders focused on "whether Facebook has gotten too big," Insider reported. Facebook, the world's largest social network, with nearly 3 billion users, disagreed with the report.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider13 hr. 52 min. ago

The "Great Game" Moves On

The 'Great Game' Moves On Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Following America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, her focus has switched to the Pacific with the establishment of a joint Australian and UK naval partnership. The founder of modern geopolitical theory, Halford Mackinder, had something to say about this in his last paper, written for the Council on Foreign Relations in 1943. Mackinder anticipated this development, though the actors and their roles at that time were different. In particular, he foresaw the economic emergence of China and India and the importance of the Pacific region. This article discusses the current situation in Mackinder’s context, taking in the consequences of green energy, the importance of trade in the Pacific region, and China’s current deflationary strategy relative to that of declining western powers aggressively pursuing asset inflation. There is little doubt that the world is rebalancing as Mackinder described nearly eighty years ago. To appreciate it we must look beyond the West’s current economic and monetary difficulties and the loss of its hegemony over Asia, and particularly note the improving conditions of the Asia’s most populous nations. Introduction Following NATO’s defeat in the heart of Asia, and with Afghanistan now under the Taliban’s rule, the Chinese/Russian axis now controls the Asian continental mass. Asian nations not directly related to its joint hegemony (not being members, associates, or dialog partners of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) are increasingly dependent upon it for trade and technology. Sub-Saharan Africa is in its sphere of influence. The reality for America is that the total population in or associated with the SCO is 57% of the world population. And America’s grip on its European allies is slipping. NATO itself has become less relevant, with Turkey drawn towards the rival Asian axis, and its EU members are compromised through trading and energy links with Russia and China. Furthermore, France is pushing the EU towards establishing its own army independent of US-led NATO — quite what its role will be, other than political puffery for France is a mystery. It is against this background that three of the Five Eyes intelligence partnership have formed AUKUS – standing for Australia, UK, and US — and its first agreement is to give Australia a nuclear submarine capability to strengthen the partnership’s naval power in the Pacific. Other capabilities, chiefly aimed at containing the Chinese threat to Taiwan and other allies in the Pacific Ocean, will surely emerge in due course. The other two Five Eyes, Canada and New Zealand, appear to be less keen to confront China. But perhaps they will also have less obvious roles in due course beyond pure intelligence gathering. The US, under President Trump, had failed to contain China’s increasing economic dominance and its rapidly developing technological challenge to American supremacy. Trump’s one success was to peel off the UK from its Cameron/Osbourne policy of strengthening trade and financial ties with China by threatening the UK’s important role in its intelligence partnership with the US. For the UK, the challenge came at a critical time. Brexit had happened, and the UK needed global partners for its future trade and geopolitical strategies, the latter needed to cement its re-emergence onto the world stage following Brexit. Trump held out the carrot of a fast-tracked US/UK trade deal. The Swiss alternative of neutrality in international affairs is not in the UK’s DNA, so realistically the decision was a no-brainer: the UK had to recommit itself entirely to the Anglo-Saxon Five-Eyes partnership with the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and turn its back on China. But gathering intelligence and building naval power in the Pacific won’t defeat the Chinese. All simulations show that the US, with or without AUKUS, cannot win a military conflict against China. But AUKUS is not a formal model on NATO lines which commits its members by treaty to aggression against a common enemy. While Taiwan remains a specific problem, the objective is almost certainly to discourage China from territorial expansion and protect and give other Pacific nations on the Asian periphery the security to be independent from the SCO behemoth. The trade benefits of closer relationships with these independent nations are also an additional reason for the UK to join the CPTPP — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It qualifies for membership through its sovereignty over the Pitcairn Islands. And that is why China has also applied to join. Therefore, AUKUS’s importance is in the signal sent to China and the whole Pacific region, following the abandonment of land-based operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The maritime threat to China is a line which must not be crossed. We are entering a new era in the Great Game, where the objective has changed from dominance to containment. Having lost its position of ultimate control in the Eurasian land mass America has selected its partners to retain control over the high seas. And the UK has found a new geopolitical purpose, re-establishing a global role now that it is independent from the EU. The French cannot join the CPTPP being bound into the common trade policies of the EU. Seeing the British escape the strictures of the EU and rapidly obtain more global influence than France could dream of has touched a raw nerve. Mackinder vindicated The father of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder, is frequently quoted and his theories are still relevant to the current situation. Much has been written about Mackinder’s prophecies. His concept of the World Island was first mentioned in his 1904 presentation to the Royal Geographic Society in London: “a pivot state, resulting in its expansion over the marginal lands of Euro-Asia”. In 1943 he updated his views in an article for the Council on Foreign Relations, adding to his heartland theory. Written during the Second World War, his commentary reflected the combatants and their positions at that time. But despite this, he made a perceptive comment relative to the situation today and AUKUS: “Were the Chinese for instance organised by the Japanese to overthrow the Russian Empire and conquer its territory they might constitute the yellow peril to the world’s freedom just because they would add an oceanic frontage to the resources of the great continent.” When Mackinder wrote his article the Japanese had already invaded Manchuria, but their subsequent defeat removed them from an active geopolitical role, and in place of a Soviet defeat China has entered a peaceful partnership with Russia that extends to all its old Central Asian soviet satellites. It is the focus on the ocean frontage that matters, upon which the maritime silk road depends. The article brings into play another aspect mentioned by Mackinder, and that is the Heartland’s tremendous natural resources, “…including enough coal in the Kuznetsk and Krasnoyarsk basins capable of supplying the requirements of the whole world for 300 years”. And: “In 1938 Russia produced more of the following food stuffs than any other country in the world: wheat, barley, oats, rye, and sugar beets. More manganese was produced in Russia than in any other country. It was bracketed with United States in the first place as regards iron and it stood second place in production of petroleum”. Through its partnership with Russia all these latent resources are available to the Chinese and Russian partnership. And the real potential for industrialisation, held back by communism and now by Russian corruption, has barely commenced. After presciently noting that one day the Sahara may become the trap for capturing direct power from the sun (foreseeing solar panels), Mackinder’s article ended on an optimistic note: “A thousand million people of ancient oriental civilisation inhabit the monsoon lands of India and China [today 3 billion, including Pakistan]. They must grow to prosperity in the same years in which Germany and Japan are being tamed to civilisation. They will then balance that other thousand million who live between the Missouri and the Yenisei [i.e., Central and Eastern America, Britain, Europe and Russia beyond the Urals]. A balanced globe of human beings and happy because balanced and thus free.” Both China and now India are rapidly industrialising, becoming part of a balanced globe of humanity. While the West tries to hang on to what it has got rather than progressing, China and India along with all of under-developed Asia are moving rapidly in the direction of individual freedom of economic choice and improvements in living conditions, to which Mackinder was referring. Obviously, there is some way for this process yet to go, displacing western hegemony in the process. America particularly has found the political challenges of change difficult, with its deep state unable to come to terms easily with the implications for its military and economic power. We must hope that Mackinder was right, and the shift of economic power is best to be regarded as the pains of geopolitical evolution rather than conditions for escalating conflict. But in pursuing its green agenda and eschewing carbon fuels, the West is unwittingly handing a gift to Mackinder’s Heartland, because despite diplomatic noises to the contrary China, India and all the SCO membership will continue to use cheap coal, gas, and oil which Asia has in abundance while Western manufacturers are forced by their governments to use expensive and less reliable green energy. Green obsessions and global trade Meanwhile, the West has gone green-crazy. Banning fossil fuels without there being adequate replacements must be a new definition of insanity, for which the current fuel crises in Europe attest. With over 95% of European logistics currently being shifted by diesel power, switching to battery power or hydrogen by 2030 by banning sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles is a hostage to fortune. While it is hardly mentioned, presumably the Western powers think that by banning carbon fuels they will take the wind out of Russia’s energy quasi-monopoly, because including gas Russia is the largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world. Instead, the West is creating an energy shortage for itself, a point driven home by Gazprom withholding gas flows through its pipelines to Europe, thereby driving up Europe’s energy costs sharply and ensuring a far more severe energy crisis this winter. Even if Russia turns on the taps tomorrow, there is insufficient gas storage in reserve for the winter months. And Europe and the UK have got ahead of themselves by decommissioning coal and gas-fired electricity. In the UK, a massive undersea gas storage facility off the Yorkshire coast has been closed, leaving precious little national storage capacity. As we have seen with the post-covid supply chain chaos, energy problems will not only become acute this winter, but are likely to persist through much of next year. And even that assumes Russia relents and moderates its energy stance to European customers. By way of contrast, though its partnership with Russia China is gifted unlimited access to all carbon fuels. She is still building coal-fired electricity power stations at an extraordinary rate — according to a BBC report there are 61 new ones being commissioned. A further 51 outside China are planned. As a sop to the West China has only said she won’t finance any more outside her territory. And India relies on coal for over two-thirds of its electrical energy. While Europe and America through their green obsessions are denying themselves the availability and technologies that go with carbon fuels, the Russian/Chinese axis will continue to reap the full benefits. The West’s response is likely to be to decry Chinese pollution and its contribution to global warming, but realistically there is little it can do. Demand for Chinese-manufactured goods will continue because China now has a quasi-monopoly on global manufacturing for export. In the unlikely event western consumers become avid savers while their governments continue to run massive budget deficits, their trade deficits will rise even more, allowing Chinese exporters to increase prices for consumers and intermediate goods without losing export sales. While there is nothing it can do about China’s production methods, AUKUS members will undoubtedly lean on other exporting CPTPP members to comply with global green policies. But they will be competing with China, and while they may pay lip service to the climate change agenda, in practice they are unlikely to implement it without holding out for unrealistic subsidies from the western nations driving the climate change agenda. Under current circumstances, it seems unlikely that China’s CPTPP application will lead to membership, given the CPTPP requirement for China’s central government to relinquish ownership of its SOEs and to permit the free flow of data across its borders. In any event, China is focused on developing its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement with ratification signed so far by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. It will come into effect when ratified by ten out of the fifteen signatories, likely to be in the first half of 2022, and in terms of population will be two and a half times the size of the EU and the US/Mexico/Canada (USMCA) trade agreements combined. With four out of five of the signatories being American allies, RCEP demonstrates that the AUKUS defence partnership is an entirely separate issue from trade. While the US may not like it, if RCEP goes ahead freer trade will almost certainly undermine a belligerent stance in due course. Despite hiccups, the progression of trade dealing in the Pacific region promises to prove Mackinder right about the prospect of a more balanced world. All being well and guaranteed by a balance of naval capabilities between AUKUS and China, a free-trading Pacific region will render the European and American trade protectionist policies an anachronism. But the threat is now from another direction: financial instability, with western nations pulling in one direction and China in another. Since the Lehman collapse and the ensuing financial crisis, China has been careful to prevent financial bubbles. Figure 1 shows that the Shanghai Composite Index has risen 82% since 2008, while the S&P500 rose 430%. While the US has seen financial asset values driven by a combination of QE and investor speculation, these factors are absent and discouraged in China. Government debt to GDP is about half that of the US. It is true that industrial debt is high, like that of the US. But the difference is that in China debt is more productive while in America there has been a growing preponderance of debt zombies, only kept solvent by zero interest rate policies. China’s policy of ensuring that the expansion of bank credit is invested in production and not speculation differs fundamentally from the US approach, which is to deliberately inflate financial assets to perpetuate a wealth effect. China avoids the destabilising potential of speculative flows unwinding because it lays the economy open to the possibility that America will use financial instability to undermine China’s economy. In a speech to the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee in April 2015, Major-General Qiao Liang, the People’s Liberation Army strategist, identified a cycle of dollar weakness against other currencies followed by strength, which first inflated debt in foreign countries and then bankrupted them. Qiao argued it was a deliberate American policy and would be used against China. In his words, it was time for America to “harvest” China. Drawing on Chinese intelligence reports, in early 2014 he was made aware of American involvement in the “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong. After several delays, the Fed announced the end of QE the following September which drove the dollar higher, and “Occupy Central” protests broke out the following month. To Qiao the two events were connected. By undermining the dollar/yuan rate and provoking riots, the Americans had tried to crash China’s economy. Within six months the Shanghai stock market began to collapse with the SSE Composite Index falling from 5,160 to 3,050 between June and September 2015. One cannot know for certain if Qiao’s analysis was correct, but one can understand the Chinese leadership’s continued caution based upon it. For this and other reasons, the Chinese leadership is extremely wary of having dollar liabilities and the accumulation of unproductive, speculative money in the economy. It justifies their strict exchange control regime, whereby dollars are not permitted to circulate in China, and all inward capital flows are turned into yuan by the PBOC. Furthermore, domestic monetary policy appears deliberately different from that of America and other western nations. While everyone else has been inflating their way through covid, China has been restricting domestic credit expansion and curtailing shadow banking. The discount rate is held up at 2.9% with market rates slightly lower at 2.2%, and the only reason it is that low is because alternative dollar rates are at zero and EU and Japanese rates are negative. It is this restrictive monetary policy that has led to the current crisis in property developers, with the very public difficulties of Evergrande. Far from being a surprise event, with cautious monetary policies it could have been easily foreseen. Moreover, the government has a sensible policy of not rescuing private sector businesses in trouble, though it is likely to take steps to limit financial contagion. In their glass houses, Western critics continually throw stones at China. But at least her policy makers have attempted to avoid contributing to the global inflation cycle. With prices beginning to rise at an accelerating pace in western currencies, a new global financial crash is in the making. China and her SCO cohort would be adversely affected, but not to the same extent. The fruits of China’s policies of restricting credit expansion are showing in the commodity prices she pays, which in her own currency have increased by ten per cent less than for dollar-based competition, judging by the exchange rate movements since the Fed reduced its funds rate to the zero bound and instigated monthly QE of $120bn on 19-23 March 2020 (see Figure 2). And while both currencies have moved broadly sideways since January, there is little doubt that the fundamentals point to an even stronger yuan and weaker dollar. The domestic benefits of a relatively stronger yuan outweigh the margin compression suffered by China’s exporters. It is worth noting that as well as moderating credit demand, China is attempting to increase domestic consumer spending at the expense of the savings rate, so consumer demand will begin to matter more than exports to producers. It is in line with a long-term objective of China becoming less dependent on exports, and exporters will benefit from domestic sales growth instead. Furthermore, with China dominating global exports of intermediate and consumer goods and while western budget deficits are increasing and leading to yet greater trade deficits, Chinese exporters should be able to secure higher prices anyway. There can be little doubt that the budget deficits financed by monetary inflation in America, the EU, Japan and the UK, plus central bank stimulus packages are now undermining the purchasing power of all the major currencies. The consequences for their purchasing powers are now becoming apparent and attempts to calm markets and consumers by describing them as transient cuts little ice. In terms of their purchasing powers, these currencies are now in a race to the bottom. Not only are the costs of production rising sharply, but following a brief pause of three months, commodity and energy prices look set to rise sharply. Figure 3 shows the Invesco commodity tracker, which having almost doubled since March 2020 now appears to be attempting a break out on the upside. Since global competitiveness is no longer a priority, China would be sensible to let its yuan exchange rate rise against western currencies to help keep a lid on domestic prices and costs. It is, after all, a savings driven economy, with the sustainable characteristics of a strong currency relative to the dollar. Conclusions Having failed in their land-based military objectives, America’s undeclared tariff and financial wars against China are also coming to an end, to be replaced by a policy of maritime containment through the AUKUS partnership. Attempts to stem strategic losses in Asia have now ended with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and from other interventions.The change in geopolitical policy is not yet widely appreciated. But the parlous state of US finances, dollar market bubbles, persistent and increasing price inflation and the inevitability of interest rate increases will make a policy backstop of maritime containment the only geostrategic option left to America. By pursuing more cautious monetary policies, China is less exposed to the inevitable consequences of global monetary inflation. While yuan currency rates are managed instead of set by markets, it is now in China’s interest to see a stronger yuan to contain domestic price and cost inflation. Even though fiat currencies could be destroyed by imploding asset bubbles, these factors contribute to a set of circumstances that appear to lead to a more peaceable outcome for the world than appeared likely before America and NATO withdrew from Afghanistan. There’s many a slip between cup and lip; but it was an outcome forecast by Halford Mackinder nearly eighty years ago. Let us hope he was right. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt17 hr. 40 min. ago

The Island of Death: Visiting the gulag where my grandfather was tortured, but didn"t officially exist

My grandfather was held at Bulgaria's most notorious gulag. This summer, I saw it for the first time. A Belene survivor crosses the bridge across the Danube that connects the town of Belene and Persin island in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) This summer, Tana Ganeva traveled to Belene, Bulgaria's most notorious prison camp, where her grandfather was held in the 1950s. Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its Communist-era gulags, where thousands were starved, tortured, and killed. Ganeva's grandfather attempted to escape Bulgaria four times, before making it to California. See more stories on Insider's business page. The island of Persin is a bird-watcher's paradise. Set on the Danube River, which divides Bulgaria and Romania, it's a nature park covered in wetlands and home to hundreds of rare bird species: the spoonbill, the pygmy cormorant, the corncrake, as well as herons, eagles, storks, and pelicans. Amid the natural beauty, it's jarring to consider that this was the location of a concentration camp where thousands of Bulgarian political prisoners were brutalized and killed from 1949 to 1953 - and in some cases for years after that. Though it's officially known as Belene after the quiet Bulgarian village that sits 750 feet away on the mainland, old-timers here call it by another name: the Island of Death.My stepgrandfather, Georgi Tutunjiev, was sent here at age 24 and spent four years and three months interred at Belene after someone (he suspected his ex-wife) told the authorities of his plan to escape the country. In his notebooks - he had planned to write a memoir about Belene but never did before he died in 2011 at 87 - he remembered the place as "brutal facilities for re-education," where he'd endured "indescribable physical and psychological abuse." He finally managed to escape Bulgaria in 1966 and settle with my grandma in California. In 1989, my parents and I left Bulgaria and joined my grandparents in California, thanks to the family-reunification policy. While many survivors of trauma shut down, my grandfather never stopped talking about the gulag. He seemed to have an unending loop of stories about Belene. For my immediate family, it could be exhausting, and we were alarmed to discover his extensive gun collection, which my grandmother gamely dismissed as a coping mechanism. But guests who came to the house were often riveted by his dark tales, which he mixed with his sense of humor. "Jeko! The Communistie shot you!" he'd shout at his terrier mix, and the dog would sprawl on his back, playing dead. An aerial view of Persin island. The gulag was known as Belene, after the nearby town. Tsvetomir Nikolaev I've come to the town of Belene on a brutally hot day in August for a tour of the Island of Death. I meet Nedyalka Toncheva, who works for the Belene Island Foundation, a nonprofit that organizes tours of the island, close to the bank of the Danube.We cross a rickety water bridge on foot and then jump aboard a Jeep driven by a 24-year-old Belene native named Peter. Toncheva, who is 35, is passionate and knowledgeable about the island's flora and fauna. Every few minutes, she tells Peter to stop the car to point out a roosting stork or a water eagle. She talks about her plans to make Persin a tourist destination comparable to Borovets, a ski resort with luxury hotels in the Rila mountains; or Koprivchitsa, a living museum honoring the Bulgarian rebels who mounted an uprising in 1876 against the Ottoman Empire.In the three decades since the fall of communism, Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its many gulags, which operated mostly in the 1950s during the early, and most violent, days of Communist rule in the country. In Belene itself, many lower-level guards came from the village and a former mayor was also the gulag's first superintendent. It's not surprising that the village doesn't advertise its history.After 1989, survivors who had been forced to sign documents promising to never talk about the camps started speaking out. For a brief time, they became the subjects of documentaries and newspaper profiles. But soon, the consensus was that it was better to move on. An interior minister tasked with investigating the camps instead secretly ordered a purge of thousands of pages of documents - 40% of the government record. While Bulgaria's defeat of the Ottomans is central to the national identity, and much is made of the fact that Bulgaria saved its Jews during the Holocaust, the memory of the Communist era is more fraught. Georgi Tutunjiev, the author's grandfather, in around 1977. Tana Ganeva Peculiar for a tour, most of our stops lead us to what's not left of the camp. The shacks where prisoners slept have been razed - there's no trace of them.At the entrance, in what is now an open field, an inscription says, "To be human is to have dignity." From inside the camp - what would have been visible to the internees - the engraving says, "If the enemy doesn't surrender, he is destroyed." But no one I've talked to knows whether it's the original or has been recreated. There are a few abandoned, falling-apart buildings, but those were built in 1959, six years after the camp's official (but not real) closing, when it was converted into a prison, in part to kill rumors that it had operated as a secret gulag. Todor Zhivkov, the Communist premier who took power in 1954 and stayed on until 1989, reopened it in the 1980s to detain Muslims who refused to take on Slavic names in place of their own - a disastrous bid to assimilate them. I ask Toncheva whether there's a list of everyone who was held in the camp. I'm thinking of my grandfather and wondering whether there's any documentation. She tells me everyone who comes here for the camp asks the same question."There's no way to know, no list," Toncheva says, apologetic. "There's almost no proof the camp even existed."'Perfectly calculated by Satan himself'The first contingent of 300 men arrived at the Belene camp in the summer of 1949, five years after the 1944 Communist coup. My grandfather, then 24, arrived that first winter. A camp for women was founded on an adjacent island soon after.It was modeled after Josef Stalin's gulags in Siberia. Most of the prisoners had been dragged from their homes by the military police and sent here without trial. (Estimates vary, but 20,000 to 40,000 people were thought to be murdered by the Bulgarian Communist Party.) Even Stalin eventually warned them to scale down the killing of prominent oppositional figures or risk creating martyrs.The first wave of prisoners had to hack through the unpopulated island and build small shacks that were so crowded the prisoners didn't have room to lie down. In his history of the camp, Borislav Skotchev wrote that the island was dotted with towers manned by guards with machine guns. A survivor of Belene during a commemoration ceremony in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) The men held here included the former leader of the Social Democrats, Orthodox priests (many in their 70s), and the mayor of Bulgaria's capital, Sofia. Tsveti Ivanov, the editor of the newspaper Svoboden Narod, or Free People, was sent to Belene after serving 10 months in prison. He was beaten so brutally that he got tetanus from his wounds and died in the compound. Much of what we know about the place comes from survivors' memoirs. They were fed a thin soup, sometimes with a handful of beans thrown in. Their bread ration - moldy or stale when it made its way to them - was small, and could be withheld by the guards as punishment. Sometimes they got tea. My grandfather told me that, in the winter, both the soup and the tea were given to them already frozen.When Toncheva takes us on a brief walk to go look at storks, the ground gives off wet heat, and brambles and thorns claw at us, as if the island is alive and doesn't want us there. I think of the people who had to work days and nights, in sweltering summers, devoured by mosquitoes. It's unbelievable that anyone survived.An internal CIA document described the grim situation of starving prisoners. "A frequent sight is that of a prisoner eating raw green leaves and roots," it said. "To be caught doing this, however, would result in 10 days in detention in a dungeon for such an offense." The lucky ones got packages from family, though those were often taken by guards. Many had little choice but to choke down the rotting carcasses of wild cats, killed and skinned for their fur by the villagers, or pick through horse dung for undigested barley. According to a CIA information report from March 13, 1952, during one brutal winter 30 prisoners died of cold or starvation."It was an Inferno circle, perfectly calculated by Satan himself," Liliana Pirinchiva, one of the female survivors of Belene, wrote in her memoir. "We were reduced to skeletons." A group of Bulgarian anarchists. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Then there were the guards, who brought an especially sadistic approach to their work. Some would chase packs of prisoners on horseback, letting their rifles off "as if we were a flock of sheep," wrote Stefan Botchev, a survivor. When he got a severe case of scabies, the mites burrowing into his skin, he was locked up in a shed alone because the guards didn't want him to infect the cows. He recalled seeing a beating so severe that a prisoner's spine was broken, turning him into a "reptile crawling on the ground."Kouni Genchev Kounev, the chairman of the Bulgarian Youth Agrarian Union who also survived Belene, recalled one especially brutal punishment, in which the guards would pull back a prisoner's head and strike him in the trachea. They called it the "sword stroke."Years later, Krum Horozov, a survivor, would draw water colors of the camp from memory - it's virtually the only visual documentation that exists. In 2011, six years before his death, Horozov wrote: "And when we die, which will be soon, who will remember what happened on that island in the 1950s, and will they know that people were sent there without a trial and sentence?"Lilia Topouzova, a historian in Toronto who writes about the history and the memory of the camps, recalls meeting Horozov at an academic conference; he was trying to give away copies of his drawings of Belene to university students, but they avoided him as if he were a pesky street vendor.The CricketAt 93, Tsvetana Dzhermanova is the last known survivor of the women's camp, which was known as Shturets, or Cricket. We're sitting outside her home in the mountain village of Leskovets, and she's talking so fast I wonder how she manages to breathe.She smiles and laughs a lot, and she reminds me of my grandfather, who also spoke with the speed of a motorboat, frantic to tell his story."I promised to outlive the Communistie, and here I am!" she boasts. (My grandfather also took an understandable delight at outliving the Communistie. "I survived the Communistie, but I won't survive old age," he once told me, when I was 25 and had no idea about either.) Tsvetana Dzhermanova. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Dzhermanova was an anarchist in the 1950s, and still is today. "That's my personal ideology," she says. "I'm not sure humans are evolved enough to make either anarchism or socialism work the way they should, but for me, anarchism is it. Because I value freedom, family, friendship, and love."When she first heard about anarchism as a teenager, she asked her mother what it meant. "Anarchists are the people all regimes persecute," her mother had replied. That sold her. Dzhermanova joined a village group. She had no designs on power (detesting it) and mostly spent her time reading anarchist literature and working on a community vegetable garden. She estimates that 800 anarchists from the town were swept up in a night and sent to the gulags."We sang songs while we worked," Dzhermanova tells me. "That helped." Last spring the sprightly nonagenarian made the three-hour trip to Belene to speak with a group of students about the camps. "They had no idea about this. They were really surprised," she says. "No one had ever talked to them about it, and they don't learn about it in school."'Out of Fashion'Toncheva and our driver, Peter, walk through a falling-down building that was constructed in 1959, in part to hide evidence of the camp. It's covered in bird shit. Plant life is taking over its rotted remnants, and old decayed furniture has been abandoned here and there. We talk about how nobody talks about the camp.Peter tells us that despite having spent almost his entire life roughly 750 feet from Persin, in Belene village, he learned about the camp only two weeks earlier, when Toncheva hired him as a driver for her tours."To think they only gave them bread and water, and made them work so hard," he says, shaking his head in disbelief. A crumbling building built on the site of Belene. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters As far as Toncheva knows, no one from her family was held here, but she remembers asking her grandmother about the island when she was a teenager and again after reading the memoirs of survivors. "Shhh. Don't talk so much about this," her grandmother would say. "You don't want to bring trouble."There are rumors of a mass grave near Persin. Mikhail Mikailev, the head of the Belene Island Foundation, wants to find it. But money for the equipment required to find and dig up the remains eludes this two-person staff.Unlike Peter and Toncheva, my parents, who were born in the mid-1950s and grew up in Bulgaria, tell me that in the 1970s and 1980s, all their friends in Sofia knew about Belene. "We all heard the stories," my mother says.But for the authorities, maintaining official denial was worth murder.In 1969, the celebrated Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov defected to the West, where he wrote about the regime's abuses. In one essay, Markov described traveling on a boat down the Danube and approaching Belene. "I remembered how, feet dangling over the edge of the boat, a youth with a guitar once sang a strange song: Danube, white river, how quiet you flow / Danube, black river, what anguish you know." A view of Persin island. Tsvetomir Nikolaev On a rainy afternoon in London, a man jabbed the tip of his umbrella into Markov's leg. Later, Markov noticed what looked like a small bug bite but didn't think much of it. A few days later he was dead, most likely poisoned by the Bulgarian secret service.Before my visit to Belene, I met Topouzova, the historian, over Zoom to talk about the erasure of the camps in Bulgaria's consciousness. While former generals wrote best-sellers, the owner of a prominent bookstore dismissed any interest in survivors' memoirs - they were "out of fashion," he had told her.It was gaslighting in its purest form. And it showed how we're all so prone to the "just world" fallacy, a phenomenon where if something is too horribly unjust, the human brain just kind of moves on. It's not all that hard to bury inconvenient truths."It turned out that aging men and women with fragmented memories of bygone violence did not make for the faces of change," Topouzova wrote in a recent paper titled "On Silence and History" for the American Historical Association. "The interned were rendered nonexistent - their experiences and memories fated to vanish along with the files." A pile of stonesNations define themselves by their monuments. The memorial in downtown Manhattan demands that we never forget the victims of 9/11. In the past few years, American activists have torn Confederate statues from their perches, signaling a break with the passive acceptance of the history of slavery. Yet grappling with unpleasant history isn't easy. It was only in 2018 when a museum honoring the Black victims of lynching opened in Alabama. The 1619 Project, which posits that the history of the United States is rooted in slavery, has spurred a massive backlash. School districts have banned children's books about Rosa Parks. Vaunted democracies are as likely to try to bury inconvenient truths as former communist states. At an exhibition in Sofia in 2009, Belene survivors look at images of the gulag's victims. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters In Bulgaria, there are monuments everywhere. From the smallest village to Sofia, the heroes of Bulgaria's uprising against the Ottoman Empire are eternalized in stone. In Plovdiv, a giant sculpture overlooks Bulgaria's second-largest city that honors "Alyosha," an everyman Soviet soldier who helped "liberate" Bulgaria in the 1940s - even though many Bulgarians see that period as Soviet imperialism, much like the Ottoman Empire's 500 years of occupation.The victims of Belene and the other camps have no such honor. The Belene foundation does the best it can. They helped organize an art exhibit, where Korozov's pencil drawings were tacked onto the walls of the decaying structures that had been erected to mask evidence of the gulag. A man places photos of famous victims of Soviet policy in front of the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014. Hristo Vladev/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images There is one modest monument on the island. It's an abstract stone structure, and you'd have no idea what it was if you didn't already know the history. The original idea was to build a monument that listed the names of all the known internees, something like the Vietnam wall on the Mall in Washington. But the survivors and their families who pooled their resources to build it ran out of money, and no one, including the Bulgarian government, stepped in to help. (The survivors also hoped to open a museum and to recreate the shacks where they were held, but that hasn't happened either.)My grandfather's escape Dzhermanova, the 93-year-old anarchist - and eternal optimist, apparently - has hope that younger people will dig up the buried history.As for my grandfather, his ex-wife (or whoever it was who betrayed him to the authorities) was right that he wanted to escape Bulgaria.After his release from Belene in 1953, that resolve was so much stronger. "After 4 years and three months in the Island of Death, I became determined to go to my real home: America," he explained in his notebooks. The author with her grandfather and grandmother, Tsvetana Tutunjieva. Tana Ganeva As he detailed it, it would take four harrowing attempts. Soon after his release from Belene, he managed to make it into Yugoslavia during a "sabor" - a temporary loosening of borders so family and friends in the two countries could see each other. But he got caught and was thrown into a Yugoslavian jail.From there, he organized an inmate breakout after bribing the guard dog, Jeko, with his dinner. But he and the other prisoners were caught in the woods, and the Yugoslavian authorities gave them up to the Bulgarian authorities in exchange for 10 cows. "They weren't even very good cows - scrawny," he wrote.Several years later, he tried to cross Bulgaria's mountainous border into Greece, but he was caught once again.Finally, he made it into Austria and then Germany by clinging to the underside of a freight train. And then on to California, where he gave his new dog a familiar name: Jeko.Tana Ganeva writes about policing, prisons and criminal justice. She's currently working on a book about escapees from the Soviet bloc. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

FT & McKinsey Announce Shortlist For 2021 Business Book Of The Year Award

The Financial Times and McKinsey & Company today publishes the shortlist for the 2021 Business Book of the Year Award. Now in its seventeenth year, the Award is an essential calendar fixture for authors, publishers and the global business community. Each year it recognizes a work which provides the ‘most compelling and enjoyable insight into […] The Financial Times and McKinsey & Company today publishes the shortlist for the 2021 Business Book of the Year Award. Now in its seventeenth year, the Award is an essential calendar fixture for authors, publishers and the global business community. Each year it recognizes a work which provides the ‘most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues’. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more This year’s shortlisted books, selected by the nine distinguished judges (see below) are: The World for Sale: Money, Power and the Traders Who Barter the Earth's Resources, by Javier Blas & Jack Farchy, Random House Business, Cornerstone (UK), Oxford University Press (US) Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, by Patrick Radden Keefe, Picador/Pan Macmillan (UK), Doubleday (US) The Conversation: How Talking Honestly About Racism Can Transform Individuals and Organizations by Robert Livingston, Penguin Business (UK), Currency/Crown (US) The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet, by Michael E. Mann, Scribe (UK), PublicAffairs (US) This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race, by Nicole Perlroth, Bloomsbury Publishing (UK), Bloomsbury (US) The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World, by Adrian Wooldridge, Allen Lane (UK), Skyhorse (US) Roula Khalaf, Editor of the Financial Times, said: “We had a fabulous longlist of compelling, deeply researched books to choose from this year. Many thanks to the judges for taking the time to read them and engaging in the debate that produced this excellent shortlist. It tackles many of the pressing issues facing business today, including climate change, cybersecurity, and racial discrimination.” Virginia Simmons, Managing Partner - UK, Ireland & Israel, McKinsey & Company, said: “While the continuing impact of the pandemic is reflected in the books that made the list, the breadth and richness of topics here underscores the forward-looking value of this annual book award.  These authors provide compelling and engaging insights into modern business, climate change conversations and our sustainable and inclusive future, setting up a compelling shortlist for the jury to then select a winner, by year-end.” The judging panel, chaired by Roula Khalaf, comprises: Mimi Alemayehou, Senior Vice President, Public–Private Partnerships, Humanitarian & Development Group, Mastercard Mitchell Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Mozilla Corporation, Chairwoman, Mozilla Foundation Mohamed El-Erian, President, Queens’ College, Cambridge University, Advisor to Allianz and Gramercy Herminia Ibarra, Charles Handy Professor of Organisational Behaviour, London Business School James Kondo, Chairman, International House of Japan Randall Kroszner, Norman R. Bobins Professor of Economics & Deputy Dean for Executive Programs, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago Raju Narisetti, Publisher, Global Publishing, McKinsey & Company Shriti Vadera, Chair, Prudential plc The Financial Times and McKinsey & Company winner of the 2021 Business Book of the Year Award will be announced on 1 December at an event co-hosted by Roula Khalaf, Editor of the Financial Times, and Magnus Tyreman, Managing Partner Europe, McKinsey & Company. The winner will receive £30,000 and the author(s) of each of the remaining shortlisted books will be awarded £10,000. The guest speaker will be Alison Rose, Chief Executive Officer, NatWest Group. Previous Business Book of the Year winners include: Sarah Frier for No Filter: The Inside Story of How Instagram Transformed Business, Celebrity and Our Culture (2020); Caroline Criado Perez for Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (2019); John Carreyrou for Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup (2018); Amy Goldstein for Janesville: An American Story (2017); Sebastian Mallaby for The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan (2016); Martin Ford for Rise of the Robots (2015); Thomas Piketty for Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014); Brad Stone for The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (2013); Steve Coll for Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power (2012); Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo for Poor Economics (2011); Raghuram Rajan for Fault Lines (2010); Liaquat Ahamed for The Lords of Finance (2009); Mohamed El-Erian for When Markets Collide (2008); William D. Cohan for The Last Tycoons (2007); James Kynge for China Shakes the World (2006); and Thomas Friedman, as the inaugural award winner in 2005, for The World is Flat. To learn more about the award, visit ft.com/bookaward and follow the conversation at #BBYA21. The Shortlist For The Financial Times And McKinsey 2021 Business Book Of The Year Award The World for Sale The World for Sale: Money, Power and the Traders Who Barter the Earth's Resources, by Javier Blas & Jack Farchy, Random House Business, Cornerstone (UK), Oxford University Press (US) In The World for Sale, two leading journalists lift the lid on one of the least scrutinised corners of the economy: the workings of the billionaire commodity traders who buy, hoard and sell the earth's resources. It is the story of how a handful of swashbuckling businessmen became indispensable cogs in global markets; enabling an enormous expansion in international trade, and connecting resource-rich countries – no matter how corrupt or war-torn - with the world's financial centres. And it is the story of how some traders acquired untold political power, right under the noses of Western regulators and politicians – helping Saddam Hussein to sell his oil, fuelling the Libyan rebel army during the Arab Spring, and funnelling cash to Vladimir Putin's Kremlin in spite of strict sanctions. The result is an eye-opening tour through the wildest frontiers of the global economy, as well as a revelatory guide to how capitalism really works. Empire Of Pain Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, by Patrick Radden Keefe, Picador/Pan Macmillan (UK), Doubleday (US) The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions – Harvard; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Oxford; the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations in the arts and the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing Oxycontin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis – an international epidemic of drug addiction which has killed nearly half a million people. In this masterpiece of narrative reporting and writing, Patrick Radden Keefe exhaustively documents the jaw-dropping and ferociously compelling reality. Empire of Pain is the story of a dynasty: a parable of 21st century greed. The Conversation The Conversation: How Talking Honestly About Racism Can Transform Individuals and Organizations by Robert Livingston, Penguin Business (UK), Currency/Crown (US) How can I become part of the solution? In the wake of the social unrest of 2020 and growing calls for racial justice, many business leaders and ordinary citizens are asking that very question. This book provides a compass for all those seeking to begin the work of anti-racism. In The Conversation, Robert Livingston addresses three simple but profound questions: What is racism? Why should everyone be more concerned about it? What can we do to eradicate it? For some, the existence of systemic racism against Black people is hard to accept because it violates the notion that the world is fair and just. But the rigid racial hierarchy created by slavery did not collapse after it was abolished, nor did it end with the civil rights era. Whether it’s the composition of a company’s leadership team or the composition of one’s neighborhood, these racial divides and disparities continue to show up in every facet of society. For Livingston, the difference between a solvable problem and a solved problem is knowledge, investment, and determination. And the goal of making organizations more diverse, equitable, and inclusive is within our capability. Livingston’s lifework is showing people how to turn difficult conversations about race into productive instances of real change. For decades he has translated science into practice for numerous organizations, including Airbnb, Deloitte, Microsoft, Under Armour, L’Oreal, and JPMorgan Chase. In The Conversation, Livingston distills this knowledge and experience into an eye-opening immersion in the science of racism and bias. Drawing on examples from pop culture and his own life experience, Livingston, with clarity and wit, explores the root causes of racism, the factors that explain why some people care about it and others do not, and the most promising paths toward profound and sustainable progress, all while inviting readers to challenge their assumptions. Social change requires social exchange. Founded on principles of psychology, sociology, management, and behavioral economics, The Conversation is a road map for uprooting entrenched biases and sharing candid, fact-based perspectives on race that will lead to increased awareness, empathy, and action. The New Climate War The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet, by Michael E. Mann, Scribe (UK), PublicAffairs (US) A renowned climate scientist shows how fossil fuel companies have waged a thirty-year campaign to deflect blame and responsibility and delay action on climate change, and offers a battle plan for how we can save the planet. Recycle. Fly less. Eat less meat. These are some of the ways that we've been told can slow climate change. But the inordinate emphasis on individual behavior is the result of a marketing campaign that has succeeded in placing the responsibility for fixing climate change squarely on the shoulders of individuals. Fossil fuel companies have followed the example of other industries deflecting blame (think "guns don't kill people, people kill people") or greenwashing (think of the beverage industry's "Crying Indian" commercials of the 1970s). Meanwhile, they've blocked efforts to regulate or price carbon emissions, run PR campaigns aimed at discrediting viable alternatives, and have abdicated their responsibility in fixing the problem they've created. The result has been disastrous for our planet. In The New Climate War, Mann argues that all is not lost. He draws the battle lines between the people and the polluters-fossil fuel companies, right-wing plutocrats, and petrostates. And he outlines a plan for forcing our governments and corporations to wake up and make real change, including: A common-sense, attainable approach to carbon pricing- and a revision of the well-intentioned but flawed currently proposed version of the Green New Deal Allowing renewable energy to compete fairly against fossil fuels Debunking the false narratives and arguments that have worked their way into the climate debate and driven a wedge between even those who support climate change solutions Combatting climate doomism and despair-mongering With immensely powerful vested interests aligned in defense of the fossil fuel status quo, the societal tipping point won't happen without the active participation of citizens everywhere aiding in the collective push forward. This book will reach, inform, and enable citizens everywhere to join this battle for our planet. This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race, by Nicole Perlroth, Bloomsbury Publishing (UK), Bloomsbury (US) Zero-day: a software bug that allows a hacker to break into your devices and move around undetected. One of the most coveted tools in a spy's arsenal, a zero-day has the power to silently spy on your iPhone, dismantle the safety controls at a chemical plant, alter an election, and shut down the electric grid (just ask Ukraine). For decades, under cover of classification levels and nondisclosure agreements, the United States government became the world's dominant hoarder of zero-days. U.S. government agents paid top dollar-first thousands, and later millions of dollars-to hackers willing to sell their lock-picking code and their silence. Then the United States lost control of its hoard and the market. Now those zero-days are in the hands of hostile nations and mercenaries who do not care if your vote goes missing, your clean water is contaminated, or our nuclear plants melt down. Filled with spies, hackers, arms dealers, and a few unsung heroes, written like a thriller and a reference, This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends is an astonishing feat of journalism. Based on years of reporting and hundreds of interviews, New York Times reporter Nicole Perlroth lifts the curtain on a market in shadow, revealing the urgent threat faced by us all if we cannot bring the global cyberarms race to heel. The Aristocracy Of Talent The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World, by Adrian Wooldridge, Allen Lane (UK), Skyhorse (US) Meritocracy: the idea that people should be advanced according to their talents rather than their status at birth. For much of history this was a revolutionary thought, but by the end of the twentieth century it had become the world's ruling ideology. How did this happen, and why is meritocracy now under attack from both right and left? Adrian Wooldridge traces the history of meritocracy forged by the politicians and officials who introduced the revolutionary principle of open competition, the psychologists who devised methods for measuring natural mental abilities and the educationalists who built ladders of educational opportunity. He looks outside western cultures and shows what transformative effects it has had everywhere it has been adopted, especially once women were brought into the meritocractic system. Wooldridge also shows how meritocracy has now become corrupted and argues that the recent stalling of social mobility is the result of failure to complete the meritocratic revolution. Rather than abandoning meritocracy, he says, we should call for its renewal. About the Financial Times The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organisations, recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The FT has a record paying readership of more than one million, three-quarters of which are digital subscriptions. It is part of Nikkei Inc., which provides a broad range of information, news and services for the global business community. www.ft.com About McKinsey & Company McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm committed to helping organisations create Change that Matters. In more than 130 cities and 65 countries, our teams help clients across the private, public and social sectors shape bold strategies and transform the way they work, embed technology where it unlocks value, and build capabilities to sustain the change. Not just any change, but Change that Matters – for their organisations, their people, and in turn society at large. www.mckinsey.com/thenextnormal Updated on Sep 24, 2021, 3:13 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 24th, 2021

Charging Up Your Portfolio with Electric Vehicles

Whether its the government, Wall Street investors or even traditional automakers; everybody is seeing tremendous potential in EVs. Ben Rains will show you how to capitalize on this burgeoning space, which grew over 160% worldwide in the first half of 2021. The U.S. Senate passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill in early August, with billions set to flow into various sectors, from more traditional areas such as roads to modern green energy initiatives. The clean energy efforts are part of a larger push within the U.S and other wealthy nations to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels throughout every corner of the economy.The green energy age isn’t complete without electric vehicles (EVs) dominating streets and highways, and the U.S. still has miles of road to travel in order to get there.Washington’s Focus on EVs The White House and Washington have put a spotlight on electric vehicles as part of a longer-term greener movement. President Biden signed an EV-focused executive order in August that hopes to spur rapid adoption. The non-binding goal aims to have all-electric, hydrogen-fuel cell, and plug-in hybrid vehicles make up 50% of U.S. sales by 2030.In order to reach this voluntary benchmark, automakers called for federal support for EV charging stations, various consumer tax incentives, and other pro-electric initiatives. Elsewhere, the Senate’s $1 trillion bill allots $7.5 billion for states and municipalities to build EV charging stations. The legislative effort also includes over $6 billion in grants for battery production, development, and recycling.The projected funding is less than President Biden called for in March when his administration set a goal of building 500,000 public chargers by 2030. There are currently roughly 48,000 public EV charging stations and over 120,000 charging ports in the U.S., according to U.S. Department of Energy data.These levels don’t come close to supporting rapid EV adoption. Federal, state, and local governments must work with automakers, charger technology companies, and various other stakeholders in order for EVs to start driving American automotive sales anytime soon.Despite all of the hype, the U.S. and the world has barely scratched the EV surface. The nascent nature provides plenty of profitable investment opportunities if you know where to look...Continued . . .------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Zacks’ Top Infrastructure Picks (Grab These for Q4 and Beyond)Our research has identified 5 stocks that are set to surge due to the massive new infrastructure bill. This is the largest bill of its kind in decades, giving investors a chance at tremendous gains.Zacks’s just-updated special report, How to Profit from Trillions in Spending for Infrastructure, is designed to help you profit from the most promising “American Upgrade” stocks. Some infrastructure stocks have recently soared as much as +81%... +150%... even +248%.¹ The stocks in this report could be just as lucrative. Don't delay: this Special Report is only available until Sunday, September 26.See 5 Top Infrastructure Stocks Now >>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Current EV Market Gasoline-powered vehicles remain by far the most popular means of transportation. Electric vehicles made up only 2% of U.S. sales last year and expanded to a little over 3% in recent months. Limited market share is part of the reason why Wall Street is excited even if the electric/hybrid space doesn’t get close to 50% market share by 2030.Tesla proved there’s demand for EVs in the U.S. and its success on the road and in the stock market forced every established auto company to go all-in on electric. Plus, plenty of newcomers, some of which are publicly traded, are ramping up production on sleek new EVs of all shapes and sizes. It will be difficult to recreate Tesla’s meteoric run, but a few standout startups are starting to make their case.Most major automakers plan to offer many of their current models as EVs within the next decade, while rolling out EV-only cars, SUVs, and trucks. Established auto titans, perhaps ambitiously, aim to generate upwards of 50% of global sales from EVs by 2030.One historic firm is revamping its entire business around EVs. The company said earlier this year it aims to have 40% of its global volume be all electric by 2030 and it expects to spend more than $30 billion on electrification during this stretch. The firm’s early efforts have already paid off in terms of actual sales and its surging stock price.Auto giants in both luxury and mass markets will start eating away at Tesla’s current dominance. There are plenty of reasons to believe this could happen somewhat quickly. A few select stocks will capture a budding corner of the EV market Tesla has little chance of controlling. The ability to meet the coming demand from commercial customers such as contractors, construction companies, police departments, and other government fleets is set to boost a few well-known companies in particular.Where’s the Money  New light-vehicle sales in the U.S. are set to climb around 13% to reach 16.3 million in 2021. EV sales are projected to blow away the broader industry-wide expansion. For instance, global EV sales already skyrocketed over 160% in the first half of 2021 against a pandemic-hit period.Tesla led the charge, accounting for about 14% of the global market during this stretch, but its share slipped compared to last year. A few global automakers are already in Elon Musk’s rearview mirror despite the huge head start, while smaller, highly affordable brands are dominating EV sales in China and other Asian nations.Along with investing in pure-play electric vehicle companies, Wall Street and the industry are pouring money into the technology side of the business. This is vital since EVs rely heavily on interconnected technology, remote software updates, high-tech touch screens, and much more. One firm in September poached a former Tesla executive from Apple—which has its own EV aspirations—because EVs are closer to supercomputers on wheels than traditional cars.EVs will also provide automakers with more consistent revenue streams, via remote monitoring, constant software updates, and other futuristic maintenance necessities. And it’s hardly just the automakers who stand to benefit. Smaller tech companies are already profiting from advanced radar navigation and more, and many are hot acquisition targets. Batteries and Chargers  EV motors are clearly essential cogs, but high-tech batteries are perhaps the most vital components. Continued progress on the energy storage and range fronts will help determine how quickly the market can grow.Wall Street is also laser-focused on lithium, with the commodity making a case to become a “new oil.” Lithium-ion batteries are already used in most portable consumer electronics such as smartphones, and nearly all electric vehicles run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.From startups to Tesla, companies are working on next-generation battery technologies, including solid-state batteries and new cell formats. Like many cutting-edge industries, there are likely game-changing batteries coming down the pike soon that few will have imagined possible.Alongside batteries, an EV-heavy future is only possible if consumers can drive anywhere they normally would or make that same big road trip, without needing to plan their route around chargers. EV chargers are often classified in three categories: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 or DC fast chargers. The first two are common for home-based charging, while the fittingly named Level 3 fast chargers require as much as $100,000 or more per station in upfront capital.There are over 100 EV charging companies in North America alone. Firms able to create faster chargers that mimic speeds closer to filling up a tank of gas will be surefire superstars, while companies able to roll out the most chargers, akin to gas stations, could become stable green energy players for decades.5 Stocks to Electrify Your Portfolio Electric vehicles and EV-related technologies are some of the most promising spaces investors can target for long-term gains. Consumers are demanding more electric options and manufacturers are rising to the occasion.And as discussed above, the government is driving hard toward a clean energy future. The infrastructure bill passed by the Senate last month could earmark billions of dollars to make EVs even more accessible – and you might be surprised at which stocks might benefit most.To help you make the most of this opportunity, Zacks has just updated our special report, How to Profit from Trillions in Spending for Infrastructure.The report reveals 5 stocks primed for big price moves, including an EV stock no one is thinking about. The company has a new CEO, a new focus on cutting edge tech and earnings that are projected to skyrocket 300%.I encourage you to check out the 5 stocks right away. The infrastructure bill could be a powerful catalyst, but these companies are strong enough to deliver significant gains on their own.Don’t delay. This Special Report is only available until Sunday, September 26.Click here to claim your copy of How to Profit from Trillions in Spending for Infrastructure >>Good Investing,Ben RainsStock Strategist¹ The results listed above are not (or may not be) representative of the performance of all selections made by Zacks Investment Research's newsletter editors and may represent the partial close of a position.  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 To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

China Crypto Crackdown Hits Pre-Markets

Beijing has generated a list of what it now considers "illegal crypto activity," including exchanging legal tender for crypto and cryptocurrencies exchanged for each other. Friday, September 24, 2021Light on new economic data this morning, we nevertheless see a reversal of fortune in market indexes. After flipping a rough start into positive or near-positive gains for the week by Thursday’s close, pre-market futures are back in the red on this final day of trading before the weekend. Almost as if the trading week has been perfectly bookended, the culprit behind the selloff once again appears to be China.The next step the Chinese government has made in cracking down on financial risk-taking has to do with the cryptocurrency market. Beijing has generated a list of what it now considers “illegal crypto activity,” including exchanging legal tender for crypto and cryptocurrencies exchanged for each other. No explicit ban on crypto ownership is part of this new policy, only if you actively do something with your cryptocurrency might you run afoul of new Chinese law.This, of course, follows the news on Monday that China’s second-largest real estate developer, Evergrande, was likely to default on a payment this week without the government stepping in to assist the corporation. Evergrande’s interest payment alone came to $83 million, which passed Thursday’s due date and has yet gone unpaid. Subsequent reports this week have explained that Chinese finance officials will bail out the real estate company, which has another 30 days before default.Important as China is — the second-largest economy in the world — to global markets, investors here at home are now recalibrating scenarios by which China continues to a) lock down its economy from outside interests, b) feel a broad hit to internal growth, of which its real estate market is just one of many leveraged extensively, or c) both. In short, whatever moves the Red Dragon makes in the near term, they’re bound to force U.S. markets to account for them.New Home Sales for August are due after today’s open, with seasonally adjusted, annualized units expected to continue its bounce off June lows of 701K. It was 708K in its last read, and this morning’s tally is estimated at 720K. As of January 2021, we were still seeing close to a million new homes sold; this hit a major snag when supply of lumber, copper, etc. became scarce due to pandemic conditions, caused input prices to spike, and finished homes were left unsold at vastly higher prices.Existing Home Sales, released earlier this week, showed results in-line with estimates. From spring through summer, we’ve seen existing home sales pingpong around cycle lows, with August -2% month over month to 5.88 million. Early this year, before supply constraints, etc. we were seeing more than 6.6 million existing homes sold. With pandemic conditions winding down (in certain regions, usually those with high vaccination rates) and commodity availability improving, sales numbers may adjust higher in the months ahead. We’ll see if New Home Sales last month have already begun to get there or not.Questions or comments about this article and/or its author? Click here>> Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>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 Invesco QQQ (QQQ): ETF Research Reports SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY): ETF Research Reports SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA): ETF Research Reports Global X MSCI China Consumer Discretionary ETF (CHIQ): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research 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.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Volatility Returns on Wall Street: Pre-Markets in Red

Volatility Returns on Wall Street: Pre-Markets in Red. Light on new economic data this morning, we nevertheless see a reversal of fortune in market indexes. After flipping a rough start into positive or near-positive gains for the week by Thursday’s close, pre-market futures are back in the red on this final day of trading before the weekend. Almost as if the trading week has been perfectly bookended, the culprit behind the selloff once again appears to be China.The next step the Chinese government has made in cracking down on financial risk-taking has to do with the cryptocurrency market. Beijing has generated a list of what it now considers “illegal crypto activity,” including exchanging legal tender for crypto and cryptocurrencies exchanged for each other. No explicit ban on crypto ownership is part of this new policy, only if you actively do something with your cryptocurrency might you run afoul of new Chinese law.This, of course, follows the news on Monday that China’s second-largest real estate developer, Evergrande, was likely to default on a payment this week without the government stepping in to assist the corporation. Evergrande’s interest payment alone came to $83 million, which passed Thursday’s due date and has yet gone unpaid. Subsequent reports this week have explained that Chinese finance officials will bail out the real estate company, which has another 30 days before default.Important as China is — the second-largest economy in the world — to global markets, investors here at home are now recalibrating scenarios by which China continues to a) lock down its economy from outside interests, b) feel a broad hit to internal growth, of which its real estate market is just one of many leveraged extensively, or c) both. In short, whatever moves the Red Dragon makes in the near term, they’re bound to force U.S. markets to account for them.New Home Sales for August are due after today’s open, with seasonally adjusted, annualized units expected to continue its bounce off June lows of 701K. It was 708K in its last read, and this morning’s tally is estimated at 720K. As of January 2021, we were still seeing close to a million new homes sold; this hit a major snag when supply of lumber, copper, etc. became scarce due to pandemic conditions, caused input prices to spike, and finished homes were left unsold at vastly higher prices.Existing Home Sales, released earlier this week, showed results in-line with estimates. From spring through summer, we’ve seen existing home sales pingpong around cycle lows, with August -2% month over month to 5.88 million. Early this year, before supply constraints, etc. we were seeing more than 6.6 million existing homes sold.With pandemic conditions winding down (in certain regions, usually those with high vaccination rates) and commodity availability improving, sales numbers may adjust higher in the months ahead. We’ll see if New Home Sales last month have already begun to get there or not. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>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 To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

The European Energy Crisis Is About To Go Global

The European Energy Crisis Is About To Go Global Authored by Irina Slav via OilPrice.com, It was only a matter of time, really. In a globalized world, energy crunches can hardly remain regionally contained for very long, especially in a context of damaged supply chains and a rush to cut investment in fossil fuels. The energy crunch that began in Europe earlier this month may now be on its way to America. For now, all is well with one of the world's top gas producers. U.S. gas exporters have enjoyed a solid increase in demand from Asia and Europe as the recovery in economic activity pushed demand for electricity higher. According to a recent Financial Times report, there is a veritable bidding war for U.S. cargos of liquefied natural gas between Asian and European buyers—and the Asians are winning. Coal exports are on the rise, too, and have been for a while now, especially after a political spat had China shun Australian coal. But supply is tightening, Argus reported earlier this month. In July, according to the report, U.S. coking coal exports dropped by as much as 20.3 percent from June. The report noted supply was constrained by producers' limited access to funding and a labor shortage that has plagued many industries amid the pandemic. All this should be good news for U.S. producers of fossil fuels. But it may easily become bad news as winter approaches. The Wall Street Journal's Jinjoo Lee wrote earlier this week high energy prices could be the next hot import for the United States. Lee cited data showing gas inventory replenishment was running below average rates for this season, and gas in storage in early September was 7.4 percent below the five-year average. Coal inventories are also running low because of stronger exports, with prices for thermal coal three times higher than they were a year ago. According to calculations from the Energy Information Administration cited in the WSJ report, coal inventories in the United States could fall to less than half last year's inventory levels by the end of the year. Last year, energy demand was depressed because of the pandemic. This year, the U.S. economy is firing on all cylinders once again.  No wonder electricity prices are already going up. In a way, the events in Europe could be seen as a trailer of what might happen in the United States. It is a trailer because it shows all the worst bits. The United States is much more energy independent than, say, the UK, and that's a big plus. Yet exports bring in revenues, and it would require government intervention to make gas producers cut exports. In an alarming move, such intervention was requested last week by a manufacturing industry group. Industrial Energy Consumers of America, an organization representing companies producing chemicals, food, and materials, asked the Department of Energy to institute limits on the exports of liquefied natural gas in order to avoid soaring prices and gas shortages during the winter, Reuters reported on Friday. Opinions seem to differ on whether rising LNG exports are in fact hurting U.S. consumers. But the fact is that gas prices are already double what they were a year ago. According to the IECA, they are not, however, high enough to motivate a ramp-up in natural gas production. Therefore, in order to stockpile enough gas for the winter, the U.S. government must force a reduction in exports. The LNG industry is, of course, against this. The executive director of Center for Liquefied Natural Gas told Reuters most LNG exports are shipped under long-term fixed-price contracts that have no relation to benchmark gas prices and their movements. Yet some cargos are sold on the spot market. "Buyers of LNG who compete for natural gas with U.S. consumers are state-owned enterprises and foreign government-controlled utilities with automatic cost pass through," Paul Cicio, president of IECA, said, as quoted by Reuters. "U.S. manufacturers cannot compete with them on prices." Traders are already getting jittery, and this will likely contribute to price uncertainty; regardless of how the fundamentals situation develops. Again, Europe is at the heart of the uncertainty - or rather the certainty that prices have higher to climb. But now, China has added to concern about gas supply and the potential for shortages. For now, China's biggest problem seems to be coal rather than gas. A recent Bloomberg report said that China coal power plant operators are struggling to buy enough coal to keep their plants running, and some are being forced to shut down their boilers because of insufficient coal supply. This, however, might lead to stronger gas demand to ensure enough electricity and heating for the winter. This will further exacerbate the difference between global demand and supply. The European energy crunch is spilling over into other regions. The blame game has begun with culprits ranging from years of underinvestment in local gas production to a Gazprom scheme to get Nord Stream 2 approved by Germany. For now, it is still unclear how much of the price surge is due to a gap between demand and supply and how much of it is due to market nervousness, at least according to RBC commodity strategist Christopher Louney, as quoted by the WSJ's Lee. This question is less important than another, however, and it is a scary one: Just how bad could things get this winter? Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 02:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021