Stop Believing US Military Invasions Have Noble Intentions: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

AUGUST 15, 2021

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By Cailtin Johnstone

I love how everyone’s just pretending the Afghanistan Papers never happened and the Taliban takeover is some kind of shocking tragedy instead of the thing everyone knew would happen because they’ve been knowingly lying about working to create a stable government this entire time.

If the US had a free press and was anything like a democracy, the government wouldn’t be getting away with squandering thousands of lives and trillions of dollars on a twenty-year war which accomplished literally nothing besides making assholes obscenely wealthy.

Thousands of human lives. Trillions of dollars. If western mass media were anything remotely resembling what they purport to be, they would be making sure the public understands how badly their government just fucked them. Instead it’s just “Oh no, those poor Afghan women.”

War apologists talk about “doing nothing” like that’s somehow worse than creating mountains of human corpses for power and profit. “We’ve got to DO SOMETHING about the Taliban! We can’t just do NOTHING!”

Uhh, yes you can. Please for the love of God do nothing. Doing nothing would be infinitely better than more military interventionism in a nation you’ve already tortured for twenty years for no valid reason.

People who think US interventionism solves problems just haven’t gone through the mountains upon mountains of evidence that it definitely definitely does not at all. Nobody honestly believes the US needs to invade every nation in the world with illiberal cultural values; they only think that way with Afghanistan due to war propaganda. And women’s lives in Afghanistan have still been shit under the occupation.

They had twenty years to build a stable nation in Afghanistan. Twenty years. If you believe that’s what they were really trying to do there, or that results would be any different if you gave them twenty more, you’re a fucking moron.

If you think the US needs to be in Afghanistan so the Taliban doesn’t take over then have some integrity and intellectual honesty and admit you want perpetual occupation. In which case you should be arguing for Afghan annexation so they get votes and congressional representation.

The objection shouldn’t be that there was no “withdrawal plan”, it should be that there was no occupation plan. Nothing was done in those entire twenty years for the long-term benefit of Afghans. The entire plan was “Stay and plunder as much as we can until we feel like leaving.”

And of course more than this we should be upset that the US and its allies invaded Afghanistan at all, killing hundreds of thousands of people for no legitimate reason.

When all you’ve got is an insanely overfunded military every problem looks like a job for your insanely overfunded military.

I am once again asking you to stop believing US military invasions have noble intentions.

And stop blaming this on the “corrupt Afghan government”. There was no “Afghan government”; there was just whatever random Afghans happened to be willing to align with the occupying force that invaded their country while it was there. All blame rests entirely on that occupying force.

Now would be a great time to un-rehabilitate public opinion of George W Bush.

People who think the US military can be used for good remind me of that scene in Edward Scissorhands where he’s going around the house accidentally slashing things and then trying to fix them but he can’t fix them because he’s got horrible scissor hands that can only slash.

Every time mass military murder fails to achieve good things the proponents of mass military murder show up saying “The problem is we didn’t murder enough people.”

You’ll never see westerners so concerned about humanitarian issues as when there’s a chance some distant part of the world might not be subjected to military occupation by the most murderous power structure on earth.

Oh no, the country is immediately returning to the state it was in before we started using mass military violence to force it to look a bit different for a while. That’s like dressing your kid up as Batman for Halloween and then getting sad the next day because Batman’s gone.

Can’t figure out why Americans keep consenting to a government foreign policy of piracy and mass murder which is killing people by the millions via starvation and military violence. All that theft must be buying them awesome benefits like great healthcare and quality of life. Americans must be the happiest most thriving people in the world.

So many movies depict young men coming home from World War 2 like “Howdy Ma, hey Pop, boy it’s great to be home, now I gotta go see about that girl!” instead of hollowed out husks who’d go on to live out miserable half-lives beating their children and trying to drink away their trauma.

I still can’t get over how mainstream news stories about empire-targeted countries can be based entirely on reports by think tanks that are openly funded by weapons manufacturers. How is the fact that this is journalistic malpractice not obvious to everyone in the world?

The international symbol for the United States should be the Pentagon. It’s far more representative of what that nation stands for and what it does than some flag or an eagle.

War is the worst thing in the world. It’s the single most insane, destructive and unsustainable thing humans do. People who tell me I shouldn’t focus on it as much are people I just disregard, because they simply don’t grasp the horrific nature of war and the need to condemn it.

Sure they could have just killed Assange. But then the message to journalists would’ve been “We’ll get you if you expose our crimes, but we’ll have to be sneaky about it,” which is less intimidating than “We’ll get you if you expose our crimes, and we’ll do it right in the open.”

Western rightists are being trained to blame western civilization’s rising authoritarianism on “communism” and “Marxism”, and as a result they are reacting to anti-capitalists like myself with increasing shrillness and hysteria while the actual (very capitalist) authoritarians go unopposed.

Just another regular reminder that there will never be peace and economic justice as long as the majority are successfully convinced by establishment propaganda that those things are not in their interest. The propaganda machine must first be discredited and rendered nonfunctioning.

If you’ve got any urge to write articles or make videos or a podcast, just do it. You’re infinitely more qualified to be the media than people who are paid by billionaires to lie, and they’re not asking anyone for permission to speak. If Chris fucking Cuomo gets a voice, then so do you.

You don’t have to be perfect or professional quality or whatever; hell, give yourself permission to outright suck at first if that’s how it plays out. Give yourself permission to not be perfect and just learn as you go and correct your mistakes as you make them. That’s allowed. Again, no matter how bad you are you’re still infinitely more qualified to report the news and tell the truth than any of the shitstains who are being platformed by multibillion-dollar media outlets right now, and whatever you make will be better than what they make. Just do it.

Don’t stop if you don’t get a big audience right away, or if you never do. It’s not about that. If you can open even one person’s eyes to one aspect of reality, you are helping humanity to become a more conscious species by that much. That’s what it’s about. That’s what matters. And even if you don’t do that, fleshing out your ideas in some public medium is a great way to help yourself become aware of more things and deepen your own understanding, so you’re still improving humanity by that much. So no matter what happens you can’t lose.

If we’re ever to turn things around it will be the result of a very large number of us grabbing a rope and tugging. You don’t have to be a megastar, you just have to do your bit. Start from there and see what happens.

It’s impossible to be a truly good person without loosening your relationship with mental narrative. If you’re clinging tight to thoughts and beliefs you’re not able to relate to life as it is, you’re just relating to your own mental stories, so you can’t respond to life wisely.

Les Miserables’ Inspector Javert is a perfect depiction of what goes wrong when you emphasise narrative over reality, in his case replacing true goodness with moralism, with shoulds and shouldn’ts and rules and laws instead of responding to life as it shows up like Valjean. In contrast to Javert, Valjean is able to recognize that Fantine’s plight was a result of his own negligence even though she shows up as a prostitute in trouble with the law. Because his eyes are open to life as it is, he’s able to exercise true compassion and help her and Cosette.

People like Valjean are able to see through not just their own mental narratives, but the narratives that are imposed upon them externally by mass-scale propaganda. People like Javert will support every power agenda no matter how depraved, because they believe mental stories.

Ego doesn’t make it out alive. One way or another, it’s a goner. It either dies by being seen through, or it takes us all out with it. The good news is that every single one of us gets to make that choice in every single moment.

“Unchallenged Orientalism”: Why Liberals Suddenly Love the Lab Leak Theory

By Alan Macleod

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The lab leak theory bears a striking resemblance to the WMD hoax of 2002, not only in the fact that one of its key players is literally the same journalist using potentially the same anonymous sources, but also in the bipartisan political and media support it enjoys.

WUHAN, CHINA — The theory that the COVID-19 pandemic began life in a Chinese laboratory is going viral. Once considering it an anti-science conspiracy theory, the corporate press has done a full 180° turn — and many progressive, alternative media figures are following in its footsteps.

Progressive news show “The Young Turks” recorded what was effectively an apology video to their audience, explaining their new direction. “It does appear that there is some indication that a lab leak in Wuhan, China, is the origin of the coronavirus pandemic,” host Ana Kasparian told viewers. Condemning the scientific journal The Lancet, co-host Cenk Uygur explained that he had falsely placed his faith in scientists with political motives who had led him astray. Writing in The Guardian, left-wing commentator Thomas Frank flagellated himself for his “complacency” in believing the idea was a far-right conspiracy theory. The lab leak is “the most likely explanation for the origin of COVID-19,” Saagar Enjeti told his mostly progressive viewership of “Rising,” announcing that, from now on, we should be “ten times more skeptical of the Chinese government.”

This new change in outlook for so many progressive media outlets is not based on new evidence. Rather, it appears to be a result of two new articles and a change in stance from the Biden administration itself. In early May, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists republished a Medium blog post by controversial science writer Nicholas Wade. In an 11,000-word essay, Wade claims that Wuhan itself is simply far too far away from Yunnan Province — where coronavirus-carrying bats make their home — for it to be the natural source of COVID-19. The most logical explanation, Wade asserts, is that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Wade claims that the virus’s furin cleavage site —  a point on the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 where the protein can more easily divide to better infiltrate and take over human cells — must be man-made, as no such site exists in natural coronaviruses. He also notes the previously undisclosed conflict of interests that zoologist Peter Daszak has. Daszak was an organizer of the 2020 Lancet letter signed by dozens of top scientists calling the lab leak hypothesis a “conspiracy theory.” However, he did not disclose that his company, the EcoHealth Alliance, has links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Wuhan Institute of Virology
A view of the P4 lab and the Wuhan Institute of Virology is seen in China’s Hubei province, Feb. 3, 2021. Ng Han Guan | AP

Later that month, The Wall Street Journal released a report alleging that three employees of the Wuhan Institute of Virology came down with flu- or COVID-like symptoms in November 2019 and sought treatment in hospital. Although based solely on anonymous accusations from U.S. officials who refused to go on record, the story went viral and was picked up by a wide range of outlets, including Reuters, The Guardian, Forbes, NBC News, Business Insider, CNN, The New York Post, Yahoo News and The Hill.

Adding some intellectual weight to the theory was a letter published in Science Magazine, in which some 20 academics wrote that further inquiry into the source of the pandemic was necessary (although many, including its chief organizer, were at pains to state elsewhere they were highly skeptical of the lab-leak conspiracy). And after Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was “not convinced” of COVID-19’s natural origin, the Biden administration abruptly changed its position, the President ordering an intelligence-services investigation into the idea, launching the lab leak theory from a discredited fringe idea to an official position with surprising rapidity.

Professor David Robertson — Head of Viral Genomics and Bioinformatics at the University of Glasgow, U.K. — told MintPress:

It’s not very clear, given the lack of new (or any) credible evidence for a lab leak, why it’s been getting so much attention. There was a letter published in Science in May that quite sensibly supports the need for further investigation but this seems to have been hijacked by a vocal minority who are essentially advocates for a lab being involved as opposed to looking at the broader range of possibilities, and what the available evidence points towards.”

In addition to mainstream outlets like The New York TimesThe Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, a host of alternative media figures have lent credibility to Wade, basing their new opinions on his work. On the “Bad Faith” podcast with former Bernie Sanders Press Secretary Briahna Joy Gray, Thomas Frank described Wade’s article as an “incredible piece of journalism,” “quite impressive” and “the likeliest explanation.” Gray appeared to agree, the two having a long conversation about the origins of COVID-19 as if Wade’s thesis has effectively been proven correct. Journalist Michael Tracey wrote that Wade’s words prove the theory is “highly plausible.” Current Affairs Editor-in-Chief Nathan J. Robinson praised Wade’s report, agreeing that it is “at the very least, a spectacular coincidence” that COVID-19 exploded so close to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Meanwhile, Enjeti based a segment called “Media’s Lab Leak Failure Is the Next Iraq WMD” on the Wall Street Journal article, telling viewers that the lab leak theory is now “the most likely explanation for the origin of COVID-19.” Popular writer Matt Taibbi also took The Wall Street Journal’s accusations at face value, claiming that “the toothpaste [is] fully out of the tube: there [is] no longer any way to say the ‘lab origin’ hypothesis [is] too silly to be reported upon.”

A theory resting on shaky ground

What is particularly worrying in all this is that there are huge, gaping flaws in the analysis. First, Wade is not some neutral expert but a discredited, racist pseudoscientist. His 2014 book, “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History,” contends that humanity could be broken down genetically into three distinct groups — Africans, Caucasians and East Asians — and that each are sufficiently genetically distinct from each other as to qualify as subspecies. He argued that Caucasians’ genes could explain “the rise of the West” and that African nations are poorer because they are inherently more violent and lazy, writing: “Variations in their nature, such as their time preference, work ethic and propensity to violence, have some bearing on the economic decisions [Africans] make.” Laughably, he later speculates that Asian women have smaller breasts because that is what is “much admired by Asian men.”

Nicholas Wade
Nicholas Wade, next to the Chinese edition of his seminal work, “A Troublesome Inheritance.”

Perhaps his most controversial claim, however, is that Jewish people have evolved to be genetically predisposed to hoard money, writing:

From a glance at an Eskimo’s physique, it is easy to recognize an evolutionary process at work that has molded the human form for better survival in an arctic environment. Populations that live at high altitudes, like Tibetans, represent another adaptation to extreme environments; in this case, the changes in blood cell regulation are less visible but have been identified genetically. The adaptation of Jews to capitalism is another such evolutionary process.

The book was universally panned by scientists but was acclaimed by a host of neo-Nazi figures. Former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke, for instance, hailed the work as a “fascinating insight into how Jewish Supremacists attempt to guard the gates of scientific debate.” Of all the many alternative media figures praising Wade’s new revelations about Wuhan, only Robinson mentioned his past. Why a respected organization like The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists published such a person remains a mystery; MintPress asked the Bulletin for clarification but has not received an answer.

Wade’s pseudoscientific claims about the coronavirus furin might have been enough to convince progressive media stars who have no background in the field (as Frank wrote: “I am no expert in epidemics”). But they cannot fool trained scientists, who have hit back.

Virologists Angela L. Rasmussen and Stephen A. Goldstein counter that the furin site of SARS-CoV-2 has odd features that no human would ever design, making it “overwhelmingly likely” that it is natural in origin. Its sequence is suboptimal, meaning that it is relatively inefficient, bearing the hallmarks of “sloppy natural evolution.” “Any skilled virologist hoping to give a virus new properties this way would insert a furin site known to be more efficient,” they conclude.

Furthermore, the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s proximity to the outbreak is not inherently suspicious. Wuhan is a gigantic metropolis, larger than any city in the United States. It is an enormous transport and business hub situated in an area well-known for outbreaks of similar diseases and is, therefore, a natural choice for a research facility such as this. Yet there is a tendency in the West to think of it as some obscure village dominated by a virology lab. There is a myriad of laboratories in Los Angeles conducting not altogether dissimilar research. Yet if an epidemic were to break out there, it is unlikely that a natural origin would be so easily dismissed.

The SARS outbreak of the early 2000s was sparked in the markets of Guangdong, a similar distance from Yunnan as is Wuhan, with few at the time raising any eyebrows. Epidemics and pandemics usually begin in large cities as “pathogens often require heavily populated areas to become established,” one scientific study reminds us.

That is why it is particularly problematic that liberal icons like John Stewart and Stephen Colbert can ridicule the zoonotic transfer hypothesis believed by the vast majority of scientists to be the most likely explanation. “There’s been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania. What do you think happened?” Stewart joked to an audience of millions. “Maybe it’s the fucking chocolate factory!”

If anything, The Wall Street Journal article is more suspect, given that it is based on nothing but anonymous state officials who refuse to share the evidence or go on the record. National security state operatives are among the least trustworthy sources it is possible to encounter, journalistically speaking, as it is part of their job to plant false information in order to alter public discourse. The only group less deserving of blind faith than natsec officials would be anonymous natsec officials. Yet many of the biggest and most embarrassing media blunders in recent years have been based on dodgy data from shadowy spooks feeding dubious intelligence to credulous dupes in the press.

Without a name to match a quote, a story’s credibility immediately drops, as there are no repercussions for the individual if they are untruthful. Sources (or journalists themselves, for that matter) could simply make up anything they wanted with no consequences. Therefore, using anonymous sources is strongly discouraged. The Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics insists reporters “identify sources whenever feasible” and that journalists must “always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity.”

Even worse, The Wall Street Journal article’s lead author is Michael R. Gordon, the reporter infamous for co-authorship of a notorious 2002 New York Times article claiming Saddam Hussein was seeking to build weapons of mass destruction, a piece widely credited as a keystone of the push to invade Iraq the following year. For that article, Gordon also relied upon anonymous state officials. That figures in alternative media are blindly repeating his evidence-free assertions while invoking the Iraq WMD scandal, as Enjeti did, is profoundly ironic.

Gordon, famous for co-authoring a notorious NYT article peddling the now-debunked Iraqi WMD claims, is a major proponent of the lab leak theory

Gordon’s claim — that three virologists were hospitalized with flu or COVID-like symptoms in late 2019 — has been categorically rejected by Dr. Shi Zhengli, a director at the Institute. Zhengli challenged the U.S. to provide the names of those who got ill, but has received no response. It has also been disputed by the only Western scientist working there at the time. “If people were sick, I assume that I would have been sick — and I wasn’t,” said Dr. Danielle Anderson, who says she is “dumbfounded” by the portrayal of the lab in the West: “What people are saying is just not how it is.”

Josh Cho, a media critic at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, told MintPress that embedded in much of the discussion about the lab leak is a distrust of China and Chinese people, explaining:

There is a largely unchallenged Orientalism or Sinophobia among Western progressives that makes them predisposed to think the Chinese government or Chinese scientists could or would hide evidence for a laboratory origin due to an innate and exceptional penchant for ‘authoritarianism,’ ‘secrecy’ or ‘dishonesty.’ This leads to a presumption of guilt, and an interpretation of every action of the Chinese government as suspicious, when it is most likely what any other government would do in China’s situation.”

Even if the anonymous U.S. intelligence proves to be accurate, it may not be particularly surprising or revealing. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is an enormous institution with hundreds of employees. That three people there might develop flu-like symptoms in November is far from suspicious. Furthermore, the implications of going to hospital in China are completely different from in the U.S. In China, healthcare is nationalized and so a hospital visit is not something an individual avoids at all costs — unlike in the U.S., where it can bankrupt you. Moreover, many general practitioners work from hospitals rather than out of small clinics, meaning that “hospital” could simply translate to “sought basic medical consultation.” Thus, if confirmed, The Wall Street Journal scoop still could be completely mundane.

Cold warriors’ favorite theory

As former MintPress staff writer Alex Rubenstein reported late last month, the lab leak theory has been mainstreamed by hackish, hawkish frauds who, for years, have been pushing for war with China. Among its early adopters was Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who claimed in March 2020 that COVID-19 was a Chinese bioweapon unleashed on the world. While advising Trump, Bannon constantly fear mongered about China and declared he had no doubt that the U.S. would be at war with Beijing within a few years. Then-President Trump, who claims that global warming was a “hoax” invented by China to destroy the U.S., insisted he had evidence the virus began in a Chinese lab but refused to divulge it. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, among the biggest China hawks in Washington, also repeated the conspiracy.

While distinctly unfashionable in 2020, the lab leak idea was kept alive by warmongering neoconservative journalists like Josh Rogin of The Washington Post, who is now a regular guest on progressive media platforms like Krystal Ball and Enjeti’s “Breaking Points.” “You almost have to see it to believe how depraved this is. Indistinguishable from ‘Fox and Friends,’” remarked a dismayed Sam Sacks of Means TV.

These neocon talking points have been laundered into alternative media by those critiquing the establishment, Democratic-aligned press for its complete about-turn on the issue. Appearing on Fox News, Glenn Greenwald praised Rogin and condemned corporate media for their groupthink. “Journalists so often judge things not by what is true or not true but by what is politically beneficial to the partisan audience that they’re serving,” he said, even adding that “maybe Trump was right” about the virus’ origins.

Appearing on “The Jimmy Dore Show,” Taibbi was of a similar mindset, stating:

Originally what happened with this story was that, like everything else in the Trump era, the coverage of COVID was heavily politicized from the very start. The idea of a lab origin for COVID was associated with Trump, Mike Pompeo and Tom Cotton, so it was automatically bad and a conspiracy theory. And that’s really how the press treated it for the better part of a year.”

Dore responded that the media were a bunch of “spineless cowards” who pushed a “false narrative” about the lab leak theory being wrong.

Going unconsidered, apparently, is that the Democrats’ change of heart might not have anything to do with new scientific evidence and more to do with the fact that they now control the reins of power and are cynically using the same tactics Republicans used before them to ramp up hostility towards China.

During the Trump administration, Democrats condemned the treatment of immigrants on the border, raising hell about “concentration camps” and “kids in cages.” Yet, as soon as they found themselves in office, the pretense dropped and they pursued largely the same policies on the border. Speaking in Guatemala, Vice-President Kamala Harris sounded positively Trumpian as she warned those listening “do not come” to the United States. “The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our borders,” she added. Meanwhile, immigrant children are still being detained in cages, except that media have rechristened them “overflow facilities” and the camps have the word “bienvenidos” (Spanish for “welcome”) painted on their roofs. Despite this, no one in alternative media claims that Trump was right all along about the kids in cages.

Going further back, Obama and the Democrats condemned the Bush administration’s endless wars. Yet once in office, Obama expanded them, and was bombing seven countries simultaneously by the end of his tenure.

Stopping China’s economic rise is a bipartisan priority, and the Biden administration has proven to be every bit as committed to increasing aggressive actions towards Beijing as Trump was. None of this is to say that criticizing establishment media’s abrupt change of direction on the lab leak theory is not important or noteworthy. But it is all being done from the assumption that now the media are on the right track, that the global scientific community is not to be trusted, and that Bannon, Cotton and the rest were ahead of the curve. What many in alternative media appear not to have considered is the possibility that now that the Democrats are in office, they are attempting to weaponize the same smears as a way of increasing the pressure on China, with the media following suit.

Ignoring the science

A large majority of the public now believe COVID-19 started in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Last month, more than three times as many Americans told pollster YouGov that the theory was true than said it was false. Some 83% of Americans also support punishing China if the lab leak is proven correct, including by sanctioning it and forcing it to pay reparations to the dead or affected — something that could bankrupt the country almost overnight. This is music to the neocons’ ears, who likely can barely believe that so many progressive, anti-war voices are going along with their theory.

What is striking about the tone and outlook of the media coverage of the lab leak theory is how strongly it jars with the opinion of scientists. As Cho told MintPress:

A lot of the progressive commentators who are now giving more credibility to the lab leak theory because they are persuaded it’s more plausible now than before don’t seem to be aware of the latest scientific developments and arguments [and] that most scientists are making for the case that SARS-CoV-2 developed naturally.”

Professor Robertson was of a similar opinion:

At some point the lab-leak narrative seems to have become a story in its own right and has been written about as if it’s an equivalent possibility to a natural origin for SARS-CoV-2, which is simply not the case. The available evidence supports zoonotic spillover similar to the first SARS-virus.”

In March, a large team of international experts from the World Health Organization traveled to China and concluded that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely.” The leader of the team, Danish scientist Dr. Peter Ben Embarek, said that after visiting Wuhan he is more confident than ever that the idea is false. Yet media reporting on the study came away with exactly the opposite conclusion, sowing discord and doubt. “Theory that COVID came from a Chinese lab takes on new life in wake of WHO report,” ran NPR’s headline.

covid protest
A woman holds a sign at a protest against stay-at-home orders outside the Missouri Capitol. Jeff Roberson | AP

Writing in Wired, scientist and science communicator Adam Rogers criticized much of the coverage. “The evidence hasn’t changed since spring of 2020. That evidence was always incomplete, and may never be complete. History and science suggest the animal-jump is way more likely than the lab-leak/cover-up,” he wrote, comparing lab leak theorists to evolution deniers and tobacco lobbyists sowing doubt by insisting we “teach the controversy” where there is none.

Dan Samorodnitsky, senior editor of Massive Science and a figure who has a background working in virus research, was even more scathing about the return of the theory. “If the question is ‘are both hypotheses possible?’ the answer is yes…If the question is ‘are they equally likely?’ the answer is absolutely not,” he wrote, explaining:

One hypothesis requires a colossal cover-up and the silent, unswerving, leak-proof compliance of a vast network of scientists, civilians, and government officials for over a year. The other requires only for biology to behave as it always has, for a family of viruses that have done this before to do it again. The zoonotic spillover hypothesis is simple and explains everything. It’s scientific malpractice to pretend that one idea is equally as meritorious as the other.

“I would be embarrassed to stand up in front of a room of scientists, lay out both hypotheses, and then pretend that one isn’t clearly, obviously better than the other,” Samorodnitsky concluded.

Confidence in a natural origin of COVID-19 has actually grown over time, as the virus’s evolutionary trajectory has undermined the idea that it was artificially designed, not that one would guess that from listening to media or to politicians. Meanwhile, as more investigation is done into the earliest patients, it is clear that a majority of them — including two of the first three documented cases — were at the Huanan wet market where a wide range of wild animals that could potentially carry the virus were sold. There are still zero confirmed cases of staff falling ill at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a building over 17 miles away from Huanan market, where data mapping shows that early cases were clustered around.

Earlier this week, The Lancet, which came in for considerable criticism for its previous publication condemning lab leak conspiracy theorists, refused to back down, maintaining that the idea “remain[s] without scientifically validated evidence that directly supports it” (It did however, include a conflict of interests section this time, tacitly accepting that this part of Wade’s criticism was indeed valid). Its authors also directly warned of the danger of scapegoating China. “Recrimination has not, and will not, encourage international cooperation and collaboration,” they wrote. “It is time to turn down the heat of the rhetoric and turn up the light of scientific inquiry if we are to be better prepared to stem the next pandemic, whenever it comes and wherever it begins.”

The coming war on China

The backdrop of the Biden administration’s sudden change of heart to parrot its predecessor is the increased U.S. buildup of hostilities against Beijing. President Joe Biden recently stated that the defining struggle of the 21st century will be that of the U.S. against China. Throughout 2020, the President’s team quietly stated that their entire industrial and foreign policy would revolve around “compet[ing] with China,” with their top priorities being “dealing with authoritarian governments, defending democracy and tackling corruption, as well as understanding how these challenges intersect with new technologies, such as 5G, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and synthetic biology.”

Earlier this year, NATO think tank the Atlantic Council published a 26,000-word report laying out its strategy to suffocate the People’s Republic. It advised Biden to draw a number of red lines around the country, past which the U.S. would directly intervene (presumably militarily). These include Chinese attempts to expand into the South China Sea, an attack on the disputed Senkaku Islands, and moves against Taiwan’s independence. A North Korean strike on any of its neighbors would also necessitate an American response against China, the report insists, because “China must fully own responsibility for the behavior of its North Korean ally.” Any backing down from this stance, the Council states, would result in national “humiliation” for the United States. If this could all be established, it noted, regime change in Beijing could be a distinct possibility. Top military officials like Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster have called for the establishment of an “Asian NATO” to achieve this dream. already there are well over 400 military bases encircling the country.

The U.S. is also conducting military operations in the region, readying itself for a potential war. Last summer, American ships sailed to the Chinese coast, the U.S.S. Rafael Peralta coming to within 41 nautical miles of the coastal megacity Shanghai. Meanwhile, American planes, including nuclear bombers, fly overhead, attempting to gain intelligence on Chinese defenses.

In addition to the military buildup, the U.S. has begun an economic and information war against Beijing, the Trump administration placing sanctions on the country and attempting to halt the expansion of the Belt and Road initiative, block Huawei’s global 5G rollout, and force Chinese-owned social media app TikTok to sell to an American company. At the same time, Twitter, under counsel from a U.S.-funded think tank, decided to delete more than 170,000 Chinese accounts in a single day, the think tank having accused them of spreading pro-China narratives.

The result of the increased hostilities has been the meteoric rise of anti-China sentiment in the U.S., along with a similar spike in anti-Asian hate crimes. The number of Americans seeing China as their number one enemy has more than doubled in 12 months. This is not a partisan issue, according to Pew Research, with a similar increase in “get tough on China” attitudes among Democratic and Republican voters.

It is this context in which the return of the lab leak theory should be seen. Lab leaks do happen. But there is precious little hard evidence that such is the case here. That so many of the nation’s top alternative news figures — individuals who stood against U.S. wars and against similar campaigns, such as RussiaGate — are buying into this one is remarkable. This is especially the case in light of the fact that the evidence is so weak and comes from highly discredited sources, while scientists remain highly skeptical of the theory.

The lab leak hypothesis was first pushed by the far-right and signal boosted by President Trump. In recent weeks, the Democrats have appropriated it wholesale, as they have with several other Republican policies. Corporate media’s newfound interest in the theory has nothing to do with its veracity, as many in alternative spaces have alleged.

The lab leak theory bears a striking resemblance to the weapons of mass destruction hoax of 2002-03, not only in the fact that one of its key players is literally the same journalist using potentially the same anonymous sources, but also in the bipartisan political and media support for the project, all while ignoring the opinions of the scientific community. That so many in alternative media who question war and U.S. intervention not only cannot see that, but are invoking the WMD story to bolster their own side, is extraordinary, and shows how badly the need is to build up a healthy media ecosystem.

Between 2001 and 2003, the public was subjected to a constant barrage of pro-war propaganda. But at least nascent alternative media offered a dissenting voice. Anti-war voices pushing the lab leak theory might one day find it is too late to stop the clock on the dangerous drive towards a second Cold War. If there is any conflict with China, it will make Iraq look like a tea party by comparison. But truth, in war, is always the first casualty.

A Snapshot of 2020 Ugliness

By Stephen Lendman

Source

The most dismal year in the post-WW II period is likely a sign of worse to come.

When Biden/Harris replace Trump on January 20, endless wars on invented enemies and homeland dystopian harshness are virtually certain to continue, things likely to worsen.

Undemocratic Dems prioritize both.

During Obama/Biden’s tenure, seven countries were terror-bombed in eight years: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

None of the above threatened the US. Throughout the post-WW II period, no nations anywhere threatened US security.

Yet Obama/Biden massacred hundreds of thousands of civilians during their tenure, displacing countless numbers more.

They recruited ISIS and other jihadists to serve as proxy fighters in US war theaters.

They force-fed neoliberal harshness on most Americans while increasing wealth for the nation’s privileged class.

They replaced democratic governments with despotic ones in Honduras, Paraguay, Brazil, and Ukraine. 

They waged war by other means on Bolivarian social democracy in Venezuela, wanting the country transformed into a fascist police state.

They murdered President Hugo Chavez by poisoning him.

They enforced fascist rule in Haiti against their long-suffering people.

They waged war by other means on all nations unwilling to sacrifice their sovereignty to US interests.

They supported privileged interests exclusively at home at the expense of governance serving everyone equitably — notions they abhorred, refused to tolerate, and it showed by their viciousness.

With lots of help from US dark forces, US election 2020 was stolen.

Trump won. Biden/Harris lost. Yet they’re president and vice president select, not elect.

On January 20, they’ll replace Trump — because brazen fraud assured it, things rigged well in advance.

Open, free and fair US elections are more myth than reality.

Dark forces run things, turning America into dystopia their diabolical agenda.

James Fetzer published Edward Hendrie’s report titled:

“Forensic Analysis of Dominion Voting Systems Discovers It Was Designed to Commit Election Fraud,” stressing the following:

An Allied Security Operations Group “conclude(d) that the Dominion Voting System is intentionally and purposefully designed with inherent errors to create systemic fraud and influence election results.” 

“The system intentionally generates an enormously high number of ballot errors.”

“The electronic ballots are then transferred for adjudication.” 

“The intentional errors lead to bulk adjudication of ballots with no oversight, no transparency, and no audit trail.” 

“This leads to voter or election fraud.”

When Biden/Harris are installed in office, they’ll serve illegitimately.

With mass media support, the US public was conned to believe otherwise.

Millions in the country don’t buy what no one should accept.

Democracy in America is pure fantasy, the way it’s been from inception.

If the real thing began emerging, it would be banned.

Dark forces in charge serve privileged interests and their own exclusively — at the expense of peace, equity, justice, the rule of law, and a nation safe and fit to live it.

Media supported mass deception convinced most Americans to accept the tyranny of lost freedoms from an invented pandemic.

It’s based on fear-mongering false claims by public health officials, an outbreak of seasonal flu/influenza that occurs annually called covid this year, and worthless PCR tests nearly always producing false positives, making them worthless.

We’ve been conned to accept vaccines to the rescue that are harmful to human health, not beneficial

A legitimate cure for covid/influenza has been suppressed by US/Western dark forces and their media press agents.

When used as directed within around 10 days of falling ill, cheap and safe hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) — combined with either azithromycin or doxycycline (both antibiotics) — and zinc are highly effective.

What should be widely endorsed is suppressed to promote hazardous to human health mass-vaxxing.

Big government, Pharma and their media press agents want information about HCQ suppressed.

They want its widespread availability reduced or eliminated altogether.

On December 24, Natural News.com reported the following:

“On Dec. 20, an SCI Pharmtech manufacturing facility in Taoyuan City, Taiwan, (suspiciously) burst into flames and exploded…”

It produces HCQ. Were pro-Western/pro-Pharma dark forces behind what happened?

“The SCI Pharmtech factory in question is the second-largest HCQ provider in Asia,” Natural News reported. 

It’s now “closed, meaning no more HCQ production for the time being.”

The timing of what happened raises obvious red flags. 

The incident happened as mass-vaxxing for promoted protection against against covid began that’s highly likely to cause widespread harm — along with a bonanza of profits for Pharma.

“Because HCQ is a competitor of COVID-19 vaccines, it…appear(s) that powerful entities (want it) squelch(ed) – including” by malicious intent that’s likely behind the incident.

What’s going on should terrify everyone.

Big Government in cahoots with monied interests and their press agent media are mortal enemies of public health and well-being.

That’s the disturbing reality of these troubled times that are highly likely to more greatly worsen ahead.

Promoting What’s Hazardous to Human Health

See the source image

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Along with other establishment media, the NYT is part of promoting the state-sponsored covid vaccine scam.

When used as directed, potential serious harm to human health may follow — why it’s essential to SAY NO!

Government officials, Pharma, and establishment media are part of a mass deception campaign that may cause serious harm to many vaxxed individuals.

In daily editions, the NYT is manipulating the public mind with a virtual blitzkrieg of state/Pharma-approved propaganda about covid and vaccines to the rescue that are dangerously experimental and high-risk.

Over the weekend, the Times featured well over a dozen covid vaccine propaganda pieces — so many I lost count.

They bombarded readers with misinformation, disinformation and Big Lies — risking serious harm to many believers.

Don’t be fooled. Ignore bad advice and stay safe.

Below are some of the Times’ propaganda headlines in its Sunday edition alone:

“Deaths (from covid) Rose in College Towns (sic)”

“First Coronavirus Vaccines Head to States, Starting Historic Effort (sic)”

“First US Vaccines Are About to Be Shipped as Virus Ravages America (sic)”

“UPS and FedEx say plans to ship the vaccine are underway”

“A CDC panel has endorsed the Pfizer vaccine for people 16 and over”

“With the first injections expected to be given as early as Monday, this is how states are preparing”

“The largest health care provider in the New York region is frantically prepping for the arrival of the vaccine”

“How Many (covid vaccine) Doses Will Your State Get?”

“This Is the Test of Our Lifetimes (sic)”

“It’s Time to Scare People About Covid (sic)”

“We Must Do More to Stop Dangerous Doctors in a Pandemic” — ones justifiably skeptical about face masks, social distancing and toxic vaccines.

On December 9, Times editors headlined: “The Coronavirus Vaccines Were Developed in Record Speed. Now, the Hard Part”

Claiming they’re safe and “95 percent effective at preventing illness” is part of an orchestrated mass deception campaign.

Operation Warp Speed is a diabolical hazardous to human health scam that promotes development and mass vaxxing with experimental drugs. 

They’ll enrich Pharma at the expense of potentially devastating consequences for many unsuspecting individuals being vaxxed for protection against covid they won’t get.

Times editors urged greater efforts by Washington and local governments to encourage, push hard for, and otherwise support harmful to health and welfare mass vaxxing, face masks and social distancing.

Will a follow-up Times editorial urge mandating all of the above?

The self-styled newspaper of record and other establishment media threw caution to the wind.

Ignoring potential serious hazards to public health and welfare, they’re promoting a widespread human experiment that may cause irreversible harm to countless numbers of people.

At a time of orchestrated mass deception, it’s crucial to be safe, not sorry.

CIA Partners with Google, Amazon and IBM in Latest Big Tech Procurement Drive

By Raul Diego

Source

The vaunted “17 intelligence agencies” that comprise the U.S. intel community will be sharing a network of private-sector cloud computing service providers which includes Microsoft, Google, Oracle, IBM, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) as part of a 15-year contract said to be worth tens of billions of dollars.

AWS currently holds the sole contract to provide cloud computing services to a number of intelligence agencies, including the FBI and the NSA. That contract is set to expire in 2023 and this new award – managed by the CIA – will further weaken Amazon’s once privileged position in the federal money sweepstakes, which had already taken a hard hit when Microsoft was unexpectedly chosen over Bezos’ company for the Department of Defense’s own cloud services contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program.

The Central Intelligence Agency will take full advantage of its access to money without oversight to disburse the government funds at the agency’s discretion. Although speculated to rise into the tens of billions, the CIA has no plans to disclose the real value of the C2E contracts. The Commercial Cloud Enterprise (C2E) procurement program was unveiled in February by the premier U.S. spy agency in a bid to establish a cloud computing service platform for the country’s intelligence agencies separate from JEDI, which remains enmeshed in a protracted legal contest with AWS and is two years behind implementation.

The five tech giants will compete with each other for “task orders” that come in from the multitude of intelligence agencies throughout the country and will span every security clearance level up to and including top secret clearance. The contract calls for the building of infrastructure and all other basic cloud services, as well as professional services and public-facing services.

The more things change…

Many seem surprised by the multi-contractor, ad hoc nature of the C2E awards because it “appears not to settle on a particular cloud provider” and while these dynamics do stray from the relatively recent trend of sole-contract awards and tacit monopolies many corporations have enjoyed through similar public-private partnerships, this particular practice of pitting contractors against each other for services requisitioned by the government is not new.

In fact, such practices are an intrinsic part of the military industrial complex and its historical origins at the height of the British empire. The start of the Glorious Revolution in 1688 marked the beginning of 125 years of constant war for the global superpower of the day and the slow but inexorable rise of an industry of war made up exclusively of freelancers who would make the guns, rifles, and bullets their bloodthirsty Queen required.

As the empire grew, the processes for the production of weapons underwent a dramatic change from artisanal modes to full-fledged factory-style production; all spurred by the biggest army and navy in the world, which was pillaging and extracting resources to fuel the burgeoning enterprise of capitalism.

Workers at the Royal Ordnance Factory in Liverpool, England inspect the finished Sten guns. Photo | Imperial War Musuem

This period also fine-tuned the relationship between the state and independent contractors, with the former establishing laws governing them in order to leverage their overwhelming advantage. Other strategies were also employed to both suppress the price the Crown paid for materiel and to make sure that no single contractor held too big a stake in the supply chain.

In her book “Empire of Guns,” Priya Satia details this entire process and destroys the myth that the Industrial Revolution was the result of a cotton-picking machine when even a cursory look at the history shows that it was guns and a state engaged in perpetual war that laid the foundations of our current economic paradigm.

Now, we stand on the threshold of the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” in a world that has perfected weapons of war to atomic levels. New ‘cyberweapons’ are being forged and it is only fitting that the war industry, led today by the United States, would return to its origins to maintain its own monopoly on human suffering and devastation in the name of profit.

Return to the roots

The public-private partnership has been another significant trend that also mirrors a ubiquitous trend in Victorian England. But, in today’s world, a parallel legal system has grown alongside the state’s war industry and is also now at the disposal of the corporations who wish to dispute any deal, leading to considerable delays in the execution of contracts.

Cases like the JEDI suit affect the military readiness goals of the national security state if it cannot move forward with a particular initiative due to litigation. Another recent case is holding up the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency’s (CISA) efforts to centralize inflow and outflow of data regarding cyber-threats.

In October, the Government Services Agency (GSA), awarded a $13 Million-dollar contract to a company called EnDyna to “create a centralized database that agencies can use to report, discover and take actions against cyber threat information.” A much larger competitor, HackerOne, filed a protest questioning the award on grounds of failure to meet eligibility requirements and the smaller company’s competence to carry out the work.

Technicalities like these can hold up a project in court for years, so it makes perfect sense for the state-run war industry to return to its roots and apply the tried and true principles of divide and conquer against the people making their guns, whether real or virtual. By taking the first few spots on the Big Tech pecking order and putting them in a room to duke it out for a government contract, the war establishment is recognizing the growing power of these firms and is unleashing the CIA to curb it and diminish threats to the supply chain of the twenty-first century’s permanent war economy.

From Assassinations to Sanctions: Emergency Powers and the Rise of the Imperial Presidency

By Raul Diego

Source

A decades-long push to concentrate power in the Oval Office through emergency response legislation has made the Office of the President more powerful than ever.

On the eve of the 2020 election, no American president has enjoyed more unrestrained power than Donald J. Trump, who has inherited decades of policies and legislation that have given the American head of state the ability to suspend all constitutional rights and habeas corpus for its own citizens, carry out assassinations, torture prisoners and impose sanctions on sovereign nations, to name just a few of the 120 discretionary emergency “powers” the office currently has at its disposal.

Trump has invoked emergency powers, at least, eight times during his administration. Simply declaring an emergency makes all sorts of constitutional violations possible. Depending on which sphere of political power requires a form of executive intervention, the president has a bevy of “emergency” options at his disposal beyond the reach of Congress or any other mitigating factors. His decision to assassinate Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, was one such example where the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, also known as the War Powers Act, was cited as a legal justification for the general’s murder.

The War Powers Act is but one of many legal “emergency power” dispositions increasingly afforded to the office of the presidency. A recent article by Andrew Cockburn in Harper’s Magazine highlights a little-known set of documents drafted by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel called presidential emergency action documents or PEADs, which detail the actions a president is unilaterally entitled to take in the event of a declared emergency. These include all the constitutional violations mentioned above as well as a president’s prerogative to “seize control of the Internet” among other measures.

PEADs have been kept from the American public, but are common knowledge among critical White House staff and other government officials. According to Cockburn, PEADs have been gradually accumulating over the years as an “integral part” of the Continuity of Government or COG program; an emergency plan hatched deep in the bowels of the post-war state to protect the edifice of power, which established a shadow government and other ’emergency powers’ justified by the threat of nuclear annihilation, incessantly propagandized during the Cold War; the ultimate emergency from which all others would spring to pave the way for the incremental concentration of power in the executive.

Mein Führer, I can walk!

At the end of Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Love the Bomb,” the crippled Nazi character after whom the movie is named, miraculously regains his ability to walk just as a nuclear conflagration engulfs the world. Fascism thrives when panic and fear reign supreme, allowing critical circumstances – whether real or manufactured – to justify the evisceration of civil liberties and human rights.

he American national security state that developed in the post-war period has found one ’emergency’ after another to drive through policies and legislation that serve its interests. The office of the president is the logical target for a vast military industrial complex that needs to steer clear of Congressional oversight or public scrutiny in order to maintain control over its hugely profitable and immoral war enterprises.

After the tumultuous 1960s, which exposed many of the darkest secrets of the American national security apparatus and all of its murderous tentacles, the establishment experienced an existential crisis as powerful, grassroots social movements emerged to put real pressure on the governing elites to answer for their actions and find remedies for patently unequal rights in America. The anti-war movement, along with the revelations of the Church Committee, Watergate, and the extent to which presidents had used so-called emergency powers to circumvent Congress and the constitution, shed the pretense of democracy.

A futile effort to curb presidential emergency powers by the Special Committee on the Termination of the National Emergency in the early 1970s, which Frank Church co-chaired, was soon followed by an expansion of these powers in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) of 1977, enabling the president to declare national emergencies based on very broad criteria of “extraordinary circumstances.”

The style council

The IEEPA allows whoever is in the Oval Office to unilaterally and without evidence of wrongdoing, impose sanctions on entire countries or single individuals. The law has since been used as the framework for other emergency authorization protocols, such as the legal device used by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to freeze any American’s bank account without any meaningful explanation.

It was this piece of legislation that George W. Bush used as a basis for Executive Order 13224, which blocked the assets of terrorist organizations. These same powers were enhanced in provisions of the Patriot Act, itself another piece of ’emergency’ legislation. Bush was the first president to actually implement the shadow government proscribed in the COG procedures after September 11, 2001.

There are currently more than 30 active declared “emergencies,” many of which go back decades. In the opening paragraph of the report issued by Church’s Special Committee on the Termination of the National Emergency, the authors conceded that “a majority of Americans alive today have lived all of their lives under emergency rule.” This sobering conclusion is far more relevant today, almost 40 years later, when each subsequent administration has done its part to expand the president’s authority. None more so than Barack Obama, who dramatically expanded presidential emergency powers with two executive orders in 2012, which decreed almost monarchical powers over the whole of U.S energy and transportation infrastructure, domestic resources like food and water, the authority to force citizens to “fulfill labor requirements for the purposes of national defense” and the takeover of private communications networks by DHS.

All of these and more powers are currently in the hands of Donald Trump, whose style may rub some people the wrong way. But, they won’t be rescinded by the next administration. Indeed, now that the office of the presidency is a de facto dictatorship, style is really all that’s left.

المجمع العسكري ـ الصناعي الأميركي ورسائل ترامب تجاه البنتاغون

معن بشور

في معرض الردّ على تصريحات منسوبة إليه يهاجم فيها الجنود الأميركيين فتح الرئيس الأميركي النار على قادة البنتاغون قائلاً: ربما يكون كبار المسؤولين في البنتاغون لا يحبونني لأنهم لا يريدون فعل شيء سوى خوض الحروب، ولذا فإنّ كلّ تلك الشركات الرائعة التي تصنع القنابل والطائرات وكلّ شيء آخر ستكون سعيدة.”

وجاءت هذه الإشارة السلبية من ترامب تجاه البنتاغون في سياق عملية تجاذب منذ ان هدّد ترامب باستخدام قانون التمرّد للاستعانة بقوات إنفاذ القانون خلال الاحتجاجات التي أعقبت وفاة المواطن من أصول أفريقية جورج فلويد على يد أحد ضباط الشرطة في جريمة وحشية ما زالت تداعياتها مستمرة حتى اليوم.

يومها أعرب الجنرال مايك بيلي رئيس هيئة الأركان المشتركة عن أسفه لانه سار مع ترامب في ساحة لافييت.

ويعتبر هذا السجال المتصاعد بين الرئيس الأميركي وكبار جنرالاته الذين عيّنهم بنفسه، كما عيّن أيضاً وزير الدفاع مارك اسبر (الذي كان مسؤولاً تنفيذياً ومقاول دفاع في شركة “رايثيون” التي تعدّ من أكبر الشركات المتخصصة في أنظمة الدفاع) تعبيراً جديداً عن عمق الأزمة البنيوية التي يعيشها النظام الأميركي، كما كان يردّد دائماً أخي وصديقي الدكتور زياد حافظ منذ عشرين عاماً، والتي يبدو أنها على ملامح انفجار كبير مع الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية في اوائل نوفمبر/ تشرين الثاني المقبل حيث يعلن الطرفان الجمهوري والديمقراطي رفضهما منذ الآن لنتائج الانتخابات اذا لم تأت لصالحه الى درجة انّ أحد كبار المسورلين في الحزب الديمقراطي قد أشار الى دعوة القوات المسلحة الأميركية الى إخراج ترامب من البيت الأبيض في حال رفضه الاعتراف بهزيمته.

لكن هذا السجال المستجدّ بين البيت الابيض والبنتاغون، المضاف الى سلسلة سجالات تملأ الساحة السياسية والشعبية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية الأميركية، يذكر بمقولة ردّدها الجنرال دوايت ايزنهاور رئيس الولايات المتحدة بين عام 1952 -1960، عشية مغادرته البيت الابيض محذراَ من مخاطر “المجمع العسكري الصناعي على الدولة الأميركية وسعيه لانتهاج سياسات حربية تؤمّن لشركات السلاح موارد لا تنضب، فيما تؤمّن هذه الشركات وظائف مجزية لكبار الجنرالات بعد مغادرتهم الخدمة العسكرية.

اليوم يأتي ترامب، وهو رئيس “جمهوري” أيضاً، كما ايزنهاور، ليشير الى هذه العلاقة بين كبار الجنرالات وكبار المقاولين في تعبير عن غضبه من عدم تجاوب البنتاغون مع خططه بإعاد انتشار القوات العسكرية الأميركية خارج الولايات المتحدة (وهو مطلب يرتاح اليه المواطن الأميركي)، كما لعدم تجاوبه مع رغبته بتطبيق قانون التمرّد الذي يضع بنظر أميركيين كثر، أكثريتهم من البيض، حداً للفوضى الأمنية التي تعيشها المدن والبلدات الأميركية منذ أشهر.

لا شك انّ هذه التحوّلات تستحقّ دراسة معمّقة على أكثر من صعيد، ولكن لا بدّ من دراستها على مستوى تداعياتها على حجم النفوذ الأميركي خارج الولايات المتحدة، وخصوصاً في بلادنا، حيث ما زال الكثير من الحكام والمحللين أسرى تحليل قديم يرى بأنّ “واشنطن قدر”، وأنّ سياستها تمتلك من القوة ما لا يسمح لأحد بمواجهتها.

انّ اشارة ترامب الى العلاقة بين كبار الجنرالات وكبار المقاولين، مجدّداً تحذيرات سلفه في الرئاسة والحزب الجمهوري، دوايت ايزنهاور، من تغوّل “المجمع’ الصناعي العسكري، الذي لا يستبعد بعض المحللين دوره في جريمة اغتيال الرئيس الديمقراطي جون فيتزجرالد كنيدي عام ١٩٦٣، وشقيقه روبرت عام ١٩٦٦، ليصبح الأمر تماماً بقبضة “المجمع” الذي لم يتوقف عن شنّ الحروب على شعوب العالم، وبشكل خاص على الشعوب العربية والإسلامية…

انها قراءة من خارج السياق، ولكنها ضرورية لكي نفهم أكثر السياسة الأميركية في منطقتنا او بالأحرى اللاسياسة الأميركية التي لا تحركها إلا مصالح الكيان الصهيوني وأمنه…

انها قراءة ضرورية لكلّ من يضع كلّ أوراقه بالسلة الأميركية وهو التحليل الذي أدخل الأمة كلها منذ عام 1977(زيارة السادات للكنيست) في اتفاقات متعدّدة باسم “السلام” الذي لم ينجب سوى الحروب لهذه المنطقة…

الأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي

All Vaccines Are Unsafe. Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available

By Stephen Lendman

Source

On August 11, Russia registered the first vaccine for use against COVID-19, named Sputnik V. More on this development below.

Toxins in vaccines make them hazardous to human health.

Time and again, they cause diseases they’re promoted as protection against.

Nothing in medical science indicates that vaccines are safe.

They all contain harmful to health mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, phenoxyethanol (antifreeze), MSG, and squalene adjuvants that weaken and can destroy the human immune system, making it vulnerable to many annoying to life-threatening illnesses.

Annually, the US Vaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS) reports thousands of serious adverse vaccine reactions, including many deaths and disabling disabilities.

Virtually none of this is reported by establishment media.

Far too often, vaccines are ineffective or not effective enough. They’re an unreliable way to prevent illness and disease.

Proper health, personal hygiene, and sanitation practices are far more effective than mass-vaxxing.

An earlier WHO report said disease and mortality rates in developing countries were closely related to hygiene and dietary practices, unrelated to immunization programs.

In the West and elsewhere, no evidence links vaccines with declines in infectious diseases.

Although vaccines stimulate antibody production, no evidence suggests that alone assures immunity.

Squalene adjuvants and other toxins in vaccines harm the human immune system, making it susceptible to numerous illnesses and diseases that range from very annoying to life threatening.

The notion of herd immunity from mass-vaxxing is Big Pharma promoted rubbish.

Numerous industry promoted “facts” about vaccines were later proved false.

Childhood disease dangers are greatly exaggerated to scare parents into getting their children vaccinated with unsafe drugs.

Following the introduction of the Salk polio vaccine, large outbreaks of the disease were reported in the US.

Years later, Jonas Salk admitted that mass inoculations caused most polio cases.

Even when no adverse reactions occur days or even weeks after being inoculated, evidence shows longer-term problems developed.

They include the disease vaxxing is supposed to protect against, chronic headaches, rashes, skin lesions, seizures, autism, anemia, multiple sclerosis, ALS, cancer, diabetes, and many other health issues.

US federal, state, and local immunization policy is driven by politics and profit potential, not science or concern for human health and welfare.

According to earlier industry estimates before coronavirus outbreaks occurred this year, the market potential for vaccines was estimated at around $60 billion annually.

If when available, a full COVID-19 vax treatment of all Americans would have a market potential dollar volume of around $150 billion of near-all profit, according to one estimate.

The global market potential is much greater — why the race is on to cash in big.

Noted vaccine expert Dr. Viera Schiebner minced no words, saying the following:

“There is no evidence whatsoever of the ability of vaccines to prevent any diseases.” 

“To the contrary, there is a great wealth of evidence that they cause serious side effects.”

Many other scientific experts agree.

Russia’s Sputnik V is the first vaccine available for use against COVID-19 — registered by the Russian Ministry of Health on August 11.

Developed by Russia’s  Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, it followed over 20 years of vaccine research, according to Sechenov University’s Institute for Translational Medicine and Biotechnology director Vadim Tarasov.

Technology used to develop Sputnik V is based upon adenovirus, the common cold.

Tarasov explained that the vaccine may not entirely stop COVID-19 from spreading. He claimed it’ll make symptoms milder, adding:

“We can really talk about a breakthrough as our country has shown itself to be one of the leaders in the global pharmaceutical industry due to the fact that it has retained and developed new competencies in drug development.”

Russia’s sputnikvaccine.com website explained the following:

“In 1957, the successful launch of the first man-made satellite by the Soviet Union activated space research in the entire world,” adding: 

“Thanks to this comparison, the vaccine received the name of Sputnik V” to note another “Sputnik moment.”

Information on the website aims to dispel Western media disinformation already begun.

Will Russia’s Sputnik V prove safe and effective in immunizing against COVID-19?

The fullness of time will tell what’s very much unknown now.

A Final Comment

As expected, establishment media mocked Sputnik V.

The NYT accused Russia of  “cutting corners on testing to score political and propaganda points,” citing no evidence backing its claim.

The Washington Post accused Moscow of “jumping dangerously ahead of” larger-scale testing to make a COVID-19 vaccine available ahead of ones being developed in the West.

The Wall Street Journal said Russia registered the “world’s first Covid-19 vaccine despite safety concerns.”

Other establishment media made similar comments — demeaning Russia’s development while promoting undeveloped/yet to be available Big Pharma vaccines.

With billions of dollars of market potential up for grabs, it’s no surprise that establishment media are supporting development of Western vaccines for COVID-19 over alternatives from Russia, China, and other countries.

 

“Charity” Accused of Sex Abuse Coordinating ID2020’s Pilot Program For Refugee Newborns

By Whitney Webb

Source

A biometric identification program backed by the ID2020 alliance will see its new “digital id” program rolled out for refugee newborns in close coordination with a charity tied to Wall Street and prominent Western politicians whose workers have been accused of sexually exploiting refugee children.

iRespond, an international non-profit organization that is “dedicated to using biometrics to improve lives through digital identity,” has begun piloting a new biometric program for newborns among the predominately Karen refugee population along the Myanmar-Thailand border, a program it soon hopes to “quickly deploy” at a greater scale and make available to the general global population. The pilot program is being conducted as part of the controversial ID2020 alliance, backed by Microsoft, the GAVI vaccine alliance and the Rockefeller Foundation, and with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a non-profit organization deeply tied to the Western political elite and Wall Street with a controversial track record of silencing numerous sex abuse and fraud allegations.

The new program, an extension of iRespond’s “voluntary” biometric identification program in the Mae La refugee camp, “will create a record of a birth, attested by a trusted clinic, with a goal of changing the life trajectory for the participants.” Through the program, “a guardianship relationship between the newborn and the mother is established and linked to digital and high security physical identity documents.”

However, iRespond’s CEO, Scott Reid, told Biometric Update that these credentials do “not carry the same weight as a true birth certificate,” but asserts that the organization’s biometric “birth attestation” program “could leapfrog the traditional barriers to establishing identity.” Despite the fact that iRespond’s quasi-birth certificates would seemingly serve little purpose in areas where actual birth certificates are readily available, the organization notes that “once the pilot is completed, iRespond is ready to quickly deploy the solution at scale” for mass use around the globe. “Product development” on adapting their platform for newborns began earlier this year and Reid notes that having an iRespond-provided biometric “birth attestation” will enable “access to vital services such as healthcare, social protection, education and banking.”

The pilot program is being conducted at the Mae Tao clinic, which is largely funded by the CIA cut-out USAID as well as the governments of Germany and Taiwan, the Open Society Foundations and the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The IRC is very active in the day-to-day functions of the clinic (financed by a USAID-funded project) and it is also intimately involved in iRespond’s digital identity program, including its new pilot program for newborns and its earlier efforts to supply Mae La’s residents with biometric identity.

Food or Sovereignty

iRespond’s work in Mae La in conjunction with IRC was first announced by the ID2020 alliance in September 2018. The ID2020-funded pilot program, the announcement states, was to be “led by Alliance partner iRespond and will be conducted in close partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC).” It aims to provide biometric identities to the approximately 35,000 individuals inhabiting the area, with the newer program aiming to ensure that babies born in the community are also made participants by default upon birth. It notes specifically that “the pilot will offer blockchain-based digital identification, linked to individual users through iris recognition, for refugees accessing the IRC’s services in the Mae La Camp in Thailand.” Having a “digital identity” would allow refugees “to access improved, consistent healthcare within the camp” with plans for the same system to eventually “electronically document both educational attainment and professional skills to aid with employment opportunities.”

Migrant workers pass the Thai-Myanmar border in an official service truck as they leave Thailand from Mae Sot in Tak province in northern Thailand. Photo: AFP/Ye Aung Thu

A year later, the program, featured in a lengthy profile in Newsweek, was revealed to be “just the first step in an effort that aims to equip the camp’s entire refugee population with secure and portable “digital wallets” that will hold not just their medical records but also educational and vocational credentials, camp work histories and myriad other records,” ostensibly including financial activity. This is particularly likely given that iRespond is partnered with Mastercardanother ID2020 partner that is closely allied with the company, Trust Stamp, a biometric identity platform that also doubles as a vaccine record and payment system. In addition, IRC’s strategic plans for Mae La through 2020 include “expand[ing] micro-enterprise development and village savings and loans associations,” such as those offered by ID2020 partner Kiva, among others, who link biometric identity to the receipt of loans.

iRespond’s system, not unlike Trust Stamp’s, is also slated to serve as a vaccine record. Larry Dohr, iRespond’s head of Southeast Asia operations, told Reuters in April that “a biometric ID system can keep a record of such people [who have previously tested positive for Covid-19] and those getting the vaccine.” Dohr added that “we can biometrically identify the individual and tie them to the test results, as well as to a high security document. The person then has ‘non-refutable’ proof that they have immunity due to antibodies in their system.” Dohr then refers to such “proof” as a “very valuable credential.”

Notably, in press releases and news reports, iRespond executives emphasize how their biometric identity system, based on iris scans and powered by Microsoft, will “protect privacy” and allow “control and ownership of identity data belong to the holder.” However, the Mae La project does not offer this degree of control and ownership, with Newsweek noting that“Eventually, [iRespond and their collaborators] aim to offer the refugees a level of fine-grained control over what pieces of personal information are shared with others.” In other words, such control over their personal information has not yet been made available to them, despite the public portrayal that this functionality is a base component of iRespond’s system.

What is particularly noteworthy about iRespond’s and IRC’s digital identity efforts is that, while it is a “voluntary” program, destitute refugees wishing to access healthcare and other services IRC provides in the area, including access to clean water, must have their irises scanned in order to reap those benefits. It is highly unlikely that such individuals are not only uninformed about any potential risks of providing their biometrics for use in a pilot program, but are not in a stable enough state to make an informed decision on the matter, as their precarious position would see them choose urgent healthcare needs, etc. over privacy. It increasingly seems that Mae La was chosen as the pilot project because its residents were highly unlikely to decline participation, especially when healthcare access and other basic needs provided by IRC are dangled as carrots on a stick and only accessible upon participation in iRespond’s biometric identity program.

This program is remarkably similar to the World Food Programme’s recently implemented “Building Blocks” initiative, which  is funded by the US, German, Dutch and Luxembourgian governments. Building Blocks uses a blockchain-based biometric identity system “to expand refugees’ choices in how they access and spend their cash assistance” in Syrian refugee camps within Jordan. Now, “over 100,000 people living in the camps can purchase groceries by scanning an iris at checkout” as part of the checkout. Those who do not participate are unable to access their WFP “cash benefits” since they are available exclusively through this biometric system, leaving refugees the choice between surrendering their biometric data and food.

Equally noteworthy is the fact that those financially supporting the Mae La project and similar projects, particularly the ID2020 alliance, are “hopeful” that iRespond’s efforts in Mae La will some day be rolled out on a global scale. Indeed,Newsweek noted that “many of the funders [of the Mae La project]—part of what’s known as the ID2020 alliance, which includes Accenture, Microsoft and the Rockefeller Foundation—hope the Mae La project could eventually serve as a blueprint for the world’s millions of stateless people, as well as citizens of developed nations and everyone else.”

Biometric Enclosure

According to iRespond’s rather spartan website, their biometric identity platform “primarily relies on iris biometrics, the best modality after DNA for accuracy and reliability.” It further describes its platform as follows:

“When a new participant is enrolled, an encrypted biometric template is created from their iris scan and a randomly assigned 12-digit number is drawn from a pool of 90 billion numbers. On subsequent visits, the identity of the participant is verified when their template is matched and the system returns the original 12-digit unique identifier.”

iRespond’s platform also “easily integrates into healthcare, humanitarian aid, research, and human-rights applications,” and it has been used to grant refugees and other vulnerable populations access to food, healthcare, and other forms of aid provided by foreign NGOs operating in these areas. It has also been used to keep track of participants in clinical drug trials. iRespond’s platform in the latter case was used by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in conjunction with Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (both are iRespond partners), to track participants in clinical HIV treatment trials in Senegal as well as an additional Johns Hopkins study in South Africa. It has also been used to track recipients of the controversial HPV vaccine in Sierra Leone, where it was used “to track patients who have not completed their vaccination series.”

It is also being used among “vulnerable groups” in Myanmar by the NGO Population Services International (PSI) to “track demographics and the timing of positive HIV tests.” By analyzing these details, “we uncover which groups are most vulnerable to becoming infected,” according to PSI’s country representative for Myanmar.

The non-profit’s platform is powered by its main tech partner and another ID2020 member, Microsoft. iRespond’s platform “couldn’t exist without the cloud,” according to its CEO Scott Reid, and Microsoft supplies iRespond with a $60,000 grant to its Azure cloud system, allowing the organization to use it free of charge. In addition, Microsoft donated 39 tablets to iRespond that are used by the organization in the various places it operates “to enable flexibility in the field.” “The number of people we have helped has rapidly gone from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands, and we look forward to soon working on behalf of many millions of people. These Microsoft tools are helping to make it possible,” iRespond’s Larry Dohr stated in a Microsoft profile.

Eric Rasmussen·TEDxSanJuanIsland

Eric Rasmussen, iRespond’s president and chairman of the board, is a particularly interesting character who has been quite frank about the rationale behind the creation of iRespond. “When you understand who someone is, you understand what they’re entitled to, whether that’s national citizenship, international refugee support, or simply food distributions,” Rasmussen told Microsoft last year.

In addition to his key role at iRespond, Rasmussen is a professor at the Google-backed “Singularity University” as well as chairman of the board at InSTEDD, a “global NGO specializing humanitarian informatics, particularly around health in resource-poor economies” that is partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the CDC, Google and UNICEF. In addition, Rasmussen is also the CEO of a “profit-for-purpose” company called Infinitum Humanitarian Systems (IHS). IHS works closely with USAID and the State Department as well as U.S. military intelligence agencies and intelligence/defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Prior to his roles at iRespond, IHS and InSTEDD, Rasmussen was the Principal Investigator in humanitarian informatics for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and made multiple war time deployments to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Charity” of the Predator Class

More troubling than the background and associations of iRespond are those of their partner in the recently announced newborn biometric identification initiative, the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The IRC describes themselves as responding “to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and help[ing] people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future.”

Despite the IRC framing itself as a “humanitarian” venture, its board is stuffed with a sordid mix of Wall Street criminals and war criminals. For example, its board is co-chaired by Timothy Geithner, former Treasury Secretary during the 2008 financial crisis bail-outs and current President of Wall Street titan Warburg-Pincus, and Susan Susman, an Executive Vice President at Pfizer. Its board of advisers includes war criminals Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright as well as Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. Also present are current and former leaders and top executives at McKinsey, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Kroll Associates (“the CIA of Wall Street”), PepsiCo, Bank of America, Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the World Bank. Another advisor is former chairman and CEO of AIG Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, a name that will likely be familiar to those who have researched the September 11th attacks and Wall Street financial crimes in general.

Since 2013, the IRC has been led by David Miliband, the Tony Blair “protégé” who Bill Clinton once called “one of the ablest, most creative public servants of our time” and who worked closely with then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while serving as the U.K.’s Foreign Secretary. So close was Miliband to the Clintons, that he was being considered for a “top U.S. government job” if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election.

In the years since joining the IRC, Miliband’s salary as the group’s president has ballooned to nearly a million dollars annually (up from approximately $240,000 when he arrived at the organization in 2013). In addition, the group has been mired in scandal since Miliband became its president. For instance, it was revealed in 2018 that IRC was one of several U.K.-based charities where “workers [were] alleged to be in sexually exploitative relationships with refugee children” including through “sex-for-food scandals” where “sexual abuse was so endemic that the only way for many refugee families to survive was to allow a teenage girl to be exploited.” Reports further alleged that IRC and other charities named in the report, including Save the Children, had known of the egregious abuse for years prior to the allegations being made public and chose not to act.

Myanmar refugees, who crossed over from Myanmar to Thailand when a battle erupted between Myanmar’s soldiers and rebels, eat at the Thai-Myanmar border town of Mae Sot November 8, 2010. A clash erupted between ethnic minority Karen rebels and government soldiers in Myanmar’s Myawaddy town opposite the Thai border town of Mae Sot, Reuters witnesses on the Thai side of the border said. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom (THAILAND – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) – RTXUDI7

That year, it was also found that the IRC had “silenced 37 sex abuse, fraud and bribery allegations,” resulting in the U.K. government, which had previously funneled millions to the organization, cutting off its funding entirely. Despite the troubling revelations, no IRC workers accused of wrong-doing were ever prosecuted.

Given the fact that the IRC’s board and presidency is stuffed with professional exploiters, from Wall Street to the public sector, it is hardly surprising that this “charity” would be caught doing the same under the guise of providing “aid” to the world’s most vulnerable populations, who they apparently view as easy prey.

Foxes in the Hen House

In the several media profiles of the iRespond-IRC biometric identity effort, the initiative is described as helping to prevent the exploitation of the world’s most vulnerable, particularly forced labor and sex trafficking. However, if that really were the case, why is this program being executed by iRespond, whose president and chairman has close ties to the U.S. military and intelligence communities, and the IRC, backed by a legion of war criminals and financial predators?

The U.S. military, a close partner of iRespond’s Eric Rasmussen, is notorious for its role in the trafficking of persons for forced labor, while many of its key contractors – like DynCorp — have been the subject of numerous scandalsregarding the sexual abuse or sex trafficking of war-torn or otherwise vulnerable populations. On the other hand, the IRC’s mix of backers like Madeleine Albright, infamous for her comment on the murder by sanctions of half a million Iraqi children being “worth it,” and Henry Kissinger, notorious for his words about using food as a weapon to force populations into subservience and to reduce third-world populations, is equally anathema to the publicly professed purpose of the iRespond-IRC biometric identification program.

Not unlike the “sex-for-food” scandal in which IRC was once embroiled, this new initiative is placing refugees in the position of taking part in a massive technocratic experiment if they wish to eat or access other basic services. Though certainly not as egregious as a sex crime, it is nonetheless another means of exploiting the world’s most vulnerable populations under the guise of “helping” them, when those really being aided are the technocratic elite who aim to take this biometric identification program global in short order.

Coronavirus and the Failed American State

By Margaret Kimberley

Source

Coronavirus Task Force 36250

The United States has none of the systems or infrastructure that would allow it to accomplish what China has done to fight mass infection.

The only thing more frightening than the COVID-19 virus spreading around the world is the knowledge that this country is woefully unprepared to protect people from it. The response to the epidemic would be funny if it were not so dangerous. First, the austerity regime cut the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) division responsible for fighting infectious disease outbreaks. But condemning Donald Trump’s decision making is the easy part. Analyzing bigger issues regarding health care and the inherent inefficiencies created by capitalism is much harder.

We are constantly told that socialism doesn’t work. But it is socialist China, where the virus began, that has made the most headway in slowing its spread. Conversely, the United States has none of the systems or infrastructure that would allow it to accomplish the same thing. It is capitalism that doesn’t work well when human needs must be met.

There is a constant demand to designate the United States as the best country in the world with the best health care system. In fact health care delivery here is nowhere near being best. The for-profit system certainly rakes in cash for insurance companies and big pharma. But health care outcomes are mediocre at best and other countries do a far better job for far less money. The most basic needs of patients and health care workers are often unmet. Health care workers complain they haven’t received proper training to protect themselves even as they treat COVID-19 patients.

While Italy, another capitalist nation, has been placed off limits because of the high number of COVID-19 cases, China reports declines in new infections and improvements in treatment protocols. While Americans can’t find hand sanitizer at any price, the Chinese government built new hospitals in just one week’s time.

The profit motive which is constantly touted as the cure all in every situation is instead the cause of every problem. There are other nations which allow private health insurers to operate but they regulate how much money they can make and how they can operate.

The so-called greatest country passes up no opportunity to allow the predators to extract from their victims. The failed state doesn’t have enough of the tests needed to diagnose COVID-19 and those who manage to be tested and treated can be charged up to $3,000for what ought to be a right and free of charge.

Nearly every solution presented as addressing this crisis places burdens on the people. The “gig” economy and low wage hourly jobs don’t allow workers to take time off if they feel ill. The high price of health care is an impediment to treating all kinds of illnesses. The man whom the Democratic Party establishment want to be the next president brags that he would veto any effort to provide free health care for all. It is little wonder that Americans lag in every measure of good health and panic when a new communicable disease makes an appearance.

While the highly touted capitalist system can’t provide enough hand sanitizer the governor of New York came up with a solution. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will produce hand sanitizer made by prison labor. The product called NYS Clean will be provided to public agencies in the state. The inmates at Great Meadow Correctional Facility are paid between 16 and 65 cents for their work. It is typical for the United States to turn to its most exploitative system to meet a basic need.

The irony isn’t lost on anyone who is paying attention. The greatest nation cuts the public resource which would have mitigated the effects of COVID-19, continues its profit making system that causes suffering even as it is supposed to bring health, and then uses prison slave labor to do what the much vaunted system cannot.

Donald Trump famously referred to global south nations as “shithole countries.” In fact the shithole country is the one that he governs. The United States excels in putting people behind bars, as the New York inmates can attest. It can make weapons and invade nations. The police kill more people and the cost of health care is the worst in the world. But woe unto us if we need to save our lives from illness. COVID-19 is a new illness presenting new problems, but this country doesn’t care for its people in the best of times. COVID-19 is again making that clear.

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