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November 29, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-94

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

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Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-94

Posted by b at 13:59 UTC | Comments (85)

November 27, 2020

Iran's Top Nuclear Scientist Assassinated As Israel Tries To Provoke War

Today the top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fahrizade was assassinated in a complex terror attack while driving on a highway in Absard, a small city just east of Tehran. An explosion stopped his car. Then shots were fired at him from two directions.


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Between 2010 and 2012 four other nuclear scientist in Iran were assassinated in similar ways.

There is little doubt about who is responsible for this attack:

Fakhrizadeh was named by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018 as the director of Iran’s nuclear weapons project.

When Netanyahu revealed then that Israel had removed from a warehouse in Tehran a vast archive of Iran’s own material detailing with its nuclear weapons program, he said: “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”


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According to the IAEA Iran did not and does not have a nuclear weapons program. More than 20 years back some Iranian scientists did an organizational study about what they would have to do to create a nuclear weapons program. But politics intervened and the program was never launched.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has since its establishment rejected all weapons of mass destruction out of religious reasons. Its leader Ayatollah Khamenei has issued a fatwa the prohibits any attempts to develop, produce or otherwise introduce such weapons.

While a terror attack against its top nuclear scientist can be seen as an act of war Iran is unlikely to openly take revenge for it. Doing such would only play into Netanyahoo's hands as he attempts to goad the U.S. into an attack on Iran.

The assassination of Mohsen Fahrizade does not aim at Iran's nuclear program. Its purpose is to assassinate the nuclear deal with Iran before president elect Joe Biden comes into office.

There are expectations, which I don't have, that Biden will rejoin the nuclear deal with Iran. The Trump administration had left the deal and had re-introduced severe sanctions against the country. President Trump retweeted news of today's assassination. If Biden really wants to revive the deal he should immediately condemn today's assassination. Obama did similar when the other scientist were killed.

There are still 55 days until Trump leaves the office. Netanyahoo will use that time to launch more provocation.

Posted by b at 17:16 UTC | Comments (263)

The Vaccine Competition Will Be Ruthless

Debs is dead writes:

[T]he pushback against AstraZeneca including the latest link which is all speculation mixed with the same trash talk wall st analysts have been making, is a blatant move by big pharma to edge AstraZeneca out of the market.

There is more testing to be done on the AstraZeneca vaccine. Yes the discovery of a half dose followed by a full dose seeming to be more efficacious was the result of a distribution accident in one particular cohort comprised of Englanders under 55, AstraZeneca have realised that and have undertaken to extend the 50/100 trial across all age groups and ethnicities in the next testing round.

Also despite the fact that the big pharma mRNA vaccines have published no peer reviewed results, AstraZeneca report that they have sent a peer reviewed study of their complete test results thus far, to the Lancet and they expect these to be published in the next edition of the journal - likely within the next few days.

However many people whine, bitch about all others, then salute the results of Russian & Chinese vaccines the simple fact is a great many communities will be denied access to Russian or Chinese vaccines - that is a reality. Some of these states are in no shape to subscribe to the mRNA vaccines without 'aid' (i.e. ripoff loans) because their health budgets are still having to cover the double Tamiflu scam (they had to sign contracts to replace 'expired' Tamiflu stocks used or not after 3 years) and the more recent Remdesivir scam, all perpetrated by Gilead.

In the real world that means if the AstraZeneca vaccine is more than 60% efficacious (which is better than any flu vaccine - 95% is new big pharma BS IMO) and has no major side effects (one case of MS tells us nothing for the reason I outlined above), then it will be that or nothing for a sizeable slab of the world's population.

If everyone falls for big pharma's transparent attempt to stop this possible vaccine in its tracks, prior to testing completion, then that will mean no vaccine for billions of our fellow humans, so rather than joining in the big pharma sabotage, it makes better sense to consider that vaccine more objectively than de Noli, that Harvard minion of corporations seems to do.

Of course for some theoretical Marxist whose crazed ramblings remind me of the immature garbage one could hear around any Lisbon praça, circa 1975, that will mean little. As the humans of Mozambique, Angola and in particular since I lost friends there , Timor Leste, discovered to their cost.

I agree with the above.

Sure, AstraZeneca has not communicated well. They should have published their trial protocols. They should have been more explicit about their dosing 'mistake'. But the results of their trials are encouraging and the explanation for the higher efficacy with a lower first dose, see below, makes sense.

Cont. reading: The Vaccine Competition Will Be Ruthless

Posted by b at 11:18 UTC | Comments (137)

November 26, 2020

Open Thread 2020-93

News & views ...

Posted by b at 15:19 UTC | Comments (158)

November 25, 2020

Israel Is (Again) Pushing For War On Iran

There is a campaign to push U.S. president Donald Trump into attacking Iran before he leaves his office. It is likely that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahoo, with the help of Secretary of State Mike Pompous, is the brain behind it.

The campaign started on November 16 with a New York Times piece which claimed that Trump had asked for options to bomb Iran:

President Trump asked senior advisers in an Oval Office meeting on Thursday whether he had options to take action against Iran’s main nuclear site in the coming weeks. The meeting occurred a day after international inspectors reported a significant increase in the country’s stockpile of nuclear material, four current and former U.S. officials said on Monday.

A range of senior advisers dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike. The advisers — including Vice President Mike Pence; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary; and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — warned that a strike against Iran’s facilities could easily escalate into a broader conflict in the last weeks of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

It is unlikely that Trump will want to ruin his legacy by launching another war in the Middle East. He will want to run again for president in 2024. 'America first', avoiding wars that are of no value for the U.S., was and is one of his major selling points.

There is precedence for such an Israeli campaign. Back in 2008 Netanyahoo had also tried to push the outgoing Bush administration towards a war on Iran:

During the last days of the Bush administration in 2008, Israeli officials, concerned that the incoming Obama administration would seek to block it from striking Iran’s nuclear facilities, sought bunker-busting bombs, bombers and intelligence assistance from the United States for an Israeli-led strike.

Vice President Dick Cheney later wrote in his memoir that he supported the idea. President George W. Bush did not, ...

While Israel has the capabilities to attack Iran it would never dare to do so without explicit U.S. backing.

Mike Pompous, the Cheney in the current attempt to drag the U.S. along, also wants to run for president - if not in 2024 then later. He is 56 years old and can wait a few more years. He is currently trying to catch the Evangelical vote and Zionist campaign support by pleasing Israel as much as possible:

Cont. reading: Israel Is (Again) Pushing For War On Iran

Posted by b at 18:08 UTC | Comments (127)

November 24, 2020

Another Look At Joe Biden's Foreign Policy Team

The choices the incoming president Joe Biden has made so far are not great at all. The people he so far selected are staunch interventionists who will want to continue the wars they have started during their previous time in office.

Tony Blinken will become Secretary of State. (It was probably thought to be too hard to get Senate confirmation for the similar bad Susan Rice.) In 2013 the Washington Post described his high flying pedigree:

Blinken is deputy national security adviser to President Obama, who has also invoked the Holocaust as his administration wrestles, often painfully, with how to respond to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons. One of the government’s key players in drafting Syria policy, the 51-year-old Blinken has Clinton administration credentials and deep ties to Vice President Biden and the foreign policy and national security establishment in Washington. He has drawn attention in Situation Room photos, including the iconic one during the May 2011 raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound, for his stylishly wavy salt-and-pepper hair. But what sets him apart from the other intellectual powerhouses in the inner sanctum is a life story that reads like a Jewish high-society screenplay that the onetime aspiring film producer may have once dreamed of making. There’s his father, a giant in venture capital; his mother, the arts patron; and his stepfather, who survived the Holocaust to become of one of the most influential lawyers on the global stage. It is a bildungsroman for young Blinken — playing in a Parisian jazz band, debating politics with statesmen — with a supporting cast of characters that includes, among others, Leonard Bernstein, John Lennon, Mark Rothko, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Abel Ferrara and Christo.

The man is a war mongering psycho:

Blinken surprised some in the Situation Room by breaking with Biden to support military action in Libya, administration officials said, and he advocated for American action in Syria after Obama’s reelection. These sources said that Blinken was less enthusiastic than Biden about Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval for a strike in Syria, but is now — perhaps out of necessity — onboard and a backer of diplomatic negotiations with Russia. While less of an ideologue than Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (a job for which he was considered), he not surprisingly shares her belief that global powers such as the United States have a “responsibility to protect” against atrocities.

He has since shown no remorse about those foreign policy failures:

Cont. reading: Another Look At Joe Biden's Foreign Policy Team

Posted by b at 16:32 UTC | Comments (175)

November 23, 2020

Pandemic Freedom

On Thursday the U.S. will celebrate Thanksgiving. That will cause an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and in the number of deaths.

The states could have intervened but did little to prevent this from happening. The politicians are reluctant to act because the U.S. public at large follows an ideology that is incompatible with a pandemic.

The CDC warns of Thanksgiving celebrations:

As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with.

Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.

In my view that warning is not strong enough.

There should be more draconian measures and restrictions of freedom to prevent higher Covid-19 casualties.

In October Canada already celebrated its version of Thanksgiving. The result was a notable acceleration of the pandemic.


Source: George Rutherford, UCSF - bigger

More can be done and more should be done to prevent this from happening in the United States.

But there are people who argue even against stronger warnings:

Cont. reading: Pandemic Freedom

Posted by b at 16:57 UTC | Comments (346)

November 22, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-92

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

> It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.

Reality usually had a way of intervening. But I knew one senior reporter who would play solitaire on his computer in the mornings, waiting for his editors to come through with marching orders. Once, in the Los Angeles bureau, I listened to a visiting National staff reporter tell a contact, more or less: “My editor needs someone to say such-and-such, could you say that?”

The bigger shock came on being told, at least twice, by Times editors who were describing the paper’s daily Page One meeting: “We set the agenda for the country in that room.” <

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Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-92

Posted by b at 14:37 UTC | Comments (132)

November 20, 2020

How 'Western' Media Select Their Foreign Correspondents

Did you ever wonder why 'western' mainstream media get stories about Russia and other foreign countries so wrong?

It is simple. They hire the most brainwashed, biased and cynical writers they can get for the job. Those who are corrupt enough to tell any lie required to support the world view of their editors and media owners.

They are quite upfront about it.

Here is evidence in form of a New York Times job description for a foreign correspondent position in Moscow:

Russia Correspondent

Job Description

Vladimir Putin’s Russia remains one of the biggest stories in the world.

It sends out hit squads armed with nerve agents against its enemies, most recently the opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. It has its cyber agents sow chaos and disharmony in the West to tarnish its democratic systems, while promoting its faux version of democracy. It has deployed private military contractors around the globe to secretly spread its influence. At home, its hospitals are filling up fast with Covid patients as its president hides out in his villa.

If that sounds like a place you want to cover, then we have good news: We will have an opening for a new correspondent as Andy Higgins takes over as our next Eastern Europe Bureau Chief early next year.


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To be allowed to write for the Times one must see the Russian Federation as a country that is ruled by just one man.

One must be a fervent believer in MI6 produced Novichok hogwash. One must also believe in Russiagate and in the multiple idiocies it produced even after all of them have been debunked.

One must know that vote counts in Russia are always wrong while U.S. vote counting is the most reliable ever. Russian private military contractors (which one must know to be evil men) are 'secretly deployed' to wherever the editors claim them to be. Russia's hospitals are of course always much worse than ours.

Even when it is easy to check that Vladimir Putin (the most evil man ever) is at work in the Kremlin the job will require one to claim that he is hiding in a villa.

Most people writing for the Times will actually not believe the above nonsense. But the description is not for a position that requires one to weigh and report the facts. It is for a job that requires one to lie. That the Times lists all the recent nonsense about Russia right at the top of the job description makes it clear that only people who support those past lies will be considered adequate to tell future lies about Russia.

No honest unbiased person will want such a job. But as it comes with social prestige, a good paycheck and a probably nice flat in Moscow the New York Times will surely find a number of people who are willing to sell their souls to take it.

Interestingly the job advertisement does not list Russian language capabilities as a requirement. It only says that 'Fluency in Russian is preferred'. 

'Western' mainstream media are filled with such biased, cynical and self-censoring correspondents who have little if any knowledge of the country they are reporting from. It is therefore not astonishing that 'western' populations as well as their politicians have often no knowledge of what is really happening in the world.

 

h/t Bryan MacDonald

Posted by b at 19:06 UTC | Comments (170)

November 19, 2020

The Forever War In Afghanistan Will Soon Re-escalate

Recent headlines on Afghanistan:

Everyone wants the troops to leave Afghanistan except the Pentagon brass and the CIA. They have prevailed over two presidents and are now ready to manipulate a third one into intensifying the war.

Consider:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Why are we continuing to train these Afghanis who then shoot our soldiers in the back? Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!
4:05 PM · Aug 21, 2012
Barack Obama @BarackObama
VP Biden on Afghanistan: "We are leaving in 2014. Period."
4:05am · 12 Oct 2012
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
I agree with Pres. Obama on Afghanistan. We should have a speedy withdrawal. Why should we keep wasting our money -- rebuild the U.S.!
9:59 PM · Jan 14, 2013
Barack Obama @BarackObama
President Obama: "By the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over."
3:58am · 13 Feb 2013
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
We should leave Afghanistan immediately. No more wasted lives. If we have to go back in, we go in hard & quick. Rebuild the US first.
8:10 PM · Mar 1, 2013
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!
1:28 AM · Oct 8, 2020

M.K. Bhadrakumar explains why the Pentagon prevailed over two presidents:

Cont. reading: The Forever War In Afghanistan Will Soon Re-escalate

Posted by b at 18:55 UTC | Comments (126)