The Black Death and other epidemics arrived in Europe from China during the 1300’s, killing a large percentage of its population. Much of this pestilence came from rats that stowed away on merchant ships coming from the east.
At the end of World War I, another pandemic, wrongly called the Spanish flu, killed an estimated 18 to 50 million people in Europe and North America.
Seventeen years after the SARS virus killed some 800 people in China and Canada and terrified the entire world, a new plague threatens the West: the Wuhan Coronavirus.
Officially named 2019-nCoV, the new virus has so far infected over 800 people in China. This latest plague erupted in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, population 11 million, which is located on the Yangtze River and is an important hub for national communications.
Like SARS, the Wuhan virus is believed to have come from a live animal market that specializes in exotic animals from the Himalayas or China’s remote mountain regions. Serving exotic animals at dinner parties is a big status symbol in China. Sometimes they are even served while still alive. Dog meat is a favorite in northern China.
SARS was believed to have come from civet cats. As a result, thousands of these felines were brutally killed. But it was later determined the virus originated from bats, then spread to other captive animals. Bat soup is another Chinese delicacy.
Keeping large numbers of captive animals crammed together in cages with poor ventilation and no cleaning is an ideal vector for viral diseases. Each year, China consumes 730 million pigs. Fifty percent of China’s factory farmed pigs have so far contracted lethal swine flu. Rising living standards have boosted demand for pork.
I have seen how China raises and transports pigs. It’s a nightmare of brutality and inhuman behavior. No wonder so many of these intelligent sensitive animals fall ill and die. Swine fever could be payback for China’s terrible cruelty to pigs.
And it’s not just China. Pigs in North America are treated almost as badly. A lady where I live was actually jailed and prosecuted for having given water to a truckload of thirsty, starving, terrified pigs on the way to the slaughterhouse.
In North America, animals destined for slaughter are packed together and then dosed with heavy antibiotics to combat communicable diseases from over-crowding and mistreatment. These same antibiotics then enter our food chain, causing us ever growing viral resistance.
When the SARS epidemic erupted in South China 17 years ago, the Chinese communist party tried to hush up the crisis, allowing infected people to travel to North America and Europe.
This time, China did the right thing by jumping hard on the epidemic: shutting down all air, sea and land communications with the greater Wuhan region and 14 smaller cities – right in the middle of China’s huge new year celebrations when over 400 million people return to their homes. The epidemic could not have come at a worse time.
Some Wuhan residents have already flown to other parts of Asia and North America. Simply checking incoming air travellers for fever will not prevent the virus from spreading or identify passengers who have contracted and are developing the illness.
A better solution would be to quarantine all people arriving from Central China and even bar airlines coming from there until we better understand the new virus. We stop so-called ‘terrorists’ and Muslims from flying to our shores. Why not potentially infective people?
China must also be pressed to cease its dangerous, inhumane trade in exotic wild animals and urged to treat all animals with humanity and care. China is a major cause of species loss. Aside from a few brave animal rights groups, there is very little consciousness of our animal neighbors in China nor understanding that animals are sentient beings with emotions similar to those of humans. The Chinese are one of the most intelligent people on earth. Yet when it comes to animals, all they see is walking food.
As I’ve seen on my travels across China, it has made great strides in public sanitation and cleanliness as well as planting trees. Now, it’s time to stop abusing animals or the plagues will keep coming.
TEPCO Proposes 44-Year Plan To Decommission Fukushima No. 2 Nuclear Plant
About a decade ago, a powerful earthquake triggered a 15-meter tsunami that disabled the power supply and cooling of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The accident led to nuclear cores of three reactors to meltdown, causing widespread radiation release, along with the evacuation of thousands of people within a 30-kilometer radius.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) is the operator of the nuclear power plant, released a statement last week detailing how it would take 44 years to decommission Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant, reported The Japan Times.
Fukushima No. 2 plant is South of No.1 and North of No.3, which suffered a catastrophic triple meltdown in the March 2011 incident.
TEPCO outlines how the decommissioning process will be conducted in four phases: taking ten years for phase one, 12 years for phase two, and 11 years for both phase three and four.
“TEPCO will survey radioactive contamination at the nuclear plant in the first stage, clear equipment around nuclear reactors in the second, remove the reactors in the third and demolish the reactor buildings in the fourth,” the Times said.
By the end of phase four, so approximately 2064, a total of 9,532 spent nuclear fuel units from the plant will have been delivered to a local fuel reprocessing plant.
Japan’s Economy and Industry Ministry proposed last month that TEPCO could gradually release massive amounts of treated but still radioactive water being stored at the power plant.
In a December 2019 proposal, the ministry suggested a “controlled release” of the contaminated water into the Pacific. Another option via the ministry was allowing the radioactive water to evaporate, or a combination of the two methods.
But the ministry insisted that the controlled release of the contaminated water into the sea would be the best option because it would “stably dilute and disperse” the water from the plant, while also allowing the government and TEPCO to more easily monitor the operation.
And as we have reported, the Japanese fishing industry isn’t the only party that objects to the government’s plan. South Korea has also complained to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The Fukushima nuclear disaster is nowhere close to being resolved. Reactors released iodine-131, cesium-134, and cesium-137. Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years.
Last year a mysterious shipment was caught smuggling Coronavirus from Canada. It was traced to Chinese agents working at a Canadian lab. Subsequent investigation by GreatGameIndia linked the agents to Chinese Biological Warfare Program from where the virus is suspected to have leaked causing the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak.
The Saudi SARS Sample
On June 13, 2012 a 60-year-old Saudi man was admitted to a private hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with a 7-day history of fever, cough, expectoration, and shortness of breath. He had no history of cardiopulmonary or renal disease, was receiving no long-term medications, and did not smoke.
Egyptian virologist Dr. Ali Mohamed Zaki isolated and identified a previously unknown coronavirus from his lungs. After routine diagnostics failed to identify the causative agent, Zaki contacted Ron Fouchier, a leading virologist at the Erasmus Medical Center (EMC) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for advice.
Fouchier sequenced the virus from a sample sent by Zaki. Fouchier used a broad-spectrum “pan-coronavirus” real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method to test for distinguishing features of a number of known coronaviruses known to infect humans.
Coronavirus arrived at Canada’s NML Winnipeg facility on May 4, 2013 from the Dutch lab. The Canadian lab grew up stocks of the virus and used it to assess diagnostic tests being used in Canada. Winnipeg scientists worked to see which animal species can be infected with the new virus.
Research was done in conjunction with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s national lab, the National Centre for Foreign Animal Diseases which is housed in the same complex as the National Microbiology Laboratory.
NML has a long history of offering comprehensive testing services for coronaviruses. It isolated and provided the first genome sequence of the SARS coronavirus and identified another coronavirus NL63 in 2004.
The NML scientist who was escorted out of the Canadian lab along with her husband, another biologist, and members of her research team is believed to be a Chinese Bio-Warfare agent Xiangguo Qiu. Qiu was the head of the Vaccine Development and Antiviral Therapies Section in the Special Pathogens Program at Canada’s NML.
Xiangguo Qiu is an outstanding Chinese scientist born in Tianjin. She primarily received her medical doctor degree from Hebei Medical University in China in 1985 and came to Canada for graduate studies in 1996. Later on, she was affiliated with the Institute of Cell Biology and the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health of the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, not engaged with studying pathogens.
Dr. Xiangguo Qiu is married to another Chinese scientist – Dr. Keding Cheng, also affiliated with the NML, specifically the “Science and Technology Core”. Dr. Cheng is primarily a bacteriologist who shifted to virology. The couple is responsible for infiltrating Canada’s NML with many Chinese agents as students from a range of Chinese scientific facilities directly tied to China’s Biological Warfare Program, namely:
Institute of Military Veterinary, Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Changchun
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Chengdu Military Region
Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hubei
Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing
All of the above four mentioned Chinese Biological Warfare facilities collaborated with Dr. Xiangguo Qiu within the context of Ebola virus, the Institute of Military Veterinary joined a study on the Rift Valley fever virus too, while the Institute of Microbiology joined a study on Marburg virus. Noticeably, the drug used in the latter study – Favipiravir – has been earlier tested successfully by the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences, with the designation JK-05 (originally a Japanese patent registered in China already in 2006), against Ebola and additional viruses.
However, the studies by Dr. Qiu are considerably more advanced and apparently vital for the Chinese biological weapons development in case Coronavirus, Ebola, Nipah, Marburg or Rift Valley fever viruses are included therein.
The Canadian investigation is ongoing and questions remain whether previous shipments to China of other viruses or other essential preparations, took place from 2006 to 2018, one way or another.
Dr. Xiangguo Qiu also collaborated in 2018 with three scientists from the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Maryland, studying post-exposure immunotherapy for two Ebola viruses and Marburg virus in monkeys; a study supported by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
The Wuhan Coronavirus
Dr. Xiangguo Qiu made at least five trips over the school year 2017-18 to the above mentioned Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which was certified for BSL4 in January 2017. Moreover, in August 2017, the National Health Commission of China approved research activities involving Ebola, Nipah, and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever viruses at the Wuhan facility.
Coincidentally, the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory is located only 20 miles away from the Huanan Seafood Market which is the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak dubbed the Wuhan Coronavirus.
The Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory is housed at the Chinese military facility Wuhan Institute of Virology linked to China’s Biological Warfare Program. It was the first ever lab in the country designed to meet biosafety-level-4 (BSL-4) standards – the highest biohazard level, meaning that it would be qualified to handle the most dangerous pathogens.
In January 2018, the lab was operational ‘for global experiments on BSL-4 pathogens,’ wrote Guizhen Wu in the journal Biosafety and Health. ‘After a laboratory leak incident of SARS in 2004, the former Ministry of Health of China initiated the construction of preservation laboratories for high-level pathogens such as SARS, coronavirus, and pandemic influenza virus,’ wrote Guizhen Wu.
The Wuhan institute has studied coronaviruses in the past, including the strain that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, H5N1 influenza virus, Japanese encephalitis, and dengue. Researchers at the institute also studied the germ that causes anthrax – a biological agent once developed in Russia.
“Coronaviruses (particularly SARS) have been studied in the institute and are probably held therein,” said Dany Shoham, a former Israeli military intelligence officer who has studied Chinese biowarfare. He said. “SARS is included within the Chinese BW program, at large, and is dealt with in several pertinent facilities.”
James Giordano, a neurology professor at Georgetown University and senior fellow in Biowarfare at the U.S. Special Operations Command, said China’s growing investment in bio-science, looser ethics around gene-editing and other cutting-edge technology and integration between government and academia raise the spectre of such pathogens being weaponized.
That could mean an offensive agent, or a modified germ let loose by proxies, for which only China has the treatment or vaccine. “This is not warfare, per se,” he said. “But what it’s doing is leveraging the capability to act as global saviour, which then creates various levels of macro and micro economic and bio-power dependencies.”
China’s Biological Warfare Program
In a 2015 academic paper, Shoham – of Bar-Ilan’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies – asserts that more than 40 Chinese facilities are involved in bio-weapon production.
China’s Biological Warfare Program is believed to include full range of traditional chemical & biological agents with a wide variety of delivery systems including artillery rockets, aerial bombs, sprayers, and short-range ballistic missiles. #coronarovirushttps://t.co/7qpDNNmqk7
China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences actually developed an Ebola drug – called JK-05 — but little has been divulged about it or the defence facility’s possession of the virus, prompting speculation its Ebola cells are part of China’s bio-warfare arsenal, Shoham told the National Post.
Ebola is classified as a “category A” bioterrorism agent by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning it could be easily transmitted from person to person, would result in high death rates and “might cause panic.” The CDC lists Nipah as a category C substance, a deadly emerging pathogen that could be engineered for mass dissemination.
China’s Biological Warfare Program is believed to be in an advanced stage that includes research and development, production and weaponization capabilities. Its current inventory is believed to include the full range of traditional chemical and biological agents with a wide variety of delivery systems including artillery rockets, aerial bombs, sprayers, and short-range ballistic missiles.
China’s national strategy of military-civil fusion has highlighted biology as a priority, and the People’s Liberation Army could be at the forefront of expanding and exploiting this knowledge.
The PLA is pursuing military applications for biology and looking into promising intersections with other disciplines, including brain science, supercomputing, and artificial intelligence. Since 2016, the Central Military Commission has funded projects on military brain science, advanced biomimetic systems, biological and biomimetic materials, human performance enhancement, and “new concept” biotechnology.
In 2016, an AMMS doctoral researcher published a dissertation, “Research on the Evaluation of Human Performance Enhancement Technology,” which characterized CRISPR-Cas as one of three primary technologies that might boost troops’ combat effectiveness. The supporting research looked at the effectiveness of the drug Modafinil, which has applications in cognitive enhancement; and at transcranial magnetic stimulation, a type of brain stimulation, while also contending that the “great potential” of CRISPR-Cas as a “military deterrence technology in which China should “grasp the initiative” in development.
In 2016, the potential strategic value of genetic information led the Chinese government to launch the National Genebank, which intends to become the world’s largest repository of such data. It aims to “develop and utilize China’s valuable genetic resources, safeguard national security in bioinformatics, and enhance China’s capability to seize the strategic commanding heights” in the domain of Biotechnology Warfare.
Chinese military’s interest in biology as an emerging domain of warfare is guided by strategists who talk about potential “genetic weapons” and the possibility of a “bloodless victory.”
The ‘Golden Age Of Plastic’? Banks Are Quietly Raising Credit Limits For Freespending Borrowers
Credit-card lenders are calling it the ‘Golden Age of Plastic’. But that’s mostly because they’re the ones hoarding all the gold.
Gloom-and-doom economists who have portended the imminent collapse of the American consumer (we don’t want to name names) might have a reason to put off their calls for a downturn of epic proportions just a little bit longer. Because at a time when the American consumer is already leveraged to the hilt, and when credit data suggests some are finally biting the bullet and curbing spending to pay it down, lenders have hit on a novel strategy to boost growth.
And that strategy is, according to Bloomberg, raising certain borrowers’ credit limits without a request from the borrower. In other words, some consumers are waking up to notices or emails from their credit-card lenders informing them that their credit limits have just been raised – sometimes by a wide margin.
Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank told BBG that the company’s resistance to unsolicited credit-limit hikes is a “radical theology” because it goes above and beyond post-crisis safeguards. But now that lenders are being pressed to keep showing revenue growth at a time of record excess, Capital One has changed its mind with the explicit goal of trying to convince consumers to borrow more that they can afford to pay back – or at least not all at once.
Of course, while debt-fueled spending registers as growth in the all-important consumption metrics, there will eventually come a time when they debt must either be repaid, or written off.
“It’s like putting a sandwich in front of me and I haven’t eaten all day,” said D’Ante Jones, a 27-year-old rapper known as D. Maivia in Houston who was close to hitting the ceiling on his Chase Freedom card when JPMorgan Chase & Co. nearly doubled his spending limit a year ago without consulting him. He soon borrowed much more. “How can I not take a bite out of it?”
Banks insist that they raise credit limits “carefully”, and that they limit reckless borrowing.
But at this point, anybody who does make the mistake of carrying a balance is going to get hurt.
As we pointed out last month, something strange happened after the Fed started cutting interest rates again last year. While lenders were quick to lower the deposit rates they paid out to customers, interest rates on credit cards and other loans climbed, while the rates on credit cards hit all-time highs. It’s a trend we’ve documented before.
…but the problem here is that this is a double-edged sword. Because if American consumers really are finally cutting back on their spending to pay down debt, this would be bad news for the consumer-dependent economy.
Ironically, around the same time that Bloomberg published their story, Discover saw its biggest crash since the financial crisis on the highest Q4 charge-off rate in history.
So maybe giving irresponsible borrowers even more rope to hang themselves with wasn’t the best strategy.
The Chinese government forced the host of a TV show which popularized eating bats to apologize in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, which scientists have linked to the consumption of wild animals.
Bat soup is a delicacy in some areas of China and was known to be sold at the illegal animal market in Wuhan blamed for being the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
A show called Beauty Eats Bats which originally launched in 2016 was blamed for re-invigorating the trend of eating bats across the country, prompting the Chinese Communist Party to demand that its female host discourage the consumption of bats.
The woman featured in the clip took to social media to profusely apologize for her role in encouraging the consumption of bats and encouraged everyone to start washing their hands more.
The video shows the woman breaking apart the corpse of a boiled bat, dipping its wing in sauce and eating it.
Meanwhile, the scale of the coronavirus outbreak continues to escalate.
56 million Chinese citizens have now been quarantined, with Chinese authorities claiming that around 1300 people have been infected so far.
However, according to one hospital worker in Wuhan, the government is lying and over 100,000 people have actually been infected.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that the United States will send a chartered flight to evacuate all of its citizens and diplomats out of Wuhan.
According to official figures, the virus has killed 41 people, although many suspect this number to be far higher.
Meanwhile, it’s probably a good idea for Chinese citizens to stop eating bats and other wild animals that are vectors for disease.
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20,000 US Troops Have Surged Into Mideast Since Last Spring To ‘Counter Iran’
The Associated Press reports a staggering surge of US troops into the Middle East since last Spring: “Over the past eight months, the United States has poured more than 20,000 additional troops into the Middle East to counter the escalating threat from Iran that peaked with the recent missile attack on American forces in Iraq.”
This despite President Trump’s multiple prior pledges to “bring the troops home” especially related to Syria and Iraq. Following the Soleimani assassination and subsequent Iranian ballistic missile retaliation on Ayn al-Assad airbase, where Friday it was reported that 34 soldiers suffered traumatic brain injuries (a dramatically increased figure up from the prior 11), this trend in force build-up looks to continue. Here’s breakdown of the staggering numbers via the AP:
The top commander for US forces in the Middle East told a gathering of Marines and sailors during a speech aboard the USS Bataan on Thursday they could be there for “quite a while”.
Gen. Frank McKenzie addressed the question of any near-term potential draw down of the extra forces: “we’ll work that out as we go ahead,” he said.
Underscoring the Iran constitutes a serious “threat” he admitted:
“I’m not sure how long you’re going to stay in the theater. We’ll work that out as we go ahead. Could be quite a while, could be less than that, just don’t know right now.”
On the Iran threat specifically, he said further, “I do believe that they are deterred right now, at least from state-on-state actions by our response. And so I think that while that threat remains, I think we’re in a period where they’re certainly not seeking to escalate anything.”
Ironically Gen. McKenzie’s words were given a day before possibly up to one million Iraqis protested across the country Friday demanding an end of America’s military presence.
Though hard to confirm, a top official with the Iraqi Federal Police Forces Jaffar al-Batat has announced that the total number of demonstrators who came out Friday against the US occupation exceeded one million.
OK, there’s a LOT of uncertainty and confusing/conflicting information currently circulating right now about the new coronavirus outbreak that has suddenly erupted out of Wuhan, China.
What’s really going on? What exactly is the ‘coronavirus’?
And most important: How worried do we need to be?
Given the poor communication so far by government health organizations and the media, the severity of the situation and the risk to public health, Chris Martenson filmed this important explanatory video hours ago.
Dr. Martenson’s PhD is in the field of pathogenic biology, so he understands the nature of this virus more than your average scientist.
In the video below, Chris explains the virus in layman’s terms, why the contagion we’re seeing is likely to spread substantially from here, and why the actions being taken so far by public health officials to contain the threat are woefully insufficient.
It’s important, maybe soon critical, to be well-informed on this outbreak. The ten minutes you spend watching this video may be the most important thing you do today:
After viewing, be sure to take prudent steps to secure the safety of your family’s health. Most measures are straightforward and inexpensive — there’s a huge upside to preparing now and a huge downside to delaying, so get busy.
Those interested can continue to follow our updated coverage on the coronavirus here.
Hopefully, authorities manage to contain this outbreak faster than it currently appears they will. But don’t bet your life on it.
Yale Cancels Prestigious Art History Course For Being “Too White”
A story and “justification” so absurd and absolutely bonkers that we sincerely wish this was The Onion and not from the oldest college daily newspaper in the United States and at one of the nation’s most elite Ivy League schools:
Yale will stop teaching a storied introductory survey course in art history, citing the impossibility of adequately covering the entire field — and its varied cultural backgrounds — in one course.
Decades old and once taught by famous Yale professors like Vincent Scully, “Introduction to Art History: Renaissance to the Present” was once touted to be one of Yale College’s quintessential classes. But this change is the latest response to student uneasiness over an idealized Western “canon” — a product of an overwhelmingly white, straight, European and male cadre of artists.
So that’s it, apparently: the great masterpieces recognized as such by the entire world for generations are now tainted by their supposed “whiteness” and must be censored by the Robespierre-like mob of the “woke”.
It’s not merely that the Western Civilization-focused “Introduction to Art History: Renaissance to the Present” class has been deleted, but the entire concept of “Western art” itself will be a focus of criticism in the multiple new ‘more culturally sensitive’ classes that will replace it.
This spring, the final rendition of the course will seek to question the idea of Western art itself — a marked difference from the course’s focus at its inception. Art history department chair and the course’s instructor Tim Barringer told the News that he plans to demonstrate that a class about the history of art does not just mean Western art. Rather, when there are so many other regions, genres and traditions — all “equally deserving of study” — putting European art on a pedestal is “problematic,” he said.
Clearly, it also sounds like students who happen to favor the Western and European greats will be set up for de-platforming and ridicule.
How long before the beautiful centuries-old campus buildings themselves will be “discovered” as part of the Western tradition of architecture? Will they survive the decades to come as the “purge” grows ever fiercer and more anti-intellectual?
In the name of “diversity” it appears assigning any level of uniqueness to a work of art which happens to have emerged from the medieval or renaissance or early modern period will immediately be shamed by the ‘woke mob’.
This follows other Yale departments in prior years attempting to purge “decolonize” their programs, especially in the English/Literature Department. We wonder how long the title “English Department” itself will be allowed to stand.
All the usual suspects are praising Adam Schiff’s marathon two-and-a-half-hour Senate speech on Wednesday to the skies.
Neocon columnist Jennifer Rubin calls it “a grand slam” in the Washington Post.
Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin describes it as “dazzling” on CNN.
Hillary Clinton: “Every American should watch this”
John Legend: “This is brilliantly argued and so compelling. Watch if you have time. Call your senators. Everyone says the outcome is predetermined. But make sure your senators hear from you if you’re moved by this. Thank you, Congressman Schiff, for standing up for what’s right.”
Debra Messing: “I am in tears. Thank you Chairman Schiff for fighting for our country.”
New York Times columnist Gail Collins says it was “a great job” and that Schiff is “a rock star” for pulling it off.
But in fact it was the opposite
a fear-mongering, sword-rattling harangue that will not only raise tensions with Russia for no good reason, but sends a chilling message to dissidents at home that if they deviate from Russiagate orthodoxy by one iota, they’ll be driven from the fold.
What is that orthodoxy?
It’s that Russia invaded poor innocent Ukraine in 2014, that it interfered in the US presidential election in 2016 in order to hurt Hillary Clinton and propel Donald Trump into the White House, and that it’s now trying to smear Joe Biden merely because he had allowed his son to take a high-paying job with a notorious Ukrainian oligarch at a time when he was supposedly heading up the Ukrainian anti-corruption effort.
As Schiff put it with regard to Donald Trump’s famous July 25 phone call urging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into Biden’s activities:
“This investigation was related to a debunked conspiracy theory alleging that Ukraine not Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. This narrative propagated by the Russian intelligence services contends that Ukraine sought to help Hillary Clinton and harm then-candidate Trump…. This tale is also patently false and, remarkably, it is precisely the inverse of what the US intelligence community’s unanimous assessment was that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in sweeping and systemic fashion in order to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump.”
So even though the Financial Times reported during the 2016 election campaign that the threat of a Trump victory was spurring “Kiev’s wider political leadership to do something they have never attempted before: intervene, however indirectly, in a US election,” articles like that are now down the memory hole because Schiff says they’re Russian propaganda that US intelligence agencies have determined to be false.
The same goes for arguments that it’s actually NATO’s aggressive expansion to the east that has led to a needless buildup of tensions, not Russia’s drive to the west. Recent examples include an article in the National Interest arguing that NATO has “empowered some of the most historically anti-Russian elements in that region – Ukrainian Banderites [i.e. followers of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera], Polish nationalists, Balkan Islamists” – elements that, not unreasonably, have sparked Russia’s worst fears – or one in the Nation stating that NATO’s drang nach osten is “the primary cause for the new and very dangerous Cold War.”
Articles like those are verboten as well because they go counter to the new line that Russia is entirely to blame. Declared Schiff:
“Russia is not a threat … to Eastern Europe alone. Ukraine has become the de facto proving ground for just the types of hybrid warfare that the twenty-first century will become defined by: cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, efforts to undermine the legitimacy of state institutions, whether that is voting systems or financial markets. The Kremlin showed boldly in 2016 that with the malign skills it honed in Ukraine, they would not stay in Ukraine. Instead, Russia employed them here to attack our institutions, and they will do so again.”
As for Biden, a New York Times editorial said about his son’s unfortunate new job back in 2015:
“Sadly, the credibility of Mr. Biden’s [anti-corruption] message may be undermined by the association of his son with a Ukrainian natural-gas company, Burisma Holdings, which is owned by a former government official suspected of corrupt practices…. Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, has been under investigation in Britain and in Ukraine. It should be plain to Hunter Biden that any connection with a Ukrainian oligarch damages his father’s efforts to help Ukraine. This is not a board he should be sitting on.”
We must all put such sentiments behind us now Russia is seeking to “weaponize” such information, according to Schiff, and deploy it “against Mr. Biden just like it did against Hillary Clinton in 2016 when Russia hacked and released emails from her presidential campaign.” If Russia wants to weaponize it, then it’s best for the rest of us not to breathe a word of it lest people think we’ve been weaponized as well.
Bottom line:we must impeach Trump, according to Schiff’s epic presentation, not only because he’s overstepped his proper constitutional bounds, but because he’s part of a grand Russian conspiracy to spread disinformation, undercut US security, undermine faith in US intelligence agencies, and “remake the map of Europe by dent of military force.” In order to counter this all-encompassing threat, it is our patriotic duty to do the opposite by believing the CIA and redoubling US defense. If anyone tells us that Biden was guilty of a flagrant conflict of interest, we must stop up our ears because that’s what Moscow wants us to think. If anyone says that the entire Russian-interference narrative is just a silly conspiracy theory based on a paucity of facts and an abundance of paranoid speculation, we must do likewise because it’s just the Kremlin trying to worm its way into our minds.
When in doubt, just remember to bleat: America good, Russia baa-aa-aad.
But while it would be nice to dismiss this as a joke, it’s not. Schiff’s emergence as leader of the Democratic impeachment drive means that the party is re-grouping along the most retrograde Cold War lines. As reckless and appalling as Trump’s behavior is in the Persian Gulf, the emerging Democratic worldview is shaping up as no less extreme. Because it sees Russia as mounting a multi-pronged offensive, the clear implication is that the US must respond in kind. This means more troops deployments, more forces mobilized to counter Russian threats from Venezuela to the Middle East, more TV talking heads going on and on about this or that Kremlin conspiracy, and more labelling of people like Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein as Russian assets.
Remember, this is the Los Angeles neocon who backed the invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, and Saudi Arabia’s unprovoked war against Yemen, an assault that, since March 2015, has cost 100,000 lives and brought half the country to the brink of starvation. He supported Obama’s war in Libya and called for the establishment of a no-fly zone in Syria and relies on arms manufacturers and military contractors for major financial support.
But while Bernie supporters may have thought that Democrats were edging away from such views, they’re plainly in the wrong. Schiff’s new-found prominence shows that the neocons are back in the saddle. Impeachment advocates should be careful of what they wish for because the anti-Trump forces are turning out to be no less dangerous than those helping him to remain.
New Research Casts Doubt Coronavirus Epidemic Started At Wuhan Food Market
Although practically all of the western media reports from the city of Wuhan have claimed that the city’s hospitals have been completely overwhelmed by cases of pneumonia as more cases of the Wuhan coronavirus are confirmed, the South China Morning Post reports that a team of researchers at Wuhan’s Jinyintan hospital have retraced the movements of the first individual who was diagnosed with the virus, and determined that he had no links to a shady seafood market selling live snakes and bats for human consumption.
Amazingly, SCMPcaveated its report by claiming that other patients among the earliest cases had “continuous exposure to the market,” which was shut down on Jan. 1 by Wuhan authorities over fears that its trade in wild animals was linked to the viral outbreak. Authorities have since banned the selling of live animals at markets.
The researchers, seven of whom work at Wuhan’s Jinyintan hospital, designated for patients with the illness, revealed on Friday in The Lancet medical journal that symptoms of the new disease were first reported on December 1 – much earlier than the Wuhan government’s initial announcement on December 31 of 27 cases of the pneumonia-like infection.
According to the report, the first patient had no exposure to the Huanan seafood market which was shut down on January 1 over fears – later confirmed – that the new virus was linked to its trade in wild animals. The researchers added that none of the patient’s family had developed fever or any respiratory symptoms. There was also no epidemiological link between the first patient and the later cases, they found.
The researchers analysed data from 41 patients with confirmed infections who had showed an onset of symptoms up to January 2. Six of those patients died, putting the fatality rate of the group at 15 per cent. The researchers noted that clinical presentations of the patients greatly resembled severe acute respiratory syndrome.
The first patient to die from the new coronavirus had continuous exposure to the market before he was admitted to hospital with a seven-day history of fever, cough and breathing difficulties, according to their report.
Doctors also identified 13 other patients who had no contact with the market, which helps build the case for human to human transmission.
The absence of a link to the seafood market is one of the indicators for human-to-human transmission of the virus and the researchers identified another 13 patients who also had no direct exposure to the market.
“Taken together, evidence so far indicates human transmission for 2019-nCoV,” the report said. “We are concerned that 2019-nCoV could have acquired the ability for efficient human transmission,” the researchers added, along with a strong recommendation for precautions such as fit-tested N95 respirators and other personal protective equipment.
Much to Beijing’s chagrin, a team of Chinese scientists on Friday revealed that symptoms of the virus first emerged as early as Dec. 1, much earlier than the Wuhan government’s initial announcement of the first 27 cases on Dec. 31. The notion that the virus may have been transmitted to humans via consuming bats, rats, badgers or snakes was widely reported in the Western press, even by CNN.
Though the possibility of zoonotic transmission hasn’t been entirely ruled out, these researchers apparently believed that there’s reason to doubt that the fish market was the source of the virus. However, the situation is still very much in flux, and it remains true that some of the other patients did have contact with the market.
Either way, do the researchers findings lend more credence to the other conspiracy theory about the virus’s origin? Wuhan reportedly has two labs that participate in China’s bio-warfare program, as Radio Free Asia first reported, and a handful of US outlets, including the Washington Times, have picked up the story.
Was CoV manufactured by the real-world equivalent of Umbrella Corp?