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Forbes Blames Global Warming for Record Cold – Science Disagrees

By James Taylor | ClimateRealism | February 17, 2021

In a major victory for Newspeak, the propaganda language in George Orwell’s novel “1984,” Forbes.com published an article yesterday blaming global warming for the record cold pummeling much of the nation. Google News, moreover, promoted the Forbes article by placing it at the top of search results for “climate change.”

The title of the Forbes article is “Blackouts In Texas and California Teach A Hard Lesson: Climate Change Is Costly.” The author writes, “These grid failures are wake-up calls and provide further proof that the impacts of climate change are not geographically constrained, nor do they take aim at one political party. One way or another, the cost of climate change on each of us will make itself known: in this both California and Texas can now agree.”

The author does not, however, explain how or why global warming causes record cold temperatures. Climate activists have occasionally, and when politically convenient, claimed climate change causes more polar-vortex extreme cold events. However, the scientific data strongly contradict Forbes’ assertion that global warming is to blame for the cold outbreak in Texas. Indeed, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data show the number days each year with below-freezing temperatures in Texas is neither unusually high nor unusually low so far this century.

Similarly, NOAA data for neighboring Oklahoma – which is also getting walloped right now by cold weather – show a decline in the frequency of very cold weather events in recent decades.

So, there clearly is no recent increase in the frequency of severe cold events in Texas and Oklahoma. So, by what logic does Forbes blame the current very cold conditions on global warming? Well, the author of the Forbes article is Chief Science Officer and Chief Commercial Officer at New Energy Risk, which is comprised of “climate-conscience venture capitalists” seeking to make money promoting “green” energy.

Forbes clearly has no conflict-of-interest standards for its authors and articles, nor does it attempt to investigate what the scientific data show regarding its articles’ claims.

February 24, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

Corona-Chan Didn’t Care Until I Put on the Mask

By Anatoly Karlin • Unz Review • April 2, 2020

For most of the past two months, Russian disinformation agents respectable Western Establishment voices such as the Surgeon-General of the US, the CDC, and the MSM (e.g. CNN, Vox) have churned out propaganda that masks are ineffective against containing the spread of the coronavirus. In perhaps the most “powerful” take, Forbes even claimed that they INCREASE infection risk.

This propaganda was bizarre on multiple levels. First, it violated common sense – even a T-shirt wrapped around your mouth and nose will ward off large droplets – there’s a massive amount of other evidence in favor of masks. Second, the conventional wisdom appears to be that this advice was given for a putative “greater good” – preventing runs on masks, so as to spare them for healthcare workers who are much more exposed to the virus. This, at least, made sense – though it had to be balanced against the negative impact on public trust towards “experts” and institutions. However, as Scott Alexander has noted, this explanation is likely false; in reality, the CDC and other American experts have been dismissing the efficacy of face masks for years, including during the H1N1 epidemic in 2009 and the MERS epidemic in 2015. So the real explanation is much less altruistic and far more banal than even reasoned critics gave them credit for – it was just sheer bureaucratic inertia and unwillingness to adapt East Asian best practice.

In any case, there is evidence of a turnaround. Global mask production has been revving up, though East Asia remains far in the lead – China alone produces almost half the world’s masks at ~100+ million units per day, and its capacity to supply them will enable it to acquire massive soft power in the coming months. Moreover, an official recommendation to wear masks in public in the US appears to be imminent. The process is more advanced in several European states, such as Czechia, where according to Twitter, face mask adaptation has become near as universal as in East Asia.

This is very good news, if long overdue. Had these policies been adopted at the very start, it is entirely possible that the West would not have seen the huge epidemics and morbid debates about whether to save the boomers or the GDP when a massive bunch of 5 cent face masks would have sufficed to keep r0 at close to 1. But this was left too late, and now there is no choice – POLITICALLY, at any rate – but to impose huge lockdowns that are going to crater the world economy (if only in the short-term… if we’re lucky).

The rest constitutes what I hope will be a useful reference on mask efficacy to convince people who insist that they are useless/won’t do anything/etc. Practical advice on face masks usage at my COVID-19 Survival Guide.

***

East Asian “Lived Experience”

Basic facts: No East Asian region outside Hubei, China – despite their FAR more intensive travel links with China – have experienced major COVID-19 epidemics as in Europe and the US. Not even South Korea, which experienced a freak occurrence thanks to Patient 31, a church-frequenting “superspreader.” Meanwhile, Japan has seen just a bit more than a thousand cases, despite adopting a very relaxed stance towards lockdowns, quarantines, and travel restrictions by global standards – there has not been a COVID-19 explosion as in Europe. Taiwanese cases capped out at 47, before Europeans started tilting their numbers modestly upwards again.

Science: Not wearing masks to protect against coronavirus is a ‘big mistake,’ top Chinese scientist says

Balaji S. Srinivasan: “… Asia shows it doesn’t have to be this way. And their playbooks are online. So it’s bizarre to watch Western leaders surrender to the idea of 40-80% infection rates AND extended lockdown. That’s not a manageable situation, it’s overnight impoverishment.

***

Articles

* Scott Alexander: Face Masks: Much More Than You Wanted To Know. Does a large meta-analysis of different studies to conclude that surgical masks are effective.

Meanwhile, n95 masks are more effective than surgical masks, but only if you put them on properly – which is apparently not a trivial task:

I remember my respirator training, the last time I worked in a hospital. They gave the standard two minute explanation, made you put the respirator on, and then made you go underneath a hood where they squirted some aerosolized sugar solution. If you could smell the sugar, your respirator was leaky and you failed. I tried so hard and I failed so many times. It was embarrassing and I hated it.

I’m naturally clumsy and always bad at that kind of thing. Some people were able to listen to the two minute explanation and then pass right away. Those kinds of people could probably also listen to a two minute YouTube explanation and be fine. So I don’t want to claim it’s impossible or requires lots of specialized background knowledge. It’s just a slightly difficult physical skill you have to get right.

Bunyan et al, 2013, Respiratory And Facial Protection: A Critical Review Of Recent Literature, discusses this in more depth. They review some of the same studies we reviewed earlier, showing no benefit of N95 respirators over surgical masks for health care workers in most situations. This doesn’t make much theoretical sense – the respirators should win hands down.

The most likely explanation is: doctors aren’t much better at using respirators than anyone else. In a California study of tuberculosis precautions, 65% of health care workers used their respirators incorrectly. That’s little better than the general public, who have a 76% failure rate. …

Is a poorly-fitting N95 respirator better than nothing? The reviewed studies suggest that at that point it’s just a very fancy and expensive surgical mask.

* Dr. Sui Huang: COVID-19: Why We Should All Wear Masks — There Is New Scientific Rationale

The surgeon general tweeted: “STOP BUYING MASK, they are not effective…”. The Center for Disease Controls (CDC) states that surgical masks offer far less protection than the N95 respirator masks (which also must be perfectly fitted and only professionals can do it). The CDC recommends that healthy persons should not wear masks at all, only the sick ones. These guidelines are not rooted in scientific rationales but were motivated by the need to save the valuable masks for health professionals in view of a shortage. But they may have had unintended consequences: stigmatizing those that wear masks in the public (you are a hoarder, or you are contagious!)

Contrast this with the cultural habit, the encouragement, or even mandate to wear masks in Asian countries — which have now “flattened the curve” or even have had a flatter curve from the beginning.

* Less Wrong: Credibility of the CDC on SARS-CoV-2

***

Studies

* Yan, Jing, Suvajyoti Guha, Prasanna Hariharan, and Matthew Myers. 2019. “Modeling the Effectiveness of Respiratory Protective Devices in Reducing Influenza Outbreak.Risk Analysis: An Official Publication of the Society for Risk Analysis 39 (3): 647–61.

It was found that a 50% compliance in donning the device resulted in a significant (at least 50% prevalence and 20% cumulative incidence) reduction in risk for fitted and unfitted N95 respirators, high-filtration surgical masks, and both low-filtration and high-filtration pediatric masks. An 80% compliance rate essentially eliminated the influenza outbreak.

* Davies, Anna, Katy-Anne Thompson, Karthika Giri, George Kafatos, Jimmy Walker, and Allan Bennett. 2013. “Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would They Protect in an Influenza Pandemic?Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness 7 (4): 413–18.

The median-fit factor of the homemade masks was one-half that of the surgical masks. Both masks significantly reduced the number of microorganisms expelled by volunteers, although the surgical mask was 3 times more effective in blocking transmission than the homemade mask.

* Radonovich, Lewis J., Jr, Michael S. Simberkoff, Mary T. Bessesen, Alexandria C. Brown, Derek A. T. Cummings, Charlotte A. Gaydos, Jenna G. Los, et al. 2019. “N95 Respirators vs Medical Masks for Preventing Influenza Among Health Care Personnel: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association 322 (9): 824–33.

In this pragmatic, cluster randomized clinical trial involving 2862 health care personnel, there was no significant difference in the incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza among health care personnel with the use of N95 respirators (8.2%) vs medical masks (7.2%).

* Leung, Nancy H. L., Daniel K. W. Chu, Eunice Y. C. Shiu, Kwok-Hung Chan, James J. McDevitt, Benien J. P. Hau, Hui-Ling Yen, et al. 2020. “Respiratory Virus Shedding in Exhaled Breath and Efficacy of Face Masks.” Nature Medicine, April.

April 4, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | 1 Comment

Fake report on ‘Russian soldier deaths’ in Ukraine sets media on fire

RT | August 27, 2015

A Forbes report on alleged Russian army casualties in Ukraine citing a dodgy Russian website has sparked a media and Twitter storm. Some said Russia had “finally slipped” with the leak on its troops in Ukraine; others were baffled by the “fake publication.”

A Forbes contributor, Paul Roderick Gregory, published an article on Wednesday citing a Russian web source called Delovaya Zhizn (translated as Business Life ), which was said to reveal “official figures on the number of Russian soldiers killed or made invalids in eastern Ukraine.”

The report, dated March 2015 and entitled “Increases in Pay for Military in 2015,” was altered, with the relevant information being removed, after the Forbes publication came out. However, the original copy was webcached by Google.

The cache shows that the website, which has articles on Russian finance, markets and leisure, claimed that the Russian government had paid monetary compensation to Russian soldiers who “took part in military actions in Eastern Ukraine.”

Without citing a source, the article claimed that as of February 1, more than 2,000 families of soldiers killed in Ukraine had received compensation of 3 million rubles (about $50,000) and those crippled during military action – a half million rubles (about $25,000). It added that another 3,200 soldiers wounded in battle had received compensation of 1,800 rubles for every day they were in the conflict zone.

The Forbes contributor accused “Russian censors” for “quickly removing the offending material.”

The Forbes report was picked up by Western media and independent journalists. The International Business Times reported that the Russian article had “accidentally published the leaked figures.”

An article by The Independent on Wednesday called Delovaya Zhizn a “respected news site in Russia,” and cited the head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, James Nixey, who said that the report is a “nail in the coffin” in proving Russia is engaged in military action.

Another media outlet piling on was was Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which claimed it had received a response from some Anatoly Kravchenko from Delovaya Zhizn, who said the website had “received the casualty figures from relatives of dead servicemen as well as ‘insider information’ from the Russian Defense Ministry.” However, they added that the website’s representative had “declined to identify any specific sources.”

Western officials, including two former US ambassadors to Russia and to Ukraine and the US ambassador to OSCE, also retweeted the report.

The publication sparked a Twitter storm with some western journalists, researchers, analysts and think-tanks giving their full trust to the source.

However, at a certain point the media storm came to a halt.  Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky concluded that the initial Delovaya Zhizn report was fake, questioning the URL, Bs-life.ru, and exposing a grammatical error (“v Ukraine” instead of “na Ukraine”).

AP journalist Nataliya Vasilyeva pointed out the ease of spreading fake information on the web.

“The ease of spreading rumors in the digital world is astonishing,” she wrote.

“Two days of Western officials retweeting a Forbes report quoting a Ukrainian web-site quoting a non-existent Russia news web-site re Ukraine,” she added.

“The main problem here is, of course, where was the Forbes online editor when the story was published, why nobody bothered to check sources?”

Indeed, the Russian State media watchdog, Roscomnadzor, has four registered media sources of that name on its website.  All of them are listed as print publications – newspapers or magazines. Electronic media is not mentioned.

The Delovaya Zhizn (bs-life.ru) website, however, does not contain any reference to a print edition or mail subscription. Moreover, it does not detail its staff, its owner or founder, or any relevant contact information except for an online reply form.

RT attempted to contact the publication by phone numbers collected through open sources on the web, but received no answer by phone – or via the online form.

This is not the sole example of unverified information related to the Ukrainian conflict appearing on the web. However, few such “leaks” make it to big media.

In one of the instances, US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt was caught posting unverified images on his Twitter feed in September 2014. The photos, which he said showed US-Kiev military exercises in Ukraine, had already been published in July 2014 and in October 2013.

In another case in April, Pyatt claimed that Russia’s military was continuing to expand its presence in eastern Ukraine. As proof, he posted a picture of a Buk-M2 missile defense system that he said was stationed in Ukraine. However, it turned out to be a two-year-old photo from an air show near Moscow.

READ MORE:

Back to old tactics: US envoy tweets ‘Russian BUKs in Ukraine’ with pic of Moscow show

US envoy to Ukraine caught posting fake images on Twitter

August 27, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

US, Israel instill fears over Iran’s growing influence in Latin America

By Ramzy Baroud | Press TV | December 31, 2012

Reading the text of a bill that was recently signed into law by US President Barack Obama would instill fear in the hearts of ordinary Americans. Apparently, barbarians coming from distant lands are at work. They are gathering at the US-Mexico border, cutting fences and ready to wreak havoc on an otherwise serene American landscape.

Never mind that crazed, armed to the teeth, homegrown American terrorists are killing children and terrorizing whole cities. It is the Iranian menace that we are meant to fear according to the new law. When compounded with the other imagined threats of Hezbollah and Hamas, all with sinister agendas, then the time is right for Americans to return to their homes, bolt their doors and squat in shelters awaiting further instructions, for evidently, “The Iranians are coming.”

It is as comical as it is untrue. But “The Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act”, which as of December 28th is an official US law, is not meant to be amusing. It is riddled with half-truths, but mostly complete and utter lies.

Yes, Iran’s influence in Latin America is on the rise. However, by US standards, the expanding diplomatic ties, extending trade routes and such are considered a threat to be ‘countered’ or per Forbes magazine’s endless wisdom, ‘confronted.’

Language in politics can be very dangerous as it can misconstrue reality, turning fictitious scenarios into ‘facts’. Despite its faltering economy, the US continues to experience a sharp growth in its think tank industry – men and women whose sole purpose are to invent and push political agendas, which oftentimes belong to some foreign entity; in this case it is Israel. Ian Barman, Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council reflected that sentiment exactly in a recent article in Forbes.

Only in the past year, “policymakers in Washington have woken up to a new (Iranian) threat to U.S. security”, he wrote, citing an alleged Iranian assassination plot in Washington. According to Barman, that was the wake-up call leading to a “deeply worrisome” reality. In a moment of supposed level-headedness, he writes: “exactly how significant this threat is represents the subject of a new study released in late November by the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee. That report, entitled ‘A Line In The Sand’, documents the sinister synergies that have been created in recent years between Iran and Hezbollah on the one hand, and radical regional regimes and actors-from Venezuela to Mexican drug cartels-on the other.”

But according to Agence France Press, reporting on the new law on December 29th, “Washington has repeatedly stated it is closely monitoring Tehran’s activities in Latin America, though senior State Department and intelligence officials have indicated there is no apparent indication of illicit activities by Iran.”

Indeed, on the issue of Iran’s influence in Latin America there are two contradicting narratives. One that merely acknowledges Iranians growing diplomatic outreach in Latin America since 2005 and another that speaks of massive conspiracies involving Iran, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, drug cartels, and yes, even underground music piracy groups. The alleged conspiracy is not only far-fetched, it is purposely fabricated to further punish Iran, on behalf of Israel, for its nuclear energy program. The panic over Iran’s ‘infiltration’ of the US ‘neighborhood’ in Latin America, didn’t start a year ago (as alleged by Barman) but rather coincided with old Israeli-Western propaganda which pained Iran as a country ruled by religious fiends whose main hobby is to assemble bombs and threaten western civilization. When pro-Israeli think tank ‘experts’ began floating a scenario of ‘what if Iran and Hezbollah join forces with Mexico’s Los Zetas drug cartel’ a few years ago, the idea seemed too absurd to compel a rational response. Now it is actually written into the new bill turned law as if a matter of fact. (Sec. 2, Findings 12)

The bill doesn’t only lack reason, proper references and is dotted with a strange amalgam of politically-inspired accusations, it also relies on wholesale allegations of little, if any plausible foundation whatsoever: “Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies with a presence in Latin America have raised revenues through illicit activities, including drug and arms trafficking, counterfeiting, money laundering, forging travel documents, pirating software and music and providing haven and assistance to other terrorists transiting the region.” (Sec 2, Findings 8)

Of course, since the whole exercise is fueled by Israeli anxiety, Hamas also had to somehow be pulled in, if not indicted through the same inexplicable reasoning: “The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration concluded in 2008 that almost one-half of the foreign terrorist organizations in the world are linked to narcotics trade and trafficking, including Hezbollah and Hamas.” (Sec. 2, Findings 10)

US author and journalist, Belen Fernandez has been looking into this matter for years. In all of her writings on the topic she seemed to trace the very thread that unites the invented upheaval over Iran’s supposed takeover of the ‘Western Hemisphere.’ In an article entitled: “Distorting Iranian-Latin American Relations”, nearly two years ago, she wrote: “Iranian ‘penetration’ in Latin America has in recent years become a pet issue of Israeli Foreign Ministry officials and American neoconservative pundits, many of whom take offense at the perceived failure of the U.S. government to adequately appreciate the security threat posed by, for example, the inauguration of a weekly flight from Caracas to Tehran with a stop in Damascus.”

The issue for Israel and its US conduits is entirely political. Iran is indeed expanding its political and diplomatic outreach, but entirely through legal and official means, something that the US has failed to do since The Monroe Doctrine gave the US exclusive hegemony over Latin America starting in December 1823. But much has changed since then, especially in the last two decades when the US swung towards disastrous Middle East foreign policies, much to the pleasure of Israel. The suffering endured by Arabs and Muslims was the needed break for some Latin American countries to challenge US policies in their respective countries. This period was the era in which powerhouses like Brazil rose and popular governments took the helm. US policies in Latin America are not failing because of Iranians ‘sinister’ plans, but because of something entirely different.

Demeaning Latin America as a hapless region waiting for US saviors and pinning US political stocks on Iran might serve immediate Israeli purposes, but it will certainly contribute to the growing political delusion that permeates Washington. Alas, there are little indications that Washington politicians are anywhere near waking up from Israel’s overbearing spell. Just examine the author of the anti-Iran bill: Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina’s 3rd District. He is a ‘freshman’, but has massive ambitions. He joined the Congress in 2011 and quickly learned the ropes. He knows that in order to succeed on Capitol Hill, one must win favor with the pro-Israeli lobby. He sponsored the bill on January 3, just a few days before the Iranian President went on a major diplomatic tour in Latin America to expand his country’s international relations. That alone was unacceptable, for Latin America has long been designated as the US ‘backyard’, per the belittling perception of US mainstream media. The trip ignited the ire of Israel, which both media and officials considered a travesty at a time that Tel Aviv was tirelessly working to isolate Iran. The bill was clearly a coordinated move, as its language indicates textbook Israeli hasbara.

Duncan might have been a novice, but he is quickly catching up. On May 20th, he proudly posted a statement on his House of Representative page that sharply censures his own president’s remarks on Israel, while fully supporting the political stances of the leader of another country, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He decried Obama’s siding with the “Hamas-led government”, thus “undermined(ing) Israel’s position in the negotiation process.”

“President Obama’s statement that Israel should retreat to its impossible to defend 1967 borders breaks a promise to one of our strongest allies, threatens Israel’s security, and jeopardizes the future of democracy in the region,” he wrote. Of course, Duncan wholeheartedly agreed with Netanyahu’s right-wing policies. “(The Israeli) Prime Minister understands the hard reality of Israel’s precarious security situation and daily threats of terrorism. I agree with the Israeli Prime Minister that President Obama’s position is simply unrealistic.” He concluded with a very telling statement: “As a Christian, I ask Americans to continue lifting up the people of Israel with prayers for safety and the hope for a lasting peace.”

This strange attitude towards politics and American national security is the real threat, not Iranian embassies and water purification projects in some Latin American countries. But considering the rising religious zealotry, shrewd Israeli lobby and the numerous think tanks of catered wisdom, there is little space for pragmatic politics or sensible approach to anything that concerns Israel. Thus, Obama enacted the bill into law and funds have been secured to evaluate Iran’s growing ‘threats’ in ‘America’s backyard’ so that proper measures are taken to counter the frightening possibilities.

What Duncan doesn’t know however, is that Latin America is no longer hostage, neither to the whims of Washington, nor to his South Carolina’s 3rd District. And that the ‘Western Hemisphere’ is no longer defined by the confines of US foreign policies, which seem to be narrowing each year to meet Israeli expectations and not those of America.

January 2, 2013 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment