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TBR News April 30, 2020

Apr 30 2020

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. April 30, 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 30, 2020:”Are there any dangerous secrets behind the corona virus outbreak? Is this a Chinese problem? Many question are starting to grow in very fertile soil so let us look into facts, not fictions
Why the Pentagon collects and studies bats
Bats are the reservoir hosts to the Ebola Virus , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and other deadly diseases such as corona virus. The precise ways these viruses are transmitted to humans have recently been discovered.
Numerous studies have been performed under the DTRA Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP) in a search for deadly pathogens of military importance in bats.
Bats have been blamed for the deadly Ebola outbreak in Africa (2014-2016). However, no conclusive evidence of exactly how the virus “jumped” to humans has ever been discussed in public, which raises very srong suspicions of intentional and not natural infection.
Engineering deadly viruses is legal in the US
MERS-CoV is thought to originate from bats and spread directly to humans. a. However, like Ebola, the precise ways the virus spreads are unknown.
1,980 cases with 699 deaths were reported in 15 countries across the world (as of June 2017) caused by MERS-CoV.
3 to 4 out of every 10 patients reported with MERS have died. Source: WHO
MERS-CoV is one of the viruses that have been engineered by the US and studied by the Pentagon, as well as Influenza and SARS. Confirmation of this practice is Obama’s 2014 temporary ban on government funding for such “dual-use” research. The moratorium was lifted in 2017 and experiments have continued. Enhanced Potential Pandemic Pathogens (PPPs) experiments are legal in the US.
Such experiments aim to increase the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens.

The Table of Contents
• New York-area coronavirus outbreak originated primarily in Europe, not China: report
• Most New York Coronavirus Cases Came From Europe, Genomes Show
• The Pentagon’s Illegal Bio-Weapons Programs- Part 1
• Trump the commander-in-bleach has been stripped of all feeling
• Another 3.8 million Americans lose jobs as US unemployment continues to grow
• Abolish family, eat bugs, inject female hormones: Covid-19 is Christmas for liberal control-freaks
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

New York-area coronavirus outbreak originated primarily in Europe, not China: report
April 8, 2020
by Dom Calicchio
Fox News
Two separate studies show that the coronavirus outbreak in the New York City area – by far the most deadly in the U.S. – originated from Europe, not China, according to a report.
Researchers conducting one of the studies have detected seven separate lineages of viruses that have arrived in the New York City area and they expect to find more, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
The two studies are being conducted by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the New York University School of Medicine.
Despite examining different examples of the outbreak, researchers from both teams reached largely the same conclusions about its origins, the Times reported.
“The majority is clearly European,” Dr. Harm van Bakel, a geneticist and co-author of the Icahn School’s study, told the newspaper.
Travelers likely carrying the virus had already been arriving in New York from Europe before Jan. 31, when President Trump limited entry by foreign nationals who’d been in China and March 11, when the president announced plans to block travelers from most parts of Europe, the Times reported.
On March 19, the newspaper reported that travelers arriving from Europe – where outbreaks in Italy and Spain were severe – were being asked at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport only if they had been to China or Iran, not if they had visited the hardest-hit nations in Europe.
“People were just oblivious,” Dr. Adriana Heguy of the NYU research team told the Times.
Researchers need to track the history of the virus so they will be able to develop vaccines and modify them as the virus mutates into other forms, the report said.
As of late Wednesday, the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, had infected 1.5 million people worldwide and killed nearly 88,000 people.
In the U.S., the virus had infected more than 420,000 people and killed more than 14,300.
In New York City, the virus had infected nearly 82,000 people (more than 19 percent of all U.S. cases) and killed more than 6,200 (nearly 44 percent of all U.S. deaths).

Most New York Coronavirus Cases Came From Europe, Genomes Show
Travelers seeded multiple cases starting as early as mid-February, genomes show.
April 8, 2020
by Carl Zimmer
New York Times
New research indicates that the coronavirus began to circulate in the New York area by mid-February, weeks before the first confirmed case, and that travelers brought in the virus mainly from Europe, not Asia.
“The majority is clearly European,” said Harm van Bakel, a geneticist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who co-wrote a study awaiting peer review.
A separate team at NYU Grossman School of Medicine came to strikingly similar conclusions, despite studying a different group of cases. Both teams analyzed genomes from coronaviruses taken from New Yorkers starting in mid-March.
The research revealed a previously hidden spread of the virus that might have been detected if aggressive testing programs had been put in place.
On Jan. 31, President Donald Trump barred foreign nationals from entering the country if they had been in China during the prior two weeks.
It would not be until late February that Italy would begin locking down towns and cities, and March 11 when Trump said he would block travelers from most European countries. But New Yorkers had already been traveling home with the virus.
“People were just oblivious,” said Adriana Heguy, a member of the NYU team.
Heguy and van Bakel belong to an international guild of viral historians. They ferret out the history of outbreaks by poring over clues embedded in the genetic material of viruses taken from thousands of patients.
Viruses invade a cell and take over its molecular machinery, causing it to make new viruses.
The process is quick and sloppy. As a result, new viruses can gain a new mutation that wasn’t present in their ancestor. If a new virus manages to escape its host and infect other people, its descendants will inherit that mutation.
Tracking viral mutations demands sequencing all the genetic material in a virus — its genome. Once researchers have gathered the genomes from a number of virus samples, they can compare their mutations.
Sophisticated computer programs can then figure out how all of those mutations arose as viruses descended from a common ancestor. If they get enough data, they can make rough estimates about how long ago those ancestors lived. That’s because mutations arise at a roughly regular pace, like a molecular clock.
Maciej Boni of Penn State University and his colleagues recently used this method to see where the coronavirus, designated SARS-CoV-2, came from in the first place. While conspiracy theories might falsely claim the virus was concocted in a lab, the virus’s genome makes clear that it arose in bats.
There are many kinds of coronaviruses, which infect both humans and animals. Boni and his colleagues found that the genome of the new virus contains a number of mutations in common with strains of coronaviruses that infect bats.
The most closely related coronavirus is in a Chinese horseshoe bat, the researchers found. But the new virus has gained some unique mutations since splitting off from that bat virus decades ago.
Boni said that ancestral virus probably gave rise to a number of strains that infected horseshoe bats and perhaps sometimes other animals.
“Very likely there’s a vast unsampled diversity,” he said.
Copying mistakes aren’t the only way for new viruses to arise. Sometimes two kinds of coronaviruses will infect the same cell. Their genetic material gets mixed up in new viruses.
It’s entirely possible, Boni said, in the past 10 or 20 years, a hybrid virus arose in some bat that was well-suited to infect humans, too. Later, that virus somehow managed to cross the species barrier.
“Once in a while, one of these viruses wins the lottery,” he said.
In January, a team of Chinese and Australian researchers published the first genome of the new virus. Since then, researchers around the world have sequenced over 3,000 more. Some are genetically identical to each other, while others carry distinctive mutations.
That’s just a tiny sampling of the full diversity of the virus. As of April 8, there were 1.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the true total is probably many millions more. But already, the genomes of the virus are revealing previously hidden outlines of its history over the past few months.
As new genomes come to light, researchers upload them to an online database called GISAID. A team of virus evolution experts are analyzing the growing collection of genomes in a project called Nextstrain. They continually update the virus family tree.
The deepest branches of the tree all belong to lineages from China. The Nextstrain team has also used the mutation rate to determine that the virus probably first moved into humans from an animal host in late 2019. On Dec. 31, China announced that doctors in the city of Wuhan were treating dozens of cases of a mysterious new respiratory illness.
In January, as the scope of the catastrophe in China became clear, a few countries started an aggressive testing program. They were able to track the arrival of the virus on their territory and track its spread through their populations.
But the United States fumbled in making its first diagnostic kits and initially limited testing only to people who had come from China and displayed symptoms of COVID-19.
“It was a disaster that we didn’t do testing,” Heguy said.
A few cases came to light starting at the end of January. But it was easy to dismiss them as rare imports that did not lead to local outbreaks.
The illusion was dashed at the end of February by Trevor Bedford, an associate professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, and his colleagues.
Using Nextstrain, they showed that a virus identified in a patient in late February had a mutation shared by one identified in Washington state on Jan. 20.
The Washington viruses also shared other mutations in common with ones isolated in Wuhan, suggesting that a traveler had brought the coronavirus from China.
With that discovery, Bedford and his colleagues took the lead in sequencing coronavirus genomes. Sequencing more genomes around Washington gave them a better view of how the outbreak there got started.
“I’m quite confident that it was not spreading in December in the United States,” Bedford said. “There may have been a couple other introductions in January that didn’t take off in the same way.”
As new cases arose in other parts of the country, other researchers set up their own pipelines. The first positive test result in New York came on March 1, and after a couple of weeks, patients surged into the city’s hospitals.
“I thought, ‘We need to do this for New York,’” Heguy said.
Heguy and her colleagues found some New York viruses that shared unique mutations not found elsewhere. “That’s when you know you’ve had a silent transmission for a while,” she said.
Heguy estimated that the virus began circulating in the New York area a couple of months ago.
And researchers at Mount Sinai started sequencing the genomes of patients coming through their hospital. They found that the earliest cases identified in New York were not linked to later ones.
“Two weeks later, we start seeing viruses related to each other,” said Ana Silvia Gonzalez-Reiche, a member of the Mount Sinai team.
Gonzalez-Reiche and her colleagues found that these viruses were practically identical to viruses found around Europe. They cannot say on what particular flight a particular virus arrived in New York. But they write that the viruses reveal “a period of untracked global transmission between late January to mid-February.”
So far, the Mount Sinai researchers have identified seven separate lineages of viruses that entered New York and began circulating. “We will probably find more,” van Bakel said.
The coronavirus genomes are also revealing hints of early cross-country travel.
Van Bakel and his colleagues found one New York virus that was identical to one of the Washington viruses found by Bedford and his colleagues. In a separate study, researchers at Yale found another Washington-related virus. Combined, the two studies hint that the coronavirus has been moving from coast to coast for several weeks.
Sidney Bell, a computational biologist working with the Nextstrain team, cautions people not to read too much into these new mutations themselves. “Just because something is different doesn’t mean it matters,” Bell said.
Mutations do not automatically turn viruses into new, fearsome strains. They often don’t bring about any change at all. “To me, mutations are inevitable and kind of boring,” Bell said. “But in the movies, you get the X-Men.”
Peter Thielen, a virologist at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, likes to think of the spread of viruses like a dandelion seed landing on an empty field.
The flower grows up and produces seeds of its own. Those seeds spread and sprout. New mutations arise over the generations as the dandelions fill the field. “But they’re all still dandelions,” Thielen said.
While the coronavirus mutations are useful for telling ineages apart, they don’t have any apparent effect on how the virus works.
That’s good news for scientists working on a vaccine.
Vaccine developers hope to fight COVID-19 by teaching our bodies to make antibodies that can grab onto the virus and block its entry into cells.
Some viruses evolve so quickly that they require vaccines that can produce several different antibodies. That’s not the case for COVID-19. Like other coronaviruses, it has a relatively slow mutation rate compared to some viruses, like influenza.
As hard as the fight against it may be, its mutations reveal that things can be a whole lot worse.
Of course, the coronavirus will continue to mutate as long as it still infects people. It’s possible that vaccines will have to change to keep up with the virus. And that’s why scientists need to keep tracking its history.

The Pentagon’s Illegal Bio-Weapons Programs- Part 1
April 30, 2020
The US Army regularly produces deadly viruses, bacteria and toxins in direct violation of the UN Convention on the prohibition of Biological Weapons. Hundreds of thousands of unwitting people are systematically exposed to dangerous pathogens and other incurable diseases.
Bio warfare scientists using diplomatic cover test man-made viruses at Pentagon bio laboratories in 25 countries across the world. These US bio-laboratories are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $ 2.1 billion military program– Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), and are located in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.
The Lugar Center, Republic of Georgia
The US Army has been deployed to Vaziani Military Air Base, 17 km away from the Pentagon bio-laboratory at The Lugar Center.
Georgia is a testing ground for bioweapons
The Lugar Center is the Pentagon bio laboratory in Georgia. It is located just 17 km away from the US Vaziani military airbase in the capital Tbilisi. Tasked with the military program are biologists from the US Army Medical Research Unit-Georgia (USAMRU-G) along with private contractors. The Bio-safety Level 3 Laboratory is accessible only to US citizens with security clearance. They are accorded diplomatic immunity under the 2002 US-Georgia Agreement on defense cooperation.
The USA-Georgia agreement accords diplomatic status to the US military and civilian personnel (including diplomatic vehicles), working on the Pentagon program in Georgia.
Information obtained from the US federal contracts registry clarifies some of the military activities at The Lugar Center – among them research on bio- agents (anthrax, tularemia) and viral diseases (e.g. Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever), and the collection of biological samples for future experiments.
Pentagon contractors produce bio agents under diplomatic cover
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has outsourced much of the work under the military program to private companies, which are not held accountable to Congress, and which can operate more freely and move around the rule of law. US civilian personnel performing work at The Lugar Center have also been given diplomatic immunity, although they are not diplomats. Hence, private companies can perform work, under diplomatic cover, for the US government without being under the direct control of the host state – in this case the Republic of Georgia. This practice is often used by the CIA to provide cover for its agents.
Three private American companies work at the US bio-laboratory in Tbilisi – CH2M Hill, Battelle and Metabiota. In addition to the Pentagon, these private contractors perform biological research for the CIA and various other government agencies.
CH2M Hill has been awarded $341.5 million DTRA contracts under the Pentagon’s program for bio-laboratories in Georgia, Uganda, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan, South East Asia. Half of this sum ($161.1 million), being allocated to The Lugar Center, under the Georgian contract.
The US Company has secured biological agents and employed former bio warfare scientists at The Lugar Center. These are scientists who are working for another American company involved in the military program in Georgia – Battelle Memorial Institute.
Battelle as a $59 million subcontractor at Lugar Center has extensive experience in research on bio-agents, as the company has already worked on the US Bio-weapons Program under 11 previous contracts with the US Army (1952-1966).
The private company performs work for the Pentagon’s DTRA bio laboratories in Afghanistan, Armenia, Georgia, Uganda, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. Battelle conducts research, development, testing, and evaluation using both highly toxic chemicals and highly pathogenic biological agents for a wide range of US government agencies. It has been awarded some $2 billion federal contracts in total and ranks 23 on the Top 100 US government contractors list.
The CIA-Battelle Project Clear Vision
Project Clear Vision (1997 and 2000), a joint investigation by the CIA and the Battelle Memorial Institute, under a contract awarded by the Agency, reconstructed and tested a Soviet-era anthrax bomblet in order to test its dissemination characteristics. The project’s stated goal was to assess bio-agents dissemination characteristics of bomblets. The clandestine CIA-Battelle operation was omitted from the US Biological Weapons Convention declarations submitted to the UN.
Top Secret Experiments
Battelle has operated a Top Secret Bio laboratory (National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center – NBACC) at Fort Detrick, Maryland under a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) contract for the last decade. The company has been awarded a $344.4 million federal contract (2006 – 2016) and another $17.3 million contract (2015 -2026) by DHS.
Amongst the secret experiments, performed by Battelle at NBACC, are: Assessment of powder dissemination technology ; Assessment of hazard posed by aerosolized toxins and Assessment of virulence of B. Pseudomallei (Meliodosis) as a function of aerosol particle in non-human primates. Melioidosis has the potential to be developed as a biological weapon, hence, it is classed as a category B. Bioterrorism Agent. B. Pseudomallei was studied by the US as a potential bioweapon in the past.
Besides the military experiments at the Lugar Center in Georgia, Battelle has already produced bioterrorism agents at the Biosafety Level 4 NBACC Top Secret Laboratory at Fort Detrick in the US. A NBACC presentation lists 16 research priorities for the lab. Amongst them to characterize classical, emerging and genetically engineered pathogens for their BTA (biological threat agent) potential; assess the nature of nontraditional, novel and non-endemic induction of disease from potential BTA and to expand aerosol-challenge testing capacity for non-human primates.
Pentagon biolabs at the epicenter of the Ebola crisis
The US Company Metabiota Inc. has been awarded $18.4 million federal contracts under the Pentagon’s DTRA program in Georgia and Ukraine for scientific and technical consulting services.
Metabiota services include global field-based biological threat research, pathogen discovery, outbreak response and clinical trials.
Metabiota Inc. had been contracted by the Pentagon to perform work for DTRA before and during the Ebola crisis in West Africa and was awarded $3.1 million (2012-2015) for work in Sierra Leone – one of the countries at the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak.
Metabiota worked on a Pentagon’s project at the epicenter of the Ebola crisis, where three US biolabs are situated.
A July 17, 2014 report drafted by the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium, accused Metabiota Inc. of failing to abide by an existing agreement on how to report test results and for bypassing the Sierra Leonean scientists working there. The report also raised the possibility that Metabiota was culturing blood cells at the lab, something the report said was dangerous, as well as misdiagnosing healthy patients.

Comment: The corona virus that has wreaked so much havoc in Europe and the US did not originate in China.
The Chinese were working on a similar virus, found in nature, to perfect a vaccination.
The other virus suddenly appeared in Europe and migrated, (or was deliberately started by other means,) in the US
The Italians know about a lab near Milan (in northern Italy!) that is owned by a Swiss- registered corporation and who have been working on corona-type viruses for five years.
A check by the Italians has disclosed that the LLC is owned by two Americans.
Both live in Vienna, Virginia and are on CIA personnel lists.
In other words, the virus in Europe and the US was not of Chinese origin but its release was attributed to them.
Oddly enough, all, or at least a significant number of these facts, can be found on Google but the people there are not aware what they are posting.
What is a promising scenario?
Pompeo (a former CIA head, and as a firm Evangelical Christian, a strong Trump supporter) got an American version of the coronavirus going so that the Divine Donald, wearing a shit-stained white robe, could emerge from the Temple with a bottle in his hand, proclaiming that he has the vaccine and was making it public.
This is called a cinch election gambit.
Fat Donald blew it with his lunatic ramblings but the dead remained quiet.

Trump the commander-in-bleach has been stripped of all feeling
As the death toll rises, the president seems incapable of empathy. Maybe the disinfectant knocked it out of him
April 29, 2020
by Richard Wolffe
The Guardian
Donald Trump kindly obliged when a reporter asked last month if our commander-in-bleach saw America as being at war against the coronavirus.
“I do. I actually do,” he admitted, as the official death toll reached just 145 Americans. “I view it as a, in a sense, a wartime president. I mean that’s what we’re fighting. I mean, it’s – it’s a very tough situation. You’re – you have to do things.”
Doing things is one of the great burdens of being a wartime president. Explaining things is another. Sometimes you’re even asked to feel things. And we’re not talking about models, OK? Not even pandemic models.
One of those weird feeling questions was lobbed Trump’s way on Tuesday, like a meatball dangling in the air of the East Room, waiting to be crushed in front of the cameras.
“You’ve spoken about your friend who passed away,” begged the hungry reporter. “I was wondering if you have spoken to the families of anyone else who has lost a loved one to Covid-19. If there’s any particular stories that have affected you.”
Lots of stories have affected Donald Trump. The story about his inaugural crowds. The story about him losing the popular vote by historic margins. The stories about his corruption and incompetence. The story about Russia conspiring to manipulate American voters to elect him. The story about his impeachment for trying to corrupt November’s election.
But the death of another person affecting him?
“Well, I have – I have many people. I know many stories,” he warmed up. “I’ve spoken to three, maybe, I guess, four families unrelated to me.”
Since he first embraced the notion of being a wartime president, another 58,800 Americans have died from the pandemic. But our wartime leader could only find three, maybe four families to talk to. He is, you know, a busy man.
Perhaps not too busy to tweet about anything he sees on the teevee. But often too busy for lunch, according to his new chief of staff, who says that’s “the biggest concern I have”. Which means the catastrophic death toll and unemployment numbers are less of a concern than a hangry Trump. Good to know where your priorities lie, Mark Meadows. Thank you for your service.
Anyway, about those dead Americans.
“I did – I lost a very good friend,” explained our wartime leader. “I also lost three other friends – two of whom I didn’t know as well, but they were friends and people I did business with, and probably almost everybody in the room did.”
So they were special, then, these friends you didn’t know well, but did business with. Like everybody.Very moving.
“And it’s a – it’s a bad death,” he continued. “It’s not a – it’s – it’s a bad thing. It grips on to some people. Now we found out that young people do extraordinarily well. That’s why I think we can start thinking about schools, but of course, we’re ending the school season.”
Yes, pandemics have a way of gripping on to people and delivering the bad deaths that are totally and completely different from the good deaths. Truly, your friends are lucky to have you, Mr President. It’s just a shame they weren’t young people.
At this point, our wartime president gave up entirely on the premise of talking about the deaths of his friends to go on a springtime stroll through the open fields of his synapses.
He talked about Purdue University in Indiana (“a great state”) and also some place called Harvard. Apparently they want to reopen, which is not, as they say at MIT, rocket science. These places are doing something Trump called “computer learning”, which, he pointed out, is not “tele-learning”. Not at all. That’s the kind of thing you did at Trump University, which criminology students now claim to be a classic case of fraud.
Previous wartime presidents have been racked by the nation’s grief. Barack Obama cleared his schedule to talk and write to the families of soldiers killed in action, and visited with many. George W Bush said it was his “duty” to visit wounded soldiers and endure their parent’s verbal abuse. Trump, of course, lied about Obama’s treatment of gold star families, while also telling one widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for”.
But Obama and Bush never had to deal with the enormous magnitude of death that is Trump’s record. The United States has now lost more lives to the pandemic than it did in Vietnam, when Lyndon Johnson was so anguished by a war he knew was unwinnable. LBJ was hardly the emotive type but even he struggled with how to respond to grieving families.
Donald Trump, however, stands alone. He may share the same burden as Johnson, but he plainly lacks his political sense to quit rather than seek re-election. As the Washington Post calculated, he has spent just four and a half minutes expressing condolences for the deceased in more than 13 hours of briefings.
So our antihero glided blithely past another disastrous marker on his long descent into the depths of presidential failure: one million cases of a pandemic that he said just two months ago, would go down to zero and disappear “like a miracle”.
“At the appropriate time, it will be down to zero, like we said,” he explained on Tuesday, without divulging when it would be appropriate for the virus to disappear with the requisite decorum.
You see, for Trump, 58,000 dead Americans is actually a win. Kind of like a big win-win, really. Remember that the experts said that even more people would die and the experts were wrong. So that’s one win for him. And then they said he shouldn’t impose travel restrictions on flights from China, but he did, so that’s another win for him.
“So I think we’ve done a great job, in the sense that we were early,” he explained. “I think by banning China – by banning China and banning people coming in who would have been very heavily infected, we probably saved hundreds of thousands of lives. So on that, I’m very proud.”
Never mind that 40,000 people entered the country after his so-called ban. Trump thinks that only Chinese citizens were “very heavily infected” and that – in the great ledger of life and death – his two wins outweigh 58,000 lost lives.
While the world’s scientists desperately search for a vaccine against the coronavirus, they may be missing an extraordinary case of immunity that stares us in the face every day. It’s like someone brought the light inside the body, either through the skin or some other way. The disinfectant knocked it out in a minute, by injection inside or almost a cleaning.
Donald Trump has been bleached of all feeling.

Pace of job losses appears to be slowing but figures increase and many people yet to receive benefits as backlog hits US system
April 30, 2020
by Dominic Rushe in New York
The Guardian
Another 3.8 million people lost their jobs in the US last week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to batter the economy. The pace of layoffs appears to be slowing, but in just six weeks an unprecedented 30 million Americans have now sought unemployment benefits and the numbers are still growing.
The latest figures from the labor department released on Thursday showed a fourth consecutive week of declining claims. While the trend is encouraging, the rate of losses means US unemployment is still on course to reach levels unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The figures are also still undercounting the number of people out of work. Some states are still dealing with backlogs of claims after their systems were overwhelmed by the massive volume of applications.
Florida has become a notable black spot. As of Tuesday the state had received more than 1.9 million claims and processed just over 664,000, one of the slowest rates in the nation.
Kia Washington, 22, lost her job at Scarlett’s, a club in Fort Myers, on 16 March. She has yet to receive unemployment benefits or the $1,200 stimulus cheque she is entitled to from the federal bailout.
Washington said every time she has tried to file her claim online she has been kicked out of the system, and that she had been trying at 4am or later in the hope of getting through but to no avail. She sent in a paper application three weeks ago but has yet to have a reply.
She is currently living with her grandparents. “If I didn’t have them, I would be out on the streets,” she said.
The pace of layoffs may slow further as states begin to open up for business once more. But some have warned that relaxing quarantine rules could trigger another wave of infections and shutdowns and the virus has already done significant damage to the economy.
Many large US companies have announced cuts to staff or are planning layoffs. Boeing announced this week that the coronavirus had delivered “a body blow” to its business and is weighing laying off 16,000 people, a 10% cut to its 161,000 workforce. Hertz, the car rental company, recently laid off about 10,000 employees in North America and is reportedly considering bankruptcy.
On Tuesday the commerce department announced the US economy shrank 4.8% in the first three months of the year, its steepest decline since the last recession and ending a decade of near constant economic growth.
Kevin Hassett, senior economic adviser to president Donald Trump has warned that the jobless rate in the US could spike to between 16% and 20% by June.

Abolish family, eat bugs, inject female hormones: Covid-19 is Christmas for liberal control-freaks
April 28, 2020
by Graham Dockery
RT
The coronavirus pandemic is already triggering a massive upheaval in the way we live. But amid the chaos, extreme liberal social engineers are plotting fresh attacks, hoping to upend even the things many of us take for granted.
In little over two months, governments across the Western world have granted themselves the power to place their entire citizenry under house arrest, all in the name of fighting the coronavirus. From the British constabulary breaking up illegal picnics, to American law enforcement seeking the power to detain indefinitely without trial, civil liberties have been assaulted in every corner of the free world.
Will the trade-off be justified? Only time will tell. However, just as governments have flexed their authoritarian muscles, the media and academia have already decided how they want the post-coronavirus world to look, and it’s a hellish dystopia.
Feminize if you want to live
Relatively little is known about the virus, and some of its characteristics – like the AIDS-like attack on the immune system it causes – have baffled scientists. However, the pathogen seems to pose a greater threat to men than women. Armed with this fact, the New York Times decided on Monday that pumping men full of female sex hormones could be a cure.
To be fair, scientists are only studying this as a potential avenue of treatment, yet the Times never once questioned the idea of chemically castrating half the population to stop the bug. Men, it says, will get used to “tenderness in the breast and hot flashes.”
While the idea of hormonally breaking the American male may excite a small subset of the Times’ cat-lady readership, the studies described are niche ones. But the mainstream media has some equally drastic plans to reshape your life, right down to the food you eat.
A bug, but also a feature
Tyson Foods, one of the US’ largest meat processing mega-corporations, announced on Sunday that “the food supply chain is breaking.” Sicknesses at its plants mean that “millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain,” Chairman John Tyson warned in a letter to the New York Times.
A simple fix for this looming crisis would be to relax USDA regulations that favor factory farmers, and allow small producers to sell to local retailers. At present, regulations essentially prohibit the slaughter of livestock in any facility that can’t afford to comply. Rep. Thomas Massie, a dissident Kentucky Republican, has already proposed a bill to resolve this, and to allow consumers to buy directly from farmers
The media, however, have other ideas. “You should start eating bugs,” Popular Science wrote last week. “Here’s how,” it continued, before describing the “wonderful tanginess” of ants, and imploring readers to “conquer their fear” of scorpion stew. Hundreds of articles extolling the virtues of an insect-based diet are churned out every month. Insects are the “food of the future,” we hear. “Beef won’t be what’s for dinner much longer,” the bugmen proclaim. There are many such cases.
Of course, if we lusted after bugs the same way we crave red meat, they wouldn’t have to try so hard. These articles always mention Westerners’ “cultural hang ups” about eating creepy-crawlies as something to be overcome, something to be engineered out of us. In short, they’ll have to break us before we start guzzling down mealworms, and they relish the thought.
Why do these schoolmarm, micromanager types care so much? Apart from their having internalized the concept of equality so deeply that in the absence of happy meals for the world’s seven billion people they’d sooner see us all eating crickets, they care because a juicy, flame-grilled steak symbolizes the red-state, masculine independence they long to snuff out.
Nuke the family
None of the last vestiges of this independence are off limits, including your family. “This pandemic has exposed the myth of the nuclear family,” the Guardian’s Zoe Williams wrote last month, before columnist Suzanne Moore exhorted“we need to disband the nuclear family for good.” The Washington Post’s Ian Corbin joined in the chorus when he prophesized“the coronavirus might break the nuclear family. That wouldn’t be a bad thing.”
The nuclear family – with all of its patriarchal overtones – has long been the mortal enemy of feminist bloggers and the wannabe lesbian commissars who write for the Guardian. However, the societal shake-up brought about by the coronavirus has given these people fresh impetus to push their ideas into the mainstream.
Single-family dwellings, the cornerstone of American life – are “racist,” liberal think tanks have declared. Homeschooling is evil and “authoritarian,” and perpetuates “white supremacy,” a Harvard professor claimed last week. Individualism itself will fade away, as “science reigns again,” a group of “thinkers” told Politico.
A serious crisis is “an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before,” former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel famously said in 2008. More than a decade later, and with the world softened up by a rampaging virus, the social engineers have taken his words to heart.
For these spiritual Grinches, the current crisis is Christmas. It’s an opportunity to purge the last spark of vitalism and danger from the human spirit, and further domesticate us. They want us to eat the bugs, to live in filthy communal harmony, and to remain forever in thrall to the state. They’ll tell you it’s for a greater good, but the end result is the same.
Those of us who value freedom need to push back. We can’t nod along when politicians talk of the “new normal.” We can’t assume things will return to how they were. We need to look our masters and their press apparatchiks in the eye and reply: “I will not live in the pod. I will not eat the bugs.”

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Walter L. Starkey

Walter L. Starkey is a Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Ohio State University, and a creationist. He does not appear to have done much scientific research at least since the 1950s, but since he has a degree he is nevertheless eligible for signing the Discovery Institute’s silly petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism, thereby illustrating, if more illustrations were needed, just how laughable that petition actually is.
Starkey is also the author of several books defending intelligent design creationism, such as The Cambrian Evolution (which has been recommended by e.g. Harun Yahya) and Evolution Exposed and Intelligent Design Explained, which of course achieves neither of the goals suggested by the title by any stretch of the imagination. Evolution Exposed was a vanity press publication – The Cambrian Evolution was at least published by something called CSS Publishing, a publisher of “Christian Books, Christian Subscriptions, Sermon Subscriptions, Sermon Books, Sermon Resources, Christian Preaching Resources, Worship Resources … to meet that needs of pastors and the global ministry” – and was accompanied by a press release. According to the press release Starkey “discovered – backed with concepts on science, engineering, and mathematics – that the theory of evolution is the greatest scientific mistake of all time,” which one suspects wasn’t a very surprising discovery given that he had already published another book with the same conclusion years before. That his discovery is “backed with concepts from science, engineering, and mathematics” (our emphasis) doesn’t inspire much confidence in the author’s understanding of basic distinctions or how science works, for that matter. Of course, as we’d come to expect from creationist publications the book was never intended to be a science book, but a book for outreach: its explicitly intended audience was “young people who are in their formative years;” it’s all rhetorical tricks in the service of winning souls for Jesus, of course.
The aim of Evolution Exposed is to show “that (1) the natural forces of the earth have no intelligence whatsoever, and therefore they could not have designed the animals, (2) human beings are intelligent enough to design machines but they are not intelligent enough to design the animals, and (3) the only entity that could design the animals would be the superhuman being who is much more intelligent than any human being; thus, the theory of Intelligent Design.” In other words, Starkey does not have the faintest idea how evolution is supposed to work. The book is further described here.
Diagnosis: Deluded, ranting pseudoscientist. Utterly lost, and probably relatively harmless.

Todd Starnes

A dominant feature of fundamentalism is the martyr complex. No matter what power and influence you have, and no matter that your religious convictions represent the majority of the population, you are a victim, standing defiant in the face of the the Satanic horde, your flag held high and your convictions strong in the face of overwhelming forces trying to vanquish you. It’s a compelling narrative, and for many it’s the self-image they maintain even as they use their own privileges and power to force others to live by their convictions on others, yelling “help, help, I’m being oppressed” while doing so.
A screaming ball of fundie paranoia, Todd Starnes is perhaps the leading propagandist for the myth that Christians are persecuted in the US today. Starnes sees persecution wherever he looks, and regardless of what he is actually looking at – he has a narrative to construct, and everything is interpreted to fit that narrative. Accordingly, Starnes finds a lot of persecution: more or less everything Starnes disagrees with, including separation of church and state and the fact that people with actual power may have different religious beliefs than him, Todd Starnes, turns out to be, ultimately, scandalous and shocking persecution of not only him, but all true Christians. Indeed, everyone who disagrees with him on anything seem to be persecuting him and/or the Christians he represents. There is, according to Starnes, a war on Christianity going on, and Christians are the face of this generation’s civil rights movement. But the road to victory will be hard: “We are going to see, within our lifetime, an attempt to outlaw or criminalize parts of the Bible,” says Starnes; if you ask for evidence or reason you haven’t remotely understood what’s going on here.
Todd Starnes is otherwise a columnist, commentator, author and radio host, a long-time guest on Fox and Friends and Hannity, and from 2017 until 2019 the host of a syndicated talk radio show on Fox News Radio – he was apparently fired from Fox News and all affiliates in October 2019 after endorsing the idea that American Democrats worship the pagan god Moloch. It wasn’t his first time getting in trouble with the media outlets employing him: In 2003, Starnes was let go by the Baptist Press after falsifying quotes from an interview with then U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige – the interview had actually spawned national headlines with several members of Congress calling on Paige to resign over comments on religion and the public schools before the Baptist Press was forced to issue an apology noting “factual and contextual errors” and decide that Starnes “no longer will be employed to write for the Baptist Press”. (For some reason we can’t help suspecting that Starnes’s audacity and predilection for journalistic malfeasance didn’t for the most part actually count against him at Fox.)
Starnes’s examples of religious persecution
Starnes has no compunctions about lying in order to support his persecution narrative. He has for instance repeatedly promoted the Raymond Raines story, which has been repeatedly debunked for some 20 years now. It is very instructive that, when asked for examples of persecution, this fake story is the go-to example for Starnes’s and his religious right allies.
And it is mostly for stories like these that Starnes has earned his position among the religious right; indeed, most persecution stories that rise to popularity on the religious right circuit are either Starnes fabrications or falsehoods picked up and popularized by him. Another famous example is the story of Air Force Sgt. Phillip Monk, who was apparently “relieved of his duties after he disagreed with his openly gay commander when she wanted to severely punish an instructor who had expressed religious objections to homosexuality.” As Starnes saw it, the case was an illustration of how Christians are punished for their religious beliefs and how “in essence, Christians are trading places with homosexuals.” The story spread rapidly, and were for instance picked up by Liberty University official Shawn Akers and AFA’s Bryan Fischer – not people known to check their sources if a story pats them the right way – and Monk was, not surprisingly, also invited to share his tale at a Values Voter Summit panel on the alleged trend of anti-Christian persecution. Of course, Monk’s story was false from beginning to end – he was, for instance, never “relieved of his duties” for anything
And when Starnes accused a Georgia school of “confiscating” a display of teachers’ Christmas cards, the truth was that the display had merely been moved from a hallway to an office to accommodate the privacy concerns of a teacher who had wanted to participate but didn’t want her personal card displayed in a public space. (As school administrators rightly saw it, Starnes’s fabricated story was “an intentional and vicious dissemination of untrue information that disrupted the good work going on inside” the school.) There is a pattern here, of course, and there are plenty of other examples of Starnes trademark fabrications here, including his story – which gained immense popularity in wingnut media – of a six-year-old girl in California who had been stopped in the middle of a class presentation about her family’s Christmas traditions because “she can’t talk about religion in school” (never happened), his reports about the middle school students forced into a lesbian kiss (false), the tale about the athlete disqualified for thanking God (false: the athlete in question admitted he was disqualified for taunting and disrespecting a referee), the story about students at a Colorado high school who were banned from celebrating America (completely false), and the report of the Pentagon blocking a Southern Baptist website (an intentional lie; the Defense Department employees were briefly unable to access the website because it was infected with malware) – indeed, with regard to the latter example Starnes promptly accused Obama of “Christian cleansing”, and claimed that the incidence was part of a general effort on part of “politically correct Obama administration officals” in cooperation with “church-state separation activists” to conduct a “sort of religious cleansing of the military”. It is probably little surprise that his 2013 column about the military getting ready to court martial Christians (picked up for instance by the Family Research Council and Louie Gohmert) was also completely groundless.
And then, of course, there was the April 2014 story about an elementary school student in Florida who was allegedly told by a teacher “that she was not allowed to pray before eating her lunch time meal” and that “it’s not good” to pray – which was thoroughly investigated and found to be utterly baseless. The girl’s father, however, happened, by what is surely an amazing coincidence, to be head of sales at the company publishing Starnes’ new book God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values, a book that is precisely filled with these kinds of tall tales. There is, by the way, a criticism of parts of that book here; perhaps the most remarkable chapter of the book is Chapter 5, “So Absurd It Could Be True: The Gospel Of Barack Obama,” in which Starnes explicitly relies on his imagination to illustrate the persecution Christians are facing in the US at present (the other chapters rely more or less solely on his imagination, too, but are less explicit about where Starnes finds his data.)
You can probably imagine how he spun the Kim Davis affair. Yes, it’s persecution, of course, and Starnes concluded by predicting that “jails will soon fill up with Christians.” And if you thought it’s a bit of an exaggeration to characterize Starnes as a theocrat, we suggest you think a bit about what his views on how the courts should work, as expressed in connection with the Davis case, would actually imply.
Meanwhile, atheists and others fighting government prayer or mandatory prayers are basically “Hitler”. But of course. Anyone who disagrees with Starnes is Hitler (who, by the way, often claimed that God was backing his policies in his speeches).
The War on Christmas
We could, of course, continue: Starnes’s December 2013 report that VA hospitals in Texas and Georgia were guilty of anti-Christian bias because VA administrators had banned Christmas cards for patients? Not only false, but obviously an intentional lie. Or his report from the same month that a Georgia hospital had banned Christmas carols? A lie, of course. Or for that matter: his story about how a Texas school banned Christmas trees and the colors red and green? A complete fabrication (the story was picked up e.g. by Sarah Palin). But of course: the accusations nicely fit the popular wingnut “War on Christmas” narrative, so you can rest assured that someone with as little time or taste for truth and accuracy as Todd Starnes will continue to make them.
One final, illuminating example of Starnes’s strategy for marketing paranoia over the alleged “war on Christmas”. In 2013, Starnes claimed that America is transforming into “1930s Germany” under President Obama’s leadership. The evidence? A 2009 story about how administration officials under the then-social secretary debated whether to have a crèche at the White House, ultimately deciding to do so, which in Starnes’s deranged imagination became President Obama personally trying “to get rid of the nativity scene.” Here is Starnes blatantly lying about how Obama handled the Saeed Abedini case.
To combat the perceived persecution of Christians in the US, Starnes has asked God to send more insects. How effective he thinks mosquitoes and gnats would be in combatting religious persecution at Christmas time across the US is unclear, but not the silliest thing about the request.
Anti-gay antics
Starnes has also fabricated a number of stories to oppose marriage equality (also beyond the Monk story above). Moreover, he has, on multiple occasions, suggested that Obama is secretly gay and implied that devastating floods in D.C. were God’s retribution for the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage. Not the least, Starnes thinks that the gay community is largely responsible for the rise of divorce and single parent households (don’t ask us – or him – how) and that gay rights will lead to “cultural Armageddon”, since that sounds appropriately scary to his audiences.
When Michael Sam came out as gay before the NFL draft, Starnes was deeply disappointed and explained that the mere knowledge that there is a gay person on the field was completely going to ruin his enjoyment of football. Apparently we should all feel sorry for him, and Michael Sam should have thought a bit deeper about the sentiments of Todd Starnes before choosing his orientation.
During the controversy over Chick-fil-A’s stance on gay rights issues, Starnes said that people boycotting the restaurant chain are “un-American” and warned that “the days of persecution are upon us.” That didn’t prevent him from endorsing the Religious Right boycott of the Girl Scouts over bogus accusations that Girl Scout cookies fund Planned Parenthood, of course. (Ha-ha: you really thought this had anything to do with reason or coherence? This is about framing the expression of your position; Starnes could hardly care less about reason and coherence (case in point), unless you compared it with how much he cares about accuracy.) His announcement that he would be boycotting Frito-Lay because of the release of Rainbow Doritos is illuminating, too.
Most importantly, gay rights and marriage equality amount persecution of Christians. Starnes predicted, before the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, that allowing gay people to marry will mean that pastors will be arrested for preaching the Bible as a hate crime, presumably based on the fact that this is what Starnes would do to those who disagree with him if he could and because he is completely unable to fathom that others may be less deranged than himself – I mean, it’s not like he provides any other source for his conclusions.
Starnes’s more forthright views about people with other religious beliefs
In 2015, Starnes managed to court some controversy for his response to the film “American Sniper”, when he stated that Jesus, well-known to people on the religious right for his blood thirst, “would tell that God-fearing, red-blooded American sniper, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant’ ” for dispatching disbelieving Muslims to the lake of fire.
And while he is pretty clear that government-led prayers should be allowed (or mandatory) in public schools – currently US “public schools have been turned into indoctrination centers” where “teachers are preaching a liberal ideology” – they should obviously be prayers in English to the Christian God. Anything else is pure oppression.
In 2017 Starnes was outraged to see Muslims praying at a protest of President Trump’s immigration executive orders at the Dallas airport, saying that the prayer was evidence of police stepping back and making way for a violent coup against Trump: that Muslims are protesting politics and even praying means that “a good argument could be made that the mainstream media and liberal activists and Hollywood, quite frankly, are … trying to foment some sort of a faux revolution or coup in America”. Once you realize that any religious view that deviates from Starnes’s own, or any other disagreement with Starnes, is inherently tyrannical, you will quickly also realize how much Christians (i.e. those who agree with Starnes) are persecuted win the US. (This one is pretty illuminating when it comes to how Starnes views the world.)
And people who disagree with Starnes are everywhere. Even Superman has become “a propaganda tool for the defenders of illegal aliens” since there is an issue in which he defends a group of Latino men from a gun-wielding racist instead of rounding them up and “flying them back to where they came from.”
Miscellaneous politics
Starnes has referred to the removal symbols of the old Confederacy from public places as “cultural cleansing” and compared anyone supporting it to ISIS. Indeed, the decision by the University of Mississippi to stop playing “Dixie” at football games is apparently also just like ISIS. He also commented on Cliven Bundy and his allied militias in their lawless stance against Bureau of Land Management in 2014, suggesting that violence would have been an appropriate response to the authorities who confronted Bundy after his defiance of several court rulings. And here is Starnes trying to claim that Obama wanted tax payers to pay for marijuana for college kids – Starnes’s dislike of Obama, combined with his dislike of facts, actually makes for some interesting commentaries, for instance his attempt to explain how Obama is to blame for violent Trump supporters.
Meanwhile, the 2016 election of Trump was “a miracle”. Later Starnes accused Jeff Sessions for opening “the door for Robert Mueller and his partisan cronies to come in and wage political jihad on the White House” – he has, as usual, at best only a vague idea about what’s going on, of course. Starnes has also, predictably, fabricated several stories about how persecuted Trump is by the liberal establishment.
In 2018 Starnes wrote that female protesters who protested the Supreme Court confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh were “screaming animals” who “should be tasered, handcuffed and dragged out of the building;” it is unclear whether what made the protestors deserving of such treatment was the fact that they disagreed with him or the fact that they were women. The comment is nevertheless an instructive point of departure if you try to imagine what a society would look like that would, for Starnes, count as not oppressive to his particular brand of fundamentalism. “Capitol police should stand their ground and protect the senators at any cost,” continued Starnes. Just think for a moment about what he means by that.
Diagnosis: Liars for Jesus have rarely lied more brazenly than Todd Starnes, but his formula has apparently been a huge success, and his stories enjoy wide distribution on the religious right scene. Starnes knows his audience: older, paranoid wingnuts who are already afraid, and Starnes delivers fear, outrage and conspiracy aplenty for his audience. It works. Extremely dangerous.

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