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March 19, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 3 Comments

Media Pseudo-Debates and the Silence of Leftist Critics

The Incompetent, Negligent, Mishandling, Miscalculating Elite Blunderers

By Edward J Curtin | March 19, 2021

You’ve heard of them, no doubt, the U.S. rulers who can’t rule too well and are always getting surprised by events or fed bad advice by their underlings. Their “mistakes” are always well intentioned. They stumble into wars through faulty intelligence. They drop the ball because of bureaucratic mix-ups. They miscalculate the perfidy of the elites whom allegedly they oppose while ushering them into the national coffers out of necessity since they are too big to fail. They never see the storm coming, even as they create it. Their incompetence is the retort to all those nut cases who conjure up conspiracy theories to explain their actions or lack thereof. They are innocent. Always innocent.

They and their media mouthpieces offer Americans, who are most eager to accept, what Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed at age thirty-nine by Hitler, called cheap grace: “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance…”

These incompetents are, in the immortal words of the New York newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin, “The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight.”

Except they could and can.

They’ve actually shot a lot of people, here and abroad. It’s one of their specialties. But they mean well. They screw up sometimes, but they mean well. They care, even while they kill millions with their guns and bombs. But they have their followers.

As another dissident thirty-nine-year-old pastor, executed by the American state, Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Mainstream Media Pseudo-Debates

The U.S. rulers have their defenders.  Most are corporate mainstream journalists whose jobs are to defend the ruling elites of both political parties. They will criticize across the political divides depending on their organizations’ political leanings at the moment. But they will never attack the fundamentals of the oligarchic war system since they are part of it. Their jobs depend on it.  So CNN and The New York Times will obsessively attack Trump while Fox News will do the same to Obama or Biden. This is a game.

These days such massive media conglomerates are seemingly starkly divided and basically serve as adjuncts of one political party or the other. They are essentially political propagandists for either the Democrats or the Republicans and have abandoned any pretense to be anything else. They speak to their respective audiences in self-enclosed vacuums. They promote the divide that runs down the middle of the USA, a divide they helped to create.

Some have argued that this radical division of the media turf is because of economic and business factors; that the media organizations and their “journalists” have seen this strategy as the path to greater profits. There is probably some truth in this. But it is a small part.

For all sides of the corporate media serve the same overarching political function: to divide and conquer the population; to set the so-called left against right; middle America against the east and west coasts; white against black; working class against middle-class; men against women; husbands against wives, etc. To keep people, who in reality should be allies, fighting with each other. It is a classic strategy of divide-and-conquer that is carried out by the mainstream media pursuant to their unstated mandate. It is not an accident and has been conducted with a vengeance in recent years.

And crucially, it is anchored in the false premise of the myth of left vs. right with a reasonable center somewhere between. Such a center has never existed. While left and right might once have been useful categories, they have long since outlived their usefulness. They now just serve to engender pseudo-debates.

Pseudo-debates are not new but they are highly effective. They are debates based on false premises. In this case, the premise is that the massive corporate media conglomerates are not part of the same system of control and containment of the population, but are genuine opponents in the battle for truth and democracy. Accept this premise and you have entered into endless debates leading nowhere. It is a classic method of intelligence agencies to sow uncertainty and confusion and to have people following Alice down the rabbit hole, tumbling and tumbling into an endless void as they argue continually about nothing.[1]

Dr. E. Martin Schotz has brilliantly explicated this trick in the case of the assassination of President Kennedy (“Certainly no honest person could ever accept the ‘single bullet theory’.”) where people are still debating a false mystery almost sixty years after the fact. He writes:

The lie is that there is a mystery to debate. And so we have pseudo-debates. Debates about meaningless disputes, based on assumptions which are obviously false… Perhaps many people think that engaging in pseudo-debate is a benign activity. That it simply means that people are debating something that is irrelevant. This is not the case. I say this because every debate rests on a premise to which the debaters must agree, or there is no debate. In the case of pseudo-debate the premise is a lie. So in the pseudo-debate we have the parties to the debate agreeing to purvey a lie to the public. And it is all the more malignant because it is subtle. The unsuspecting person who is witness to the pseudo-debate does not understand that he is being passed a lie. He is not even aware that he is being passed a premise. It is so subtle that the premise just passes into the person as if it were reality. This premise—that there is uncertainly to be resolved—seems so benign. It is as easy as drinking a glass of treated water. But the fact remains that there is no mystery except in the minds of those who are willing to drink this premise. The premise is a lie, and a society which agrees to drink such a lie ceases to perceive reality. This is what we mean by mass denial.[2]

The entire corporate media ideological spectrum operates under the umbrella of oligarchic control, something that is not new, just more egregious with every passing day. More in your face. The corporate media serve as the mouthpieces for those oligarchs, but they try to convince their separate audiences that this isn’t so. They give people enemies – false ones. Objects to hate.

But just like symptoms are not the disease, they give people a focus upon which to rivet their attention while the disease goes unattended. As with a drug addict, the taking of drugs is not the fundamental problem, although it becomes one and might kill you. The problem is why one takes drugs; what is it that is one feels needs to be tranquilized and silenced. Or, as the writer William Saroyan once flippantly said regarding the claim that smoking causes cancer: “You may tend to get cancer from the thing that makes you want to smoke, not from the smoking itself.”

The corporate mainstream media are the drug that serves to hide the core truth of an oligarchic cancerous warfare state drunk on power and using propaganda to play both sides. Everyone has become pawns in their game.

A recent example serves to illustrate a method in their madness  There is a new, ongoing Spotify podcast – “Renegades: Born in the USA” – featuring Barack Obama and the singer Bruce Springsteen in conversation. Two rebels – it’s of course ridiculous – but there it is. Two super rich celebrities stroking each other’s egos in an upper class setting.  One a singer, who rose to prominence out of nowhere as the voice of the small-town beleaguered working class; the other, a mixed-race politician who rose to prominence out of nowhere from a family background redolent of the CIA. Two icons of popular and political culture crossing over with a smooth patina of mixed-arts bullshit telling listeners they we need to return to the good old days when political centrism served the great American ideal that they both share. People are supposed to take this conversation between “buddies” seriously, as the two sit mask-less with their feet seemingly touching at a time when people are told to wear masks and avoid close contact with those outside their households.  As Bruce strums his guitar, any half-way sentient person would realize he was being played, even while the meaning of the song was so twisted that he was enjoying it.

Left-wing Gatekeepers

Then, if we switch from the mainstream corporate media to alternative voices, especially prominent ones on the left, we notice something even stranger.

I think most readers would agree that the two seismic events of the last twenty years are the current COVID- 19 issue and the September 11, 2001 attacks. The latter, not only because of all the victims that died that day, but for how it led to so much death and destruction around the world, the endless war on terror, the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc., the ensuing loss of basic liberties and privacy via the Patriot Act, etc. The former for obvious current reasons of death and further loss of basic liberties under the lockdowns as governments throughout the world institute unprecedented  measures of control, etc.  Clearly these two events stand out over the decades. They bookend twenty years of massive U.S. war crimes, the growth of the national security complex, an obscene increase in wealth for the wealthiest, and the loss of privacy and civil liberties for all.

And as everyone knows, September 11th and COVID-19 have resulted in great controversies and much debate because of their serious implications and the obvious questions about the official story lines raised by many respectable writers and researchers of varying political perspectives. At the very least, one would expect that leftist/liberal critics of the so-called Deep State and the machinations of the elite’s wars and propaganda would have engaged in these discussions about these two seminal events or written analytic articles about them.

But for a core group of prominent left/liberal critics, these two subjects have been avoided like they are of no importance. No debates, no discussions, no analyses – simply silence, as if they didn’t happen and there was nothing to discuss. Cases closed: the government has spoken. Let us move on to more important matters.

But that is wrong. For example, in about a dozen closely reasoned books of his own and with other international researchers, David Ray Griffin has raised innumerable questions that show that the official September 11 story is full of holes. Canadian writer Graeme MacQueen has written a devastating exposé of the linked anthrax attacks that followed September 11, showing clearly that they were a U.S. government operation. I myself have raised significant questions about what I call the linguistic mind-control associated with the attacks in “Why I Don’t Speak of 9/11 Anymore.” The dissident literature is enormous.

A few of Griffin’s points are illustrative of the many anomalies in the official account. There are so many, and not just from Griffin but from other researchers, that I will mention just a few about the building collapses, what Griffin calls “miracles of science.” The contradictions about the hijackers are also voluminous.

Here are a few such scientific miracles:

The Twin Towers and WTC 7 were the only steel-framed high-rise buildings ever to come down without explosives or incendiaries. The Twin Towers, each of which had 287 steel columns, were brought down solely by a combination of airplane strikes and jet-fuel fires. WTC 7 was not even hit by a plane, so it was the first steel-framed high-rise to be brought down solely by ordinary building fires. These World Trade Center buildings also came down in free fall – the Twin Towers in virtual free fall, WTC 7 in absolute free fall – for over two seconds.  Although the collapses of the of the WTC buildings were not aided by explosives, the collapses imitated the kinds of implosions that can be induced only by demolition companies. In the case of WTC 7, the structure came down symmetrically (straight down, with an almost perfectly horizontal roofline), which meant that all 82 of the steel support columns had to fall simultaneously, although the building’s fires had a very asymmetrical pattern. The South Tower’s upper 30-floor block changed its angular momentum in midair.  This 30-floor block then disintegrated in midair.

I could go on and on with examples. The simple point is that there are so many absurdities in the official story that to ignore them is an act of intellectual and moral betrayal.  Anyone who has closely studied the government’s 9/11 Commission Report knows it is highly fictional.

The same is true for dissenting voices on the COVID-19 issue. Three publications in particular have published an enormous amount of well-reasoned critiques of the official version of the COVID-19 narrative: Global ResearchOff-Guardian, and Children’s Health Defense. All present many articles by serious writers who raise innumerable questions and make irrefutable points about this matter.

And again, the point is not simple agreement with the dissenters’ arguments, but the need to engage their critiques.  Here too the silence is resounding, for it says “we buy the official account.”

Consider these few:

The man who invented the test used to determine the so-called COVID positive test results, the Nobel Prize winning chemist, Kary Mullis, has said that the test cannot do that, it is not a diagnostic test, and therefore all the test results are meaningless. Additionally, there is serious doubt that the virus called SARS-CoV-2 causes a disease called COVID 19 since there is no evidence that the virus has ever been isolated.  Assuming for argument’s sake, however, that the PCR test can detect  a specific virus, even Anthony Fauci himself, and the World Health Organization (one hour after Biden was sworn into office), have both said that the PCR test in order to have any accuracy must be performed at cycles below 35 thresholds while for a year those tests have been done at thresholds much higher, resulting in vast numbers of false positives.  Cycle thresholds are the level at which the PCR test is said to detect a sample of the COVID-19 virus.

Furthermore, eminent voices such as Michel Chossudovsky and Peter Koenig at Global Research, Robert Kennedy, Jr. at Children’s Health Defense, and Catte Black and Kit Knightly at Off-Guardian have for a long time been vociferously objecting to the official narrative with a vast amount of additional analyses involving the consequences of the wide-spread lockdowns. Such dissidents have had to fight against an organized campaign of censorship that should raise the alarm for anyone who cares about truth.

For leftists who remain silent on these fundamental issues, I can assure them that these critiques of the official explanations of September 11, 2001 and COVID-19 are not right-wing conspiracies but are the work of leftists digging deep for truth.

It is therefore more than odd that certain left/liberal writers completely avoid these issues. One must assume, therefore, that they accept the official explanations for these events, just as this coterie of  leftist/liberal critics dismiss the voluminous and detailed critiques of the Warren Commission and the assassination of President Kennedy.  From their silence one can assume that these matters are of no importance because the authorities have given us the truth.

One such deceased left-wing writer, who can stand in for the group of living writers I allude to, was the well-known and often brilliant journalist Alexander Cockburn, the founder of Counterpunch Magazine.  In Cockburn’s case, however, and to his credit even though he had no idea what he was talking about regarding September 11, 2001 and the JFK assassination, he did not remain silent but expressed his bile in ways he thought piercing but which made him appear quite ignorant.  Cockburn had a sharp tongue and liked to ridicule anyone who disagreed with him.  He excoriated all who questioned the JFK assassination or September 11 as “conspiracy nuts,” “lunatics” involved with “kookery.”

Echoing the CIA’s conspiracy meme, his name calling was offensive and his ignorance of these matters extraordinary. But he was a star leftist, an untouchable. Few wished to criticize him. He started with the assumption that government stupidity, incompetence, and screw-ups allow these terrible events to happen, and then without a shred of evidence, concluded that is why they happened. All evidence and logic to the contrary, he derisively dismissed as the work of fools. Only Cockburn and a government that admits mistakes were made were right.  His arguments on these matters were pseudo-debates based on a premises he conjured out of thin air.

He was a master incompetent of the incompetence theory, one that many prominent leftists follow today, such as a recent passing comment by one of them on the COVID-19 matter as a mishandling by the ruling elite. The implicit assumption being that the basic government and mainstream media tale is correct and all would be far better if the Trump administration hadn’t screwed up. Nothing further is forthcoming or necessary. Let us proceed on the assumption that the official account is true and that the government’s  inept response is the problem. Failure of leadership.  Government negligence.  Incompetence.

And anyone who even harbors a suspicion that there may be more to the story is engaging in conspiratorial thinking.  Of course this is the same response given to those who for twenty years have researched and questioned the government’s account of September 11, 2001.  The 9/11 omission story. The fictional account that will dominate the news as the twentieth anniversary approaches this September. Will any of those liberal/leftists who have remained silent all these years let it pass as truth? I suspect so but hope not.

The Need for Dialogue

So we have pseudo debates on one hand and silence on the other when what is required is not self-censorship but open critical dialogue on these fundamental matters. “There comes a time when silence is betrayal,” said Martin Luther King from the pulpit of Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 when he condemned the Vietnam War and broke his own silence in opposition to many of his advisers. A year later to the day, like JFK, he was murdered by the warfare state he condemned. Like Senator Robert Kennedy two months later. They were killed by very competent people.

Dr. Martin E. Schotz wrote twenty-six years ago in History Will Not Absolve US that those he had in mind for their defense of the Warren Commission were “such individuals as Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, the editors of The Nation magazine, and, if everyone remembers, I.F. Stone as well. I think the positions of these individuals are very important because in their surprising (to us) dishonesty and willingness to cooperate with the warfare state in covering up the crime, there is obviously something to be learned.”

Yes, there is. It is time for all people of good will to stop finding excuses for the ruling elites, whether through incompetence theories or the silent refusal to publicly engage the government and its critics on the most important issues of our time – September 11, 2001 and COVID-19. Those Schotz names above are heroes for many on the liberal/left today who follow in their stead. It’s as though they have found it necessary to mimic their teachers’ lessons.  Better logic would have them analyzing the premises of September 11 and COVID-19. Start with the basics. Be explicit. Tell us why you are silent.

It’s time to graduate from this school of denial.



March 19, 2021 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Media Claims Climate Crisis in Ghana – As Crops Set New Records

By James Taylor | ClimateREALISM | March 17, 2021

The corporate media this week are hyping claims that Ghana is experiencing a climate crisis that is decimating crop production, driving farmers off their lands, and forcing them to become migrants to find food. United Nations articles are promoting such a narrative, corporate media outlets are publishing related stories, and Google News is featuring those articles among the top search results this week for “climate change.” However, objective and irrefutable data show Ghana is enjoying a long-term increase in crop yields as the climate warms, with new records being set on a regular basis. Far from a climate crisis, Ghana is experiencing a truth crisis in the media’s reporting on global warming.

The United Nations, for example, has published an article titled, “From the Field: Adapting to survive and thrive in Ghana.” The subhead reads, “In the West African country of Ghana, many people from farming backgrounds are forced to find new ways to survive, as droughts, floods, and erratic weather patterns upend age-old practices.” The article blames climate change for the asserted increase in erratic weather and more difficult farming conditions.

The corporate media are making similar claims. Google News, for example, is currently promoting an article titled, “How climate change is affecting agrarian migrants in Ghana.” The article claims, “in many African countries, access to food and water is deeply influenced by climate change.” The article reports that rural migrant farmers in Ghana report worsening rainfall and soil conditions, which are making farming more difficult.

Neither the United Nations article nor the related media articles cite actual data showing a decline in crop yields. That is rather odd, considering the United Nations itself meticulously collects and reports crop data for each country.

So, what do the UN crop data show?

According to UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) data reported by The Global Economy, the 10 years with the highest yields per acre in Ghana are the 10 most recent years on record. As shown in the Global Economy chart below, Ghana crop yields are up nearly 40 percent compared to just a decade ago, and crop yields have doubled since 1990.

Ghana cereal crop production, kilograms per hectar. Source, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), reported by The Global Economy.

When it comes to Ghana crop production and climate change, believe the objective crop data, not the alarmist hype.

James Taylor is the President of the Heartland Institute. Taylor is also director of Heartland’s Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy.

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 3 Comments

The Disease Models Were Tested and Failed, Massively

By Phillip W. Magness | AIER | March 19, 2021

One year ago this week the world embraced a lockdown strategy premised on the epidemiology modeling of Imperial College-London (ICL). In a March 16, 2020 report by physicist and computer modeler Neil Ferguson, the ICL team predicted catastrophic death tolls in the United Kingdom and United States unless both countries adopted an aggressive policy response of mandating social distancing, school and business closures, and ultimately sheltering in place.

Ferguson’s model presented a range of scenarios under increasingly restrictive nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Under its “worst case” or “do nothing” model 2.2 million Americans would die, as would 510,000 people in Great Britain, with the peak daily death rate hitting somewhere around late May or June. At the same time, the ICL team promised salvation from the coronavirus if only governments would listen to and adopt its technocratic recommendations. Time was of the essence to act, so President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson both listened. And so began the first year of “two weeks to flatten the curve.”

It took a little over a month before we saw conclusive evidence that something was greatly amiss with the ICL model’s underlying assumptions. A team of researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden adapted Ferguson’s work to their country and ran the projections, getting similarly catastrophic results. Over 90,000 people would die by summer from Covid-19 if Sweden did not enter immediate lockdown. Sweden never locked down though. By May it was clear that the Uppsala adaptation of ICL’s model was off by an order of magnitude. A year later, Sweden has fared no worse than the average European lockdown country, and significantly better than the UK, which acted on Ferguson’s advice.

Pressed on this unexpected result, ICL tried to distance itself from the Swedish adaptation of its model in May. The records from the March 21st supercomputer run of the Uppsala team’s projections belie that assertion, linking directly to Ferguson’s March 16th report as the framework for its modeling design. But no matter – the ICL team’s own publications would soon succumb to a real-time testing against actual data.

A second ICL report, attempting to model the reopening of the United States from lockdowns, wildly exaggerated the death tolls that were expected to follow. By July, this model too had failed to even minimally correspond to observed reality. ICL attempted to save face by publishing an absurd exercise in circular reasoning in the journal Nature where they invoked the unrealized projections of their own model to supposedly “prove” multiple millions of lives had been saved by the lockdowns. That study soon failed basic robustness checks when the ICL team’s suite of models were applied to different geographies.

Another team of Swedish researchers then noticed oddities in the ICL team’s coding, suggesting they had modified a key line to bring data from their own comparative analysis of Sweden into sync with other European countries under lockdown after the models did not align. A published derivative of this discovery showed that ICL’s own attempts to validate the effectiveness of its lockdown strategies does not withstand empirical scrutiny.

Finally, in November, another team of researchers from the United States compared a related ICL team model for a broader swath of countries against five other international models of the pandemic, examining the performance of each against observed deaths. Their results contain a stunning indictment: “The Imperial model had larger errors, about 5-fold higher than other models by six weeks. This appears to be largely driven by the aforementioned tendency to overestimate mortality.”

The verdict is in. Imperial College’s Covid-19 modeling has an abysmal track record – a characteristic it unfortunately shares with Ferguson’s prior attempts to model mad cow disease, swine flu, avian flu, and countless other pathogens.

After a year of model-driven lockdowns, we may also look back to the original March 16, 2020 report to see yet another failure of its predictive ability. Recall that this is the model that fueled the alarmist rush to shut everything down last March, all to avert a 2.2 million death toll that would presumably peak around June.

(Source: Imperial College Report #9, March 16, 2020)

As noted above, the 2.2 million figure for the US (and corresponding 510,000 figure in Britain) were “worst case” scenarios in which the pandemic ran its course. According to the underlying theory of the ICL model, these catastrophic totals could be reduced by the adoption of NPIs – the escalating suite of social distancing measures, business and school closures, and ultimately full lockdowns that we observed in practice over the last year.

Aside from its 2.2 million worst case scenario, ICL offered no specific projections for how its proposed mitigation measures would work in the United States. Ferguson did however tell the New York Times on March 20, 2020 that a “best case” American scenario would still yield “about 1.1 million deaths,” giving us a glimpse of what he believed to be possible under NPI mitigation. The March 16th report similarly “predict[ed] there would still be in the order of…1.1-1.2 million in the US” under the most optimistic mitigation strategy, barring a large increase in hospital ICU bed capacity.

By contrast, ICL did publish an extensive table showing the results of its model run for Britain over a group of four increasingly stringent NPI scenarios. These range from the “worst case” projection with half a million deaths (the figures vary depending on assumptions about the virus’s reproduction rate) to a more stringent model where four NPIs (public school closures, case isolation, home quarantine, and social distancing) are simultaneously enacted. The results are depicted below.

(Source: Imperial College Report #9, March 16, 2020)

Note that the UK enacted policies based on all four measures recommended by the March 16th report, as well as an even more stringently enforced general lockdown on three separate occasions. After one year of following and expanding upon the Imperial College strategy, an unusual result appears in the data: not only have the UK’s numbers come up far short of Ferguson’s most alarmist scenario (depicted in the first column), but the UK has actually done much worse than the other NPI mitigation models in the ICL report.

As of the 1-year anniversary, the UK had a little over 125,000 confirmed Covid-19 deaths. By implication, the UK death toll has exceeded the mildest of the other three NPI scenarios from the ICL model (column 2) and blown past its heavier NPI recommendations (columns 3 and 4), even while operating under a more stringent set of lockdowns than ICL originally contemplated.

The implications are clear. While Ferguson wildly exaggerated the “worst case” scenario for the UK, he also severely overestimated the effectiveness of NPIs at controlling the pandemic.

By building its policy response around the Imperial College model, the UK government delivered the worst of both worlds. It imposed some of the most severe and long-lasting lockdowns in the world based on the premise that NPIs would work as Ferguson’s team predicted, and that such actions were needed to avert a catastrophe. Except the lockdowns did not work as intended, and the UK also ended up with an abnormally high death count compared to other countries – including locales that did not lock down, or that reopened earlier and for longer periods than the UK.

Why were the Ferguson/ICL predictions so far off base on both ends? The answer likely derives from two central flaws in their model design.

First, Ferguson adapted the model directly from a 2006 influenza pandemic model that he published in the journal Nature. As with the March 16th Covid report, this study aimed to predict the spread of a virus across the general population, subject to a suite of increasingly stringent NPI countermeasures. As the second-to-last paragraph of the study reveals though, it only modeled general population spread. In doing so, the authors acknowledged that “Lack of data prevent us from reliably modelling transmission in the important contexts of residential institutions (for example, care homes, prisons) and health care settings.”

With Covid-19 however, nursing homes have emerged as one of the greatest vulnerabilities in the pandemic. In many locales, nursing home deaths alone account for almost half of all Covid-19 fatalities despite housing only a tiny fraction of the population. While the latest nursing home figures for the UK are as of yet hard to come by, reports from last year suggest they are not only a large share of the country’s Covid-19 deaths but also severely undercounted in official records. Using a preliminary count from last year, the UK had one of the worst nursing home shielding ratios in Europe – a measure that compares a country’s death toll in its care facilities to the general population. The ICL projections likely missed this problem entirely due to a defect in the 2006 model it was built upon.

Second, Ferguson’s model severely overstated the effectiveness of NPIs at mitigating general population spread. Part of the appeal of the ICL report from last March came from its succinct portrayal of the available policy options and their claimed effects. The modelers presented political leaders with a menu of escalating measures to adopt with mathematical precision, each linked to an associated projection of its effectiveness at staving off the pandemic. All the politicians had to do was select from the menu and implement the prescribed course.

Except it wasn’t that simple in practice. ICL’s recommended NPI measures baked assumptions about their own effectiveness into the model. In reality, most of these assumptions had never been tested or even minimally quantified. As a key chart from the March 16th report illustrates, the supposed effect of each NPI was little more than a guesstimate – a set of nice, round numbers that purported to show the change in social interactions after its adoption.

A 2019 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of the flimsy empirical basis for epidemiology models such as the one developed by ICL. “Simulation models provide a weak level of evidence,” the report noted, and lacked randomized controlled trials to test their assumptions. The same report designated mass quarantine measures – what we now know of as lockdowns – as “Not Recommended” due to lack of evidence for their effectiveness. Summarizing this literature, which included the same 2006 influenza model that Ferguson adapted to Covid-19, the WHO concluded: “Most of the currently available evidence on the effectiveness of quarantine on influenza control was drawn from simulation studies, which have a low strength of evidence.”

The UK’s experience under the ICL model therefore demonstrates not only Ferguson’s propensity toward wildly alarmist disease forecasting – it also illustrates the abject failure of lockdowns and related NPI measures to mitigate the pandemic. As a revealing point of comparison, the UK’s population-adjusted daily death toll under lockdowns has been consistently higher than no-lockdown Sweden for most of the pandemic, despite both countries following a nearly identical pattern of timing in both the first and second waves.

The relevant question, then, is not whether the UK failed to lock down stringently enough, but whether lockdowns offer any meaningful benefit whatsoever in mitigating the pandemic. A growing body of empirical data strongly suggests they do not.

The repeated failures of the Ferguson/ICL model point to a scientific error at the heart of the theory behind lockdowns and similar NPIs. They assume, without evidence, that their prescriptive approach is correct, and that it may be implemented by sheer will as one might achieve by clicking a check-box in a Sim City-style video game. After a year of real-time testing, it is now abundantly clear that this video game approach to pandemic management ranks among the most catastrophic public health policy failures in the last century.

Phil Magness is a Senior Research Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author of numerous works on economic history, taxation, economic inequality, the history of slavery, and education policy in the United States.

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

UPDATED: President Magufuli dead at 61

A corporate coup has removed Tanzania’s “Covid denying president”, and nobody should be surprised.

OffGuardian | March 18, 2021

UPDATE 19/03/21 – Tanzania’s vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan has been officially sworn in as the new President. Details.

After weeks of being out of the public eye, Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has died age 61, according to the country’s Vice President.

The global press are reporting the death of Tanzania’s “Covid denying President” with barely disguised glee.

The official cause of death is rumoured to be a heart attack, but some are implying it may have been due to the virus. The Economist, for example reports:

“Many believe the virus was to blame.”

As if what “many believe” really means anything.

However it happened – whether virus or heart attack or, ahem, “suicide” – the long and short of it is that Magufuli is gone. Just as we predicted only a few days ago.

So what now for the East African nation? Well presumably Magufuli’s successor – be it the Vice-President, or a hastily elected new leader (perhaps the head of the opposition, given so many column inches in recent weeks) – will take the reins of the country.

Will they continue their predecessor’s “Covid denying” policies? I would be astounded.

If what happened in Burundi last summer is any guide, the Tanzanian Covid approach will be totally reversed within a day or two of the President dying.

As the Council on Foreign Relations reported, only last week:

“… a bold figure within the ruling party could capitalize on the current episode to begin to reverse course.”

Expect that “Bold Figure” to rise to prominence very soon, and receive the kind of glowing write-ups in the Western press, that only their hand-picked men ever get.

Bloomberg is already reporting that:

Tanzania’s Next Leader to Face Predecessor’s Covid Denialism

And that:

New leader must decide whether to change course on Covid-19

The Covid reversals have actually already begun, they were being put in place even before the President was reported dead, with WHO spokespeople praising Tanzania’s “new position” on Covid as early as March 12th.

The “new position” will likely be enforced with industrial blackmail. Bloomberg reports:

“Magufuli spearheaded a major infrastructure investment drive, and pending decisions on whether to proceed with several mega-projects will now fall to his successor.”

It’s not hard to see the obvious financial threat here. “Change your Covid position, or foreign investors will pull out of your infrastructure projects”.

Plus, there are the former President’s plans to part-nationalise the mining industry, which his successor may well be forced to halt, for fear of “alienating international investors”:

The nation’s new leader will also need to decide whether to run the risk of alienating international investors and press ahead with controversial mining reforms that Magufuli said were needed to ensure the nation derives greater benefit from its natural resources.

It seems fairly obvious there’s been a major powerplay in Tanzania, a soft coup using business in place of bullets. But what do you think?

  1. What will President Magufuli’s successor do now?
  2. Will the WHO be invited back into the country?
  3. Will they start mass testing?
  4. Will Tanzania’s “hidden pandemic” suddenly come to light?
  5. Did Magufuli really die of natural causes?
  6. For those of you who answered yes to question 5, would you like to buy a bridge?


UPDATE 19/03: As of this morning (the 19th) Magufuli’s Vice-President has been officially sworn in as his successor. Samia Suluhu Hassan, who was part educated in Britain, is the countries first female President, which the Western press are naturally all over.

In her inauguration speech, she called upon the country to “come together” and warned this was “not a time for pointing fingers”, demonstrating she’s aware of how suspicious this transition of power appears, and how tenuous her grip on power will be in these early days of replacing a very popular leader.

Remember yesterday when we predicted “glowing write-ups” for Magufuli’s successor?

Well, she’s being described as a “conciliator” in the press, which is Western journalism talk for “someone who will do as they are told”. Human Rights Watch has predicted Tanzania will experience a “revival of democracy” under her leadership, and The Guardian is already reporting:

“DaMina Advisors, a political risk advisory firm, predicted the new president was likely to make a public U-turn on her predecessor’s policy of Covid denial and his generally negative attitudes toward foreign investors.”

It really couldn’t be more obvious what has happened here.

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Autonomous Vehicles Will Automatically Stop For Police, Roll Down Their Windows And Unlock Their Doors

MassPrivateI | March 18, 2021

The National Institute of Justice, the RAND Corporation and the Police Executive Research Forum want to give law enforcement real-time access to autonomous vehicles.

Last month, this so-called expert panel identified 17 high-priority law enforcement needs for autonomous vehicles. And as you can imagine some of them are very disturbing.

Cybersecurity and Vehicle Communication Needs:

  • Research on systems to enable law enforcement to identify a vehicle’s authorization to run in automated mode.
  • Research on technology that enables law enforcement to communicate with vehicles in automated mode.

Allowing law enforcement access to a vehicle’s authorization is just a fancy way of saying they want backdoor access to an owners personal information.

If you thought license plate readers were invasive before, just wait until a year or two from now, when they send officers all kinds of personal information related to the vehicle’s owner[s].

Stakeholder Communication Needs:

  • Surveys to identify the most useful data the autonomous vehicle industry can make available to law enforcement for investigations of crashes and other incidents.

Police working with auto manufacturers to help them identify which embedded telematic surveillance devices they should have access to is not about public safety: it’s about money.

As writer Eduardo Alvarez de Toledo Pinart explains, the real reason police want to be able to pull driverless vehicles over is so they can cite the owner[s] for any number of infractions.

“Operators could face fines to the extent the car is not being operated in fully autonomous mode. For instance, the operator of a SAI L4/L5 car could be to blame if the systems had been inappropriately overridden (speeding due to fabricated medical emergency).”

Back to law enforcement’s 17 high-priority needs.

Standardization Needs:

  • Model training and guidelines for interacting with autonomous vehicles running in automated mode.
  • Development of descriptions of standard behaviors (such as pulling off the road in a safe spot) that law enforcement will expect autonomous vehicles to perform across the United States.

Police pull over driverless Tesla Model 3 that was using Smart Summon feature

To reinforce the need to ticket autonomous vehicle owners, these so-called experts want to collaborate with vehicle manufacturers to establish backdoor access to the vehicle’s data.

“The panelists stressed the need for proactive problem solving with law enforcement, autonomous vehicle manufacturers and operators, and communities all working together. Law enforcement would benefit from having a better understanding of autonomous vehicle capabilities, and manufacturers would benefit from insights on the law enforcement implications of autonomous vehicles operating in communities, they said.”

Police view autonomous vehicles as “evidence sources”

Law enforcement’s desire to have backdoor access to autonomous vehicle’s data could not be any clearer.

“Participants also saw opportunities to use data generated by autonomous vehicles — for example, videos from an autonomous vehicle passing an active crime scene — to support public safety and crime investigations.”

As the “Panel Purpose and Process” section explains, law enforcement looks at autonomous vehicles as “evidence sources.”

“Tangential interactions (such as use of autonomous vehicles as evidence sources in investigations or exclusion of autonomous vehicles from zones where traffic is prohibited)”

As the expert panel so eloquently stated, police need to have the ability to securely communicate in real-time with these “evidence sources.”

To law enforcement, autonomous vehicles means lost revenues and that is why they want access to a cars’ windows, cameras and microphones.

“Waymo’s cars are designed to pullover if they detect a police or emergency vehicle flashing from up to 100 feet away. After stopping, the car is unlocked and the windows roll down automatically, allowing Waymo’s support team to interact with law enforcement representatives via an intercom system.”

Giving law enforcement the ability to roll down a motorist’s windows, unlock their car doors and speak to the occupants via an intercom system gives privacy-minded people like myself nightmares.

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

Rights group slams exclusion of Israel, Saudi-led coalition from UN’s children-in-conflict blacklist

Press TV – March 19, 2021

A group of child rights experts has strongly criticized the UN secretary-general for excluding eight parties, including the Israeli regime and the Saudi-led coalition, from a global blacklist of parties accountable for harming children during conflicts.

In a report, experts from Watchlist on Children, an international child rights group, said at least eight parties to conflicts were found responsible for killing and maiming more than 100 children in a single year but were excluded from the blacklist.

There were “numerous discrepancies and omissions in listing decisions, as well as unwarranted delisting decisions,” the report said, noting that the UN Security Council’s 2001 resolution establishing the list to protect children from the horrors of war “is being seriously undermined” and could result in “putting children at even greater risk.”

“The secretary-general’s 2015 annual report acknowledges that the number of children killed by Israel in 2014 was the third highest in the world and the number of schools damaged or destroyed was the highest anywhere in the world that year, and yet Israel has not been listed in the report’s annexes,” the report said.

It added that at the time the news media reported that Israel and the United States conducted intense lobbying to prevent the regime’s blacklisting.

The child rights experts also cited annual reports that have repeatedly found Israeli forces responsible for high levels of Palestinian child casualties, including over 1,525 killed and maimed in 2020 alone.

“Yet Israeli forces have yet to be included in the annexed list of violators,” they added.

According to the AP, co-author Yanghee Lee, former chair of the committee that monitors implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, said: “We are calling on the secretary-general to urgently address these problems and commit to hold all countries and groups responsible for violations against children accountable without fear or favor.”

In response to the report, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stands by the report’s conclusions, expressing willingness to engage with relevant partners in how to improve the system.

Benyam Dawit Mezmur, another co-author of the report urged the UN to ensure that the list of perpetrators it issues is “more credible, accurate, complete, and evidence-based, or risk pulling apart this unique tool for the protection of children caught in war.”

The report also said the Saudi-led war coalition against Yemen was delisted in 2020 for killing and maiming children in the Arab country, despite being responsible for a documented 222 child casualties during the reporting period.

“With this delisting, the Saudi-led coalition has been removed from the Secretary-General’s list altogether,” it noted.

Citing the Secretary-general’s reports that said the Saudi-led coalition was delisted due to a “sustained significant decrease” in the number of violations they committed, the rights experts said such argument runs counter to the established delisting criteria.

“This runs counter to the delisting criteria established in 2010 and the Security Council’s stated expectations that listing is based on whether or not grave violations against children took place in violation of international obligations,” they maintained.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Saudi war on Yemen has killed a quarter of a million people, including women and children, since it was launched in March 2015 with the aim of restoring the Riyadh-friendly government of former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As Israel plans to evict up to 550 Palestinians from East Jerusalem, Biden regime remains silent

By Robert Inlakesh | RT | March 18, 2021

Igniting tensions in East Jerusalem, Israeli settler organisations are seeking to uproot up to 550 Palestinians from the city, to the complete silence of a Biden administration that claims to seek a two-State solution.

In what could become one of the largest expulsions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, Israeli settler organisations are working with the country’s legal system to evict 24 families from their homes.

During October, 2020, the Israeli magistrate court of Jerusalem ordered the expulsion of 12 families, out of the 24 living inside the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. In addition to their expulsion from their homes, the Palestinian families were also ordered by the court to pay $20,000 in legal fees.

The expulsion order, which is likely to be completed with the destruction of Palestinian property, after it is seized to make way for illegal Israeli settlers, is set to be enforced as early as May. As it stands, four Palestinian households – comprising 27 people – will be forced out onto the street no later than May 2, while three other families are set to be forced out in August.

Israeli settler organisations based in the Karm al-Jaouni area are behind the expulsion orders, claiming that the land on which Palestinians live, in Sheikh Jarrah, was once owned by Jews prior to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Despite Palestinian attempts to present their legal case that the settler organisations are lying about this and have no proof, Israeli courts refuse to see the evidence. It is also important to note that, while the Israeli legal system will recognise the claims of Jewish Israelis to land allegedly owned previously by Jews, this right is not granted to Palestinians.

On the issue of the Sheikh Jarrah evictions, Fadi al-Hidmi, Palestinian Authority Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, stated that the international community is obligated to step in. “What is taking place is a systematic, programmed process of replacing the Palestinians expelled from their land and property with foreign settlers,” he said.

Last night, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement also released a statement, vowing a response to the actions of Israel in Sheikh Jarrah. The PIJ proclaimed that Israel “will pay the price for this aggression.”

In the 1970s, following the June 1967 occupation of East Jerusalem, Israel began implementing a “demographic balance” policy. The aim for the Israeli authorities is to limit the percentage of Palestinians living in the city to 30% or less. While Israel claims that Jerusalem is its undivided capital, the Palestinian Authority only seeks to gain back East Jerusalem, which is considered under international law to be an illegally occupied territory.

Despite the Biden Administration having stated consistently that it seeks a two-State solution and that this is the only solution in the Palestine-Israel conflict, it continues to ignore the ongoing ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem. Not only does Biden not confront Israel on the issue of its illegal settlements and home demolitions in Jerusalem, but it has worked to attack the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is poised to investigate the settlement issue.

Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is a supporter of the notion of a two-State solution weighed in on the announcement from the ICC that it would investigate alleged Israeli War Crimes, stating “The United States firmly opposes an @IntlCrimCourt investigation into the Palestinian Situation. We will continue to uphold our strong commitment to Israel and its security, including by opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly.”

If there is to be a two-State solution, the capital of the future Palestinian State will have to belong in currently occupied East Jerusalem. However, this is being made more and more impossible by the day, with the systematic expulsion of Palestinian residents from the city, along with the expansion of key settlements such as Atarot, Ramat Shlomo and Givat Hamatos, which divide the city from the West Bank.

Along with Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli Settler organisations are also heavily targeting the area of Silwan, from which at least 36 families have been expelled since the beginning of 2020, according to Israeli NGO Peace Now. In East Jerusalem as many as 200,000 Israeli settlers live, with about 2,500 hardline settlers residing in properties surrounding Palestinians in areas like Silwan.

Earlier this week, 11 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police forces, who reportedly raided the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Kafr Aqab as a bulldozer made an opening in the wall surrounding the area. Local youths then acted to tear down the fences built around the construction site, for what has been described as a Judaization project in the area.

An Israeli NGO called Grassroots Jerusalem states that the presence of illegal Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem causes great agitation to Palestinian residents. The NGO claims that settlers have “been responsible for forced evictions and terrorism.”

Last year almost 1,000 Palestinians were made homeless due to Israeli house demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with over 10,000 settler units having been approved.

If the Biden Administration continues to remain silent and shield Israel from prosecution for its violations of International Law in East Jerusalem, the two-State solution that the US claims to seek will only become more difficult to achieve. In order for there to be a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, Israel’s illegal settlements have to halt further construction, evacuate all settlers and the annexation of the territory – since 1980 – has to be reversed. None of the steps necessary to facilitate a two-State solution includes shielding war crimes, and what we are seeing is exactly that.

Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist, and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the occupied Palestinian territories and currently works with Quds News and Press TV. Director of ‘Steal of the Century: Trump’s Palestine-Israel Catastrophe’.

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Certain groups attempt to create civil war in Lebanon, Hezbollah chief warns

Press TV – March 18, 2021

The secretary-general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement has warned against attempts by certain groups to foment a civil war in the cash-strapped country on economic, racial, and religious grounds, emphasizing that the movement will not allow anyone to realize such a fiendish plot.

Those, who become frustrated in the face of the country’s resistance, could resort to the option of trying to ignite such an internal conflict, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech broadcast from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Thursday evening.

“I have information that there are outside forces and some internal ones that are pushing towards civil war … They are looking for the fuel to add to the fire,” he said.

“The chaos in Lebanon is aimed at driving Lebanon into a civil war and this is a red line,” he, however, added.

Lebanon is experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prices are skyrocketing and more than half of the population is now living below the poverty line.

Nasrallah’s remarks came as the country’s major cities are hosting fresh protests at the situation afflicting the economy that is falling apart at the seams. He, therefore, entitled the high point of his address to the domestic woes.

“Lebanon is at the heart of a true and great national economic, livelihood, financial, and also political crisis,” he said, noting, “It can also be described as a crisis of the establishment.”

Nasrallah categorically dismissed that his movement harbored any intention to exacerbate the already explosive situation.

“Some say that Hezbollah is the party, which has weapons [and may start a civil war]. This rhetoric is wrong since the civil war can be waged by light arms and such arms are found everywhere in Lebanon and are in the hands of many people,” the Hezbollah chief said.

Hezbollah has no intention to resort to its weapons in a bid to form a government or to deal with the economic and financial crisis.

Since the Lebanese government formally resigned after a massive explosion in Beirut port last August, domestic political divisions and pressure by some Western states have hindered the formation of a formal cabinet.

‘US pressure main factor behind crisis’

Nasrallah pointed to the pressure that the United States was applying to Lebanon as a main principle driving the country’s crisis.

The United States wants for Lebanon to “be placed in the US-Israel axis” in the same way that such regional countries as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain did by normalizing their relations with the Israeli regime through Washington’s facilitation, he stated.

Nasrallah questions dependence on IMF

Without a formal cabinet, the country cannot resume negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for potential bailout packages.

Even if the country was to be thrown such a lifeline, it would be required by the IMF and the West to enact certain “reforms” in its political structure. The reforms entail introduction of stringent austerity measures, the biggest part of whose burden falls on the people.

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri alleged earlier that the only way to stop the country’s economy from total collapse was to re-engage with the IMF.

“The main priority of any government is to prevent the collapse that we are facing today… that we proceed to start halting the collapse with the IMF and regain the trust of the international community,” Hariri said at a press conference at the presidential palace in Baabda.

Nasrallah, however, asked whether the Lebanese nation could bear the burden of the IMF’s conditions, including subtraction of subsidies from staples.

He considered the country’s economic policies, including the policy of borrowing money from others, to be one of the reasons that Lebanon had ended up this way.

The American pressure, he added, was aimed at forcing Lebanon into “resorting to certain economic options.”

It was this very fear of Washington that was scaring some inside the country from strengthening its ties with China.

Hezbollah agrees to a technocratic-political government

The Hezbollah leader, meanwhile, signaled his movement’s approval of the formation of a government composed of technocrats and politically influential elements at the same time.

He said if Hariri and President Michel Aoun reached an agreement on formation of such a ruling structure, Hezbollah would agree to it too.

US apparatuses freeing Daesh ringleaders in Iraq

Nasrallah also said there is evidence pointing to US intelligence and security apparatuses establishing contact with the Takfiri terrorist group Daesh’s ringleaders in Iraq’s prisons before enabling their release.

“With every day that goes by, the truth that lies behind the armed Takfiri terrorist groups and the nature of their handler and supporter comes further to light,” he said.

Nasrallah, however, announced, “We stand up to the terrorist groups that are shaped, run, supported, and armed by the American intelligence apparatuses.”

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The US Reinforces Military Presence in Syria

teleSUR | March 18, 2021

The U.S. forces present in Syria, without the authorization of the country’s legitimate government, intensified their destabilizing actions and sent more reinforcements to their illegal enclaves, in addition to transferring thirty Daesh terrorists to the east of this Arab nation, according to local news agencies.

According to state television, the Kherab Jir area base in the northeastern province of Hasakeh received in the last hours a caravan of 40 trucks loaded with weapons, ammunition, and war and logistic equipment and Sanaa agency.

The caravan is said to have entered Syrian territory through the illegal Al-Walid crossing with northern Iraq, which is often used by U.S. troops for their movements. Similarly, another column of several armored vehicles and trucks moved towards the Ionian gas field’s newly established base in the northeastern Deir Ezzor province.

Meanwhile, Syrian news agencies reported the transfer in two helicopters of about 30 members of the Islamic State (Daesh, in Arabic) to the illegal U.S. base in Tanef, on the border with Iraq and Jordan.

According to the data revealed, the terrorists were being held in one of the prisons of the separatist militia Syrian Democratic Forces, a force close to Washington’s interests, which arms these terrorists and uses them in the service of its destabilizing plans in Syria, the agencies said.

The government of Bashar Al Asad denounced that the recent attacks of Daesh against military and civilians in the desert are planned and facilitated by the U.S. occupation forces, who offer them support with weapons and intelligence information to prolong the war in this Middle East nation.

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment