Friday, December 31, 2021

A Lot Of Wealthy Powerful Men Hit Epstein's Jailbait And Every Single One Of Them Will Skate...,

Guardian |  Now that the British former socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been convicted in her sex-trafficking trial, speculation is growing that she may try to cut a deal and become a government witness in any broader investigation into the elite social circle of her ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.

Maxwell would be aiming for a reduced sentence by naming powerful names when it comes to others who may be involved in Epstein’s crimes.

But defense lawyers and sexual-crimes prosecutors have cast doubt on the government’s appetite to strike a bargain. They question whether Maxwell has any vital information the government does not already have, and whether it represents a strategy Maxwell has previously attempted that has failed.

“It all depends on who she would be cooperating against, and what she has to offer,” said Jeffrey Lichtman, the defense attorney who represented the Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán at trial two years ago. “I would not be surprised if she had already tried to cooperate and it had failed.”

Maxwell, who is expected to appeal her conviction, was found guilty on five of six charges for her involvement in Epstein’s sexual abuse of teenage girls. Prosecutors said Maxwell “preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them and served them up to be sexually abused”. She is expected to receive a significant prison term.

According to Lichtman, there are defendants who, in the eyes of the government, are so bad that it does not want to strike a deal in exchange for testimony. “They don’t want to take the hand of someone involved a criminal operation and let them cooperate against people who are well below them.”

“That may be the case here – they just feel that she’s so bad they won’t allow her to cooperate,” Lichtman said.

But that does not preclude Maxwell and her lawyers from making an offer. “There’s a tremendous amount of information she has on some very important people. Now that she’s been convicted she may be more eager to discuss. She certainly should, in my mind, because a lot of people skated here, while she bore the brunt of the government’s full wrath,” Lichtman said.


Jizzlane's Going To Jail, Now We Posed To Pretend Epstein Fscked All That Jailbait By Himself?

 Business Insider

slate |  “It’s all connected,” one woman would say, repeatedly, to no one in particular. “It’s the cabal.” She at one point told me that she suspected it was a Maxwell lookalike sitting at the defense table, while the actual Maxwell was off freely gallivanting somewhere. The fifth-floor types spoke frequently of links between Jeffrey Epstein, the CIA, and Mossad, expecting anyone in earshot to understand the significance without further explanation.

Among the conspiracists, there seemed to be a belief that this trial would unlock the secrets of the universe—that it would lay bare a web touching every rich person in the world, every celebrity, every government agency, implicating them all in some sort of horrific global plot. In the end, of course, it did nothing of the sort.

The prosecution’s case was narrowly focused on the harm done to four teenage girls. It was built on the testimony of those four accusers, now women, who alleged that Maxwell aided, and sometimes participated in, Epstein’s efforts to sexually abuse them. When Epstein’s “little black book” came into evidence, it wasn’t because it included contact information for prominent politicians and businesspeople—it was because the book had phone numbers for those underage girls.

After testimony came to a close, I didn’t think the question of Maxwell’s guilt was much of a question at all. The accusers were, to my eyes and ears, extremely credible. Corroborating evidence affirmed their stories. The prosecutors were polished and effective in their presentation, while defense attorneys often stumbled and looked overmatched. When the defense team got a chance to put on its case, it turned out to be shockingly flimsy. The defense’s lead character witness—Maxwell’s onetime executive assistant—barely even managed to say anything nice about Maxwell. There was zero doubt, in my mind, that Maxwell committed the crimes she was charged with. But this was a jury trial, and with a jury, you just never, ever know.

Day after day, the deliberations went on without a verdict. The jurors requested transcripts of testimony from about a third of the witnesses—just reams of words—which made it seem like maybe they were attempting to rerun the entire trial in their chambers. As time dragged on, and they kept asking for more transcripts, I wondered if they were simply overwhelmed by the case, lost at sea, unable to make heads or tails of what they’d seen and heard in the courtroom. Some trial watchers had earlier complained that the prosecution’s case was too narrow, and that more accusers should have been called to testify, but the jury’s behavior during deliberations suggested that the case was confusing enough as it was. When the jurors requested a whiteboard, highlighters, and colored Post-it notes, I wondered if one among them was attempting to patiently explain to the rest, in a clear and visual way, what actually happened.


Federal Prosecutors Steered Clear Of 3rd Parties In Epstein's Orbit

miamiherald |  Maxwell was once a fixture on the New York social scene who possessed a Rolodex of names and direct phone numbers to former presidents, world leaders, billionaires and celebrities. She was also for years Epstein’s girlfriend and, according to testimony, managed his household in Palm Beach and other locales where the multimillionaire maintained estates. 

At least two women have claimed that they were trafficked by Epstein and Maxwell to powerful and wealthy men, including Prince Andrew, former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Federal prosecutors purposefully seemed to steer the case around the potential minefield of identifying figures they referred to as “third parties” who were in Epstein’s orbit. All the men have denied the allegations.

David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor, said the verdict shows that prosecutors were right not to focus on these other figures. “The government’s decision to streamline their case was the right choice,” he said. 

Like Epstein, Maxwell hired a team of defense lawyers who filed a flurry of legal motions focused on undermining the credibility of the accusers and portraying them as prostitutes. “Depending on the age of the accusers during the time frame of the conspiracy, consent may be an appropriate and viable defense,’’ Maxwell’s attorneys said in one motion, noting that in Florida at the time the crimes were allegedly committed, “individuals under the age of 18 could be charged with commission of the crime of prostitution.” 

Michael Reiter, the former Palm Beach police chief who oversaw the earlier 2005-08 case against Epstein, said the verdict should send a message to everyone in the criminal justice system.

“In 2005, early in our investigation, the Palm Beach Police Department recognized the importance of stopping Jeffrey Epstein and bringing him to justice. The department never bent to the power and influence brought to bear against us.,” Reiter said. 

“Now that the courts have spoken, I hope and pray that the professionals in our justice system learn from this case. Law school professors should teach this case in legal ethics courses as an example of how not to treat victims of sex crimes and as a forewarning to prosecutors on how they can be influenced to fail in their duties to both victims and the public.” 

Maxwell’s verdict comes three years after the publication of “Perversion of Justice,” a Miami Herald investigation that told in vivid detail how Epstein and his team of high-profile attorneys manipulated the criminal justice system more than a decade earlier allowing him to escape federal prosecution. It told the stories of the girls, now women, and how they were coping years after their encounters with Epstein. Despite the fact that the FBI had evidence he sexually abused at least 34 girls, Epstein served just 13 months in the Palm Beach county jail on charges that he solicited one minor.

Beverly Hills Elite Arms Race

lamag |  In Beverly Hills, even the purchase of a firearm comes with certain…expectations. The city’s only gun store, Beverly Hills Guns, is a “concierge service” by appointment only, for a largely affluent clientele. And business is booming.

Since opening in July 2020, the store has seen upscale residents from Santa Monica to the Hollywood Hills increasingly in a panic following several high-profile smash-and-grab and violent home invasion robberies. The apparent siege has brought in a daily stream of anxious business owners and prominent actors, real estate moguls and film execs, says owner Russell Stuart. Most are arming themselves for the first time.

“This morning I sold six shotguns in about an hour to people that say, ‘I want a home defense shotgun,’” says Stuart, whose store is discreetly located in a Beverly Hills office building, with no sign on the doors, down the hall from a diamond dealer. “Everyone has a general sense of constant fear,  which is very sad. We’re used to this being like Mayberry.”

That fear has the wealthiest of local gentry contemplating every more elaborate security measures: armored luxury cars, safe rooms and bullet-proof glass in their homes. One client asked about creating the “Tony Stark-level” security of a half-dozen automated drones to hover over his house, says Stuart, whose gun store is part of his larger security company, Force Protective Agency. “If you want the Gucci package, it’s going to cost money.”

The security business is experiencing a rebound after a couple of diminished years because of the pandemic. Some firms had their on-site security guards sent home for health and social distancing reasons. Not anymore. In Beverly Hills, the craving for additional security dates to the riot that followed an otherwise peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in May 2020, with unprecedented looting along Rodeo Drive that left broken boutique windows  beneath beloved luxury brands: Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Michael Kors, MCM, Ermenegildo Zegna. Last March, a $500,000 Richard Mille watch was stolen at gunpoint from a diner at the Il Pastaio restaurant.  The Dec. 1 home-invasion robbery and shooting death of philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, 81, in her Trousdale Estates home, only accelerated the arms race among the affluent.

“Beverly Hills is definitely a target,” says security expert David Perez, CEO of Omega International Group and a former Marine who previously worked security in the Clinton White House and at the Pentagon. “We’re telling clients, ‘Hey, don’t go out with flashy jewelry. Try to keep a lower profile. Instead of driving the Bentley, maybe just take the SUV. “

Or hit the streets in a luxo ride retrofitted with countermeasures like electrified door handles, run-flat tires and armor plating that can withstand military ordnance—say, the $650,000 Mercedes-Benz S680 Guard, which can repel assault rifle rounds and the detonation of hand grenades, or the $1 million tanklike SUV from Latvia’s Dartz Motorz Co.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Making Shit Up: CDC Had No Basis For New Guidelines

erictopol  |  There were serious problems about the new 5-day isolation period. First, there are no data or evidence to back it up. Yes, we’re facing an Omicron onslaught of cases and it would be useful to come up with a strategy to avoid a mass loss of functionality among our workforce and the on-the-go public, no less in the midst of the holiday season. But that doesn’t justify issuing a vacuous guideline. Second, there was no mention of using a test, to confirm that the isolated individual is now OK to circulate, that there is no indication of infectiousness. That could be done via a rapid antigen test, which denotes infectiousness, carries some reduced sensitivity with Omicron, or via a PCR. The cycle threshold value of a PCR test is also indicative of infectiousness; the lower it is, the more likely potential for spread. Either of these tests would be far better than no test to justify a reduced isolation time in any individual.

Third, there are no data for Omicron’s clearance time. We know the characteristics of shedding and average time it takes for clearance of the virus for Delta and preceding variants, but to date we have not seen any such data for Omicron kinetics. With the Hong Kong report of 70-fold copies of the virus in the upper airway for Omicron versus Delta and prior variants, there is no certainty yet that Omicron’s clearance is fast.

Fourth, the guidance did not mention a word about vaccinated or unvaccinated status of people. We know from past studies there is a more rapid clearance among vaccinees than people who were not vaccinated, but the recommendation does not take this knowledge into account. Fifth, it assumes that all people handle the virus similarly when, it fact, there is considerable variability.

Note from the Figure that there are significant differences for vaccinated, average 5.5 days (95% CI 4.6, 6.5), compared with unvaccinated, average 7.5 days (95% CI 6.8,8,2) There is marked inter-individual variability: for example, look at all the green dots even >20 days in the unvaccinated group, panel D. These data, representing nearly 20,000 samples, were obtained from predominantly healthy young men and may not be representative of the population at large. By the way, the NBA uses a 6-day isolation cutoff with testing with heavy emphasis on testing.

This problem can be fixed. The CDC could come out and revise their guidance and say there are no such data for Omicron (as a cover, like they did when they finally recommend boosters for all adults) and require testing. Even the airlines, which pushed for a shortened 5-day isolation period, wanted to use testing as part of that requested change in policy.

But the bad day wasn’t just about isolation in isolation. There was also the major gaffe about genomic sequencing surveillance. Here are the data from last week, and the corrected data this week, announced today by CDC. The point estimate for Omicron changed for the week ending December 18th from 73% to 22.5%, which is remarkable. We were led to believe that the country was well in the midst of the Omicron wave when, in fact, we were and are still experiencing a large number of Delta infections. As of December 25th, the point estimate is 59% with 95% confidence intervals lower 42%, upper 74%, indicating there is a lot of wobble, a relatively limited number of sequencing samples to draw upon, no less a reduction in confidence for the CDC itself.


CDC Provokes Great Salty Tears Of Karenwaffen Betrayal

wsws  |  Anger is growing in the working class in the United States in response to Monday’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that it was shortening its guidelines for quarantining for positive cases from 10 days to five. In remarks to the press, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and Biden’s top COVID adviser Anthony Fauci admitted that the purpose of loosening the restrictions is to ensure the supply of labor for American businesses. This occurs while the surge of the Omicron variant is expected to infect 140 million Americans in the next three months, more than 40 percent of the country.

The announcement amounts to an abdication by the federal government of any pretense of attempting to contain the pandemic. Instead, workers are being told that they must learn to live—and to die—with the virus, in the name of protecting the “economy,” a euphemism for the profit margins and share values of the major corporations. It follows a televised address last week by President Biden in which he rejected new lockdowns of schools and workplaces, and even encouraged Americans not to cancel their holiday travel plans.

However, the spread of the virus itself among airline workers forced the cancellation of thousands of flights. An appeal to the CDC by the heads of major airlines is what immediately prompted the change to quarantine guidelines.

The announcement has stunned and angered workers, who are being confronted with the fact that the corporate and political establishment consider their lives and those of their friends and relatives expendable. One tweet by a worker who was instructed to come to work even though his roommate tested positive was liked more than 360,000 times and retweeted 44,000 times. Workers flooded the replies to the tweet with their own horror stories from work and school.

One such tweet read, “I'm a high school teacher and when I was told two weeks ago during lunch that the group of people I had dinner with tested positive I told my admin that I was leaving to get tested. The [New York City Department of Education] told me if I didn't have any symptoms, I would be docked a half day. I was positive.”

Another tweet read, “My granddaughter’s Daycare sent a text last night that said one of the care givers had tested positive but is asymptomatic and will still be coming to work. Just a heads up in case someone didn’t want their kid exposed. Unbelievable.” Another said, “My sister's workplace told her to just come to work because you could test positive for 3 months so it doesn't matter if you come to work. and they didn’t tell other employees when someone got covid. gotta love america.”

Workers across the country spoke to the World Socialist Web Site.

One Southern California nurse said, “To be honest, I have lost a lot of trust in the CDC. This is the same organization that told us it was okay to come to work wearing a bandana [in the opening weeks of the pandemic, in response to widespread mask shortages]. I get it—the country wasn’t prepared and there weren't enough N95s, but they put us at risk and a lot of people got sick.

“Then we were told by Fauci, ‘If you’re vaccinated you won’t get it and you won’t spread it.’ That was also a lie and they have really undermined the legitimacy of the CDC. This is a big issue because it has played into the hands of people denying that COVID exists.”


Mushmouthed Professional Managerial Class Disagreement With New CDC Guidelines

pbs  |  So, they have also issued some new guidelines from the CDC for anyone who's just exposed to the virus, if you come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

And I want to lay this out for people. There's a lot to digest. They are saying, if you are exposed, and you are unvaccinated, they recommend five days of isolation, plus five days of masking. If you have been vaccinated earlier, which means more than six months have passed since the time you were fully vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna or more than two months for the J&J, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they say five days of isolation and five days of masking.

If you were vaccinated recently — that means fewer than six months for Pfizer or Moderna, fewer than two months for J&J — no isolation recommended, and they say 10 days of masking. And if you have been boosted, they say no isolation and 10 days of masking.

Dr. Davis, it's a lot to keep up with. A lot of people are very confused. How are you making sure people in your community understand this? And how are you implementing it? 

Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis: 

Well, Amna, my background before I became the director of health for the City of St. Louis is, I'm an infectious diseases physician and a public health expert.

And so one of the things you understand in my field is that infectious diseases are not static. They're not a monolith. They evolve over time, which means the guidance is going to change over time.

So what needs to happen is that the leadership needs to do a good job of helping people to make those transitions when they occur. So, the confusion is warranted. The job now is on the CDC, on the federal government, and on local health officials to make sure that people understand the science and can make that transition.

Now, what's also a challenge is that, while I completely agree with the science, as the director of health of a major city, the implementation may take time, because we need to do it in a way that is as safe and effective for our populations.

And not every county or city has the same level of support measures to make sure that this is successful as the next. So, for example, my counterparts in New York are able to ramp up testing to support this, because part of these guidelines do make the recommendation for testing at day five for certain populations.

But if you come from a city or a county where the funds and the capabilities just aren't there for that level of testing, this may not be something that you can implement right away. They're within lies the challenge.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Atlantic Scapegoats The Internet For Elite Overproduction And Popular Immiseration

theatlantic  |  The internet gives groups the ability not just to express and bond over misery but to inflict it on others—in effect, to transfer their own misery onto those they resent. The most extreme examples come in the form of racist or misogynist harassment campaigns—many led by young white men—such as Gamergate or the hashtag campaigns against Black feminists.

Misery trickles down in subtler ways too. Though the field is still young, studies on social media suggest that emotions are highly contagious on the web. In a review of the science, Harvard’s Amit Goldenberg and Stanford’s James J. Gross note that people “share their personal emotions online in a way that affects not only their own well-being, but also the well-being of others who are connected to them.” Some studies found that positive posts could drive engagement as much as, if not more than, negative ones, but of all the emotions expressed, anger seems to spread furthest and fastest. It tends to “cascade to more users by shares and retweets, enabling quicker distribution to a larger audience.”

Tech executives thought that connecting the world would be an unmitigated good. Widespread internet access and social media have made it far easier for the average person to hear and be heard by many more of his fellow citizens.

But it also means that miserable people, who were previously alienated and isolated, can find one another, says Kevin Munger, an assistant professor at Penn State who studies how platforms shape political and cultural opinions. This may offer them some short-term succor, but it’s not at all clear that weak online connections provide much meaningful emotional support. At the same time, those miserable people can reach the rest of us too. As a result, the average internet user, Munger told me in a recent interview, has more exposure than previous generations to people who, for any number of reasons, are hurting. Are they bringing all of us down?

In an essay titled “Facebook Is Other People,” Munger uses one of his relatives as an example. The relative is in his 60s and has a cognitive disability. Munger describes him as “an embittered, lonely man, the perfect target for information fraudsters who will claim to explain that the source of his pain is some despised group (immigrants, the deep state).” The relative has expressed an interest in getting online, and Munger sees only downsides: “His presence as a consumer of online news will have negative consequences, both for himself and for the wider information environment.”

It may sound obvious to say that our digital spaces are not okay because people are not okay. But too many conversations about the problems in online communities elide this fact. They frame the information crisis as solely a technological issue. When Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow tech CEOs come before Congress for their bipartisan grillings, the subtext is that if the companies could only implement the proper moderation policies, remove a few of the most toxic personalities, and change the way content is recommended (according to their desired politics), the problem would go away.

Does The CIA Expend Resources Battling Cartels Like It Has Spent Resources Battling Assange?

talkliberation |  In a document titled The WikiLeaks Threat: An Overview authored by Palantir Technologies in conjunction with HBGary Federal and Berico Technologies, a slide centrally featuring the WikiLeaks logo depicts spokes leading to key public supporters. Notes at the bottom of the slide outline the corporate grievances in play, decrying “established professionals… with a liberal bent” and declaring that “this level of support needs to be disrupted”. The final line reads “without the support of people like Glenn, WikiLeaks would fold”.

What folded, in fact, was very nearly HBGary itself. CEO and minority shareholder Aaron Barr stepped down in disgrace.


It wouldn’t be the first time or the last that Greenwald would be targeted in some form for his journalism. That he is also named (and even central) in some of the new #WLDragnet documents, will likely come as no surprise.

Nor to the other influencers identified in the documents. Popular Australian independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone, repeatedly named in the NodeXL files said that it was “not surprising” but “still pretty freaky”.

A who’s who of high profile independent media, whistleblowers and support organizations who stand with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are named again and again in the #WLDragnet documents. 

 As are thousands of their followers, members of their personal networks and frankly, damn near anyone with even the vaguest sense of political awareness or understanding as to the historic importance of the battle to save Julian Assange.

It has long been assumed by all and sundry that only WikiLeaks staff, closest collaborators or other persons of significance could be plausibly caught in such a web. That those possessing insider knowledge, occupying positions of some influence or power, or with the ability to extend significant social reach were the logical focal targets of state-led efforts to clip the wings of WikiLeaks.

But new evidence points to a truly global network of digital repression targeted at WikiLeaks supporters who possess little if any such secret knowledge, significance or power. The documents we are publishing, sourced from publicly available data, contain the social media user account handles of hundreds of members of the public, with thousands collected on.

Palantir Is A Creepy Cannibalistic Eye Of Sauron

bloomberg  |  Palantir Technologies Inc. has long pursued some of the largest governments and companies in the world as customers. Now, in a dramatic shift in strategy, it’s chasing startups.

The controversial data integration and analytics company co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel plans to announce Tuesday it will sell software on a monthly subscription model to smaller companies, starting first with a handful of startups connected to former Palantir employees.

The startup sales push is a break with tradition for the $40 billion company that made its name on large contacts with the U.S. Army, Merck KGaA and a handful of other high-profile organizations -- and is part of Palantir’s larger effort to diversify its sources of revenue away from a few big customers.

The new program, called Foundry for Builders, will start with five startups in fields including robotics, health and fintech. The group will experiment with software that Palantir says functions as an operating system for company data. Palantir chose startups connected to former employees, who are already familiar with how to operate the system, and use their feedback to refine the product for startups before rolling it out more broadly in coming months.

Palantir had 149 customers driving $341 million revenue for the first quarter, with the bulk of sales coming from government contracts. A flurry of deal-making during the pandemic, including agreements with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pushed the company’s government business to more than 60% of revenue -- an imbalance that unsettled some investors.

Foundry for Builders aims to counteract that disparity by adding a larger number of potentially fast-growing companies to Palantir’s customer base. Developing closer relationships with early-stage companies appears to have been an increasing focus in recent months for Denver-based Palantir.

Besides expanding sales to startups, the company has also been investing in them. Palantir recently made a string of direct investments in companies going public through SPACs totaling more than $130 million. All of those companies also became customers, a practice that has raised some eyebrows.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Democrats Made Pie-In-The-Sky Promises And Completely Failed To Deliver...,

americanthinker |  Biden ran on a promise: he was going to federalize the COVID response and end COVID in America.  He introduced vaccine mandates for federal employees and those doing business with the federal government and had OSHA do the same for every business with more than 100 employees.  Various states, cities, and businesses, especially when it came to health care, followed suit.  We were also told that if we even breathed the same air as a COVID person, we had to quarantine ourselves for ten days.  In the last two days, that promised federal response, COVID mandates, and quarantines have all fallen apart, thanks to the very contagious but seemingly relatively harmless omicron variant.

As omicron spreads, especially in New York City, one of the most vaccinated places in America, other Democrat-driven initiatives are falling.  The CDC has had to shorten by 50% its COVID isolation and quarantine period recommendations, reflecting (a) that omicron seems to be a cold and (b) that America can't shut down because of a cold.

And finally, and most ironically, as omicron cases increase, hospitals are facing staff shortages because their ludicrous, unscientific vaccine mandates saw them firing thousands of employees.  Last week, the CDC updated a document entitled "Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages."  It appears that more than thirteen states are struggling to deal with omicron cases because of staff shortages.  Interestingly, the Forbes article to which I linked talks about staff burnout and more patients as reasons for the shortage but makes no mention of mass firings.  Funny that.

The point is that Democrats made pie-in-the-sky promises and completely failed to make good on them.  More people died from COVID under Biden than under Trump, Biden's had to admit that Trump's state-based approach was the correct one, unreasonably long quarantines are becoming impossible to maintain, and all the things that Democrats and Democrat-driven businesses did to destroy the workforce are now becoming a serious problem.


Brandon Accepts The Fail Passes The Buck To Governors...,

NYPost  |  Vanity Fair reported Thursday that experts from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Rockefeller Foundation, the COVID Collaborative and other groups pitched a 10-page plan to White House officials on Oct. 22 that called for the production of 732 million tests per month for a “Testing Surge To Prevent [a] Holiday COVID surge.” The plan wanted “Every American Household to Receive Free Rapid Tests for the Holidays/New Year.” 

Three days after the meeting, White House officials told the experts that the administration would not adopt the plan. One official who participated in the meeting told the magazine, “We did not have capacity to manufacture over-the-counter tests at that scale.”

Biden ran for president last year pledging to bring competent management to the pandemic. But this year’s Delta variant surge caused his approval rating on COVID-19 to fall. Earlier this month, the number of US pandemic deaths under Biden exceeded the number of fatalities under former President Donald Trump within a nearly identical period of time — despite the mass distribution of vaccines.

Biden expressed regret last week about his seemingly sluggish response to the new Omicron variant, which has caused the highest-ever infection rates in areas including New York City and Washington, DC.

Biden said in an ABC News interview Wednesday that he should have thought more quickly of a plan to mass distribute 500 million at-home rapid tests, which was announced Dec. 21 but won’t begin to happen until January.

“The answer is, yeah, I wish I had thought about ordering a half a billion [tests] two months ago, before COVID hit here,” Biden told ABC’s David Muir as FEMA rushed to set up sites in New York City and other areas slammed by massive holiday testing demand.

In mid-January, a previously announced Biden rule will take effect requiring private insurance companies to reimburse policyholders for rapid tests that they buy themselves. Another 50 million rapid tests are in the process of being shipped by the federal government to local clinics for free distribution.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a pre-Christmas press briefing last week that details of how to mass-distribute the 500 million free at-home rapid tests are still being developed — despite the rollout being previewed to reporters last Monday and formally announced on Tuesday. It’s not yet clear how many tests each household will be allowed to request, how quickly they will be mailed or when a website will be launched.



Are Cartels Taking Over Small Town America?

westernjournal  |  While most documentaries now are either about serial killers or social justice movements, the Daily Caller’s “Cartelville, USA” brings fresh investigative journalism to the table.

The film, clocking in at a brief but impactful 36 minutes, features reporter Jorge Ventura as he delves into a troubling trend in the high desert of Los Angeles County: illegal cannabis farms.

Ventura was the perfect person to produce and narrate the documentary, as he is one of the few journalists who have covered the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border on location.

Ventura uses his own experience growing up in Palmdale, California, to explain that many families move to the desert to get out of the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. Now, they’re starting to flee what used to be their sanctuary.

Using testimonies from local residents and law enforcement, the documentary reveals how cartels are buying up poor-quality houses with vast amounts of land in order to start pot farms without proper state licensing.

Property prices in the area have skyrocketed, ruining the region’s reputation for being more affordable. The high desert is now overrun by criminal enterprises wasting precious resources, including water, with no regard for the communities around them.

These cartels staff their operations with migrants smuggled across the southern border, many of whom are working as indentured servants.

Ventura does a fantastic job drawing distinctions between the people running the farms and the ones laboring on them.

He tells a far more nuanced story about the average person coming across the border than the hyper-partisan narrative coming from both sides of the aisle.



Grisly Meso-American Syncretinism Coming Soon To A Hamlet Near You!

NYPost |  Santa Muerte has a fondness for tequila, cigarettes, candy — and human blood.

The saint is a favorite of Mexican and Central American drug traffickers who are known to leave the severed heads of their enemies at improvised shrines, featuring wax effigies and votive candles emblazoned with the skeletal image of the one also known as Holy Death.

Dressed in a flowing white robe and often wielding both a scythe and a globe, Santa Muerte — a cross between the Grim Reaper and the Virgin of Guadeloupe, Mexico’s patron saint — is just one of a rapidly growing religious movement of “narco saints,” worshiped by drug traffickers who pray to them for protection, riches and the silence necessary to mask their underworld dealings.

“The narcos and the gangs all believe in the power of prayer,” said Robert Almonte, a Texas-based security consultant and former deputy chief of the El Paso Police Department who specialized in narcotics. “They believe that the saints will protect them no matter what they do — and that’s dangerous because it emboldens the traffickers who truly believe they can get away with murder and still go to heaven.”

The movement is growing, with estimates of up to 12 million devotees in Mexico and, now, parts of the US. American law enforcement officials struggling under the recent wave of illegal migrant crossings are increasingly documenting altars to the macabre saint — and another, Jesus Malverde — in stash houses in US border communities where Mexican drug cartel members often hold migrants for ransom, Almonte said.

Not that these saints are canonized. The Catholic Church has condemned Santa Muerte worship as “blasphemous and Satanic.” When Pope Francis visited Mexico for the first time in 2016, he condemned the cult, which is one of the fastest growing new “religious” movements in the world, according to the Catholic Herald.

“I am particularly concerned about those many persons who, seduced by the empty power of the world, praise illusions and embrace their macabre symbols to commercialize death in exchange for money,” the Pope said, referring to Santa Muerte. “I urge you not to underestimate the moral and antisocial challenge which the drug trade represents for Mexican society as a whole, as well as for the Church.”


Monday, December 27, 2021

Kidney Stone Ron Brownstein Sez The LGB Community Is About "Insurrection"

dailycaller |  A CNN panelist claimed that a father of four, who tagged a phone call with President Joe Biden with the phrase “Let’s Go, Brandon,” was not only being impolite but also harboring feelings “about insurrection.”

Ron Brownstein, a senior editor at The Atlantic, joined a CNN panel to discuss a phone call between Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, and an Oregon father Jared Schmeck who ended his live-streamed phone call with a less vulgar substitute for “f*** Joe Biden.”

The CNN host dubbed the interaction between Schmeck and the Bidens “disrespectful,” “juvenile” and “reprehensible.” He also asked Brownstein for his opinion on the matter.

“I don’t think it’s fundamentally about incivility. I think it’s fundamentally about insurrection,” Brownstein said.

“The whole ‘Let’s Go, Brandon’ motif is the reflection of the view [that] two-thirds of the Republican base — driven by Trump’s false claims and the Big Lie that Biden is an illegitimate President,” he continued. “And, it reflects the findings in multiple polls by the American Enterprise Institute, Vanderbilt University, and others, that a majority of Republican voters now say the American way of life is disappearing so fast that … we may have to use force to save it.”

Schmeck told The Oregonian that he is now being “attacked” for his “joke” on the phone call. Schmeck claims he is not a “Trumper,” though he is frustrated with Biden’s political preferences and policy choices such as federal vaccine mandates, inflation, and supply chain problems.

“At the end of the day, I have nothing against Mr. Biden, but I am frustrated because I think he can be doing a better job,” Schmeck said. “I mean no disrespect to him.”


In The Absence Of Power Change Must Be Effected By Force

off-guardian  |  Whereas power stands on its own, without the need to move against anything at all, force always moves against something. Force is fragmented and therefore has to be fed energy constantly. Force consumes whereas power creates. While force requires sustained input, power acts without effort.

Newton’s third law teaches us that force always creates counterforce and therefore it is limited by definition. While force must struggle against opposition, power stands still. Power effects change through its own field of influence, without the need to expend energy.

Force is associated with friction and conflict. This point is perhaps best explained by Dr. David Hawkins himself:

“Force always creates counterforce; its effect is to polarize rather than unify. Polarization always implies conflict; its cost, therefore, is always high. Because force incites polarization, it inevitably produces a win/lose dichotomy; and because somebody always loses, enemies are created. Constantly faced with enemies, force requires constant defense. Defensiveness is invariably costly, whether in the marketplace, politics, or international affairs.”

Hawkins, R, D., 1995. Power vs Force. Hay House, Inc. 2012 reprint.

Thinking about the concept of power and force within the context of the current global crisis leads us toward some profound conclusions. For one, agendas that center around inequality, control, profit and material gain are always driven by force.

Force is a tool used by those who lack power. When your motives go against the good of humanity, when your intentions fail to support life itself, your only option is to use force. Force includes all manner of fear-mongering, manipulation, coercion and violence. Force may work up to a point but as we discovered, it requires a constant input of energy and therefore, results are obtained at a cost. Propaganda campaigns require vast amounts of money, coordination and tireless censorship. Vaccine mandates require bribes, threats, and the covering up of adverse events.

This energy input is immense and, most importantly, unsustainable.

As force creates friction, it must constantly be fed with more and more energy. But as the force becomes stronger, so does the friction. Force, due its polarizing nature, increases entropy. As entropy rises, the available energy decreases, until, eventually, momentum ceases and the entire thing grinds to a halt.

While the source of power is self-evident, indestructible and inarguable, force is subject to ‘proof’ and requires constant justification. While true power emanates from consciousness itself, force is driven by the ego.

Those who use force to impose their will on humanity always succumb to power. As history has shown, all totalitarian regimes eventually come crashing down – not on account of some divine intervention, but because each of us is born with inalienable rights that are intrinsic to human creation.

Therefore, it is only a matter of time before the transhumanist force implodes. However, the time it takes for that to happen is dependent on our ability to reduce disorder and increase power. A lower entropy consciousness means more energy available to do work which results in more power, freedom, happiness and love. As our power collectively grows, we create an immovable wall able to repel any and all negative influences and nefarious threats.

On the other hand, the ego-mind is constantly asking unanswerable questions and worrying about unlikely futures. As our minds become cluttered with fear-laden media, our power decreases and we find ourselves at the mercy of “authorities”.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Brandon Stays Confused And Slipping...,

summit |  A CNN correspondent noted how Joe Biden appeared “confused” throughout an entire interview as he repeatedly mistook COVID home tests for anti-viral pills.

The comment was made in reference to Biden’s 20 minute interview with ABC’s David Muir, during which the president attempted to defend his response to the pandemic and complaints that people in New York were waiting in line for five hours to receive a COVID test.

Biden repeatedly referred to the 500 million at-home tests that had been ordered as “pills,” confusing them with a new Pfizer drug, which was federally approved on the same day.

“Repeatedly throughout this interview – President Biden seems confused and was confusing the half a billion tests that they’ve ordered with a half a billion pills,” said Jeff Zeleny, CNN’s chief national affairs correspondent.

Many people have questioned whether Biden is in any fit mental state to run for president again in 2024, never mind remain in office until 2028, at which point he will be 86-years-old.

Last month we highlighted the comments of Congressman Ronny Jackson, who was the former White House physician under President Obama and President Trump, regarding Biden’s cognitive state.

“Over 50% of this country does not believe he’s cognitively fit to be our Commander in Chief and our head of state,” said Jackson, adding, “If anyone needs a cognitive test, it’s this president.”


Saturday, December 25, 2021

Aspirational Ethical Praxis: Everything Else Is Merely Conversation...,

off-guardian  |  Vanessa Beeley sits down with researcher, economic reform activist, free speech advocate & soul singer Ian Jenkins, to discuss the worst of the impact of Covid-19 lockdown on the most vulnerable of society.

Governments do not care about these marginalised communities and the measures imposed upon them do nothing to alleviate their suffering, rather it is compounded by draconian, nonsensical restrictions. What can we do as human beings to preserve what it means to be human in the face of a tsunami of tyranny.

Enough of the tyranny of experts in narrow fields, with no concept of the broader and quite disastrous consequences of their inability to think outside their range of knowledge. Scientific qualifications bestow absolutely no added ability to behave ethically or to form policy.”
Ian Jenkins

I care far more how humanity lives than how long. Progress, for me, means increasing goodness and happiness of individual lives. For the species, as for each man, mere longevity seems to me a contemptible ideal.”
C S Lewis, from ‘Is Progress Possible?

And Yes, Of Course They Aren’t A Monolith.

twitter  |  Just had an illuminating convo with my hubby where he (an essential blue collar worker who never stopped going to his job) floated the idea that all these moving goalposts in the face of what’s now an endemic virus is about professional classes not wanting to return to the office

That implicates a lot of you so maybe take a beat before replying that it’s about saving lives. I’m married to a Black Cuban immigrant who works with 100% people of color. Neither of his Black female colleagues is vaxxed, one of them didn’t even know there was a third shot… 
And there’s a ton of mistrust among the Black folks he works around in the vaccines. Like, him telling her people are getting a 3rd shot just makes her feel vindicated - how are these things so good that you have to keep injecting yourself??! I share all this to say that Twitter 
By and large acts like these people don’t exist. Whether it’s the “karen and chad” anti-vaxxer memes that totally ignore the vast vaccine hesitancy among Black folks specifically but also a fair share of Latinos, or the elitist calls for new lockdowns that don’t take into account the ppl who can’t work from home, who would be again sacrificed so the professional classes can keep getting their groceries, takeout, supplies, weed, etc - a lot of people on here are incredibly out of touch. And don’t think service workers don’t recognize it. 
The pandemic has exacerbated our class divide where white-collar workers are completely divorced from the experiences of blue-collar workers who can’t do their jobs from home but must continue for society to keep functioning. Yes, there are larger structural forces at play - our lack of a safety
net, lack of universal paid leave and healthcare, etc. But that has never been the country we live in and it’s preposterous for people to argue that our whole society should shut down with zero services. They don’t want that. They’re not even considering the vast implications. 
It’s fucking Twitter socialism at its most absurd. 

Anyway this thread went a little wonky cuz I’m talking about two different things: vax hesitancy and lockdowns. But they both relate to the racialized class divide and how it’s so rarely acknowledged on here & in pub health msg 
So maybe we need a little less listening to Fauci and Walensky and a little more getting the hell out of our homes and start asking our maintenance people, baristas, bus drivers, grocery store workers what they think and how they feel. 

Friday, December 24, 2021

Where Merit And Integrity Fail - Violence And Treachery Will Prevail

 “They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

NationalReview |  Dr. Aaron Kheriaty has been fired from the University of California Irvine, where he has worked as a professor at UCI School of Medicine and director of the Medical Ethics Program at UCI Health for almost 15 years. Back in the spring of 2020, he could have been a poster boy for the medical professionals we were cheering on every night. That was then. It seems that he has not only been dismissed because he is unvaccinated, but because he has dared to make the medical argument that natural immunity puts people in a similar — or better — place than a vaccine against Covid-19. I’m not a doctor, and I’d like to think doctors are free to raise questions based on their scientific judgment.

Kheriaty is not the only doctor I know who has found himself in situations where it is understood that you are to go along and not raise questions when it comes to Covid-19 protocols. I know that’s happened in other places in medicine — the scandal of women’s health is how they use the contraceptive pill for a whole host of problems, cover up symptoms, treat fertility as itself a problem, and sometimes leave women infertile when they actually want to have a child later on down the line. So it happens. And it’s not good.

An added injustice would be to not shed light on what’s happening. At one point this fall, when Dr. Kheriaty was still on forced leave, I tried to post a video commentary to YouTube about his situation and it was rejected as vaccine misinformation — to simply talk about what was happening. I myself do not know anything about Covid-19 except my own experiences and what doctors tell me, because I am not a doctor. It’s amazing how many of us think we are. And it’s terrifying when doctors suppress scientific debate.

More here. You don’t have to have a strong position on vaccines to be disturbed by what’s happened to Dr. Aaron Kheriaty.

According To WHO "No Country Can Boost Its Way Out Of The Pandemic"

VoA  |  The World Health Organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned on Wednesday that blanket COVID-19 vaccine booster programs will not bring a definite end to the global pandemic, but prolong it, as poorer countries struggle to vaccinate their populations because of unequal access to immunizations.

While U.S. health officials urge citizens over the age of 16 to receive their booster shots in response to the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, many countries have still not administered initial doses of the COVID vaccine to the majority of citizens.

Wealthy nations largely regard booster shot programs as the answer to the rapid spread of the coronavirus’s latest variant, but, during a media briefing on Wednesday, Tedros stated that doing so would achieve the opposite effect.

“Blanket booster programs are likely to prolong the pandemic, rather than ending it, by diverting supply to countries that already have high levels of vaccination coverage, giving the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate,” he said.

According to the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center, there are now more than 276 million coronavirus infections worldwide and 5.3 million deaths. The United States leads with more than 51 million confirmed cases and 810,000 deaths.

Tedros stressed that vaccine inequality will allow the pandemic to continue. Countries with low access to initial doses of the vaccine will become breeding grounds for mutant variants of the virus.

For instance, health experts warned that the omicron strain was linked to vaccine inequality, according to NBC News. This strain of the infection is thought to have emerged from a South African HIV patient, where only 26% of the population are fully vaccinated.

Low inoculation rates in countries such as South Africa present ideal circumstances for the infection to spread and significantly mutate. People with compromised immune systems are more vulnerable to the virus, as it can live in these hosts for a long time.

If inequalities in vaccine access continue, mutant strains may continue to emerge.

Tedros pointed to the situation among WHO member states, only half of which have vaccinated 40% of their populations by the end of this year, due to “distortions in global supply.”

The director-general stated that enough vaccines were administered across the world and that had they been distributed equitably, a targeted vaccination rate of 40% could have been achieved in every country by September.

“No country can boost its way out of the pandemic,” Tedros said.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Covid Patients Aren't Filling Up The ICU's - OLD PEOPLE ARE!!!

 Denmark sitrep 20th:

– on Dec 15th Omikron was 44%, assuming well beyond 50% by now.

– since Nov 22nd 76%/91% of delta/omikron-infections were vaccinated. For Omikron that means the vaccinated are over-represented vs. the population vax rate.

– hospitalized right now because of omikron 35
– hospitalized right now bcause of omikron in ICU less than 5

I find Table 4 more concerning. Not only does it confirm that VE wanes, it suggests a rebound effect whereby the (doubly) vaccinated become *more* susceptible.

Were the animal models for these vaccines ever tested for susceptibility to reinfection?

That is to ask, did the pharma companies know they were creating an extortionate vaccine dependency?

dagbladet |  But it is not the corona patients who now overwhelm the emergency department and the medical departments at OUS. These are our old ones. The aging wave is washing in, and the preparedness there seems far more awkward than the preparations for the corona wave we are now preparing for.

There is one incident that has made more of an impression than anything else during my four - relatively short - years as a nurse at Gastromedisin at Ullevål. That was when an extremely frail 102-year-old man was going home after being treated for the flu. He had assured that his daughter was so good at helping, so it was decided that he did not need a nursing home place, but could manage with home nursing. This is what is called free choice and user participation.

When the daughter learned that her father was going home, she became desperate. She was eighty years old, she said, and so ill that she herself should soon be in a nursing home. When the patient taxi finally arrived - they are often a few hours late - we had to carry the worn-out old man out in the taxi. And then they left in the icy February darkness. The parchment-skinny half-asleep one hundred and two-year-old, with her crying eighty-year-old daughter. Printed for the home, as it is so nicely called.

This happened in the winter of 2018, in the middle of the flu season. Then there was real chaos with us - far worse than now - with many sick employees and yellow droplet infection equipment down the entire corridor. In the thirteen weeks the flu ravaged, there were 7,600 hospitalizations, with a peak of 700 patients simultaneously and a mortality rate of 1,400. There are more than a hundred deaths a week.

Far more than the seven corona deaths per day that recently made headlines. The reality behind the last number is not very dramatic. These were old people, and it is uncertain whether they died with or from the corona. It is also worth noting that 350 to 400 people die in nursing homes in Norway every week. Of old age. We must all die once.

Last year, it was known that mortality was due to infection control measures. The closure meant that nursing home patients were not transferred to hospitals and the elderly dared not visit us to any great extent. Now they are overwhelming the hospitals. Because it is not the covid-19 infected who top the hospitalization statistics in the last two weeks. They make up only one percent of all inpatients, while the majority of inpatients with respiratory diseases are frail old with pneumonia and RS virus.




Omicron Out'chere Freeballing No Matter What You Call Yourself Doing

The data from figure 4 shows that fully-vaccinated sera with the Moderna vaccine saw a 33-fold drop in neutralization against Omicron, Pfizer a 44-fold drop, and AstraZeneca a 36-fold drop. Notably, recently released data shows that sera from people who received the third dose lost almost ninety percent of its potency against Omicron after two weeks. After three months, most third-dose sera failed to neutralize at all. This data confirms the epidemiological observations that most fully doubly-vaccinated and triply-vaccinated individuals, including those with prior infection, are susceptible to infection by Omicron within weeks of the last boost.

Forbes  | In a few short weeks, the COVID-19 virus variant Omicron has spread around the world. The incidence of new infections is rising rapidly, even in well-vaccinated populations and those previously infected by earlier variants of SARS-CoV-2. The epidemiologic evidence strongly points to a variant that is resistant to most if not all extant vaccines, and possibly many monoclonal antibodies treatments. Here we explore these concerns. This is the third in our series that outlines what we know about Omicron. We summarize the finding of recent experiments by Cameroni et al. in a bioRxiv preprint from December 14th.

Omicron ACE2 Binding

The first question asked was how tightly the Omicron Spike (S) protein binds to the ACE2 receptor. The data is summarized in Figure 1. Cameroni et al. show that Omicron’s affinity for the ACE2 receptor is 2.5 times as great as that of the S protein from the original Wuhan isolate. Omicron binds to the receptor as well as the Beta variant, but not as well as Alpha, which binds ACE2 almost six times more tightly. The N501Y mutation in Omicron is universally observed to increase affinity roughly 6-fold, yet other mutations in key sites like K417N, Q493R, and G496S were shown by deep mutational scanning to decrease affinity. Increased affinity for the receptor may account, in part, for increased transmissibility, but that is clearly not the whole story as Omicron is much more transmissible than any previously isolates, including Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta.

Many seem surprised at the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to mutate to increase resistance against convalescent sera, most vaccines, and most monoclonal antibodies. However, the surprise was unwarranted for those who realized that coronaviruses have evolved over many millions of years to reinfect hosts over time. Those previously infected with earlier strains of the virus, contrary to our assumptions earlier in the pandemic, are able to be reinfected with Omicron and strains to come.

We previously predicted that SARS-CoV-2 would persist, continue to vary, and evade our natural and adaptive immune responses. We have also learned that SARS-CoV-2 has the potential to become far more lethal than it is today. We reiterate that the sister of this virus, SARS-CoV, and its cousin, MERS-CoV, ranged between 10% and 30% lethality. This is presumably due to slight variations in the structural, nonstructural, and accessory proteins. We must be ever alert now and for many years in the future of the possibility of such changes and their consequences.


This What You Want To Do?!?!?!?! - Reap The Whirlwind....,