Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

FLORIDA SURGEON GENERAL ON COVID VAX MANDATE

The Highwire with Del Bigtree | October 20, 2022

Florida Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, minces no words regarding his State’s stance on Covid Vaccine Mandates, after a CDC committee voted unanimously to recommend Covid vaccines for kids older than 6 months.

October 25, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Only 1 out of 573 People Took “Bivalent Boosters” — In a State Without Vaccine Mandates

Bivalent Boosters Available, but NOT mandated in Florida

By Igor Chudov | October 2, 2022

A very uplifting post to end the weekend.

In terrible news for Covid vaccine enthusiasts, only 1 out of 573 residents of Florida took the new safe and effective bivalent booster, extensively tested on 8 mice and fully approved by “science”.

Considering that Florida’s population is 21,220,000 people, this works out to one out of 573 Floridians taking the new and improved science juice. The rest decided to pass for now.

Bivalent Covid vaccine uptake is moribund everywhere. Only 4.4 million doses were administered in the entire USA. This works out to 1.3% of Americans (one person out of 76) taking the bivalent boosters. Reminder, our Federal government purchased, and printed money to pay for, 171 million doses.

Why is the uptake of the bivalent booster, per 1,000 persons, greater in the USA as a whole than in Florida? The boosters are surely available to any Florida resident, right? The reason is that in other places, some holdouts keep vaccine mandates, demanding hapless young people to take Covid vaccines, and in Florida, such mandates are banned.

Go to at www.nocollegemandates.com to fight these stupid, and deadly, mandates.

So, just running the math, had there not been remaining mandates to take the boosters, instead of one out of 76 Americans taking the bivalent, only one of 573 would take it — of SEVEN TIMES FEWER. The same is happening in Germany, by the way.

Such is the time that we live in — only one out of 573 Americans still believes in science.

Is that good or bad? And is that even science?

October 2, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | 1 Comment

Florida Government Says ‘No’ to Shipment of Coronavirus Shots for Babies and Young Children

By Adam Dick | Ron Paul Institute | June 16, 2022

The state government of Florida is standing up against the effort to indiscriminately inject experimental coronavirus “vaccine” shots into children four years old and younger. And, as reported Wednesday by Christopher O’Donnell and Ian Hodgson at the Tampa Bay Times, Florida is the only state to make this decision, every other state government having pre-ordered the shots from the United States government in anticipation of the granting of US regulatory approval.

Good for Florida. It is making the right choice in refusing to be a pusher for these shots promoted relentlessly by a collaboration of big business, big media, and big government.

In May of last year I wrote about the need for state and local governments to refuse to participate in the then new rollout of experimental coronavirus shots to 12 to 15 years old children. I concluded my comments on the matter with the following statement after addressing dangers of the shots and the very minimal risk coronavirus tends to pose for children:

It is one thing to stand aside as parents choose to have their children injected with experimental shots that carry significant known health risks and unknown potential negative consequences. It is another to actively encourage the giving of such shots through participating in their promotion and distribution. At some point, shouldn’t state and local governments admit that the risk and rewards related to shots are so out of whack that their taking part in pushing the shot-giving is a clear menace? Being presented with the opportunity to give experimental coronavirus vaccine shots to 12 to 15 years old children seems like a good time to declare ‘no more.’

A statement from the Florida Department of Health, reprinted at Fox 13 TV of Tampa Bay, makes clear that the state government’s decision not to preorder the shots was its way of saying “no more” based on the state having come to its own independent decision that the shots are not the safe and effective wonder for all young children that many people in government and the media proclaim them to be. Here is that statement from the Florida Department of Health:

The Florida Department of Health (Department) has made it clear to the federal government that states do not need to be involved in the convoluted vaccine distribution process, especially when the federal government has a track record of developing inconsistent and unsustainable COVID-19 policies.

It is also no surprise we chose not to participate in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine when the Department does not recommend it for all children. Doctors can order vaccines if they are in need, and there are currently no orders in the department’s ordering system for the COVID-19 vaccine for this age group.

The local television news report also provided these cogent comments regarding the decision from Joseph Ladapo, the state’s surgeon general:

‘We expect to have good data that the benefits outweigh the risks of any therapies or treatments before we recommend those therapies or treatments to Floridians. That is not going to change. I don’t think that is particularly radical. I think it’s very sensible,’ said Ladapo. ‘From what I have seen, there is just insufficient data to inform benefits and risk in children. I think that’s very unequivocal.’

Bravo to Florida and its surgeon general, about whom I wrote positively upon his appointment to the position in September.

Hopefully, we will see more state and local governments looking critically at the new shady approval of experimental coronavirus shots for young children and declaring their refusal to participate as well.


Copyright © 2022 by RonPaul Institute

June 16, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | 5 Comments

A President Betrayed by Bureaucrats: Scott Atlas’s Masterpiece on the Covid Disaster

BY JEFFREY A. TUCKER | BROWNSTONE INSTITUTE | NOVEMBER 27, 2021

I’m a voracious reader of Covid books but nothing could have prepared me for Scott Atlas’s A Plague Upon Our House, a full and mind-blowing account of the famed scientist’s personal experience with the Covid era and a luridly detailed account of his time at the White House. The book is hot fire, from page one to the last, and will permanently affect your view of not only this pandemic and the policy response but also the workings of public health in general.

Atlas’s book has exposed a scandal for the ages. It is enormously valuable because it fully blows up what seems to be an emerging fake story involving a supposedly Covid-denying president who did nothing vs. heroic scientists in the White House who urged compulsory mitigating measures consistent with prevailing scientific opinion. Not one word of that is true. Atlas’s book, I hope, makes it impossible to tell such tall tales without embarrassment.

Anyone who tells you this fictional story (including Deborah Birx) deserves to have this highly credible treatise tossed in his direction. The book is about the war between real science (and genuine public health), with Atlas as the voice for reason both before and during his time in the White House, vs. the enactment of brutal policies that never stood any chance of controlling the virus while causing tremendous damage to the people, to human liberty, to children in particular, but also to billions of people around the world.

For the reader, the author is our proxy, a reasonable and blunt man trapped in a world of lies, duplicity, backstabbing, opportunism, and fake science. He did his best but could not prevail against a powerful machine that cares nothing for facts, much less outcomes.

If you have heretofore believed that science drives pandemic public policy, this book will shock you. Atlas’s recounting of the unbearably poor thinking on the part of government-based “infectious disease experts” will make your jaw drop (thinking, for example, of Birx’s off-the-cuff theorizing about the relationship between masking and controlling case spreads).

Throughout the book, Atlas points to the enormous cost of the machinery of lockdowns, the preferred method of Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx: missed cancer screenings, missed surgeries, nearly two years of educational losses, bankrupted small business, depression and drug overdoses, overall citizen demoralization, violations of religious freedom, all while public health massively neglected the actual at-risk population in long-term care facilities. Essentially, they were willing to dismantle everything we called civilization in the name of bludgeoning one pathogen without regard to the consequences.

The fake science of population-wide “models” drove policy instead of following the known information about risk profiles. “The one unusual feature of this virus was the fact that children had an extraordinarily low risk,” writes Atlas. “Yet this positive and reassuring news was never emphasized. Instead, with total disregard of the evidence of selective risk consistent with other respiratory viruses, public health officials recommended draconian isolation of everyone.”

“Restrictions on liberty were also destructive by inflaming class distinctions with their differential impact,” he writes, “exposing essential workers, sacrificing low-income families and kids, destroying single-parent homes, and eviscerating small businesses, while at the same time large companies were bailed out, elites worked from home with barely an interruption, and the ultra-rich got richer, leveraging their bully pulpit to demonize and cancel those who challenged their preferred policy options.”

In the midst of continued chaos, in August 2020, Atlas was called by Trump to help, not as a political appointee, not as a PR man for Trump, not as a DC fixer but as the only person who in nearly a year of unfolding catastrophe had a health-policy focus. He made it clear from the outset that he would only tell what he believed to be true; Trump agreed that this was precisely what he wanted and needed. Trump got an earful and gradually came around to a more rational view than that which caused him to wreck the American economy and society with his own hands and against his own instincts.

In Task Force meetings, Atlas was the only person who showed up with studies and on-the-ground information as opposed to mere charts of infections easily downloadable from popular websites. “A bigger surprise was that Fauci did not present scientific research on the pandemic to the group that I witnessed. Likewise, I never heard him speak about his own critical analysis of any published research studies. This was stunning to me. Aside from intermittent status updates about clinical trial enrollments, Fauci served the Task Force by offering an occasional comment or update on vaccine trial participant totals, mostly when the VP would turn to him and ask.”

When Atlas spoke up, it was almost always to contradict Fauci/Birx but he received no backing during meetings, only to have many people in attendance later congratulate him for speaking out. Still, he did have a convert in Trump himself, but by then it was too late: not even Trump could prevail against the wicked machine he had permissioned into operation.

It’s a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington story but applied to matters of public health. From the outset of this disease panic, policy came to be dictated by two government bureaucrats (Fauci and Birx) who, for some reason, were confident in their control over media, bureaucracies, and White House messaging, despite every attempt by the president, Atlas, and a few others to get them to pay attention to the actual science about which Fauci/Birx knew and care little.

Fortunately, we now have this book to set the record straight. It gives every reader an inside look at the workings of a system that wrecked our lives. If the book finally declines to offer an explanation for the hell that was visited upon us – every day we still ask the question why? – it does provide an accounting of the who, when, where, and what. Tragically, too many scientists, media figures, and intellectuals in general went along. Atlas’s account shows exactly what they signed up to defend, and it’s not pretty.

The cliche that kept coming to mind as I read is “breath of fresh air.” That metaphor describes the book perfectly: blessed relief from relentless propaganda. Imagine yourself trapped in an elevator with stultifying air in a building that is on fire and the smoke gradually seeps in from above. Someone is in there with you and he keeps assuring you that everything is fine, when it is obviously not.

That’s a pretty good description of how I felt from March 12, 2020 and onward. That was the day that President Trump spoke to the nation and announced that there would be no more travel from Europe. The tone in his voice was spooky. It was obvious that more was coming. He had clearly fallen sway to extremely bad advice, perhaps he was willing to push lockdowns as a plan to deal with a respiratory virus that was already widespread in the US from perhaps 5 to 6 months earlier.

It was the day that the darkness descended. A day later (March 13), the HHS distributed its lockdown plans for the nation. That weekend, Trump met for many hours with Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and only a few others. He came around to the idea of shutting down the American economy for two weeks. He presided over the calamitous March 16, 2020, press conference, at which Trump promised to beat the virus through general lockdowns.

Of course he had no power to do that directly but he could urge it to happen, all under the completely delusional promise that doing so would solve the virus problem. Two weeks later, the same gang persuaded him to extend the lockdowns.

Trump went along with the advice because it was the only advice he was fed at the time. They made it appear that the only choice that Trump had – if he wanted to beat the virus – was to wage war on his own policies that were pushing for a stronger, healthier economy. After surviving two impeachment attempts, and beating back years of hate from a nearly united media afflicted by severe derangement syndrome, Trump was finally hornswoggled.

Atlas writes: “On this highly important criterion of presidential management—taking responsibility to fully take charge of policy coming from the White House—I believe the president made a massive error in judgment. Against his own gut feeling, he delegated authority to medical bureaucrats, and then he failed to correct that mistake.”

The truly tragic fact that both Republicans and Democrats do not want spoken about is that this whole calamity did indeed begin with Trump’s decision. On this point, Atlas writes:

Yes, the president initially had gone along with the lockdowns proposed by Fauci and Birx, the “fifteen days to slow the spread,” even though he had serious misgivings. But I still believe the reason that he kept repeating his one question—“Do you agree with the initial shutdown?”—whenever he asked questions about the pandemic was precisely because he still had misgivings about it.

Large parts of the narrative are devoted to explaining precisely how and to what extent Trump had been betrayed. “They had convinced him to do exactly the opposite of what he would naturally do in any other circumstance,” Atlas writes, that is

“to disregard his own common sense and allow grossly incorrect policy advice to prevail… This president, widely known for his signature “You’re fired!” declaration, was misled by his closest political intimates. All for fear of what was inevitable anyway—skewering from an already hostile media. And on top of that tragic misjudgment, the election was lost anyway. So much for political strategists.”

There are so many valuable parts to the story that I cannot possibly recount them all. The language is brilliant, e.g. he calls the media “the most despicable group of unprincipled liars one could ever imagine.” He proves that assertion in page after page of shocking lies and distortions, mostly driven by political goals.

I was particularly struck by his chapter on testing, mainly because that whole racket mystified me throughout. From the outset, the CDC bungled the testing part of the pandemic story, attempting to keep the tests and process centralized in DC at the very time when the entire nation was in panic. Once that was finally fixed, months too late, mass and indiscriminate PCR testing became the desiderata of success within the White House. The problem was not just with the testing method:

“Fragments of dead virus hang around and can generate a positive test for many weeks or months, even though one is not generally contagious after two weeks. Moreover, PCR is extremely sensitive. It detects minute quantities of virus that do not transmit infection… Even the New York Times wrote in August that 90 percent or more of positive PCR tests falsely implied that someone was contagious. Sadly, during my entire time at the White House, this crucial fact would never even be addressed by anyone other than me at the Task Force meetings, let alone because for any public recommendation, even after I distributed data proving this critical point.”

The other problem is the wide assumption that more testing (however inaccurate) of whomever, whenever was always better. This model of maximizing tests seemed like a leftover from the HIV/AIDS crisis in which tracing was mostly useless in practice but at least made some sense in theory. For a widespread and mostly wild respiratory disease transmitted the way a cold virus is transmitted, this method was hopeless from the beginning. It became nothing but make work for tracing bureaucrats and testing enterprises that in the end only provided a fake metric of “success” that served to spread public panic.

Early on, Fauci had clearly said that there was no reason to get tested if you had no symptoms. Later, that common-sense outlook was thrown out the window and replaced with an agenda to test as many people as possible regardless of risk and regardless of symptoms. The resulting data enabled Fauci/Birx to keep everyone in a constant state of alarm. More test positivity to them implied only one thing: more lockdowns. Businesses needed to close harder, we all needed to mask harder, schools needed to stay closed longer, and travel needed to be ever more restricted. That assumption became so entrenched that not even the president’s own wishes (which had changed from Spring to Summer) made any difference.

Atlas’s first job, then, was to challenge this whole indiscriminate testing agenda. To his mind, testing needed to be about more than accumulating endless amounts of data, much of it without meaning; instead, testing should be directed toward a public-health goal. The people who needed tests were the vulnerable populations, particularly those in nursing homes, with the goal of saving lives among those who were actually threatened with severe outcomes. This push to test, contact trace, and quarantine anyone and everyone regardless of known risk was a huge distraction, and also caused huge disruption in schooling and enterprise.

To fix it meant changing the CDC guidelines. Atlas’s story of attempting to do that is eye-opening. He wrestled with every manner of bureaucrat and managed to get new guidelines written, only to find that they had been mysteriously reverted to the old guidelines one week later. He caught the “error” and insisted that his version prevail. Once they were issued by the CDC, the national press was all over it, with the story that the White House was pressuring the scientists at the CDC in terrible ways. After a week-long media storm, the guidelines changed yet again. All of Atlas’s work was made null.

Talk about discouraging! It was also Atlas’s first full experience in dealing with deep-state machinations. It was this way throughout the lockdown period, a machinery in place to implement, encourage, and enforce endless restrictions but no one person in particular was there to take responsibility for the policies or the outcomes, even as the ostensible head of state (Trump) was on record both publicly and privately opposing the policies that no one could seem to stop.

As an example of this, Atlas tells the story of bringing some massively important scientists to the White House to speak with Trump: Martin Kulldorff, Jay Bhattacharya, Joseph Ladapo, and Cody Meissner. People around the president thought the idea was great. But somehow the meeting kept being delayed. Again and again. When it finally went ahead, the schedulers only allowed for 5 minutes. But once they met with Trump himself, the president had other ideas and prolonged the meeting for an hour and a half, asking the scientists all kinds of questions about viruses, policy, the initial lockdowns, the risks to individuals, and so on.

The president was so impressed with their views and knowledge – what a dramatic change that must have been for him – that he invited filming to be done plus pictures to be taken. He wanted to make it a big public splash. It never happened. Literally. White House press somehow got the message that this meeting never happened. The first anyone will have known about it other than White House employees is from Atlas’s book.

Two months later, Atlas was instrumental in bringing in not only two of those scientists but also the famed Sunetra Gupta of Oxford. They met with the HHS secretary but this meeting too was buried in the press. No dissent was allowed. The bureaucrats were in charge, regardless of the wishes of the president.

Another case in point was during Trump’s own bout with Covid in early October. Atlas was nearly sure that he would be fine but he was forbidden from talking to the press. The entire White House communications office was frozen for four days, with no one speaking to the press. This was against Trump’s own wishes. This left the media to speculate that he was on his deathbed, so when he came back to the White House and announced that Covid is not to be feared, it was a shock to the nation. From my own point of view, this was truly Trump’s finest moment. To learn of the internal machinations happening behind the scenes is pretty shocking.

I can’t possibly cover the wealth of material in this book, and I expect this brief review to be one of several that I write. I do have a few disagreements. First, I think the author is too uncritical toward Operation Warp Speed and doesn’t really address how the vaccines were wildly oversold, to say nothing of growing concerns about safety, which were not addressed in the trials. Second, he seems to approve of Trump’s March 12th travel restrictions, which struck me as brutal and pointless, and the real beginning of the unfolding disaster. Third, Atlas inadvertently seems to perpetuate the distortion that Trump recommended ingesting bleach during a press conference. I know that this was all over the papers. But I’ve read the transcript of that press conference several times and find nothing like this. Trump actually makes clear that he was speaking about cleaning surfaces. This might be yet another case of outright media lies.

All that aside, this book reveals everything about the insanity of 2020 and 2021, years in which good sense, good science, historical precedent, human rights, and concerns for human liberty were all thrown into the trash, not just in the US but all over the world.

Atlas summarizes the big picture:

“in considering all the surprising events that unfolded in this past year, two in particular stand out. I have been shocked at the enormous power of government officials to unilaterally decree a sudden and severe shutdown of society—to simply close businesses and schools by edict, restrict personal movements, mandate behavior, regulate interactions with our family members, and eliminate our most basic freedoms, without any defined end and with little accountability.”

Atlas is correct that “the management of this pandemic has left a stain on many of America’s once noble institutions, including our elite universities, research institutes and journals, and public health agencies. Earning it back will not be easy.”

Internationally, we have Sweden as an example of a country that (mostly) kept its sanity. Domestically, we have South Dakota as an example of a place that stayed open, preserving freedom throughout. And thanks in large part to Atlas’s behind-the-scenes work, we have the example of Florida, whose governor did care about the actual science and ended up preserving freedom in the state even as the elderly population there experienced the greatest possible protection from the virus.

We all owe Atlas an enormous debt of gratitude, for it was he who persuaded the Florida governor to choose the path of focussed protection as advocated by the Great Barrington Declaration, which Atlas cites as the “single document that will go down as one of the most important publications in the pandemic, as it lent undeniable credibility to focused protection and provided courage to thousands of additional medical scientists and public health leaders to come forward.”

Atlas experienced the worst of the slings, arrows, and worse. The media and the bureaucrats tried to shut him up, shut him down, and body bag him professionally and personally. Cancelled, meaning removed from the roster of functional, dignified human beings. Even colleagues at Stanford University joined in the lynch mob, much to their disgrace. And yet this book is that of a man who has prevailed against them.

In that sense, it is easily the most crucial first-person account we have so far. It is gripping, revealing, devastating for the lockdowners and their vaccine-mandating successors, and a true classic that will stand the test of time. It’s simply not possible to write the history of this disaster without a close examination of this erudite first-hand account.

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

November 28, 2021 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

We Need to Hear Much More About Florida and Texas and Less About the Latest Covid Hotspots

By Will Jones • Lockdown Sceptics • April 30, 2021

Would that journalists and broadcasters paid as much attention to places with no restrictions doing fine as they do to the latest places experiencing a Covid surge.

All eyes are currently on India and especially Delhi where, after a year of little impact, the virus is making its nasty presence felt. But as Ivor Cummins points out, India for whatever reason has a long way to go to catch up with countries in Europe and the Americas when it comes to Covid deaths. The country is not a good comparison for the UK where the virus is endemic and substantial population immunity is now present.

If only our media would spend as much time telling the population about how Florida lifted its restrictions back in September, how South Dakota never had any, and how Texas and Mississippi reopened in full at the start of March, as they do telling us about how many people are in hospital in Delhi. The latest positive-test data for these open states is in the graph above, along with two other light-restriction states, South Carolina and Georgia. Note the conspicuous lack of surge despite being basically back to normal. What more evidence do our politicians and scientists need that the threat from the virus is overblown and does not warrant social restrictions or emergency measures? Is the Government interested in data which contradict their preferred narrative?

The Telegraph today is reporting that as of June 21st – another seven weeks away – Brits will be permitted once again to attend large events without anti-social and uneconomic distancing requirements and hug one another. Our ultra-cautious scientists are advising that these things might just be okay by then. Though in case you might have thought they would then end the seemingly endless state of emergency, they have said measures such as staggering entries to venues accommodating large groups and good ventilation will still be required. What part of normal don’t they understand?

Nor is there any indication of a move to return international travel to normal, as the country faces more limitations on travel this summer – when most of the country is vaccinated – than last summer – when nobody was. What this has to do with following the science is, as ever, unclear.

What’s strange is that even in America where parts of their own country are living free and showing that the measures aren’t needed, state governments, with popular support and backed by federal agencies, just carry on with their restrictions, lifting them only very slowly and with no obvious commitment to bringing them finally to an end. It’s as though people don’t want to know. Too much has been invested in the lockdown narrative, it seems, for people to be able to cope psychologically with the trauma of facing the truth that it is fundamentally false. Too many reputations are at risk. Too many interests coincide.

Are we doomed to live forever in this Covid state of emergency? I confess it is hard to see what will prompt governments to bring it to an end, now that we live in permanent fear of the appearance of variants and believe we must continually top up the whole world’s antibodies through rolling annual programmes of vaccinations. One of the most depressing thoughts is I find it almost impossible to imagine Boris Johnson facing the camera and announcing: “My friends, our ordeal is over. The data is clear. The virus is now one among many hazards with which we daily must live. Vaccines are available to the vulnerable, as are effective treatments, and we will continually strive to find the safest ways to protect those at risk from this and other illnesses. It is time to resume our old lives. I declare the state of emergency to be over.”

Will we ever reach a point where we no longer even think about whether some activity is “Covid secure”? Where we no longer see our fellow human beings as sources of infection? It would be good to hear much more often from the Government that this is where it believes we are headed, sooner rather than later.

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

Florida Governor Says He’ll Ban Vaccine Passports

By Richie Allen | March 30, 2021

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said yesterday, that he would take “executive action” and ban vaccine passports in his state. Republican DeSantis told a press conference, that the passports present “huge privacy implications.”

New York was the first state in the U.S. to announce it would implement a vaccine passport programme. It’s called “Excelsior Pass” and uses a QR code to admit a vaccinated person into different venues.

Governor DeSantis insisted that there’s no way it will be rolled out in Florida. He said;

“It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply participate in normal society.”

DeSantis said he believes people, “have certain freedoms and individual liberties” to decide whether to get the vaccine and he expressed concerns about privacy if such a program was launched.

“You’re going to do this and what, give all this information to some big corporation?” he said. “You want the fox to guard the hen house? I mean give me a break.”

Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser on COVID-19, said yesterday; “The US government is not viewing its role as the place to create a passport, nor a place to hold the data of citizens.”

“We view this as something that the private sector is doing and will do,” he said.

March 30, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Leave a comment

Florida Passes Bill Suppressing Free Speech on Israel, Palestine

Florida Governor Ron De Santis during his recent tour of Israel. (Photo: via Social Media)
Palestine Chronicle | June 17, 2019

Israel has been granted protection from its critics by the state of Florida in recent amendments to the Florida Educational Equality Act (FEEA) that suppresses free speech.

Under new definitions of anti-Semitism adopted by the American state, limits have been placed on discussions of the plight of the Palestinian people and underscoring the brutality of Israel’s occupation.

The bill is likely to open the door for criminal charges to be leveled against human rights activists and critics that advocate a single democratic state in which Israeli Jews, Palestinians, and all others are granted full, equal rights.

Supporters of the Palestine cause face the prospect of being silenced on the grounds that calls for equality under a single democratic state is deemed to be an attempt to deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination and that such a call for non-discrimination questions Israel’s right to exist.

Florida signed the bill while its governor, Ron DeSantis, was on tour of Israel and the occupied territories.

DeSantis, who has called Florida “the most Israel-friendly state in the country”, visited the US embassy in Jerusalem to ceremonially sign the new law. He also paid a visit to Ariel University, located in an illegal settlement, to receive an honor for “his dedication, leadership, and commitment to the State of Israel.”

Reports also confirm that he had met with Sheldon Adelson, a top funder of the Republican Party and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 6 Comments

Israel-based meeting of Florida cabinet triggers scandal & suit

RT | May 29, 2019

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his cabinet kicked off controversy after conducting an official meeting on Israeli soil, prompting a flurry of criticism from watchdog groups and constituents alike.

DeSantis and his cabinet met Wednesday at the US Embassy in Jerusalem to proclaim support for the Jewish state and sign a bill prohibiting anti-Semitism in Florida’s public schools. DeSantis, who has promised to be the “most pro-Israel governor in America,” called the meeting “historic.”

The Florida First Amendment Foundation, joined by four media outlets, however, say the meeting violated state legislation known as the “Sunshine Law,” which requires government meetings to be open to the public.

“Holding a meeting at this distance in such a facility violates the constitutional and statutory rights of Florida citizens (and the news media) to personally observe the workings of, and for the public to offer comment to, their state’s highest officials,” the organizations wrote in a complaint filed earlier this week.

Though state officials assured the public the meeting would be “ceremonial” in nature, and would be livestreamed on Florida public television, critics argued it did not qualify as an open proceeding.

“There are legitimate concerns regarding the constitutionality of holding a Cabinet meeting that Floridians cannot attend,” First Amendment Foundation president Barbara Petersen said in a statement.

The initial complaint was dismissed by a Florida judge on Tuesday, but the governor’s office, through a spokesperson, said it intended to comply with Florida law and defend against the allegation. The spokesperson declined to comment further on “pending litigation.”

Some of the governor’s constituents chimed in on social media, many unhappy that state resources were used on the trip.

“Pretending to play secretary of state will do nothing for you in the mind of your constituents,” wrote one Floridian. “Get back home and do something for your citizens.”

Another resident said the state did not need “public funds going towards #DeSantisIllegalVacation in a state accused of apartheid,” adding “our resources need to STAY in FL.”

The DeSantis trip isn’t the only recent collision of US and Israeli politics. In late April, after a months-long legal battle, a Texas judge struck down legislation that banned Texas state employees from engaging in boycotts of Israeli products, arguing the measure sought to “manipulate debate through coercion rather than persuasion.”

The bill was one among several introduced this year to combat the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the US, an organized effort to rein in Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 4 Comments

America’s Most Pro-Israel Governor: Ron DeSantis Will Send More Florida Money to Israel

Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Actions to Affirm Florida’s Support of Israel. Credit: flgov.com
By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | May 18, 2019

Ron DeSantis, Florida’s new governor, should be really proud of himself. He recently recalled that when he ran for governor “… [he] promised to be the most pro-Israel governor in America and that the first delegation [he] would lead would be to the state of Israel.” When he confirmed that he would be taking his entire cabinet with him as part of a 75-person delegation scheduled to leave for Israel on May 25th, he boasted that “Today I’m pleased to report that I’m keeping that promise. Our delegation will bring business, academic and political leaders to help strengthen the bond between Florida and Israel.” DeSantis has promised to hold a meeting of his Cabinet in the American Embassy in Jerusalem during his visit, the first time that such a meeting has ever been held by a state government on foreign soil. During the meeting he will ostentatiously sign a legislative bill “combating anti-Semitism.”

DeSantis has been playing the Israel and anti-Semitism cards throughout his political career. Last year, as a Congressman running for governor, he attacked his opponent Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum during their gubernatorial race as not being a “friend of Israel.” He based his charge on reports that Gillum had received support from the Dream Defenders, a group favoring Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, as well as once having given a speech welcoming members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to his city. DeSantis claimed in a video clip that “I can find anti-Semites around him, but it’s almost like ‘we don’t want to discuss that.’”

As a Congressman, DeSantis sponsored in 2013 the Palestinian Accountability Act which called for the withholding of U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority until it recognizes Israel as a Jewish state. In 2017, he co-founded the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus, saying “Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East, as we share common national interests and possess similar national values. Israel is not the problem in the Middle East; it is the solution to many of the problems that bedevil the region. American policy must ensure that Israel emerges victorious against those who deny or threaten her existence.” Earlier this year, DeSantis drafted a proposal calling on the U.S. to recognize Syria’s Golan Heights as an ‘integral part’ of the State of Israel.

DeSantis boasted about his presence in Jerusalem when the U.S. Embassy was moved to that city one year ago and has promised that on his upcoming trip he will visit Israel’s illegal settlements on the West Bank, which he refers to by the preferred Israeli usage as “Judea and Samaria.” He has threatened critics that “If you boycott Israel, the state of Florida will boycott you” and threatened to “sanction” the holiday rental company Airbnb when it refused to offer properties located in the illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank. DeSantis was also the driving force behind recently enacted legislation in his state to punish BDS supporters. The legislation is regarded as the most extreme among U.S. states, including explicit equation of criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. Another bill pending in Florida will enable citizens to sue teachers or government employees who in any way criticize Israel.

DeSantis, a former U.S. Navy lawyer, has demonstrated that he reveres Israel even more than his former comrades in arms. In his congressional district there were a number of survivors of the U.S.S. Liberty, which was attacked in international waters by Israel on June 8, 1967, killing 34 crewmen and injuring 171 more. They report that DeSantis has been completely unsympathetic to their requests that a commission of inquiry finally be convened to determine what actually happened on that day.

Regarding the upcoming visit, a local Florida radio station conducted an interview with Israeli Consul General in Miami Lior Haiat, who emphasized the economic benefits to be derived from the strong bilateral relationship, who said “The fact that the huge delegation is going from Florida to Israel is just a symbol that the outcome of this delegation will be seen in the relationship between Israel and Florida for years to come. Because this is just the beginning. We’re signing over 10 memorandums of understandings and agreements between Israeli companies and universities and the Floridian companies and universities. This is a huge bridge that Gov. DeSantis is building. We are happy to be part of it.”

Consul General Haiat also noted that “There is a lot of new technology based in Israel that is very relevant to Florida both on the red tide and algae, and we are already connecting Israeli companies with local authorities in able to find what is the most useful technology for that part.  But it’s also for the greening of oranges. This is a huge problem here. I think that the connection between Israel and Florida has a lot of potential since Israel has a lot of agricultural technology based on knowledge, and Florida has a huge sector of agriculture that can use that technology.”

The six days De Santis led boondoggle in Israel is funded by taxpayers. A public records request filed by a local newspaper seeking information on how much the trip would cost has not been responded to by the governor’s office. And the idea that the state of Florida and its citizens will benefit materially from the trip is largely an illusion. This mixing of politics and business interests is essentially corrupt and inevitably leads to abuses that do not serve the public interest, particularly as American citizens who stand to benefit both, directly and indirectly, are quite openly promoting the interests of a foreign nation.

The Florida trip is a perfect example of how Israel’s friends go about setting up mechanisms that will benefit the Jewish state. Israel will be selling its products and services to Florida, enabled by a government in place that is promoting the process and will steer contracts in its direction. In return, Florida will get little or nothing as Israel is a tiny market and has no particular need of anything that the Sunshine State produces.

All such trade agreements are designed to enrich Israel. The 1985 United States free trade agreement with Israel has benefitted the Jewish state by $144 billion, which is the U.S. deficit on the trade between 1985 and 2015. An interesting example of how this works at the state level and the abuse that it can produce has recently surfaced in Virginia, where a so-called Virginia-Israel Advisory Board (VIAB) has actually been funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia taxpayers to promote and even subsidize Israeli business in the state, business that currently runs an estimated $500 million per annum in favor of Israel. Grant Smith’s Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRMEP) has done considerable digging into the affairs of VIAB, which was ostensibly “created to foster closer economic integration between the United States and Israel while supporting the Israeli government’s policy agenda” with a charter defining its role as “advis[ing] the Governor on ways to improve economic and cultural links between the Commonwealth and the State of Israel, with a focus on the areas of commerce and trade, art and education, and general government.” Smith has observed that “VIAB is a pilot for how Israel can quietly obtain taxpayer funding and official status for networked entities that advance Israel from within key state governments.”

Florida does not yet have an equivalent of Virginia’s VIAB, but it probably does not need one as the pandering to Israel will be run right out of the governor’s office. So if you want to create jobs and exports for a foreign country at a cost to your own citizens, by all means, follow the DeSantis Florida model and send an expensive trade mission over to Jerusalem to sing the praises of Benjamin Netanyahu and his band of war criminals while also promoting “buy Israel.” But just maybe it would be a better idea to stop shilling for a foreign country. Floridians should insist on keeping the travel money here at home where it might actually do some good while also putting a little pressure on DeSantis, who was elected to serve the people of his state, to stop his unseemly boasting about being the “most pro-Israel governor in America.”

May 18, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 3 Comments

Florida bill would censor info on Israel-Palestine in schools, colleges

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | January 25, 2019

Three Florida state lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill that uses a new, Israel-centric definition of “anti-Semitism” that experts say would censor information about Israel-Palestine in Florida public schools and colleges.

The bill’s sponsor is Republican Mike Caruso of Palm County. The co-sponsors are Democrat Michael Grieco of Miami Beach and Republican Anthony Sabatini of Lake County.

Israel partisans are promoting such bills around the United States at both the state and federal level. The bills are part of an international effort to use an Israeli created redefinition of anti-Semitism to prohibit and even at times criminalize the dissemination of negative facts about Israel.

Entitled “HB 371 Discrimination In Florida K-20 Public Education System,” the bill contains a section on what it calls “anti-Semitism” that is virtually identical to a bill already passed in South Carolina.

Legislation using using the same Israel-centric definition has been introduced in the U.S. Congress.

Section #7 of the Florida bill states that “a public K-20 educational institution must take into consideration anti-Semitism when determining if a practice or act was discrimination on the basis of religion. For purposes of this section, the term ‘anti-Semitism’ means all of the following…” The bill then lists 13 actions that are “anti-Semitic.” Nine of them concern Israel.

The standard, dictionary definition of anti-Semitism, discrimination or hostility against Jews, says nothing about Israel.

The new, Israel-centric definition of anti-Semitism was first formulated by an Israeli government minister in 2004. The official then assisted in procuring the adoption of this formulation in the United States. Israel partisan Hannah Rosenthal adopted it in the U.S. State Department in 2010.

‘Poses threat to free speech’

Numerous analysts oppose the bills on the basis that they violate freedom of speech and academic inquiry.

The Miami New Times reports that the  ACLU of Florida plans to track the bill’s progress to ensure that it doesn’t silence political speech. An ACLU Florida spokesperson said that addressing anti-Semitism and all forms of religious discrimination “is crucial, but it does not justify silencing constitutionally protected speech. All Floridians have the right to free speech without the threat of government interference.”

The national American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has a record of opposing such legislation, stating that it poses “a serious threat to the First Amendment free speech rights of those on campus who may hold certain political views.”

In a letter of opposition to the federal bill, the ACLU stated: “The First Amendment prevents the federal government from using its great weight to impose severe penalties on a person simply for sharing a political viewpoint critical of Israel.”

An ACLU analysis points out that “anti-Semitic harassment is already illegal under federal law.” The new legislation “does not change that fact, but its overbreadth makes it likely that it will instead silence criticism of Israel that is protected by the First Amendment.”

The article, entitled “The Latest Attack on Free Speech in the Israel-Palestine Debate,” states that there is a “disturbing surge of government-led attempts to suppress the speech of people on only one side of the Israel-Palestine debate. The trend manifests on college campuses, in state contracts, and even in bills to change federal criminal law, but the impact is the same: Those who seek to protest, boycott, or otherwise criticize the Israeli government are being silenced.”

The authors conclude: “These efforts to censor criticism of the Israeli government and advocacy for Palestinian rights do a disservice to the real problem of anti-Semitism in the United States.”

‘Affront to academic freedom’

One of the individuals who helped write the Israel-centric definition, attorney Kenneth Stern, has written that imposing it on campuses is “unconstitutional and unwise.” According to Stein, applying the definition to colleges “is a direct affront to academic freedom.”

Mike Caruso, sponsor of the Florida bill, is serving his first term in the Florida legislature after an extremely close election, winning with a 32-vote margin out of about 80,000 votes cast.

He represents Palm Beach County, known as a particularly pro-Israel area of Florida; approximately one third of the residents are Jewish and there are frequent pro-Israel events in the area. The local Jewish Federation website features a prominent announcement for the 2019 convention of the Israeli American Council, which advocates for Israel.

Recent related legislation

The U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month passed a bill that would force President Trump to appoint a special envoy who would monitor criticism of Israel.

The position was created in 2005 as part of the effort for the U.S. to adopt the Israel-centric definition. The bill has not yet gone to the Senate.

The first Senate bill of 2019, S.1, would finalize a $38 billion package to Israel, the largest military aid package in U.S. history. Attempts to move the bill to a quick vote have stalled while Congress debates the government shutdown.

The bill is sponsored by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, whose major backers include pro-Israel advocates Norman Braman, a Florida businessman, Paul Singer, and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

A companion bill, H.R.336, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.

January 25, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Israeli Minister Urges US Governors to Punish Airbnb for Settlement Delistings

Sputnik – November 28, 2018

Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who heads the government’s response to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, wrote a letter to five US governors asking them to take action against the home-renting service Airbnb after the company removed listings on its platform for properties in the illegally occupied West Bank.

Israeli listings in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, which are also illegally occupied, were left in place.

Erdan responded almost immediately to Airbnb’s decision by condemning it as “racist.”

“US law permits companies like Airbnb to engage in business in these territories,” the company said in a statement at the time. “At the same time, many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced.”

“It is thanks to the hard work of activists in this coalition and around the world that Airbnb will no longer be profiting from Israeli apartheid in the West Bank,” Ariel Gold, national co-director of the anti-war group Codepink and pro-BDS activist, told Sputnik News following Airbnb’s announcement. “Israeli settlements are not only illegal under international law, but they contribute directly to the daily human rights abuses Palestinians face.”

Airbnb’s move came just one day before Human Rights Watch was scheduled to release a report on home rentals facilitated by Airbnb and Booking.com in the West Bank, which the UN considers to be illegally occupied by Israel.

Erdan called on former hosts on the platform to band together and sue Airbnb following the announcement of the company’s decision. He also promised to complain to senior officials in the US and ask them to check whether Airbnb’s move violates laws against boycotting Israel that “exist in over 25 states,” Sputnik News reported.

In Erdan’s letter to the governors of Illinois, New York, Florida, Missouri and California, he said Airbnb had adopted “the anti-Semitic practices and narrative of the boycott movement.” Of the five states the governors represent, four have laws against the BDS movement, the exception being Missouri. Airbnb is headquartered in California.

According to the Israeli TV news outlet Kan, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner requested the state’s investment board to consider divesting from Airbnb, while Florida’s incoming Governor Ron DeSantis vowed to take similar action.

Erdan’s letter forebears a government-wide Israeli response to the de-listings from an inter-ministerial committee comprising officials from Erdan’s Strategic Affairs Ministry as well as the ministries for foreign affairs, tourism, justice, finance and economy.

While Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin called last week for a “special and high tax” on Airbnb, such an action could wind up hurting the owners of the 22,000 Israeli homes that are allowed to continue renting on the platform, something officials would prefer to avoid.

Meanwhile, lawyers in Israel have already heeded Erdan’s call, filing a class action lawsuit against the company last Thursday on behalf of illegal West Bank settlers.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump-Putin Summit Meets Expectations: Reviving Hopes for Better Future

By Andrei AKULOV | Strategic Culture Foundation | 17.07.2018

There is no doubt that the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki is a significant step forward. As expected, there were no breakthroughs and the tide was not exactly turned but guardrails to the bilateral relationship were restored to pave the way for substantial progress.

Evidently, only a full-fledged summit could stop further deterioration of the bilateral relations and it happened. True, it was too brief to produce strides but it created a positive atmosphere for launching the process of repairing the damage. The meeting met the expectations of those who wanted the bilateral ties to improve.

The importance of cooperation between the militaries was emphasized. No doubt, it will become closer and more intensive from now on. National security teams will revive the much-needed dialogue on a range of burning issues, including separate talks on cyber security. The fate of the New START Treaty will be addressed to prevent the erosion of arms control. This is a very important and timely development. The parties will coordinate their actions in Syria. President Putin stressed the need to resume public diplomacy to boost contacts between the peoples. These are tangible results. As President Trump said at the news conference, the relationship was at the rock bottom but it has changed now.

The lawmakers’ support is a must for implementation of the president’s plans. Will Donald Trump have congressional backing for his “hit it off with Putin” policy? It brings to the fore the issue of GOP prospects for the US midterm elections on November 6, which are a kind of referendum on Donald Trump’s performance. On this date, Americans will answer the question whether they trust President Trump, including his Russia policy.

Alabama already held its primary run-off elections on July 17 launching the countrywide process to last till mid-September. The party in power normally loses seats in Congress as a result of midterm elections. That’s what Democrats are banking on. Since the days of the Civil War (1861-1865) the incumbent president’s party has lost ground in 36 out of 39 midterm elections to the House. Over the past 21 midterm elections, the GOP has gained seats in both houses only twice.

If Democrats score a win to get a majority in one of the houses, the “election meddling story” will be a drag on the development of the relationship. With Democratic majority in Senate, treaties with Russia will have a slim chance to be ratified and new snags on the way of normalizing the relationship may be codified, even if it means encroachment on president’s prerogatives.

Today, the GOP has the 236-193 majority in the House and the 51-47 majority in the Senate. Two senators are independent. They tend to side with Democrats. According to the Cool Political Report issued just a few days ago, Republicans have a good chance to win the House. There are lower chamber 36 seats in the “toss up” or “lean” category. Another report published this month says the GOP will preserve the current majority in the Senate. Republicans can afford a loss of only one Senate seat to preserve the lead. Democrats have 26 seats in the Senate for re-election out of 35. This is a chance to increase the advantage. The GOP candidates are leading in North Dakota and Florida. A Republican victory would give a chance for Senate’s approval of Trump-nominated Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice to strengthen the president’s position.

Indeed, a GOP success will be unprecedented but it looks quite achievable at present. Many things can sway the public opinion but today most Americans want to see the relations with Russia improved. They see it as a feather in President Trump’s cap. Despite all the ballyhoo raised about “election meddling” and other things, the percentage of all Americans who view Russia is an ally or friendly to the US rose to 31% from 26% in 2014. There has been no change in the percentage of Americans identifying Russia as an enemy or unfriendly to their country. The number of Republicans who say Russia is an ally or a friendly state rose from 22% to 40% since 2014.

The economic outlook under Trump is positive to increase the Republican chances. “Over the first half of this year, overall economic activity appears to have expanded at a solid pace,” the Federal Reserve concluded in its recent report.

With a Republican majority in Congress, President Trump could do much more for improving the relations with Moscow. A GOP win would pave the way for arms control and security agreements to be approved by Senate.

Hopefully, the summit results are not just a flash in the pan to disappear with another president taking office. The facts adduced above indicate the main thing – Donald Trump is far from being a lamp duck. He is a serious interlocutor who can advance his cause and do it with solid support in Congress and among voters. Improving the relations with Russia was Donald Trump’s pre-election promise given to American people who voted for him. As one can see, the US president remains true to his word.

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment