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The Russian Brexit Plot That Wasn’t

By Paul Robinson | Irrussianality | November 26, 2020

Russian Disinformation. Russian Disinformation. Russian Disinformation. How many time have you heard that over the past four years?

But what about British disinformation?

Much of the current Russia paranoia began with the claims that Donald Trump was recruited by Russian intelligence years ago as a sleeper agent, and then given a leg-up into the presidency of the United States with the help of the GRU. The claims of ‘collusion’ were repeated over and over, and yet at the end of the day none of them could be substantiated. And where did it all start? In the now notorious dossier assembled by former British spook Christopher Steele.

Steele, it has now been revealed, got his information from a guy called Igor Danchenko. He in his turn got a lot of it from a former classmate, Olga Galkina, described as an alcoholic ‘disgruntled PR executive living in Cyprus’, and as such obviously a well-informed source with intimate knowledge of the Kremlin’s innermost secrets.

In short, the Steele dossier was a load of hokum, commissioned by a British Black PR operative and then fabricated by some random Russian émigrés with no access to anything of value. And yet, millions believed it.

And then, we have the story of Brexit. Ever since the 2016 referendum which resulted in Britain leaving the European Union, we have been repeatedly told that the victory of the Leave campaign was made possible by ‘Russian interference’. Most significantly, it was claimed that the Russian government illicitly funded the Leave campaign by funneling money through the campaign’s most significant financial backer, businessman Arron Banks.

Leading the charge against Russia and Banks was journalist Carole Cadwalladr of The Observer (as the Sunday version of The Guardian is known). ‘We know that the Russian government offered money to Arron Banks’, she said. ‘I am not even going to go into the lies that Arron Banks has told about his covert relationship with the Russian government’, she added, ‘I say he lied about his contact with the Russian government. Because he did.’

But it turns out that it was Cadwalladr who had a tricky relationship with the truth. Angered by her assertions, Arron Banks sued her for libel. Three weeks ago, she publicly backed down from one of her accusations. ‘On 22 Oct 2020,’ she said, ‘I tweeted that Arron had been found to have broken the law. I accept he has not. I regret making this false statement, which I have deleted. I undertake not to repeat it. I apologise to Arron for the upset and distress caused.’

This week Cadwalladr went further. The judge in the libel trial ruled that the meaning of her statement that Banks had lied about his relationship with the Russians was that he had lied about taking money from Russia, and that she had intended this as a statement of fact, not a call for further investigation. In the face of this judgement, Cadwalladr withdrew her ‘truth’ defence and has been ordered to pay Banks’ costs relating to this aspect of the case. In this way she in effect conceded that she was not willing to defend as fact the proposition that Russia financed Leave via Banks. While Cadwalladr continues to fight the case using a ‘public interest’ defence, the withdrawal of the truth argument is a dramatic concession.

The Banks story is not the only problematic aspect of Cadwalladr’s reporting. The journalist earned international plaudits and a prestigious Orwell prize for her report on how the British firm Cambridge Analytica supposedly used big data dredged up out of Facebook to help both the Leave campaign and Donald Trump win victories in 2016. This too had a Russian connection. In a 2018 article for The Observer Cadwalladr described how, ‘Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University academic who orchestrated the harvesting of Facebook data, had previously unreported ties a Russian university. … Cambridge Analytica, the data firm he worked with … also attracted interest from a key Russian firm with links to the Kremlin.’

Others jumped on the Russia-Cambridge connection. ‘The Facebook data farmed by Cambridge Analytica was accessed from Russia’, claimed British MP Damien Collins, head of the House of Commons Select Committee for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport. In this capacity, he then published a report outlining allegations of Russian propaganda and meddling in British affairs, including unsubstantiated insinuations that Russian money had influenced the Brexit campaign via Mr Banks.

And yet, all this was false too. The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) spent over two years investigating Cambridge Analytica, including its alleged role in the Brexit referendum, the 2016 US presidential election, and its supposed ties to Russian government influence operations. Having completed its investigation, the ICO reported that apart from a single Russian IP address in data connected to Cambridge Analytica, it had found no evidence of Russian involvement with the company. Moreover, it concluded that claims of the company’s enormous influence were ‘hype’, unjustified by the facts.

In other words, just like the Steele dossier, the whole story about Russia influencing the outcome of the Brexit referendum was made-up nonsense.

And yet, it has had an enormous influence. The allegations that Russia ‘interfered’ in Brexit have been repeated again and again – in parliamentary reports, newspaper articles, scholarly journals, books, social media, and so on. Despite their falsehood, they have enjoyed a spread and influence that Russian ‘meddlers’ could only dream of.

Will the peddlers of British disinformation repent? Will they now pen scores of articles admitting that they were wrong? Will they give evidence to parliament denouncing the scourge of false stories about Russia emanating from the British media and MPs?

Of course not. Ms Cadwalladr’s humiliation will get a few lines buried somewhere deep in some newspapers’ inner pages, and will then be forgotten. Meanwhile, the original claims will remain uncorrected in the many documents that repeat them, and the myth of Russian interference in Brexit will trundle on as a basis for denouncing the threat emanating from the East. The damage has been done. Ms Cadwalladr has been discredited, but someone else will soon be found to pick up the torch.

Paul Robinson is a professor at the University of Ottawa. He writes about Russian and Soviet history, military history, and military ethics.

November 30, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Biden Reportedly Considering Making Congresswoman Who Pushed Taliban Bounties Story His CIA Director

By Ilya Tsukanov – Sputnik – 29.11.2020

Joe Biden began announcing picks for his cabinet this week, even as incumbent Donald Trump continues to refuse to concede, citing alleged widespread voter fraud. On Tuesday, Biden selected Iraq, Libyan and Syrian war proponent Antony Blinken, his former vice presidential national security advisor, for the key post of secretary of state.

The Biden camp is actively considering naming Democratic Michigan congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA analyst, senior Pentagon official and Iraq War intelligence operative as his CIA director, the New York Times has reported, citing people said to be familiar with the deliberations.

The 44-year-old New York City native is known to have served three tours of duty in Iraq as a CIA militia expert during the late Bush and early Obama administrations, and to have later gone on to work at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and for the National Security Council. In 2012, she moved on to the Pentagon, and in 2015, was tapped for the role of acting secretary of defence for international security affairs.

At the Defence Department, Slotkin was involved in ramping up the scale of US military operations on Russia’s western borders, and at the same time charged with ensuring ‘deconfliction’ between Russian and US military aircraft in Syria. Her responsibilities are also said to have included drone and cyber warfare, as well as homeland defence.

During her bid for Congress in 2018, WSWS named Slotkin as one of ‘The CIA Democrats’, i.e. one of a peculiarly large cohort of ex-intelligence and military veterans seeking to compete for vulnerable Republican-held seats in the midterm elections.

Criticism of Trump

Slotkin co-authored an op-ed in The Detroit News last week urging Donald Trump to concede the election. In October, she reportedly expressed concerns that America might be ‘hurtling toward’ a constitutional crisis based on Trump’s allegations of plans by the Democrats to rig the election.

Slotkin has attacked Trump on a range of foreign policy matters, from his Iran policy, to his corruption probe against the Biden family’s alleged corruption in Ukraine (which she said warranted Trump’s impeachment), to what she characterized as his strange relationship with Russia.

In the summer of 2020, when the New York Times, the Washington Post and other US media reported the (since debunked) claims by ‘anonymous intelligence officials’ that Russia had offered the Taliban bounties for US troops’ heads, Slotkin blasted Trump over his numerous telephone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and suggested that there was “something… off about” the relationship between the two men “since the beginning,” with Americans “quite literally paying in blood for [Trump’s] pandering to Putin” in Afghanistan.

The White House, Russian officials and the Taliban have since dismissed the ‘bounty’ claims, with the militia accusing the Afghani government of deliberately seeking to derail the withdrawal of US troops from the war-torn Central Asian nation.

In October, Slotkin asked Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe to brief congress on the extent of the alleged threat posed by Russia and Iran to the US election process, alleging that the Russian and Iranian efforts “remain persistent and sadly effective in sowing distrust and division among the American people.”

Slotkin made headlines last week when she said she would not support Nancy Pelosi’s bid for speaker of the House, briefly causing speculation about serious divisions in the Democratic Party. Pelosi handily won reelection as speaker anyway, with no one stepping up to challenge her.

November 29, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Cause of Death: A Primer

By Kip Hansen | Watts Up With That? | November 28, 2020

There has been massive media attention on Covid-19 deaths – and there have been a lot of them. The CDC as of noon on 26 November 2020 was reporting that there have been 259,005 total Covid-19 deaths in the United States.

Yet anyone who reads widely is aware that there have been reports of a motorcycle accident victim being reported as a Covid death. There are many who correctly report that all people dying from or with Covid and even suspected of dying from-or-with Covid-19 are all being counted as certified reportable must-make-the-headlines Covid-19 Deaths.

[Note: This is a long and rather detailed explanation of what leads to the situation in which we find ourselves regarding Covid-19 Deaths reporting. Those who want a better understanding of the issue should continue reading.  Readers with no or little interest can just accept this brief synopsis: “It’s  Complicated” and move on to other posts. ]

Various experts, journalists, bloggers, and pundits tells us that “Covid Deaths” are being over-counted, mis-counted and even under-counted. Other pundits and media-reported experts desperately try to reassure us that Covid Death counts are correct and real – and that we should all stay concerned and follow all government mandates – which vary from “reasonable” to “obviously based on magical thinking” (closing bars and restaurants at 10 PM because that’s when the Corona Virus Zombies attack)  —  all this despite various governments having different and contradictory mandates (or even an absence  of mandates) and the various States in the United States following differing rules and policies on Covid Deaths reporting. Those reporting “facts” like “US Covid-19 Deaths overestimated by 17 times” (based on this CDC comorbitity data) are sadly mistaken and misinform the general public, just adding to the general confusion on the subject.

Doctors, Coroners and Medical Examiners will calmly explain that “Cause of Death” is complicated and not simple. And they are right. Most of us think that when a person dies, it is obvious what killed him/her. But that is just not the case.  In fact, everyone dies of a combination of ”heart stoppage” [cardiac arrest] and “cessation of breathing” which eventually leads to “brain death”. But these are not usually listed as the Cause of Death on a death certificate.

Covid Deaths are being counted and reported based on advice from the CDC, who has based its advice on advice from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists  (.pdf). More on what that means later.

The Primer:  What is meant by Cause of Death?

When a person dies in a hospital or other setting, there is some doctor, coroner or medical examiner that fills out a death certificate – officially certifying that John/Jane Doe has died and reports the date, time, place, Social Security number and other personal details along with the circumstances and sequence of events that led to that death.

Here’s a CDC-annotated image of the Cause of Death portion of a typical death certificate:

We are interested here only in Parts I and II.

“Part I

This section on the death certificate is for reporting the sequence of conditions that led directly to death. The immediate cause of death, which is the disease or condition that directly preceded death and is not necessarily the underlying cause of death (UCOD), should be reported on line a. The conditions that led to the immediate cause of death should be reported in a logical sequence in terms of time and etiology below it.

The UCOD, which is “(a) the disease or injury which initiated the train of morbid events leading directly to death or (b) the circumstances of the accident or violence which produced the fatal injury” (7), should be reported on the lowest line used in Part I.”

[ source: CDC here – .pdf ]

Let’s look at a CDC example:

This patient had Coronary Artery Disease for seven years — which led to Coronary artery thrombosis from which the patient suffered for 5 years — which led to Acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) after which he survived for 6 days until — his heart ruptured resulting in death within minutes. Conditions contributing to his/her death were diabetes, COPD, and smoking. Each of these “significant conditions contributing to death, but not resulting in the underlying cause” are themselves known to cause a wide range of other serious conditions.  For instance, smoking is believed to cause COPD and heart disease. Diabetes can cause cardiovascular diseases “including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis).” Notice that there is a dedicated section “35” asking “Did tobacco use contribute to death?” For this patient, the doctor chose “Yes” – thus the CDC will count this death as one of the 480,000 annual tobacco deaths.

Let’s look at another example (from the same document):

This person suffered from noninsulin dependent Diabetes mellitus, often called Type 2 Diabetes, for 15 years.  As sometimes happens, this diabetes sufferer eventually went into a Hyperosmolar nonketotic coma in which she/he remained for  8 weeks before finally succumbing to Acute renal failure (kidney failure). The family of the patient would have told friends and neighbors that their loved one died of kidney failure.  They may have mentioned this was probably the end-of-line result of his/her long-term diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is known to cause the following conditions: Heart and blood vessel diseases, Nerve damage (neuropathy), Kidney damage (as in this patient), Eye damage, Slow healing, Hearing impairment,  and even Alzheimer’s disease.

It is clear that this second patient died of acute kidney failure – “Acute kidney failure is most common in people who are already hospitalized, particularly in critically ill people who need intensive care” — and is not necessarily a direct result of diabetes – but assumed in this case as kidney damage can be caused by diabetes.  The death certificate Part I sequence is reasonable and represents the doctor’s professional opinion.

“In certifying the cause of death, any disease, abnormality, injury, or poisoning, if believed to have adversely affected the decedent, should be reported. If the use of alcohol and/or other substance, a smoking history, or a recent pregnancy, injury, or surgery was believed to have contributed to death, then this condition should be reported. The conditions present at the time of death may be completely unrelated, arising independently of each other; or they may be causally related to each other, that is, one condition may lead to another which in turn leads to a third condition, and so forth. Death may also result from the combined effect of two or more conditions.”

Source CDC Medical Examiners’ and Coroners’ Handbook on Death Registration (.pdf)

So, you call the Cause of Death of these two patients. What was the Cause of Death of each?  Did  diabetes kill them both?  The first patient via atherosclerosis which kicked off the sequence in Part I? The second from the diabetes induced coma or was the coma from simply caused by being in intensive care?  Or was it the first patient’s life-long cigarette smoking causing the coronary artery disease? Or would you, as this doctor did, start the death sequence with his/her seven years of Atherosclerotic coronary artery disease?  In each case, there are several sequences that would be reasonable and could have been correctly entered by the attending physician, a coroner, or later by a medical examiner.

The above are pretty common examples – long-term conditions which lead to the next condition that finally leads to death. We don’t see the personal information part of the Death Certificate so we don’t know the age of these patients. The age of the patient is often key to Cause of Death – but is not to be used as a cause itself.

“Common problems in death certification

The elderly decedent should have a clear and distinct etiological sequence for cause of death, if possible. Terms such as senescence, infirmity, old age, and advanced age have little value for public health or medical research. Age is recorded elsewhere on the certificate. When a number of conditions resulted in death, the physician should choose the single sequence that, in his or her opinion, best describes the process leading to death, and place any other pertinent conditions in Part II.” [ source:  CDC my bolds – kh ]

And then this:

For statistical and research purposes, it is important that the causes of death and, in particular, the underlying cause of death, be reported as specifically and as precisely as possible. Careful reporting results in statistics for both underlying and multiple causes of death (i.e., all conditions mentioned on a death certificate) reflecting the best medical opinion.

Every cause-of-death statement is coded and tabulated in the statistical offices according to the latest revision of the International Classification of Diseases. “

Source CDC Medical Examiners’ and Coroners’ Handbook on Death Registration (.pdf) – my bold — kh

There are over 69,000 ICD-10 diagnostic codes. Someone goes through every death certificate filed and translates the diseases and conditions the doctors, coroners and medical examiners enter in Parts I and II into ICD-10 codes (soon to be ICD-11 codes). There are so many codes that there are many online look-up tools and apps to help medical staff code up office visits and others to code up Cause of Death certificates. The first Death Certificate above might be coded: “ E08.01 Diabetes mellitus due to underlying condition with hyperosmolarity with coma” – which would cover Part I lines “c” and “b”. This diagnosis is billable. This app helpfully informs the staff if the ICD-10 code they select is “billable” – if not billable, we can safely suspect that office assistants coding office visits can search for a true but alternate diagnostic code that is billable. “All conditions mentioned on a death certificate” are translated to ICD-10 codes and eventually tabulated “for statistical and research purposes.” In our two sample Death Certificates, there are ten different diseases and conditions mentioned.  Thus each of the ten condition codes eventually, at the CDC and WHO level, gets a little “tick-mark” – a plus one – added to the number of deaths involving that ICD-10 code.

Thus the huge number of deaths reported for which smoking is claimed to be the cause, as we see in this next quote from the CDC:

“Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 7 million deaths per year. If the pattern of smoking all over the globe doesn’t change, more than 8 million people a year will die from diseases related to tobacco use by 2030.

Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.”

[ source:  CDC here ]

Most people simply accept those statements as fact, though they know of no one who put a cigarette in their mouth, lit up, and died as a direct result. Through many years of public health anti-smoking/anti-tobacco education we have been taught that smoking or otherwise using tobacco can lead to a long list of health problems, many of which cause or contribute to the eventual death of the smoker. In this case, a life-time of tobacco use is referred to, by public health officials, as a “cause” of death – though it probably would not be listed as a cause on a death certificate. Despite not being listed as a cause on the Death Certificate, the CDC and WHO unequivocally tells us that smoking is “the leading cause of preventable death”.

As in many complicated subjects, there are varying definitions in use for the same terms – in this case “cause of death”. There is the general everyday use –  like “something that directly causes the death of a person, if it hadn’t happened, they wouldn’t have died”.  So, a person gets lung cancer, probably or presumably because they had been a life-long smoker, and dies from the lung cancer. We know they died of lung cancer but accept that smoking led to that death. It is this definition that the WHO uses above.  But it is not the official definition that is to be used on a Death Certificate as Cause of Death, which is in the quote far above, labelled Part I.

Those readers who watch any of the popular crime and police television series know that Cause of Death in trauma deaths is even more complicated — “homicide, accident or suicide?” — though those TV Medical Examiners are always portrayed as having almost paranormal insight – “blunt trauma to the head…but that’s not what killed him.”

One last quote from the handbook for medical examiners:

“Precision of knowledge required to complete death certificate items

The cause-of-death section in the medical examiner’s or coroner’s certification is always a medical opinion. This opinion is, of course, a synthesis of all information derived from both the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death …. It represents the best effort of the medical examiner or coroner to reduce to a few words his or her entire synthesis of the cause of death.”

[ emphasis in the original – kh ]

Bottom Line:  Cause of Death determination and reporting is complicated and highly dependent on the training and opinion of the person making the report.

# # # # #

Reporting of Covid-19 Deaths

Here’s the pivot point on Covid-19 Deaths:

This is from the CDC’s weekly Covid report.  See the Column 2 heading? It says “All Deaths Involving Covid-19 (U07.1)1”. The keyword is INVOLVING. To be perfectly clear, what is being reported by the CDC, as collected by the National Center for Health Statistics, are All (every one) Deaths (people dying) that Involved Covid-19See the little footnote indicator “1”?

Footnote 1 says: “COVID-19 deaths are identified using a new ICD–10 code. When COVID-19 is reported as a cause of death – or when it is listed as a “probable” or “presumed” cause — the death is coded as U07.1. This can include cases with or without laboratory confirmation.”

Not just verified cases in which Covid-19 was the immediate cause of death. At least, to be even clearer, not necessarily what you, the average reader, would consider THE cause of death.

So, what exactly are they counting when the CDC and WHO report Covid-10 Deaths? The World Health Organization’s official guidelines are:

2. DEFINITION FOR DEATHS DUE TO COVID-19

A death due to COVID-19 is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness, in a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case, unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to COVID disease (e.g. trauma). ….

A- RECORDING COVID-19 ON THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATE OF CAUSE OF DEATH

COVID-19 should be recorded on the medical certificate of cause of death for ALL decedents where the disease caused, or is assumed to have caused, or contributed to death.

[ my emphasis – kh  source:  WHO here .pdf ]

Note that the Death Certificate — Cause of Death Part II is “Other significant conditions contributing to…”. So, there is where Covid-19 (ICD code U07.1) would be written for any death in which Covid wasn’t “caused, or is assumed to have caused” but only contributed to the death.  If the decedent was a “Covid case” then he/she becomes a “Covid Death” if they die. Read on . . .

For the general public, who want to know “How many people are being killed by the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic?”, this definition does not supply the answer to their question. The vagueness and breadth of these definitions is exacerbated, in this “possibly-too-broad” sense, by the definitions being used to define “What is a Covid-19 case?” We see that the WHO definition of a Covid death includes “a probable or confirmedCOVID-19 case”.

So, how do WHO and the CDC define or advise doctors how to define/determine a Covid-19 case?

Clinical Criteria

At least two of the following symptoms: fever (measured or subjective), chills, rigors, myalgia, headache, sore throat, new olfactory and taste disorder(s)

OR

At least one of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing

OR

Severe respiratory illness with at least one of the following:

Clinical or radiographic evidence of pneumonia, OR

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

AND

No alternative more likely diagnosis

[ source:  CDC here ]

So, by this definition, I could at this very moment be declared to be a Covid-19 case. I have muscle pain (myalgia) and a headache  — two symptoms – — and yesterday, I had a cough — and, if I have reported to the ER and doctors are both rushed and spooked by the pandemic, there might be “no alternative more likely diagnosis”, in their minds at least. (Of course, I have these symptoms for reasons well known to me and my personal physician but this might not save me in the ER.) Especially if they also ask me a bunch of epidemiological questions:

“Epidemiologic Linkage

One or more of the following exposures in the 14 days before onset of symptoms:

Close contact** with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 disease;

OR

Close contact** with a person with:

clinically compatible illness

AND

linkage to a confirmed case of COVID-19 disease.

Travel to or residence in an area with sustained, ongoing community transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Member of a risk cohort as defined by public health authorities during an outbreak.

**Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet for at least a period of 10 minutes to 30 minutes or more depending upon the exposure. In healthcare settings, this may be defined as exposures of greater than a few minutes or more. Data are insufficient to precisely define the duration of exposure that constitutes prolonged exposure and thus a close contact.”

[ source: see previous quote ]

So, if I were in the Emergency Room, the ER doctor might ask me these questions:  Do you know anyone who isn’t feeling well? Have you been in close contact with them for more than 10 minutes? Have you attended any meeting with more than 10 people in the last 14 days? Have you been to church or a party?  Have you visited a restaurant or a bar? Any YES epidemiologically qualifies me as a Covid case. More questions: Do you wear a face mask whenever you are out of your own home? in your car? in WalMart? at the park? while mountain biking? Any NO qualifies me as a Covid case epidemiologically.

You can see how easy it is to be classified as a Covid-19 case. And they haven’t even tested me yet. (Read the link to see why even testing wouldn’t save me.) They would report me as a Covid case even if I tested negative – I might not be positive “yet”.

And while I describe my pending Covid-19 Case classification jokingly, it is a very real scenario. And, heaven forbid, were I to die of almost anything (except obvious trauma) in the next 14 days, I would become another Covid-19 Death statistic.

As most of us know by now, advanced age is a key factor in the vast majority of Covid-19 deaths:

Eighty percent (80%) of Covid-19 deaths are of those 65 years of age of or older – and a full one-third of the deaths occur in those over 85 years. If you are an adult today, then you were born between 1925 and 2000.  At your birth, you could expect to live (life expectancy at birth)  between 58 to 72 years, depending on your birth year. Those who are dying at 85 or older had a life expectancy at birth of less than 61 years. [My life expectancy at birth was about 66 years – so I have beaten the odds and hope to continue to do so for many years more.]

If this does not seem significant to you, I’ll repeat the CDC quote on reporting cause of death for the elderly – those 65 year of age or older. 

 “Common problems in death certification: The elderly decedent should have a clear and distinct etiological sequence for cause of death, if possible. Terms such as senescence, infirmity, old age, and advanced age have little value for public health or medical research. Age is recorded elsewhere on the certificate. When a number of conditions resulted in death, the physician should choose the single sequence that, in his or her opinion, best describes the process leading to death, and place any other pertinent conditions in Part II.” [ source:  CDC   my bolds – kh ]

For the elderly, the aged, the older citizen, which comprise the majority (80%) of Covid-19 deaths, any illness or condition that leads to breathing problems is prone to being classified as a Covid case, and thus a Covid-19 death in “a clinically compatible illness, in a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case”. 

Bottom Lines:

  • It is complicated.
  • Make no mistake, there are lots of people dying deaths that involve confirmed, assumed, or suspected Covid-19.
  • Somewhere between “Most” and “Almost All” of those deaths involved other conditions that were already killing the patients – sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly.
  • The official health organizations have their own reasons for what they are counting and they are counting exactly what they say they are counting – but it is not what you or I would expect them to count.  They are counting, as the CDC does, “All Deaths Involving Covid-19”.
  • The Covid-19 Death statistics represent the counts of the WHO, the CDC and other National and State public health agencies. The general public often mistakenly thinks those counts mean deaths in which Covid-19 was the immediate cause of death – deaths in which the person was killed by Covid-19. That is not the case – it is far more complicated than that.
  • The common citizen would have grave doubts about including each and every one of those dead people in the count of “Deaths Caused by Covid-19” if they were tasked with the job of reviewing all of the details of each death.  Our citizen might make up our own sensible classifications: such as:  ”Old Age complicated by Pneumonia initiated by a viral respiratory infection: maybe Covid-19 or influenza or the common cold”.
  • Doctors (and here), Coroners and Medical Examiners are not immune to taking easy shortcuts. The official definitions for Covid-19 cases (in the essay) make it an easy choice for hurried doctors, and official guidance requires at least Covid-19’s mention on Death Certificates, under a vast array of  normal circumstances during this pandemic. This is exacerbated by  RT-PCR tests returning “positive” test results for very small amounts of viral RNA fragments in asymptomatic people.

# # # # #

Addendum:

There has erupted a flap concerning Genevieve Briand’s research at John Hopkins on U.S. Covid-19 Deaths: I supply these links on the controversy:

Covid-19 Deaths: A Look at U.S. Data

pdf file: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iO0K75EZAF8dkNDkDmM3L4zNNY0X-Xw5/view

William Briggs: https://wmbriggs.com/post/33680/

Twitter Thread on the Paper: https://mobile.twitter.com/jhunewsletter/status/1332100136152035330

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TKJN61aflI

WayBack: https://web.archive.org/web/20201126163323/https://www.jhunewsletter.com/article/2020/11/a-closer-look-at-u-s-deaths-due-to-covid-19

John Hopkins News-Letter retraction notice: https://www.jhunewsletter.com/article/2020/11/a-closer-look-at-u-s-deaths-due-to-covid-19

Author’s Comment:

I have mentioned previously that I come from a medical family and studied the prerequisites for medical school in university, before changing majors for personal reasons.  Our home was filled with the joys of new life and the sorrow of babies’ and children’s deaths.  My generation fought and died by the thousands in the misguided military intervention in Viet Nam – some of these were my cousins and high school and college friends.

We are all sad when lives are cut short.

Covid-19, the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is shortening the lives of thousands in the United States and around the world.  One blessing is that it is mostly shortening the lives of those who have already had a life – as opposed to stealing the entire lives of our children and young people.

Public health organizations have valid reasons for counting “All Deaths Involving Covid-19”  using their own internal definitions, which are suitable for epidemiological studies and research when combined with all the other information being collected to produce that statistic.  That statistic, created with their surveillance and epidemiological definitions, is not suitable for release to the general public without a long and complicated explanation – releasing just the number, and labeling it as Covid-19 Deaths is a form of misinformation.

The media, politicians, health agencies and governments have utterly failed to effectively communicate the reality of Covid deaths, failed to illuminate the caveats and complexities of Cause of Death reporting and instead of have repeatedly just reported this “Big Number” in a usage that is seems to be intentionally misleading.

November 28, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment

With Carole Cadwalladr’s ‘journalism’ deemed untrue and her libel trial unravelling, will she get to keep her awards?

By Damian Wilson | RT | November 26, 2020

Discredited, Brexit-obsessed hack Carole Cadwalladr faces having to explain why demonstrably false claims of dodgy Russian links, illegal funding and data manipulation during the referendum deserve journalism’s highest accolades.

The headline said it all above the prize-winning journalist’s latest piece, ‘A shadowy global operation involving big data, billionaire friends of Trump and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign influenced the result of the EU referendum.’

Wow! As a tale, it was a liberal journalist’s jackpot. Scheming Russians meddling in British democracy from the heart of Westminster, nefarious foreign agents pulling the strings of populist political puppets to influence the outcome of the most important referendum in a generation.

The shocking details of wrongdoing certainly would have been award-worthy journalism, had any of it been true.

The wild allegations have been slowly unravelling in the Le Carré-style intrigue woven by Carole Cadwalladr, a features hack on The Observer newspaper (circulation a humble 140K), who claims one of the key actors, Leave.EU backer Arron Banks had called her “a crazy conspiratorial woman who lives alone with their cats.” While she was offended by the misogyny of that insult, it’s nothing to the shame she now faces.

With her credibility shot to pieces, surely crusading Cadwalladr should hand back her coveted Orwell Prize and the Reporters Without Borders ‘L’esprit de RSF’ gong she won for her series of articles on alleged foreign interference in British politics.

Because her world of carefully crafted conspiracy has finally crumbled, she was expected to appear in court this morning for the latest round of Banks’ libel case against her – she accused him of telling lies about his relationship with Russia in a TED Talk. Online reports claimed the journalist had pulled the plug at the eleventh hour on two of the three defences she was relying on – truth and limitation – clinging to the lone defence that her claims against Banks were all in the public interest.

But, surely, by admitting that you have no evidence to prove something is true, it cannot logically be argued that publishing said thing is in the public interest? Or am I missing something?

Banks, who has clearly got under Cadwalladr’s skin, expects a finale, tweeting today: “It’s hugely disappointing that she couldn’t just apologise months ago and draw a line under this whole episode.”

What should really sting Cadwalladr is the bill for a £62,000 (almost $83,000) down-payment towards Banks’ legal costs – likely to be much higher later – that she has been ordered to make. But that financial pain has been massively eased by the vast stockpile of cash her gullible supporters have donated, thanks to her crowdfunding efforts. So far her fantasies have raised more than half a million pounds – £364,000 ($486,000) on gofundme, £168,000 ($224,000) on crowdjustice and almost £10,000 on crowdfunder. Who needs to worry about legal costs when the money is so easy to come by?

No doubt Banks will have his eye on that crowdfunded war chest.

With the National Crime Agency finding no evidence of wrongdoing, the Information Commissioner (ICO) clearing Cambridge Analytica of any wrongdoing whatsoever and Cadwalladr herself admitting she had wrongly accused Banks of having broken the law, this shameful put-up job may finally have run its course.

And what about the allegedly suspect £8 million in loans Banks lent to Leave.EU probed by the NCA? It’s final report read, “The NCA has found no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed… It will therefore take no further action against Mr Banks.”

And all that dodgy data manipulation by Cambridge Analytica? Just last month, the ICO, Elizabeth Denham, completed a three-year inquiry only to announce there was “no further evidence to change my earlier view that CA (Cambridge Analytica) was not involved in the EU referendum campaign in the UK.”

These findings make a mockery of all those self-congratulatory awards handed out among the liberal media on both sides of the Atlantic for exposing… absolutely nothing.

No Russian funding. No Cambridge Analytica interference. No criminality. Nothing.

This humiliation wasn’t the end. Last month Cadwalladr couldn’t bear to leave well-enough alone and took to Twitter once more to attack her nemesis, in a move that hilariously backfired.

The result? Well, it wasn’t pretty. The journalist, no doubt through gritted teeth, announced on Twitter on November 6 that, “On 22 Oct 2020, I tweeted that Arron had been found to have broken the law. I accept he has not. I regret making this false statement, which I have deleted. I undertake not to repeat it. I apologise to Arron for the upset and distress caused.”

Still, the libel case hung over Cadwalladr’s head but the slim thread holding it looks about ready to snap, thanks to the lack of any viable defence, and that should finally close the book on this fairy tale, as soon as a few remaining wrongs are righted.

Because if justice really is to be done then Cadwalladr should hand back those prizes wrongly awarded to her on the basis of disinformation, accompanied by a grovelling apology and that self-righteous TED Talk should be taken down immediately. Yet somehow I don’t think any of this will happen because we all know that the liberal media is never wrong, even when it clearly is.

Depressingly, it appears yet again that there is more than a shred of truth to the cynical maxim in journalism, to NEVER let the facts stand in the way of a good story.

Damian Wilson is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.

November 27, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Obama’s book tour is a reminder he’s the media’s favorite celebrity. He could never survive the scrutiny Trump faces

By Zachary Leeman | RT | November 26, 2020

Barack Obama is out promoting his new book through puff-piece media interviews, a reminder of how much he got away with as president and the fact that he couldn’t handle the level of scrutiny thrown at his successor, Donald Trump.

Watching media interviews with Obama while he promotes his new book ‘A Promised Land,’ you’d think he was a movie star talking up a film project, rather than the former commander-in-chief.

From playing “wastepaper basketball” with late night host Stephen Colbert to fielding softball questions about what Trump’s ascension to political power “says” about the US, Obama has been given a platform time and time-again to paint himself as a positive leader in contrast to Trump’s brash style.

The truth is Obama would never have made it through his eight years if he were forced to face the media scrutiny that Trump faces. Say what you will about Trump’s typo-laden, early morning tweets and his combative interactions with journalists, but he is arguably the most accessible president in US history. He may call his media critics “fake news,” but he also does this in the open and faces them head-on.

Obama has enjoyed – and continues to enjoy – a love affair with the mainstream media that’s allowed him to not only paint a false narrative about his own presidency, but also to avoid pesky questioning about his failings.

The former president has, for instance, been used as a talking head in interviews to give his ‘expert’ advice on Trump’s 2016 victory and his continued popularity with a large portion of the US (even losing to Biden, he still gained millions of votes in 2020).

On Hispanics who voted for the president, Obama dismissed them as “evangelical” voters who weigh certain issues as more important than others.

“The fact that Trump says racist things about Mexicans or puts detainees, undocumented workers, in cages, they think that’s less important than the fact that he supports their views on gay marriage or abortion,” he told ‘The Breakfast Club’ radio show this week.

Following a statement like this, one might be inclined to ask Obama about these “cages” being built and utilized during his administration, or ask him what he believes Trump’s views on gay marriage and abortion actually are. While the current president has said he’s for “traditional marriage” in the past, he also technically entered office in approval of gay marriage. Obama, on the other hand, did not endorse the idea until 2012, years into his presidency.

There were no such follow-up questions. Obama was allowed to paint the narrative where he is the good liberal battling it out with hate-mongers like Trump and his religious supporters wearing blinders.

The former president has also been given plenty of opportunities to dissect the state of the media today and Trump’s relationship with it.

In an interview with The Atlantic, Obama lamented that there is no common narrative anymore, but rather separate narratives that present ‘alternate facts’ based on the same story to feed into different audiences.

“I think it is the single biggest threat to our democracy,” he said. “I think Donald Trump is a creature of this, but he did not create it. He may be an accelerant of it, but it preceded him and will outlast him. I am deeply troubled by how we address it.”

Perhaps Obama should be asked about how he “addressed” it during his presidency. He not only called Fox News, one of the outlets most critical of him, “destructive” during his time in office, but also used the 1917 Espionage Act to prosecute more people for leaking sensitive information than all other previous administrations combined.

His Justice Department seized the records of 20 Associated Press office phone lines and reporters’ numbers without notice, claiming it was part of a larger investigation into disclosure of information about a terrorist plot. It was just one of many times Obama was accused by critics of infringing on press freedoms. As negative as Trump is about the media, Obama was a closed-off president, with an administration incredibly combative with the press behind the scenes.

Does he get asked about the contrast of these actions with his words now about press freedom? Of course not. Just like when he was president, the majority of the media simply let him speak and they do not question. They’re more concerned about mean tweets.

Obama has remained relatively unscathed by his actions as president and controversies surrounding him and his inner circle – Joe Biden, anyone? – because the press treats him like a celebrity as opposed to a politician. Ironically, Trump, a man who built a fortune off of being a celebrity, is treated more as a politician by the press than his predecessor.

“I just want to take a moment to drink you in for just a moment, because I’m having to get used to looking at a president again,” Colbert told Obama this week in an embarrassing, beaming interview.

If Colbert, a liberal talking head who poses as a comedian, really cared so deeply about the office of the presidency, he could have asked Obama about his empty promises to end the wars in the Middle East versus his actual war-hawk actions as president. He could have asked him about Guantanamo Bay, Operation Fast and Furious, accusations that Joe Biden used his office to take part in his son Hunter’s international business dealings, or one of a million other deeds that put his eight years in the Oval Office in a bad light.

Instead, he asks him how horrible Trump is and gives him time to sell his friendly demeanor to an audience still convinced he was a good president.

Obama’s press tour is a reminder of the failure of the media during his eight years in office. While you will still hear unproven claims based on anonymous reports about Trump calling deceased soldiers “losers” or Russia putting bounties on US soldiers’ heads, you will not hear a peep about Obama’s controversies. The media continues to be in overdrive in their bid to sell him as a positive, shining example of American leadership. By doing this, they create a contrast with the current president, which backs up their questionable reporting on him while he’s been in office.

Bottom line? Don’t trust the media. Not when it comes to Trump, and definitely not when it comes to their favorite celebrity: Obama.

Zachary Leeman is the author of the novel Nigh and journalist who covers art and culture. He has previously written for outlets such as Breitbart, LifeZette, and BizPac Review among others. Follow him on Twitter @WritingLeeman

November 27, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

Will Inquiries Into the Bidens’ Alleged Pay-to-Play Scheme Continue if Joe Occupies Oval Office?

By Ekaterina Blinova – Sputnik – 26.11.2020

The election controversy has completely eclipsed the Hunter Biden story, which made the rounds on social media last month. Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel has explained what will happen to the Senate probe into the Bidens’ alleged “pay-to-play” schemes and other inquiries into dynastic political families should Joe Biden take office.

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) have made it clear that they will continue probing foreign deals struck by ex-Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter in the US Congress regardless of who is sworn into office as the US president in January 2021.

“I’m not going to turn a blind eye”, Johnson, the incoming chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told The Hill. “I’m very confident there are probably more financial transactions that will probably be revealed”.

The Republican senators, who earlier released a report on the Biden family’s questionable business dealings and potential conflicts of interest involving Hunter Biden’s foreign associates and his father’s political influence, revealed further details about the Bidens’ financial operations with overseas companies on 18 November.

Will the GOP Continue Digging Into Hunter Biden?

The fate of the Senate investigation into the Bidens is hanging in the balance given the upcoming Georgia runoffs on 5 January 2021, which will determine the fate of the upper chamber, according to Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel.

“The Senate investigation will likely continue only if Republicans retain control of that body”, he says. “At present, Republicans hold 50 seats, while Democrats and allied independents hold 48 seats. Should Democrats pick up both remaining runoff races, then the Senate would be tied, 50 to 50. If Biden and Harris are inaugurated, then Harris would break any tie vote and hand effective control of the Senate to Democrats, in which event resources to continue full-fledged investigations into Biden family corruption and crimes certainly would be cut off.”

The GOP senators’ new report is partly based on evidence provided by Tony Bobulinski, a former business associate of Hunter Biden who came forward in October alleging the ex-vice president’s participation in his son’s business schemes. Having agreed to cooperate with the Senate Homeland Security Committee in October, Bobulinski revealed that he had been interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding Hunter’s role in Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company.

Still, Ortel expresses scepticism with regard to the potential probe, suggesting that “the odds are minuscule that the Senate or House of Representatives will continue to probe the Bobulinski allegations and matters related to longstanding, extensive Biden family corruption, and vulnerabilities to foreign influences” if Biden wins the Oval Office.

“The mainstream press worldwide is also not likely to further required investigations into claims that seem far more significant than any claims made and pursued against Donald Trump and his allies”, the Wall Street analyst believes.

Biden & Clinton Charities: ‘Trading Money for Influence’

Meanwhile, conservative US media outlets have shed light on yet another potentially damaging episode for the Biden family and its non-profit The Biden Cancer Initiative, founded in 2017 by ex-Vice President Joe Biden and his wife. According to IRS files, the charity gave out no grants in its first two years, but spent millions of dollars “on the salaries of former Washington DC aides it hired”, as the New York Post reported on 14 November. In 2019, the non-profit entity abruptly suspended its operations after Joe Biden joined the presidential race. The story was initially reported by the Washington Free Beacon in June 2020.

“As we see from the glacial pace at which massive charity fraud and corruption involving ‘charities’ close to Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton may be conducted, shocking defects in many Biden ‘charities’ seem to be overlooked by the IRS and by the Justice Department”, Ortel says. “It almost seems that dynastic political families are allowed to trade money for influence through leaky tax-exempt organisations, as an informal perquisite of office.”

Ortel, who has been looking into the Clinton Foundation’s alleged fraud for the past several years, has repeatedly drawn attention to a supposed cover-up of the charity’s financial and organisational discrepancies by the FBI, DOJ, and IRS for decades.

At the same time, the very same government agencies are eager to go after conservative entities and Republican politicians, the analyst notes, citing a crackdown against the NRA earlier this year and charities operated by the Trump family.

MSM Will Continue to Lose Market Share & Influence

The US mainstream media has remained largely silent about the Bidens’ charity controversy, the September Senate report detailing the Bidens’ questionable financial transactions, as well as about a hard drive allegedly originating from Hunter Biden’s laptop. Much in the same vein, the MSM shied away from shedding light on the new research released by Grassley and Johnson last week.

This trend is likely to continue, according to Ortel, who believes that “it will fall to alternative media to pick up the charge”.

“Increasingly, individuals get news and information through search engines and via social media, rather than through traditional media that long has been all for unregulated globalism, for Democrats, and against conservative economic and political thinking”, he says.

To illustrate his point, the analyst draws attention to “the crushing drop in audience across Fox News shows since 3 November 2020 over their horrid reporting and ‘analysis'” and suggests it “shows how fast the viewing public does react”. He predicts that “very quickly, steep declines in viewership for Fox, and across traditional media likely will accelerate declines in all-important advertising revenue”.

“Mainstream media continues to lose market share and influence, though its anchors and pundits believe they remain super important and relevant, incorrectly”, he concludes.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

A U.S. Color Revolution ‘Comes Home to Roost’ in the 2020 Election

By Max Parry • Unz Review • November 25, 2020

It has been more than three weeks since election day and the incumbent U.S. president still has yet to concede defeat. Despite the media’s distraction over the perspiration of his personal attorney during a bizarre press conference, the legal team led by former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has actually done a decent job uncovering potential fraud in battleground states where vote counting was delayed for several days before the former vice president was declared a “winner” by the news media and Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, the 2020 election is not a sporting event or academic paper, therefore evidence that instances of fraud occurred will likely not be enough for the litigation to change the outcome, though it does appear his camp is finally facing up to leaving the White House come January. Then again, whether or not burden of proof was ever provided is immaterial, seeing as before he even took the oath of office a silent coup was underway to remove the democratically-elected government of Donald J. Trump that is now entering its final phase.

Trump found an unlikely voice of support contesting Biden’s premature declaration of victory in former six-term Democratic Congresswoman from Georgia and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, who this time was the running mate of former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura as a write-in entrant in some eligible states for the divided Greens who officially nominated labor activist Howie Hawkins. During the 2016 election, the Democrats scapegoated Jill Stein for Hillary Clinton’s unexpected loss, even baselessly implicating the Green Party nominee in the Russiagate hoax simply for having appeared at a 2015 Moscow gala for the RT television network where General Michael Flynn and Russian President Vladimir Putin were in attendance. Not only did the legislatures of swing states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin exclude Hawkins from the ballot at the behest of Democrats in a shameless act of voter suppression, but McKinney described the irregularities which plagued electronic voting machines in her home state of Georgia in 2020 as “déjà vu”, having been cheated out of Congress herself by such tactics in 2006. McKinney also previously penned an essay entitled “The Purple Revolution: U.S. Hybrid Warfare Comes Home to Roost?” on the establishment’s efforts to remove Trump which makes an apropos historical reference.

This November 22nd marked fifty-seven years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy. When asked for his reaction to the killing of the 35th president in Dallas back in 1963 and less than two years before his own public murder, civil rights leader Malcolm X famously stated that “chickens were coming home to roost”, alluding to the U.S. government’s interventions overseas such as the CIA-orchestrated assassination of the first Prime Minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba, in 1960 following its independence from Belgian colonial rule. His remarks in the wake of a national tragedy proved too controversial even for the Nation of Islam which publicly censured its most recognizable minister who would announce his departure from the black nationalist organization a few months later. The following year, he would be gunned down in Harlem in an assassination long-suspected to have been the work of the FBI’s counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) which had infiltrated his inner circle to frame the NOI for a mysterious death equally thought by the public to have been a state-sanctioned execution like that of JFK.

It is unclear whether the African-American Muslim leader believed the U.S. government was behind Kennedy’s death, but chances are he was not naïve enough to think that the same machinations used abroad could not be implemented by those very forces domestically to remove someone elected by the American people they opposed. If the Kennedy assassination was indeed a result of the “unwarranted influence of the military-industrial complex” which his predecessor Dwight D. Eisenhower even famously warned of during his farewell address, what took place was almost certainly a secret putsch. The president had already been undercut by his own Joint Chiefs of Staff and Central Intelligence Agency in trying to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis and his back-channel negotiations with Nikita Khrushchev were sabotaged by hawkish officials within his own administration. The internal struggle that scuttled Kennedy’s attempts at détente parallels the vying factions which undermined Trump ’s diplomacy with North Korea to a near tee.

Political scientist Michael Parenti explained in his essay The JFK Assassination: Defending the Gangster State how the 35th president was targeted by the security state which perceived Kennedy as “soft on communism” and placating the Soviet Union in his diplomatic efforts following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion:

“The dirty truth is that Kennedy was heartily hated by right-wing forces in this country, including many powerful people in the intelligence organizations. He had betrayed the national interest as they defined it, by refusing to go all out against Cuba, making overtures of rapproachment with Castro, and refusing to escalate the ground war in Vietnam. They also saw him as an anti-business liberal who was taking the country down the wrong path. Whether Kennedy really was all that liberal is another matter. What the national security rightists saw him to be was what counted.”

While the widely perceived truth about the JFK assassination remains sealed from public view, the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commissions of the 1970s exposed the numerous CIA-backed juntas which unseated popular leaders in Guatemala, Syria, Iran, the Dominican Republic, the Congo, Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, and countless other nations in the global south. Ever since, the CIA’s preferred regime change stratagem has been to use what are paradoxically labeled non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — which actually receive U.S. government funding — as cutouts to destabilize noncompliant nations under the guise of supporting “pro-democracy” opposition movements. During the Cold War, the vast majority of states overthrown were left-leaning or socialist governments aligned with the Eastern Bloc, but in the post-Soviet world many of the toppled administrations have been far from left-wing and even conservative, with their only offense favoring economic ties with Russia or China and resisting Western hegemony.

Similarly, when domestic protest movements have taken shape at home in the U.S., the political establishment has used plutocratic foundations in Big Philanthropy and the Non-Profit Industrial Complex to defang them for its own agenda. Look no further than the way the nationwide mass demonstrations against racism and police brutality this year were rapidly transformed into a movement to elect Joe Biden, who drafted the senate version of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, with no substantial legislation passed to reform police. The corporatized Black Lives Matter movement, a recipient of $100 million dollar grants from the CIA’s philanthropic frontage in the Ford Foundation, grew out of the legacy of the short-lived Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011 which itself were coopted by reformist and pro-Democratic Party outfits. Not coincidentally, OWS was also infiltrated by Serbian political activist Srđa Popović of Otpor! (“Resistance!”) and the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) fame who previously led the Bulldozer Revolution which overthrew Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević in 2000.

A central component of the Gene Sharp-inspired ‘Color Revolution’ template is the engineering of contested election scenarios where leaders singled-out for regime change can be ousted after appearing to consolidate power, as seen in election-themed revolutions in Serbia (Bulldozer), Georgia (Rose), Ukraine (Orange), Kyrgyzstan (Tulip), Moldova (Grape), and other countries. The same manner in which Biden declared himself the victor in spite of the lawsuits filed in federal court was recently observed abroad in the disputed election aftermath in Belarus where U.S.-backed opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya announced herself the winner of its presidential contest in order to spark preplanned protests in Minsk against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. This was a replication of an unsuccessful blueprint from the 2009 Green Movement unrest in Iran during the incumbency of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as the presidential crisis in Venezuela last year, among others.

Trump‘s lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared to be confused when he alleged that the e-voting irregularities involving the election software company Dominion Voting Systems had ties to diseased former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and international financier George Soros, who actually supports the U.S.-backed opposition to the Chavista government in Caracas. Giuliani may be mistaken but is pointing to something accurate, except in the contested U.S. election his client is in the position of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro while Biden would be the equivalent of self-appointed “interim president” Juan Guaidó. Sans a few exceptions such as Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (who certainly knows a rigged contest when he sees one), most of the “international community” congratulated Biden on his assumed win just like Venezuela’s illegitimate coup leader. Meanwhile, both the pseudo-left and conservative right seem to be equally misunderstood about Soros, who is neither the charitable billionaire or “globalist” bogeyman they imagine, but rather an anti-communist business tycoon who favors vulture capitalism and Western imperialism under the banner of liberal democracy.

As touched on by Cynthia McKinney, in the aftermath of Trump’s shocking triumph over Hillary Clinton in 2016, rumors began to swirl that a Soros-funded U.S. ‘Color Revolution’ was in the works — a ‘Purple Revolution’, monikered after the noticeable shade Mrs. Clinton chose to don in her concession speech as a combination of blue and red intended to symbolize bipartisan opposition to Trump. Whether or not that was true, it was in the wee hours following her loss that the Clinton campaign reportedly settled on placing the blame at the feet of unproven Russian interference for Trump’s unlikely victory. Or was it even earlier? Recently declassified CIA memorandums proved that months before the election in July 2016, Clinton had orchestrated a plan to whip up a smear campaign tying Trump to the alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee email server. The documents also showed beyond a doubt how the Russia probe was launched even though both the FBI and CIA were privy to Clinton’s intent on linking Trump with the Kremlin.

The three-year Russia investigation and subsequent impeachment over the Ukraine scandal were only the beginning chapters in the slow-motion soft coup against Trump. When all else failed, the U.S. elite began to prepare for his ouster in the 2020 election. In fact, the possibility of a second Trump term was evidently too much of a nightmare for the establishment to even fathom, so they only prepared for his defeat and presupposed refusal to relinquish power instead. Quite literally, an exclusive cabal of Washington insiders, establishment Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans were gathered by a former high-ranking Pentagon official, Nils Gilman, to participate in role-playing “election simulation” scenarios and tabletop “war game” exercises predicting various election outcomes which anticipated that Trump would resist acknowledging defeat and transferring power, precipitating a constitutional crisis. It was called the Transition Integrity Project (TIP) and featured Clintonites John Podesta and Donna Brazile, who were joined by prominent neoconservative figures William Kristol, Max Boot, and the former George W. Bush speechwriter who coined the “Axis of Evil” phrase, war criminal David Frum.

Most telling is that among the scenarios considered, even in the postulated drill where the premise was a decisive victory for Trump, TIP determined that Biden should ignore the vote result and consider any measures necessary to attain the presidency, including provoking a constitutional crisis and possible civil war where Democratic-held states would be encouraged to secede from the Union, the electoral college abolished, and statehood awarded to Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Upon reading the TIP report, it is clear that the real purpose of the bipartisan exercise was to mastermind the very disputed election outcome and concentration of power it predicts would be triggered by Trump. It is also possible that the project enlisted mass media in its scheme. Just weeks before Election Day, a highly-publicized scandal broke at The New Yorker magazine after staff writer and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin accidentally exposed himself during a Zoom video meeting with fellow employees. Many were too amused to notice the online conference call was revealed to be an “election simulation” featuring top columnists of the publication role-playing as participants.

It would not be out of the realm of possibility given the unprecedented extent to which corporate outlets and Big Tech companies have gone to influence the outcome of the election. Even those within legacy media such as The New York Post, one of the oldest newspapers in the United States, found itself censored by Twitter for publishing an explosive story which contained emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop of which not even the former vice president’s campaign denied the authenticity. When Trump delivered a press conference outlining his campaign’s allegations of election fraud, major news outlets not only made the Orwellian decision to “fact check” Trump live on-air but cut away from the speech in the middle of his remarks in coordinated unison. Then when the president’s own social media posts were censored and flagged as disinformation, the jig was truly up. It’s little wonder Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg openly bragged about how the platform was “partnering with the intelligence community” for censorship to be a soft power arm after the 2016 election. Lo and behold, rather than being broken up for violating anti-trust laws, Silicon Valley has already been rewarded for staying true to its roots in the national security state by Biden’s transition team which consists of executives from Airbnb, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Dell, DropBox, Microsoft’s LinkedIn, Lyft, Stripe and Uber.

Can it really be that Trump is so hated because of his rejection of certain foreign policy orthodoxies like JFK alone? The truth is really so much more. It is because of his inclination to disgrace Washington’s sacred institutions for his own political gain which the entire establishment desperately needs to maintain the faith of the masses in its corrupt political system, rogue national security state, yellow press, and obsolete democratic process. It is imperative to preserve these bureaucratic cornerstones as above criticism because they are a linchpin to holding power. As a political outsider, Trump blazed his own trail to the presidency and in doing so undermined the hallowed bastions of power in Washington, promising to “drain the swamp” while eroding faith in the leading U.S. spy agencies as an unelected secret government or “deep state”, and most of all denouncing corporate media as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people.” Even though these were accuracies cynically told by Trump for his own advantage, they were misunderstood by his detractors to be falsehoods simply because he was the source.

Trump’s populist agitation even worried his own group of backers within the ruling elite who convinced him to soften his rhetoric and reverse many of his positions once he took office. Since the 2020 election has not resulted in a desirable outcome, he has only continued to increase popular distrust of the political order and its mechanisms which guarantee the status quo overrides the will of the people, signaling he is more than willing to take the whole system down with him. Indeed, polls indicate many Americans seem to agree with the president that the election was rigged in Biden’s favor. This is precisely why his rabble-rousing is viewed as dangerous by the elite which unleashed its media organs and intelligence agencies from day one to sabotage him — they knew that he is willing to lay bare the full corruption of the powers that be in order to help his own cause. For this reason, the media has resorted to the most deceitful and partisan methods to portray Trump as a unique danger that most be ousted at any cost.

It is no wonder how a coalition as incongruous as that behind Biden came into formation, from Lincoln Project “Never Trumper” Republicans to the Democratic Socialists of America, Big Tech monopolies to Black Lives Matter, Wall Street megadonors to the remnants of Occupy Wall Street, Bush-era national security officials to the inappropriately-named Revolutionary Communist Party (Refuse Fascism), and so on. Or to really give an idea of just how absurd the ideological alliance was to ensure a Biden presidency, the Transition Integrity Project was even shamefully promoted by the likes of so-called “progressive” news outlets like Democracy Now! which made its journalistic name critically covering the very neoconservative figures from the Bush years behind TIP. Somehow, those in power managed to persuade the “anti-establishment” to side with them against the bad orange man as the supposed greater evil, tricking them into defending institutions they should oppose as inviolable and the archaic U.S. electoral system which deprives them of real democracy as unimpeachable. This is the real legacy of the Trump era — only time will tell if it is its lesson.

Max Parry is an independent journalist and geopolitical analyst. His writing has appeared widely in alternative media. Max may be reached at maxrparry@live.com

November 25, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment

CNN guest explains why a mayor who protected killer cop from going to jail has no place in Biden cabinet, gets cut SECONDS later

RT | November 25, 2020

A CNN interview on why progressives are unhappy with Joe Biden’s possible cabinet picks was cut less than a minute after it began, as the guest pointed out that one of the candidates had covered up a murder while in office.

Rahm Emanuel, a star Democratic fundraiser and the former mayor of Chicago, was floated this week as a potential secretary of transport for Biden. After the suggestion was met with a tsunami of anger from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, rumor had it that a less visible position would be offered to him instead.

On Tuesday, CNN invited Jamaal Bowman, a progressive New York politician who earlier this year unseated 16-term congressman Eliot Engel in a primary landslide victory, to discuss Biden’s transition and whether there was a “progressive enough” candidate to get his endorsement.

Bowman, who is black, started saying it was “incredibly alarming” that they were considering a person who tried to cover up a murder of a black 17-year-old by a white cop, when the broadcast suddenly froze mid-sentence and was replaced with the CNN logo.

Most important, it appears CNN never had him back on after the “technical difficulty”/censoring of Jamaal Bowman’s comments on Rahm Emanuel in the below video. https://t.co/IbewOmM2p0

— 💥Robert (@CronoMage) November 25, 2020

Emanuel is accused of standing in the way of an investigation into the murder of Laquan McDonald. The black teen was gunned down by a Chicago police officer in October 2014, just as Emanuel was fighting an uphill battle for his second term as mayor. Only months after his reelection, a judge forced the release of dashcam footage which became key evidence in the murder trial and conviction of the officer responsible for McDonald’s death. Before its release, no charges had been made in the case.

Leaked emails later showed how the mayor’s office tried to keep the damning video confidential as part of a settlement with the victim’s family. They also indicated that Emanuel was more concerned with his campaign than in serving justice for McDonald.

There is a laundry list of other reasons why progressives hate the idea of Emanuel joining Biden’s administration. To name a few, he pushed for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), mass deportations and the 1994 crime bill, lobbied for bailing out the “too big to fail” banks during the 2008 financial crisis, and shut down dozens of public schools in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods.

Some even suspect that floating his candidacy was meant as a distraction: whichever bland centrist eventually gets the position will be perceived by the progressives as being at least not as awful as Emanuel.

November 25, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Demanding Silicon Valley Suppress “Hyper-Partisan Sites” in Favor of “Mainstream News” (The NYT) is a Fraud

By Glenn Greenwald | November 25, 2020

The most prolific activism demanding more Silicon Valley censorship is found in the nation’s largest news outlets: the media reporters of CNN, the “disinformation” unit of NBC News, and especially the tech reporters of The New York Times. That is where the most aggressive and sustained pro-internet-censorship campaigns are waged.

Due in part to a self-interested desire to re-establish their monopoly on discourse by crushing any independent or dissenting voices, and in part by a censorious and arrogant mindset which convinces them that only those of their worldview and pedigree have a right to be heard, they largely devote themselves to complaining that Facebook, Google and Twitter are not suppressing enough speech. It is hall-monitor tattletale whining masquerading as journalism: petulantly complaining that tech platforms are permitting speech that, in their view, ought instead be silenced.

In Tuesday’s New York Times, three of those censorious tech reporters — Kevin Roose, Mike Isaac, and Sheera Frenkel — published an article on Facebook’s post-election deliberations over how to alter its algorithms to prevent the spread of what they deem “misinformation” regarding the election. The most consequential change they implemented, The New York Times explained, was one in which “hyperpartisan pages” are repressed in favor of promoting “a spike in visibility for big, mainstream publishers like CNN, The New York Times and NPR” — a change the Paper of Record heralded as having fostered “a calmer, less divisive Facebook.”

More alarmingly, the NYT suggested (i.e., prayed) that these changes, designed by Facebook as an election-related emergency measure, would instead become permanent. Marvel at these two paragraphs and all of tenuous and self-serving assumptions buried in them:

New York Times article, “Facebook Struggles to Balance Civility and Growth,” Nov. 24, 2020

The conceit that outlets like The New York Times, CNN and NPR are the alternatives to “hyper-partisan pages” is one you would be eager to believe, or at least want to induce others to believe, if you were a tech reporter at The New York Times, furious and hurt that millions upon millions of people would rather hear other voices than your own, and simply do not trust what you tell them. Inducing Facebook to manipulate the algorithmic underbelly of social media to artificially force your content down the throats of citizens who prefer to avoid it, while rendering your critics’ speech invisible — all in the name of reducing “hyper-partisanship,” “divisiveness,” and “misinformation” — is of course a highly desirable outcome for mainstream outlets like the NYT.

The problem with this claim is that it’s a complete and utter fraud, one that is easily demonstrated as such. There are few sites more “hyper-partisan” than the three outlets which the NYT applauded Facebook for promoting. In the 2020 election, over 70 million Americans — close to half of the voting population — voted for Donald Trump, yet not one of them is employed by the op-ed page of the “non-partisan” New York Times and are almost never heard on NPR or CNN. That’s because those news outlets, by design, are pro-Democratic-Party organs, who speak overwhelmingly to Democratic readers and viewers.

It is hard to get more partisan than the news outlets which the NYT tech reporters, and apparently Facebook, consider to be the alternatives to “hyper-partisan” discourse. In April, Pew Research asked Americans which outlet is their primary source of news, and the polling firm found that the audiences of NPR, CNN and especially The New York Times are overwhelmingly Democrats, in some cases almost entirely so.

As Pew put it: “about nine-in-ten of those who name The New York Times (91%) and NPR (87%) as their main political news source identify as Democrats, with CNN at about eight-in-ten (79%).” These outlets speak to Democrats, are built for Democrats, and produce news content designed to be pleasing and affirming to Democrats — so they keep watching and buying. One can say many things about these news outlets, but the idea that they are the alternatives to “hyper-partisan pages” is the exact opposite of the truth: it is difficult to find more hyper-partisan organs than these.

Then there is the question of who does and does not spread “misinformation.” It is rather astonishing that the news outlets that did more than anyone to convince Americans to believe the most destructive misinformation of this generation: that Saddam had WMDs and was in an alliance with Al Qaeda — The New York Times, The Atlantic, NBC and The New Yorker — have the audacity to prance around as the bulwarks against misinformation rather than what they are: the primary purveyors of it.

Over the last four years, they devoted themselves to the ultimate deranged, mangled conspiracy theory: that the Kremlin had infiltrated the U.S. and was clandestinely controlling the levers of American power through some combination of sexual and financial blackmail. The endless pursuit of that twisted conspiracy led them to produce one article after the next that spread utter falsehoods, embraced reckless journalism and fostered humiliating debacles. The only thing more absurd than these hyper-partisan, reckless outlets posturing as the alternatives to hyper-partisanship is them insisting that they’re the only safeguards against misinformation.

Note how insidiously creepy is The New York Times’ description of a censored, regulated internet. They call it “a vision of what a calmer, less divisive Facebook might look like,” and claim an unnamed Facebook employee described it as “a nicer news feed.”

Yes, discourse that is centralized and regulated, where no dissent is tolerated, where alternative voices are silenced, is always “calmer” and “less divisive.” That’s always the core goal of censorsing speech and ideas: to eliminate “divisiveness” and to pacify the population (“calmer” and “nicer”). That is always the result when orthodoxies imposed downward from the most powerful institutions of authority can no longer be meaningfully challenged.

The censorious mentality being peddled with increasing aggression is always chilling and dangerous. That it is media outlets — which ought to be the most vocal champions of free discourse — instead taking the lead in begging and pressuring Silicon Valley to censure the internet more and more is warped beyond belief. The internet should be free and left alone, especially by those with their record of deceit and propaganda.

Indeed, if we are to have it an internet controlled from above by unseen tech overlords in the name of eliminating “hyper-partisanship” and “disinformation” and fostering a “calmer” and “nicer” population, the sites now being artificially and manipulatively promoted are the absolute last ones who can credibly claim entitlement to that benefit.

November 25, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Propaganda, Election Fraud and the Death of Journalism

By Frank Miele | Real Clear Politics | November 23, 2020

Easy question: Is it illegal to steal an election or not?

You would have to assume that it is no big deal based on the response to claims of widespread fraud in the contest between President Trump and Joe Biden. Big Media says the evidence just doesn’t exist, and most Americans seem to be lost in a blue haze of blind acceptance that whatever they are told by the talking heads on TV must be true.

This kind of unthinking obedience to authority is a frightening harbinger of an America that is no longer a nation of laws, but rather a nation of edicts. You can already see that unfolding in the sheep-like acceptance of COVID-19 restrictions that blatantly ignore the Constitution. But if you dare do your own independent assessment of facts — whether regarding the efficacy of mask use in preventing spread of coronavirus or regarding the security of electronic voting — you will quickly come to a different conclusion than that which is approved by Big Tech, Big Media and Big Money.

Unfortunately, most people don’t take the time to do their own research. They simply believe whatever is told to them. For those in thrall to the establishment media, that means they believe that Trump’s allegations of election fraud are “baseless.” Remember, the media made that declaration within hours of the election, long before any evidence had been presented in a court of law and before analysis had begun on the raw vote totals. Once that narrative was established, it didn’t matter how many affidavits were presented, how many witnesses came forward, or how much analysis suggested that the vote count may have been manipulated. The jury of the American people had already been tainted by Big Media to believe the narrative that Trump is a sore loser.

Don’t forget, the mainstream media — in the interests of public enlightenment (now known as wokeness) — have spent the past four years reporting as fact that the duly elected president of the United States is a liar, a tax cheat, a Russian puppet, and a racist. In other words, he is a con man who never should have been anywhere near the Oval Office in the first place. So why would anyone now believe his claims that Democrats used phony mail ballots, vote-counting software and foreign manipulation to steal the election? Most of the media is pretending that there is not even a real story to report in what, if true, would be one of the gravest constitutional crises in the history of our republic.

As Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said in his press conference Thursday, “The coverage of this has been almost as dishonest as the scheme itself. The American people are entitled to know this,” he warned the press. “You don’t have a right to keep it from them. You don’t have a right to lie about it.”

But, the newsrooms at CNN and MSNBC are keeping it from the public. They refused to even carry Giuliani’s press conference laying out the evidence of election fraud. As for Fox News, they covered it, and then put a reporter on the air to say the claims were “simply not true” or “baseless.” Clearly, we are not going to get the truth from the media. Has there been even one reporter for a mainstream outlet such as the Washington Post asking questions about the vulnerability of electronic voting systems to hacking or manipulation? Is any news organization demanding that the Justice Department or FBI get to the bottom of the story?

The loss of a free and neutral press means that democracy cannot work even if its elections were completely above board. The capacity of the people to self-govern is dependent on their access to true and accurate information. Sadly, the opposite principle applies as well. When journalism abandons objectivity in favor of an agenda, then the people are in the position of cattle being led to slaughter.

Thomas Jefferson described the abuses of a free press in 1814 in a letter to his friend Walter Jones:

“I deplore … the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity and the mendacious spirit of those who write for them… These ordures are rapidly depraving the public taste and lessening its relish for sound food. As vehicles of information and a curb on our functionaries, they have rendered themselves useless by forfeiting all title to belief… This has, in a great degree, been produced by the violence and malignity of party spirit.”

Ouch! Take that, New York Times! Take that, CNN!

Of course, it is just such a malign “party spirit” that informs almost all mainstream journalism in the Age of Trump — a spirit that is visible in the hostility towards Trump himself, but also in the accommodation towards Democrats such as Joe Biden. Last Monday’s Biden press conference was a stunning abdication of responsibility by the media for its much-vaunted role of “speaking truth to power” — or at least asking tough questions.

Three of the first four queries were merely anti-Trump questions asked in a new way. Instead of asking Trump “How do you justify your unprecedented attempt to obstruct and delay a smooth transfer of power?” the reporters merely asked Biden what he thought about Trump’s “unprecedented attempt” blah blah blah. Then the next three questions were about COVID, which after six months of campaigning, even Sleepy Joe Biden could answer with his eyes closed.

Isn’t the media going to hold Biden accountable just like they claimed to hold Trump accountable? Why not ask about the curious patterns of vote counting in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgia that make millions of people think Biden tried to steal the election? Shouldn’t he be asked to support a full investigation to prove his victory was legitimate? How about a question about whether Hunter Biden will come out of hiding now that the election is over? How about asking the “president-in-waiting” to condemn the BLM and antifa violence that sent several innocent Trump supporters to the hospital two weeks ago?

How about our celebrity journalists celebrate their own crucial role as defenders of democracy? If they don’t want to “render themselves useless,” they need to swear allegiance to facts, wherever they lead, and not to one party. Or as Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana put it more indelicately, “They have to be equal opportunity assholes.”

But they aren’t — and sooner or later the American people will get tired of being manipulated. Journalism is supposed to give an honest account of the facts so that people can make up their own minds what they believe to be true. Propaganda, on the other hand, is a dishonest attempt to persuade people not to examine the facts for themselves. Journalism starts with facts and allows people to reach their own conclusion. Propaganda starts with a conclusion and manipulates people into accepting it as fact. You can decide for yourself whether what we have today is journalism or propaganda.

But the bottom line is this: Whether or not Donald Trump can prove his case in court should be irrelevant to the job of the press. What honest reporters ought to recognize is the significance of the allegation itself, the historical nature of the crime being alleged, and the importance to the future of our republic that the case must be heard.

Too bad there are so few honest reporters left.

Frank Miele, the retired editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell Mont., is a columnist for RealClearPolitics. His new book “How We Got Here: The Left’s Assault on the Constitution” is available from his Amazon author page. Visit him at HeartlandDiaryUSA.com to read his daily commentary or follow him on Facebook @HeartlandDiaryUSA or on Twitter or Parler @HeartlandDiary.

November 23, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

On Coronavirus, We Must Not Allow Politics to Dictate Science

By Ron Paul | November 23, 2020

In these past couple of weeks, two important studies have been published that could dramatically increase our understanding of the Covid-19 disease. Adding to the science of how we understand and treat this disease is something that should be welcomed, because properly understood it can save lives.

The only problem is that because the results from these two studies challenge what the media has established as conventional wisdom about the disease, the reports are at best being ignored and at worst being openly distorted by the mainstream media.

This is in my view a dangerous and foolish subjugation of science to politics and it may well end up causing many more unnecessary deaths.

First is the Danish mask study, which was completed several months ago but was only recently published in a peer-reviewed journal. The study took two groups and gave the first group masks to wear with instruction on how they should be used. The other group was the mask-free control group.

The study found that coronavirus spread within the statistical margin of error in each group. In other words, wearing the mask did little if anything to control the spread of the virus.

As the wearing of masks is still being mandated across the country and the globe, this study should be reported as an important piece of counter-evidence. At the very least it might be expected to invite a rush of similar studies to refute or confirm the results.

However, while mostly ignored by the media, when it was covered the spin on the study was so strange that the conclusion presented was opposite to the findings. For example, the Los Angeles Times published an article with the headline, “Face mask trial didn’t stop coronavirus spread, but it shows why more mask-wearing is needed.”

Similarly, a massive new study conducted in Wuhan, China, and published in the respected scientific journal Nature, reports that asymptomatic persons who have tested positive for Covid-19 do not pass on the infection to others. Considering that mask mandates and lockdowns are all based on the theory that asymptomatic “positive cases” can still pass on the sickness, this is potentially an important piece of information to help plan a more effective response to the virus.

At the least, again, it should stimulate additional, far-reaching studies to either confirm or deny the Wuhan study.

We do know, based on information from widely-accepted sources as the CDC and World Health Organization, that lockdowns can have a very serious negative effect on society. On July 14th, CDC Director Robert Redfield told a seminar that lockdowns are causing more deaths than Covid.

So if there is a way to continue fighting Covid and protecting those most at risk while drastically reducing deaths related to lockdowns, isn’t this worth some consideration? Isn’t this worth at least some further research?

Well, not according to the mainstream media. They have established their narrative and they are not about to budge. The two studies are fatally flawed, they report. Of course that might be the case, but isn’t that an argument to attempt to replicate the studies to prove it?

That would be the scientific approach. Sadly, “trust the science” has come to mean “trust the narrative I support.” That is a very dangerous way of thinking and can prove to be deadly.

Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute

November 23, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 2 Comments

Michigan Legislators Face Calls For Possible Criminal Charges After Meeting With President Trump On Certification

By Jonathan Turley | November 21, 2020

We have been discussing the campaign of The Lincoln Project and others to harass and abuse lawyers who represent the Trump campaign or other parties bringing election challenges. Similar campaigns have targeted election officials who object to counting irregularities. Now, the Michigan Attorney General and others are suggesting that Republicans who oppose certification or even meet with President Donald Trump on the issue could be criminally investigated or charged. Once again, the media is silent on this clearly abusive use of the criminal code target members of the opposing party in their raising objections under state law.

On Friday afternoon, leaders of Michigan’s Republican-controlled state legislature met with Trump in the White House at his invitation.  My column today explores the difficulty in any strategy to trigger an electoral college fight. However, the objections from legislators could focus on an host of sworn complaints from voters or irregularities in voting counts. We have not seen evidence establishing the type of systemic problems that would flip a state, let alone the election as a whole. While the legal team did raise some credible electoral concerns, I was also critical of Rudy Giuliani’s global communist conspiracy claim at the press conference this week. Some of these questions are being addressed in the courts. In the meantime, state legislators have a right to raise electoral objections and seek resolution in the legislative branch.

According to the Washington Post, Dana Nessel “is conferring with election law experts on whether officials may have violated any state laws prohibiting them from engaging in bribery, perjury and conspiracy.” It is the same weaponization of the criminal code for political purposes that we have seen in the last four years against Trump. Notably, the focus is the same discredited interpretation used against Trump and notably not adopted by the impeachment-eager House Judiciary Committee: bribery.

In Politico, Richard Primus wrote that these legislators should not attend a meeting with Trump because “it threatens the two Michigan legislators, personally, with the risk of criminal investigation.” This ridiculous legal claims is based on the bribery theory:

The danger for Shirkey and Chatfield, then, is that they are being visibly invited to a meeting where the likely agenda involves the felony of attempting to bribe a public official.

Under Michigan law, any member of the Legislature who “corruptly” accepts a promise of some beneficial act in return for exercising his authority in a certain way is “forever disqualified to hold any public office” and “shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not more than 10 years[.]”

We repeatedly discussed this theory during the Trump presidency. As I have previously written, a leading proponent has been former prosecutor and Washington Post columnist Randall D. Eliason, who insisted that “allegations of a wrongful quid pro quo are really just another way of saying that there was a bribe … it’s bribery if a quid pro quo is sought with corrupt intent, if the president is not pursuing legitimate U.S. policy but instead is wrongfully demanding actions by Ukraine that would benefit him personally.” Eliason further endorsed the House report and assured that “The legal and factual analysis of bribery and honest services fraud in the House report is exactly right” and “outlines compelling evidence of federal criminal violations.”

The theory was never “exactly” or even remotely right, as evidenced by the decision not to use it as a basis for impeachment. And yet, it’s back. Indeed, the greatest danger of the theory was not that it would ever pass muster in the federal court system but that it would be used (as here) in the political system to criminalize policy and legal disagreements. (Eliason recently defended the attacks on fellow lawyers who are represented those challenging election results or practices).

In my testimony, I went into historical and legal detail to explain why this theory was never credible. While it was gleefully presented by papers like the Washington Post, it ignored case law that rejected precisely this type of limitless definition of the offense. As I told the House Judiciary Committee, the Supreme Court has repeatedly narrowed the scope of the statutory definition of bribery, including distinctions with direct relevance to the current controversy in cases like McDonnell v. United States, where the Court overturned the conviction of former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell. Chief Justice John Roberts eviscerated what he called the “boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.” The Court explained that such “boundless interpretations” are inimical to constitutional rights because they deny citizens the notice of what acts are presumptively criminal: “[U]nder the Government’s interpretation, the term ‘official act’ is not defined ‘with sufficient definiteness that ordinary people can understand what conduct is prohibited,’ or ‘in a manner that does not encourage arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.’”

I will not repeat the litany of cases rejecting this type of broad interpretation. However, the case law did not matter then and it does not matter now to those who believe that the criminal code is endless flexible to meet political agenda.

It doesn’t even matter that the Supreme Court reaffirmed prior rejections of such broad interpretations in a recent unanimous ruling written by Justice Elena Kagan. In Kelly v. United States, the Supreme Court threw out the convictions in the “Bridgegate” case involving the controversial closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge to create traffic problems for the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., who refused to endorse then-Gov. Chris Christie. The Court observed:

“That requirement, this Court has made clear, prevents these statutes from criminalizing all acts of dishonesty by state and local officials. Some decades ago, courts of appeals often construed the federal fraud laws to “proscribe[] schemes to defraud citizens of their intangible rights to honest and impartial government.” McNally, 483 U. S., at 355. This Court declined to go along. The fraud statutes, we held in McNally, were “limited in scope to the protection of property rights.” Id., at 360. They did not authorize federal prosecutors to “set[] standards of disclosure and good government for local and state officials.” Ibid.”

That is the argument that I raised in the impeachment against the proposed articles of impeachment — supported by a host of experts on MSNBC and CNN as well as Democratic members — that the Ukrainian allegations could be charged as mail and wire fraud as well as crimes like extortion.

What is most disturbing is that, if there was an objection to voting irregularities or fraud, these legislators would be acting under their state constitutional authority. They would be investigated for carrying out their official duties under state law. Many of us can disagree with such objections. (I have stated repeatedly that I do not see the evidence of systemic voting problems to reverse such state results and I have criticized President Trump’s rhetoric). However, when Democrats like Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Cal.) challenged the certification of Ohio’s electoral votes in 2004, no one suggested criminal investigations. Nessel is threatening state legislators that, if they meet to discuss such objections, they might be targets of criminal investigations. That would seem an effort to use the criminal code for the purposes of intimidation or coercion. Imagine if this was U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr threatening Democratic legislators with possible criminal investigation for challenging Trump votes. The media would be apoplectic. Yet, when used against Republicans, major publications and politicians are celebrated for the use of the criminal code for such politically motivated threats.

As with the attacks on Republican lawyers, the threats against Republican legislators has been met with utter silence in the media. Just the familiar sound of crickets.

November 22, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 2 Comments