Saturday, May 23, 2020

Rule Of Law: Obama Landgrab In Chicago

chicagotribune |  “Throughout this entire process, the city’s primary, indeed sole, loyalty was to the former president personally and his foundation,” lawyers for Protect Our Parks wrote in its appellate brief, which noted that one of the center’s top cheerleaders, then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel, had served as Obama’s White House chief of staff.

During his 20-minute argument before the 7th Circuit, Richard Epstein, the lead attorney for Protect Our Parks, balked at the city’s insistence that only a small percentage of the roughly 500-acre park would be affected by the project.

Almost half of the park already is a lagoon or marshland, Epstein said. Factor in the destruction of trees and ripping up of roads that would come with the center’s construction, “and you’re essentially taking away 80 to 90%” of the park’s usable territory, Epstein said.

“What we have is land worth $200 million ... given away for $10,” Epstein said, citing the amount listed on the 99-year land-use deal inked by the City Council. “This is a massive transfer.”

The attorney representing the city, Benna Ruth Solomon, argued that the state legislature specifically addressed any legal concerns when it updated the Museum Act in 2016 to include presidential centers in the list of entities that could be built on park land.

Solomon also said the district court was correct in ruling that the deal entered into by the city with the Obama Foundation was not a lease, as characterized by the plaintiffs, but a “use agreement” that has a “very, very public purpose.”

“We’re not taking parkland and giving it a nonpark use,” Solomon said. “We’re taking parkland that used to be used simply as a park with grass and trees … and we will now have a park with other park purposes,” including the cultural benefits of a museum, she said.

Among the questions posed by the three-judge panel, made up of Judge Amy Barrett, Judge Daniel Manion and Judge Michael Brennan, was whether the litigation even belonged in federal court.
At one point, Barrett interrupted Epstein’s argument and asked him to address why the lawsuit wasn’t brought in state court, where land-use disputes typically are settled.

“It seems like we’re sitting as a zoning board,” Barrett said.

A written ruling will come at a later date.

Herb Caplan, president and co-founder of Protect Our Parks, told the Chicago Tribune in an interview this week that he’s optimistic about their chances on appeal.

“We’re obviously being outspent and outpowered by both the city of Chicago and the University of Chicago and the Obama Foundation,” Caplan said. “But we believe in the rule of law. … I’m confident that the court will do the right thing."


thecentersquare |  Pension contributions amount to nearly one-fourth of the state’s annual budget and it’s still not at the level actuaries estimate would bring down the level of unfunded liabilities. This is because the “Edgar Ramp,” enacted in 1995, that set contributions to track with the statute, rather than actuarial suggestions. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said the state’s budget would have been balanced had it not been for the pandemic-related revenue shortfalls, something that’s been disputed

In Chicago, city officials revealed to Aldermen this week that the COVID-19 crisis has cut into their revenues by an estimated $500 million. 

Chief Financial Officer Jennie Bennett told aldermen on Monday, according to WTTW, that the city could see a $2 billion deficit in the fall should the economy slide into a recession. 

Like Illinois, Chicago has seen its unfunded liabilities increase over the years as well. 

The city’s pension debt has grown by $7 billion since 2015, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis in late 2019 and is scheduled to cost more than $1 billion annually in the coming years.

“The latest point that we have is the product of years of effectively not balancing a budget,” Truth in Accounting Research Director Bill Bergman said. 

Its annual City Combined Taxpayer Burden report released in April showed Chicago taxpayers shoulder $122,100 in deferred costs from the multiple units of government they reside in. 

Pritzkers Are Slobbish Degenerate Dumbasses Violating The Rules For Rulers

Breitbart |  The deep blue state of Illinois is beginning to revolt against the nation’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns even as those in charge seek to strengthen their power.

Some of the more outrageous examples of overreach are seen in the City of Chicago, where Mayor Lori Lightfoot has fenced in the city’s extensive lakeshore areas and even created newly designated no parking zones around churches to prevent worshipers from attending services.

Last Sunday, the city’s first gay mayor sent the Chicago Police Department (CPD) out to erect new signs around the neighborhood of Philadelphia Romanian Church to suddenly create long stretches of new “No parking/tow warning” zones around the building.

Lightfoot also sent the CPD to prowl around outside several of the city’s churches to hand out parking violations, Chicago’s CBS affiliate reported.

The mayor’s campaign against churches comes on the heels of statements by several church officials across the city saying they had no intention of submitting to the mayor’s orders to shut down their houses of worship.

The Windy City is not the only Illinois jurisdiction instituting the draconian lockdowns that are riling citizens. The state’s novice Governor, J.B. Pritzker, has also dabbled in harsh lockdowns that have stifled the state.

Indeed, a recent review of lockdown policies by the personal finance site WalletHub found Illinois has the harshest lockdown policies in the country.

As a result, the Windy City citizens are not the only Illinoisans who have revolted against the Democrat-enforced lockdowns.

A growing number of county and municipal officials are coming out in opposition to Gov. Pritzker’s seemingly arbitrary orders. Pritzker ruled businesses that violated his orders could be handed a prison sentence of up to a year for refusing to obey him. But many balked at the order.

Sheriff James Mendrick of DuPage County, Illinois, for instance, told his constituents he had no intention of enforcing Pritzker’s order to fine and arrest violators of the gov’s lockdown orders.

“I just can’t do this anymore. I stand with our citizens and businesses of DuPage County who have offered no trouble or no resistance to any rule we put upon them, no matter how strange.,” Sheriff Mendrick wrote in a Facebook post.

At Least 20% Of Illinois Restaurants Have Succumbed To The Controlavirus

cbslocal |  “The restaurant industry, we’ve kind of alway been up against it anyways,” said Joe Frillman, owner of Daisies Restaurant. “The statistics are never in our favor to begin with.”

Once known for its dine in homemade pastas, the kitchen at Daisies in Logan Square has pivoted to pay the bills.

“It’s all to go now, so the whole business model has changed,” said Frillman.

He debuted a new concept last weekend. In the age of COVID-19, his dining space became a farmer’s market with fresh produce, meal kits and specialty products.

“We had over 150 people come out to support us,” he said. “I was kind of blown away. We didn’t really know what to expect.”

But for every hopeful moment like these, there are thousands of others from restaurants on the brink of closing.

Jeanne Roeser, in business since 1996, was forced to close her two popular brunch destinations, Toast. Each sat only a handful of diners, and an eventual scaled back reopening didn’t add up.

“It felt like a death,” said Roeser, owner of Toast Restaurant. “It felt like going through the grieving process, which I still am. Any time I thought about it, and I looked at the prospects, it just, in my gut, didn’t feel like it was something that would be workable”

According to the Illinois Restaurant Association, in March there were 25,851 restaurants operating in the state. It estimates 20% — nearly 5,200 restaurants — will go out of business in the coming months because of COVID-19.
“I think it’s an undercount,” said Roeser.

“I think that’s generous,” said Frillman. “I think would be a best case scenario.”  “Independent restaurants bring wealth to the city, culturally, economically,” said Roeser.

Friday, May 22, 2020

The Negative Consequences Of Large-Scale Quarantine Are Insufferable

AIER |  For two to three months, Americans have suffered the loss of liberty, security, and prosperity in the name of virus control. The psychological impact has been beyond description. We thought we could count on basic rights and freedoms. Then over a few days in March, it all ended in ways hardly anyone could believe possible. 

The manner in which governments dealt with foundational principles of modernity has been shocking. They put half the country under house arrest and managed every movement in disregard for the Bill of Rights and all legal precedent, to say nothing of the Constitution. It felt like a coercive unraveling of civilization itself. It’s like we are all waking up from a bad dream only to look around and see the wreckage that proves it was all real.

So how can we deal with this terror that befell us? One way is to figure out some aspect in which our sacrifice has been worth it, maybe not on net given the consequences, but surely some good has come out of this. If my email and feeds are correct, this is how many people have been justifying this. The psychology here is rooted in the sunk-cost fallacy: when you commit resources to something, even when it is a proven error, you tend to find justifications by doubling down rather than just admitting the mistake. 

Thus have many people written me to say that whether you agree or disagree with the lockdown, we have to admit that it has saved millions of lives. I always write back and ask how they know that. They send me a link to a projection – those very projections that presume all kinds of things about cause and effect that we cannot know and which have proven wrong time and again throughout this crisis. 

So let’s just grant that it is possible that lockdowns can be credited with slowing the spread of the virus, and perhaps preserving hospital capacity (which turned out to be unnecessary). Still, the virus doesn’t then get bored and move by to Wuhan or to another planet. It still sticks around, so at best, these measures only “prolong the pain,” in the words of Knut Wittkowski. 

So even if lockdowns slow the spread in the short run, it’s not clear that they have saved lives from the coronavirus, even if it results in more death overall from deferred surgeries and diagnostics, suicides, drug overdoses, and depression. 

The trouble here is that certain features of this experience stand out to contradict the idea that lockdowns are saving lives over the longer term. In New York, two thirds of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 were in fact sheltering in place during the lockdown, essentially living in forced isolation. The lockdown didn’t help them; it might have contributed to making matters worse.

Catch Corona - And - Catch A Case?!?!

apnews |  More than 11 million people have been tested in the U.S. for COVID-19, all with the assurance that their private medical information would remain protected and undisclosed.

Yet, public officials in at least two-thirds of states are sharing the addresses of people who tested positive with first responders — from police officers to firefighters to EMTs. An Associated Press review found that at least 10 of those states also share the patients’ names. 

First responders argue the information is vital to helping them take extra precautions to avoid contracting and spreading the coronavirus. 

But civil liberty and community activists have expressed concerns of potential profiling in African-American and Hispanic communities that already have an uneasy relationship with law enforcement. Some envision the data being forwarded to immigration officials.

“The information could actually have a chilling effect that keeps those already distrustful of the government from taking the COVID-19 test and possibly accelerate the spread of the disease,” the Tennessee Black Caucus said in a statement. 

Sharing the information does not violate medical privacy laws, according to guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But many members of minority communities are employed in industries that require them to show up to work every day, making them more susceptible to the virus — and most in need of the test. 

In Tennessee, the issue has sparked criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, who only became aware of the data sharing earlier this month.

The process is simple: State and local health departments keep track of who has received a test in their region and then provide the information to dispatch centers. The AP review shows that happens in at least 35 states that share the addresses of those who tested positive. 

At least 10 states go further and also share the names: Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Tennessee. Wisconsin did so briefly but stopped earlier this month. There have been 287,481 positive cases in those states, mostly in New Jersey. 

“We should question why the information needs to be provided to law enforcement, whether there is that danger of misuse,” said Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

DAYYUM!!! Just Can't Catch A Break

Guardian |  The racial wound at the center of the coronavirus pandemic in the US continues to fester, with latest data showing that African Americans have died from the disease at almost three times the rate of white people.

New figures compiled by the non-partisan APM Research Lab and released on Wednesday under the title Color of Coronavirus provide further evidence of the staggering divide in the Covid-19 death rate between black Americans and the rest of the nation.

Across the country, African Americans have died at a rate of 50.3 per 100,000 people, compared with 20.7 for whites, 22.9 for Latinos and 22.7 for Asian Americans.

More than 20,000 African Americans – about one in 2,000 of the entire black population in the US – have died from the disease.

At the level of individual states, the statistics are all the more shocking. Bottom of the league table in terms of racial disparities is Kansas, where black residents are dying at seven times the rate of whites.
“This is a call to action for our county commissioners, our state and our city officials,” the Kansas state representative Gail Finney told local TV channel KWCH12 recently.

In other states, the gulf is almost as extreme. In the nation’s capital, Washington, the disparity in death rate between blacks and whites is six times, in Michigan and Missouri five, and in major hotspots of the disease – New York, Illinois and Louisiana – three.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Bring It! Elites Are Ready For You...,

medium |  The American government and the elites who they work for are playing with fire, so no wonder they’ve begun to prepare for the uprising that’s coming.

Lee Fang at The Intercept writes:
“The Federal government has ramped up security and police-related spending in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including issuing contracts for riot gear, disclosures show.
The purchase orders include requests for disposable cuffs, gas masks, ballistic helmets, and riot gloves, along with law enforcement protective equipment for federal police assigned to protect Veterans Affairs facilities. The orders were expedited under a special authorization “in response to Covid-19 outbreak.”
The Veterans Affairs department, which manages nearly 1,500 health care care facilities around the country, has also extended special contracts for coronavirus-related security services.While the pandemic has coincided with a historic drop in violent crime across the country, analysts have expressed concern that the rapid spread of the virus will fuel confrontations.
There have been multiple inmate riots in response to Covid-19 outbreaks in prisons and jails, which have become dangerous hotspots for the disease. The economic upheaval and disagreements over coronavirus-related policy have also fueled demonstrations across the country.
…The federal funding requests contrast sharply with the rosy rhetoric from President Donald Trump, who has lavished himself with praise for his response to the crisis and issued optimistic predictions that recovery is around the corner. Last month, the federal government secured a contract to purchase 100,000 body bags to dispose of deaths related to the Covid-19 outbreak.”
If the elites are beginning to prepare for what they clearly know is coming in response to how this crisis has been handled, then perhaps it’s time for us to get ready as well.

They BEEN Laying Up For You

lewrockwell |  The newest term being targeted toward the masses is the coming of the “Dark Winter,” which is nothing more than propaganda based lies meant to prepare the sheep for a planned continuation and escalation of this fake pandemic in order to bring about world domination.

Operation Dark Winter was the code name for a senior-level bio-terrorist attack simulation conducted from June 22–23, 2001, which was designed to carry out a mock version of a covert bio-weapon’s attack on the United States. The players involved in this were the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies (CCBS) and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and the project designers were Randy Larsen and Mark DeMier of Analytic Services. It is very interesting that the same Johns Hopkins along with the evil Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation conducted Event 201, a coronavirus “simulation” just this past October, on the verge of this so-called pandemic. The same players, same objectives, but now it is real.

Rick Bright, the former director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and claimed whistleblower, has been all over the mainstream news as of late projecting the “darkest winter in modern history.” Using this term was no accident, and in fact was meant as propaganda to frighten and alarm the already cowardly and pathetic public. It was also meant to instill a mindset of a killing plague soon to come. This was completely staged in my opinion, but it will nonetheless be accepted by a society steeped in fear due to this “crisis.”

I would expect the term “dark winter” to become a new buzzword, as this new term the second time around, is strictly tied to the original scenario, but applied to today’s panic. None of this is coincidence, none of it is accidental, but it is sinister. If things continue as they have been, and this lockdown remains in place, whether fully or partially, the anticipation of this “dark winter” will be on the minds of most all American sheep, especially if it is continually used as the threat of things to come.

With that in the minds of the people, they will be expecting the worst, and will probably get exactly what they expect; another planned pandemic. 
The current government plan, regardless of what is partially opened this summer, is to continue to mandate social distancing and masks as some sort of faux protection against this non-existent threat, to continue to shame those dissenters that refuse to comply with government orders, and to use more force to stop any dissent.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

How Many Of Y'all Die Each Day?

visualcapitalist |  As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the media continues to rattle off statistics at full force.

However, without a frame of reference, numbers such as the death toll can be difficult to interpret. Mortalities attributed to the virus, for example, are often measured in the thousands of people per day globally—but is this number a little or a lot, relative to typical causes of death?

Today’s graphic uses data from Our World in Data to provide context with the total number of worldwide daily deaths. It also outlines how many people who die each day from specific causes.

Worldwide Deaths by Cause

Nearly 150,000 people die per day worldwide, based on the latest comprehensive research published in 2017. Which diseases are the most deadly, and how many lives do they take per day?
Here’s how many people die each day on average, sorted by cause:
RankCauseDaily Deaths
#1Cardiovascular diseases48,742
#3Respiratory diseases10,724
#4Lower respiratory infections7,010
#6Digestive diseases6,514
#7Neonatal disorders4,887
#8Diarrheal diseases4,300
#10Liver diseases3,624

Total Daily Deaths147,118
Showing 1 to 10 of 32 entries
Cardiovascular diseases, or diseases of the heart and blood vessels, are the leading cause of death. However, their prominence is not reflected in our perceptions of death nor in the media.
While the death toll for HIV/AIDS peaked in 2004, it still affects many people today. The disease causes over 2,600 daily deaths on average.

Interestingly, terrorism and natural disasters cause very few deaths in relation to other causes. That said, these numbers can vary from day to day—and year to year—depending on the severity of each individual instance.

The Unspoken Goal Has Always Been Herd Immunity

project-syndicate |  Science cannot determine what the correct COVID-19 response should have been for each country. A model may be considered validated if its predictions correspond to outcomes in real life. But in epidemiology, we can have confidence that this will happen only if a virus with known properties is allowed to run its natural course in a given population, or if there is a single intervention like a vaccine, the results of which can be accurately predicted.

Too many variables – including, say, medical capacity or cultural characteristics – scrambles the model, and it starts spewing out scenarios and predictions like a demented robot. Today, epidemiologists cannot tell us what the effects of the current COVID-19 policy mix will be. “We will know only in a year or so,” they say.

The outcome will therefore depend on politics. And the politics of COVID-19 are clear enough: governments could not risk the natural spread of infection, and thought it too complicated or politically fraught to try to isolate only those most at risk of severe illness or death, namely the 15-20% of the population aged over 65.

The default policy response has been to slow the spread of natural immunity until a vaccine can be developed. What “flattening the curve” really means is spacing out the number of expected deaths over a period long enough for medical facilities to cope and a vaccine to kick in.

But this strategy has a terrible weakness: governments cannot keep their populations locked down until a vaccine arrives. Apart from anything else, the economic cost would be unthinkable. So, they have to ease the lockdown gradually.

Doing this, however, lifts the cap on non-exposure gained from the lockdown. That is why no government has an explicit exit strategy: what political leaders call the “controlled easing” of lockdowns actually means controlled progress toward herd immunity.

Governments cannot openly avow this, because that would amount to admitting that herd immunity is the objective. And it is not yet even known whether and for how long infection confers immunity. Much better, then, to pursue this goal silently, under a cloud of obfuscation, and hope that a vaccine arrives before most of the population is infected.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Aerosol Filtration Efficiency

ACSNano |  The emergence of a pandemic affecting the respiratory system can result in a significant demand for face masks. This includes the use of cloth masks by large sections of the public, as can be seen during the current global spread of COVID-19. However, there is limited knowledge available on the performance of various commonly available fabrics used in cloth masks. Importantly, there is a need to evaluate filtration efficiencies as a function of aerosol particulate sizes in the 10 nm to 10 μm range, which is particularly relevant for respiratory virus transmission. We have carried out these studies for several common fabrics including cotton, silk, chiffon, flannel, various synthetics, and their combinations. Although the filtration efficiencies for various fabrics when a single layer was used ranged from 5 to 80% and 5 to 95% for particle sizes of <300 and="" nm="">300 nm, respectively, the efficiencies improved when multiple layers were used and when using a specific combination of different fabrics. Filtration efficiencies of the hybrids (such as cotton–silk, cotton–chiffon, cotton–flannel) was >80% (for particles <300 and="" nm="">90% (for particles >300 nm). We speculate that the enhanced performance of the hybrids is likely due to the combined effect of mechanical and electrostatic-based filtration. Cotton, the most widely used material for cloth masks performs better at higher weave densities (i.e., thread count) and can make a significant difference in filtration efficiencies. Our studies also imply that gaps (as caused by an improper fit of the mask) can result in over a 60% decrease in the filtration efficiency, implying the need for future cloth mask design studies to take into account issues of “fit” and leakage, while allowing the exhaled air to vent efficiently. Overall, we find that combinations of various commonly available fabrics used in cloth masks can potentially provide significant protection against the transmission of aerosol particles.

Toilet Aerosols A Primary Coronavirus Contagion Vector

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the COVID-19 virus spreads from person-to-person among close contacts and occurs mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of nearby people or possibly be inhaled directly into the lungs. It might be possible for a person to get the virus by touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.
How can the coronavirus spread through bathroom pipes? Experts are investigating in Hong Kong” A

waterandhealth |  According to the article,2 two residents living on different floors of a high-rise apartment tower called Hong Mei House had been infected with coronavirus according to Hong Kong health officials. The first to be infected was a 75-year-old man. About 10 days later, a 62-year-old woman in the same building became infected. That woman’s son and daughter-in-law who share the apartment were later diagnosed with COVID-19.  

In the tower, the first two persons with coronavirus lived 10 floors apart, but were located in the same vertical block of apartments. For this reason, health authorities conducted an initial investigation and evacuated all residents living directly above and below each other in block seven across all 30 floors because their toilet and vent pipes were all connected (see figure).

Scary Reminder of the 2003 SARS Outbreak

The possibility of the coronavirus being transmitted through building sewage pipes immediately drew comparisons to the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) coronavirus outbreak, where this was discovered to be a major source of transmission. At the Amoy Gardens housing estate, also in Hong Kong, more than 300 infections and 42 deaths occurred after poorly-designed plumbing allowed the SARS virus to spread throughout the building complex. As a result, following a 24-hour medical lock-down, the residents were moved to confinement camps for 10 days as doctors, clinicians, sewage experts and engineers investigated.  

How Could Bathroom Sewage Pipes Spread Coronavirus?

The COVID-19 virus could have spread through the Hong Mei House through close human contact or the shared use of elevator buttons. But because the two first patients lived above and below one another in the tower, and because an initial inspection found that a vent pipe had been disconnected from the bathroom’s waste (soil) pipe, the building was partially evacuated. Although a full investigation is ongoing, based on the initial investigation, health officials declared the Hong Mei House’s sewage pipe system to be safe. 

Preliminary studies of the COVID-19 virus have suggested it is present in fecal matter, though it is still unclear whether the coronavirus could be transmitted and infect others by some type of fecal-oral route (via exposure from hands to nasal passages and eyes not through ingestion). As can be seen in the figure, toilets (as well as sinks and floor drains) have a “U-“ or “P-shaped” pipe that prevents sewer gases from entering the home and that allows wastewater and odors to escape. To work properly, the sharply curved pipe, also known as a “trap,” needs to hold water in its bend. These connect to a soil pipe, which washes the waste down and away from the toilet, sink, or drain. The soil pipe also needs to be connected to a vent pipe to remove sewer gases and odors—usually through roof vents. The vent pipe also ensures that wastewater keeps flowing freely. One local microbiologist suggested at a press conference that the improperly sealed vent pipe “could have resulted in a virus transmission, by carrying infected feces into the building’s ventilation system and blowing it into people’s bathrooms”.

About These Known Unknowns?

aier |  Now begins the grand effort, on display in thousands of articles and news broadcasts daily, somehow to normalize the lockdown and all its destruction of the last two months. We didn’t lock down almost the entire country in 1968/69, 1957, or 1949-1952, or even during 1918. But in a terrifying few days in March 2020, it happened to all of us, causing an avalanche of social, cultural, and economic destruction that will ring through the ages.

There was nothing normal about it all. We’ll be trying to figure out what happened to us for decades hence.

How did a temporary plan to preserve hospital capacity turn into two-to-three months of near-universal house arrest that ended up causing worker furloughs at 256 hospitals, a stoppage of international travel, a 40% job loss among people earning less than $40K per year, devastation of every economic sector, mass confusion and demoralization, a complete ignoring of all fundamental rights and liberties, not to mention the mass confiscation of private property with forced closures of millions of businesses?

Whatever the answer, it’s got to be a bizarre tale. What’s truly surprising is just how recent the theory behind lockdown and forced distancing actually is. So far as anyone can tell, the intellectual machinery that made this mess was invented 14 years ago, and not by epidemiologists but by computer-simulation modelers. It was adopted not by experienced doctors – they warned ferociously against it – but by politicians.

Let’s start with the phrase social distancing, which has mutated into forced human separation. The first I had heard it was in the 2011 movie Contagion. The first time it appeared in the New York Times was February 12, 2006:
If the avian flu goes pandemic while Tamiflu and vaccines are still in short supply, experts say, the only protection most Americans will have is “social distancing,” which is the new politically correct way of saying “quarantine.”
But distancing also encompasses less drastic measures, like wearing face masks, staying out of elevators — and the [elbow] bump. Such stratagems, those experts say, will rewrite the ways we interact, at least during the weeks when the waves of influenza are washing over us.

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Governance Paradigm When Human Interaction Is Fundamentally Suspicious And Politically Contagious

strategic-culture |  In Tempetes Microbiennes, Patrick Zylberman, a professor of History of Health in Paris, detailed the complex process through which health security, so far at the margins of political strategies, was sneaking into center stage in the early 2000s. The WHO had already set the precedent in 2005, warning about “50 million deaths” around the world caused by the incoming swine flu. In the worst-case scenario projected for a pandemic, Zylberman predicted that “sanitary terror” would be used as an instrument of governance.

That worst-case scenario has been revamped as we speak. The notion of a generalized obligatory confinement is not warranted by any medical justification, or leading epidemiological research, when it comes to fighting a pandemic. Still, that was enshrined as the hegemonic policy – with the inevitable corollary of countless masses plunged into unemployment. All that based on failed, delirious mathematical models of the Imperial College kind, imposed by powerful pressure groups ranging from the World Economic Forum (WEF) to the Munich Security Conference.

Enter Dr. Richard Hatchett, a former member of the National Security Council during the first Bush Jr. administration, who was already recommending obligatory confinement of the whole population way back in 2001. Hatchett now directs the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a very powerful entity coordinating global vaccine investment, and very cozy with Big Pharma. CEPI happens to be a brainchild of the WEF in conjunction with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Crucially, Hatchett regards the fight against Covid-19 as a “war”. The terminology – adopted by everyone from President Trump to President Macron – gives away the game. It harks back to – what else – the global war on terror (GWOT), as solemnly announced in September 2001 by Donald “Known Unknowns” Rumsfeld himself.

Rumsfeld, crucially, had been the chairman of biotech giant Gilead. After 9/11, at the Pentagon, he got busy aiming to blur the distinction between civilians and the military when it came to GWOT. That’s when “generalized obligatory confinement” was conceptualized, with Hatchett among the key players.

As much as this was a militarized Big Pharma spin-off concept, it had nothing to do with public health. What mattered was the militarization of American society to be adopted in response to bioterror – at the time automatically attributed to a squalid, tech-deprived al-Qaeda.

The current version of this project – we are at “war” and every civilian must stay at home – takes the form of what Alexander Dugin has defined as a medical-military dictatorship.

Hatchett is very much part of the group, alongside ubiquitous Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), very close to WHO, WEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. chapter of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Further applications inbuilt in the project will include all-around digital surveillance, sold as health monitoring. Already implemented in the current narrative is the non-stop demonization of China, “guilty” of all things Covid-19-related. That is inherited from another tried and tested war game – the Red Dawn scheme.

Is Nature Magazine A Powerful Enforcer Of The DISC?

strategic-culture |  Amidst the storm of controversy raised by the lab-origin theory of COVID-19 extolled by such figures as Nobel prize winning virologist Luc Montagnier, bioweapons expert Francis Boyle, Sri Lankan Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, an elaborate project was undertaken under the nominal helm of NATURE Magazine in order to refute the claim once and for all under the report ‘The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2’.

This project was led by a team of evolutionary virologists using a line of reasoning that “random mutation can account for anything” and was parroted loudly and repeatedly by Fauci, WHO officials and Bill Gates in order to shut down all uncomfortable discussion of the possible laboratory origins of COVID-19 while also pushing for a global vaccine campaign. On April 18, Dr. Fauci (whose close ties with Bill Gates, and Big Pharma have much to do with his control of hundreds of billions of dollars of research money), stated:

“There was a study recently that we can make available to you, where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolve. And the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human.”

I think at this moment, rife as it is with speculative arguments, confusion and under-defined data, it is useful to remove oneself from the present and look for higher reference points from which we can re-evaluate events now unfolding on the world stage.

In order to do this, let us begin by asking a new series of questions:

What is Nature Magazine exactly? Is it truly an “objective” platform for pure scientific research untainted by the filth of political agendas? Is this standard-bearer of “proper method”, which can make or break the career of any scientist, truly the scientific journal it claims to be or is there something darker to be discovered?

As I presented a part of this story in my previous installment in this series The Rise of Optical Biophysics and Clash of the Two Sciences, a very old battle has been waged around political systems but also what sort of scientific paradigms will shape our future.

A State-by-State Look At Coronavirus In Prisons

themarshallproject |  Since March, The Marshall Project has been tracking how many people are being sickened and killed by COVID-19 in prisons and how widely it has spread across the country and within each state. Here, we will regularly update these figures counting the number of people infected and killed nationwide and in each prison system until the crisis abates.

By May 13, at least 25,239 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, a 25 percent increase from the week before.

Much of the remarkable recent growth in coronavirus cases has been due to a handful of states—Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Michigan, North Carolina among them—that began aggressively testing nearly everyone at prisons where people had become sick. This spate of testing would suggest that coronavirus had been circulating in prisons in much greater numbers than known, and that in the many states where tests have not been prevalent, far more people may have been carrying it than were initially reported.

The first known COVID-19 death of a prisoner was in Georgia when Anthony Cheek died on March 26. Cheek, who was 49 years old, had been held in Lee State Prison near Albany, a hotspot for the disease. Since then, at least 372 other prisoners have died of coronavirus-related causes. By May 13, the total number of deaths had risen by 23 percent in a week.

Given the huge differences in how many people are being tested in prisons for the virus, the effects of the pandemic have varied widely between different state prison systems. The first reported cases began popping up in Massachusetts and Georgia on March 20. By the end of April, some states like Nebraska, Idaho and Maine still had not identified any confirmed cases of sick prisoners. Here, you can choose to view the data for any state prison system and see how the numbers compare. For a summary of the number of cases in facilities run by the federal Bureau of Prisons, choose the “Federal” option.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Harmonious Society Censorship Prefigures All Against All Political Violence

opendemocracy |  It is difficult to say if it was our friends that miscalculated the scope of the censorship, or if it was the Chinese government that miscalculated the scope of the new epidemic. For the reality quickly got lost, perhaps to everyone, under close surveillance of domestic reporting of the virus. After returning to the UK in January, a large part of my daily routine has been saving Chinese news reports and key commentaries on the virus through clusters of screenshots rather than simply saving the links. This was because ‘disharmonious’ web content would be soon deleted without a trace and during January articles related to the epidemic were censorship targets. In fact, due to the 8 hour time difference between China and the UK, it was not uncommon for me to wake up in the morning, only to find that half of the articles passed on by friends had already been removed or their access denied. To be sure, some of the censored content may have been fake news, but it was also evident that what remained in circulation adhered to the party-line.

More importantly, COVID-19 exposed an often-ignored character of how censorship works when it is effectively ‘constitutionalised' in the political system. Its ubiquity in governing rationales means that censorship is not necessarily centrally coordinated but is a layered practice. That is, censorship becomes a tool wielded at the discretion of multiple authorities and can be discriminately applied in accordance to local needs. For example, compared to many other less affected cities, in the early phase, Wuhan’s local media was subject to stringent censorship. According to a corpus study of Chinese official newspapers carried out by a media studies’ scholar at Hong Kong University, between 1 January and 20 January 2020, coronavirus was only reported four times by Wuhan local newspaper Chutian Dushi Bao, of which two were rebuking ‘rumours’ and two were news releases by the local health bureau. On 20 January, the day before President Xi Jinping publicly acknowledged the seriousness of the outbreak and 3 days before the Wuhan lockdown, local news was still celebrating that 20,000 free tickets to key tourist sites been handed out to the public with the expectation of a tourist surge during the Spring Festival holiday.

A key difference between democratic and non-democratic states in the response to COVID-19 does not hinge on lockdowns, but on what has been discussed and done to mitigate the various knock-on effects of lockdowns. For example, in the days following the UK’s lockdown in late March, discussion, and sometimes protests, on the welfare of different social groups filled mainstream news outlets: the impact of children with special needs, individuals in care homes, domestic violence, mental health and concerns for safety-nets for the self-employed. Of course many of these issues remain unresolved or only partially resolved, but this ‘explosion’ of public expression of concerns made many underlying social issues visible from the start.

In contrast, few such (pre-emptive) discussions on the social consequences of lockdown could be found in Chinese media. If one types in ‘domestic violence’ (家庭暴力) and ‘coronavirus pneumonia’ (新冠肺炎, the common way for Chinese media to refer to the COVID-19 pandemic) onto China’s search engine Baidu, the results are predominately news reports on the increase of domestic violence in the UK, US, Japan and other countries. Reports on domestic violence in China in the context of the pandemic were scarce. Of course, Baidu as the main Chinese search engine has long been criticised for manipulating research results, bowing to political and commercial pressure. Thus this might not be a fair representation of what has been discussed or done about domestic violence in China during the lockdown. But this perhaps further underlines my point. That is, social controversies within China are censored out of public sight, and thus out of public mind.

The true danger of political censorship, however, lies not simply in the absence of certain discussions, but in the nurturing of social acquiescence to this silence. For example, similar to other countries, medical staff were soon heralded as the contemporary ‘heroes’ in China. Images of the medical profession on posters paying tribute to them were predominantly male, yet published lists of medical staff volunteering to join the front line were largely female. I wrote a post on Chinese social media questioning this aspect of gender inequality. The response was mixed. While some commented that this was an ‘interesting point’, others disapproved of my ‘making a fuss’. One such criticism came from my own cousin, who, along with his wife, were front-line doctors. He believed that everyone was or should be preoccupied with fighting the disease. So why should I ‘distract’ this concentration with ‘the trivial matter of gender equality’? My cousin’s rationale echoes China’s development strategy over the last 40 years. That is, China has been exceptionally good at identifying one goal (e.g. fighting coronavirus) and concentrating the whole nation’s resources into achieving that goal (e.g. speedy reallocation of financial and human resources into the health system). Wider social discussions are considered as but a distraction. In fact, there is almost a ‘pragmatic’ argument for no discussion: even if issues were raised, given limited government resource and under-developed societal services, there is no capacity to address these problems anyway. So what’s the point of discussion?

Coincidence Theory: 2012 Official EU Storyboard For The Controlavirus Pandemic

To Believe In Non-Violence Is To Exist At The Whim Of Those Who Believe In Violence

ianwelsh |  A sea change happened in the 60s and 70s: one where the legitimacy of violence was rejected by the left, and violence was gifted to the right. The end of the draft and the left wing hatred of all violence meant that the left gave the military to the right wing. Cops have always been right wing, of course, but the draft had meant that the rank and file military included many left wingers. It also meant that people on the left had violent skills, taught courtesy of the military.

That ended. Meanwhile the right, including the most far right, encouraged their people to join the military and the policy, to learn the skills and to make sure those institutions were run by right wingers from top to bottom.

So there are two likely reasons the Michigan legislature gave into violence. One: they think that right wing violence is legitimate. Two, they don’t trust the police or national guard to stop right wingers they sympathize with and support.

Meanwhile only two parts of the left believe they have a right to be violent: Antifa, and the Black Panthers. The Black Panthers have taken to armed escort of legislators they support.

Those who disarm; those who believe fanatically in non-violence, always exist at the whim of those who believe in violence and are good at it.

This is the position the left has put itself in in America and many other countries: disarmed, bad at violence, with no influence over the violent organs of the state and almost no tradition or skill in violence in the few organs it still has influence over (like some unions.)

Some of this weakness was caused by the right: as with their gutting of unions in the 80s. But much of it is because the left both believes that violence is always wrong and that it is ineffective.
Michigan is the fruit of those beliefs.

And, children, history is a record of violence often working. Sometimes non-violence works, yes, sometimes it even works very well. But effective violence, especially if it is perceived as legitimate, is also a winning strategy.