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Futures Tumble Amid Sudden Fears Over “Dramatically” New Covid Strain With “Extremely High Number” Of Mutations

Futures Tumble Amid Sudden Fears Over "Dramatically" New Covid Strain With "Extremely High Number" Of Mutations

Futures are sliding on Thursday night when, with most US traders snoring in a tryptophan coma, the world is suddenly freaking…

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Futures Tumble Amid Sudden Fears Over "Dramatically" New Covid Strain With "Extremely High Number" Of Mutations

Futures are sliding on Thursday night when, with most US traders snoring in a tryptophan coma, the world is suddenly freaking out, and algos are hitting bids, amid fears that a new coronavirus strain detected in South Africa, known as B.1.1529, reportedly carries an "extremely high number" of mutations and is “clearly very different” from previous incarnations, which may drive further waves of disease by evading the body’s defenses South African scientists said.

Medics at an infectious-disease unit in South Africa, where a new strain of COVID is spreading quickly

Translation: a new wave of restrictions, more lockdowns, and - eventually - trillions in new stimmies are coming... an outcome so "unexpected", we rhetorically asked if this was the endgame just one week ago.

According to the Guardian, only 10 cases in three countries have been confirmed by genomic sequencing (and up to 100 suspected), but that is more than enough for the Pharma-Government complex to set the wheels of widespread social panic and future lockdowns in motion and, according to the liberal outlet, "the variant has sparked serious concern among some researchers because a number of the mutations may help the virus evade immunity." Which of course is a polite way for Bill Gates to suggest you panic.

According to reports, the new B.1.1.529 variant has 32 mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that most vaccines use to prime the immune system against Covid. Mutations in the spike protein make it harder for immune cells to attack the pathogen, just as so many vaccine skeptics have been warning for the past year when making the point that taking inefficient medications shoved down the population's throats (such as those from Pfizer and Moderna) that do not serve as real vaccines but merely paliatives, will only lead to more dangerous and weaponized versions of the virus.

That's precisely what is happening now.

The variant was first spotted in Botswana, where three cases have now been sequenced. Six more have been confirmed in South Africa, and one in Hong Kong in a traveller returning from South Africa.

Botswana’s health ministry confirmed in a statement that four cases of the new variant were detected in people who were all fully vaccinated. All four were tested before their planned travel. One sample was also detected in Hong Kong, carried by a traveler from South Africa, South African scientists said.

With over 1,200 new infections, South Africa’s daily infection rate is much lower than in Germany, where new cases are driving a wave. However, the density of mutations on this new variant raises fears that it could be highly contagious, leading scientists to sound the alarm early.

“This variant did surprise us, it has a big jump in evolution, many more mutations than we expected, especially after a very severe third wave of Delta,” said Tulio de Oliveira, director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform.

The B1.1.529 variant has a “very unusual constellation of mutations,” with more than 30 mutations in the spike protein alone, said Mr. de Oliveira. On the ACE2 receptor — the protein that helps to create an entry point for the coronavirus to infect human cells — the new variant has 10 mutations. In comparison, the Beta variant has three, the Delta variant has two, said Mr. de Oliveira.

Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, agrees with Oliveira. Peacock posted details of the new variant on a genome-sharing website, noting that the “incredibly high amount of spike mutations suggest this could be of real concern”.

In a series of tweets, Peacock said it “very, very much should be monitored due to that horrific spike profile.”

But, as some cynics pointed out on twitter, "the Strangelove who provided that convenient media clickbait epithet 'horrifying' has also admitted it may be LESS not more of a danger" and indeed, the Guardian report notes that it may turn out to be an “odd cluster” that is not very transmissible. “I hope that’s the case,” he wrote.

Perhaps even more importantly, it also appears that the Chinese were busy splicing away in the past few months (this time probably without Dr Fauci's money): according to Peacock, the this variant contains "not one, but two furin cleavage site mutations - P681H (seen in Alpha, Mu, some Gamma, B.1.1.318) combined with N679K (seen in C.1.2 amongst others)." As Peacock notes, "this is the first time I've seen two of these mutations in a single variant."

Why does this matter? Because as even the reputable Nature mag recently noted, researchers have asked Covid's "furin cleavage site — a feature that helps it to enter cells — is evidence of engineering, because SARS-CoV-2 has these sites but its closest relatives don’t. The furin cleavage site is important because it's in the virus's spike protein, and cleavage of the protein at that site is necessary for the virus to infect cells."

Translation: use of the furin cleavage sites is how covid would be genetically-engineered inside, say, a BSL-4 lab in China... of which the only one can be found in Wuhan.

In any case, while nobody knows yet what the spike protein mutation cluster actually does yet, the speculation that it will lead to another wave of global infections is already in the wild. Sure enough, Ravi Gupta, a professor of clinical microbiology at Cambridge University, said work in his lab found that two of the mutations on B.1.1.529 increased infectivity and reduced antibody recognition. “It does certainly look a significant concern based on the mutations present,” he said. “However, a key property of the virus that is unknown is its infectiousness, as that is what appears to have primarily driven the Delta variant. Immune escape is only part of the picture of what may happen.”

Prof Francois Balloux, the director of the UCL Genetics Institute, said the large number of mutations in the variant apparently accumulated in a “single burst”, suggesting it may have evolved during a chronic infection in a person with a weakened immune system, possibly an untreated HIV/Aids patient.

“I would definitely expect it to be poorly recognized by neutralizing antibodies relative to Alpha or Delta,” he added. 

Translation: in terms of vaccines, B.1.1.529 could well represent an entirely new disease, as the existing neutralizing antibodies will have little to no impact on a virus with all these mutations. Which is music to the ears of politicians who have just the catalyst to order a whole new round of lockdowns and, critically, stimmies that keep them in power for another quarter or two.

Case in point, just as news of the new strain emerged, the U.K. announced it  will temporarily ban flights from South Africa and five neighboring countries (Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana) over worries about the new covid variant. The travel restrictions go into effect at noon Friday and are a precautionary measure to keep the spread of the new variant in check, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said. The six African countries will be placed on the U.K.’s red list as of Sunday, requiring travelers to quarantine in hotels upon arrival.

“As part of our close surveillance of variants across the world, we have become aware of the spread of a new potentially concerning variant,” Javid said in a statement, adding that the new strain it’s now under investigation.

Israel also has banned travel from the six countries, along with Mozambique, another neighbor of South Africa, BNO News said in a tweet, without citing the source of the information.

The U.K.’s move is a further blow to the airline industry, which was starting to recover from earlier travel restrictions and lockdowns but now faces fresh curbs and a resurgent virus in parts of Europe. The measures announced Thursday mark the biggest change in the U.K.’s Covid travel rules since the so-called traffic light system was overhauled earlier in the autumn to ease border crossings. From 500 to 700 people daily arrive in the U.K. via South Africa on flights, a number that would normally be expected to increase in the next four to six weeks due to seasonal travel.

Of course, such bans never actually stop the virus from spreading, but they do ramp up the public frenzy about the new strain. And since B.1.1.529 is too long to pronounce, some time tomorrow we will have a new Greek letter to fear: according to the NYT, South African scientists will meet with the World Health Organization technical team on Friday, where authorities will assign a letter of the Greek alphabet to this one. It will take several weeks to see the impact of the new variant on hospitalizations and deaths and to study how it may interact with vaccines.

“Armed by our experience and understanding of the alpha and delta variants, we know that early action is far better than late action,” Ewan Birney, deputy director general of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, said in a Science Media Centre briefing note. “It may turn out that this variant is not as large a threat as alpha and delta, but the potential consequences of not acting on the possibility it could be are serious.”

For those who wish to learn more about the new "horrifying" strain and superglue no less than 10 masks to their face, they can do so at this just released article from Nature "Heavily mutated coronavirus variant puts scientists on alert"

The sudden surge in fears that a new "delta" variant was coming was enough to spark a futures dump late on Thursday, and S&P 500 futures fell 0.6% as of 10:20 a.m. in Tokyo after news of a new coronavirus strain discovered in South Africa. Contracts on the Nasdaq 100 were down 0.3% (tech/growth stocks tend to do much better during lockdowns than value), and the broad MSCI Asia-Pac index was down 1.4% as worries about a new coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa were compounded by thinner liquidity in markets. .

Asia’s stock benchmark was on track for its worst day since Sept. 29, as selling on news about the latest Covid-19 variant detected in South Africa was exacerbated by thin liquidity. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slumped as much as 1.4%, with financials and tech shares dragging the measure the most in a broad-based selloff. Japanese equities declined, leading losses in Asia, and the yen strengthened with some traders away for Thanksgiving celebrations.

"The fact we have North America off the desks means there’s a wall of buyers missing” at a time when there are “scary” headlines about the new Covid-19 variant, said Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG Markets. According to Rodda, the virus-related headlines “may have caused a knee jerk reaction,” while “thinner markets make for more pronounced moves.” He added that some weakness through cyclicals, implying markets are also concerned about growth and an aggressive Fed that may slow the global economy.

Oil, an asset that is extremely sensitive to any future lockdowns, tumbled.

“Even before this news, virus cases were back on the rise in the U.S. and Europe, so investors are now wary of the possibility that with a new variant, infections could spread all at once,” said Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management chief market strategist Masahiro Ichikawa.

There’s a risk the Nikkei 225 will break below the 29,000 mark; if it breaches that level, there’s a possibility the measure will finish the day in the 28,000-yen-range. “Today would have been a quiet day if not for the news of the variant.”

Ichikawa is right, only it's kinda the other way round, because this "heavily mutated variant" is just the deus ex both central bankers and politicians have been desperately hoping for: with Europe already locking down in several countries, expect a uniform global lockdown to follow in weeks, which will serve to reset the supply chain collapse and buy markets, pols and bankers about one or two quarters of time, during which expect several more trillion in stimmies, much more QE (to monetize the debt used to pay for the stimmies) and generally a rerun of the past 18 months only in a much more truncated timeline, which in turn will lead to a burst of inflation that will make the current soaring prices seems like Japan's deflationary debt trap.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/25/2021 - 21:00

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International

Americans Are Having A Lot Less Sex. Here’s Why?

Americans Are Having A Lot Less Sex. Here’s Why?

Authored by Ross Pomeroy via RealClearScience.com,

Americans had a lot less sex in 2018 compared to 2009, according to a new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The finding…

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Americans Are Having A Lot Less Sex. Here's Why?

Authored by Ross Pomeroy via RealClearScience.com,

Americans had a lot less sex in 2018 compared to 2009, according to a new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The finding mirrors a downward trend also seen in many other parts of the developed world, including the UK, Australia, Germany, and Japan.

Researchers from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University School of Public Health made the discovery by comparing data collected in 2009 and 2018 from participants of the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB). The NSSHB is an ongoing, representative survey of adolescents aged 14-17 and adults aged 18-49 focused on understanding sex in the United States. Participants are asked about their sexual exploits as well as various demographic factors.

For the current analysis, lead author Dr. Debby Herbenick and her colleagues examined the responses of 4,155 individuals from the 2009 NSSHB and 4,547 individuals from the 2018 NSSHB, specifically focusing on how often they reported having penile-vaginal intercourse. The researchers also probed the frequency of other sexual behaviors like masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex.

They found that while 24% of adults reported not having penile-vaginal intercourse over the prior year in 2009, 28% of adults reported not having intercourse over the prior year in 2018. Adolescents were also increasingly abstinent – 79% reported not having sex over the previous 12 months in 2009 while 89% reported not having sex over the previous 12 months in 2018.

The data also permitted the researchers to estimate how often the average American adult aged 18-49 has sex each year. In 2009, it was about 63 times. In 2018, it was about 47 times.

Both adolescents and adults also reported fewer instances of partnered masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex in 2018 compared to 2009, which surprised the researchers. They hypothesized that any decrease in penile-vaginal sex would be offset by an increase in other sexual activities. Not so. It simply seems that Americans are having less sex.

What could explain this drought of sexual activity? The researchers put forth a number of hypotheses. They note that, compared to 2009, adolescents and younger adults are drinking less alcohol, spending more time on social media, and playing more video games.

They also earn less money and are less likely to be in romantic relationships.

"Also, more contemporary young people identify with non-heterosexual identities— including asexual identities—and more young people identify in gender expansive ways," the researchers write.

There's also a simpler explanation. People may have been more prone to exaggerate their sexual habits in 2009 and are less likely to now.

Whatever the reasons, the researchers say there's no reason to fret about the decline. "The age-old question on how much sex is too much and how little sex is not enough comes to mind," they write. The data is merely interesting, and they will continue to monitor it, especially watching for changes resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

*  *  *

Source: Herbenick, D., Rosenberg, M., Golzarri-Arroyo, L. et al. Changes in Penile-Vaginal Intercourse Frequency and Sexual Repertoire from 2009 to 2018: Findings from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior. Arch Sex Behav (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-021-02125-2

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 21:45

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Government

Bovard Blasts The Biden Crackdown On Thought Crimes

Bovard Blasts The Biden Crackdown On Thought Crimes

Authored by Jim Bovard,

The Biden administration is seeking to radically narrow the boundaries of respectable American political thought. The administration has repeatedly issued statements

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Bovard Blasts The Biden Crackdown On Thought Crimes

Authored by Jim Bovard,

The Biden administration is seeking to radically narrow the boundaries of respectable American political thought. The administration has repeatedly issued statements and reports that could automatically castigate citizens who distrust the federal government. We may eventually learn that the new Biden guidelines spurred a vast increase in federal surveillance and other abuses against Americans who were guilty of nothing more than vigorous skepticism.

Biden is Nixon on steroids

The Biden team is expanding the federal Enemies List perhaps faster than any time since the Nixon administration. In June, the Biden administration asserted that guys who are unable to score with women may be terrorist threats due to “involuntary celibate–violent extremism.” That revelation was included in the administration’s National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, which identified legions of new potential “domestic terrorists” that the feds can castigate and investigate.

The White House claims its new war on terrorism and extremism is “carefully tailored to address violence and reduce the factors that …infringe on the free expression of ideas.” But the prerogative to define extremism includes the power to revile disapproved beliefs. The report warns that “narratives of fraud in the recent general election … will almost certainly spur some [domestic violent extremists] to try to engage in violence this year.” If accusations of 2020 electoral shenanigans are formally labeled as extremist threats, that could result in far more repression (aided by Facebook and Twitter) of dissenting voices. How will this work out any better than the concerted campaign by the media and Big Tech last fall to suppress all information about Hunter Biden’s laptop before the election? And how can Biden be trusted to be the judge after he effectively accused Facebook of mass murder for refusing to totally censor anyone who raised doubts about the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Biden administration is revving up for a war against an enemy which the feds have chosen to never explicitly define. According to a March report by Biden’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence, “domestic violent extremists” include individuals who “take overt steps to violently resist or facilitate the overthrow of the U.S. government in support of their belief that the U.S. government is purposely exceeding its Constitutional authority.” But that was the same belief that many Biden voters had regarding the Trump administration. Does the definition of extremism depend solely on which party captured the White House?

The Biden report writers were spooked by the existence of militia groups and flirt with the fantasy of outlawing them across the land. The report promises to explore “how to make better use of laws that already exist in all fifty states prohibiting certain private ‘militia’ activity, including … state statutes prohibiting groups of people from organizing as private military units without the authorization of the state government, and state statutes that criminalize certain paramilitary activity.” Most of the private militia groups are guilty of nothing more than bluster and braggadocio. Besides, many of them are already overstocked with government informants who are counting on Uncle Sam for regular paychecks. Some politicians and pundits might like to see a new federal crime that labels any meeting of more than two gun owners as an illegal conspiracy.

The Biden report promises that the FBI and DHS will soon be releasing “a new edition of the Federal Government’s Mobilization Indicators booklet that will include for the first time potential indicators of domestic terrorism–related mobilization.” Will this latest publication be as boneheaded as the similar 2014 report by the National Counterterrorism Center entitled “Countering Violent Extremism: A Guide for Practitioners and Analysts”?

The new Red Guard

As the Intercept summarized, that report “suggests that police, social workers and educators rate individuals on a scale of one to five in categories such as ‘Expressions of Hopelessness, Futility,’ … and ‘Connection to Group Identity (Race, Nationality, Religion, Ethnicity)’ … to alert government officials to individuals at risk of turning to radical violence, and to families or communities at risk of incubating extremist ideologies.” The report recommended judging families by their level of “Parent-Child Bonding” and rating localities on the basis in part of the “presence of ideologues or recruiters.” Former FBI agent Mike German commented, “The idea that the federal government would encourage local police, teachers, medical, and social-service employees to rate the communities, individuals, and families they serve for their potential to become terrorists is abhorrent on its face.”

Biden’s “National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism” report also declared that “enhancing faith in American democracy” requires “finding ways to counter the influence and impact of dangerous conspiracy theories.” In recent decades, conspiracy theories have multiplied almost as fast as government lies and cover-ups. While many allegations have been ludicrously far-fetched, the political establishment and media routinely attach the “conspiracy theory” label to any challenge to their dominance.

According to Cass Sunstein, Harvard Law professor and Oba- ma’s regulatory czar, a conspiracy theory is “an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.” Reasonable citizens are supposed to presume that government creates trillions of pages of new secrets each year for their own good, not to hide anything from the public.

“Conspiracy theory” is a magic phrase that expunges all previous federal abuses. Many liberals who invoke the phrase also ritually quote a 1965 book by former communist Richard Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Hofstadter portrayed distrust of government as a proxy for mental illness, a paradigm that makes the character of critics more important than the conduct of government agencies. For Hofstadter, it was a self-evident truth that government was trustworthy because American politics had “a kind of professional code … embodying the practical wisdom of generations of politicians.

The rise of conspiracy theories

In the early 1960s, conspiracy theories were practically a non-issue because 75 percent of Americans trusted the federal government. Such credulity did not survive the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Seven days after Kennedy was shot on November 22, 1963, President Lyndon Johnson created a commission (later known as the Warren Commission) to suppress controversy about the killing.

Johnson browbeat the commission members into speedily issuing a report rubber-stamping the “crazed lone gunman” version of the assassination. House Minority Leader Gerald Ford, a member of the commission, revised the final staff report to change the location of where the bullet entered Kennedy’s body, thereby salvaging the so-called “magic bullet” theory.

After the Warren Commission findings were ridiculed as a whitewash, Johnson ordered the FBI to conduct wiretaps on the report’s critics. To protect the official story, the commission sealed key records for 75 years. Truth would out only after all the people involved in any coverup had gotten their pensions and died.

The controversy surrounding the Warren Commission spurred the CIA to formally attack the notion of conspiracy theories. In a 1967 alert to its overseas stations and bases, the CIA declared that the fact that almost half of Americans did not believe Oswald acted alone “is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization” and endangers “the whole reputation of the American government.”

The memo instructed recipients to “employ propaganda assets” and exploit “friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors), pointing out … parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by Communist propagandists.” The ultimate proof of the government’s innocence: “Conspiracy on the large scale often suggested would be impossible to conceal in the United States.”

The New York Times, which exposed the CIA memo in 1977, noted that the CIA “mustered its propaganda machinery to support an issue of far more concern to Americans, and to the C.I.A. itself, than to citizens of other countries.” According to historian Lance deHaven-Smith, author of Conspiracy Theory in America, “The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited … with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.” In 2014, the CIA released a heavily-redacted report admitting that it had been “complicit” in a JFK “cover-up” by withholding “incendiary” information from the Warren Commission. The CIA successfully concealed a wide range of assassinations and foreign coups it conducted until congressional investigations in the mid-1970s blew the whistle.

“Conspiracy theory” allegations sometimes merely expose the naivete of official scorekeepers. In April 2016, Chapman University surveyed Americans and announced that “the most prevalent conspiracy theory in the United States is that the government is concealing information about the 9/11 attacks with slightly over half of Americans holding that belief.”

That survey did not ask whether people believed the World Trade Centers were blown up by an inside job or whether President George W. Bush secretly masterminded the attacks. Instead, folks were simply asked whether “government is concealing information” about the attacks. Only a village idiot, college professor, or editorial writer would presume the government had come clean.

Three months after the Chapman University survey was conducted, the Obama administration finally released 28 pages of a 2003 congressional report that revealed that Saudi government officials had directly financed some of the 9/11 hijackers in America. That disclosure shattered the storyline carefully constructed by the Bush administration, the 9/11 Commission, and legions of media accomplices. (Lawsuits continue in federal court seeking to force the U.S. government to disclose more information regarding the Saudi government role in the attacks.)

Conspiracy theories a tool for control

“Conspiracy theory” is often a flag of convenience for the political-media elite. In 2018, the New York Times asserted that Trump’s use of the term “Deep State” and similar rhetoric “fanned fears that he is eroding public trust in institutions, undermining the idea of objective truth and sowing widespread suspicions about the government and news media.” However, after allegations by anonymous government officials spurred Trump’s first impeachment in 2019, New York Times columnist James Stewart cheered, “There is a Deep State, there is a bureaucracy in our country who has pledged to respect the Constitution, respect the rule of law…. They work for the American people.” New York Times editorial writer Michelle Cottle proclaimed, “The deep state is alive and well” and hailed it as “a collection of patriotic public servants.” Almost immediately after its existence was no longer denied, the Deep State became the incarnation of virtue in Washington. After Biden was elected, references to the “Deep State” were once again labeled paranoid ravings.

Much of the establishment rage at “conspiracy theories” has been driven by the notion that rulers are entitled to intellectual passive obedience. The same lèse-majesté mindset has been widely adopted to make a muddle of American history. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the court historian for President John F. Kennedy and a revered liberal intellectual, declared in 2004, “Historians today conclude that the colonists were driven to revolt in 1776 because of a false conviction that they faced a British conspiracy to destroy their freedom.” What the hell is wrong with “historians today”?! Was the British imposition of martial law, confiscation of firearms, military blockades, suspension of habeas corpus, and censorship simply a deranged fantasy of Thomas Jefferson? The notion that the British would never conspire to destroy freedom would play poorly in Dublin, where the Irish suffered centuries of brutal British oppression. Why should anyone trust academics who were blind to British threats in the 1770s to accurately judge the danger that today’s politicians pose to Americans’ liberty?

How does the Biden administration intend to fight “conspiracy theories?” The Biden terrorism report called for “enhancing faith in government” by “accelerating work to contend with an information environment that challenges healthy democratic discourse.” Will Biden’s team rely on the “solution” suggested by Cass Sunstein: “cognitive infiltration of extremist groups” by government agents and informants to “undermine” them from within?

Does the Biden administration also propose banning Americans from learning anything from the history of prior federal debacles? Nixon White House aide Tom Charles Huston explained that the FBI’s COINTELPRO program continually stretched its target list “from the kid with a bomb to the kid with a picket sign, and from the kid with the picket sign to the kid with the bumper sticker of the opposing candidate. And you just keep going down the line.” A 1976 Senate report on COINTELPRO demanded assurances that a federal agency would never again “be permitted to conduct a secret war against those citizens it considers threats, to the established order.” Actually, the FBI and other agencies have continued secretly warring against “threats,” and legions of informants are likely busy “cognitively infiltrating” at this moment.

Permitting politicians to blacklist any ideas they disapprove won’t “restore faith in democracy.” Extremism has always been a flag of political convenience, and the Biden team, the FBI, and their media allies will fan fears to sanctify new government crackdowns. But what if government is the most dangerous extremist of them all?

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 22:45

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“The Omicron Variant” – Magic Pills, Or Solving The Africa Problem?

"The Omicron Variant" – Magic Pills, Or Solving The Africa Problem?

Authored by Kit Knightly via Off-Guardian.org,

Yesterday the WHO labelled the sars-cov-2 variant B.1.1.529 as a “variant of concern” and officially named it “Omicron”.

Th

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"The Omicron Variant" – Magic Pills, Or Solving The Africa Problem?

Authored by Kit Knightly via Off-Guardian.org,

Yesterday the WHO labelled the sars-cov-2 variant B.1.1.529 as a “variant of concern” and officially named it “Omicron”.

This was as entirely predictable as it is completely meaningless. The “variants” are just tools to stretch the story out and keep people on their toes.

If you want to know exactly how the Omicron variant is going to affect the narrative, well The Guardian has done a handy “here’s all the bullshit we’re gonna sell you over the next couple of weeks” guide:

  • The Omicron variant is more transmissable, but they don’t know if it’s more dangerous yet (keeping their options open)

  • It originated in Africa, possible mutating in an “untreated AIDS patient” (sick people are breeding grounds for dangerous “mutations”)

  • “it has more than double the mutations of Delta…scientists anticipate that the virus will be more likely to infect – or reinfect – people who have immunity to earlier variants. (undermining natural immunity, selling more boosters, keeping the scarefest going)

  • “Scientists are concerned” that current vaccines may not be as effective against the new strain, they may need to be “tweaked” (get your boosters, and the new booster we haven’t invented yet)

  • “Scientists expect that recently approved antiviral drugs, such as Merck’s pill, will work as effectively against the new variant” (more on this later)

  • It’s already spreading around the world, and travel bans may be needed to prevent the need for another lockdown

We’re already seeing preparations for more “public health measures”, with the press breathlessly quoting “concerned” public health officials. We’re being told that a new lockdown won’t be necessary…as long as we remember to get boosted and wear masks and blah blah blah.

Generally speaking, it’s all fairly boilerplate scary nonsense. Although it is quite funny that the Biden administration has already put a bunch of African nations on a travel ban list, when Biden called Trump a racist for doing the same thing in 2020.

AFRICA

It’s interesting that the new variant has allegedly come from Africa, perhaps “mutating in the body of an AIDS patient”, since Africa has been the biggest hole in the Covid narrative for well over a year.

Africa is by far the poorest continent, it is densely populated, malnourishment and extreme poverty are endemic across many African nations, and it is home to more AIDS patients than the entire rest of the world combined. And yet, no Covid crisis.

This is a weak point in the story, and always has been.

Last Summer, the UK’s virus modeller-in-chief Neil Ferguson attempted to explain it by arguing that African nations have, on average, younger populations than the rest of the world, and Covid is only a threat to the elderly. But five minutes of common sense debunks that idea.

The reason Africa has a younger population, on average, is that – on average – they are much sicker.

There are diseases endemic to large parts of Africa that are all but wiped out in most of the Western world. Cholera, typhus, yellow fever, tuberculosis, malaria. Access to clean water, and healthcare are also much more limited.

And while it has been nailed into the public mind that being elderly is the biggest risk factor for Covid, that is inaccurate. In fact, the biggest risk factor for dying “of Covid” is, and always has been, already dying of something else.

The truth is that any REAL dangerous respiratory virus would have cut a bloody swath across the entire continent.

Instead, as recently as last week, we were getting articles about how Africa “escaped Covid”, and the continent’s low covid deaths with only 6% of people vaccinated is “mystifying” and “baffling” scientists.

Politically, African nations have shown themselves far less likely to buy into the “pandemic” narrative than their European, Asian or American counterparts. At least two “Covid denying” African presidents – Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and John Magufuli of Tanzania – have died suddenly in the last year, and seen their successors immediately reverse their covid policies.

So maybe the Omicron Variant is a way of trying to fold Africa into the covid narrative that the other continents have already fully embraced. That will become clear as the story develops.

Of course, it’s also true that being “African” is media shorthand for being scary, relying on the deeply-seated xenophobia of Western audiences. See: “Africanized killer bees”.

But, either way, Africa is the long game. There’s a more obvious, and more cynical, short term agenda here.

THE MAGIC PILLS

Let’s go back to the Guardian’s “Omicron” bullet points, above:

  • Scientists are concerned by the number of mutations and the fact some of them have already been linked to an ability to evade existing [vaccine-created] immune protection.

  • Scientists expect that recently approved antiviral drugs, such as Merck’s pill, [will work effectively] against the new variant

The “new variant” is already being described as potentially resistant to the vaccines, but NOT the new anti-viral medications.

Pharmaceutical giants Merck and Pfizer are both working on “Covid pills”, which as recently as three days ago, were being hyped up in the press:

US may have a ‘game changer’ new Covid pill soon, but its success will hinge on rapid testing

In the US, an emergency use authorisation can only be issued if there is no effective medication or treatment already available, so the vaccines not being proof against Omicron would be vital to rushing the pills onto the US market, at least.

If Omicron is found to be “resistant to the vaccines”, but NOT the pills, that will give governments an excuse to rush through approving the pills on an EUA, just as they did with the vaccines.

So, you bet your ass that testing is gonna be “rapid”. Super rapid. Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it rapid. Rapid to the point you’re not even sure it definitely happened. And now they have an excuse.

Really, it’s all just more of the same.

A scare before the new year. An excuse to make people believe their Christmas could be in peril. An exercise in flexing their control muscles a bit, milking even more money out of the double-jabbed and boosted crowd, now newly terrified of the Omicron variant, and a nice holiday bump to Pfizer’s ever-inflating stock price.

At this point either you can see the pattern, or you can’t. You’re free of the fear machinery, or you’re not.

There is one potential silver lining here: It feels rushed and frantic. Discovered on Tuesday, named on Friday, travel bans on Saturday. It is hurried, and maybe that’s a reaction to feeling like the “pandemic” is losing its grip on the public mind.

Hopefully, as the narrative becomes more and more absurd, more and more people will wake up to reality.

It has been pointed out that “Omicron” is an anagram of “moronic”.

One wonders if that’s deliberate and they’re making fun of us.

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 23:45

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