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USPS Shuns Biden’s EV Dreams With Massive Gasoline-Powered Mail Truck Purchase

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | February 23, 2022

The Biden administration has been pressing the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to make a massive purchase commitment of electric delivery vehicles, though such plans were derailed Wednesday when the agency announced a majority of its next-generation fleet would be powered by gasoline rather than a battery, according to Bloomberg.

USPS’ record decision memo states that the agency will move ahead with its purchase of 165,000 mail trucks over the next decade. At least 90% of these trucks will be gasoline-powered built by Oshkosh Corp., and 10% will be electric.

This action steamrolls the Biden administration’s pledge to replace its federal fleet of 600,000 cars and trucks with electric power. USPS operates 230,000 vehicles, which is approximately 33% of the government fleet. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump ally, has firmly said the full electrification of the USPS fleet wouldn’t happen under his watch. Last year, he committed to converting only 10% of its new trucks to electric power.

The decision allows USPS to purchase gasoline-powered trucks from Oshkosh under a $6 billion contract awarded last February. USPS rejected a bid from electric-vehicle manufacturer Workhorse Group Inc. to electrify its fleet. Workhorse shares slumped as much as 3.5% today on the USPS news to purchase Oshkosh mail trucks.

USPS wrote that given its financial condition, “the battery-electric option has a significantly higher total cost of ownership than its combustion-engine counterpart.”

USPS under DeJoy appears to be locking in decades of fossil fuel consumption as the president’s “Build Back Better” green plan appears to be faltering. Gasoline mail trucks are more reliable than electric ones, and ownership is cheaper.

February 27, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | | Leave a comment

If vaccines work, then why are they bending the curves in the wrong direction?

el gato malo – bad cattitude – february 27, 2022

israel has been a good laboratory for covid intervention assessment. they are a small nation in one climate zone with a small population, good record keeping, a pretty honest set of health agencies, and modern healthcare system. they did lots of testing and they also pursued damn near every mitigation in the book from lockdowns to masking to mandating vaccines and vaccine passports. and unlike many places, they were extremely serious about compliance. they even have an very useful control group in palestine that did almost none of these things.

this provides an interesting opportunity to measure the efficacy of such interventions. at this point, it’s so well established that masking and distancing have no effect that we can more or less drop them from consideration and focus solely on vaccines. (to the extent they worked, they would drive apparent vaccine efficacy in israel anyhow).

and the two states have had remarkably similar overall outcomes and had near identical cumulative deaths per capita through 2021. however, it looks like this might be starting to diverge and this creates a useful comparison.

about three weeks ago, i left THIS POST with some questions:

we now have enough data to start to answer this.

the relative vaxx rates are very different and israel is over 50% boosted vs ~0 in palestine. so, if boosters are working, this is about as good a natural experiment setup as you could ask for.

cases are a problematic metric due to variance in testing rates (and we know vaccines do not stop cases) and palestine does not report hospital data. but we can compare deaths, so this is the figure i used.

OWID is the source for all data.

this series is striking. as has commonly been the case, palestine lagged israel by a couple weeks. (i suspect this is reporting lag, this data is day of report, not day of incidence).

assuming this peak holds, the palestine peak was 21% below winter seasonal peak last year. israel was up 13%. that’s a meaningful divergence and the israeli figure is deeply unexpected given a milder variant and 18 months of vulnerable cohort depletion.

this starts to hint at something being quite wrong and also starts to rule out “variant” as the source, because it did not drive that outcome in palestine.

it can be notoriously difficult to eyeball area under curve, so i have plotted cumulative deaths here:

as can be seen, israel had gone pancake flat in november 2021 through jan 2022. then it inflected severely. this is omicron which hit the levant in the second half of december 2021. clinically, you’d expect about a 24 day log to show up in deaths and this tends to jibe with the data i’ve seen all over the world.

it’s possible that boosters were having some effect in bending the curve, but to the extent that they did, it was either fleeting or rapidly inverted in the face of a new variant. (or both)

this becomes extremely easy to see when we zoom into 2022 and start a cumulative count from 1/1/2022.

there is a powerful inflection in israel that does not exist in palestine and israel has seen roughly twice the cumulative per capital death rate of palestine so far this year.

if boosters are effective in preventing deaths from omicron, it sure does not show up here.

this also lets us rule out “omicron” as a source of greater underlying virulence/fatality. if this were so, it would be manifest in both places. the fact that it is not doing so supports the idea that omicron is an OAS/hoskins effect evolution taking advantage of the narrow antigenic fixation generated by mRNA and adenovirus vaccines. it also seems to show that this advantage is NOT, as many claim, limited to cases. it seems to carry through to deaths as well.

we can also compare israel to itself and see how this highly vaccinated and boosted period compares to the prior year when vaccination was zero. from this data as well, we see strong support for the OAS hypothesis.

israel had been doing better. then omi came and everything changed.

(to remove the skew from widely varying sample rate driven by big shifts in testing levels, i have normalized all cases data to 10 tests per day per 1000 population though given the absurdity of calling a high Ct PCR+ a “case” even lacking symptoms, all case data is troublesome to assess, but we work with what we have, not with what we wish we had)

cases nearly tripled and hospitalizations nearly doubled. deaths rose 13%.

according to israeli authorities and hospitals, this was not driven by “the unvaxxed” but rather by the vaccinated. they seem to make up more than their share of severe outcomes though one must we wary of simpson’s paradoxes. (more HERE)

it might be possible to construct an argument whereby vaccine efficacy is claimed on any given infection (once you are sick, better to be vaxxed) but if that is, in aggregate, swamped by a rise in cases (and we know vaccines lead to more cases, not fewer) then this is still not much of an argument. having vaccines reduce risk of hospitalization per case by 50% but tripling case risk is still a 50% rise in overall hospitalization.

the aggregate data is possibly supportive of this claim outcome, but it’s far from certain either way.

but still, if the overall outcomes are worse post vaxx in the active arm but not in control, from a public health perspective do we really care why?

cases were trending MUCH lower. then that changed in a hurry.

zooming in makes it all the more clear.

even adjusted for testing, this is a massive surge in cases.

we see the same in hospitalization.

and see the crossover to worse outcomes in 2022 when we zoom in.

overall, they are 39% higher in aggregate YTD vs prior yr.

deaths have not yet caught up, but appear likely to do so.

 

taken as a whole, this is pretty damning of the booster programs.

israel saw a big spike in deaths that was not present in the palestine control group.

it saw a massive jump in cases, a big jump in hospitalizations, and is rapidly converging on deaths (which will lag the others by ~3-4 weeks).

there is just no way to spin this as a win. it looks like an own goal.

this was the known and knowable outcome of widespread inoculation with a leaky vaccine. it is, in fact, WHY we do not use leaky vaccines.

they will rapidly and inevitably select for escape or vaccine enhanced variants. and now it makes you worse and worst of all, locks you into a suboptimal antigenic response pattern that may keep you from EVER generating real sterilizing immunity. the truly nasty part of this may take years to really see.

omicron was not “bad luck” it was invoked consequence of ill conceived intervention. even assuming they ever worked as claimed (dubious) these vaccines were always going to fail because that’s what leaky vaccines do.

this was known and knowable. the drug companies that made them knew it. the regulatory agencies that approved them knew it. and many, many doctors, researchers and public health officials all over the world knew it. they were silenced, threatened, and attacked for it. and this is the bitter fruit of that harvest.

in the US, the data has been manipulated and misused so badly as to render it outright fraud. it becomes obvious when one compares the US data (which calls all “unknown or undetermined” patients “unvaxxed” and used the fact that the EPIC system is awful to create a false sense of VE) with a system that keeps good records as longtime gatopal™ HOLD2, newly on substack, has done here.

like so much of the rest of the covid response, we knew better than to do this, but it was done anyway.

and now, the US is lying about it while others are, at least, coming clean.

but this truth will be too vast to hide much longer, even behind these big lies.

and american health and regulatory agencies are going to have a great deal to answer for.

dr atlas (with whom many at rational ground, including even notorious internet felines, had the pleasure to collaborate) is correct in everything he says here except in his use of the world “almost.”

February 27, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | 1 Comment

UK pushes forward with plans to reduce online anonymity

By Dan Frieth | Reclaim The Net | February 27, 2022

The government has added new provisions to the upcoming Online Safety Bill, requiring social media companies to allow users to block anonymous users and block “harmful” content.

The new rules are supposed to fight “abuse” by anonymous users and to give users control over the type of content they see but will have massive implications for free speech in the country.

“Tech firms have a responsibility to stop anonymous trolls polluting their platforms,” said Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, Nadine Dorries.

“We have listened to calls for us to strengthen our new online safety laws and are announcing new measures to put greater power in the hands of social media users themselves.

“People will now have more control over who can contact them and be able to stop the tidal wave of hate served up to them by rogue algorithms.”

If the bill passes, large social media companies will be required to verify the identity of some users. However, verification will be optional. But, users will also be given the option to block users with unverified accounts.

While some like the Chartered Institute for IT believe ID verification will solve online abuse, others note that there are citizens and journalists under increasingly authoritarian regimes, sexual assault victims, and even those who are going against the status quo who rely on anonymity.

The bill will also require large social media companies to include filters allowing users to block harmful but legal content, such as “racism, health misinformation, and eating disorders.”

Related: The UK’s proposed Online Harms Bill is one of the biggest threats to free speech in the West

February 27, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | Leave a comment

Vaccination – silencing doctors in the UK

By Dr. Malcolm Kendrick | February 27, 2022

My last blog discussed the possibility that mRNA COVID19 vaccines significantly increase the risk of myocarditis. Following this, a fellow doctor reached out to tell me about what has happened to them. They too, had questioned some aspects of the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

As a result, they have been sent two threatening letters, which are both of the ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ variety. I asked their permission to reproduce them here. One is from the General Medical Council (GMC). The other from their responsible officer – I shall explain what this title means a bit further on.

Below is the letter from the GMC:

Dear Dr….

The GMC have received several complaints regarding your recent social media posts.

All doctors have a right to express their personal opinion regarding the Covid-19 vaccine, and while the GMC in no way supports this opinion, we don’t consider your comments are sufficiently strong to open a fitness to practice investigation at this stage.

However, we are referring this matter to your Responsible Office for your reflection through the appraisal process.

We ask that you consider what implications this complaint might have for your practise when you are discussing this with your appraiser. We would also like to remind you of GMC guidance, in particular ‘Doctors’ use of social media, and of the requirement of doctors to act with honesty and integrity to justify the public’s trust in them

What we will do now

We will share the complaint with your responsible officer for them to consider in the wider context of your practice and revalidation.

‘The wider context of your practice and revalidation.’ Which means what, exactly? I sometimes wonder if there a special training scheme where you learn to write creepy and threatening phrases that can later be denied as being creepy and threatening? ‘I was only trying to be nice. They just took it the wrong way.’

‘Your children look charming. However, you may want to consider their continued existence on the planet in the wider context of your practice.’

The GMC, as mentioned before, have the powers to investigate complaints made against doctors in the UK, and impose various punishments (they call them sanctions, which sounds far prettier). Ranging from nothing very much to permanent erasure from the medical performers list.

The latter means that you cannot work as a doctor ever again. Anywhere in the world. The GMC will communicate your erasure to other national statutory bodies, upon request. They do it gladly… and speedily.

On the face of it, in this case, the GMC have decided to do nothing. ‘We don’t consider your comments are sufficiently strong to open a fitness to practice investigation at this stage.’

Jolly good.Nothing to see here, move along. Although they add the rider … ‘at this stage.’ Well, what other stages are left, after deciding to take no action? The … I have changed my mind and I am going to have you guillotined, stage?

However, in reality they have not done nothing – have they dear reader? The GMC have decided to refer the complaint to this doctor’s responsible officer. A responsible officer is a doctor who is ‘responsible’ for ensuring that other doctors working in their area have met the necessary requirement for revalidation.

Revalidation is a five-year cycle whereby a doctor has to meet various requirements. A few hundred hours of medical education, keeping up do date with mandatory training. Carrying out an audit, and a patient satisfaction questionnaire, getting sufficient colleague feedback, and suchlike.

There is also a need to have a yearly appraisal. Which is a meeting with an allocated appraiser, to discuss how things have gone. A look through any complaints about you, work you have done, audits that have been completed, actions to take in the next year to improve your practice – a personal development plan. Release of thumbscrews – or a tightening.

If all this is done successfully, over a five-year period, the responsible officer ‘signs you off’ and you are now able to continue work. If not, you are removed from the performers list, and you cannot work as a doctor until you are successfully re-validated. No-one has ever explained to me how you actually do get revalidated. In fact, there is no system in place for this to happen.

If you manage to fulfil the re-validation cycle, and attend appraisals, in theory there can be no grounds for removal. You cannot actually ‘fail’ an appraisal. You simply have to turn up, and ‘reflect’ on your practice. I have never heard of a responsible officer stepping in to remove a doctor from the performers list any time they so wish.

Bearing all that in mind, here is the follow up letter from the responsible officer.

Dear Dr….

I have today received a communication from the GMC regarding an ‘incident that occurred on social media.’ The GMC have advised that they have reviewed the complaint and that it does not meet the threshold for investigation.

However, I understand that you have been asked to consider what implications this complaint may have for your practise and there is a requirement for you to reflect on this matter at your next appraisal meeting.

As your Responsible Officer I have a statutory duty to ensure that any concern or complaint about your practise is responded to and dealt with appropriately.

I would be grateful if you could let me have your views on this issue, by completing the attached form and returning it as a matter of urgency.

Can you also complete the attached Monitoring of Clinical Practise for your file, please.

Your co-operation with this process is vital in order for us to come to an acceptable resolution as soon as possible, minimising impact to your practice and cost in time and money.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please to contact me to discuss further.

Kind regards

Dr X

Responsible Officer for X region.

I love the ‘Kind regards’ sign off. For this is a letter dripping with unspoken menace. Just to highlight one phrase ‘An incident that occurred on social media…’ An ‘incident’. You mean, someone wrote something that someone didn’t like, they then complained about it. This was not an incident, in the sense that anyone would normally choose to use this word.

[I also note that the GMC spells practice, practice. The responsible officer spells it practise – maybe they need to reflect on their spelling between them].

If you look up the word ‘incident’ on the Cambridge Dictionary it gives an example of its use:

‘A youth was seriously injured in a shooting incident on Saturday night.’1

It does not say. ‘Someone wrote a blog post that upset someone, somewhere, for a bit. But it’s alright now, they are looking at pictures of kittens to recover.’

Words. Words, words, words. They can be used in so many different ways. Their true meaning hidden behind layers of sophistry. But we all know what the word ‘incident’ means in this case. Someone was badly damaged by your actions on that day – do not attempt to deny it, comrade.

Then we move on to the real threat. The responsible officer wants to ensure an acceptable resolution, thus … ‘minimising impact to your practise and cost in time and money.’

What the responsible officer here is saying is that I have the powers to stop you practising medicine in the UK. If I find that your answer to this complaint – which was not strong enough to open a fitness to practice investigation by the GMC – does not satisfy me. Indeed (subtext), I do not actually care what answer you give, I may remove you anyway. This will certainly maximise the impact on this doctor’s ‘practise and cost in time and money’.

If you think this is not what is being threatened. Then ask yourself what else it could mean? There is nothing that needs to be ‘resolved’. A complaint has been made, but the GMC didn’t think it was serious enough to take forward. No patient was harmed, no laws broken … no wrecks and nobody drowned, in fact nothing to laugh at, at all. (small prize for who knows where that came from).

At this point you may have begun to allow the thought to enter your mind that the GMC have quite deliberately handed this complaint down to the responsible officer to carry out the required sentence and execution. Whatever the accused doctor says, the responsible officer can simply respond. ‘Sorry, not satisfied with your answer. I am now going to stop you working – for as long as I wish.’ No hearing, no possibility of review, no accountability. Bosh.

In truth I have always known that responsible officers possess this amazing and unrestrained power. I tried, and failed, to stop this happening years ago – when I was on various British Medical Association (BMA) committees. I found it incredible that the legislation in this area was going to hand over, to one individual, the ability to destroy someone’s career, with no regard to anyone else, or anything else.

Yes, we live in a democracy that has created a form of local tyranny.

Tyranny (noun) def: government by a ruler or small group of people who have unlimited power of the people in their country or state and use it unfairly, and cruelly.

You could say that this situation suits the GMC very well … Very well indeed. Because, you see, the GMC has tried to remove other doctors from the medical register for criticising vaccination. [The medical register is not quite the same thing as the performer’s list, but you need to be on both of them to work as a doctor in the UK].

These punishments were quashed in the High Court. Here from a legal firm that works in this area:

‘On Friday, the High Court handed down a judgment quashing the GMC interim order of conditions previously imposed on a GP, Dr Samuel White, as a result of his actions arising from the pandemic. Dr White came to the GMC’s attention as a result of “spreading misinformation and inaccurate details about the Coronavirus and how it is diagnosed and treated”. His comments have included assertions that the COVID-19 vaccine “inserts a code”, masks do “absolutely nothing” and hydroxychloroquine, budesonide inhalers and ivermectin are “safe and proven treatments”.

The interesting point arising from Dr White’s High Court appeal is the technical point on which he won. The High Court found that the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS – the adjudication wing of the GMC) panel made an error of law in not properly considering the test required by section 12(3) of the Human Rights Act 1998 when deciding whether to impose an interim order.’2

As this company also says:

As time goes on, we’re seeing more fitness to practise cases arising from COVID-19-related activities. We’ve previously posted about the Irish GP interim suspended after describing COVID-19 as a hoax and the first UK nurse struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a result of COVID-19 denial activities.

‘COVID denial activities’ – what a deliciously Soviet phrase.

I have to say that I very much enjoyed the lawyers’ assertion that the GMC interim order was quashed on a ‘technical point’. Namely that the GMC had failed to consider the small matter of the Human Rights Act 1998. Riding roughshod over someone’s human rights is now a technical point of law. How quaint.

However, undeterred, the GMC have not been deterred from their vital work in punishing COVID-19 vaccine deniers – to ensure that they can never work again. They have just found another, simpler, far cheaper, and far quicker route to obliterate a doctor’s career. Call the responsible officer. No-one expects the responsible officer.

Who needs time consuming and costly hearings, where you might have to bear in mind the Human Rights act 1998 – and other such woolly liberal nonsense? When you can alert the local ‘tyrant’ to a doctor’s non-comradely Soviet ‘denial’ activities. Sorry, COVID19 ‘denial’ activities.

They will know precisely what to do, and they have the powers to do it. Why on earth did the GMC not think of this of this before? I could have told them about the ridiculous, frightening, and untrammelled powers of a responsible officer, but they never asked me.

Of course, you could argue the following. If the local responsible officer does obliterate someone’s medical career and does this without paying any heed to such things as well, the law, for example, then their actions will be over-turned in court. Well, I certainly hope so, in fact I would expect so. This may act as a deterrent … maybe.

However, during the months, or years, that it takes to get such a case to court, the doctor will be out of work and unable to earn. They will almost certainly end up bankrupt, and their reputation (have been struck off the performers’ list) will lie shattered in the gutter.

As for the responsible officer. Their punishment ‘please don’t do it again,’ would just about cover it. This is very much asymmetric warfare. I can punish you, terribly, but you can do absolutely nothing to me in return.

In the financial world they call this moral hazard. A banker can bankrupt you, and your family, and half the country, making stupid and risky decisions – that will earn them huge short-term bonuses. If, as a result, their bank goes bust, the Government simply bails them out and they keep their job, and their bonus. All gain, no pain.

As a sign off, the responsible officer (washing his hands of any personal responsibility of course) wrote this ‘I have a statutory duty to ensure that any concern or complaint about your practise is responded to and dealt with appropriately.’ Kind regards … Pontius.

However, one thing that has not happened, so far, is to actually take the time and effort to forward a copy of the complaints to the doctor concerned. Still, they must be guilty of something or other. So, it is clearly critical that they respond to these unknown complaints, of some sort or another, in some-way or other. ‘Here is a bottle of whisky, and a revolver…. You know what you must do.’

What a world this has become. I had hoped I would not live to see such a time in this country, but I have.

1: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/incident

2: https://www.brabners.com/blogs/high-court-quashes-doctors-gmc-interim-order-arising-covid-19-activities

February 27, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

EU to ban RT and Sputnik news

RT | February 27, 2022

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Sunday that the EU will ban the Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik accusing them of spreading “harmful disinformation.” She did not specify whether this ban will apply solely to television broadcasts, or whether RT and Sputnik’s websites will be affected.

In what she called an “unprecedented” step, Von der Leyen announced that “we will ban in the European Union the Kremlin’s media machine.”

“The state owned Russia Today and Sputnik, as well as their subsidiaries, will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war and to sow division in our union,” she continued. “We are developing tools to ban toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe.”

Von der Leyen’s move comes a day after the Association of European Journalists called on the EU to implement a bloc-wide ban on RT, and have its journalists “removed.” It also comes several days after the EU sanctioned RT’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan.

February 27, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | | 4 Comments

The ‘Constructive Destruction’ of Russia’s Model of Relations with the West

By Alastair Crooke | Strategic Culture Foundation | February 27, 2022

The collective West was already angry. And it is apoplectic after President Putin shocked western leaders by ordering a special military operation in Ukraine, which is being widely described (and perceived in the West) as a declaration of war: ‘a shock and awe assault affecting cities widely across Ukraine’. So angry in fact is the West that the information space has literally bifurcated into two: It is all black and white, with no greys. For the West, Putin has comprehensively defied Biden; he has unilaterally and illegally ‘changed the borders’ of Europe and acted as a ‘revisionist power’, attempting to change not just the borders of Ukraine, but the current world order. “Thirty years after the end of the Cold War, we are facing a determined effort to redefine the multilateral order,” the EU High Representative, Josep Borell, warned“It’s an act of defiance. It’s a revisionist manifesto, the manifesto to review the world order”.

Putin is characterised as a new Hitler, and his acts asserted to be ‘illegal’. It is claimed that it was he who tore up the Minsk II Accord (yet the Republics declared their independence in 2014, signed Minsk in 2015, and it was Russia who never signed the accord – and therefore cannot be in breach of it). Indeed, it is the US effectively that has vetoed the Minsk process since 2014, and Russia’s publication of diplomatic correspondence in November 2021 exposed that France and Germany too, had little intention of pressurising Kiev on any meaningful implementation. And so, having concluded that a negotiated settlement – as stipulated in the Minsk Accords – would simply not happen, Putin determined that there was no point in waiting any longer before implementing Russia’s red line.

The late Stephen Cohen wrote of the dangers of such unqualified Manichanaeism — how the spectre of an evil-doing Putin had so overwhelmed and toxified the US image of him that Washington has been unable to think straight – not just about Putin – but about Russia per se.  Cohen’s point was that such utter demonisation undercuts diplomacy. How does one split the difference with evil? Cohen asks, how did this happen? He suggests that in 2004, the NY Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, inadvertently explained, at least partially, Putin’s demonisation. Kristof complained bitterly of having been “suckered by Mr. Putin. He is not a sober version of Boris Yeltsin”.

Most Russians however, are behind Putin with the recognition of the Donbas Republics, which he then followed up by obtaining the authorisation of Russia’s upper parliament house for the use of armed forces outside Russia (as required under the constitution). The resolution by the Federation Council was unanimously supported by all the 153 senators at an extraordinary session on Tuesday.

In his national address, Putin spoke with a bitterness that is reflected by many Russians. He views the post-2014 political developments in Ukraine as having been engineered to create an anti-Russian regime in Kiev nurtured by the West, and with hostile intentions towards Russia.  Putin illustrated this point by explaining that “The Ukrainian troop control system has already been integrated into NATO. This means that NATO headquarters can issue direct commands to the Ukrainian armed forces, even to their separate units and squads”. Putin also noted that the Russian constitution stipulates the borders of Donetsk and Lugansk regions to be as they were “at the time when they were part of Ukraine”. This is a carefully worded formulation — the borders of the two republics underwent significant changes in the aftermath of the Maidan coup. (At issue here is Donetsk’s historic claim to coastal Mariupol).

Putin’s recognition statement was accompanied by an ultimatum to the Kiev forces to cease their artillery bombardment across the Line of Control or face military consequences. Throughout Wednesday evening however, the situation on the Contact Line was heating up, with heavy artillery fire; but early Thursday morning, for the first time, multiple rocket-fire was used by the Kiev forces across the Control Line. (Someone from the Kiev side clearly wanted escalation – perhaps to put pressure on Washington). Putin immediately ordered what was evidently a pre-prepared Special Operation ‘to de-militarise and de-nazify Ukraine’Russia’s military announced within a couple hours of the offensive that all of Ukraine’s air defense systems had been taken out. A massive Russian aerial presence, including fighter jets and helicopters, has been confirmed over much of the country.

Possibly this operation (which Putin said is not about occupying Ukraine), will follow the pattern of Georgia in 2018, when Russian forces withdrew after a few days. This was the pattern too, in Kazakhstan. We simply do not know whether this will be the case in Ukraine — very possibly not. When Putin spoke of ‘de-nazification’ he was referring to the US co-option of a neo-Nazi formation in Ukraine’s armed forces to help mount the 2014 Maidan coup.  The so-called Azov Brigade of neo-Nazis had proved to be the most effective fighting force in pushing back the DLR militia in the Donbass region. (Ukraine is the world’s only nation to have a neo-Nazi formation in its armed forces and there will be scores to be settled).

Nonetheless, Putin’s Special Order has, as no doubt he foresaw, shocked the West deeply with its decisive military reaction. It has set the world – and its financial and energy markets – on edge.

Indeed, the latter aspect may become the more salient. In 1979, upheavals in the Middle East sent energy prices soaring (just as is occurring today), and western economies tumbling. Whatever the next days bring, it must be plain that Putin’s short press conference on 22 February is acting as intended, as a powerful accelerant. The “constructive destruction” of the old Global Order will proceed faster than many of us had imagined. It marks an End to Illusions — an end to the notion that the US imposed, rules-based order remains an option.

How then to interpret the extreme anger in the West?  Simply this: In the end, there is reality. And that reality – i.e. what the West can do about it – is all that matters — which is … little.

The brutal first realisation underlying the anger is that the West has no intention – and critically, no ability – to counter Russia’s moves militarily. Biden has repeated the ‘no boots on the ground mantra’ again in the wake of Russian military operations. And for Europe, the imposition of a sanctions regime on Russia could not have come at a worse moment. Europe is facing recession and a pre-existing energy crisis (which will be hugely aggravated by Germany’s offering up Nordstream 2 to the hungry gods of vengeance). And spiking inflation (worsened with oil at $100) is causing interest rate and sovereign bond nerves to rattle. Now the pressure will be on Europe to find additional sanctions.

Sanctions there will be – and they will hurt Europeans directly in their pockets. Some European states are putting up a rear-guard action to limit sanctions that might worsen the coming European recession. However, in a very real sense, the fact is that Europe is effectively sanctioning itself (it will sustain the bigger hurt from its own sanctions), and Moscow has promised to reciprocate any sanctions in a way that will hurt the US and Europe. We are in a new era. This prospect and impotence in the face of it, must account for a large portion of European frustration and anger.

Washington professes to have a ‘killer weapon’ targeted at Moscow: sanctioning semi-conductor chips. “This would be the modern equivalent of a 20th century oil embargo, since chips are the critical fuel of the electronic economy”, Ambrose Evans Pritchard argues in the Telegraph: “But this too, is a dangerous game. Putin has the means to cut off critical minerals and gases needed to sustain the West’s supply chain for semiconductor chips”. In short, Moscow’s control over key strategic minerals could give Russia leverage, akin to Opec’s energy stranglehold in 1973.

Here lies the second strand to Europe’s outpouring of frustration: the unspoken recognition that Biden’s Ukraine policy; the west’s failure of diplomacy (all process and no substantive addressing of the underlying issues); plus Germany’s cack-handed handling of the Nordstream 2 question, have doomed the EU to years of economic decline and suffering.

The third strand is more complex and is reflected in Josep Borell’s indignant cry that Russia and China are two “revisionist” powers attempting to change the current world order.  The European ‘fear’ is grounded not only in the content of the Beijing joint declaration, but likely also that not in his entire life has President Putin before made a speech like Monday’s address to the Russian people. Nor has he ever named the Americans to be Russia’s national enemy in such unequivocal Russian terms – American promises: worthless; American intentions: deadly; American speeches: lies; American actions: intimidation, extortion and blackmail.

Putin’s speech portends a great fracture. It seems to be just dawning on Europeans (such as Borrell) just how much of an inflection point Putin’s address represents. It was framed around Ukraine, yet the latter issue – though compelling – is incidental to the decision by Russia and China to change forever the geo-political balance and the security architecture of the globe.

What the recognition of the Donbas republics represented was the manifestation of this earlier geo-strategic decision. It is the first practical unfolding of that break with the West (never absolute, of course), and the unveiling of Russia’s compilation of ‘technical-military’ measures designed to force a separation of the globe into two distinct spheres. The first was the republics’ recognition; the second military-technical measure was Putin’s address; and the third, his subsequent ‘Special Operations’ order.

They – the Russia-China Axis – want separation. This is to come about either through dialogue, (which is unlikely, since the core principle of today’s geo-politics is defined by the deliberate non-comprehending of ‘otherness’), or it must be achieved by a contest of escalating pain (defined in terms of red lines) until one side, or the other, buckles. Of course, Washington does not believe Presidents’ Xi and Putin possibly can mean what they say – and they believe that, anyway, the West has escalatory dominance in the field of imposing pain.

Less diplomatically put, Russia and China have concluded that sharing a global society with an America set on enforcing a hegemonic global order crafted to ‘resemble Arizona’ is no longer possible. Putin means what he says: Russia’s back is to the wall, and there is nowhere to which Russia can now retreat — for them it is existential.

The West’s denial that Putin ‘means it’ (thus ensuring the consequent failure of diplomacy) suggests that this crisis will be with us for at least the next two years. It is the start a drawn-out, high-stakes phase of a Russian-led effort to change the European security architecture into a new form, which the West presently rejects. The Russian aim will be to keep the pressures – and even the latency of war ever-present – in order to harass war-averse Western leaders to make the necessary shift.

Ultimately – after a painful struggle – Europe will seek reconciliation. America will be slower: the Beltway hawks will try to double-down. And it will be the western economic and market situation that may ultimately determine the ‘when’.

February 27, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine frees, arms felons to fight Russia, prosecutor confirms

RT | February 27, 2022

Ukraine is releasing inmates and criminal suspects with a military background so they can join the fight against Russia’s “special operation” in the country, an official in Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office confirmed on Sunday.

Moscow attacked its neighbor on Thursday, arguing it was defending the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which broke off from eastern Ukraine shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev. Ukraine condemned the move, claiming it was an act of unprovoked aggression.

Service record, combat experience, and repentance are among the factors considered in each individual case, Andriy Sinyuk, a prosecutor at the prosecutor general’s office told Hromadske TV on Sunday. “It’s a complicated issue decided at the highest level,” he said.

Sinyuk was quoted by Hromadske as saying that Sergey Torbin, a former combat veteran, was one of the inmates released. Torbin previously fought in the conflict with the DPR and LPR. He was jailed for six years and six months in 2018 for his role in the murder of a civil rights activist and anti-corruption campaigner Kateryna Handziuk. The woman was doused with acid in July 2018 on a street outside her home and died in the hospital with severe burns later that year.

Sinyuk said Torbin handpicked former inmates for his squad after his early release. He added that another ex-serviceman, Dmitry Balabukha, sentenced to nine years in jail for stabbing a man to death at a bus stop after an argument in 2018, had also been released.

The Ukrainian government is actively arming civilians as Russian forces are approaching its capital. The media reported renewed fighting in Kiev’s outskirts on Sunday.

February 27, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | | 2 Comments

The CDC Discovers Actual Public Health, Just in Time

BY JEFFREY A. TUCKER | BROWNSTONE INSTITUTE | FEBRUARY 26, 2022

One day I’m reading an internal memo commissioned by the Democratic Party to provide advice to dealing with Covid policy. The next day I’m reading headlines about how the CDC has drastically altered its advice on how to deal with Covid.

Is there a relationship? At this point, only the hopelessly naive would think otherwise.

Let’s look at the memo produced by Impact Research. Some excerpts:

  • Democrats have a tremendous opportunity to claim an incredible, historic success – they vaccinated hundreds of millions of people, prevented the economy from going into freefall, kept small businesses from going under, and got people back to work safely. Because of President Biden and Democrats, we CAN safely return to life feeling much more normal – and they should claim that proudly.
  • Six in ten Americans describe themselves as “worn out” by the pandemic. The more we talk about the threat of COVID and onerously restrict people’s lives because of it, the more we turn them against us and show them we’re out of touch with their daily realities.
  • [I]t means recognizing that the threat of COVID is no longer what it was even a year ago and therefore should not be treated as such – shutdowns, masks, and lockdowns were meant to save lives when there was not yet a vaccine that could do that. Voters know we now have the tools in the toolkit to be responsible in combatting and living with COVID – vaccines and boosters to minimize illness, and masks and social distancing around vulnerable groups.
  • They think the virus is here to stay, and 83% say the pandemic will be over when it’s a mild illness like the flu rather than COVID being completely gone, and 55% prefer that COVID should be treated as an endemic disease. And that’s what most Americans are dealing with—a disease with fatality rates like the flu—because most of us took the personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our families by getting vaccinated.
  • Stop talking about restrictions and the unknown future ahead. If we focus on how bad things still are and how much worse they could get, we set Democrats up as failures unable to navigate us through this. When 99% of Americans can get vaccinated, we cause more harm than we prevent with voters by going into our third year talking about restrictions. And, if Democrats continue to hold a posture that prioritizes COVID precautions over learning how to live in a world where COVID exists, but does not dominate, they risk paying dearly for it in November.

A few points.

This memo is not epidemiology but politics, most strongly illustrated by the idea that polling should make the difference as to whether a pathogen is pandemic or endemic. The constant incantation of “vaccines” here has nothing to do with the known data: they have nowhere stopped infection or spread, a point which the memo obscures with the line about how they “minimize illness.” They minimize serious outcomes for some strains so long as they last.

From a policy point of view, there are two main features that stand out: Covid is here to stay and “most people in the US will eventually get COVID-19” (thereby hinting at the reality that vaccines are not effective in the way that Biden/Fauci/Walensky promised) and therefore the focus should be on protecting the vulnerable.

There is nothing new about this. It was always true! You can shout “Omicron” all day but it was also true with Alpha and Delta as well. The virus should have been treated rationally the entire time and policies that have wrecked public health should have been off the table from 2020. The memo writers did not cite the Great Barrington Declaration but they might as well have.

As for how the Democrats somehow prevented an economic freefall, the worst economic outcomes are very clearly in Democratic-controlled states that retained restrictions for nearly two years in some places, including keeping schools closed. There is a reason for the mass migration that this has inspired.

If we are looking for thriving economies, look to the states that never closed up or opened earliest: South Dakota, Florida, Texas, Georgia, and so on. So none of this is remotely true but, hey, this is politics, right?, so it doesn’t have to be true.

The real problem that the Democrats need to solve is revealed in this chart:

Now, let us consider the dramatic turnaround at the CDC that came out the very next day. The full PDF is embedded below.

Here are the talking points handed to the director. It’s not just about masking, which is being relaxed. The CDC says there needs to be a dramatic shift away from endless monitoring of cases that are overwhelmingly mild and instead focus only on actual sickness that lands people in the hospital and threatens life. We need to stop obsessing about cases and start looking mainly at “medically significant disease.” The focus should be on “protecting the most vulnerable.”

This makes all of us want to say, shout, scream: THANK YOU!

In order to justify this change, the CDC posts four sets of charts on Covid prevalence during episodes of the pandemic. The last chart illustrates the point that an exclusive focus on controlling the spread is utterly preposterous at this point. Under the old protocols, the whole country should be back in lockdown. It’s unimaginable what attempting this now would cause.

To be sure, all of this is enormously frustrating for those of us engaged in this battle for two years. Instead of focusing on getting sick people well, the CDC experimented with wild guidelines that imagined some kind of society-wide solution that seemed designed to crush the virus while vast amounts of social and economic activity were shut down by law. This necessitated a crushing of freedoms, including of travel, association, commerce, religion, and, eventually even speech.

The CDC nowhere admits this much less apologizes for it. Two years in, the CDC seems to have rediscovered the traditional practice of public health, and has justified this new wisdom based on changed conditions, while never even bothering to claim that its previous measures and guidelines achieved anything along the way.

We’ve seen a massive collapse in public health, economic vitality, and essential rights, while closing schools and wrecking education and so much more, all in the name of virus control, even as the evidence is now overwhelming that the entire enterprise was not only a distraction from what should have happened (therapeutics and protecting the vulnerable) but also an astonishing failure.

Why the change? It had to happen at some point. The entire machinery of lockdowns and mandates were destined to fail. As to the timing of the reversal, it’s hard to resist the speculation that it is entirely political. See the memo above.

Still, there is a worrisome aspect to the CDC’s announcement. They reserve the right to do it all over again. “We want to give people a break from things like mask-wearing, when these metrics are better, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen,” she said.

No one should be satisfied with a politically motivated change in the messaging. We need fundamental regime change to make sure that nothing like this can ever happen again.

Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and ten books in 5 languages, most recently Liberty or Lockdown

February 27, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Why does this influential, unelected globalist entity really exist?

By Rachel Marsden | RT | February 26, 2022

When Canadian parliamentarian, Colin Carrie, of the Conservative Party, asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government this week how many Canadian ministers were actually “on board with the World Economic Forum agenda” — before his connection “broke up” in the videoconference — he and the Canadians he represents deserved an honest response rather than accusations of spreading “disinformation”, as left-leaning New Democratic Party MP Charlie Angus did.

The World Economic Forum (WEF), colloquially known as “Davos”, for those familiar with the annual pilgrimage by the international elite to the eponymous town in Switzerland, has been on the tips of many tongues over the past two years — notably within the context of the Covid-19 crisis. Just before the Covid pandemic, on October 15, 2019, the organization announced that it was holding a “live simulation exercise to prepare public and private leaders for pandemic response.” If that sounds oddly coincidental, buckle up, because it only gets weirder.

Speaking at a United Nations videoconference in the fall of 2020, Justin Trudeau raised eyebrows, with a hint of a potential link between the global pandemic and the Forum. “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset,” Trudeau said. “This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts, to re-imagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality and climate change,” he added, evoking a “reset” concept much promoted by the WEF from the onset of the pandemic, that frames the crisis as an opportunity to fundamentally change the way that developed societies function.

Then in August 2021, Dutch MP Gideon van Meijeren asked Prime Minister Mark Rutte about a letter he wrote to WEF Founder Klaus Schwab in which he said that Schwab’s book, “Covid-19: The Great Reset,” published on July 9, 2020, within the first few months of the pandemic, “inspired him to build back better.” The phrase also happens to be the name of US President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda, which includes increased wealth transfer into the murky black hole of climate change and “social spending.”

It would be easy to chalk it all up to creepy rhetorical coincidence if there wasn’t an actual link between Schwab, Davos, and elected officials like Rutte and Trudeau. It’s a link about which even Schwab himself has bragged. In 2017, he told an audience at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government: “What we are very proud of is the young generation, like Prime Minister Trudeau… We penetrate the cabinets.”  

He’s not kidding. Current Canadian finance minister and deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland, is on the WEF’s board of trustees, alongside former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor, Mark Carney. Freeland was last seen announcing asset freezes and crackdown measures against truckers and supporters in the streets of Canada demanding an end to heavy handed Covid mandates and restrictions. And Carney recently qualified the Freedom Convoy as “sedition” in a hysterical opinion piece published in the Globe and Mail newspaper.

It’s only logical that when citizens start seeing visible “World Economic Forum” branding on those taking – or publicly advocating for – drastic and unprecedented liberticidal measures against them, they start asking questions about the nature of the organization’s influence.

No citizen in any country actually voted to adopt the Davos agenda. And it’s debatable whether a sufficient number actually would. According to its own website, the WEF agenda includes increased digital integration and digitization, “urgent” climate change response, and a vision of a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” that is “characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.” The organization is also exploring the notion of “human enhancement”.

And those are just the aspects that are public. It all sounds like it has the potential to give rise to a dystopian reality, particularly coupled with the previously unimaginable measures taken by democratic governments under a sanitary pretext over the past two years. And who, or what, influences the organization itself? A massive list of multinational entities with fiduciary obligations to increase shareholder wealth, according to the organization’s website. The WEF would like for the average citizen to believe that everything it does is for our own interests. But it’s difficult to imagine what the organization’s backers actually gain by empowering average citizens rather than maintaining control over them.

Nonetheless, what is glaringly obvious is that the WEF serves as a clearinghouse and consolidator for ideas that promote a one-size fits all global agenda that has become interchangeable with the Western establishment status quo. There is nothing more undemocratic than elected officials serving any other master than their people.

Much more light deserves to be shed on this supranational entity, its string-pullers, and the extent to which their agenda trickles down into our daily lives.

Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and host of an independently produced French-language program that airs on Sputnik France.

February 27, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Updated Homeland Security Bulletin Declares War on Critical Thinking

Health Freedom Defense | February 22, 2022

In many quarters, the hypothesis is now being formulated that we are experiencing the end of a world, that of bourgeois democracies founded on rights, parliaments, and the separation of powers, and that this is giving way to a new despotism that, as regards the pervasiveness of control and the cessation of political activity, will be worse than the totalitarianism that we have known before.

American political scientists call it the Security State, a state in which “for security reasons” (in this case, for the sake of “public health,” a term that suggests the notorious committees of public health during the Terror), any limit can be imposed upon individual liberties. – Giorgio Agamben, “New Reflections”

On February 7th, 2022 the Department of Homeland Security issued a new bulletin, defining what it considers to be the “primary terrorism-related threats” to the United States. This directive replaced their previous directive which was set to expire on February 8th.

Over the past decade as new directives were put in place they have, in their essence, been slight modifications of previous bulletins – all of them built upon the same theme. That theme, for a full decade and more, was the Security State’s declared “War on Terror” with the “threat of foreign enemies and foreign influence” regarded as the essential focal point and recurring theme of these memoranda.

While “domestic enemies” were nominally mentioned in past memoranda these references have been in passing and discussed within the context of potential influence from foreign actors. Without fail, the theme of these past seasonal DHS directives featured the constant drumbeat of “enemies from the outside” who sought to interfere with the internal affairs of the United States.

This most recent DHS bulletin issued February 7th changes course dramatically as illustrated through the opening sentence:

The United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories.

A paragraph later the bulletin states:

Key factors contributing to the current heightened threat environment include:

(1) The proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions:

For example, there is a widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19.

These statements represent a radical departure from previous memos. We see a marked shift in the DHS narrative from battling the ill-defined outside influence of “extremist media branches of al-Qa’ida and its affiliates, as well as ISIS” to combating an amorphous terrorist threat from within which utilizes misleading narratives that “undermine trust in US Government institutions.”

This shift in the DHS narrative goes beyond just imagined domestic threats by suggesting that speech itself can now be seen as an act of terrorism. As is often the case, none of the terms are clearly defined or specific examples given, as to what might comprise “misleading narratives” or infractions that “undermine trust in government institutions.”

Further in the bulletin, we find this paragraph which references Covid-19 policies and the experimental Covid-19 injections:

Meanwhile, COVID-19 mitigation measures—particularly COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates—have been used by domestic violent extremists to justify violence since 2020 and could continue to inspire these extremists to target government, healthcare, and academic institutions that they associate with those measures.

Again no specific examples are given in regards to these purported violent acts which arose from dissatisfaction with Covid-19 policies. The allegation is further mystified by the suggestion that these never-defined acts could inspire future acts of violence.

With such accusatory and suggestive language, this memo should be seen as not only an assault on free speech but also as opening up the door for pre-crime.

All of this must be placed within the context of how the Covid-19 “pandemic” was used as a rationale for locking down the country and suspending our civil liberties for the past two years, for vaporizing businesses by government-issued Covid policies, all resulting in soaring energy/housing/food costs as well as record-level inflationary pressure.

Further implications of this directive must also include an understanding that “our way out”, according to this government, has been a mandated injection (which financially benefits one of the most powerful industries in our nation) and which appears to be causing unprecedented harm.

When seen in total, this bulletin appears to be the government’s initial attempt to quell all discussion and debate on what has to be considered the most reckless and devastating public health policies enacted in this country’s history.

It now appears the long warned about “war on domestic terror” is here. This war involves a Kafkaesque criminalization of whatever the government deems “extremist views” or “disinformation.”

Equally concerning to the attacks we are seeing on our First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of association is how, through the rationale of the Covid-19 narrative, we are seeing in real-time the “War on Terror” being replaced by the “War on The Virus” as the raison d’être of the National Security State. The danger of such a directive and policy position, if allowed to stand unchallenged, lies in future “Covid-19 Pandemics” being used as rationales for creating more authoritarian forms of governance and serving as a template for how to manufacture perpetual states of emergency.

February 27, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

US TRUCKERS HIT THE HIGHWAY IN PROTEST OF MANDATES

The Highwire with Del Bigtree | February 24, 2022

Freedom Convoy USA 2022 Organizer, Kyle Sefcik, went viral this week with his video message to President Biden to end the mandates, and his plan for peaceful protest of the draconian measures.

Convoy updates.

#FreedomConvoyUSA #KyleSefcik #TruckerConvoy #FreedomConvoyUSA2022

See also:

CDC REFUSING TO PUBLISH DATA

And:

IS CLIMATE CHANGE THE NEW COVID?

February 27, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science, Solidarity and Activism, Video | , , | Leave a comment