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Chinese Ice Cream

How much Mao is too much? If you’re like me, the answer is anything above zero. Introducing Maoism is quite like the adage of ice cream mixing dog poo; the former cannot improve the latter even a tiny drop. On the contrary, the smallest helping of feces..



How much Mao is too much? If you’re like me, the answer is anything above zero. Introducing Maoism is quite like the adage of ice cream mixing dog poo; the former cannot improve the latter even a tiny drop. On the contrary, the smallest helping of feces leaves the whole thing smelling like it, rendered completely inedible no matter how carefully crafted and delightful the ice cream might have been at the start.

Xi Jinping is sticking true to his word on the topic of Maoism. How much that word is filtering out is up for debate. In the Western media, China’s some colossus unified under harmonious top-down authority which has allowed the country to both aptly navigate the challenges of the pandemic while eating our lunch when having done so.

Theirs is a boom; ours is an inflationary mess.

Over here in reality, what the Chinese are up against is the same thing the West is. Neither is inflation.

The Communists have just wrapped up their Sixth Plenum, like always encouraging anyone to merely listen.

This history of modern China has been written by some of these special Sixes, and this one has now been written by clearly highlighting and demarcating three major eras. According to the recent plenum, the first was when Mao founded the People’s Republic of China “showing the world that the Chinese people had stood up.”

A good start, according to the Communists, yet even they have had to acknowledge the serious failures with this primitive worldview especially along economic considerations. So it was left to Deng Xiaoping in the second era to clean up Mao’s mess, though that’s not exactly how the official history is telling it.

Each of these are being colored as very natural and evolutionary steps.

Deng had turned “the focus of the Party and the country’s work onto economic development” setting the stage for a “prosperous” society while managing, they say, to hold fast to the overarching Marxist values; “the historic transformations from a highly centralized planned economy into a socialist market economy brimming with vitality.”

While necessary, the second ear also then created its own set of problems which Xi we are today told has been able to clean up; to have “solved many tough problems that were long on the agenda but never resolved and accomplished many things that were wanted but never got done.”

But having launched into this third era, what now?

Common Prosperity, according to what’s been made available of the Sixth Plenum, is supposedly a mix of Mao and Deng. Xi’s intention seems to be leaning on what he says is the best of both, restoring some of the ideological purities of Mao’s age but not going so far as to abandon the entirety of Deng’s project.

So, how much Mao will China end up having combined altogether with some unspecified level of leftover “socialist market economy brimming with vitality?” Can the Chinese withstand much or even any?

Whatever that unknown proportion, what is known is that it will be determined by Xi Jinping alone. The official communique regarding this Sixth placed Xi up in stature with both Mao and Deng, filled with the same over-the-top, overuse of hyperbole: “great”, “glorious”, “correct party.” Xi, it read, clearly the “core”, “backbone”, and “anchor” having made his “guiding role” the true way, the only way forward.

And if anyone had any doubts about the intent, it also told Party Members to “resolutely [uphold] Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Central Committee” before closing with a call to “rally more closely around the Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core.”

Funny enough, China’s Belt and Road Initiative wasn’t mentioned at all.

The question before the world: is Xi merely content “correcting” some of the excesses of the Deng era experiment by restoring ideological purity as the guiding force for major decision-making? Or, is ideology now the central focus of China’s politics by necessity.

Whichever you believe, one thing has been made absolutely certain. No matter which proportion of Mao ends up being restored, it will be greater than zero and as such means – as if we didn’t know a thousand times already – China’s economy is no longer its driving force and animating quest.

If it just so happens to get tripped up along this “third” way, so be it. Maybe a downgrade wouldn’t be the worst thing, if Mao’s in this mix, and what better way to achieve a benign sort of shift than maybe to blame a global pandemic for it. What better way to more Mao.

The latest economic data from the Chinese government have been characterized in typical knee-jerk fashion as if China’s economy has resurrected itself (always “strong”) from a delta COVID mid-year deviation. Especially August, the economy was shutdown and things looked bad.

Opened back up, the path to recovery and global success is reportedly opened back up, too.

Retail sales and Chinese consumers had been at the epicenter of the August setback. On a one-year basis, the growth had been an atrocious 2.5% during it. The estimate rebounded to 4.4% in September and then “unexpectedly” accelerated to 4.9% year-over-year in the latest figure for October. This, apparently, is what’s get everyone so excited, reflation (narrative) short run revitalized (outside China).

China’s consumers are back! Evergrande nothing.

Are they back? See: above.

The annual rate for retail sales had been 12.1% in June and 12.4% for May. Discounting base effects, the 2-year change for both months (in compounded annual figures) was 4.9% and 4.5%, respectively. The 2-year rate for October pretty much the exact same, 4.6%, which had left China therefore the world economy contemplating a “growth scare” before anyone thought to blame delta COVID.

Either way, there’s nothing here even close to pre-2020; easy to blame the disease and its politics for how even the rough and discouraging 2019 downturn today would be considered good times by comparison!

Outside of retail sales, exactly the same if not now worse. Industrial Production rose just 3.5% year-over-year in October, a horrible number when compared to the pre-2020 range which had itself been nowhere near enough for the Chinese economy to climb above Li Keqiang’s 2019 “downward pressure.”

Fixed Asset Investment, or FAI, on the one hand, private FAI, suggests the private economy continues to suffer the same or worse “growth scare” while on the other, public FAI, far closer to Mao than Deng, the Chinese Communists recommitted to communism under Common Prosperity obviously aren’t going to do a thing about it.

Retail sales barely accelerated from August while nothing else did. This isn’t an end to the global slowdown, just more evidence the Chinese are sticking with the new script (which isn’t actually new) because of it.

If all the Xixth Plenum (pun intended) did was publicly suggest China isn’t going full-Mao, it remains for us to consider whether full or not will make any meaningful difference; the ice cream’s still got its own “new” flavor mixed on up in it.

But are the dog droppings going into the bowl the Mao, or the global economy? That’s what the Sixth more than hints; that the desert was defiled by the global economy and Mao’s smelly corpse has been dug up and ground up in it to hide that smell with his own.


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New York Supreme Court Upholds Ban On COVID Vaccine Mandate For Health Workers

New York Supreme Court Upholds Ban On COVID Vaccine Mandate For Health Workers

Authored by Benjamin Kew via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),




New York Supreme Court Upholds Ban On COVID Vaccine Mandate For Health Workers

Authored by Benjamin Kew via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

New York's Supreme Court has upheld its previous ruling invalidating the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers, a decision that will have ramifications on the power of the state's executive.

A health care worker prepares a dose Pfizer/BioNTEch COVID-19 vaccine at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Dec. 14, 2020. (Carlos Osorio/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The ruling came from the Supreme Court's Appellate Division, Fourth Department, which dismissed the state's appeal to have the mandate reinstated.

"4th Dept dismissed state’s appeal as moot, and declined to vacate lower court win," attorney Sujata Gibson wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"The mandate is over and declared unconstitutional," she continued. "[Thank you] [Children's Health Defense], [Robert F. Kennedy Jr.], and [Medical Professionals For Informed Consent], and everyone who helped in this fight.

"Doesn’t make up for the harm [New York] Inflicted, but will help protect us from more."

The health care worker vaccine mandate was first implemented in September 2021, resulting in the departure or termination of about 34,000 medical professionals from their positions.

That mandate was originally struck down by the state's Supreme Court in January, although the state's executive branch chose to appeal the decision.

In his opinion in Medical Professionals for Informed Consent vs. Bassett, Justice Gerard Neri wrote that the state's Department of Health was "clearly prohibited from mandating any vaccination outside of those specifically authorized by the legislature" and that it had "blatantly violated the boundaries of its authority as set forth by the legislature.”

Justice Neri added that the mandate was “arbitrary and capricious” given that the COVID-19 vaccines failed to prevent transmission of the virus, meaning the policy had no rational basis.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, had previously explained her opposition to rehiring health care workers who lost their jobs as a result of the vaccine, saying that this was "not the right answer."

“I think everybody who goes into a health care facility or a nursing home should have the assurance and their family member should know that we have taken all steps to protect the public health," she said at the time. "And that includes making sure those who come in contact with them at their time of most vulnerability, when they are sick or elderly, will not pass on the virus."

In April, the state agreed to unilaterally drop the mandate of its own accord, although it still contested the decision for the sake of maintaining executive authority.

"Due to the changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic and evolving vaccine recommendations, the New York State Department of Health has begun the process of repealing the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for workers at regulated health care facilities," the state health department stated.

Last October, the New York Supreme Court also struck down a mandate enforced specifically by New York City on all public employees, with Justice Ralph Porzio arguing there was no evidence to "support the rationality of keeping a vaccination mandate for public employees, while vacating the mandate for private sector employees or creating a carveout for certain professions, like athletes, artists, and performers."

In January 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court similarly blocked an attempt by President Joe Biden to enforce a mandate on large private companies that their employees either get the vaccine or face regular testing. However, it did allow the mandate to continue in medical facilities that took funding from Medicare and Medicaid.

"Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” the court wrote in its unsigned opinion. "Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category."

Margaret Florini, a spokesperson for Medical Professionals for Informed Consent, told The Defender that the latest decision was a "historic" win that would help prevent such abuses of power in the future.

"I think we will see many new lawsuits come about because of this historic win," Ms. Florini said. "There is still plenty of work to be done. We lost so much, not just money but relationships, marriages, friends, and homes. We cannot forget what was done to us, and we must continue to shed light on it and make impactful changes that will truly prevent this from happening again."

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/16/2023 - 21:15

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Memory in action: what the UK’s official COVID commemoration should look like

Memorialising a pandemic that is still underway is a challenge. Official commemoration needs to be about remembrance and preparedness.




Whether an actual bereavement or a loss of experience, everyone has lost something to COVID. From early on in the pandemic, grassroots memorials sought to acknowledge this collective experience, including the national COVID memorial wall in London and the annual national day of reflection organised by the Marie Curie charity.

In September 2023, the UK Commission on COVID Commemoration released its final report on how a more official reckoning with the pandemic’s legacy should be shaped. It outlines ten recommendations.

The pandemic has affected people in vastly different ways. How governments, institutions and the wider public have responded has varied enormously, too. It is also still ongoing, which complicates things further.

New variants of the virus are on the rise. And nearly two million people in the UK alone continue to suffer with long COVID.

As immunologist Sheena Cruickshank put it recently, “it may feel like we should all be done with COVID-19, but sadly COVID-19 is not done with us”.

My research into memorial culture and modernism shows how the lack of a clear or coherent narrative for an event like a pandemic makes commemorating it that much harder. The official and cultural memory of the 1918 flu pandemic was subsumed into that of the first world war – and it remained largely unremembered, until COVID brought it back to public attention.

Nurses began erecting memorials early on in the first world war. Wellcome Collection Images, CC BY-NC-ND

Remembrance and preparedness

From October to December 2022, the UK Commission on Covid Commemoration held a six-week period of public consultation. It conducted surveys, garnering 5,000 responses. It also met with affected groups, including bereaved families and long-COVID sufferers, as well as groups that are sceptical about the illness and lockdown strategies.

The report is, to my mind, admirably well considered, sensitive to the difficulties of the task. It firmly establishes why memorialising all deaths that have occurred during the pandemic – COVID-related or otherwise – is necessary. This chimes with previous research that has found that COVID-related grief is particularly difficult and that public commemoration is necessary for social cohesion.

The 11 members of the commission suggest a range of commemorations, which will now be considered for implementation by the British government. These include an annual day of reflection on the first Sunday in March, a new symbol to represent the pandemic, the establishment of a commemoration trust to organise and promote these initiatives, along with a commemoration website and an online book of remembrance.

The commissioners suggest creating ten green spaces across the country, each boasting a sculpture created by local artists. They recommend preserving those grassroots initiatives already in place, including the national COVID memorial wall.

Finally, they propose various educational initiatives. These include teaching the history of the pandemic in schools and college and collating oral histories from a wide range of groups, to, as the report puts it, “serve as a historical record of this period of our time and as an educational tool for future generations”. A postdoctoral fellowship programme is suggested, too, to enable future researchers to work with policy makers on national preparedness for natural hazards.

Most of these recommendations are fairly standard commemorative gestures. The decision to create disparate pockets of remembrance across the UK rather than one large-scale memorial is expected, as there is no consensus or agreed-upon version of the pandemic.

The choice of green spaces is usefully open-ended in terms of meaning. The memorial sculptures destined for each will, doubtless, be similarly open-ended, in keeping with the minimalist, abstract and predominantly secular tendencies in modern contemporary memorials in the UK.

The report also proposes council funding for local commemorative spaces in existing parks or green spaces, not unlike the many community-led first world war memorials.

The COVID symbol the commission suggests is a zinnia flower. Associated with remembrance, this floral design has similarities to the poppy which has long symbolised the first world war.

Large-scale commemorative gestures have already been seen in other nations. Most notably, Joe Biden’s first act as US president was, during his inaugural address, to lead a moment of silence to remember the then 400,000 Americans lost to the pandemic.

By contrast, the UK public has felt left down by its government’s response. The news, that former prime minister Boris Johnson reportedly said, in autumn 2020, that he would rather see “bodies pile high” than impose a third lockdown on the UK, has left a bitter taste.

Johnson’s subsequent clandestine evening trip, in April 2021, to the COVID memorial wall, as well as public scandals such as Partygate, have further angered the public. Bereaved family groups such as COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice are understandably anxious to see that their loved ones are remembered officially as names and not as numbers.

The commission is eager to distinguish itself from the contentious COVID-19 Inquiry. This report is a useful corrective to the inadequacies of the British government in commemorating the pandemic to date.

Some may wonder if it is too early to commemorate a pandemic that isn’t yet over. After 1914, nurses began to create memorials as soon as the first deaths happened. The British government established the Imperial War Museum in 1917, while the war was still ongoing. I have shown how necessary these commemorative gestures were. They ensured that the dead were not forgotten.

Whether the government will now do is yet to be seen. In its insistence both on remembrance and on preparedness – for the next pandemic that, experts agree, will happen – this report is a good first step.

Alice Kelly received a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award from 2017-19 for a seminar series entitled "Cultures and Commemorations of War."

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Only 2% Of Americans Have Received New COVID Vaccine: CDC

Only 2% Of Americans Have Received New COVID Vaccine: CDC

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

About 2 percent of all Americans…



Only 2% Of Americans Have Received New COVID Vaccine: CDC

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

About 2 percent of all Americans have received the updated COVID-19 booster shot after it was authorized and recommended by federal health officials several weeks ago, according to updated data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

More than 7 million Americans have taken the updated shot, which is authorized for people aged 6 months and older, said an HHS spokesman. That's approximately 2 percent of all Americans.

“COVID-19 vaccine distribution, which has shifted to the private market, is a lot different than it was last year when the government was distributing them," said a spokesperson for HHS about the vaccination data. It added that the agency is "directly with manufacturers and distributors to ensure that the vaccines are getting to" various locations.

The statement added that 91 percent of Americans aged 12 years and older "can access the vaccine within 5 miles of where they live," adding that 14 million updated boosters for COVID-19 have been shipped to pharmacies and other locations. The vaccine was approved about a month ago by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before it was recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shortly thereafter.

It came as some people reported that it's difficult to find doses of the new vaccines at local pharmacies and doctors. Jen Kates, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said on X in September that her vaccine appointment was canceled due to a lack of supply.

The 7 million figure is up since Oct. 6 when Dr. Mandy Cohen, director of the CDC, told reporters that 4 million had received the new vaccines.

The HHS said Thursday that the latest updated vaccinate rate is about the same as the initial bivalent booster shot when it was rolled out in 2022. However, demand for the 2022 booster vaccine was similarly low, according to CDC data.

Data has shown that about 17 percent of the U.S. population got that previous updated shot, or around 56.5 million people.

The updated vaccines were meant to target the COVID-19 XBB.1.5 variant, which was spreading across the United States when companies like Moderna and Pfizer came up with the new version.

Observational data for the bivalent vaccines, or the previous versions, found weak initial effectiveness that quickly waned.

CDC officials made unsupported claims during the briefing, part of a trend for the agency. “These vaccines will prevent severe disease for COVID-19,” Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, told reporters. There’s no evidence that’s true.

The only clinical study data for the new shots is from a study Moderna ran that included injecting 50 humans with the company’s updated formation. The result was a higher level of neutralizing antibodies. Officials believe antibodies protect against COVID-19.

Moderna did not provide any clinical efficacy estimates for infection, severe disease, or death. Pfizer said it was running a trial but has not reported any results.

Novavax’s vaccine was authorized later without any new trial data, as CDC officials have said they recommend that shot. Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, Novavax doesn't use mRNA technology and is protein-based.

Hospitalizations Down

Despite the recent push for the latest vaccines, data provided by the CDC shows that hospitalizations for COVID-19 have been down for about three consecutive weeks.

For the ending Sept. 30, the hospitalization rate is down by 6 percent, while emergency department visits are down by 14.5 percent and COVID-19 cases are down 1.2 percent, the figures show. Deaths are up 3.8 percent, although health officials have previously said that deaths generally lag behind hospitalizations and case numbers.

In July, COVID-19 hospitalizations had been increasing for several consecutive weeks. CDC historical data suggest that deaths have been relatively low compared with previous years.

But with the release of the Sept. 30 data, hospitalizations have dropped for multiple consecutive weeks.

Dr. Shira Doron, chief infection control officer for Tufts Medicine, told ABC News that that the recent “upswing is not a surge; it’s not even a wave.”

The doctor added: “What we’re seeing is a very gradual and small upward trajectory of cases and hospitalizations, without deaths really going along, which is great news.”

The CDC on Oct. 6 released a report that attempted to push older Americans to get the newest vaccines by saying that COVID-19 is still a "public health threat," namely for people aged 65 and older. The majority of hospitalizations, it said, is occurring among that older demographic, according to the paper.

In the meantime, a handful of hospitals in California, New York state, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have re-implemented mandatory masking—at least for staff.

Several Northern California counties issued a mask mandate for all health care staff starting next month and ending in late April 2024. They include Contra Costa, Sonoma, Alameda, and San Mateo counties. Officials in the Southern California county of San Luis Obispo also issued a vaccine-or-mask mandate earlier this month.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/16/2023 - 12:20

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