Sunday, April 11, 2021

Multipolarity: Money And Debt As Public Utility Vs. The Vampire Squid

nakedcapitalism |  The important characteristic (of Russia and China) is that banking and finance are public functions. 

In modern (Anglo-Judeo-American) geopolitics, “democratic” means financialized. It is still, as Aristotle described, pre-oligarchic. But this dynamic is creditor-driven. And creditors not only control the supply of money and credit, but also the legal system governing creditor privileges (“rights”) to appropriate the assets and income of their debtors.

This financial dimension is the main characteristic neglected by modern political theory and popular language. It is important to stress that the antonym of “democracy” is not well described by pejorative words such as “autocracy” or other journalistic terms. 

There is no single term for a socialist state in which banking and debt laws are public utilities. But some term needs to be proposed – and “enlightened despotism” or “philosopher-king” state sound anachronistic. Or perhaps de-financialized state, social-credit state (problems with the SocCred movement), or social-creditor state.

India Is The Petri Dish For Rapidly Prototyping Great Resets On Unarmed Pissants

off-guardian |  Environmentalist Vandana Shiva has described on numerous occasions how the Gates Foundation through its ‘Ag One’ initiative is pushing for one type of agriculture for the whole world. A top-down approach regardless of what farmers or the public need or want. The strategy includes digital farming, in which farmers are monitored and mined for their agricultural data, which is then repackaged and sold back to them.

Along with Bill Gates, this is very much the agrifood model that Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Bayer, Syngenta, Corteva and Cargill have in mind. The tech giants recent entry into the sector will increasingly lead to a mutually beneficial integration between the companies that supply products to farmers (pesticides, seeds, fertilisers, tractors, drones, etc) and those that control the flow of data (on soil, weather, pests, weeds, land use, consumer preferences, etc) and have access to digital (cloud) infrastructure. A system based on corporate concentration and centralisation.

Those farmers who remain in the system will become passive recipients of corporate directives and products on farms owned by the Gates Foundation (now one of the largest owners of farmland in the US), agribusiness and financial institutions/speculators.

The three pieces of farm legislation in India (passed by parliament but on hold) are essential for laying the foundation for this model of agriculture. The legislation is The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

The foreign and home-grown (Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani) billionaires who have pushed for these laws require a system of contract farming dominated by their big tech, big agribusiness and big retail interests. Smallholder peasant agriculture is regarded as an impediment to what they require: industrial-scale farms where driverless tractors, drones and genetically engineered seeds are the norm and all data pertaining to land, water, weather, seeds and soils is controlled by them.

It is unfortunate that prominent journalists and media outlets in India are celebrating the legislation and have attempted to unjustifiably discredit farmers who are protesting. It is also worrying that key figures like Dr Ramesh Chand, a member of NITI (National Institute for Transforming India) Ayog, recently stated that the legislation is necessary.

When these figures attack farmers or promote the farm acts, what they are really doing is cheerleading for the destruction of local markets and independent small-scale enterprises, whether farmers, hawkers, food processers or mom and pop corner stores. And by implication, they are helping to ensure that India is surrendering control over its food.

They are doing the bidding of the Gates Foundation and the global agrifood corporations which also want India to eradicate its buffer food stocks. Some of the very corporations which will then control stocks that India would purchase with foreign exchange holdings. At that stage, any notion of sovereign statehood would be bankrupt as India’s food needs would be dependent on attracting foreign exchange reserves via foreign direct investment or borrowing.

This would represent the ultimate betrayal of India’s farmers and democracy as well as the final surrender of food security and food sovereignty to unaccountable global traders and corporations.

The farm legislation is regressive and will eventually lead to the country relying on outside forces to feed its population. This, in an increasingly volatile world prone to conflict, public health scares, unregulated land and commodity speculation and price shocks.

Carbon Zero Pissants Eat Bugs And Own Nothing

cam.ac.uk |  We  have  to  cut  our  greenhouse  gas  emissions  to  zero  by  2050:  that’s  what  climate  scientists  tell  us,  it’s  what  social  protesters are asking for and it’s now the law in the UK. But we  aren’t  on  track.  For  twenty  years  we’ve  been  trying  to  solve the problem with new or breakthrough technologies that supply energy and allow industry to keep growing, so we don’t have to change our lifestyles. But although some exciting  new  technology  options  are  being  developed,  it  will  take  a  long  time  to  deploy  them,  and  they  won’t  be  operating at scale within thirty years.

Meanwhile, our cars are getting heavier, we’re flying more each year and we heat our homes to higher temperatures. We  all  know  that  this  makes  no  sense,  but  it’s  difficult  to  start  discussing  how  we  really  want  to  address  climate  change while we keep hoping that new technologies will take the problem away.

In response, this report starts from today’s technologies: if we really want to reach zero emissions in thirty years time, what  does  that  involve?  Most  of  what  we  most  enjoy  -  spending time together as families or communities, leisure, sport,  creativity  -  can  continue  and  grow  unhindered.  We  need  to  switch  to  using  electricity  as  our  only  form  of  energy  and  if  we  continue  today’s  impressive  rates  of  growth  in  non-emitting  generation,  we’ll  only  have  to  cut  our  use  of  energy  to  60%  of  today’s  levels.  We  can  achieve  this  with  incremental  changes  to  the  way  we  use  energy: we can drive smaller cars and take the train when possible,  use  efficient  electric  heat-pumps  to  keep  warm  and buy buildings, vehicles and equipment that are better designed and last much longer.

The two big challenges we face with an all electric future are flying  and  shipping.  Although  there  are  lots  of  new  ideas  about  electric  planes,  they  won’t  be  operating  at  commercial   scales   within   30   years,   so   zero   emissions   means that for some period, we’ll all stop using aeroplanes. Shipping  is  more  challenging:  although  there  are  a  few  military  ships  run  by  nuclear  reactors,  we  currently  don’t  have  any  large  electric  merchant  ships,  but  we  depend  strongly on shipping for imported food and goods.

In  addition,  obeying  the  law  of  our  Climate  Change  Act  requires that we stop doing anything that causes emissions regardless of its energy source. This requires that we stop eating beef  and  lamb  -  ruminants  who  release  methane  as  they  digest  grass  -  and  already  many  people  have  started  to  switch  to  more  vegetarian  diets.    However  the  most difficult problem is cement:  making cement releases emissions   regardless   of   how   it’s   powered,   there   are   currently no alternative options available at scale, and we don’t  know  how  to  install  new  renewables  or    make  new  energy efficient buildings without it.

We need to discuss these challenges as a society. Making progress  on  climate  change  requires  that  the  three  key  groups of players - government, businesses and individuals -  work  together,  rather  than  waiting  for  the  other  two  to  act first. But until we face up to the fact that breakthrough technologies won’t arrive fast enough, we can’t even begin having the right discussion.

Committing    to    zero    emissions    creates    tremendous    opportunities:  there  will  be  huge  growth  in  the  use  and  conversion of electricity for travel, warmth and in industry; growth  in  new  zero  emissions  diets;  growth  in  materials  production,  manufacturing  and  construction  compatible  with zero emissions; growth in leisure and domestic travel; growth in businesses that help us to use energy efficiently and to conserve the value in materials.

Bringing     about     this     change,     and     exploring     the     opportunities  it  creates  requires  three  things  to  happen  together: as individuals we need to be part of the process, exploring  the  changes  in  lifestyle  we  prefer  in  order  to  make zero emission a reality. Protest is no longer enough  -  we must together discuss the way we want the solution to develop; the government needs to treat this as a delivery challenge - just like we did with the London Olympics, on-time  and  on-budget;  the  emitting  businesses  that  must  close  cannot  be  allowed  to  delay  action,  but  meanwhile  the authors of this report are funded by the government to work    across  industry  to  support  the  transition  to  growth  compatible with zero emissions.

Breakthrough technologies will be important in the future but we cannot depend on them to reach our zero emissions target  in  2050.  Instead  this  report  sets  an  agenda  for  a  long-overdue public conversation across the whole of UK society about how we really want to achieve Absolute Zero within thirty years

Saturday, April 10, 2021

If Livestock Had ANY IDEA What's In Store For Them....,

newsweek  |  The Spanish firm Grifols helped set off a kerfuffle last year when it, along with other firms, offered nearly double the going price for blood donations for a COVID-19 treatment trial. Brigham Young University in Idaho had to threaten some enterprising students with suspension to keep them from intentionally trying to contract COVID-19. The trial failed, however, and now the Barcelona-based firm is hoping to extract something far more valuable from the plasma of young volunteers: a set of microscopic molecules that could reverse the process of aging itself.

Earlier this year, Grifols closed on a $146 million-deal to buy Alkahest, a company founded by Stanford University neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who, along with Saul Villeda, revealed in scientific papers published in 2011 and 2014 that the blood from young mice had seemingly miraculous restorative effects on the brains of elderly mice. The discovery adds to a hot area of inquiry called geroscience that "seeks to understand molecular and cellular mechanisms that make aging a major risk factor and driver of common chronic conditions and diseases of older adulthood," according to the National Institutes of Health. In the last six years, Alkahest has identified more than 8,000 proteins in the blood that show potential promise as therapies. Its efforts and those of Grifols have resulted in at least six phase 2 trials completed or underway to treat a wide range of age-related diseases, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Alkahest and a growing number of other geroscience health startups signal a change in thinking about some of the most intractable diseases facing humankind. Rather than focusing solely on the etiology of individual diseases like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's and arthritis—or, for that matter, COVID-19—geroscientists are trying to understand how these diseases relate to the single largest risk factor of all: human aging. Their goal is to hack the process of aging itself and, in the process, delay or stave off the onset of many of the diseases most associated with growing old.

The idea that aging and illness go hand and hand is, of course, nothing new. What's new is the newfound confidence of scientists that "aging" can be measured, reverse-engineered and controlled.

Until recently, "people working on diseases did not think that aging was modifiable," says Felipe Sierra, who recently retired as director of the Division of Aging Biology at the National Institute on Aging, a part of the NIH. "That is actually what many medical books say: The main risk factor for cardiovascular disease is aging, but we cannot change aging so let's talk about cholesterol and obesity. For Alzheimer's, aging is the main risk factor—but let's talk about the buildup in the brain of beta-amyloid proteins. Now that is beginning to change."

 

Pissants Must Eat Bugs: But For Us - The Blood Is The Life

medicalbag  |  Some say that Countess Elizabeth Báthory, considered by many to be the world’s worst female serial killer, was the true inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. After all, legend has it that she bathed in the blood of at least 650 servant girls she had tortured and killed. She was said to be so evil that villagers kept their daughters in hiding for fear that Elizabeth would take them. Her gruesome activities even earned her such names as “the Infamous Lady” and “the Blood Countess.” This is her story.

Erzsébet Báthory, more commonly known in the Western world as Elizabeth, was born in 1560 to one of the most powerful Protestant families in Hungary at the time. She was the daughter of Baron George Báthory and Baroness Anna Báthory, who were both Báthorys by birth. Possibly stemming from inbreeding within her family, it is said that from an early age Elizabeth suffered from seizures, loss of control, and fits of rage. As a child, she witnessed the brutal punishments handed out by her family’s officers on their estates; one anecdote describes a gypsy accused of theft who was sewn up in the belly of a dying horse and left to die. Her family tree certainly included some disturbed kin as well. One of her uncles taught her Satanism, and she learned about sadomasochism from her aunt.

Elizabeth was married by the time she was 15 years old to Count Ferenc Nádasdy, a soldier who would go on to lead the armies of Hungary against Ottoman forces threatening Central Europe. After her marriage, the countess became the mistress of the Nádasdy estate, where the couple earned a reputation as harsh masters. Building upon her own cruelty, it is believed that Ferenc showed her some of his own ways of punishing his servants. After 10 years, Elizabeth gave birth to 3 daughters and a son. 

Although the count participated in his wife’s torture activities, it wasn’t until the death of her husband in the early 1600s that Elizabeth’s true evil came to fruition. She eventually moved to one of her castles at Čachtice in northwest Hungary (now Slovakia) and began surrounding herself with a cohort of servants to help her with her torture practices. Legend has it that one day an attendant girl was brushing Elizabeth’s hair when she accidentally pulled too hard and it tugged on a snag in her hair. The countess erupted in anger, jumping up and striking the girl with the back of her hand. The strike was so hard that it made the girl bleed and some of that blood was left on Elizabeth’s hand. Later that night, Elizabeth noticed that the skin on her hand where the blood had been looked more youthful than she had seen it in many years. This gave her the idea that if such a small amount of blood could make her hand look so young, then more could restore youthfulness to her whole body. It’s said that this is when the madness began and Elizabeth started to bathe in the blood of virgin girls.  

Young women began to disappear from villages near and far, as well as children. Unhappy girls were lured to the castle with the prospect that they would find work there but were never seen again. When they arrived, they were locked up in a cellar as they awaited torture. Elizabeth carried out much of the torture herself, often beating the girls to death. Sometimes she would sew a girl’s mouth shut, force her to eat her own flesh, or burn her genitals. When she was too sick to get out of bed to beat them, Elizabeth would order her servants to bring up a girl to her quarters where she would bite their faces and shoulders. In other instances, she would stick needles underneath the girl’s fingertips before cutting off the fingers of those who tried to take them out. Soon Elizabeth began to run out of young women, because she had either already taken them, or the villagers had started to hide their daughters out of fear that she would take them. This is when the countess began to resort to noble girls, a decision that would ultimately lead to her demise.

Tissue Rejuvenation Via Plasma Dilution

lifespan  |  Back in 2005, Drs. Irina and Michael Conboy showed that joining the circulatory systems of young and old mice together in a procedure called parabiosis could rejuvenate aged tissues and reverse some aspects of aging in old mice.

Following this discovery, many researchers concluded that there must be something special in young blood that was able to spur rejuvenation in aged animals, and various companies have been trying to find out what. Indeed, we recently reported that researchers were apparently successful in halving the epigenetic age of old rats by treating them with Elixir, a proprietary mix of pro-youthful factors normally found in young blood.

However, a question still remains: was the rejuvenation the result of there being something beneficial in the young blood, or is it more a case of dilution of the harmful factors present in old blood?

Today, we want to spotlight a new study by Drs. Irina and Michael Conboy, which again lends more weight to the idea that the rejuvenation is most likely due to a dilution of pro-aging factors in old blood rather than there being any special sauce in young blood [1].

During the study, the research team discovered that by replacing half of the blood plasma in old mice with a saline and albumin mixture, the albumin replacing the lost protein that was removed when the original old blood plasma was taken, they could achieve a similar or even greater rejuvenation effect in brain, liver, and muscle tissues as joining two mice together through parabiosis or giving old mice young blood.

We had the opportunity to interview Drs. Irina and Michael Conboy about this new discovery and to see if we could get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding aged blood rejuvenation.

Steve: This recent paper builds on the 2015 paper of TGF beta, but it goes even further back to the days when you guys had a lab next door to Amy Wagers and Tony Wyss-Coray and you all shared the techniques, including the parabiosis technique.

Irina: Yes. Actually, I would like also to thank you, Elena, and the whole organization for highlighting our work and giving us an opportunity to speak in interviews.

Steve: You are very welcome. So, is this dilution? Is it what you put in that’s more important, is it what you take out, or is it both? I personally think that the evidence strongly suggests that it’s more what you take out, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t good stuff in young blood.

Irina: Since our 2005 heterochronic parabiosis paper, many people jumped into this boat of young blood, thinking that the reason for rejuvenation is that there are less young factors in an old animal and we provided them. Meanwhile, all our work even leading to that paper suggested the opposite outcome: that there are excessive factors in old blood that are actually good proteins; for example, TGF beta. You cannot live without TGF beta. But, when people age, the levels of this protein become elevated, and they start doing counterproductive things for tissue repair, induce inflammation, increase fibrosis, and prevent proliferation of tissue stem cells. That was our point of view for the past 15 years, and every single paper that we published since was putting forward the general idea that it is not the young blood, it is the old blood that needs thought and attention.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Have Elites Acquired The Technology To Rule Without The Gentry?

michaelochurch  |   In a society like ours, the upper and lower classes have more in common with each other than either has with the middle class. The upper and lower classes “live like animals”, but for very different reasons. The upper classes are empowered to engage their primal, base urges; the lower classes are pummeled with fear on a daily basis and regress to animalism not out of moral paucity but in order to survive. People in the lower class live lives that are consumed entirely by money, because they lack the means of a dignified life. Those in the upper class, likewise, experience a life dominated by money, because maintaining injustices favorable to oneself is hard work. So, even though the motivations are different (fear at the bottom, greed at the top) the lower and upper classes are united in what the middle class perceives as “crass materialism” and, therefore, have strikingly similar cultures. Their lives are run by that thing called “money” toward which the middle classes pretend– and it is very much pretend– to be ambivalent about. The middle classes are sheltered, until the cultural protection, on which their semi-privileged status depends, runs out.

The “middle-est” of the middle class is the Gentry. Here we’re talking about people who dislike pawnbrokers and stock traders alike, who appear to lead a society from the front while its real owners lead it from the shadows. This said, I have my doubts on the matter of there being one, singular Gentry. I would argue that corporate middle management, the clergy, the political establishments of both major U.S. political parties, TED-talk onanist “thought leaders” and media personalities, and even Instagram “influencers” could all be called Gentries; in no obvious or formal way do these groups have much to do with one another. Only in one thing are they united: by the middle 2010s it became clear that both the Elite (bourgeoisie) and Labor (self-aaware proletariat) were fed up with all these Gentries. Starting around 2013, an anti-Gentry hategasm consumed the United States, and as a member of said (former) Gentry I can’t say we didn’t deserve it.

Technology, I believe, is a major cause of this. Silicon Valley began as a 1970s Gentry paradise; by 2010, it had become a monument to Elite excess, arrogance, and malefaction. Modern technology has given today’s employers an oppressive power the Stasi and KGB only dreamt of. The American Gentry was a PR wing for capitalism when it needed to win hearts and minds; but with today’s technological weaponry, the rich no longer see a need to be well-liked by those they rule.

For a concrete example, compare the “old style” bureaucratic, paperwork corporation of the midcentury and the “new style” technological one, in which workers are tracked, often unawares, down to minutes. The old-style companies were hierarchical and feudalistic but, by giving middle managers the ability to protect their underlings, ran on a certain sense of reciprocated loyalty– a social contract, if you will– that no longer exists. The worker agreed not to undermine, humiliate, or sabotage his manager; the manager, in turn, agreed to represent the worker as an asset to the company even when said worker had a below-average year. All you had to do in the old-style company was be liked (or, at least, not be despised) by your boss. If your boss liked you, you got promoted. If your boss hated you, you got fired. If you were anywhere from about 3.00 to 6.99 on his emotional spectrum, you moved diagonally or laterally, your boss repping you as a 6.75/10 “in search of a better fit” so you moved along quickly and peaceably. It wasn’t a perfect system, but it worked better than what came afterward.

I’ve worked in the software industry long enough to know that software engineers are the most socially clueless people on earth. I’ve often heard them debate “the right” metrics to use to track software productivity. My advice to them is: Always fight metrics. Sabotage the readings, or blackmail a higher-up by catfishing as a 15-year-old girl, or call in a union that’ll drop a pipe on that shit. Always, always, always fight a metric that management wishes to impose on you, because while a metric can hurt you (by flagging you as a low performer) it will never help you. In the old-style company, automated surveillance was impossible and performance was largely inscrutable and only loyalty mattered– your career was based on your boss’s opinion of you. It only took one thing to get a promotion: be liked by your boss. In the new-style company, devised by management consultants and software peddlers with evil intentions, getting a promotion requires you to pass the metrics and be liked by your boss. In the old-style company, you could get fired if your boss really, really hated you. (As I said, if he merely disliked you, he’d rep you as a solid performer “in search of a better fit” so you could transfer peacefully, and you’d get to try again with a new boss.) In the new-style company, you can get fired because your boss hates you or because you fail the metrics. The “user story points” that product managers insist are not an individual performance measure (and absolutely are, by the way) are evidence that only the prosecution may use. This is terrible for workers. There are new ways to fail and get fired; the route to success is constricted by an increase in the number of targets that must be hit. The old-style hierarchical company, at least, had simple rules: be loyal to your boss. Having been a middle manager, I can also say that the new-style company is humiliating for us– we can’t protect our reports. You have to “demand accountability from” people, but you can’t really do anything to help them.

This, I think, gives us a metaphor for the American Gentry’s failure. Middle managers who cannot protect their subordinates from the company’s more evil instincts (such as the instinct to fire everyone and hire replacements 5 percent cheaper) have no reason to expect true loyalty. They become superfluous performance cops and taskmasters, and even if they are personally liked, their roles are justifiably hated (including by those who have to perform them.)

More On The Ruling Elite And Their Narrative,Technology, And Governance Endgame(s)

indiepf |  What I’ve called the Labor, Gentry, and Elite “ladders” can more easily be described as “infrastructures”. For Labor, this infrastructure is largely physical and the relevant connection is knowing how to use that physical device or space, and getting people to trust a person to competently use (without owning, because that’s out of the question for most) these resources. For the Gentry, it’s an “invisible graph” of knowledge and education and “interestingness”, comprised largely of ideas. For the Elite, it’s a tight, exclusive network centered on social connections, power, and dominance. People can be connected to more than one of these infrastructures, but people usually bind more tightly to the one of higher status, except when at the transitional ranks (G4 and E4) which tend to punt people who don’t ascend after some time. The overwhelmingly high likelihood is that a person is aligned most strongly to one and only one of these structures. The values are too conflicting for a person not to pick one horse or the other.

I’ve argued that the ladders connect at a two-rung difference, with L2 ~ G4, L1 ~ G3, G2 ~ E4, and G1 ~ E3. These are “social equivalencies” that don’t involve a change in social status, so they’re the easiest to transitions to make (in both directions). They represent a transfer from one form of capital to another. A skilled laborer (L2) who begins taking night courses (G4) is using time to get an education rather than more money. Likewise, one who moves from the high gentry (G2) to a 90-hour-per-week job in private wealth management (E4) is applying her refined intellectual skills and knowledge to serving the rich, in the hope of making the connections to become one of them.

That said, these ladders often come into conflict. The most relevant one to most of my readers will be the conflict between the Gentry and the Elite. The Gentry tends to be left-libertarian and values creativity, individual autonomy, and free expression. The Elite tends toward center-right authoritarianism and corporate conformity, and it views creativity as dangerous (except when applied to hiding financial risks or justifying illegal wars). The Gentry believes that it is the deserving elite and the face of the future, and that it can use culture to engineer a future in which its values are elite; while the upper tier of the Elite finds the Gentry pretentious, repugnant, self-indulgent, and subversive. The relationship between the Gentry and Elite is incredibly contentious. It’s a cosmic, ubiquitous war between the past and the future.

Between the Gentry and Labor, there is an attitude of distrust. The Elite has been running a divide-and-conquer strategy between these two categories for decades. This works because the Elite understands (and can ape) the culture of the Gentry, but has something in common with Labor that sets the categories apart from the Gentry: a conception of work as a theater for masculine dominance. This is something that the Elite and Labor both believe in– the visceral strength and importance of the alpha-male in high-stakes gambling settings such as most modern work– but that the Gentry would rather deny. Gender is a major part of the Elite’s strategy in turning Labor against the Gentry: make the Gentry look effeminate. That’s why “feminist” is practically a racial slur, despite the world desperately needing attention to women’s political equality, health and well-being (that is, feminism).

The Elite also uses the Underclass in a different process: the Elite wants Labor think the Gentry intends to conspire with the Underclass to dismantle Labor values and elevate these “obviously undeserving” people to, at least, the status of Labor if not promoted above them. They exploit fear in Labor. One might invoke racism and the “Southern strategy” in politics as an example of this, but the racial part is incidental. The Elite don’t care whether it’s blacks or Latinos or “illigals” or red-haired people or homosexuals (most of whom are not part of the Underclass) that are being used to frighten Labor into opposing and disliking the Gentry; they just know that the device works and that it has pretty much always worked.

The relationship between the Gentry and Elite is one of open rivalry, and that between the Gentry and Labor is one of distrust. What about Labor and the Elite? That one is not symmetric. The Elite exploit and despise Labor as a class comprised mostly of “useful idiots”. How does Labor see the Elite? They don’t. The Elite has managed to convince Labor that the Gentry (who are open about their cultural elitism, while the Elite hides its social and economic elitism) is the actual “liberal elite” responsible for Labor’s misery over the past 30 years. In effect, the Elite has constructed an “infinity pool” where the Elite appears to be a hyper-successful extension of Labor, lumping these two disparate ladders into an “us” and placing the Gentry and Underclass into “them”.

Morgan Freeman Out'Chere Pitching The Mark Of The Beast - How Appropriate...,

thehill |  Morgan Freeman says if you trust him, you'll take his advice and get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"I'm not a doctor, but I trust science. And I’m told that, for some reason, people trust me," the "Vanquish" star says in a public service announcement released Monday by the arts advocacy group The Creative Coalition.

Freeman, 83, has played God in multiple films and is a popular choice for narrating documentaries and science specials.

“So here I am to say I trust science and I got the vaccine," he tells viewers in the PSA.

"If you trust me, you’ll get the vaccine," Freeman adds.

Morgan, I don't trust you as far as I could spit on you. First, there's your recent Russiagate foolishness and phukkery:

And then, there's that deeply disturbing personal failing from several years ago when your nasty old ass was simultaneously on those blue pills and your own step grand daughter!!! Now, low-information, short-memory, IQ-75 may have forgotten what you were up to, but these liminal views of consensus reality CANNOT UNSEE what they have seen:

Leana Wen Advocating For The Mark Of The Beast Is Just Plain Trolling

WaPo  | I think it’s time for us to extend the newfound normalcy from social settings to business operations. While the CDC guidance currently discourages vaccinated people from gathering in public places, this should be overridden if businesses can verify vaccination status. Imagine that you own a gym that used to have high-intensity exercise classes but had to stop because it’s high risk to have lots of people breathing heavily in crowded indoor spaces. You could reopen these classes if everyone attending is guaranteed to be vaccinated. Or imagine that you run a restaurant that has had to operate at 30 percent capacity to keep distancing between tables. You could establish certain nights where you serve at 100 percent capacity, if all patrons and servers are reliably known to be vaccinated.

Some entities are already exploring such possibilities, including cruise operators and a handful of colleges. By requiring proof of vaccination, they will aim for herd immunity on their ships and campuses. Not only could they return to full operation, but also they could probably give their customers and students something close to the pre-pandemic experience, with full interaction and possibly without the need for masks.

In these examples, vaccination isn’t a government-imposed requirement but a voluntary action facilitated by the private sector. Any outcry over government overreach shouldn’t focus on proof of vaccination, but rather on attempts to ban businesses from asking for it. It’s the height of hypocrisy for politicians who normally tout their support for free markets to now bar the private sector from covid-safety innovations. Why can’t businesses offer customers the peace of mind that comes with much-reduced risk from a potentially deadly disease?

Some have made the equity argument: How could vaccination policies be fair as long as some aren’t able to get shots? I am the mother of two young children, and I know they probably won’t be eligible until 2022; until then, I am happy for others to have privileges that my family can’t. This isn’t so different from, say, adults-only resorts: Just because some people can’t enjoy them doesn’t mean that no one should. In fact, the more incentives the better, because the more people vaccinated, the better we all are protected.

Throughout the pandemic, there have been polarizing terms that trigger fierce opposition. Just as we should never have invoked “lockdowns,” we need to stop debating “vaccine passports.” Instead, we should define what it is that we need to move toward normalcy: a covid-19 health screen that enables people to associate with one another free from pandemic restrictions. That’s a concept I hope most Americans can get behind.

 

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Related To Montagnier's Concern About mRNA? Extrachromosomal DNA Drives Tumor Malignancy

thescientist |   Despite being treated with drugs designed to target this gene, the patients were not getting better, and when we interrogated the genomes of their cancers after the tumors were surgically removed following treatment, we saw that they had changed. The tumors had dramatically reduced the number of copies of the targeted epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene, presumably giving them an advantage to escape the drugs, and they had evolved these genetic differences at a rate that seemed to make no sense—within just one to two weeks. 

Normally, we think of cancers evolving over many cell divisions, as the cells carrying genetic changes that provide a fitness advantage—such as an ability to resist a particular treatment—will be more likely to survive and divide. Here, we were noticing a change in the copy number of the gene within just a few generations. There was no way that we could explain how the tumors were altering their DNA so quickly. 

Even stranger, we could take any cell from the tumor, and whether it had high or undetectable protein levels of EGFR, it would give rise to a new tumor when cultured in the lab or implanted into a mouse. Each of these new tumors would then display the full spectrum of cells found in the original tumor, varied in their EGFR copy number. This makes no sense according to what we know about classical genetics. We would have expected that tumors arising from a cell with low levels of EGFR would give rise to a tumor with low EGFR levels, whereas a tumor arising from a cell with high levels of EGFR would give rise to a tumor with high EGFR levels. 

When we removed the treatment with the EGFR inhibitor from cultured tumor cells, EGFR copy number quickly rebounded, but again, not on chromosomes. When we saw this, we realized that ecDNA might explain why some cancers can become resistant to treatment so quickly, allowing tumors to evolve at a rate that far exceeds anything that could be accounted for by classical genetics. We published our results in Science in 2014, but they were not immediately accepted by the community. Although we had only studied one tumor type, glioblastoma, we began to wonder whether this might be the tip of the iceberg. 

Without realizing it, this study led us, and now others, to a series of discoveries that have changed the way that researchers view cancer in general, revealing frightening ways that tumors can evolve. We have learned that ecDNA is central to the behavior of some of the most aggressive forms of cancer, enabling remarkably elevated levels of oncogene transcription, creating new gene regulatory interactions, and providing a powerful mechanism for rapid change that can drive very high oncogene copy numbers or allow cancer cells to resist treatment. Fist tap Woodensplinter

Jean Luc Montagnier: mRNA Therapeutic A "Sorcerer's Apprentice" With Heritable Consequences..,

francesoir  |  In a letter dated March 21, 2021 published on the Nakim.org website, Professor Montagnier, Nobel Prize winner in medicine,  supports the request of Dr Seligmann and engineer Haim Yativ for the suspension of vaccination against Covid-19 judges of the Supreme Court of the State of Israel.

This letter is in support of the petition for the suspension of vaccination against covid-19 which was presented to you by MM. Yativ and Seligmann.

I am Luc Montagnier, doctor of medicine, professor emeritus at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, director of research emeritus at CNRS, Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for the discovery of the AIDS virus.

I am an expert in virology, having devoted a large part of my research to RNA viruses, in particular mouse encephalomyocarditis, Rous sarcoma virus, HIV 1 and HIV 2 virus.

Considerable effort has been devoted to vaccination against the coronavirus covid-19 responsible for a global pandemic. In particular the State of Israel has organized a mass vaccination of its population so far, 49% of its total population has received two doses of Pfizer vaccine. 

First of all, I would like to stress the novelty of this type of vaccine. 

  • In conventional vaccines, the genetic information carried by viral DNA or RNA is inactivated and virus proteins are used to induce vaccine antibodies. In some cases, the virus remains alive, but is attenuated by successive passages in vitro. 
  • In the case of so-called RNA messenger vaccines, these vaccines are made from an active fraction of the virus's RNA which will be injected into the vaccinated person. It therefore penetrates the cells of the latter which will manufacture the vaccine proteins from the code of the injected RNA.
    We immediately see that this last step depends a lot on its success on the physiological state of the recipient.

I would like to summarize the potential dangers of these vaccines in a mass vaccination policy.

1. Short-term side effects  : these are not the normal local reactions found with any vaccination, but serious reactions are life threatening to the recipient such as anaphylactic shock linked to a component of the vaccine mixture. , or severe allergies or an autoimmune reaction up to cell aplasia.

2. Lack of vaccine protection  :

2.1  induction of facilitating antibodies  - the induced antibodies do not neutralize a viral infection, but on the contrary facilitate it depending on the recipient. The latter may have already been exposed to the virus asymptomatically. A low level of naturally induced antibodies may compete with the antibodies induced by the vaccine.

2.2 The production of antibodies induced by vaccination in a population highly exposed to the virus will lead to the selection of variants resistant to these antibodies. These variants can be more virulent or more transmissible . This is what we are seeing now. An endless virus-vaccine race that will always turn to the advantage for the virus.

3. Long-term effects  : Contrary to the claims of the manufacturers of messenger RNA vaccines, there is a risk of integration of viral RNA into the human genome. Indeed, each of our cells has endogenous retroviruses with the ability to reverse transcriptase RNA into DNA. Although this is a rare event, its passage through the DNA of germ cells and its transmission to future generations cannot be excluded.

“Faced with an unpredictable future, it is better to abstain. 

Professor Luc Montagnier

Pfizer And Moderna Looking To Get PAID For Their mRNA Therapeutics...,

theintercept  |  Pfizer, Moderna, and other coronavirus vaccine makers have said repeatedly that they intend to hike prices on vaccines as early as this year, as the potential need for additional booster shots and future demand could lead to an unprecedented financial windfall.

One estimate projects that if Pfizer raised the price of its coronavirus vaccine from $19.50 to $175 per dose, as one Pfizer executive recently suggested, and if every adult American were to take it, the cost would be $44.7 billion — nearly 10 percent of all U.S. drug spending.

But the federal government, which funded crucial biomedical research to develop the patented messenger RNA technology behind the leading Covid-19 vaccines, is on the verge of eliminating a legal mechanism to control the prices of key medical products, including vaccines. 

Next week, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, will wrap up a comment period to modify the rules governing the Bayh-Dole Act, a law that regulates the transfer of federally funded inventions into commercial property. Under the current interpretation of the law, the government may “march in” and suspend the use of patents developed via government-funded inventions if it determines that the products are excessively priced.

The rulemaking is the latest flashpoint in a decades long battle to control drug prices. The drug industry has fought successfully to prevent “march-in” rights in the past; the government has never managed to exercise them. But over the last year, a growing number of Republicans and Democrats, including newly appointed Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Beccera, have called for the use of march-in rights to rein in drug prices.

This supposed leverage to control prices — on coronavirus medications and dozens of other drugs whose development relied heavily on government-backed research — would be gone if the rule-change proceeds.

 

Vaccines Will Not Be Enough "We" Now Need Global Maximum Supression

theconversation |  At the end of 2020, there was a strong hope that high levels of vaccination would see humanity finally gain the upper hand over SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In an ideal scenario, the virus would then be contained at very low levels without further societal disruption or significant numbers of deaths.

But since then, new “variants of concern” have emerged and spread worldwide, putting current pandemic control efforts, including vaccination, at risk of being derailed.

Put simply, the game has changed, and a successful global rollout of current vaccines by itself is no longer a guarantee of victory.

No one is truly safe from COVID-19 until everyone is safe. We are in a race against time to get global transmission rates low enough to prevent the emergence and spread of new variants. The danger is that variants will arise that can overcome the immunity conferred by vaccinations or prior infection.

What’s more, many countries lack the capacity to track emerging variants via genomic surveillance. This means the situation may be even more serious than it appears.

As members of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission Taskforce on Public Health, we call for urgent action in response to the new variants. These new variants mean we cannot rely on the vaccines alone to provide protection but must maintain strong public health measures to reduce the risk from these variants. At the same time, we need to accelerate the vaccine program in all countries in an equitable way.

Together, these strategies will deliver “maximum suppression” of the virus.

What are ‘variants of concern’?

Genetic mutations of viruses like SARS-CoV-2 emerge frequently, but some variants are labelled “variants of concern”, because they can reinfect people who have had a previous infection or vaccination, or are more transmissible or can lead to more severe disease.


Read more: UK, South African, Brazilian: a virologist explains each COVID variant and what they mean for the pandemic


There are currently at least three documented SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern:

  • B.1.351, first reported in South Africa in December 2020

  • B.1.1.7, first reported in the United Kingdom in December 2020

  • P.1, first identified in Japan among travellers from Brazil in January 2021.

Similar mutations are arising in different countries simultaneously, meaning not even border controls and high vaccination rates can necessarily protect countries from home-grown variants, including variants of concern, where there is substantial community transmission.

If there are high transmission levels, and hence extensive replication of SARS-CoV-2, anywhere in the world, more variants of concern will inevitably arise and the more infectious variants will dominate. With international mobility, these variants will spread.

 

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

The Rich Have Reached The Zenith Of Their Power In NYC

FT  |   The tax fight is a preamble for an upcoming mayoral election that all sides view as one of the most consequential in New York’s history. The Democratic primary, which is expected to crown the eventual winner in a city where seven out of every eight voters are Democrats, is in June. Business leaders and the wealthy have been nursing existential dread at the possibility of what one prominent property developer calls another “ideological” mayor. That is, someone in the mould of the current mayor, Bill de Blasio, who is limited to serving two terms. Two days after winning the 2013 Democratic primary, De Blasio attended a private lunch with the city’s business leaders and promptly alienated many of them. They expected he would solicit their advice and extend a hand. Instead, the mayor reprised his “tale of two cities” campaign rhetoric, and declared that he cared about the other side. “Faces dropped,” one attendee recalls. 

That divide has only deepened in the ensuing years. De Blasio’s legion of executive class critics deride him as a lazy manager who deploys politicised rhetoric to cover for his own incompetence. While the budget has increased by 35 per cent during his tenure, problems like homelessness and public housing have worsened — even before the pandemic. “The city is at a crossroads. This is truly the most important election of our lifetime and in NYC’s history,” Stephen Ross, chair of The Related Companies, and de facto king of the city’s developers, wrote to fellow business leaders last month as he urged them to join his effort to elect a business-friendly mayor. The race’s outcome, Ross wrote, will determine whether “NYC will rebound or languish”. Looming large for executives like Ross is the grim memory of the 1970s, when a fraying city ended up losing half its Fortune 500 companies — many fleeing to surrounding suburbs — and shedding more than 1m inhabitants. That era also birthed a civic movement. It was christened at a breakfast meeting at the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue in 1971 when the developer Lew Rudin and hotelier Robert Tisch hatched what would become the Association for a Better New York, a group of business leaders who aimed to step in where city government was failing. ABNY’s moguls lobbied the federal government on the city’s behalf. They also brought labour leaders into their tent.

 

I Had No Idea - May Have To Stop Whining About Covid Passports - Jes DAYYUM......,

pluralistic |  The zombie economy shambles on. Obama's loan-shark bailout and the eviction crisis let the architects of subprime buy up whole towns' worth of homes and turn them into hugely profitable slums: high-rent, low-quality deathtraps.

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-housing-invitation/

Wall St landlords package rents from subprime rentals into bonds, backed by the loan-shark's guarantee: arm-breakers will evict the shit out of anyone who stops paying.

America-a land where eviction was once a rarity-now faces an eviction epidemic.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/02/08/forced-out

The foreclosure crisis was only possible because Wall St and the courts collaborated to streamline the historically complicated and time-consuming process of taking away someone's home. Same goes for the eviction epidemic.

It's a simple equation: the more loan-sharks spend on arm-breakers, the lower the expected profits.

Improvements to arm-breaking processes – cost-savings on traditional coercion or innovative new forms of terror – are powerful engines for unlocking new debt markets.

When innovation calls, tech answers. Our devices are increasingly "smart," and inside every smart device is a potential arm-breaker. Digital arm-breakers have been around since the first DRM systems, but they really took off in 2008.

That's when subprime car loans boomed. People who lost everything in the GFC still needed to get to work, and thanks to chronic US underinvestment in transit, that means owning a car. So loan-sharks and tech teamed up to deliver a new lost-cost, high-efficiency arm-breaker.

They leveraged the nation's mature wireless network to install cellular killswitches in cars. You could extend an unrepayable loan to a desperate person, and use an unmutable second stereo system to bombard them with earsplitting overdue notices.

https://edition.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/04/17/aa.bills.shut.engine.down/index.html

If they didn't pay, you could remotely cut off the ignition and send a precise location to your repo man.

Smart killswitches let you impose fine-grained control over debtors – say, enforcing a rule against driving over the county line.

https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/miss-a-payment-good-luck-moving-that-car/

Within a decade, the bond-market for payments from subprime car drivers was edging up on $1T; not because borrowers didn't default, but because they defaulted later, and the car could be easily re-leased to another desperate person.

The zombie economy shambled on. Tech built undeletable, always-on kill-switches, lo-jacks, and spyware into an ever-expanding constellation of devices, like laptops.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/04/rental-company-control/478365/

Rent-to-own subprime laptops were the epicenter of innovation in digital arm-breaking. Laptops shipped with spyware for covert operation of cameras and mic and access ot files.

That went beyond repoing a laptop! Lenders could make and share covert sex-tapes of their customers!

They spied on children, plundered MP3 collections, stole passwords, read email. It was beyond the wildest dreams of analog loan-sharks.

Membership In The American Ruling Class Means Never Having To Audition, Campaign, Or Fundraise

NYTimes  |  America’s most powerful people have a problem. They can’t admit that they’re powerful.

Take Andrew Cuomo. On a recent call with reporters, the embattled Mr. Cuomo insisted that he was “not part of the political club.” The assertion was confounding because Mr. Cuomo is in his third term as governor of New York — a position his father also held for three terms. Mr. Cuomo has also served as state attorney general and as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Or think of Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence. After her appointment was announced, Ms. Haines declared, “I have never shied away from speaking truth to power.” That is a curious way of describing a meteoric career that includes stints at exclusive universities, a prestigious judicial clerkship and important jobs in foreign policy and intelligence before her appointment to a cabinet-level office overseeing a budget of more than $60 billion.

This sort of false advertising isn’t limited to Democrats. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, for instance, has embraced an image as a populist crusader against a distant “political class.” He does not emphasize his father’s career as a banker, his studies at Stanford and Yale Law School, or his work as clerk to prominent judges, including Chief Justice John Roberts. The merits of Mr. Hawley’s positions are open to debate. But his membership in the same elite that he rails against is not.

And it’s not only politicians. Business figures love to present themselves as “disrupters” of stagnant industries. But the origins of the idea are anything but rebellious. Popularized by a Harvard professor and promoted by a veritable industry of consultants, it has been embraced by some of the richest and most highly credentialed people in the world.

Examples could be multiplied, but these cases are enough to show that the problem of insiders pretending to be outsiders cuts across party, gender and field. The question is why.

Part of the explanation is strategic. An outsider pose is appealing because it allows powerful people to distance themselves from the consequences of their decisions. When things go well, they are happy to take credit. When they go badly, it’s useful to blame an incompetent, hostile establishment for thwarting their good intentions or visionary plans.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

246 Fully "Vaccinated" Michiganders Got Covid Between January And March

FREEP  |  State health officials say 246 fully vaccinated Michiganders contracted coronavirus from January to March, and three have died. 

"These are individuals who have had a positive test 14 or more days after the last dose in the vaccine series," said Lynn Sutfin, a spokesperson for the state health department.

Some of the 246 people may ultimately be excluded from the state's tally of vaccine breakthrough cases because they may have had earlier coronavirus infections and still tested positive two weeks post immunization. 

"These cases are undergoing further review to determine if they meet other (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) criteria for determination of potential breakthrough, including the absence of a positive antigen or PCR test less than 45 days prior to the post-vaccination positive test," Sutfin said. 

Although so-called vaccine breakthrough cases are rare, and all three COVID-19 vaccines on the market are considered highly effective with efficacy rates ranging from 72% for Johnson & Johnson's vaccine to 94% and 95% for Moderna's and Pfizer's, respectively, it can happen. 

"While it is significantly less likely, it is still possible to contract the virus after being vaccinated," Sutfin said. "Studies indicate that even if vaccinated people do become ill, they are far less likely to experience severe illness requiring hospitalization or resulting in death.

"But the possibility of infection and further transmission is why we continue to encourage Michiganders to take precautions while out in public, including wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing, even after receiving the vaccine until more Michiganders have been able to be vaccinated."

Hospitalization data for 129 of the fully vaccinated cases is incomplete, Sutfin said. But for the 117 people for whom hospitalization records are known, 11 were hospitalized.

"A number of these are new cases that have been reported ... as a result of a positive test, but local health departments are either early in their investigation or have yet to begin their case investigation," Sutfin said. 

The three fully vaccinated people who died, Sutfin said, were all ages 65 and older. Two of them were within three weeks of full vaccination.


Internal Medicine Doctor Believes Elites Have Permanently Lost The Panicdemic Narrative

nakedcapitalism |  My worst nightmare concerns are starting to come true and the media will not be able to hide this for much longer. Today, I am not concerned about the SCIENCE of medicine – I am concerned about the ART of medicine.

The ART can best be summarized as encouraging patients to do the right thing for THEM. With regard to COVID 19, that would be to meet the patient at whatever level they are and find ways to encourage social distancing rules, masking and to correctly guide them on vaccine choice. It would also include encouraging them to be engaged in the healthiest behaviors possible during this time of crisis. Eat well, exercise, sleep and de-stress.

The ART is often much more important to a physician’s medical outcomes than the SCIENCE – something our society and our medical establishment has long ago forgotten. ART requires as a foundation explicit trust and honesty between a patient and the physician. There is no other way.

Yves, I appreciated your post the other day on the Christian Nationalism aspect of COVID 19. I made a comment on the post about this not just being an Evangelical problem. I even suggested in the comment that there could be issues brewing among Roman Catholics, based on what I had been hearing as a physician.

As of Easter Sunday, there are now multiple videos being widely circulated and they all speak to the issue better than I could ever type out in a comment. I have been seeing this problem slowly brewing for weeks and it has largely been completely ignored by our mainstream media.

I will state for the record officially today – the public health authorities have lost the narrative. They apparently have also lost their minds. If they think this type of behavior on the most Holy Days of the Church is not going to go unnoticed – they have rocks for brains. This kind of thuggishness is not going to help their cause in any way; rather, it will make these people dig in more. And trust me – as of this Easter Sunday AM – they are digging in. Bunker-style. A clarion call has gone out and it could not be more clear. And I am talking about Roman Catholics – not my Evangelical family – they went off the reservation long ago. Now even my Orthodox friends have taken notice.

As I have been stating over the past few days – the authorities have repeatedly allowed discredited, hypocritical and lying Hoohahs to be their voice in the national media. Outside of our big blue cities and states – NO ONE AMONG MY PATIENTS COULD GIVE A RAT’S ASS WHAT THESE PEOPLE HAVE TO SAY ANYMORE ABOUT THIS PANDEMIC. I hear this refrain constantly every day. The lying, dissembling, crying, misstatements, backtracking and hypocrisy have taken their final toll. If they are not careful, they will soon be public enemy #1.

We have made many errors as a society in the past 12 months, but probably the most important mistake is hardly ever mentioned. One which our forbears in public health, like my father, worked to eradicate for decades. It is very simple – national “one-size-fits-all” narratives and plans in public health do not now nor have they ever worked. Never have. Never will.

Harvard Epidemiologist Dr. Martin Kulldorff Censored By Twitter

lockdownskeptics |  Now that we are allowed to meet up in groups of six outside their homes, Matt Hancock is warning us not to do anything foolish, like hug one another or breach the two metre rule. “Do it safely,” he tweeted. “Don’t blow it now”.

But in fact, the people who shouldn’t “blow it” are Boris Johnson, Sir Patrick Vallance, Chris Whitty and, yes, Matt Hancock. That is the view of Martin Kulldorff, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, biostatistician and epidemiologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts, and co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration.

Professor Kulldorff has told the UK Government and its scientific advisors exactly who they should be listening to and why if they want to save lives – and it doesn’t include vaccinating the entire population, including children. He said this on Twitter on March 15th – “Thinking that everyone must be vaccinated is as scientifically flawed as thinking that nobody should. Covid vaccines are important for older high-risk people and their care-takes. Those with prior natural infection do not need it. Nor children.” – and Twitter attached a health warning to his Tweet: “This tweet is misleading. Learn why health officials recommend a vaccine for most people.” Because, of course, a 22 year-old graduate in Whiteness Studies sitting in Twitter’s HQ in Silicon Valley knows much more about infectious diseases than a Harvard professor of medicine.

Speaking to me in an exclusive interview for Lockdown Sceptics, Kulldorff said:

That warning was rather silly. When making unscientific claims, media often refer to ‘health officials’ or ‘health experts’ without naming those experts. I challenge Twitter to name vaccine epidemiologists who think that everyone must get the Covid vaccine, including children and those with immunity from prior infection.

Equally strange, they even concur with my tweet when they say “most people” rather than “all people”. Right now, children are clearly not part of “most people”, since a Covid vaccine has not yet been approved for them and we know nothing about efficacy or potential adverse reaction in children. Since most children are asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic, it will be hard to show that the vaccine can reduce symptoms, hospitalisations or mortality in children, requiring a large sample size in countries that still has considerable disease spread.

I have worked with vaccines for a couple of decades, but Twitter clearly thinks that scientific discussions about these things are dangerous. Maybe social media is dangerous to those in power. I do hope that social media is dangerous to the lockdowns that have done so much damage to public health during this past year. The enormous collateral public health damage, which is being documented by Collateral Global, is something that we will continue to to live with, and die with, for many years to come. It truly is a public health tragedy of epic proportions.

The catastrophic impact of the lockdowns on public health has been exacerbated by headlines and adverts striking the fear of god into millions, making them less likely to seek medical help for non-Covid diseases.

 

You Can Travel With AIDS, Hepatitis, And Tuberculosis - But Not Without An mRNA Jab!!!

thehill |   Republicans are seizing on the intensifying debate over coronavirus vaccination passports as part of their strategy for recapturing control of Congress in 2022.

In interviews and conversations with The Hill, GOP strategists and operatives acknowledged the growing eagerness among Americans to be vaccinated against COVID-19. But many are also betting that emerging debates about so-called vaccine passports will help them play on voters’ fears of government overreach and privacy violations.

The idea of vaccine passports has gained increasing attention in recent weeks as eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations has rapidly expanded and Americans begin to see glints of a post-pandemic normal on the horizon. The White House has indicated that it will issue basic guidelines for such programs, though it has also said that it has no plans to create a centralized, federal requirement.

Still, some of the country’s most prominent conservatives have begun to latch on to the emerging possibility of vaccine passports or certificates, seeing such proposals as an extension of their campaign to rally the GOP base in opposition to coronavirus-related restrictions like lockdown orders and mask mandates.

“It’s a political winner,” Ford O’Connell, a Florida-based Republican strategist, said. “They look at it as an all-out assault on personal freedoms and the Constitution, but also, it’s about protecting the average, ordinary Floridian who wants to live their regular day-to-day lives.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is among the Republicans who have come out early against the proposals. He criticized the idea of vaccine passports at a press conference Monday, calling it “unacceptable” for local governments or businesses to require proof of vaccination for people to “participate in normal society.”

On Friday, he signed an executive order banning any future vaccine certificate requirements in Florida, and called on the GOP-controlled state legislature to draft a bill to enshrine such a policy into law.

Republicans are hoping that their early efforts to define vaccine passports as a symbol of government overreach will help counter what Democrats see as their most powerful political weapon in the 2022 midterms: their efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic crisis.

Democrats are hoping that a massive $1.9 trillion stimulus package signed into law last month, along with a sweeping proposal to overhaul the nation’s infrastructure, will help them stave off the typical electoral shellacking that a new president’s party typically sees in the first midterms following his inauguration.

 

Vaccine Passports: Where Biosecurity State Aims - Shed - Pandemic Mitigation Pretensions...,

BMJ  |  The critical issue is not the effect that vaccine passports might have on people in general. If one wants to increase take-up, it is the effect on those individuals and communities who harbour doubts about vaccination which matters. 

Based on hard experience, such communities (ethnic minorities in particular) have reason to question whether medical and governmental authorities treat their needs as a priority and this historical distrust provides a framework for interpreting contemporary pandemic policies. [18] Members of these communities are more attuned to the possibility that such policies (including vaccination) are something done to them rather than done for them by authorities who are not of them but against them. Moreover, there are plenty of anti-vaxxers aiming to promote this view by arguing that covid measures are not a matter of public health, but of social control by a hostile elite. [19] The reality, and even the rumour, of vaccine passports for core activities serves to give substance to these fears and to give traction to the anti-vaxxers. Passports can be seen as confirming the perception that vaccination is a measure of compulsion imposed upon the community. And once people begin to regard vaccines as compulsory then the evidence suggests that this produces anger and reduces willingness to get vaccinated. [20]

All in all, there are reasons to conclude that vaccine passports for basic activities may actually undermine vaccine rollout by disincentivising the very populations who most need incentivising. Closer inspection of the Israeli “green pass” scheme serves to reinforce this message. The evidence for passes increasing vaccination uptake is weak, while suspicions of compulsion and reports of people barred from workplaces for not being vaccinated have “resulted in antagonism and increased distrust among individuals who were already concerned about infringement on citizens’ rights”. [21] By contrast, what has proved successful in Israel are basic measures of community engagement: involving trusted community leaders, taking mobile vaccination units into communities, bringing along medical experts who can answer any questions, and providing food and drink to those who attend, has proved successful in Israel. [22]

To conclude: there are many good reasons to reject any passport scheme which makes everyday social participation dependent on vaccination. There are arguments on the grounds of liberties, of equalities, and of practicalities. However, even some of the grounds used to support them (i.e. vaccine take-up) may be another reason to oppose them. At a point in the pandemic where increased engagement is critical, both in order to overcome doubts about vaccination, and to enhance the pandemic response more generally, the mere possibility of vaccine passports threatens to alienate marginalised communities still further. [23,24]

So, let’s stop discussing the use of vaccine passports as a criterion for basic social and economic participation. This is an idea with few redeeming features and even talking about introducing them may be enough to do damage.

Monday, April 05, 2021

Covid19 And The Multinational Biosecurity State

architectsforsocialhousing |  I want to start our awakening from the sleep of reason by looking at the social practices of the coronavirus crisis [to] correct the conspiracy theory of an elite with their hands … on the gears of history. Let’s [instead] look at the machine of history. We all know its name, and despite all the renewed predictions of its death it hasn’t gone away. On the contrary, it’s just going through a revolution … but its name is still the same. Capitalism.

Marx was right. When the material productive forces of society come into conflict with existing relations of production — its property relations — a period of social revolution begins. ‘With the change of the economic foundations’, he wrote, ‘the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed.’ The expansion into new markets of the neoliberal capitalism that has dominated Western democracies for 40 years no longer has to accommodate liberal democracy. What we are undergoing — what we are colluding in producing — are the new political, legal and social forms for a multinational biosecurity state. And no elite, no matter how powerful, is in control of it for the simple reason that, despite immensely powerful international organisations increasingly divorced from and opposed to democratic process, capitalism is a dynamic process that develops by conflict and contradiction.

Capitalism has a grip on the world the like of which it has never had before, and as it faces the long-heralded limits to [its] expansion it is developing new forms and powers to extend that grip further over the world’s diminishing resources. But there is no single government or corporation ruling the globe, no secret society whose members sit on every cabinet and board.

The US Government is the greatest military power the world has ever seen, and the United Nations has long been superseded by far more unaccountable coalitions of state and corporate powers whose activities are largely secret and getting more so. And the power of technology to monitor and control the world’s populations is expanding at an exponential rate in both breadth and depth. But the world is not a single, supra-political block.

There is no invisible hand of the market-god ruling over us, for good or for evil; there are only devils competing for his crown. The world undergoing this revolution in capitalism remains a conflict whose battleground, now and for the immediate future, is the coronavirus crisis. What makes that conflict new for Western democracies is that the war being waged is a civil one, of governments against their own people, rather than against other countries.

By looking at how this civil war is being waged, therefore, we can begin to understand to what ends it is being fought.