Kafkaesque Politics: The Missing Lessons from Israel’s Latest Elections

A ‘major setback’ was the recurring term in many news headlines reporting on the outcome of Israel’s general elections of March 23. While this depiction specifically referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to secure a decisive victory in the country’s fourth elections in two years, this is only part of the narrative.

Certainly, it was a setback for Netanyahu, who has repeatedly resorted to Israeli voters as a final lifeline in the hope of escaping his ever-growing list of problems – splits within his Likud Party, the constant plotting of his former right coalition partners, his own corruption trials and his lack of political vision that does not cater to his and his family’s interests.

Yet, as was the case in three previous elections, the outcome of the fourth was the same. This time, Netanyahu’s right-wing camp, thus potential government coalition partners, consists of even more ardent right-wing parties, including, aside from the ‘Likud’, which won 30 Knesset seats, ‘Shas’, with 9 seats, ‘United Torah Judaism’ with 7, and ‘Religious Zionism’ with 6. At 52 seats only, Netanyahu’s base is more vulnerable and more extreme than ever before.

‘Yamina’, on the other hand, which emerged with 7 seats, is a logical partner in Netanyahu’s possible coalition. Headed by an ardent right-wing politician, Naftali Bennett, who assumed the role of minister in various Netanyahu-led right-wing coalitions, sits, ideologically speaking, on the right of Netanyahu. A keen politician, Bennett has, for years, tried to escape Netanyahu’s dominance and to eventually claim the leadership of the right. While joining another right-wing coalition, again headed by Netanyahu, is hardly a best-case scenario, Bennett might reluctantly return to the Netanyahu camp for now, because he has no option.

Bennett could, however,  take another radical path, like that taken by former Likudist, Gideon Sa’ar of ‘New Hope’ and Avigdor Lieberman of ‘Yisrael Beiteinu’, ousting Netanyahu, even if the alternative means forming a shaky, short-lived coalition.

Indeed, the anti-Netanyahu camp does not seem to have much in common, neither in terms of politics, ideology nor ethnicity – a crucial component in Israeli politics – than their collective desire to dispose of Netanyahu. If an anti-Netanyahu coalition is, somehow cobbled together – uniting ‘Yesh Atid’ (17 seats), ‘Kahol Lavan’ (8), ‘Yisrael Beiteinu’ (7), ‘Labor’ (7), ‘New Hope’ (6), the Arab ‘Joint List’ (6), ‘Meretz’ (6) – the coalition would still fail to reach the required threshold of 61.

To avoid returning to the polls for the fifth time within approximately two years, the anti-Netanyahu coalition would be forced to cross many political red lines. For example, former Netanyahu’s anti-Arab allies, namely Lieberman and Sa’ar, would have to accept joining a coalition that includes the Arab ‘Joint List’. The latter would have to do the same thing, cooperating with political parties with avowedly racist, chauvinistic and anti-peace agendas.

Despite this, the anti-Netanyahu coalition would still fail to secure the needed numbers. At 57 seats, they still need a push either from Bennet’s ‘Yamina’ or Mansour Abbas’ ‘United Arab List (Ra’am)’.

Bennett, known for his ideological rigidity, understands that a coalition with the Arabs and the left could jeopardize his position within his ideological base: the right and the far-right. If he is to join an anti-Netanyahu coalition, it would be for the sole purpose of passing legislation at the Knesset that prevents politicians on trial from participating in elections. This has been Lieberman’s main strategy for quite some time. Once this mission is achieved, these odd coalition partners would pounce on each other to claim Netanyahu’s position at the helm of the right.

For Mansour Abbas’ ‘Ra’am’, however, the story is quite different. Not only did Abbas betray desperately needed Arab unity in the face of an existential threat posed by Israel’s growing anti-Arab politics, he went on to suggest his willingness to join a Netanyahu-led coalition.

However, even for opportunistic Abbas, joining a right-wing coalition with groups that champion such slogans as “Death to the Arabs” can be extremely dangerous. From the perspective of Arabs in Israel, Abbas’ politics already borders on treason. Joining the chauvinistic, violent Kahanists – who ran as part of the ‘Religious Zionism’ list – to form a government that aims at saving Netanyahu’s political career, would place this inexperienced and foolhardy politician in direct confrontation with his own Palestinian Arab community.

Alternatively, Abbas may wish to vote in favor of the anti-Netanyahu coalition as a direct partner, or from the outside. Similar to Bennett, both options would make Abbas a potential kingmaker, an ideal scenario from his point of view and less than ideal from the point of view of a coalition that, if formed, would be unstable.

Consequently, it is hardly sufficient to categorize the outcome of the latest Israeli elections as a ‘setback’ for Netanyahu alone. While that is true, it is also a setback for everyone else. Netanyahu failed to achieve a clear majority, but his enemies, too, failed to make a case to Israeli voters of why Netanyahu should be shunned from politics altogether. The latter remains the uncontested leader of the Israeli right and his Likud party still leads with a 13 seats difference from his closest rival.

Though the center temporarily unified in previous elections in the form of Kahol Lavan (‘Blue and White’), it quickly disintegrated, and this is equally true for the once unified Arab parties. Disuniting just before the fourth elections, these parties squandered Arab votes and, with it, any hope that racist, militaristic and religiously zealot Israeli politics could possibly be fixed from within.

This means that, whether Netanyahu goes or stays, the next Israeli government is likely to remain firmly within the right. Moreover, with or without Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Israel is unlikely to produce a politically unifying figure, one who is capable of redefining the country beyond Netanyahu-style cult of personality.

As for ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine, dismantling apartheid and, with it, the illegal Jewish settlements, these remain a distant hope, as these subjects were hardly part of the conversation that preceded the last elections.

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Let’s end the insanity of colossal military spending during a global health emergency

Imagine what could be achieved if just a portion of the money spent on military expenditures were pooled into a global fund, and redirected towards ending hunger and massively investing in public health systems. 

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If nations had a referendum, asking the public if they want their taxes to go to military weapons that are more efficient in killing than the ones we currently have, or if they would prefer the money to be invested in medical care, social services, education and other critical public needs, what would the response be?

Probably the majority of people would not have to think long and hard, since for many life has become an endless struggle. Even in wealthy countries, the most basic social rights can no longer be taken for granted. Social services are increasingly being turned into commodities, and instead of helping ordinary people they must serve shareholders by providing a healthy profit margin.

The United States is a prime example, where seeing a dentist or any medical doctor is only possible if one has health insurance. Around 46 million Americans cannot afford to pay for quality healthcare—and that is in the richest country of the world.

In less developed nations, a large proportion of people find it hard to access even the most basic resources to ensure a healthy and dignified life. One in nine of the world’s population go hungry. And the Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this crisis of poverty amid plenty, with the number of people facing acute hunger more than doubling.

There are now 240 million people requiring emergency humanitarian assistance, while over 34 million people are already on the brink of starvation.

But the United Nations’ funding appeals are far from being met, condemning thousands to unnecessary deaths from hunger this year. With aid funding falling as humanitarian needs rise, aid agencies are being forced to cut back on life-saving services.

Does it make any sense for our governments to spend billions on defence while fragile health systems are being overwhelmed, and the world is facing its worst humanitarian crisis in generations?

Outrageously misplaced priorities

Global military spending continued to reach record levels in 2020, rising almost 4 percent in real terms to US$1.83 trillion, even despite the severe economic contractions caused by the pandemic. The United States spends two-fifths of the world’s total, more than the next ten countries combined, and still cannot afford to prevent 50 million of its own citizens suffering from food insecurity. Most shamefully, the United Kingdom is massively boosting its arms budget—the largest rise in almost 70 years, including a vast increase to its nuclear weapons stockpile—while cutting aid to the world’s poorest by 30 percent.

Consider what a fraction of military budgets could achieve if that public money was diverted to real human needs, instead of sustaining the corrupt and profitable industry of war:

  • Meeting Goals 1 and 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals— ‘End poverty in all its forms everywhere’ and ‘Zero hunger’—would barely exceed 3 percent of global annual military spending, according to the UN’s Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.
  • With the U.S. military budget of $750 billion in 2020, it could feed the world’s hungry and still spend twice as much on its military than China, writes peace activist Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK.
  • The annual nuclear weapon budget worldwide is 1,000 percent—or 10 times—the combined budget of both the UN and the World Health Organisation (WHO), according to the Global Campaign on Military Spending.
  • Just 0.04 percent of global military spending would have funded the WHO’s initial Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund, according to Tipping Point North South in its Transform Defence report.
  • It would cost only 0.7 percent of global military spending (an estimated $141.2 billion) to vaccinate all the world’s 7.8 billion inhabitants against Covid-19, according to figures from Oxfam International.

These opportunity costs highlight our outrageously misplaced priorities during an unprecedented global health emergency. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed just how ill-prepared we are to deal with real threats to our societies, and how our ‘national security’ involves a lot more than armies, tanks and bombs. This crisis cannot be addressed by weapons of mass destruction or personnel prepared for war, but only through properly funded healthcare and other public services that protect our collective human security.

It’s time to reallocate bloated defence budgets to basic economic and social needs, as long enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human rights. Article 25 points the way forward, underscoring the necessity of guaranteeing adequate food, shelter, healthcare and social security for all.

There is an imperative need for global cooperation to support all nations in recovering and rebuilding from the pandemic. The United Nations and its frontline agencies are critically placed to avert a growing ‘hunger pandemic’, and yet are struggling to receive even minimal funding from governments.

Imagine what could be achieved if just a portion of the money spent on military expenditures were pooled into a global fund, and redirected towards ending hunger and massively investing in public health systems, especially in the most impoverished and war-torn regions.

The common sense of funding ‘peace and development, not arms!’ has long been proclaimed by campaigners, church groups and engaged citizens the world over. But it will never happen unless countless people in every country unify around such an obvious cause, and together press our public representatives to prioritise human life over pointless wars.

In the words of arms trade campaigner Andrew Feinstein:

Perhaps this is an opportunity. Let’s embrace our global humanity, which is how we’re going to get through this crisis. Let’s put aside our obsession with enemies, with conflict. This is an opportunity for peace. This is an opportunity to promote our common humanity.

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The Adani Business Formula: Dealing with Myanmar’s Military

Corporate morality can be a flexible thing.  Some companies see tantalising dollar signs afloat in the spilt blood of civilians and dissidents.  Military governments, however trigger crazed, offer ideal opportunities; potentially, corners can be cut, regulations relaxed.  The Adani Group has shown itself to be particularly unscrupulous in this regard.

In many ways, it is fitting.  The group’s record in a range of areas suggests that the profit motive soars above any other consideration.  Environmentally, Adani is an irresponsible, wretched beast.  A shonky Adani coal ship, the MV Rak, sank off the coast of Mumbai in August 2011 with devastating effects on marine life, the fishing industry, beaches and tourism.  Its lacklustre response to dealing with the mess suggested environmental vandalism of the highest order.

In terms of employment practices, the company has been found to underpay its workforce and use child labour in the bargain.  As for corporate strategy, Adani is happy to spread largesse for favours.  The illegal export of 7.7 million tonnes of iron ore between 2006 and 2010 mobilised the company in a campaign of suppression and concealment.  The Ombudsman of the Indian state of Karnataka took an interest in Adani’s conduct and found a vast bribery enterprise covering local politicians, customs officials, members of the police force, the State Pollution Control Board, the Port Department and the Weight and Measurement Department.

So why stop there?  With the killing of demonstrators in Myanmar well underway, human rights groups and activists turned their sharp focus towards Adani’s record on port investment and its involvement with the military junta.  The grounds of concern were already laid in 2019, when the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar listed Adani Ports and its commercial links with the military conglomeration, the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC).

The previous year, the UN Mission had issued a call for the top military commanders of Myanmar to be investigated and prosecuted for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity against ethnic groups in the states of Arakan (Rakhine), Kachin and Shan and for alleged genocide against the Rohingya of Arakan state.  The fact finding mission was stern in judgment: “no business enterprise active in Myanmar or trading or investing in businesses in Myanmar should enter into an economic or financial relationship with the security forces of Myanmar, in particular the Tatmadaw, or any enterprise owned or controlled by them or their individual members”.

The International Criminal Court has also authorised the Prosecutor to investigate alleged atrocities by the military, including deportation and other inhumane acts and the persecution of the Rohingya inside Myanmar.  While Myanmar is not a State Party to the court’s jurisdiction, Bangladesh, which received the bulk of the displaced Rohingya, is.

In Port of Complicity: Adani Ports in Myanmar, a March 2021 report by the Australian Centre for International Justice and Justice For Myanmar, the authors focus on Adani Port’s commercial ties with the MEC military conglomerate.  In May 2019, Adani Ports entered into an agreement to construct, operate and transfer land held by the MEC for 50 years in an investment that promises to run to US$290 million.  Land is being leased for the construction of the Ahlone International Port Terminal 2.  The very property in question is a source of concern.  “Due diligence obligations,” warn the authors, “would require Adani Ports to investigate whether the land is the subject of illegal appropriation by the military.”

The report also draws upon documents obtained by Justice for Myanmar, revealing that Adani Ports’ subsidiary in Myanmar, the Adani Yangon International Terminal Company Limited, paid US$52 million to the MEC, including $30 million in land lease fees.  The rest constitute land clearance fees.

Through its Australian arm, the Adani Group released a statement seeing little problem with the commercial deal with a military-run corporation, despite acknowledging arm embargoes and travel sanctions on important members of the junta.  Such facts did not “preclude investments in the nation or business dealings with corporations such as MEC”.  The company also “rejected insinuations that this investment is unethical or will compromise human rights”.

In December 2020, Adani reiterated that understanding to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, seeing no problems between ongoing arms embargoes and travel restrictions on “key members of the military”.  A more constructive reading of company intentions was encouraged.  “The Adani Group’s vision is to help build critical infrastructure for nations across key markets and help in propelling economic development and social impacts.”

Following the February 1 coup, Adani issued a statement denying any engagement with the junta over the 2019 approval of the port.  “We categorically deny having engaged with military leadership while receiving this approval or thereafter.”  This was a curious version of events, given the July 2019 visit by a Myanmar military delegation led by Commander-in Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to Adani Ports’ headquarters based in Mundra, India.  Ten days prior to the visit, the US State Department had targeted Min Aung Hlaing and three senior members of the military with travel bans, citing their “responsibility for gross human rights violations, including in extrajudicial killings in northern Rakhine State, Burma, during the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya”.

The tour presented the general and his coterie a happy occasion for photo and video opportunities, many of which were posted on his personal website and the website of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar Defence Services.  Gifts were also exchanged between the CEO of Adani Ports, Kiran Adani, and the Senior General.

Caught out by this howler, the company, through a spokesperson, attempted to minimise the significance of the meeting.  The general and his delegation were on an official visit to India; visiting Mundra was merely an informal matter.  “In 2019, the government of India hosted the Myanmar general Min Aung Hlaing and Mundra Port was only one such location out of the multiple sites on this visit”.

The military regime in Myanmar is becoming the subject of interest in certain foreign capitals.  The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) within the US Treasury has targeted the two main military holding companies, the MEC and Myanma Economic Holdings Company Limited (MEHL) with sanctions.  “These companies,” states the US Treasury, “dominate certain sectors of the economy, including trading, natural resources, alcohol, cigarettes, and consumer goods.” Various high ranking military officials, former and current, have links to the holding companies and their various subsidiaries.

Superbly disingenuous, a spokesperson for Adani Ports has suggested watchfulness at this increasingly sordid picture: the company was “watching the situation in Myanmar carefully and will engage with the relevant authorities and stakeholders to seek their advice on the way forward”.  In what can only be regarded as an exercise in moral vacuity, the same spokesperson claimed that the Yangon International Terminal project was “an independent container terminal with no joint venture partners.”

The Myanmar-Adani nexus comes with broader, blood-stained implications.  The company’s Australian operations in the Carmichael coal project in Queensland, long challenged by a determined grassroots effort, raises the question of ethical financing.  “The question for Australia and Australians is whether we want to be hosting a company that is contributing to the enrichment of the Myanmar military,” asks Chris Sidoti, an Australian lawyer who was on the 2019 UN Mission.  Investing in Adani was tantamount to the indirect financing of the Myanmar military.  “This is a question especially for sovereign wealth funds and pension funds that should have a highly ethical basis for their investment decisions.”  As ever, some room to hope.

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MOFA: BBC is Not Trusted even in the UK

According to material openly available, BBC World Service is immune from any form of regulation and can produce all the disinformation it likes with legal impunity in the UK. It has caused the spread of the fake news virus not only in the UK but all over the world. BBC should try to do more just and truthful reports to tackle its credibility crisis, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Wednesday.

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China and Iran: A Natural Anti-imperialist Alliance

On 15 July 2015 — the day after the United States agreed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA; also called the Iran nuclear deal) along with China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, plus Germany — then US president Barack Obama said in an interview that Iran was “a great civilization.” Without listing any of the great attributes of Iran, Obama then proceeded to criticize Iran, saying, “but, it also has an authoritarian theocracy in charge that is anti-American, anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic, sponsors terrorism, and there are a whole host of real profound differences…”

That is American exceptionalism. The US is a country whose sense of diplomacy deems it appropriate to openly criticize other nations. And because of this self-bestowed exceptionalism, it need not substantiate any criticisms it makes, and, of course, no such accusations could be leveled against the US.

However, soon after Donald Trump won the electoral college vote to become the US president, the days of the US abiding by the JCPOA were numbered. The US State Department said that the JCPOA “is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document.”

Apparently, US and international definitions on what constitutes a treaty differ. Since the JCPOA had not received the consent of the US Senate, as per domestic US law, it was not considered a treaty. Another instance of US exceptionalism — how the US legally separates itself from the international sphere.

On 8 May 2018, the US pulled out from the Iran nuclear deal.

Even though the US had withdrawn, Iran made it known that it would continue to comply with its commitments to the JCPOA if Europe also complied with its commitments. One important condition was that Europe must maintain business relations with Iranian banks and purchase Iranian oil despite US sanctions. Europe, however, failed to uphold its commitments.

China stood steadfast with the JCPOA. Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, called upon the US to quickly and unconditionally return to the Iran nuclear deal. Wang also called on the US to remove sanctions on Iran and third-parties.

Wang also urged Iran to restore full compliance with the JCPOA. China, though, has made it clear that the US “holds the key to breaking the deadlock” by returning to the JCPOA and lifting sanctions on Iran.

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When the Trump administration slapped sanctions on Iran, a devastating result was expected.

The effects of sanctions are lethal. Americans professors John Mueller and Karl Mueller wrote in their Foreign Affairs article:

economic sanctions … may have contributed to more deaths during the post-Cold War era than all weapons of mass destruction throughout history.

The lethality has been borne out. A large-scale human suffering was part of the plan to topple the government in Iran, which secretary of state Mike Pompeo admitted to. Not even the serious outbreak of COVID-19 would stir mercy in the hearts of American politicians. Included in the sanctions were medicines and food.

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When targeted by a hegemonic military superpower, the importance of powerful friends cannot be underestimated. China seems like a natural ally for Iran.

Like Iran, China has historically been targeted by brutish American imperialism. China, like Iran finds itself ringed by American militarism. China also has US sanctions levied against it. Western governments and their mass media bombard readers and viewers with disinformation to demonize China. US warships ply the South China Sea as they ply the waters of the Persian Gulf. Both China and Iran deal with domestic terrorism (undoubtedly abetted by western foes).

Thus, the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), designated as a terrorist group by the US in 1997, would be dropped from the US terrorist list in 2012. Later, the “cult-like” MEK would be embraced by right-wing Americans such as Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, and Mike Pompeo, in hopes of furthering US aims of “regime change.” In a similar move, the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in Xinjiang, China was removed from the US terrorist list.

US machinations have only served to hasten closer relations between China and Iran.

On March 27, Iran and China signed the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, a $400 billion 25-year agreement that includes oil and mining, promoting industrial activity in Iran, and collaborating in transportation and agriculture.

It’s a win-win. Iran gets a market for its commodities and investment. China gets access to needed resources and a partner for its Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure scheme to encompass Eurasia and abroad.

Iran also has economic and technology agreements with another US-sanctioned country that is a close ally of China, Russia. In February 2021, there was the important symbolism of the Iran-China-Russia collaboration on naval maneuvers in the Indian Ocean.

Iran does not have nukes, but it has powerful friends.

  • First published at Press TV.
  • The post China and Iran: A Natural Anti-imperialist Alliance first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Covid-19 : failure of the Western approach

    The Covid-19 epidemic affects the whole world, yet its mortality varies from 0.0003% in China to 0.016% in the United States, i.e. more than 50 times higher. This difference can be explained by genetic differences, but above all by differences in medical approach. It shows that the West is no longer the centre of Reason and Science.

    Impending Doom, Indeed!

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    We will not mince words. America is indeed suffering from a dangerous plague—a plague of misanthropic fear-mongering from the likes of Dr. Fauci, the Scarf Lady and the Biden’s new CDC director, among countless others of the self-designated Virus Patrol.

    All three took to the mainstream media in recent days, with new CDC director Rochelle Walensky getting positively teary-eyed as she allegedly veered off-script to sound yet another Covid Alarm:
    'I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,' Walensky said, appearing to hold back tears.

    'We do not have the luxury of inaction. For the health of our country, we must work together now to prevent a fourth surge.'
    What? Where? Wait!

    Here’s the source of Doom. Well, if you have your magnifying glass handy you might possibly spot it—the squiggle down there in the yellow box below! 

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    Actually, she was not nearly done. When it comes to paint by the numbers exaggeration and hysteria the following is hard to top.

    Read the rest here.

    It seems that the reason for Walensky’s alarm is that from the winter-flu season peak on January 13th, when the 7-day moving average reported 251,912 so-called “new cases”, the 7-day rate had plummeted by 77.8% to 55,840 on March 15th, but as of March 28 it was down by only, um, 75.3%!
    The nation is recording a seven-day average of about 57,000 new Covid-19 cases per day, a 7% jump over the last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a White House news briefing on the pandemic. 
    You can’t make up this kind of calculated mendacity, including, presumably, the off script scripted tears.

    That’s especially because it’s now an established fact that upwards of 60-80% of these “new cases” are not medical cases at all: They are asymptomatic individuals who got swabbed and had their nasal secretions run to at 35-40+ CTs on the PCR test, which immense magnification systematically generates false positives based on harmless RNA fragments and dead viral debris.

    Yet with only 15,000 to 20,000 actual infected cases per day at best, of which 95% will not result in serious illness, hospitalization or death, the head of the CDC is out yelling fire in the theater still another time.
    'I remain deeply concerned about this trajectory,' Walensky said. 'We have seen cases and hospital admissions move from historic declines to stagnations and increases. We know from prior surges that if we don’t control things now, there is a real potential for the epidemic curve to soar again.' 

    Walensky urged the public to 'take this moment very seriously,' adding people should continue to wear masks, stay 6 feet apart and avoid crowds or traveling. 'We can turn this around, but it will take all of us working together,' she added. 
    We have bolded the last sentence because that’s what the political class is really all about. They are forever searching out societal ills–some real, mostly imagined—that require state-orchestrated collective action to remedy. After all, that is how they gain power and pelf in the arena of politics and governance, and on that score the Covid Hysteria was made to order.

    By contrast, under a regime of spontaneous markets and social order, tens of millions of uninfected or asymptomatic people would never be getting Covid tests in the first place, and they certainly would not have been quarantining or shutting-down their normal economic and social lives.

    All of that flowed from the misbegotten predicate that the coronavirus was some kind of modern Black Plague equivalent, but with a hideously perverted twist: Namely, that to stop its spread the healthy and well should be isolated at home or via distancing and masks on the infinitesimal chance that they might unknowingly have a sufficient viral load to transmit the pathogen in the community.

    The fact is, back in the more benighted times of earlier centuries, they quarantined the sick, not the well; and when people got sick from seriously dangerous pathogens, they stayed home because they were too sick to wander around the community.

    Stated differently, in the face of serious general contagions, society didn’t need officialdom constantly beating the tom-toms to induce fear-based changes in behavior that were not warranted by the facts at hand.

    To the contrary, in the midst of real pandemics, communities quickly apprehended the dangers and organized themselves to cope. And when the sick stayed home or were committed to treatment or isolation facilities, real contagions and viruses eventually burned themselves out.

    Not this time. There was no spontaneous community defense because the Covid is lethal to only a small subset of the population, consisting of the very elderly with weak immune systems and the co-morbid already suffering from other life-threatening conditions.

    Beyond that, the”science” provides no basis at all for the notion that healthy or asymptomatic people transmit the virus. The political class’ false project of “stopping the spread”, in fact, buried the real science which overwhelmingly ixnays the whacko theory that healthy people going about their ordinary business are stealthy vessels of disease and death. 

    Instead, Fauci et. al. have seized upon the prosaic mechanics of human activity centered around social congregation, which inherently generates the probability that a respiratory virus–whether relatively benign or deathly— will spread through the community, and called it “the science”.

    But that is not the science of Covid at all, which actually says that for 95% of the population it is not a lethal pathogen, as we will amplify below.

    Instead, “community spread” is just an obvious mechanical fact of social life that got peddled as the “science” of lockdowns and became the basis for the whole regime of economic-martial law that has been stood-up since March 2020.

    In any event, the sheer destructive absurdity of the matter was crystalized this weekend by the 55-year government lifer and windbag, Anthony Fauci, who has single-handedly made a mockery of “the science” and the US Constitution during the past 14 months.

    Said the sainted Dr. Fauci on the weekend CBS show:
    'When the children go out into the community, you want them to continue to wear masks when they’re interacting with groups or multiple households,' Fauci proclaimed during an appearance on CBS News.

    Fauci added that 'children can clearly wind up getting infected' even if other kids they play with have been vaccinated against coronavirus.
    With respect to the bolded phrase, what in the world is this dope talking about?

    Of course, kids get infected with all kinds of germs which pass-around the class-rooms and playgrounds, but in the case of the Covid, few of them get sick, virtually none are hospitalized and, thankfully, a nearly invisible fraction become fatalities.

    Indeed, after a full year of this full-on Covid-Hysteria, here is what we know about the “kids”. To wit, there are 73.2 million of them in America (17-years and under), yet only 238 of them are reported by the CDC itself as being among “all deaths involving Covid-19″.

    As a statistical matter that represents just 0.3 mortalities per 100,000 population. The tip-off that this is ultra-thin gruel by any standard can be illustrated many different ways, but here are three of them:

    1. For the same 17 years and younger population during the same period (weeks of February 1, 2020 to March 24, 2021), the mortality rate from all causes other that WITH-Covid was 51.9 per 100,000 or 160X higher;

    2. The WITH-Covid mortality rate for the truly vulnerable population 85-years and older was 2,460 per 100,000 or 7,500X higher

    3. The pediatrics association estimates that kids account for 13% of Covid “cases”, but have accounted for only 0.05% of deaths—meaning that the survival rate is 99.993%.

    Nor is that all. Even the CDC tables show that nearly 20% of the WITH-Covid deaths in this age cohort also included pneumonia; and that there were also 602 deaths from pneumonia that did not include a positive Covid test or physician’s diagnosis.

    Stated differently, among the entire youthful population of 73.2 million, there were 194 deaths from pure Covid versus 602 cases from pure pneumonia and another 179 deaths attributable to influenza.

    So why in the world is Dr. Fauci worried about children being “infected”? The answer is simple: He isn’t.

    His game is stopping the spread for its own sake, and taking 73 million children hostage to the dictates of the Virus Patrol is all in a day’s work.

    In fact, when it comes to the science of picking statistical pepper out of what is self evidently numeric fly-shit, Dr Fauci has few peers.

    Thus, he told his fawning CBS host on Sunday that 10,000 additional, mostly false positive, cases are a new reminder that normalization is still a grave danger. In fact, he allowed that maybe by mid-summer people can go back to baseball parks, but only if they sit far apart and wear a mask!
    ANTHONY FAUCI: …'I’ve said many times to you that when you’re coming down from a big peak and you reach a point and start to plateau, once you stay at that plateau, you’re really in danger of a surge coming up. And unfortunately, that’s what we’re starting to see. We got stuck at around 50,000 new cases per day, went up to 60,000 the other day, and that’s really a risk. 

    …What we’re likely seeing is because of things like spring break and pulling back on the mitigation methods that you’ve seen. Now, several states have done that. I believe it’s premature,' Fauci said

    'I would expect that as we get through the summer — late spring, early summer — there’s going to be a relaxation where you’re going to have more and more people who will be allowed into baseball parks, very likely separated with seating, very likely continuing to wear masks.'
    We undercover the real motivation behind this blithering crackpottery below, but for want of doubt consider this data. The on age-adjusted deaths from all sources during the 2020 Year of the Covid is now in, and the thin green bar on the far right margin speaks for itself. 

    The age-adjusted death rate in the US was only a tad above its recent level, and actually much lower than it was during the entirety of the 105 years between 1900 and 2005. Yet we are still being told about Impending Doom and Sleepy Joe is calling upon governors

    of some of the Red States who have finally come to their senses to reimpose the mandatory mask requirement.

    And that’s the Spoiler Alert. This whole Covid enchilada has not been about public health all along.

    Its an excuse for increased social control and aggrandizement of the state that the political classes have opportunistically seized upon, and are now determined to perpetuate indefinitely with new variants, new pretexts and new assaults on constitutional liberty, fiscal sanity and free market prosperity.

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    Notwithstanding the above, we actually can imagine a pathogen which would be as deadly as Ebola, as transmissible as the worst strain of SARS-2 and a Grim Reaper of one and all, regardless of age, health status or prophylactic measures taken.

    While that might justify a sweeping economic Lockdown and government campaign to stop the spread on the grounds that society was being literally invaded by an army of fatal pathogens, the crucial point is this: The Covid has now proven itself in spades to be just the opposite of that theoretical deathly contagion.

    And for want of doubt, we don’t mean modestly dissimilar. We are talking about upside down, black and white, opposite-end-of-the-earth different.

    Truly, the data below tells you all you need to know as to why the Virus Patrol is and has been dead-wrong all alone. Sweeping nonparmaceutical interventions (NPIs) have been unjustified from the get-go, as has the relentless blunderbuss campaign by the arms of the state to stop the spread of the coronavirus dead-in-its-tracks. 

    The reason is simple. The Covid is a pathogenic bully that hones in with malice aforethought on the very most vulnerable segments of the population. That is, those exhibiting the immunological frailties of old age, life-threatening comorbidities or rare genetic predispositions for immune system over-reaction to this viral interloper, especially in the form of cytokine storms where the human body essentially attacks and kills itself.

    On the one hand, the proof that the Covid is not a universally deadly pathogen is in the aggregate pudding. Based on the overwhelming findings of serological studies (i.e blood serum tests for antibodies), upwards of 125 million Americans have been infected to date, albeit most of this number have not been symptomatic or confirmed via the wholly unreliable PCR test.

    Even among the 30 million who have tested positive—including many individuals who have tested positive multiple times in order to get free of government or employer restrictions—less than 10 million have been seriously ill, fewer than one million have been hospitalized, and even by the CDC’s expansive counting system, about 525,000 have died.

    That computes to a 0.4% IFR (infection fatality rate), which ain’t no Black Plague or Ebola equivalent. Full stop.

    Indeed, even at this most aggregated level, the Covid does not present as a marauding army of death. In no way shape or form does it merit the “deathly” prefix that has become embedded in the vocabulary and word processors of the mainstream narrative.

    In fact, even when you use age as a crude proxy for health status, there are virtually no community-spread illnesses that have the kind of extreme skew to the least healthy as shown in the table below.

    This is the mortality rate per 100,000 for the period from February 1, 2020 through March 24, 2021, and the mortality figures are extracted from the CDC’s own expansive count of WITH-Covid deaths.

    Population/ WITH-Covid deaths/ rate per 100,000 by Age Cohort: 

    · 0-17 Years: 73.2 million persons/ 238 deaths/ 0.33 per 100k;
    · 18-29 years: 53.6 million persons/ 1,916 deaths/ 3.6 per 100k;
    · 30-49 years: 84.5 million persons/ 20,717 deaths/ 24.5 per 100k;
    · 50-64 years: 62.9 million persons/78,883 deaths/ 125.4 per 100k;
    · 65-74 years: 31.5 million persons/ 115,381 deaths/ 366.4 per 100k;
    · 75-84 years: 16.0 million persons/ 146,310 deaths/ 916.2 per 100k;
    · 85+ years: 6.6 million persons/ 162,583 deaths/ 2,460.0 per 100k;
    · All ages: 328.2 million persons/ 526,028 deaths/ 160.3 per 100k.

    In round terms, the above shows that 81% of all WITH-Covid deaths have been among the 16% of the population (54.1 million) 65 years and older. By contrast, the the 64.4%  of the population under 50 years (211.4 million) accounted for just 22,900 or 4.4% of the WITH-Covid deaths tallied by the CDC.

    Yet it is the under 50 years population—the Kids, the socially congregating 20-30 year olds and the core working age population 30-50 years— that has borne the brunt of the Lockdowns and NPIs. Self-evidently, these measures were not imposed for their own protection since their risks of death from Covid were infinitesimal compared to the ordinary risks of life.

    As shown in the table below, for instance, the risk of death from all causes other than WITH-Covid during the last 14 months for the 18-29 years cohort was 183.1 per 100,000. That’s 51X greater than the 3.6 per 100,000 risk of dying from Covid during the same period for the 53.6 million members of this most socially active and interactive cohort of the US population.

    Even in the case of the core working age population age 30-49, the all causes (other than Covid) risk of death was 283.3 per 100,000 or 12X greater than the incidence of WITH-Covid deaths (24.5 per 100k).

    Of course, the Virus Patrol might argue that the WITH-Covid deaths were preventable by stern Lockdowns and other NPIs, while deaths from, say, heart disease or respiratory illnesses were not. In fact, that’s exactly what the Scarf Lady argued on a weekend show this past Sunday.

    Had the Donald not been such a obstinate dolt, Dr. Birx essentially claimed, and strictly followed the advice of herself and Fauci et. al, most of the WITH-Covid deaths would not have happened.
    The 'vast majority' of the almost 550,000 coronavirus deaths in the US could have been prevented if Donald Trump’s administration had acted earlier and with greater conviction…. 'There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge. All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.' 
    If we were Sleepy Joe, we’d probably risk a chauvinism charge and say, c’mon woman!

    Here is the seven-day moving average of deaths WITH-Covid for two of the most open states (Texas and Florida) compared to the the nation’s Lockdown capital of California. For the past 370 days, the curves have risen and fallen pretty much in tandem with the

    normal flu seasonality, and in recent months California has taken a turn for the worse relative to Texas and Florida.

    Indeed, since Governor Abbott belatedly saw the light and opened Texas completely in early March, the data are so compelling as to make a complete fool of the Scarf Lady, as shown below:

    Texas: 7-day new cases average:

    · March 2 (before): 6,663
    · March 28 (after): 3,320

    Texas: 7-day new deaths average: 

    · March 2 (before): 231;
    · March 28 (after): 107

    The fact is, there is now overwhelming proof among both the states and among different countries that the vast disparities in Covid-control regimes didn’t make any difference in mortality and other health outcomes. Dr. Birx was not talking science, she was spouting political cant. 

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    Internationally, the case of Sweden should finally tell Dr. Fauci, the Scarf Lady and the rest of the Virus Patrol to shut-up and go home. After 14 months of firmly resisting the Wuhan Lockdown Model that was foolishly adopted in the US, the UK and throughout much of Western Europe, half of Sweden should be dead by now if the egregious fear 

    mongering of the Virus Patrol was even remotely correct.

    In fact, based on preliminary data from EU statistics agency Eurostat, Sweden had 7.7% more deaths in 2020 than its average for the preceding four years. By contrast, countries that opted for several periods of strict lockdowns, such as Spain and Belgium, had so called excess mortality of 18.1% and 16.2% respectively. 

    In all, twenty-one of the 30 countries with available statistics had higher excess mortality outcomes than Sweden.

    Here’s the thing. The misbegotten one-size fits all regime adopted by the Donald’s advisors in March 2020 didn’t happen because America’s admittedly lumbering Federal and local governments weren’t capable of targeting protective measures on the nation’s 54 million or so population of the most vulnerable Americans.

    For crying out loud, the Federal government (via Medicare/Medicaid) actually knows the social security numbers, preferred physicians and health facilities and medical conditions of damn near every single American over 65 years.

    It could have put on a full court press of notifications, advisories about health risks, prophylactics and treatments and provided financial support and protective services wherever warranted at a tiny fraction of the fiscal and economic costs that have been incurred by the NPI strategies.

    So why wasn’t this targeted approach taken?

    There is a very simple and deeply disturbing answer. To wit, there was nothing in this targeted approach for publicity-hounds and wanna be power players like Dr. Fauci and the Scarf Lady, who would have otherwise soldiered on in relative obscurity in the backwaters of the Federal public health apparatus.

    Worse still, once these wanna be Federal power players bamboozled the Donald (easy enough to do) and basically redefined a targeted medical challenge as a sweeping, across-the-board public health crisis, the governors, mayors and other petty officials throughout the land were unleashed to impose economic martial law, and they did so on the basis of dubious and rubbery local statues.

    Needless to say, this unconstitutional, unplanned, disorganized blunderbuss of interventions turned into a totalitarian nightmare within a matter of weeks.

    Even then, there was no excuse. The data from the Covid-struck cruise ship called the Diamond Princess was already in, and it showed that among even a senior citizen aged population of about 3,711 guests and crew, of which 712 (19%) were confirmed cases or became symptomatic or ill, only a tiny fraction needed hospital care and just 14 died.

    That made for a IFR of just 0.4%, assuming all passengers were infected owing to close quarters at sea. At worst, the IFR was 2.0% if you assume the improbability that only the 712 passengers who were tested and diagnosed as Covid-positive had been infected.

    Moreover, among the ship’s crew of 1,045 with a median age of 36 years, there were 145 positive cases, but zero deaths. 

    By contrast, among the 2,666 passengers on board with a median age of 69 years, there were 567 positive cases. Yet all of the fatalities were among these far older passengers, and virtually all of those who succumbed were in their 70s and 80s.

    In short, when the 14th passenger, who was in his late 70s, died on April 14th, the entire profile of the Covid had been live fire tested and demarcated: It wasn’t a deathly pathogen for society as a whole, and it was fatal for just a small subset of the elderly population over 70 years.

    Needless to say, the Diamond Princess lessons never got the time of day once the White House Coronavirus Task Force was up and running, and conducting it nightly reality TV show.

    Then-and-there, the public health apparatchiks turned the Federal government’s Covid response into an all-of-society political crusade to accomplish the impossible: Namely, extinguish a novel respiratory virus that by its very nature was destined to spread to most of the population, and could have been permitted to do so had it been accompanied with protective measures targeted on the vulnerable.

    Under that kind of regime, real medical science would have been the driver. We are referring to hundreds of thousands of trained physicians and health care institutions providing one-patient-at-a-time care and treatments. That is, the real science would have been brought to bear on sick patients—including the kind of ad hoc improvisations and off-label treatments that quickly emerge from the decentralized medical community when a novel medical threat arises.

    As it happened, by contrast, we got a clumsy, sometimes brutal social control regime targeted mainly on the healthy from the public officials who were not remotely competent to manage anything as stunningly complex and inter-dependent as the American economy and social order. And whatever their ad hocery and constantly changing advice, rules and orders were based upon, it wasn’t “the science”.

    Worse still, the pseudo-science behind the NPI regime quickly got hyper-politicized once the Donald discovered that he had been bamboozled and began to let loose with randomized doubts about the undertaking that he had authorized and sanctioned.

    Accordingly, within a few weeks the most extreme form of Faucist public health nonsense became the sanctioned orthodoxy among the anti-Trump political class and media organs. And wearing a mask became the very badge of honor in a purported war on the Covid that actually amounted to a political war on the Trumpian Right.

    If there were any doubts, Biden removed them this week when he called upon Red State governors to reinstate their mandatory mask orders, and adopted the same misbegotten language that was used in the state-aggrandizing War on Poverty by LBJ, War On Drugs by Nixon and War on Energy by Carter, among others. 

    “We still are in a war with this deadly virus,” he said. “And we’re bolstering our defenses, but this war is far from won.” 

    Of course, in these phony wars what amounts to statistical noise is transposed into heavy duty warnings, such as CDC Director Walensky’s cry of doom Monday morning that we are facing an impending 4th wave breakout owing to some tiny squiggles in the in-coming case and mortality data.

    Then again, if you can spot this incipient breakout in the chart below, your eyes are surely better than ours.

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    In fact, there is no uptick in the overwhelming majority of states, if such upticks of positive PCR tests results were meaningful, which they are not. Just six states, which are shown in color below, account for most of the national uptick, and these are the six most consistent and heavy duty Blue State Lockdown regimes! 

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    Notwithstanding the meaningless statistical noise shown above, the establishment media has now been house-trained to replicate and amplify the false alarms issued by officialdom.

    Here is the nonsense that the media megaphones at POLITICO were quick to issue upon Walensky’s doom pronouncement. Self-evidently, what is really transmissible is the mainstream party line, not the disease:
    Covid strikes back — Pardon this interruption to the “everything is awesome” narrative. Because Covid-19 is surging again, leaving the CDC director with a sense of “impending doom” regarding a fourth wave in the pandemic. 

    Debbie Lai, chief operating officer of Covid Act Now, told POLITICO Nightly’s Renuka Rayasam that the country’s Covid trajectory is deteriorating: “There may be a fourth surge underway, with cases now growing in two-thirds of states versus half before the weekend.” 

    The numbers: New cases jumped by 11 percent over the past week to a seven day average of about 60,000 daily cases, according to an inter-agency memo dated March 29 and obtained by POLITICO.
    Likewise, a WSJ paint-by-the-numbers story obsessed on the same trivia. 

    The US reported 507 deaths for Sunday, down from a day-earlier 741 but up from 447 a week earlier. 

    Well, here’s the fact of the matter. Every day about 8,200 American die on average, and more in the winter-early spring months. So the Sunday-to-Sunday difference cited by the WSJ amounts to 0.7% of the daily mortality average; it’s a statistical fluctuation, not news or information.

    Needless to say, these statistical noise emissions—even though they are heralded with bated breath in the MSM—are still just plain noise. And they are also a testament to the utter lack of context in which Sleepy Joe’s war on this ostensibly “deadly virus” is being waged.

    As indicated earlier, here is the mortality rates for the same seven age cohorts shown above—but this time for all causes of death except WITH-Covid. What it shows is the obvious point that mortality rates are a function of age, but that compared to the all causes curve depicted below, the Covid skew to the very elderly is in a class all by itself.

    To wit, the ratio of deaths from all causes other than Covid for the 85 and older population is 164X higher than for the 0-17 years cohort. And that’s not even in the same ballpark as the 7,455X ratio for the incidence of Covid deaths as between the oldest and youngest Americans.

    Medical science and targeted help versus a blunderbuss non-science based political power grab is what the so-called Covid crisis has been about since the very beginning. It was another false crisis defined by the political class and their media subalterns to facilitate a further aggrandizement of the state.

    All Causes Mortality Except Covid: # of deaths/rate per 100k, February 2020-March 2021: 

    · 0-17 years: 70,731 deaths/96.6 per 100k;
    · 18-29 years: 98,083 deaths/183.1 per 100k;
    · 30-49 years: 239,400 deaths/283.3 per 100k;
    · 50-64 years: 581,170 deaths/923.8 per 100k;
    · 65-74 years: 694,765 deaths/2,206 per 100k;
    · 75-84 years: 840,052 deaths/5,260 per 100k;
    · 85 years & older: 1,045,660 deaths/ 15,819 per 100k;
    · All age groups: 3,509,979 deaths/ 1,069 per 100k

    Nor are these data unique to the US. Covid is an elderly-assaulting bully the world over.

    But rather than protection of the bottom two classes of the population, the Covid became an excuse for house arrest and economic and social disenfranchisement of the bulk of the population that was never in serious danger, as the chart below makes so stunningly clear. 

    Yet the apparatchiks who falsely seized power are not about to give it up—vaccinations, herd immunity and plunging cases notwithstanding.

    That’s the real impending doom.

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    Reprinted with permission from David Stockman's Contra Corner.