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With World Gripped By Fertilizer Crisis, Biden Admin Clings To “Climate-Inspired Utopian Food-Production Fantasies”

With World Gripped By Fertilizer Crisis, Biden Admin Clings To "Climate-Inspired Utopian Food-Production Fantasies"

Authored by Nathan Worcester…

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With World Gripped By Fertilizer Crisis, Biden Admin Clings To "Climate-Inspired Utopian Food-Production Fantasies"

Authored by Nathan Worcester via The Epoch Times,

Samantha Power: ‘Never let a crisis go to waste.’ Do the World Economic Forum and China agree?

“Fertilizer shortages are real now.”

Uttered by USAID’s Samantha Power in a May 1 ABC interview with former Democratic advisor George Stephanopoulos, the words briefly drowned out the din of the news cycle.

They were not unexpected to some.

Power, who served as U.N. ambassador under Obama, mentioned fertilizer shortages after weeks of hints from the Biden administration.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki repeatedly alluded to challenges obtaining fertilizer in recent press briefings. So did President Joe Biden himself in a joint statement with EU President Ursula von der Leyen.

“We are deeply concerned by how Putin’s war in Ukraine has caused major disruptions to international food and agriculture supply chains, and the threat it poses to global food security. We recognize that many countries around the world have relied on imported food staples and fertilizer inputs from Ukraine and Russia, with Putin’s aggression disrupting that trade,” the leaders stated.

In an April report titled, “The Ukraine Conflict and Other Factors Contributing to High Commodity Prices and Food Insecurity,” the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service acknowledged that “for agricultural producers around the world, high fertilizer and fuel prices are a major concern.”

While political rhetoric has often focused on Russia, the rise in fertilizer prices did not begin with its invasion of Ukraine.

An analysis from the Peterson Institute of International Economics shows that fertilizer prices have rapidly climbed since mid-2021, spiking first in late 2021 and again around the time of the invasion.

Industry observers have pointed out that commodity prices are not solely affected by Vladimir Putin.

Max Gagliardi, an Oklahoma City oil and gas industry commentator who cofounded the energy marketing firm Ancova Energy, told The Epoch Times that the war and sanctions have helped drive the upward climb of natural gas prices in Europe.

A worker walks at the Yara ammonia plant in Porsgrunn, Norway, on Aug. 9, 2017. (Lefteris Karagiannopoulos/Reuters)

Natural gas is used in the Haber-Bosch process, which generates the ammonia in nitrogen fertilizers. Those fertilizers feed half the planet.

Gagliardi thinks the picture is more complicated at home, where environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) has become a controversial tool of stakeholder capitalism, often used to force divestment from fossil fuels or other industries disfavored by the left.

“It’s a combination of record demand domestically and from LNG [liquid natural gas] exports combined with less than expected supply, in part due to the starving of capital for the O&G industry due to the ESG/green movement pressures on capital providers, plus pressure from Wall Street to spend less capital and return value to shareholders,” he said.

Language from Power Echoes Green Activists, EU, WEF

In the case of increasing costs for oil, natural gas, and coal, some politicians and green activists have argued that those fast-rising prices mark an opportunity to accelerate a move from hydrocarbons to wind, solar, and electrification.

“Big Oil is price gouging American drivers. These liars do nothing to make the United States energy independent or stabilize gas prices. It’s time we break up with Big Oil and ignite a clean energy revolution,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said on Twitter in March.

“I say we take this opportunity to double down on our renewable energy investments and wean ourselves off of planet-destroying fossil fuels[.] Never let a crisis go to waste,” said former Joe Biden delegate and political commentator Lindy Li in a Twitter post about ExxonMobil’s exit from Russia’s Far East.

Meanwhile, Mandy Gunasekara, an environmental lawyer who served as the Environmental Protection Agency’s chief of staff under President Trump, said in an interview with The Epoch Times, “It’s always been part of their plan to make the price of traditional energy sources go up, so then wind and solar could actually compete with them.”

Describing how fertilizer shortages could actually help advance a particular agenda, Power sounded much like Li.

She even used an identical phrase: “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

Intentionally or not, this echoed a line from another high-profile Obama alum, Rahm Emanuel: “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.” Emanuel was talking about the 2008-2009 financial meltdown.

“Less fertilizer is coming out of Russia. As a result, we’re working with countries to think about natural solutions, like manure and compost. And this may hasten transitions that would have been in the interest of farmers to make anyway. So, never let a crisis go to waste,” Power told Stephanopoulos.

Power’s language of setting crisis as opportunity parallels similar statements from environmental groups.

Writing to EU President von der Leyen and other EU bureaucrats, a group of European and international environmental organizations urged the union to stay the course on environmental policy.

“The crisis in Ukraine is yet another reminder of how essential it is to implement the Green Deal and its Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies,” the letter states.

The Farm to Fork Strategy confidently asserts that its actions to curb the overuse of chemical fertilizers “will reduce the use of [fertilizers] by at least 20 percent by 2030.”

“Ploughing more farmland, as is currently being put forward, to grow crops for biofuels and intensive animal farming by using even more synthetic pesticides and [fertilizers] would be absurd and dangerously increase ecosystem collapses, the most severe threat to social-ecological stability and food security,” the activists’ letter argues.

“The European Union must tackle the current challenges by accelerating the implementation of its strategies to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides and [fertilizers], to preserve its natural environment and the health of its citizens.”

Numerous publications from the World Economic Forum (WEF), known for its role in orchestrating the global response to COVID-19, have made similar arguments.

2020 white paper from WEF and the consulting firm McKinsey and Company warns of greenhouse gas emissions and potential runoff from fertilizers, advocating for an end to fertilizer subsidies in developing countries and praising China for its efforts to reduce fertilizer use.

2018 WEF white paper, co-authored with the consulting firm Accenture, claims that “a 21st century approach to organic farming” should strive to close the gap in yields between organic and conventional farming.

WEF’s vision of 21st century agriculture comes into greater focus in another 2018 report titled, “Bio-Innovation in the Food System.”

It advocates for the bioengineering of new microbes to fix nitrogen more efficiently in plants.

“This offers the prospect of lowering and more optimally applying nitrogen fertilizer,” WEF’s report states.

WEF has also pushed the use of “biosolids”—in other words sewage sludge—as fertilizer.

Urine, it notes, “makes an excellent agricultural fertilizer.”

Gunasekara, formerly of the EPA, said that fertilizer overuse and runoff presents serious risks, giving rise to toxic algal blooms in the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico.

However, “generally speaking, the farmers are very, very efficient with their fertilizer use. They have a built-in incentive not to waste something that is a high input cost,” she told The Epoch Times, adding that in her experience, industry and communities could work out positive solutions with regulators.

Heavy-handed restrictions, she argued, are not the solution.

The UK Absolute Zero report, produced by academics at top British universities, goes even further than some other reports in its opposition to nitrogen-based fertilizers and conventional agriculture more generally.

This photo shows sheep feeding on lush grass on the property of Australian farmer Kevin Tongue near the rural city of Tamworth in New South Wales, Australia, on May 4, 2020. (Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images)

It anticipates a phaseout of beef and lamb production, with “fertilizer use greatly reduced,” in order to meet net-zero emissions targets by 2050.

“There are substantial opportunities to reduce energy use by reducing demand for [fertilizers],” the report states.

It also envisions cuts to energy in the food sector of 60 percent before 2050.

That imagined energy austerity, with its many unforeseeable consequences for human life, apparently will not last forever.

The report claims that after 2050, energy for fertilizer and other aspects of food production will “[increase] with zero-emissions electricity.”

“A food crisis/famine advances the long-term goal of more centralized control of energy, food, transportation, etc., as advanced by the Davos crowd of the WEF. Governments must expand their powers to ‘handle’ crises, and that is what progressives love more than anything,” Marc Morano, proprietor of the website Climate Depot, told The Epoch Times.

Sri Lanka’s Organic Experiment a Stark Warning

Though Power’s remarks were consistent with talking points from Democrats, WEF, the EU, and similar factions, they came at a particularly inconvenient moment for advocates of organic fertilizer—Sri Lanka’s recent experiment with abandoning chemical fertilizer has plunged the island nation into chaos that shows no signs of letting up.

According to a 2021 report from the USDA Foreign Agriculture service,  Sri Lankan agricultural economists warned that a rapid shift from chemical to organic fertilizers “will result in significant drops in crop yields.”

The country has since had to compensate one million of its farmers to the tune of $200 million, as reported by Al Jazeera.

With food shortages now a reality, anti-government protests prompted Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to declare a state of emergency on May 6—the second in two months.

“[Sri Lanka is] now literally on the verge of famine, because they’ve had massive crop failures,” Gunasekara said.

A farmer prepares a paddy field for sowing in Biyagama on the outskirts of Colombo on October 21, 2020. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP via Getty Images)

“This administration wants to use this as an opportunity to push their Green New Deal-style farming tactics, which we’ve seen implemented elsewhere, that cause significant problems beyond what we’re currently facing from our farmers’ perspective and what consumers are going to be facing,” she added.

“Manure cannot compete with modern chemical agriculture for high yield farming that the world depends on,” Morano of Climate Depot said.

Rufus Chaney, a retired USDA scientist known for his research on sewage sludge-based fertilizers, echoed Morano’s skepticism about making up for missing chemical fertilizers with organic alternatives.

“There are not enough useful (and not already being used) organic fertilizers to change the balance of any chemical fertilizer shortages,” Rufus told The Epoch Times via email.

“Nearly all organic fertilizers are built on livestock manure and can only be shipped short distances before it becomes cost-prohibitive,” he added.

These realities underscore another apparent contradiction in green policy—even as climate activists push for cuts to chemical fertilizer use and greater reliance on organic alternatives, they are working assiduously to cull the livestock populations that provide manure for those fertilizers.

In Northern Ireland, for example, a newly passed climate Act will require the region to lose a million sheep and cattle.

The EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy even states that work on fertilizers will be focused “in hotspot areas of intensive livestock farming and of recycling of organic waste into renewable fertilizers.”

“For years we were warned that ‘climate change’ would cause food shortages, but now it appears that climate policy will be one of the biggest factors in causing food shortages,” Morano told The Epoch Times.

Bails of hay sit in a paddock containing a failed wheat crop on farmer Trevor Knapman’s property in Gunnedah, NSW, Australia, on Oct. 4, 2019. (David Gray/Getty Images)

He cited research suggesting that a move to organic farming in the United Kingdom could actually raise carbon dioxide emissions, as the decrease in domestic yields can be expected to boost carbon-intensive imports.

“What the Biden admin is doing is seizing on ‘crises’ to advance their agenda. Greta [Thunberg] famously said, ‘I want you to panic.’ Because when you panic, you don’t think rationally and calmly, and you make poor choices. The only way they can sell these climate-inspired utopian energy and food production fantasies is during times of COVID crisis or wartime crisis,” he added.

China’s Role Scrutinized

Still, others see the focus on Russia as a distraction from China’s maneuvering on the world stage.

In 2021, China limited exports of both phosphate and urea fertilizers. The country has also stepped up its fertilizer imports.

China’s export restrictions came after it rapidly emerged as “the most important and most influential country in the fertilizer business,” according to an outlook document from the Gulf Chemicals & Petrochemicals Association.

The Peterson Institute’s analysis shows that as global fertilizer prices shot upward in 2021 and 2022, China’s fertilizer prices mostly leveled off.

Although the USDA’s April report did note the impact of China’s fertilizer export restrictions and heavy fertilizer imports, its executive summary drew greater attention to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

That summary did not mention China by name among the “countries imposing export bans and restrictions.”

Stanford University’s Gordon Chang, a China expert, warned on Twitter on May 6 that China has been “buying chemical companies whose products are needed for fertilizer and, more generally, food production,” citing comments from onshoring advocate Jonathan Bass.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Chang and Bass for additional details.

China has also been buying up American farmland as well as ports around the world, including ports in the now-food insecure Sri Lanka.

Physicist Michael Sekora, a former project director in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), told The Epoch Times that worldwide fertilizer shortages could reflect China’s long-range technology strategy.

A key element of that strategy, he argued, is undercutting the United States whenever and wherever possible.

“Our ability to produce food is very much under attack right now. Some people say, ‘Oh, it’s just a coincidence.’ It’s China,” Sekora said.

“China has been very strategic in making sure they shore up what they have and restricting access throughout the rest of the world,” Gunasekara said.

“When you have people come in that are very anti-development and anti-growth, China can put its finger on the global market, making it that much harder, and then try to use that as an example to exert more authority and have access to greater power.”

Pain Felt Around the World

“It’s been hectic,” said South African tobacco farmer Herman J. Roos.

Roos told The Epoch Times that fertilizer prices near him have jumped since the invasion of Ukraine, on the heels of steep increases over the previous year.

He was able to buy all the fertilizer he needs for this year before the latest price shock. Yet, he expects shortages of urea, monoammonium phosphate (MAP), and other fertilizers to strain a population of farmers already under significant stress.

Copper theft, lack of government support, and the ever-present threat of physical violence are all pushing Roos and producers like him to the brink.

Yet, for all the challenges in South Africa, Roos anticipates the fallout will be worse elsewhere in the continent.

“The economy will be hit harder in countries like Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—countries where your agricultural system is more focused on subsistence farming,” Roos added.

They and other sub-Saharan African countries are heavily dependent on South Africa for their food supply.

Roos prays food riots won’t come to South Africa. The country is still recovering from a wave of riots in summer 2021, prompted by the arrest of former South African President Jacob Zuma.

He does predict that some farmers in the country will go bankrupt.

Let the master gardeners foot the bill and do all the work, then show up to get in on the harvest. (StockMediaSeller/Shutterstock)

Back in the United States, Connecticut landscaper Adam Geriak does not yet face such stark choices.

He told The Epoch Times that fertilizer prices near him are up, in line with estimates a Connecticut garden store provided to The Epoch Times.

“I do primary garden work and use organic fertilizers, which primarily come from poultry manure,” Geriak said, adding that the price of poultry manure fertilizer may have risen too.

He does not think fertilizer price increases will have much of an effect on him. Yet, other facets of the current economic picture are worrisome to him as tries to manage his small business most effectively.

I’m having a hard time planning for the future because of the uncertainty, and I think other owners are feeling this too. In the previous two years, clients seemed to have open coffers. They wanted more projects done and there seemed to be a lot of money going around. Clients seem to be a bit tighter now, asking how they can save money on certain projects and such,” Geriak said.

“Being on the verge of a recession, and retirement accounts down may be leading to these issues,” he added.

The USDA report on Sri Lanka’s organic experiment states that the country’s government made impossible promises to different parties.

It informed farmers it would handle the cost of moving away from chemical fertilizers while telling consumers that rice on their shelves would not become pricier, all while attempting to realize environmental and public health benefits through a breakneck transition to organic fertilizers.

“If you put too much emphasis on environmental issues, and you ignore the very real impact that can have to people’s daily lives, it can have dire consequences,” Gunasekara told The Epoch Times.

“Unfortunately, we’re seeing it in the most dire of circumstances, which is a suppressed food supply. I think that situation is only going to get worse because of the rise in prices for fertilizers and diesel and everything else that’s going to make it harder for farmers in the U.S. to produce, then also globally.”

Josh, a farmer in Texas who raises small livestock, also believes things will get worse before they get better. He did not want to share his last name.

“I personally think that we haven’t even begun to feel the effects of inflation in our grocery store bills, because last year, the costs to produce were 1/3 to 1/2 the cost farmers and ranchers are having to pay this year. That cost has to be absorbed by the buyer to make it feasible for them to even continue,” he said in a message to The Epoch Times.

“My family is preparing now and stocking up our freezers and pantry because we are really concerned how bad it can get this next year.”

He estimates that fertilizer prices near him have increased 200 or even 300 percent, “dependent on what program you are running.”

The rise in diesel prices has hurt him the most. “Farm equipment runs on diesel,” he pointed out.

According to AAA’s gas price website, diesel in Texas is running at an average of $5.231, up from $2.820 a year ago.

“I can’t imagine how anyone would profit or sustain raising crops or cattle with all these price increases that effect your overhead,” Josh said, saying he has heard about other ranchers and farmers culling their herds to avoid losses.

“Food shortages are a great way to collapse the current system and install a Great Reset,” Morano, of Climate Depot, told The Epoch Times.

Tyler Durden Mon, 05/09/2022 - 20:30

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Vaccinia virus MacGyvers a makeshift tool to repair its DNA, exposing a vulnerability that could be targeted

Instead of relying on the cell’s repair mechanisms, the vaccinia virus MacGyvers a tool for DNA repair from one that it already uses to copy DNA, reports…

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Instead of relying on the cell’s repair mechanisms, the vaccinia virus MacGyvers a tool for DNA repair from one that it already uses to copy DNA, reports a team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in the Journal of Virology. Blocking that tool – an enzyme known as polymerase – at once disrupts the virus’s ability to copy and to repair DNA, exposing an Achilles’ heel that could be targeted with a therapeutic. 

Credit: Medical University of South Carolina. Photo by Sarah Pack.

Instead of relying on the cell’s repair mechanisms, the vaccinia virus MacGyvers a tool for DNA repair from one that it already uses to copy DNA, reports a team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in the Journal of Virology. Blocking that tool – an enzyme known as polymerase – at once disrupts the virus’s ability to copy and to repair DNA, exposing an Achilles’ heel that could be targeted with a therapeutic. 

“For vaccinia virus, polymerase is a Sawzall – a tool that you can use for everything” said Paula Traktman, Ph.D., senior author of the article and dean of the College of Graduate Studies at MUSC, who has studied the virus for decades. “Viruses have smaller chromosomes, and so they’ve evolved to be able to use their tools for different things.”

“It’s like the virus’s Swiss Army knife,” said Conor Templeton, Ph.D.  lead author of the article, who was a predoctoral candidate in the Traktman laboratory during the study and has since completed his doctorate. “It’s a protein that’s involved in replicating or copying DNA, but it also seems to be involved in repair.”

Such detailed basic science findings about the way viruses copy and repair their DNA have paved the way for breakthrough antiviral therapies in the past 20 years, said Traktman.

“HIV antiretroviral drugs were made by really painstaking analysis of which proteins in the virus are essential, leading to drugs that now have made it a chronic disease,” she said. “A curative treatment for hepatitis C was made possible by painstaking analysis of which proteins are essential for the virus. The more we know about the enemies, the better the weapons we can develop against them.”

Better therapies for pox viruses are certainly needed. The vaccinia virus is a close relative of the virus causing smallpox and was used in the vaccine that successfully eradicated it in the late 20th century. Although smallpox no longer naturally occurs, the threat that it might be used as a bioweapon remains, and currently, there is only one approved antiviral agent against it. Other pox viruses, most notably monkeypox, continue to afflict humans and can be lethal.

Vaccinia is a large DNA virus made up of about 200 genes, and its approach to survival differs markedly from that of smaller, nimbler RNA viruses, such as that which causes COVID-19. The RNA viruses mutate quickly to outrun the body’s immune system. However, they do so at the cost of corrupting their genome. Vaccinia virus prefers a slower, steadier approach and is less likely to make mistakes, helping to ensure genomic stability.

“Vaccinia has gone for ‘I may not be a Ferrari, but I’m a jeep, and I’m going to come out undamaged, and I’m going to be stable, and I’m going to stick around,’” said Traktman.

Unlike other DNA viruses, vaccinia virus does not set up shop in the cell’s nucleus but instead stays in the cytoplasm, where it begins reproducing itself using only the tools it brought with it.

“The nucleus is like the kitchen of the cell,” said Traktman. “If you came into somebody’s house to cook dinner, you would go to their kitchen because that’s where all the necessary equipment is. You wouldn’t decide to go downstairs to their basement because then you’d have to start from scratch. But that’s what vaccinia does. It says ‘I’m not going into the kitchen where you cook. I’m going to just set up shop in the basement, where there’s lots of space. I’ll build everything I need.’”

The MUSC team wanted to see how vaccinia virus would react to damage to its DNA caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation. They chose UV radiation because it is already known to affect viral replication negatively. They also wanted to know whether exposing the cell to UV radiation one hour before infection with vaccinia would affect the virus’s ability to copy and repair DNA.

The MUSC team found that exposing cells to UV radiation either one hour before or four hours after infection with vaccinia virus reduced the number of mature viral units, or virions, vaccinia was able to produce.

The enzyme polymerase is known to be necessary for successful viral replication, and UV radiation can prevent it from doing its job.

“Polymerase is like a car running down the road,” said Templeton. “It runs smoothly when the road is nice and flat. But UV radiation acts like a speed bump, stopping it in its tracks.”

The UV radiation can cause damage that makes it impossible for DNA replication to continue.

The team found UV-caused damage in the viral DNA of cells irradiated four hours after infection but not in those irradiated an hour before infection. The cells irradiated at four hours after infection also produced 30 times fewer new viruses. This UV-caused damage could account for the reduced infectivity of these cells. Although viral DNA levels were able to recover slightly by 10 to 18 hours, suggesting some viral DNA repair, blocking polymerase resulted in a further tenfold to twentyfold reduction.

“Polymerase is a well-known character in DNA replication,” said Traktman. “It’s a well-known character in actually synthesizing the genome, but this is its debut in repair.”

In essence, the virus’s polymerase “multitasks,” but in so doing makes the virus vulnerable. Because vaccinia relies on polymerase both for DNA copying and repair, blocking it could be a particularly devastating weapon against the virus. The current blocking agent, however, is too broad, and a much more tailored one would be needed for the clinic.

Next, the MUSC team wants to understand better why blocking polymerase makes the DNA more vulnerable to damage and less able to repair itself.

“We want to establish the ensemble of culprits in that process and then try to understand why it is that when you inhibit polymerase function, you see this sensitivity,” said Templeton.

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is home to the oldest medical school in the South as well as the state’s only integrated academic health sciences center, with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and nearly 800 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. MUSC brought in more than $327.6 million in biomedical research funds in fiscal year 2021, continuing to lead the state in obtaining federal and National Institutes of Health funding, with more than $220 million. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.

As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest-quality and safest patient care available while training generations of compassionate, competent health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Patient care is provided at 14 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and five additional hospital locations in development, more than 300 telehealth sites and nearly 750 care locations situated in the Lowcountry, Midlands, Pee Dee and Upstate regions of South Carolina. In 2021, for the seventh consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit muschealth.org.

MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $4.4 billion. The more than 24,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers, scientists and care team members who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care.


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The New Rift Between WHO And China

The New Rift Between WHO And China

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute,

From the beginning of the pandemic, the World…

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The New Rift Between WHO And China

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute,

From the beginning of the pandemic, the World Health Organization and China’s CCP have worked and spoken hand-in-glove, culminating in the Potemkin Village junket of mid-February 2020. The WHO-sponsored travel report—how wonderfully China had performed!—was written and signed by American public health officials who recommended Wuhan-style lockdowns, a disastrous policy that further inspired most governments in the world to do the same.

Twenty-six months later, it turns out that China in fact had not “eliminated the virus fully within its borders,” contrary to the over-the-top claims of TV pundit Devi Sridhar in her new book “Preventable.” They only pushed cases into the future, as the CCP discovered when positive tests appeared all over Shanghai, leading to 7 weeks of brutal lockdowns.

This move on China’s part has been a disaster for the country and the world economy, and presently endangers the financial and technological future of the entire country.

For Xi Jinping, lockdowns and zero-covid were his greatest achievement, one which was celebrated the world over, causing his political pride to swell beyond all bounds. Now, he cannot back off lest he face possible losses in upcoming party elections.

Just this past weekend, he made it clear to the entire government that there would be no backing off the zero-covid policy: the CCP will “unswervingly adhere to the general policy of ‘dynamic zero-Covid,’ and resolutely fight against any words and deeds that distort, doubt or deny our country’s epidemic prevention policies.”

The problem is acute: vast numbers in China likely need to acquire natural immunity via exposure. The lockdown policy likely puts a damper on the achievement of endemicity. That means long-term damage to China’s future.

Sensing this problem, the head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, offered a mild criticism:

“Considering the behavior of the virus, I think a shift will be very important,” adding that he had discussed this point with Chinese scientists.

What happened next is truly fascinating: Tedros’s comments were censored all over China and searches for the name Tedros were immediately blocked within the country.

Implausibly, merely by stating the incredibly obvious point, Tedros has made himself an enemy of the state.

Meanwhile, another WHO/China partisan, Bill Gates, has been sheepishly saying something very similar in interviews, namely that the virus cannot be eradicated.

It’s not just Tedros and Gates who are trying to flee their advocacy of lockdowns. Anthony Fauci himself denied that the United States ever had “complete lockdowns”—which is technically correct but not because he didn’t demand them.

On March 16, 2020, Fauci faced the national press and read from a CDC directive: “In states with evidence of community transmission, bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms and other indoor and outdoor venues where groups of people congregate should be closed.”

In fact, one gets the strong sense that governments around the world are pretending as if the whole pathetic and terrible affair never happened, even as they are attempting to reserve the power to do it all over again should the need arise.

On May 12, 2022, many governments around the world gathered for a video call and agreed to pour many billions more into covid work, and reaffirm their dedication to an “all-of-society” and “whole-of-government” approach to infectious disease. The U.S. government under the administration readily agreed to this idea.

Leaders reinforced the value of whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches to bring the acute phase of COVID-19 to an end, and the importance of being prepared for future pandemic threats. The Summit was focused on preventing complacency, recognizing the pandemic is not over; protecting the most vulnerable, including the elderly, immunocompromised people, and frontline and health workers; and preventing future health crises, recognizing now is the time to secure political and financial commitment for pandemic preparedness.

The Summit catalyzed bold commitments. Financially, leaders committed to provide nearly $2 billion in new funding—additional to pledges made earlier in 2022. These funds will accelerate access to vaccinations, testing, and treatments, and they will contribute to a new pandemic preparedness and global health security fund housed at the World Bank.

Is it progress to see these people throwing around language from the much-criticized but now wholly vindicated Great Barrington Declaration? Doubtful. You can’t make a bad policy better by tossing around words. There is every indication from this statement that there will be no apologies, no regrets, and no changes in the default position that governments must always and everywhere have maximum power to control any pathogen of their choosing.

Despite Tedros’s censored words, it’s no wonder that Xi Jinping continues to feel vindicated and affirmed, and sees no real political danger in choosing his own power over the health and well-being of his people. Governments around the world still cannot muster the courage to make a full-throated and solid attack on zero-covid, for fear of the implications of such a concession. Nudges and hints, even from the WHO, will not do it.

Tyler Durden Mon, 05/16/2022 - 19:45

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100,000 More Recalls And Even More Shanghai Delays Sting Tesla To Start The Week

100,000 More Recalls And Even More Shanghai Delays Sting Tesla To Start The Week

Just as it started to look like everything had finally been…

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100,000 More Recalls And Even More Shanghai Delays Sting Tesla To Start The Week

Just as it started to look like everything had finally been sorted out for Tesla in Shanghai, we reported last week that the company once again had to halt its production due to "issues with supplies". 

Starting off this week, it doesn't look like things are getting any better. First, Bloomberg reported that "no vehicles were sold in Shanghai last month" as a result of the lockdown, according to an auto-seller association in the city. 

Meanwhile, Tesla's plans to restart Shanghai to its pre-pandemic production levels have been pushed back another week, Reuters reported this weekend. Citing an internal memo, Reuters wrote that Tesla is still planning on just one shift for its plant this week and a daily output of about 1,200 units.

Tesla is aiming for 2,600 units per day by May 23. 

Additionally, it was reported Monday that Tesla would be recalling over 100,000 vehicles in China. 107,293 vehicles in China will be recalled "due to safety risks", according to the China People's Daily

The recall, which relates to a defect in the central touchscreen during fast charging, "involves Model 3 and Model Y vehicles produced in the country between Oct 19, 2021, and April 26, 2022," the report says. 

Recall, Tesla's most recent Shanghai shutdown came just three weeks after the plant resumed production. The plant was closed for a total of 22 days, Reuters noted. Shanghai is now in its seventh week of lockdowns, and we noted last week that it was "unclear when the supply issues can be resolved and when Tesla can resume production".

Wire harness maker Aptiv is one supplier who is currently facing issues due to "infections found among its employees", we reported last week. Meanwhile, Tesla had just started to eye resuming double shifts at its plant, we noted two weeks ago. The plant was making plans to "resume double shifts" at its Shanghai factory as soon as mid-May after starting back up in mid April. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 05/16/2022 - 19:25

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