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Cardiac Disorders Account for 20% of 1.2 Million Injuries Reported After COVID Vaccines, VAERS Data Show

By Megan Redshaw | The Defender | April 8, 2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released new data showing a total of 1,217,333 reports of adverse events following COVID vaccines were submitted between Dec. 14, 2020, and April 1, 2022, to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS is the primary government-funded system for reporting adverse vaccine reactions in the U.S.

The data included a total of 26,699 reports of deaths — an increase of 303 over the previous week — and 217,301 of serious injuries, including deaths, during the same time period — up 2,780 compared with the previous week.

Excluding “foreign reports” to VAERS, 803,613 adverse events, including 12,304 deaths and 79,094 serious injuries, were reported in the U.S. between Dec. 14, 2020, and April 1, 2022.

Foreign reports are reports foreign subsidiaries send to U.S. vaccine manufacturers. Under U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, if a manufacturer is notified of a foreign case report that describes an event that is both serious and does not appear on the product’s labeling, the manufacturer is required to submit the report to VAERS.

Of the 12,304 U.S. deaths reported as of April  1, 17% occurred within 24 hours of vaccination, 21% occurred within 48 hours of vaccination and 59% occurred in people who experienced an onset of symptoms within 48 hours of being vaccinated.

In the U.S., 561 million COVID vaccine doses had been administered as of April 1, including 331 million doses of Pfizer, 211 million doses of Moderna and 19 million doses of Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

Every Friday, VAERS publishes vaccine injury reports received as of a specified date. Reports submitted to VAERS require further investigation before a causal relationship can be confirmed.

Historically, VAERS has been shown to report only 1% of actual vaccine adverse events.

U.S. VAERS data from Dec. 14, 2020, to April 1, 2022, for 5- to 11-year-olds show:

  • 10,157 adverse events, including 239 rated as serious and 5 reported deaths.
    The most recent death involves a 7-year-old boy (VAERS I.D. 2152560) from Washington who died 13 days after receiving his first dose of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine when he went into shock and suffered cardiac arrest. He was unable to be resuscitated and died in the emergency department.
  • 17 reports of myocarditis and pericarditis (heart inflammation).
    The CDC uses a narrowed case definition of “myocarditis,” which excludes cases of cardiac arrest, ischemic strokes and deaths due to heart problems that occur before one has the chance to go to the emergency department.
  • 38 reports of blood clotting disorders.

U.S. VAERS data from Dec. 14, 2020, to April 1, 2022, for 12- to 17-year-olds show:

  • 30,954 adverse events, including 1,778 rated as serious and 44 reported deaths.
    The most recent death reported to VAERS involves a 15-year-old girl (VAERS I.D. 2201554) from South Dakota who developed COVID despite receiving two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech. She received her first dose of Pfizer on July 30, 2021, and her second dose on August 20, 2021. She presented to the ER on January 15, 2022, with abdominal pain, tested positive for COVID, was put on a ventilator and subsequently passed away.
  • 68 reports of anaphylaxis among 12- to 17-year-olds where the reaction was life-threatening, required treatment or resulted in death — with 96% of cases attributed to Pfizer’s vaccine.
  • 650 reports of myocarditis and pericarditis, with 638 cases attributed to Pfizer’s vaccine.
  • 165 reports of blood clotting disorders, with all cases attributed to Pfizer.

U.S. VAERS data from Dec. 14, 2020, to April 1, 2022, for all age groups combined, show:

April 8, 2022 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Senator Klobuchar refuses to answer whether “misinformation” bill will ban saying “there are only two sexes”

By Tom Parker | Reclaim The Net | April 8, 2022

During her appearance at the “Disinformation and Erosion of Democracy” conference, Senator Amy Klobuchar refused to answer a question about whether her Health Misinformation Act would result in the statement “there are only two sexes, male and female” being banned from Big Tech platforms.

Klobuchar’s bill was introduced in July 2021 and would reduce the scope of the civil liability immunity online platforms receive under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act if passed.

Currently, Section 230 gives online platforms and other “interactive computer services” immunity from civil liability if they act in “good faith” to restrict access to content that they or their users deem to be “obscene” or “objectionable.” Klobuchar’s bill would remove this immunity for platforms that use algorithms to promote “health misinformation” that’s “related to an existing public health emergency, as declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.”

At the Disinformation and Erosion of Democracy conference, Evita Duffy, co-founder and managing editor of The Chicago Thinkerpressed Klobuchar on how health misinformation would be defined under this bill.

“If I were to say that there are only two sexes, male and female, would that be considered misinformation that you think should be banned speech on social media platforms?” Duffy said.

Klobuchar responded by refusing to address the question.

“I’m not going to get into what misinformation,” Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar continued by insisting that the bill applies specifically to “vaccine misinformation” in a “public health crisis.”

While Klobuchar claimed that the bill is limited to so-called vaccine misinformation, the Health Misinformation Act’s proposal to amend Section 230 doesn’t actually mention vaccine misinformation. Instead, it proposes that providers of online platforms should be “treated as the publisher or speaker of health misinformation… if the provider promotes that health misinformation through an algorithm.”

Additionally, health misinformation isn’t defined in the bill; the power to define this pivotal term is handed over to the Secretary of Health and Human Services who will consult with “the heads of other relevant federal agencies and outside experts” when coming up with the definition.

The bill didn’t have the support of a single Republican when it was announced. Center-left tech policy activism group Chamber of Progress also warned that Democrats would “regret” the bill and that it would “turn future Republican Presidents into the speech police.”

April 8, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

The Hypocrisy of Medical Experts

By Vinay Prasad | April 3, 2022

On the one hand, there are many biomedical faculty who are passionately arguing why 2-4 year olds should be forced to wear cloth masks. (NY City is fighting this in the courts). Even though there is no randomized data, even though cloth masks failed in adults (let alone toddlers), even though it contradicts the WHO, even though it fails common sense, we must keep doing this!

On the other hand, doctors post pictures of them attending industry sponsored academic conferences. Getting drinks and partying. Packed in tight rooms. No masks. Praising each other for their work. Drenched in financial conflict of interest and pro-new and pro-costly bias.

How can both these things be true?

We are facing such a health emergency that we have to mask toddlers by force of law AND we can continue to enjoy entirely superfluous medical gatherings that risk viral spread.

Don’t say it’s vaccines.

Because the vaccinated, boosted 50 year old, elevated BMI doc with comorbidities has far higher risk than the healthy, unvax’d 4 year old.

Don’t say it’s about spreading the virus.

Both can spread the virus to others.

Don’t say it’s about the activities, importance.

The adult’s entirely excessive medical conference is less important than the child’s early education.

COVID-19 policy reveals the selfishness of adults, the indifference to kids, and the hypocrisy of medicine. It’s disgusting to witness and history will judge it poorly.

April 8, 2022 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

No guilty verdicts in alleged governor kidnapping plot

Samizdat | April 8, 2022

A jury in Michigan on Friday acquitted two men, and was unable to return a verdict on two others, who were accused of hatching a plot to kidnap and possibly execute Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020. The FBI was heavily involved in the scheme, and the men argued that they were enticed into planning the kidnapping by a dozen agency informants.

Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were found not guilty of conspiracy, with Harris also acquitted of firearms and explosives charges. A mistrial was declared in the cases of the two other men, Adam Fox and Barry Croft, meaning that while the pair walked free on Friday, the government can try them again in the future.

“We’ll be ready for another trial. … We’ll eventually get what we wanted out of this, which is the truth and the justice I think Adam is entitled to,” Fox’s attorney, Christopher Gibbons, told reporters after the verdicts were delivered.

“Our governor was never in any danger,” Caserta’s lawyer, Michael Hill, said outside the federal courthouse in Grand Rapids.

The four men were arrested in October 2020, when an undercover FBI informant drove them to a warehouse where they were under the impression that they would be buying explosives. Instead, they were handcuffed and led away by waiting agents.

A total of 14 men were arrested, while two others, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, pled guilty and testified during the trial, and eight others are awaiting trial in state courts. The government contended that the group planned to abduct Whitmer from her vacation home, place her “on trial,” and sentence her to death, thus kicking off a second civil war.

Defense lawyers argued from the outset that the men were set up by the FBI. Court documents revealed that at least a dozen confidential FBI informants took part in the alleged plot, and that the suspects were easily manipulated by their undercover comrades. Fox, whom the government attempted to paint as the ringleader of the band, was referred to by Garbin as “Captain Autism,” and the four men’s lawyers argued throughout the case that their clients lacked the mental wherewithal to orchestrate a complex kidnapping plot.

“I keep trying to push, press on them, where are you guys wanting to go with this? Because I’m wanting [to] know, are you wasting my time in a sense?” one informant said during the operation to his FBI superiors, suggesting that the agency was heavily involved in pushing the men to commit crimes.

According to an analysis of court documents by Revolver News, a right-wing US news site, the plotters’ driver and “explosives expert” were both agents, while the militia’s head of security was an undercover informant. An FBI source was present at every meeting leading up to the supposed kidnap attempt and, of the five men who drove a van to kidnap Whitmer, three were FBI agents and informants.

Agents also testified at length against Harris, Caserta, Fox, and Croft during their weeks-long trial.

The case ignited intense debate in the US about the supposed threat of “domestic terrorism.” Following the pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill last January, which some suspect was also instigated by federal agents, countering this alleged threat became a central pillar of the Biden administration’s policy platform.

In the months between the kidnapping plot and the Capitol Hill riot, the head of the FBI field office in Detroit who oversaw the infiltration of the plot, Steven D’Antuono, was promoted to lead the agency’s Washington, DC field office.

Conservatives cheered Friday’s result. “Can’t downplay what happened in Michigan today,” pundit Jack Posobiec wrote on Twitter. “An FBI agent’s testimony used to be an instant guilty verdict from juries. Now their credibility is such a disaster that they’re losing cases that used to be slam dunks.”

Whitmer, a Democrat, saw things differently. “Today, Michiganders… are living through the normalization of political violence,” her chief of staff wrote in a statement. “There must be accountability and consequences for those who commit heinous crimes. Without accountability, extremists will be emboldened.”

April 8, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | Leave a comment

The British are now officially hiding Covid vaccine data

… and they are lying about the reason why

By Alex Berenson | April 7, 2022

Until last week, the British government offered the best source of raw data on the efficacy of the Covid vaccines. Each Thursday, the UK Health Security Agency reported the number of new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths by vaccine status.

Since last fall, and especially since the Omicron variant hit, the reports have presented an increasingly dismal picture of vaccine efficacy. Last week’s report showed that in March, nearly 90 percent of adults hospitalized for Covid were vaccinated. And OVER 90 percent of deaths were in the vaccinated:

The importance of these reports is hard to overstate.

They were the single best source of raw data about how well the Covid vaccines were or were not working anywhere in the world. It was a long-running sequential series with clearly defined rules from a large country with high vaccine coverage.

Plus, because the British have national health insurance, the government could determine with near-certainty who had been vaccinated. As you can see, fewer than 1 percent of the people in the reports are called “unlinked” – meaning their vaccine status was undetermined.

AS OF THIS WEEK’S REPORT THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT IS NO LONGER PROVIDING THESE CHARTS.

The British government is offering the nonsensical excuse that it can no longer provide the figures because it has ended free universal testing for Covid: Such changes in testing policies affect the ability to robustly monitor COVID-19 cases by vaccination status, therefore, from the week 14 report onwards this section of the report will no longer be published.

The British government is lying.

Even if the end of free testing somehow affected its ability to provide “robust” data about infections, it would make no difference to the hospitalization or death figures, which are far more important. Unless Covid patients are going to be hospitalized anonymously, the Health Security Agency will still be able to match their names (and the names on death certificates) against vaccination records.

In fact the British government would be derelict not to continue to collect the data, and it surely will. But the public will no longer see it.

Why?

One reason and one reason only. Ever since I mentioned the existence of these reports to Joe Rogan in October, they have become an embarrassment. They are impossible to spin, and the clearest possible signal of vaccine failure.

But hiding the numbers won’t make the vaccines work better. It will just make people less likely to believe anything else public health authorities tell them about Covid and the vaccines – if that’s even possible at this point.

April 8, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Twitter locks Dr. Meryl Nass twice for linking to academic articles and explaining them

Meryl Nass, MD | April 8, 2022

 

Hi MERYL NASS, MD,
Your account, @NassMeryl has been locked for violating the Twitter Rules.
Specifically for:
Violating the policy on spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.
We understand that during times of crisis and instability, it is difficult to know what to do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Under this policy, we require the removal of content that may pose a risk to people’s health, including content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information.

For more information on COVID-19, as well as guidance from leading global health authorities, please refer to the following links:
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public from the WHO
FAQs about COVID-19 from the WHO

This is the Tweet that violated the Twitter Rules.

MERYL NASS, MD
@NassMeryl
CDC came out with yet another “study” to justify pushing vazzine on 6 month olds and up. Claim: myocarditis much more common after COVID than after vac. Method: misclassified 2/3 of those who were vazzinated. Brilliant. https://t.co/ydSxQ33l7p
Please note that repeated violations may lead to a permanent suspension of your account. Proceed to Twitter now to fix the issue with your account.
Go to Twitter
Hi MERYL NASS, MD,
Your account, @NassMeryl has been locked for violating the Twitter Rules.
Specifically for:
Violating the policy on spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.
We understand that during times of crisis and instability, it is difficult to know what to do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Under this policy, we require the removal of content that may pose a risk to people’s health, including content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information.

For more information on COVID-19, as well as guidance from leading global health authorities, please refer to the following links:
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public from the WHO
FAQs about COVID-19 from the WHO

This is the Tweet that violated the Twitter Rules.

MERYL NASS, MD
@NassMeryl
February Israeli preprint on 4th doses in HCWs: Great antibody titers (up ten fold) but efficacy 30% Pfizer and 11% Moderna–strong evidence that titers are useless at predicting efficacy. How can FDA accept titers as a surrogate for pedi vazzine EUA? https://t.co/gi4wjZN5iE
Please note that repeated violations may lead to a permanent suspension of your account. Proceed to Twitter now to fix the issue with your account.
Go to Twitter

April 8, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Increase in heart attacks since June in both England and Scotland

The Naked Emperor’s Newsletter | April 7, 2022

In my recent article on heart attacks in youngsters I focussed on the Scottish data. I have since looked at the English data and it follows a similar pattern.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) produce a weekly Ambulance Syndromic Surveillance System Bulletin for England. Page 8 looks at Cardiac or respiratory arrest, specifically the daily number of cardiac or respiratory arrest ambulance service calls.

Similar to the Scottish data, during mid 2021 the 7 day average closely followed the black dotted baseline. However, from June it began to rise and stayed higher than average until December. Since February 2022 it has taken off again and is currently much higher than the baseline.

This is data for all ages and as we saw with the Scottish data, when broken down by age, the figures were much worse for the younger age groups. It would be interesting to see this English data also broken down by age.

April 8, 2022 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

China explains why it stood up for Russia

Samizdat | April 8, 2022

China has explained its decision to vote against the UN General Assembly resolution to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, calling Moscow’s exclusion politically motivated and slamming the resolution as lacking transparency.

“We oppose the politicization and instrumentalization of human rights issues, the practice of selective double standards and confrontation on human rights issues, and the use of human rights issues to put pressure on other countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian told journalists on Friday.

He added that the drafting process of the resolution was neither open nor transparent and suggested that its adoption would only “add fuel to the fire” by intensifying tensions among the parties and aggravating divisions inside the UN.

The resolution was adopted on Thursday with 93 nations voting in favor, 24 against, and 58 abstaining. Following the vote, Russia declared that it had already decided to leave the Council before the end of its term.

Russia’s deputy permanent representative at the UN, Gennady Kuzmin, described the resolution as “an illegitimate and politically motivated step designed as a demonstrative punishment of a sovereign UN member state that is carrying out independent internal and external policies.”

In explaining Russia’s decision to quit the UN body, he declared that the Human Rights Council was “monopolized by a single group of states that exploits the mechanism to achieve their opportunistic goals.” He added that “Russia’s true commitment to protecting and promoting human rights does not let us remain part of [this] international mechanism.”

The initiative to exclude Moscow from the Council originated in Washington. In late March, a bipartisan group of American senators called on the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, to introduce the resolution. The US cited alleged Russian human rights violations in Ukraine as justification for the move.

Since the launch of its military operation in Ukraine on February 24, Moscow has repeatedly denied such allegations, claiming that it seeks to minimize casualties and only attack military targets as part of its stated goal of demilitarizing the country.

April 8, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | Leave a comment

Ukraine War Frenzy Proves: It’s Still John McCain’s GOP

By Michael Tracey | April 7, 2022

“The senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin,” fumed John McCain back in March 2017. His target: Rand Paul, who had committed the unforgivable offense of momentarily delaying the latest round of NATO expansion. Montenegro, a tiny country in southeastern Europe that most Americans have never heard of, was about to join the sprawling military alliance — and McCain was determined to see the final ratification ritual proceed with as little debate as possible. So he hurled the time-honored “working for Putin” accusation, and sure enough, Paul quickly withdrew his minor procedural objection. The glorious ascension of Montenegro to NATO membership status was thereby assured.

Since that episode, a lot has transpired regarding the public perception of McCain. He delighted liberals by feuding regularly with Donald Trump — even going so far as to denounce Trump for engaging in “disgraceful” and “pathetic” flattery of Putin. “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant,” McCain raged. He undermined Congressional Republicans’ legislative agenda during the brief window in Trump’s presidency when the party had unified control of government — famously delivering a dramatic thumbs-down gesture to derail GOP hopes of repealing Obamacare, as a chagrined Mitch McConnell watched powerlessly on.

McCain had returned to his most natural state. After annoying Democrats by running against Barack Obama in the 2008 election, and being surly about his defeat for some time afterwards, he had once again resumed playing the “maverick” role he so relished — reviled by “his own side,” and loved by the “other side.” His death in 2018 brought forth the most effusive display of state-sanctioned grief that any US political figure had received since Ronald Reagan died in 2004, with all the universal media adulation that entails. Trump’s exclusion from the funeral proceedings, at McCain’s posthumous direction, was just the icing on the cake.

But nowadays, if you bring up McCain in certain GOP circles, it will often be claimed that his influence has mercifully dissipated. The Republican Party experienced a bonafide ideological upheaval under Trump, they’ll say, and the McCain worldview — defined mainly by his unwavering commitment to a hyper-interventionist US foreign policy — has since fallen starkly out of favor. (Back when opposing interventionist foreign policy was still considered something of a “progressive” virtue, Mother Jones would routinely mock McCain by merely counting up the comically large number of countries he’d expressed a desire to attack. Did you know McCain once wanted to impose a No Fly Zone in Sudan?)

By “conservative opinion elites,” I refer roughly to the kind of people who write for obscure magazines with obscure funding sources, earnestly enjoy Think Tank social hours, and incessantly convene panels to discuss “the future of conservatism.” These types have a particular incentive to believe that McCain’s foreign policy paradigm has really been purged from the party. They’re deeply invested in the idea that the GOP underwent a genuine transformation in the past decade or so — discarding the outmoded “neocon” dogmas associated with the reign of George W. Bush, and embracing the hardened, nationalist realism associated with Donald Trump.

For a particular kind of ambitious professional conservative, this is a very flattering theory. Because if true, it means the GOP old guard is being slowly but surely displaced, and all kinds of new, innovative ideas are in the offing. Ideally with lots of ambiguous sinecures, TV gigs, and consultant opportunities attached. There’s just one problem though: when it comes to the issue area that always animated McCain the most — which was without a doubt foreign policy — recent events demonstrate that his influence is far from buried. On the contrary, it couldn’t be more alive and well. The year might be 2022, and he might have been physically dead for a while. But it’s still John McCain’s GOP.


A common fallacy heard among conservative opinion-makers who might wish to disassociate from McCain goes something like this: yes, there’s a contingent of the Republican Party that stubbornly hews to McCain-like foreign policy dogma, but it’s really only a limited handful of wackadoodles like Lindsey Graham. In other words, “the neocons” are a small, dwindling faction of the party, and aren’t representative of the typical Republican elected official or rank-and-file voter, who tend to be increasingly skeptical of US interventionism.

That’s a clever little exercise in self-rationalization, but also a bunch of baloney. On the one hand, it’s true that Graham is a… unique figure in various respects. He’s the person currently in elected office who had the closest political and personal association with McCain. Alongside their former cherished colleague, Joe Lieberman, these “three amigos” bonded over a shared, impassioned commitment to omni-directional foreign policy belligerence. (Right on cue, Lieberman was rolled out of semi-retirement last month to demand a “No Fly Zone.”)

But while Graham occasionally blurts out something uniquely insane, such as his tweeted call for the assassination of Putin — he’s far from some kind of wild outlier. In fact, his foreign policy views are comfortably ensconced in the mainstream of the GOP, notwithstanding the popular conceit that “MAGA” has supplanted “neocon” as the party’s dominant sensibility. Because if Graham is the closest living incarnation of the traditional McCain worldview, then perhaps that worldview isn’t nearly as incompatible with “MAGA” as some may want to think.

Recall: even as McCain and Trump brawled over what was essentially a clash of personalities, Graham successfully insinuated himself as one of Trump’s most trusted confidants — regularly hitting the golf links with him, and advising him on key policy matters. This has continued even into Trump’s post-presidency, with Graham operating as one of the most ardent advocates of another Trump run in 2024. “I think he’s the best person in the Republican Party to take up the cause in 2024,” Graham exuberantly told Fox News in January. “I expect him to run… I’ll take bets if anybody wants to bet. I’ll give odds.”

Do you really think Graham would be staking out this position if he viewed Trump’s foreign policy outlook as antithetical to his own?

If there’s some kind of enormous ideological conflict between Trump and Graham — who, remember, proudly carries on the McCain mantle — it has not been at all evident for a long time. It would also be weird to characterize Graham as some kind of aberrational nuisance within the GOP, considering that Graham raked in a record-shattering amount of donations for a GOP Senate candidate during his 2020 re-election campaign in South Carolina. And he accomplished this mostly by utilizing conservative media and direct-mailing lists to hammer home the pledge that he would serve in office as an unflinchingly loyal backer of Trump.

For a vivid illustration of persistent McCain/Graham influence as it relates to current events, take a look at this video that recently resurfaced from December 2016, featuring the esteemed Senatorial pals on a trip to Ukraine. Joined in wonderfully “bipartisan” fashion by Amy Klobuchar, the trio delivered a searing address to a unit of Ukrainian soldiers. If you haven’t seen the video, please do watch, because it confirms the extent to which a vocal faction of the US establishment — with McCain and Graham at the forefront — had invested ideologically and militarily in the cause of Ukraine, and by extension the cause of defeating Russia. Graham proclaims to the assembled soldiers: “Your fight is our fight. 2017 will be the year of offense. All of us will go back to Washington, and we will push the case against Russia.” McCain similarly declared, “I am convinced you will win. And we will do everything we can to provide you with what you need to win.”

While in 2016 the cause of arming Ukraine to defeat Russia on the battlefield was a somewhat more marginal preoccupation, today it’s been sanctified as virtually unshakable consensus in both parties. Funneling weapons to Ukraine was once seen as cranky McCain’s pet cause, a fixation that stemmed from his peculiarly hyper-interventionist worldview. Now, whether the US should be waging a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is barely even considered a debatable proposition: just another McCain priority eventually consecrated as mainstream orthodoxy. “It’s bringing Congress together in a way, frankly, I haven’t seen in my 12 years,” Chris Coons, the Democratic senator from Delaware and Biden advisor, reverentially told the New York Times. “You’d have to go back to 9/11 to see such a unified commitment.” McCain is no doubt smiling down from the heavens at this great outbreak of “unification.” Because it’s proof of his enduring legacy; with his worldview and geopolitical objectives having arguably become more widely adopted than ever before.

But the coalescence of McCain-like consensus didn’t start with Russia’s invasion in February 2022. For one thing, Graham was proven right when he prophesied that 2017 would be the “year of offense” — because that was the year he, McCain, and other hawks successfully lobbied Trump to sign off on transfers of lethal weapons to Ukraine. Whatever personality conflict existed between McCain and Trump, the actual policy portfolio enacted by Trump vis-a-vis Russia wasn’t all that different from what McCain’s might’ve been. Indeed, when Trump announced the weapons transfers, McCain showered him with praise. And when Trump abrogated the INF Treaty, he was fulfilling another longtime McCain goal.

Listening to Republican politicians comment on Ukraine policy today, you can almost close your eyes and hear McCain’s irascible voice. For an example of how the McCain worldview is far from limited to so-called “neocons,” but instead a feature of entirely mainstream GOP thinking, consider the recent activities of Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL). If there’s any apt descriptor for Scott, it’s that he’s basically a conventional Republican. Not some kind of overly-ideological “neocon,” but rather a business guy who made a huge fortune defrauding Medicare, somehow leveraged that into becoming Governor of Florida, and is now in the US Senate. He also appears to have higher ambitions, as evidenced by his position running the National Republican Senatorial Committee — the campaign wing of the Senate GOP caucus. Scott isn’t especially bright, but he’s more or less able to articulate the standard bromides aimed squarely at the median Republican, and is thus capable of formulating strategy on behalf of the party for the upcoming midterm elections. He also released a manifesto outlining his bold vision for conservatism, which among other things includes that all Americans be made to pay income tax regardless of their income bracket.

The point is, Scott is situating himself at the center of the party in service of some future gambit, may be to challenge Mitch McConnell for GOP Leader (which Trump has encouraged) or maybe even to launch his own presidential campaign at some point, which I’m sure would be a barrel of laughs.

So what is Rick Scott’s big proposal on the Ukraine issue? You guessed it: demanding a No Fly Zone, or short of that, demanding the US send fighter jets into Ukraine. This is apparently the position that Scott calculates will resonate most potently with the prototypical GOP donor and voter. Again, Scott isn’t intrinsically some sort of deeply ideological McCain-Graham foreign policy fanatic. Yet, he’s espousing views that could have been directly pilfered from the McCain-Graham school of thought — just because that school of thought is so thoroughly mainstream within the GOP, whatever superficial animosities some party members may still harbor against McCain.

Part of this owes to standard partisan reflex. Desperately seeking some angle of attack against Biden in relation to Ukraine, Republicans have settled on denouncing him for not escalating the US proxy war aggressively enough. It’s incredibly easy to imagine the ghost of McCain making the exact same criticisms as, say, Ted Cruz is making at the moment. Days after Biden committed the threshold-crossing act of calling for regime change in Russia — thereby announcing that the policy of the US is to depose Putin — Cruz went on Newsmax and complained that Biden’s “approach to every enemy of America is weakness and appeasement.” Only in a McCain-inflected universe does it make even the faintest sense for a president orchestrating a giant weapons-funneling operation, and waging a proxy war of unprecedented scale — which continues intensifying by the day — to be accused of “appeasement.” But it’s clearly still McCain’s world that the GOP is living in. That was always McCain’s tack: his problem with any given US intervention was of course never the intervention itself, but rather that it wasn’t going far enough, and if you weren’t willing to go as far as he wanted, you were some sort of abject appeaser.

On the subject of Ukraine, this pattern gets repeated over and over by GOP chieftains. Biden proposes the biggest Pentagon budget in US history, and right on cue, Mitch McConnell denounces it as somehow “soft” on Russia and “far-left.” Biden announces yet another massive tranche of missiles, grenades, and heavy artillery being dispatched to Ukraine, and Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, immediately ridicules him for not giving Ukraine fighter jets. “Provide them the planes where they can create a No Fly Zone,” McCarthy demanded in a March 16 press conference. (It’s unclear whether McCarthy is satisfied with Biden’s latest decision to send tanks.)

Though it is now common to characterize Russia as committing “genocide” since footage emerged in the past several days purporting to show Russian attacks on Ukrainian civilians, Steve Scalise, the House Republican Whip, led the charge in making that designation weeks ago. “There’s nothing less than genocide going on in Ukraine,” he alleged during that same March 16 press conference, alongside McCarthy. Scalise had been so profoundly moved by Zelensky’s expertly-crafted Zoom address to Congress earlier in the day that he was compelled to issue the “genocide” allegation immediately thereafter. (No word on what independent investigative mission Scalise carried out in order to ascertain the relevant facts.)

Biden may have caused a stir when he condemned Putin as a “war criminal” — thus confirming a complete lack of interest in facilitating any kind of negotiated settlement to the conflict — but first out of the gate in making this accusation was Elise Stefanik, the New York GOP Congresswoman who serves as the chair of the House Republican Conference. Initially viewed as a “moderate,” Stefanik gamely generated big attention in recent years as a bombastic defender of Trump, raising a ton of money in the process. “As a new mom, it is heart-wrenching to watch the video that President Zelensky just played in terms of the bombing of maternity wards,” Stefanik weepily inveighed, also during the March 16 press conference with McCarthy and Scalise. “Make no mistake, there will be consequences on the global stage for Vladimir Putin, who is a war criminal and a thug,” she cried. The pattern is clear: all throughout the run-up to the invasion and ever since, it’s generally been the GOP which employs the most extreme rhetoric and makes the most extreme policy demands, with Biden eventually coming around not long afterwards. In taking this tack, Republicans could hardly pay a more fitting tribute to McCain.

Joni Ernst, the GOP Senator from Iowa, recently debuted a new criticism: apparently, the Biden Administration hasn’t been forthcoming enough about the weapons it’s transferring to Ukraine. But don’t be silly: seeking actual transparency on behalf of the American public is the farthest thing from Ernst’s mind. She totally supports the Biden Administration’s secrecy — she just wants to make sure that the US is dumping what she regards as a sufficient quantity of weapons. “Certainly, we do need to keep it secret, what is being transferred,” Ernst clarified during an appearance on Fox. “And that’s why we’ve asked to have those numbers provided to us in a classified setting.” Explaining the ultimate objective for these efforts, Ernst might as well have been paying direct homage to McCain: “We want to make sure that [Ukrainians] win this war, and they can win this war,” she roared.

But the biggest blow dealt to those conservative opinion elites — the guys who cling to the conceit that the GOP has really and truly changed its foreign policy orientation — comes in the form of Josh Hawley, one of their great hopes for a supposed convention-defying thinker willing to buck party consensus. Because when push comes to shove, it turns out Hawley is just another McCain mini-me.

A central venue for the recurring attempt to “re-imagine conservatism,” or something to that effect, is currently this outfit called “National Conservatism” (NatCon for short) which hosts occasional conferences. I actually attended one in Orlando last October out of morbid curiosity, and the big tell that maybe soaring intellectual heights would not be achieved there was the organizers’ decision to anoint Dave Rubin as a featured speaker. In all honesty, I have never once heard Dave Rubin utter anything resembling an original thought — but there he was, at the podium, sharing his keen insights on behalf of this exciting new GOP faction.

The three GOP elected officials chosen by NatCon to exemplify a re-invigorated “national conservatism” — presumably one which departed from the legacy of old fogies like McCain — were Hawley, Cruz, and Marco Rubio. Few would be surprised that Rubio soon thereafter turned around and started beating the standard war drums. And Cruz will just do whatever best positions him to win the GOP presidential nomination at some point. But Hawley in particular is often touted as a sort of tribune for the emerging “heterodox” wing of the GOP, alienated from the tired ideological construct that weds together military intervention and free markets. Yet, all three NatCon speakers joined the majority of their Senate GOP colleagues in signing a letter last month to demand that Joe Biden send fighter jets into Ukraine — exactly the kind of escalation you’d think these enlightened “NatCons” would be eager to reject. (Surprise! The letter was organized by Lindsey Graham.)

While there are some NatCon types who really do go against the grain, ultimately the larger enterprise functions as an attempt by the same old GOP establishment forces to perpetually re-brand themselves. Kind of like the Tea Party in the early 2010s, which was initially painted as some sort of revolutionary force, but immediately got subsumed into the Republican National Committee and conservative infotainment complex. The NatCon movement’s three elected standard-bearers behaving exactly as McCain would have wanted them to is good evidence that there really has not been any profound break from the past.

Just look at the latest super-serious “Policy Brief” issued by the Heritage Foundation — still the in-house “Think Tank” of official Washington, DC movement conservatism. It’s basically a litany of generic interventionist prescriptions for how the US can “do much more” to ensure Ukraine’s battlefield victory. Suggestions include facilitating “the free and unrestricted transfer of weapons, munitions, and other supplies to the Ukrainians, including a continuous flow of intelligence” — which just translates to an endorsement of the Biden Administration’s status quo, except a degree or two more aggressive. If there really is this wave of insidious anti-interventionism that we’re always being warned is on the brink of taking over the GOP, nowhere is it evident at the GOP’s most influential Think Tank, the place dopey members of Congress — most of whom barely ever thought about the concept of Ukraine before February 2022 — go to receive their talking points.

Then there’s conservative media, which has returned triumphantly to its 2003 heyday as a reliable organ for pro-war agitprop. Republican “id” Sean Hannity is predictably leading the charge. One day he’s calling on NATO to bomb a Russian convoy in Ukraine; the next he’s having a friendly on-air chat with Sean Penn of all people, discussing their mutual support for sending in fighter jets. Meanwhile, in order to keep up the facade that the GOP is somehow nefariously pro-Putin, the non-conservative media continuously seeks out the handful of marginal exceptions who ultimately have no real influence at all on the priorities of the party. (Yes, I’m aware that Tucker Carlson exists, as I appear on his show occasionally. But to whatever extent he’s skeptical of US intervention in Ukraine, this is not reflected in the behavior of the mainline GOP.)

Which brings us to Donald Trump himself. To the degree that Trump appears to have any criticisms of Biden Administration policy in relation to Ukraine, it consists of the retrospective counter-factual whereby Trump claims Putin never would’ve invaded on his watch. Which is possible, but unprovable. With the invasion having happened, though, Trump now assails Biden for “allowing” Putin “to get away with this travesty and assault on humanity.” In a speech shortly after the invasion, Trump insinuated that the US should be threatening to “blow him to pieces” — i.e., threatening nuclear retaliation.

“No president was ever as tough on Russia as I was,” Trump declared on February 28. Those convinced he was compromised by Putin in some sort of extravagant collusion plot never seem to have noticed, but many of the key US actions which precipitated the invasion were committed under Trump: the most obvious being the successful McCain-Graham lobbying effort to get him to start sending Ukraine lethal weaponry. Trump still brags about the decision to this day, stating, “We also gave a lot of the javelins that you’re hearing so much about, we gave those javelins when President Obama was giving sheets and pillows and I guess blankets. That didn’t help too much. But we gave javelins, and a lot of them too, and I guess that’s helping a lot.”

Well, maybe it would’ve been a smarter idea to stick with the blankets. At least if the goal was to avert war. Because for years, Putin warned that these kinds of US weapons shipments were going to drastically heighten tensions. In his speech announcing the invasion, Putin couldn’t have been more explicit about one of his primary motivations to launch the war: “Any further expansion of the North Atlantic alliance’s infrastructure or the ongoing efforts to gain a military foothold of the Ukrainian territory are unacceptable for us.”

It was under Trump that Ukraine was elevated to “Enhanced Opportunities Partner” status within NATO — exactly the sort of military-infrastructural encroachment that Putin denounced. Trump also happens to be the one who formally effectuated the accession of Montenegro into NATO, which McCain had fulminated against Rand Paul for temporarily impeding, as well as the subsequent accession of North Macedonia — thereby continuing the process of NATO expansion which Putin also angrily cites as a central reason for the invasion. When Putin reproaches the US/NATO “military machine” for expanding so much that it is now “approaching our very border” — that’s a process which culminated under Trump!

Even as Democrats screamed that Trump was somehow surreptitiously governing on Putin’s behalf, what he was really doing was enacting a McCain-like policy agenda that cratered US-Russia relations — a trend which proceeded apace under Biden. While the media obsessed over their delusional theory that Trump was collusively enabling Putin, the real issue was always that his Administration did everything in its policy capacity to fray the US-Russia relationship. Hence the diplomatic impasse on bitter display right now.

Oh and by the way, half of the hawks that are constantly on TV demanding more confrontational action against Russia — including Mike Pompeo, H.R. McMaster, Fiona Hill, Kurt Volker, and of course uber-hawk John Bolton — were all hired by Trump.

Unsurprisingly, this McCain-inspired frenzy engulfing Republican elected officials and conservative media is also reflected in the sentiments of rank-and-file GOP voters. During the Trump years, it was Democrats who led the way in declaring Russia a top “enemy,” convinced as they were that Putin had “interfered” in the 2016 election to malevolently install Trump in power. Today, according to recent polling, Republicans now match or surpass Democrats in their antipathy for Russia.

“Crises” such as the one currently underway are always clarifying. One thing they can do is peel back a veneer. And in the case of the GOP, when that veneer is peeled back — beneath all the bogus rhetorical conceits and phony re-branding exercises — what’s revealed is the smiling, satisfied visage of John McCain. Still getting his way in the afterlife.

April 8, 2022 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Serbia says it was blackmailed over UN vote

Samizdat | April 8, 2022

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has said that his country has been pressured under the threat of sanctions to back Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council.

Belgrade has close historical ties with Moscow but joined other Western nations this week in a vote against Russia in response to its ongoing military campaign in Ukraine. “Our initial decision was to abstain, but then we were subjected to countless and difficult pressure,” Vucic told RTS TV on Thursday.

“They said – do you know that a decision is being made whether Serbia will be exempted from the package of sanctions on [Russian] oil, and whether it will be able to import oil after May 15?” the president said. He compared the possible effect of sanctions on Serbia to “a nuclear strike.”

Unlike the EU, Serbia has not imposed any sanctions on Moscow. “The Republic of Serbia believes that it’s not in its vital political and economic interests to impose sanctions on any country,” Vucic said, while stressing that he wants to maintain good relations with the European bloc, as well as with Russia.

Belgrade previously said that getting cut off from Russian energy would damage its economy. On Friday, Serbian media outlets quoted its sources in Brussels as saying that Serbia will be exempt from possible sanctions on Russian oil and gas.

At the same time, Blic newspaper quoted EU spokesman Peter Stano as saying that the bloc expects Belgrade to follow its restrictions on Russia or impose its own sanctions on Moscow.

On Thursday, the UN General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the organization’s human rights panel. Serbia was among the 93 member states that backed the suspension.

The EU banned the imports of Russian coal, but has so far stopped short of banning the imports of oil and gas. European Council President Charles Michel, however, said on Wednesday that the bloc will need sanctions on Russian oil and gas “sooner or later.”

April 8, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Landmines and disinformation for me, but not for thee

By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos | Responsible Statecraft | April 8, 2022

Two stories snuck below the radar this week: the U.S. admitted to deploying what up until now has been deplorable and downright wretched “disinformation” in the Ukraine crisis. Furthermore, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs boasted about the effective use of landmines against the Russians — a week after headlines conflated their use by the Russians with civilian atrocities.

First, the disinfo. This week the leading lights of our mainstream media sat on a stage and lectured Americans in front of a banner reading “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy.” They must’ve been too busy to give this stunner from NBC News the treatment it deserves:

It was an attention-grabbing assertion that made headlines around the world: U.S. officials said they had indications suggesting Russia might be preparing to use chemical agents in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden later said it publicly. But three U.S. officials told NBC News this week there is no evidence Russia has brought any chemical weapons near Ukraine. They said the U.S. released the information to deter Russia from using the banned munitions.

It’s one of a string of examples of the Biden administration’s breaking with recent precedent by deploying declassified intelligence as part of an information war against Russia. The administration has done so even when the intelligence wasn’t rock solid, officials said, to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin off balance. …

…“It doesn’t have to be solid intelligence when we talk about it,” a U.S. official said. “It’s more important to get out ahead of them — Putin specifically — before they do something. It’s preventative. We don’t always want to wait until the intelligence is 100 percent certainty that they are going to do something. We want to get out ahead to stop them.”

Headlined as a “break from the past” — truly? — the piece is actually a glowing tribute to the administration’s gambit to throw Putin off his game. The only break from the past here is near-past. Aside from the self-serving gasbaggery coming from the aforementioned stage at the University of Chicago this week, the mainstream media has been screeching about disinformation in a sort of trance-like mantra for more than four years. Most recently it has been used to smear critics of a more escalatory policy in Ukraine. Now, according to this NBC News report, it is:

 “the most amazing display of intelligence as an instrument of state power that I have seen or that I’ve heard of since the Cuban Missile Crisis,” said Tim Weiner, the author of a 2006 history of the CIA and 2020’s “The Folly and the Glory,” a look at the U.S.-Russia rivalry over decades. “It has certainly blunted and defused the disinformation weaponry of the Kremlin.”

Get it? The U.S. must use “good” disinformation to combat the “bad” disinformation by the Russians. Just like we engage in “good” military invasions (Iraq, Libya) to overthrow  the “bad” guys (Hussein, Qaddafi).

Which brings us to landmines. The U.S. never signed the international ban on landmines, which have a pesky habit of lying around for decades after wars and blowing civilians’ limbs off. We know this. But as always, the Americans want it both ways, pointing to their “desperate” use by bad guys, like the Russians, as akin to atrocities. Like these headlines last week, here and here.

But then it turns out the Ukrainians are using them too, but their use is “effective” and “strategic” and important to the mission. Here’s Joint Chiefs Chair, Gen. Mark Milley, testifying yesterday.

“Land mines are being effectively used by the Ukrainian forces to shape the avenues of approach by Russian armored forces, which puts them into engagement areas and makes them vulnerable to the 60,000 anti-tank weapons systems that we’re providing to the Ukrainians,” Milley said. “That’s one of the reasons why you see column after column of Russian vehicles that are destroyed.”

This reminds us of course of the incident earlier in the invasion when Linda Greenfield, our UN ambassador, tried to rip the Russians for what appeared to be cluster munitions in their convoys marching toward Kyiv. Her statement had to be edited, however, because the U.S. still has such weapons — which too leave little bomblets behind that tend to kill and main unsuspecting civilians — in its own arsenal.

Like the contradictions in Greenfield’s story, Milley’s will no doubt be met by mainstream crickets, too. These threads just don’t fit the proscribed narrative, which at its worst, promulgates a “fine for me, but not for thee” hypocrisy.

April 8, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , | 1 Comment

Russia comments on details of deadly missile strike in Kramatorsk

Samizdat | April 8, 2022

The Tochka U ballistic missile, which reportedly killed dozens of civilians in the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk on Friday, came from a town under the control of Ukrainian forces, the Russian Defense Ministry claims.

The missile came from the town of Dobropole, around 45km southwest of the city, Moscow stated.

The deadly strike hit the main train station in Kramatorsk when an estimated 4,000 people were waiting for evacuation trains there. The latest casualty count by the city administration said 39 people were killed in the incident and 87 were injured.

Kramatorsk is a city in the northern part of the Donetsk region, and is claimed by the Donetsk People’s Republic as part of its territory. When hostilities broke out in eastern Ukraine in the wake of the 2014 Maidan coup, the city remained under Kiev’s control.

Kiev accused Russia of hitting the station, claiming civilians were targeted deliberately with the intent to kill. President Volodymyr Zelensky said it serves as the latest example that Russia is “evil that knows no boundaries.”

Initial claims from Ukrainian officials said an Iskander missile was used, but images of a Tochka U tail part taken at the scene later flooded social media. Kramatorsk Mayor Aleksandr Goncharenko said missile debris was found 40 meters from where most of the damage was done.

The Russian Defense Ministry denied any responsibility for the attack. It said that Ukrainian troops must have targeted the station to disrupt the evacuation and keep civilians in the city so that they could be used as human shields during an upcoming fight for it.

The ministry claimed that Kiev is the only party in the Ukraine conflict that uses outdated Soviet-made Tochka U missiles. It said that pro-Ukraine accounts on social media claim that Russia has them as well, but the images presented as evidence were taken in Belarus, which does have some Tochka U systems in its arsenal.

April 8, 2022 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | | 1 Comment