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TBR News April 22, 2020

Apr 22 2020

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. April 22, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it. “
Comment for April 22, 2020: Now in use, there is a U.S. Army laser weapon called DAZER which is a frequency-agile LEL portable anti-eye laser weapon that uses an alexandrite laser designed as “a man-portable laser device for use by infantry to provide a soft kill against personnel.” This system is under the control of U.S. Army’s Missile Command (MICOM) and is built by the Allied Corporation’s Military Laser Products Division of Westlake, California.”

Trump aches from his head to his toes
His sphincters have gone where who knows
And his love life has ended
By a paunch so distended
That all he can use is his nose.

The Table of Contents
• Top economist: US coronavirus response is like third world country
• Germany approves first clinical trial for potential Covid-19 vaccine
• How to Counter China’s Coronavirus Disinformation Campaign
• ‘Mother of All Distractions’: Amid Covid-19 Failures, Trump Threatens War With Order to ‘Shoot Down’ Iranian Boats
• Pandemics and Presidential Power Grabs
• Brent crude oil price hits 21-year low amid glut
• Why global oil prices are going topsy-turvy
• Saudi Arabia may re-route tankers if U.S. imposes crude import ban: sources
• Counterfeiting significant to China’s overall economy
• CIA Counterfeiting of American money
• The Failed Economic Rape of Russsia
• Accidents on Purpose
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Top economist: US coronavirus response is like third world country
Joseph Stiglitz attacks Donald Trump, saying US on course for second Great Depression
April 22, 2020
by Larry Elliott
The Guardian
Donald Trump’s botched handling of the Covid-19 crisis has left the US looking like a third world country and on course for a second Great Depression, one of the world’s leading economists has warned.
In a withering attack on the president, Joseph Stiglitz said millions of people were turning to food banks, turning up for work due to a lack of sick pay and dying because of health inequalities.
The Nobel prize-winning economist said: “The numbers turning to food banks are just enormous and beyond the capacity of them to supply. It is like a third world country. The public social safety net is not working.”
Stiglitz, a long-term critic of Trump, said 14% of the population was dependent on food stamps and predicted the social infrastructure could not cope with an unemployment rate that could hit 30% in the coming months.
“We have a safety net that is inadequate. The inequality in the US is so large. This disease has targeted those with the poorest health. In the advanced world, the US is one of the countries with the poorest health overall and the greatest health inequality.”
Stiglitz said Republicans had opposed proposals to give those affected by coronavirus 10 days’ sick leave, meaning many employees were going to work even while infected. “The Republicans said no because they said it would set a bad precedent. It is literally unbelievable.”
He added: “The safety net is not adequate and is propagating the disease. There is very weak unemployment insurance and people don’t think they can rely on it.”
During an interview with the Guardian to mark the paperback publication of his book People, Power, and Profits, Stiglitz was asked whether the US might be heading for a second Great Depression.
“Yes is the answer in short,” he said. “If you leave it to Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell [the Republican Senate majority leader] we will have a Great Depression. If we had the right policy structure in place we could avoid it easily.”
Stiglitz said that as a result of Trump’s mismanagement, the White House office responsible for pandemics had been closed, funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been cut, and the US had gone into the crisis without enough testing kits, masks and protective gear. Encouraged by Trump, some parts of the US were determined to reopen in a way that would facilitate the transmission of the disease and lead to a fresh outbreak, he added.
“In those circumstances it won’t be the government enforcing the lockdown, it will be fear. The concern is that people are not going to be spending on anything other than food and that’s the definition of a Great Depression.
“We were unprepared but, even given the degree of unpreparedness, Trump’s decision to make this about politics rather than about science has meant we have responded far more poorly.”
Stiglitz said that if Trump were defeated in the presidential contest in November and the Democrats took control of both houses of Congress there was a chance of the US moving in a more progressive direction, but he warned Republicans would fight dirty in order to cling on to power.
“There is voter suppression and gerrymandering. The Republican party knows it’s a minority party and there is a no-holds-barred struggle going on to make sure a minority party rules America.”

How to Counter China’s Coronavirus Disinformation Campaign
March 29, 2020
by Dr.Natasha Bajema and Christine Parthemore
Defense One
Beijing is using lies to undermine America’s standing; the U.S. should fight back with science and truth.
Whether we like it or not, the United States is engaged on a new battlefield defined by the “speed, spread, and accessibility of information,” as P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking write in their prescient book, Like War: The Weaponization of Social Media. But our government does not appear to have received the memo. As a result, we’re losing the global war over the narrative about COVID-19 in the midst of a global pandemic. And there is much more at stake than words.
Within weeks of discovering the novel coronavirus late last year, the Chinese government began to spin powerful narratives to deflect its responsibility and disguise its accountability for the outbreak, covering up information that might lead to Patient Zero and the source of the novel pathogen, and presenting itself as the global model and potential international partner for effectively responding to the outbreak—a role the United States might have typically held in the past.
In response to Beijing’s brazen attempts to distort the facts, senior U.S. government officials, led by the President, have mostly resorted to racist rhetoric about COVID-19 and pointing fingers of blame at China. This ugly strategy not only hurts the domestic effort to protect the health and safety of the American people against this dangerous disease, it will likely backfire in a struggle for global influence with China. The blame game is not a good look for any country seeking a leadership position on the global stage in the midst of a global pandemic.
A better approach would be to rise above the disinformation battle and seize the narrative with science and technology. As noted in our organization’s Responsibility to Prepare and Prevent framework, though we are faced with unprecedented threats, we also possess unprecedented tools for combating those threats. Unlike the past, today we have the tools to fight disinformation campaigns that distort facts that are grounded in science. Using gene sequencing, for example, scientists can trace the origins of the COVID-19 virus and its evolution as well as the future path of the outbreak with genomic data.
Building powerful narratives around American companies, scientists and government experts leading scientific and technological innovations for overcoming this crisis would reassert the United States as a global leader whilst aiding the global effort to respond to the pandemic.
China proposes U.S. biological weapons program as the source of COVID-19
In mid-March, China began alleging the U.S. Army was responsible for the outbreak of a novel coronavirus, suggesting that COVID-19 was developed as a genetically engineered bioweapon, either intentionally or accidentally planted by U.S. military personnel in the city of Wuhan. An official of the Chinese Foreign Ministry tweeted support for a controversial article that suggested the COVID-19 originated in the United States.
The controversial piece fuelling the conspiracy theories was published by Global Research, a conspiracy website found to spread a variety of anti-U.S. disinformation based out of Montreal, Canada. The article weaves a highly suspect narrative, drawing spurious connections between disparate elements of several true stories.
In August 2019, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, a Level-4 Biosafety Laboratory capable of handling dangerous infectious diseases such as Ebola, was shut down when it failed to pass a safety inspection by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.
Several months later, the CDC released an unrelated report on teen vaping and severe respiratory infections, citing a total of 805 hospitalizations due to lung injuries and 12 deaths with a median age of 23.
During that same month, the U.S. Department of Defense sent 280 of the top athletes in the U.S. Armed Services to China to participate in the Military World Games. Five athletes suffered from the same illness and were hospitalized at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital. Allegedly, one of these patients, diagnosed with and treated for malaria, is supposed to be the “patient zero” of the COVID-19 outbreak, the epicenter of which appears to stem from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.
The coincidental timing of these disparate events represents the primary evidence offered by the article, as it seems to track with the potential start of the outbreak in China sometime in the late fall of 2019. But the article offers at most the stuff of a sensational and unrealistic fiction novel.
Many disinformation efforts
China is not alone in spreading disinformation about the COVID-19 outbreak. The state-sponsored media outlets for Russia and Iran have jumped on the rickety bandwagon as well.
While more than ten percent of Iran’s senior leadership has tested positive for the virus by mid-March, other top Iranian leaders have piled onto the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 is a biological weapon introduced by the United States.
During the first week of March, the head commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps claimed that the coronavirus outbreak in Iran might have begun as an American biological weapon (a story picked up in TASS, a Russian English-language new source). Ayatollah Khamenei repeated this claim the following week—-one of many signs that the bioweapons theme is a deliberate campaign by Iran.
Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not miss his chance to weigh in—via his Twitter feed, no less. On March 9-10, he posted letters addressed to the heads of the World Health Organization and United Nations claiming that the COVID-19 pandemic stemmed from a lab-enhanced biological weapon. He also tweeted, “It is clear to the world that the mutated coronavirus was produced in a lab, manufactured by the warfare stock houses of biological war belonging to world powers.”
The U.S. has not done itself any favors in the global competition over narratives.
In the absence of a definitive patient zero for COVID-19, prominent political leaders, journalists, and media personalities have resorted to spreading conspiracy theories. They have framed the outbreak as “foreign” or “Chinese”, suggesting in some cases that it stemmed from a biological weapons lab in China. Such claims appear to be bolstered by conspiracy websites and unsubstantiated quotes.
The COVID-19-as-bioweapons conspiracy
The shadowy prospects of clandestine state bioweapons programs offer lucrative opportunities for disinformation campaigns. However, there are obvious problems with any bioweapons-related conspiracies for COVID-19.
Setting off a global pandemic that will cripple the world economy and lead to millions of fatalities is a really terrible strategy for any country. Even if bioweapons were attractive to some country, this highly-transmissible and nearly impossible to control virus would be a least-ideal candidate.
The U.S. developed biological weapons during World War II but never used them due to their perceived liabilities on the battlefield—the fear that once a contagious disease was unleashed, it could not be controlled and could backfire. The U.S. program later focused primarily on pathogens that would incapacitate rather than kill soldiers on the battlefield.
Even so, the perceived lack of military utility of bioweapons helped lead President Nixon to renounce biological weapons in 1969, commit to the destruction of U.S. stockpiles, and negotiate the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). After experimenting with a bioweapons program for three decades, China also acceded to the BWC in 1984.
This has happened before, and will happen again
This is not the first outbreak in China to be framed as a biological weapons attack. During the 2002–3 SARS epidemic, a Russian scientist claimed the virus to be a mixture of measles and mumps that could only be made in the lab. The Chinese news media seized on this notion, with the China Youth Daily speculating that SARS was a genetic weapon developed by the National Institutes of Health in the United States.
Such claims are easily dispelled by looking at the data. The CDC reported that of 166 SARS patients in the United States in 2003, 58 percent were white and 32 percent were Asian.
Conspiracy theories about the source of disease outbreaks gain significant traction because of the dual-use nature of biodefense research. Disinformation campaigns exploit a very fine line that exists between a biodefense program and an offensive biological weapons program.
Under biodefense programs, countries like the U.S. develop diagnostic tools, manufacture personal protective gear, stand up highly secure labs to contain dangerous pathogens, and produce vaccines and other medical countermeasures to protect people from the scourge of disease. All these same capabilities can be leveraged to support a covert offensive bioweapons program.
Unfortunately, the location of U.S. biodefense programs at former sites of its past bioweapons program, e.g. Fort Detrick, help to fuel disinformation.
For this and other reasons, we should have seen this coming and planned for it from the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ve been here before.
During the Cold War, the Soviets perpetrated numerous bioweapon-related disinformation campaigns, accusing the United States, India, Pakistan, and other countries of developing biological weapons in specific facilities. In one famous operation beginning in the early 1980s, the Soviets launched a disinformation campaign claiming that AIDS was a biological weapon designed and deployed by the U.S. military.
A more recent wave of Russian disinformation campaigns emerged after the end of the Cold War, in particular as tensions mounted over NATO expansion. In the 1990s, the U.S. began collaborating with countries such as Kazakhstan to dismantle legacy Soviet bioweapons facilities and expand peaceful biosecurity capacities. Russia insisted such efforts were designed to encircle its territory with bioweapons programs. As recently as 2015, Russia claimed to be threatened by “a network of U.S. military-biological laboratories.”
Russia’s disinformation campaigns about bioweapons reached new heights in 2018 when the leader of the Russian military’s radiation, chemical and biological protection unit declared that the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research in Tbilisi, Georgia was engaged in illegal bioweapons activities. Though the lab was designed to study, consolidate, and secure samples of dangerous pathogens, Russian-driven disinformation campaigns continue to spread via Facebook and other mechanisms in Georgia today.
While the COVID-19 as bioweapon narrative is patently false, it offers a good reminder that a bioweapon attack can be disguised as a naturally occurring outbreak with a strong disinformation campaign to deceive the public.
Conspiracies thrive on the fringes of truth about the COVID-19 outbreak. Many uncertainties exist due to the novelty of the virus, the rapid pace of the outbreak, and the absence of a definitive patient zero. These factors allow for the spread of competing and politically-motivated disinformation campaigns, which hinder the world’s ability to contain the outbreak and save lives. They also threaten to undermine U.S. leadership in the current crisis.
How the U.S. can take back the narrative
Although scientists are learning about COVID-19 in real-time, the United States can still take back the narrative with proven science and technology.
Despite the unknowns, scientists have predicted for decades the potential for a global pandemic originating in China. This is due to the country’s previous disease outbreaks caused by coronaviruses and influenza, high levels of biodiversity and conducive climate, and dense populations coexisting with transmitters of zoonotic diseases.
New technologies such as next generation sequencing and machine learning, as well as real-time scientific research, make it possible to counter each element of the conspiracies surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. We can use science and technology to explain its natural occurrence in wildlife and the jump to humans, its potential origins in the seafood market in Wuhan, the nature of its spread in the United States and around the world, and even the U.S. leadership role in responding to the disease.
Chinese scientists sequenced the genome of COVID-19 from the first identified case of the disease in Wuhan and made it available in January, only a month later. For comparison look to the SARS outbreak that started in late 2002, when it took more than four months to sequence the genome of the virus.
The ability to quickly, cheaply, and easily sequence the genomes from many patients allows scientists to trace the origins, path, and evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak in real-time, helping to check unsubstantiated rumors spread by disinformation campaigns.
Even Dr. Shi Zhengli, a leading virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (which houses a Level-4 Biosafety Lab), wondered if the coronavirus might have come from samples stored at her lab. Located only ten miles from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, the close vicinity was enough to ask questions about the prospect of an accidental release caused by a failure in biosafety protocols.
However, the chances of this happening are very slim. A recent study by Gryphon Scientific found that the risks of accidental release leading to a local outbreak followed by a global pandemic are extremely tiny, making a natural occurrence the more simple explanation for the outbreak, given existing evidence.
Other research raising doubts about the market as the origin of the outbreak has fueled conspiracy theories.
For example, while early patient data clearly points to the market as the epicenter of the outbreak, there were several early cases of COVID-19 with no direct links. This suggested that patient zero may have introduced it at the market, but that there must be another point of origin. Even though 66 percent of the earliest cases had contact with the market, this research has been cited to serve as evidence for conspiracy theories
Known for her extensive research on bats and zoonotic diseases, Dr. Zhengli predicted the southern, subtropical areas of Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan as having “the greatest risk of coronaviruses jumping to humans from animals—particularly bats, a known reservoir for many viruses.” This also seemed to raise questions about the market in Wuhan as the source of the outbreak.
However, using gene sequencing and genetic analysis, many scientists now believe that COVID-19 may have jumped from bats to pangolins to humans. In early February, researchers at South China Agricultural University found a coronavirus strain in pangolins with a 99 percent match to the novel coronavirus. This would be the closest match so far.
Endangered pangolins are considered one of the most illegally trafficked mammals in the world and were not listed as items sold at the market—likely because such trade is illegal in China. Pangolins are endemic to the southern, subtropical areas of China. If found to be the source of the COVID-19 outbreaks, these mammals provide a link to the most predicted region for coronaviruses.
Using genetic analysis, scientists have also demonstrated the single point of origin for the outbreak. Across more than two dozen distinct samples from Wuhan, Shenzehn, and Thailand, scientists discovered very little genetic variation, which indicates a common ancestor and a single jump from an animal host. Furthermore, the slow pace of mutation suggests that the virus had not been circulating in humans for very long, corresponding to the start of the outbreak with the timing of the first reported cases in early December.
Many scientists involved in this early research issued a statement about the origins of the virus to counter rampant conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 outbreak.
American scientists are using gene sequencing, genetic analysis and online tools such as Nextstrain to trace the evolution and path of the outbreak and identify its source in different regions in the U.S. This work led Dr. Trevor Bedford at the University of Washington to discover community transmission despite the insistence by public health officials that sickened travelers were causing the outbreak.
The United States is also using machine learning and other new tools to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, and these programs deserve more attention.
For example, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency runs the Pandemic Prevention Platform program, which provides funding to support the development of novel methods to “dramatically accelerate discovery, integration, pre-clinical testing, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures against infectious diseases.”
AbCellera, a Canadian company, in partnership with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, has developed a new platform for producing field-ready medical countermeasures within 60 days of isolation of a novel virus. They’ve already begun work on a potential treatment for COVID-19 to enter clinical trials by the summer.
A collaborative effort led by Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology across tech companies, philanthropic organizations, and the U.S. government led to the creation of the CORD-19—an open dataset of more than 29,000 articles published in journals and on preprint servers. This dataset will support the role of machine learning tools in generating insights for fighting COVID-19.
Meanwhile, one of the world’s fastest supercomputers, IBM’s Summit located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, has raced through over 8,000 known drug compounds and medical treatments. Using a model of the COVID-19 virus, the supercomputer has narrowed down a list of 77 potential treatments that may block infection in humans, a task that would have required many months if not years in the past.
The context has changed
Today, we are better positioned than ever to prepare for, prevent and fight the biothreat disinformation campaigns we are dealing with now—and the ones we will inevitably confront in the future—as a result of new scientific and technological tools. And yet, the United States has yet to seize the narrative and demonstrate its global leadership in combating COVID-19.
As Singer and Brooking suggest in Like War, social networks reward virality rather than veracity; virality often overwhelms the truth. We can either let social media work against us, or we can leverage its power to shape the narrative and tout the amazing work being done by American scientists, companies, and government experts. Whatever we do, we need to take this battleground seriously.
Disinformation in a time of national crisis can be deadly. Therefore, as the U.S. government responds to protect the American people against COVID-19, a part of that response must include countering biothreat disinformation campaigns.
Dr. Natasha Bajema is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Strategic Risks and the Founder and CEO of Nuclear Spin Cycle, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in national security, entertainment, and publishing. She has been an expert on national security issues for over 20 years, specializing in …
Christine Parthemore is Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Strategic Risks, and former Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs in the U.S. Department of Defense,

Germany approves first clinical trial for potential Covid-19 vaccine
April 22,, 2020
RT
Germany has sanctioned its first clinical trial of a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus, the country’s Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) regulatory body has said.
The authorization is the result of “careful assessment of the potential risk/benefit profile of the vaccine candidate,” the medical institute said in a statement on Wednesday.
The potential vaccine, named BNT162, was developed by German biotech company BioNTech with US pharma giant Pfizer.
The German trial will be conducted on 200 healthy people between the ages of 18 and 55 in its first stage. After an observational waiting period, more volunteers in the same age range will be vaccinated. It will then be trialed on people who are at a higher risk of Covid-19 infection.
Tests of the BNT162 vaccine are also planned in the US and will begin when regulatory approval for human testing is secured there.
“First clinical trials aim at investigating the general tolerability of vaccine candidates as well as their ability to induce a specific immune response against the pathogen,” the PEI said in the statement.
The German trial is the fourth authorized human clinical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine worldwide. The PEI said it assumes that further trials for a vaccine will begin in Germany in the next few months.

Mother of All Distractions’: Amid Covid-19 Failures, Trump Threatens War With Order to ‘Shoot Down’ Iranian Boats
“If the xenophobia isn’t doing the trick and providing a good enough distraction, there’s always the classic authoritarian move: gin up a war.”
April 22, 2020
by Jake Johnson
Common Dreams
President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he has instructed the U.S. Navy to “shoot down and destroy” any Iranian vessels that “harass” American warships in the Persian Gulf.
Critics slammed the threat as an effort to distract from the president’s abysmal response to the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which has now infected more than 800,000 people and killed at least 40,000 in the United States.
“If the xenophobia isn’t doing the trick and providing a good enough distraction, there’s always the classic authoritarian move: gin up a war,” said Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Trump’s tweet came a week after the U.S. Navy accused Iranian gunboats of making “dangerous and harassing approaches” to American warships in the Persian Gulf.
“I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” Trump wrote.
The mother of all distractions,” Trita Parsi, executive vice president at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, said of Trump’s tweet.
The president’s threat closely followed a “Fox & Friends” segment on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ successful launch of a new military satellite on Wednesday.
John Bolton, the ultra-hawkish former national security adviser who has pressed for war with Iran for years, tweeted that “Iran’s launch of a military satellite is proof we are still not applying enough pressure, deterrence has not been restored, and coronavirus is not slowing down the ayatollahs.”

Pandemics and Presidential Power Grabs
April 10, 2020
by Gene Healy
CATO
War is the health of the state, Randolph Bourne famously said, and President Trump is hardly alone in describing the fight against COVID-19 as a “war.” However inapposite that metaphor might be, public officials at all levels of government are now exercising emergency powers rarely seen outside the context of total war.
Wars—metaphorical and literal—have also been the health of the presidency. In his first inaugural, along with the famous lines about “fear itself,” FDR announced his desire for “broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.” Given a serious enough crisis, that gambit usually works.
War is the health of the state, Randolph Bourne famously said, and President Trump is hardly alone in describing the fight against COVID-19 as a “war.” However inapposite that metaphor might be, public officials at all levels of government are now exercising emergency powers rarely seen outside the context of total war.
Wars—metaphorical and literal—have also been the health of the presidency. In his first inaugural, along with the famous lines about “fear itself,” FDR announced his desire for “broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.” Given a serious enough crisis, that gambit usually works.

Brent crude oil price hits 21-year low amid glut
International benchmark dips below $16 a barrel, down from more than $28 last week
April 22, 2020
by Jillian Ambrose
The Guardian
Global oil prices fell below $16 a barrel for the first time since 1999 on Tuesday night as markets continue to struggle with oversupply caused by the coronavirus lockdown.
The price of Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, dropped to $15.98 a barrel in overnight trade before climbing back above $17 by mid-morning on Wednesday. The price is down from more than $28 a barrel last week.
The market panic caused US oil prices to turn negative for the first time as oil producers without access to storage space began paying customers to take their barrels from next month.
Severe restrictions on travel and the broader economy have caused demand for fuel and energy to fall at its fastest rate in 25 years.
Bjørnar Tonhaugen, the head of oil markets at Rystad Energy, said the world’s onshore oil storage would be filled to the brim by the first week of May and the market should brace for unprecedented low prices in the weeks ahead.
In previous weeks oil traders have held hope that prices could be kept afloat by a deal to rein in oil production, but Tonhaugen said rising storage levels had given rise to panic.
“Traders have exhausted their ‘hope storage’ and have nothing else to count on,” he said. “Prices can go to unprecedented low levels even for Brent as, unless there are further cuts announced, storage capacity will just not be enough.”
He said unless there was “a massive shock” such as oil well shutdowns equivalent to cutting millions of barrels from global production or an earlier than expected lifting of lockdown measures, oil may soon be “cheaper than a latte”.

Why global oil prices are going topsy-turvy
These are strange times indeed — with oil prices in negative territory, sellers are practically giving it away. But is that really because of the coronavirus or is it about the oil market itself?
April 21, 2020
by Mischa Ehrhardt
DW
What is happening to the oil market?
Oil prices have fallen drastically over the past several weeks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Disunity among OPEC and other oil-producing nations has added further uncertainty to the market. Moreover, the fact that global storage facilities were full when contracts for oil deliveries were due early this week meant that no — or too few — buyers could physically take possession of oil that had been extracted from the earth. On Monday, all of those factors collided, driving prices for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil into negative territory.
How are oil prices set?
Oil prices are based on the concept of supply and demand. With the world economy at a standstill due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, demand for oil — and thus, the price — has fallen dramatically. Companies are ordering less oil, airlines aren’t buying fuel because their planes are grounded and no one is purchasing gasoline or diesel fuel for their cars because most commuters are stuck at home.
Which contracts pushed prices over the edge?
Futures for the month of May came due on April 21. Oil futures are contracts that let buyers and sellers coordinate the physical delivery of crude oil at a specific date in the future. That means anyone who owns futures on that date owns the oil, and they have to have some place to store it. That storage space also has to be paid for. At the moment, however, global storage capacity is practically full, leaving very little room to store May deliveries. Prices for precious remaining space have naturally risen. Fearing they would get their fingers burned, investors desperately tried to get out of the contracts. The futures became worthless in an instant, sending prices into free fall.
Did speculators cause the crash?
Yes and no – futures can be attractive for speculators because they are essentially bets on future pricing. And like any bet, you can win, or you can lose. In this instance, speculators gambled and lost big. But many companies also have to insure their commodity market activity, and futures are part of that practice. That goes not only for oil, but also other commodities like corn, wheat, soybeans and coffee. Futures generally offer a reliable and calculable price for a given commodity at some point down the road. But right now, no one wants to take delivery of the oil they own through their futures.
Why is WTI the only product affected?
Unlike European North Sea Brent Crude, one of the defining characteristics of WTI is that it is only delivered to one place. That place is Oklahoma, home to the world’s largest oil storage facility. All WTI pipelines lead to massive tanks in the city of Cushing, but most of them are almost full and the little space left in Cushing is selling at $10 (€9) a barrel and rising.
Why don’t oil producers simply slow production?
The physical characteristics of oil production generally make it necessary for a well, once tapped, to keep flowing into world markets until it runs dry. It is difficult to just turn off a well, and that is especially true when it comes to the environmentally controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. That is one of the main reasons oil tankers on the world’s oceans are now being used as floating storage facilities.
What does all of this mean for oil companies?
They may be in dire straits if the market doesn’t correct itself. That could lead to defaults on loans as well as mass layoffs. Right now, the entire US fracking industry is looking into the abyss, as experts estimate companies need prices of at least $50 a barrel for them to turn a profit.
Why is Trump buying oil now?
The short answer is: to grab headlines. The US president recently announced that he would purchase 75 million barrels of oil to prop up prices and top off US strategic oil reserves. Still, that does nothing to influence overall demand, and the move is a proverbial drop in the bucket, as 75 million barrels more or less equals global demand for oil for just one day. OPEC’s decision — along with other oil-producing nations such as Russia — to cut daily production by 10 million barrels a day will have a much greater effect.
Nevertheless, most experts agree that none of those moves will be nearly enough to make up for drops in demand. Ultimately, that equation puts enormous pressure on countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia, both of which are hugely dependent upon oil revenues to finance themselves.

Saudi Arabia may re-route tankers if U.S. imposes crude import ban: sources
April 22, 2020
by Jonathan Saul, Devika Krishna Kumar and Olga Yagova
Reuters
LONDON/NEW YORK/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia is looking into re-routing millions of barrels of oil onboard tankers sailing to the United States if President Donald Trump decides to block imports of crude from the Kingdom, shipping and trade sources say.
Some 40 million barrels of Saudi oil are on their way to the U.S. and due to arrive in the coming weeks, piling more pressure on markets already struggling to absorb a glut of stocks, according to shipping data and sources.
U.S. officials have said in recent days that Washington is considering blocking Saudi shipments of crude oil, or putting tariffs on those shipments, adding to difficulties for the cargoes now on the water.
Shipping sources said the kingdom had tried to seek storage options for the cargoes from tanker owners when the ships were chartered last month, but many pushed back given booming rates and not wanting tied up vessels.
Two sources said Saudi Arabia was looking into whether it could re-route the cargoes elsewhere if the United States halted imports.
Saudi officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Oil traders active in European and Asian markets said there was expectation that the Saudis would look to divert the cargoes to other markets if a ban was imposed, in a move that would then put huge pressure on storage tanks in those two regions.
“Europe looks full, but surely if the Saudis offer it at really cheap levels, buyers would take it,” a source with an international trading firm said.
“Some still have storage spaces or may agree to float it for some time.”
A source at a separate oil trading firm active in Asia said they expected many of the barrels that were bound for the U.S. to flow to the region if exports were blocked.
The slump in demand triggered by the coronavirus and the hunt for storage options had prompted the United States to consider such action.
U.S. senator Ted Cruz said in on Twitter on Tuesday: “My message to the Saudis: TURN THE TANKERS THE HELL AROUND.”
Shipping data showed 19 supertankers – each capable of carrying 2 million barrels of oil – were sailing to key U.S. terminals, especially in the U.S. Gulf.
Three separate tankers, also chartered by Saudi Arabia, were currently anchored outside U.S. Gulf ports, the data showed.
“This could prove to be a very expensive exercise for Saudi Arabia as whatever happens with the cargoes and the tanker owners will need to be paid demurrage (for the ships) and those costs would have been locked in when the market was higher to secure the charters,” a shipping source said.
“While this is an expensive gamble for the Saudis, shutting off production would have been proved even more costly.”
Additional costs, known as demurrage, were estimated at $250,000 a day based on rates last month when a lot of vessels were booked.
Daily tanker rates have soared to nearly $300,000 a day in the past month and reached $150,000 a day this week, which would be in addition to other costs including insurance if the ships are held up.
U.S. REFINERS PULL BACK
Refiners have been largely absent from oil markets in the United States in recent days as they slash processing rates and as demand dries up, physical oil market sources said.
“There is more reluctance now with fresh shipments as refiners in the U.S. have no homes for the oil,” another shipping source said.
Marathon Petroleum (MPC.N), Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), Chevron (CVX.N) and Phillips 66 (PSX.N), among the biggest U.S. buyers of Saudi crude, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Most of the large buyers of Saudi oil are along the West Coast. The region accounts for about half of all Saudi crude imports to the United States, according to the EIA. Storage there was already 65% full as of April 10.
The Gulf Coast is the second biggest destination in the United States for Saudi oil, and storage there was about 55% full.
U.S. crude futures crashed on Monday, with the front-month May contract, which expired on Tuesday, settling at negative $37.63 a barrel. That steep fall came as traders scrambled to get out of the contract to avoid taking delivery of barrels due to a lack of storage.
The imminent arrival of the cargoes comes at a time when the main U.S. storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI crude, is expected to be full within weeks.
President Donald Trump said on Monday he would “look at” possibly stopping Saudi shipments to the United States.
Last week, Frank Fannon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for energy resources, said tariffs were a possibility.
Additional reporting by Rania El Gamal in Dubai; editing by David Evans

Counterfeiting significant to China’s overall economy
by Susan Headley
Special to Coin World
The counterfeiting of general goods and infringement of intellectual rights (such as software piracy) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) comprises a significant portion of China’s overall economy. Consider these facts:
– In 2006, an estimated 8 percent of China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was generated from counterfeiting.
– The PRC’s own State Council Research and Development Center estimated that there were $19 billion to $24 billion worth of counterfeit goods flooding China’s economy in 2001.
– Brand owners estimated that 15 to 20 percent of all well-known brands in the PRC are counterfeit.
– Up to 80 percent of all worldwide counterfeiting is done in China, according to some estimates.
– In 2005, U.S. Customs seized $93 million worth of counterfeit and infringing goods, nearly 70 percent of which came from China (and this is only what Customs actually caught entering the country, which is probably a small percentage of the total).
– The manufacture of counterfeits is primarily centered in the two southern Chinese provinces of Fujian and Guangdong.
Comment: It would appear, very clearly, that the Chinese, with full consent of their government, have been faking literally hundreds of gold and silver coins; some bullion and some numismatic, and been dumping them, in huge numbers, on the public.
I have a list of the mints or firms in China that make these coins, which coins they make, how these coins are sent into the United States, who the middlemen are, who the retail outlets are and so on.
The Chinese government is a partner in all of this, getting gold and silver to the counterfeiters and easing any export problems because they are furious that President Obama dared to raise the interest rates on American T-bills. As this act effectively diminished the value of the Chinese massive holdings and as they demanded that Obama not raise the interest rate, something he refused to consider, they are now finding a way to profit from the coin sales.
The coins include all the Morgan dollars, every year and every mint, rare coins attributed to an entirely fake “SS New York” sinking off Galveston, most, if not all, of US gold coinage from the mid-19 century to present, copies of the so-called pillar dollars of Carlos III, rare California gold purporting to come from the entirely legitimate but controlled findings from the SS Central America and so on. Of course they have made up Romanov silver and gold Nicolas II coins for the Russian market, alleged “original” gold bars, and on and on.

CIA Counterfeiting of American money
April 22. 2020
by Christian Jürs
The CIA, has been responsible for manufacturing the nearly-perfect counterfeit 50 and 100-dollar-notes that Washington has been accusing the North Koreans of making.
The charge comes after an extensive investigation in Europe and Asia by the German BfV and after interviews with counterfeit money experts and leading representatives of the high-security publishing industry.
These CIA dollar forgeries, designated ‘Supernotes,’ are so good that even specialists are unable to distinguish them from genuine notes, have circulated for almost two decades without a reliable identification of the culprits. Because of their extraordinary quality, experts had assumed that some country must have been behind the enterprise.
North Korea is one of the world’s poorest nations and lacks the technological capability to produce notes of such high quality. According to the BfV, North Korea is at present unable to even produce the won, the North Korean currency.
The German sources state that the CIA has printed the falsified ‘Supernotes’ at a secret facility near Washington to fund covert operations without Congressional oversight. The same agency has also been falsifying Euros to fund its large-scale bribery of German government officials, via the CIA-controlled Deutsche Bank.

The Failed Economic Rape of Russsia
April 22, 2020
by Christian Jürs
After the fall of Gorbachev and his replacement by Boris Yeltsin, a known CIA connection, the Russian criminal mob was encouraged by the CIA to move into the potentially highly lucrative Russian natural resource field.
By 1993 almost all banks in Russia were owned by the mafia, and 80% of businesses were paying protection money. In that year, 1400 people were murdered in Moscow, crime members killed businessmen who would not pay money to them, as well as reporters, politicians, bank owners and others opposed to them. The new criminal class of Russia took on a more Westernized and businesslike approach to organized crime as the more code-of-honor based Vory faded into extinction.
The Izmaylovskaya gang was considered one of the country’s most important and oldest Russian Mafia groups in Moscow and also had a presence in Tel Aviv, Berlin, Paris, Toronto, Miami and New York City. It was founded during the 1980s under the leadership of Oleg Ivanov and was estimated to consist of about 200 active members (according to other data of 300–500 people). In principle, the organization was divided into two separate bodies—Izmailovskaya and Gol’yanovskaya which utilized quasi-military ranks and strict internal discipline. It was involved extensively in murder-for-hire, extortions, and infiltration of legitimate businesses.
The gangs were termed the Oligarchy and were funded by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Israeli-owned Bank of New York all with the assistance of the American government.
The arrival of Vladimir Putin as the new leader of Russia was at first ignored in Washington. A former KGB Lt. Colonel who had been stationed in East Germany, Putin was viewed as inconsequential, bland and colorless by the purported Russian experts in both the Department of State and the CIA.
Putin, however, proved to be a dangerous opponent who blocked the Oligarchs attempt to control the oil fields and other assets, eventual control of which had been promised to both American and British firms.
The Oligarchs were allowed to leave the country and those remaining behind were forced to follow Putin’s policies. Foreign control over Russian natural resources ceased and as both the CIA, various foreign firms and the American government had spent huge sums greasing the skids, there was now considerable negative feelings towards Putin.
The next serious moves against Russia came with a plan conceived by the CIA and fully approved by President George W. Bush, whose father had once been head of the CIA.
This consisted of ‘Operation Sickle’ which was designed to surround the western and southern borders of Russia with states controlled by the United States through the guise of NATO membership. Included in this encirclement program were the Baltic States, Poland, the Czech Republic, Georgia and a number of Asiatic states bordering southern Russia. It was the stated intention of the NATO leadership to put military missiles in all these countries.
The so-called “Orange Revolution” funded and directed by the CIA, overthrew the pro-Moscow government in the Ukraine, giving the United States theoretical control over the heavy industrialized Donetz Basin and most importantly, the huge former Soviet naval base at Sebastopol.
The Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) was an American-sponsored 18-month, $64-million program aimed at increasing the capabilities of the Georgian armed forces by training and equipping four 600-man battalions with light weapons, vehicles and communications. The program enabled the US to expedite funding for the Georgian military for Operation Enduring Freedom.
On February 27, 2002, the US media reported that the U.S. would send approximately two hundred United States Army Special Forces soldiers to Georgia to train Georgian troops. The program implemented President Bush’s decision to respond to the Government of Georgia’s request for assistance to enhance its counter-terrorism capabilities and addressed the situation in the Pankisi Gorge.
The program began in May 2002 when American special forces soldiers began training select units of the Georgian Armed Forces, including the 12th Commando Light Infantry Battalion, the 16th Mountain-Infantry Battalion, the 13th “Shavnabada” Light Infantry Battalion, the 11th Light Infantry Battalion, a mechanized company and small numbers of Interior Ministry troops and border guards.
Eventually, responsibility for training Georgian forces was turned over to the US Marine Corps in conjunction with the British Army. British and American teams worked as part of a joint effort to train each of the four infantry battalion staffs and their organic rifle companies. This training began with the individual soldier and continued through fire team, squad, platoon, company, and battalion level tactics as well as staff planning and organization. Upon completing training, each of the new Georgian infantry battalions began preparing for deployment rotations in support of the Global War on Terrorism
The CIA were instrumental in getting Mikhail Saakashvili, an erratic politician, pro-West, into the presidency of Georgia but although he allowed the country to be flooded with American arms and “military trainers” he was not a man easily controlled and under the mistaken belief that American military might supported him, commenced to threaten Moscow. Two Georgian provinces were heavily populated by Russians and objected to the inclusion in Georgia and against them, Saakashvili began to make threatening moves.
The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War (in Russia also known as the Five-Day War) was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other.
During the night of 7 to 8 August 2008, Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia, in an attempt to reclaim the territory. Georgia claimed that it was responding to attacks on its peacekeepers and villages in South Ossetia, and that Russia was moving non-peacekeeping units into the country. The Georgian attack caused casualties among Russian peacekeepers, who resisted the assault along with Ossetian militia.
Georgia successfully captured most of Tskhinvali within hours. Russia reacted by deploying units of the Russian 58th Army and Russian Airborne Troops in South Ossetia, and launching airstrikes against Georgian forces in South Ossetia and military and logistical targets in Georgia proper. Russia claimed these actions were a necessary humanitarian intervention and peace enforcement.
When the Russian incursion was seen as massive and serious, U.S. president George W. Bush’s statement to Russia was: “Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.” The US Embassy in Georgia, describing the Matthew Bryza press-conference, called the war an “incursion by one of the world’s strongest powers to destroy the democratically elected government of a smaller neighbor”.
Initially the Bush Administration seriously considered a military response to defend Georgia, but such an intervention was ruled out by the Pentagon due to the inevitable conflict it would lead to with Russia. Instead, Bush opted for a softer option by sending humanitarian supplies to Georgia by military, rather than civilian, aircraft. And he ordered the immediate evacuation of all American military units from Georgia. The huge CIA contingent stationed in the Georgian capital fled by aircraft and the American troops, mostly U.S. Marines, evacuated quickly to the Black Sea where they were evacuated by the U.S. Navy.
British and Israeli military units also fled the country and all of them had to leave behind an enormous amount of military equipment to include tanks, light armored vehicles, small arms, radio equipment, and trucks full of intelligence data they had neither the time nor foresight to destroy.
The immediate result of this demarche was the defection of the so-called “NATO Block” eastern Europeans from the Bush/CIA project who saw the United States as a paper tiger that would not, and could not, defend them against the Russians. In a sense, the Russian incursion into Georgia was a massive political, not a military, victory.
The CIA was not happy with the actions of Vladimir Putin and when he ran for reelection, they poured money into the hands of Putin’s enemies, hoping to reprise the Ukrainian Orange Revolution but the effort was in vain.
On September 6, 2016, Vladimir Putin’s state limousine, travelling on a Moscow highway, was slammed into by a car which jumped the median strip.
Putin’s driver was killed but Putin was not in the car at the time.
Shortly after this incident, a WikiLeaks release disclosed the CIA’s ability to get control of a car’s computer system and cause it to go out of control.

Accidents on Purpose
April 22, 2020
by Christian Jürs

Pity the poor Ukrainians, so far from God and so close to the United States.
When the Ukraine separated from Russia, it was with the assistance of the American CIA and when a pro-Russian president came into office there, the same CIA moved to remove him.
The Ukraine is important to the United States because she then controlled the strategically important Crimea with its extensive offshore oil deposits and, more important, the large former Soviet naval base at Sevastopol. One of the demands of the CIA when it worked to remove the pro-Russian president was that the lease the Russians had on this base would be cancelled and the U.S. Navy given the same lease.
This would give the US a naval presence in the Black Sea, part of the encirclement of Russia. To facilitate this, a CIA-trained unit started protest meetings in Kiev and to sharpen their demands, on February 20, 2014, a large public meeting in Kiev’s Maidan square had hidden snipers shoo o the crowd, killing over 50 people. This created the necessary push for a successful anti-Russian putsch.
Acts of violence resulting in the deaths of many people seemed to be the norm in the encirclement campaign against Russia
On 10 April 2010, a Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft of the Polish Air Force crashed near the city of Smolensk, Russia, killing all 96 people on board. Among the victims were the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński and his wife Maria, the former President of Poland in exile Ryszard Kaczorowski, the chief of the Polish General Staff and other senior Polish military officers, the president of the National Bank of Poland, Polish Government officials, 18 members of the Polish Parliament, senior members of the Polish clergy and relatives of victims of the Katyn massacre. The group was arriving from Warsaw to attend an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the massacre, which took place not far from Smolensk.
The pilots were attempting to land at Smolensk North Airport – a former military airbase – in thick fog, with visibility reduced to about 500 meters (1,600 ft). The aircraft descended far below the normal approach path until it struck trees, rolled inverted and crashed into the ground, coming to rest in a wooded area a short distance from the runway.
In this case, a man code-named ‘Corey’ was able to alter the signals on the airport landing area to show the ground twenty-seven feet lower than it actually was.
‘Corey’ was a member of a CIA group called ‘Summerfield II’ that was run by a CIA officer named Russle.
His real name is George Macalister, his date of birth is 5.29.42 and his American Social Security number SS # 465-80-9315, his email address is :
george_macalister@hotmail.com (G137596.)
The reason why the aircraft was destroyed is because the US wanted Poland to be a supportive member of countries facing Russia who were to form a bloc of American-supportive entites designed to threaten Russia both militarily and economically. The Poles were flying to Smolensk to take part, with Russian officials in a memorial to the Stalin-killed Polish officers at Katyn during the Second World War. This rapproachment was anathema to the CIA and had to be somehow disrupted. Hence we had the entire Polish government wiped out in a single action as an object lesion to others.
After the installation of a CIA-friendly government in the Ukraine and a pending revoking of the Russian lease on the Sebastopol naval base, on April 15, 2014, CIA Director John Brennan and is staff flew into Kiev and met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema to discuss the formation of new, more secure channels for sharing U.S. intelligence with the country now fighting pro-Russian secessionists in its eastern cities.
Shortly after this, on July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) a scheduled passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down while flying over eastern Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. The rocket projectors used in this attack were of Russian origin but had been sold to the Ukrainian military ten years earlier.
This operation was also run by the ‘Summerfield II’ people.
And note that the two ships that caught on fire were dealing in oil from a country that the US had sanctioned. It has been reliably reported that external sabotage was the reason for the explosions and fire and that the group responsible for the sabotage are headquarted in the same building in Kiev that also houses the large CIA unit.
Mr. Macalister, now retired, lives in Vienna, Virginia and no doubt enjoys leafing through his scrapbook filled with photographs and old newspaper clippings depicting international incidents involving large death tolls.

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Jared Taylor

Jared Taylor is the pseudo-intellectual founder of the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance and probably one of the leaders of the alt-right – indeed, he has been called the “Intellectual Godfather” of the movement (or “the cultivated, cosmopolitan face of white supremacy [; h]e is the guy who is providing the intellectual heft, in effect, to modern-day Klansmen”), descriptions that shouldn’t come across as flattering to ordinary, reasonable people. Taylor’s primary policy goals are apparently 1) a return to “pre-1965” standards for allowing immigrants into the country to ensure that “European people” and their descendants are a larger percentage of the population, 2) to give more power to white power organizations, and 3) for explicit white supremacy to return to being one of the dominant ideologies in the US. Achieving these goals means raising “consciousness” among white people, such as making them see that “blacks and whites are different[; w]hen blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization – any kind of civilization – disappears”. This is accordingly what he and his magazine have set out to do. (Unusually for people with his political allegiances, Taylor consistently rejects anti-Semitism, which has put him at odds with other alt-righters and white supremacists, such as David Duke.) His Twitter account was permanently suspended in December 2017.
Taylor has “strenuously rejected” being labelled “racist”, maintaining rather that he is instead a “racialist who believes in race-realism,” which is a difference only perceptible to, well, racialists. He has also said that he is not a white supremacist, describing himself as a “white advocate”. He is also a promoter of the white genocide conspiracy theory, and has hosted the Suidlanders on his AmRen podcast to discuss the topic.
Taylor’s influence is sufficiently wide-ranging to make its mark also in contexts that should make some people embarrassed, such as the Trump administration (Taylor is a firm supporter, of course). Jesse Lee Peterson is also sympathetic to Taylor’s ideas.
Diagnosis: It scares us a bit that we are finding these people so boring that we cannot be bothered to give them the detailed entries they deserve, but they really manage to be bother boring and truly scary at the same time.

Sarah Pope
A.k.a. The healthy home economist

Sarah Pope is a Weston-Price Foundation board member with training in economics and financial management, who offers dangerous health advice and insane conspiracy theories under the description “the healthy home economist”. Pope is an antivaxxer, and recommends that parents avoid all vaccines in favor of homeoprophylaxis and immune boosting diets (it is hard to exaggerate how stupid this is) and that they also avoid the newborn vitamin K shot. Moreover, she is on record telling parents to lie to their pediatricians about giving babies raw milk, since pediatricians have a tendency to be sensible and take a reality-based view on such things and may therefore not support the choice, which goes against Pope’s religious view of the benevolence of all things natural (where “natural” is somewhat nebulously defined to include e.g. raw milk).
She has also argued against anti-D immunoglobulin for the prevention of hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn. The condition is caused by a mismatch in mother-fetal blood type, and the treatment is a safe medical therapy that has saved countless lives (Pope acknowledges a “small risk” – thousands and thousands of dead babies pale in comparison to what really matters for Pope, namely the spiritual purity of your bodily fluids). To make her case, Pope relies on fear-mongering and links to conspiracy websites like whale.to (oh yes, she does). There is a good discussion of her article on the issue and some rather strikingly basic errors here (including things like Pope’s claims that the “shot does work, but only if the immunoglobulin is administered within 72 hours of the trauma that caused the blood mixing in the first place” and “[t]he Rh antibodies from the RhoGam shot hang around in the mother’s bloodstream for up to 12 weeks following the shot” – choose whichever claim sounds scarier; yes, they blatantly contradict each other.) As you’d expect, Pope appeals to Big Pharma conspiracies to explain why doctors and science are wrong on issues like this, as well as outright lying (“anti-D is never given during pregnancy in Europe, only after delivery,” says Pope, since it seems to serve her argument if the claim had any basis in reality, which it doesn’t). Instead of the evils of science and reality, Pope recommends being natural and use semi-randomly selected nutritional supplements to help “tone the uterus”. To ensure that she touches all bases, she aslo manages to end up blaming fluoride.
As an antivaxxer, Pope has promoted pretty much every antivaccine gambit, piece of misinformation and pseudoscience in the antivaccine playbook, including herd immunity denialism, claiming that vaccines cause autism, that vaccines don’t work, the idiotic aborted fetal tissue nonsense (in “How to Resist Pediatrician Pro Vaccination Tactics”; links in the foregoing will, as usual, take you to succinct explanations for why the claims are nonsense). Indeed, Pope is so much the image of a loony antivaxxer that she even got to serve as model antivaxxer for the Daily Show antivaxxer parody (she didn’t respond particularly intelligently to that. Pope has also for instance pushed the myth that vaccines still contain thimerosal, a “neurotoxin”. Thimerosal is not a neurotoxin, and was nevertheless removed from vaccines in 2001, despite being completely safe, due to antivaccine fearmongering trying to link it to autism. Of course, removing it from vaccines did not affect the rate of autism, since vaccines never caused autism; some among the crazier fringes of the anti-vaccine movement accordingly try to claim that everything is a conspiracy and that thimerosal is still present in the vaccine. Like Pope: “Studies performed by Health Advocacy in the Public Interest (HAPI) in 2004 found that despite vaccine manufacturers’ claims that thimerosal was no longer being used … All vaccine vials tested by HAPI that were labeled ‘mercury free’ did, in fact, contain this neurotoxin.” HAPI is an anti-vaccine group. Their study consisted of sending 4 samples of anti-D to Doctor’s Data, a crank lab famous for giving any crackpot sending anything there precisely the results they want to obtain. Pope also pushes the aluminum scare, of course.
And as for the fact that children die from vaccine preventable diseases? Well, her children didn’t, therefore vaccines are unnecessary.
Diagnosis: Yes, she does a good job as an unintentional parody of the antivaccine movement, but there is nothing funny about it. A truly terrible person. Whatever you do, do not take health advice from this person.

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