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Posts Tagged ‘covid-19’

Erie Times E-Edition Article-Socialism is no longer just a specter

Posted by M. C. on October 25, 2020

The pandemic has propelled government toward promiscuously picking economic winners and losers. As has been said, governments are not good at picking winners, but losers are good at picking governments.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=15304d8cb

In 1906, Werner Sombart, the German economist, explained America’s resistance to socialism in five words, “roast beef and apple pie,” his shorthand for affluence.

In 2020, however, semisocialism has come to a United States that is stunningly wealthier — real per-capita income six times larger than in 1906; today’s superiority of purchasable products, from antibiotics to smartphones — than 114 years ago.

This year is drenched with politics, yet the nation seems oblivious that coming decades of American governance have been irrevocably shaped by what Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute calls “the largest single ‘state surge’ in American history,” a “tidal wave of public resources”: debt.

In June alone, the federal government’s $864 billion budget deficit was larger than the deficit in all of fiscal 2017. And fiscal 2018. In eight years, the Reagan administration almost tripled the national debt, to $2.9 trillion, but that sum is less than Congress has increased the debt in the past nine months. Because both parties have a powerful permanent incentive to disburse more current government services than current revenues will fund, the pre-pandemic deficit in fiscal 2019 was already almost $1 trillion — at full employment, with 2.3% gross domestic product growth.

In 1946, after financing four years of global warfare, the national debt was 106% of GDP.

After nine months of spending to counter COVID-19’s impact on the economy — spending soon to be increased by additional trillions — the debt is about 100% of GDP, heading (according to the Congressional Budget Office) to almost 200% by 2050. And the Federal Reserve has, Eberstadt says, “crossed a Rubicon.”

Wading waist-deep into political policies, the Fed is adopting, Eberstadt says, “the role of managing and even micromanaging the American economy through credit allocation, potentially lending vast sums not only to financial institutions but also directly to firms it judges suitable for government support. The Fed already dominates the markets for U.S.

Treasury debt and mortgage debt as a result of previous, lesser crises.

It is by no means inconceivable that the current crisis will propel it to a comparably dominant position in domestic commercial credit.” If socialism is government allocation of economic resources (and hence of opportunity), then … John Cochrane of Stanford’s Hoover Institution, who blogs as the Grumpy Economist, notes that in the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve launched “creditor bailouts, propping up asset prices to keep investors from losing money, buying unprecedented assets.”

The risk of moral hazard — incentives for reckless behavior — is obvious.

Today, counter-COVID-19 spending already is approximately five times larger than that triggered by the Great Recession of 2008. By 2020, Cochrane says, “Once again a huge vat of debt had built up; once again, nobody kept any cash around for bad times, once again, the government stepped in and offered an enormous put option, just as, arguably everyone expected.” The Fed has propped up the prices of corporate and municipal bonds, and bailed out airlines, “or rather airline bondholders.”

“This time, however,” Cochrane writes, “I don’t even hear the promise to clean up the moral hazard. We are, apparently, permanently in a financial system in which people should load up on debt and risky assets in good times, and the government will buy them up should prices ever waver. Private gain, public loss.” Central banks buying trillions of assets are thereby “allocating credit.” Which is the essence of socialism.

The Fed buying government and corporate debt creates something difficult to unwind — what Cochrane calls “an entirely governmentrun financial system”: an attribute of socialism. “Modern Monetary Theory,” which Democrats praise and hope soon to practice, and which Republicans have been practicing without acknowledging, says: A nation with fiat money (not convertible into something — e.g., gold — valuable, but accepted by the public as a store of value) need never run short of money. It can borrow and create money as long as interest rates are, and are apt to remain, low. A theory that validates wishful thinking will not lack devotees.

Near-zero interest rates — the no-longernew normal — create, Eberstadt says, “zombie companies” that “can only survive in a lowinterest [rate] environment.” The result is rent-seeking and economic sclerosis, because “America cannot succeed unless a lot of its firms fail — including its largest ones. Bankruptcy and reallocation of resources to more productive ends are the mother’s milk of dynamic growth.”

The pandemic has propelled government toward promiscuously picking economic winners and losers. As has been said, governments are not good at picking winners, but losers are good at picking governments.

George Will is a Washington Post columnist. His email address is georgewill@washpost.com.

George Will

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COVID-19 Lockdowns Are In Lockstep With The “Great Reset” – Activist Post

Posted by M. C. on October 24, 2020

Who benefits from global lockdowns that are destabilizing all facets of our society? The following four “great” undercurrents may provide a clue.

We have entered a “new normal” where Pyongyang, North Korea, affords more ambulatory freedom than Melbourne, Australia. While rioting and mass demonstrations by assorted radicals are given a free pass – even encouraged by leaders in the West – Facebook posts questioning lockdowns are deemed subversive.

https://www.activistpost.com/2020/10/covid-19-lockdowns-are-in-lockstep-with-the-great-reset.html

By Dr. Mathew Maavak

In October 2019, a pandemic simulation exercise called Event 201 – a collaborative effort between Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, World Economic Forum, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – concluded that a hypothetical new coronavirus may end up killing at least 65 million people worldwide within 18 months of an outbreak.

When COVID-19 coincidentally emerged from Wuhan two months later, scientists were rushing to generate similar alarmist forecasts using a variety of questionable scientific models. Researchers from the Imperial College London, for instance, approximated death tolls of 500,000 (UK) and two million (USA) by October this year. To those following the metastasis of the global vaccine mania, the Imperial model was predictably “tidied up” with the help of Microsoft.

While scientific models are admittedly fallible, one would nonetheless be hard-pressed to justify the endless string of contradictions, discrepancies and wilful amnesia in the global pandemic narrative. In fact, one should question whether COVID-19 even deserves the tag of a “pandemic”. According to the United States’ Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the updated age-group survival rates for COVID-19 happen to be: Ages 0-19 (99.997%); 20-49 (99.98%); 50-69 (99.5%); and 70+ (94.6%). The mortality rates are only slightly higher than the human toll from seasonal flu and are, in fact, lower than many ailments for the same age cohorts.

If the CDC statistics don’t lie, what kind of “science” have we been subjected to? Was it the science of mass-mediated hysteria? There are other troubling questions yet unanswered. Whatever happened to the theory of bats or pangolins being the source of COVID-19? Who was Patient Zero? Why was there a concerted media agitprop against the prophylactic use of hydroxychloroquine that was backed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) no less? And why did Prof Neil Ferguson, who had led Imperial’s contagion modelling, repeatedly breach lockdown measures to meet his paramour – right after his recommendations were used to justify draconian lockdowns worldwide which continue till today?

Most damning yet, why are Western media and scientific establishments dismissive of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine? After all, Moscow’s credibility, both scientific and otherwise, is on the line here. In a real pandemic, nobody would care where an effective remedy comes from. The virus does not care about borders and geopolitics; so why should we politicize the origins of an antidote?

Perhaps what we are really dealing with here is a case of mass “coronapsychosis” as Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko aptly called it. Who benefits from global lockdowns that are destabilizing all facets of our society? The following four “great” undercurrents may provide a clue.

The Great Deflection

As the author had warned for more than a decade, the world is staring at a confluence of risk overloads, socioeconomic meltdowns (1) and a Second Great Depression. For the ruling classes, COVID-19 is fortuitously deflecting public attention away from the disastrous consequences of decades of economic mismanagement and wealth fractionation. The consolidation of Big Tech with Big Media (2) has created an Orwellian world where collective hysteria is shifting loci from bogeymen like Russia to those who disagree with the pandemic narrative.

We have entered a “new normal” where Pyongyang, North Korea, affords more ambulatory freedom than Melbourne, Australia. While rioting and mass demonstrations by assorted radicals are given a free pass – even encouraged by leaders in the West – Facebook posts questioning lockdowns are deemed subversive. This is a world where Australian Blueshirts beat up women, manhandle a pregnant woman in her own home, and perform wolf pack policing on an elderly lady in a park. Yet, the premier of the Australian state of Victoria remains unfazed by the unflattering moniker of Kim Jong Dan.

The corona-totalitarianism is unsurprisingly most pronounced in the Anglosphere and its dependencies. After all, these nations are staring at socioeconomic bankruptcies of unprecedented proportions vis-à-vis their counterparts. Even their own governments are being systematically undermined from within. The US Department of Homeland Security, created in the aftermath of 9/11 to combat terrorism, is now providing $10 million in grants to organizations which supposedly combat “far-right extremism and white supremacy”. This will further radicalize leftist malcontents who are razing US cities and its economies in the name of social justice. There is, however, a curious rationale behind this inane policy as the following section illustrates.

The Great Wealth Transfer

While the circus continues, the bread is thinning out, except for the Top 0.001%. Instead of bankruptcy, as recent trends indicated, Silicon Valley and affiliated monopolies are notching up record profits along with record social media censorship. US billionaires raked in $434 billion in the first two months of the lockdown alone. The more the lockdowns, the more the wealth accrued to the techno-elite. As tens of millions of individuals and small businesses face bankruptcy by Christmas, the remote work revolution is gifting multibillion dollar jackpots to the likes of Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook). Azure (Microsoft) and AWS (Amazon) cloud eco-systems, among others, have expanded by 50% since the beginning of the pandemic.

In the face of such runaway wealth fractionation, panoptic contact tracing tools from Big Tech are increasingly employed to pacify restive populations. And of course, to prevent a second, third or Nth wave of COVID-19 for our collective good!

In the meantime, Big Banks, Big Pharma, Big Tech and other monopolies are getting lavish central bank bailouts or “stimulus packages” to gobble up struggling smaller enterprises. COVID-19 is a gift that never stops giving to a select few. But how will the techno-oligarchy maintain a degree of social credibility and control in an impoverished and tumultuous world?

The Great Philanthropy

Oligarchic philanthropy will be a dominant feature of this VUCA decade (3). According to a recent Guardian report, philanthropic foundations have multiplied exponentially in the past two decades, controlling a war chest worth more than $1.5 trillion. That is sufficient to bankroll a horde of experts, NGOs, industry lobbies, media and fact-checkers worldwide. Large sums can also be distributed rapidly to undermine governments. The laws governing scientific empiricism are no longer static and immutable; they must dance in tandem with the funding. Those who scream fake news are usually its foremost peddlers. This is yet another “new normal” which had actually predated COVID-19 by decades.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is a prime example of how oligarchic philanthropy works. Since 2000, it has donated more than $45 billion to “charitable causes” and a chunk of this is designed to control the global media narrative. The Guardian, rather tellingly, credits the BMGF for helping eradicate polio despite contrary reports of wanton procedural abuses, child death tolls and poverty exploitation which routinely mar the foundation’s vaccination programs. Bill Gates even interprets vaccine philanthropy in terms of a 20-to-1 return on investments, as he effused to CNBC last year.

As for the BMGF’s alleged polio success, officials now fear that a dangerous new strain could soon “jump continents”. After spending $16 billion over 30 years to eradicate polio, international health bodies – which work closely with BMGF – have “accidentally” reintroduced the disease to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.

Poverty, hunger and desperation will spawn a tangible degree of public gratitude despite elite philanthropy’s entrenched bias towards elite institutions and causes. By the Guardian’s own admission, “British millionaires gave £1.04bn to the arts, and just £222m to alleviating poverty” in the 10-year period to 2017. Contrast this with the annual $10 billion earmarked by the philanthropic pool for “ideological persuasion” in the US alone. The rabble is worth their weight only for the potential havoc they can wreak.

There is enough money floating around to reduce our cities into bedlams of anarchy as seen in the United States today. (It will only get worse after the Nov 3 US presidential elections). The crumbs left over can be delegated to threadbare charities. One only needs to reflect on soup kitchens in the post-1929 Weimar Republic. The most popular ones were organized by the Nazi party and funded by wealthy patrons. The march towards a new order has a familiar historical meme. The new Brownshirts are those who terrorise citizens for not wearing masks, for not being locked down in their pens, and for simply supporting a political candidate of choice. Even children who do not follow the oligarchic narrative are not spared!

The Great Reset

A great pruning will inevitably occur in the mega-billionaire club as whatever remains of the global corona-economy is systematically cannibalized. The club will get smaller but wealthier and will attempt to sway our collective destiny. Control over education, healthcare, means of communications and basic social provisions is being increasingly ceded by governments to the global elite. Governments colluding in the “new normal” will sooner or later face the ire of distressed masses. Politicians and assorted “social justice warriors” will be scapegoated once they have outlived their usefulness.

In this cauldron, the century-old technocratic dream of replacing politicians, electoral processes and businesses with societies run by scientists and technical experts (4) may emerge – thanks to advances in panoptic technologies. It will be an age for the “rational science of production” and “scientific collectivism”. The latter is eerily redolent of the Soviet sharaska (prison labs) system.

The production and supply of goods will be coordinated by a central directorate (5), led not by elected representatives (whose roles, where they exist, will be nominal anyway) but by technocrat factotums. Perhaps this is what the World Economic Forum refers to as the Great Reset. In reality, though, this idea smacks of a global Gosplan minus the Doctor Sausages for the innumerable many.

(Some emerging economies like Malaysia and India casually refer to technocracy as an infusion of greater technical expertise into bureaucracy. This is a misinterpretation of technocracy’s longstanding means and goals).

One intractable problem remains: will the emerging global oligarchy tolerate the existence of various deep states worldwide? Initially, both groupings may cooperate to their mutual benefit but their respective raisons d’être are too contradictory to be reconciled. One thrives on an “open society” run by obedient hirelings who will administer a global Ministry of Truth, while the other depends on secrecy and a degree of national sovereignty to justify its existence. Surveillance technologies ushered in by the ongoing “coronapsychosis” may end up being the deciding factor in this struggle.

After all, if social media posts by the President of the United States and the White House can be blatantly censored today, think of the repercussions for billions of people worldwide tomorrow?

An abridged version of this article was published by RT on Oct 14

References

1. Maavak, M. (2012), Class Warfare, Anarchy and the Future Society: Is the Middle Class forging a Gramscian Counter-Hegemonic Bloc Worldwide? Journal of Futures Studies, December 2012, 17(2): 15-36.

2. Maavak, M. (2019). Bubble to Panopticon: Dark Undercurrents of the Big Data Torrent. Kybernetes, Vol. 49 No. 3, pp. 1046-1060. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-06-2019-0403

3. Maavak, M (2021). Maavak, M. (2021). Horizon 2020-2030: Will Emerging Risks Unravel our Global Systems? Accepted for publication. Salus Journal, Issue 1 2021.

4. Elsner, Jr., Henry (1967). The Technocrats: Prophets of Automation. Syracuse University.

5. Stabile, D.R. (1986). Veblen and the Political Economy of the Engineer: the radical thinker and engineering leaders came to technocratic ideas at the same time. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol, 45, No. 1, 1986, pp. 43-44.

Dr Mathew Maavak is a regular commentator on risk-related geostrategic issues.

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-America needs stimulus relief

Posted by M. C. on October 22, 2020

Louie did not offer specific prescriptions for Erie’s economic recovery except the need for stimulus. House Democrats first put forward their proposals for the next round of COVID-19 stimulus funding long months ago. So it is galling that the wrangling — with Senate Republicans and the White House divided on the scale and focus of the funding — continues.

The pandemic has plunged another 8 million Americans into poverty.

Not one word about ending lockdowns, getting people back to work, re-opening businesses.

“Free” money. That is the best the Behrend Economic Research Institute and Gannett Times…err…Erie Times-News have to offer.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=17b3b9091

The issue: Erie economic downturn Our view: Stimulus overdue

President Donald Trump promised exuberant crowds at Erie International Airport Tuesday night the ‘greatest economic year’ in history. It is happening right now, he said.

Perhaps he should have stayed longer in Erie rather than cut the visit — which he said he made only to ask for votes — short. Trump boasted that historic unemployment rates at the outset of the pandemic had dropped to 7.8%. But in Erie, as reporter Jim Martin detailed, the pace of recovery lags. In August the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 11.2%, far above the then-national rate of 8.4%. Wabtec Corp. announced new layoffs just before Trump’s visit.

Not all of the data is in to complete the Erie Leading Index, but Penn State Behrend Professor Ken Louie said it appears for the first time in a decade that Erie’s economy is moving from expansion to decline. The Penn State Behrend Economic Research Institute of Erie tracks eight indicators to detect changes in the local economy.

The trend is not surprising given the wrecking ball the pandemic took to the global economy. But the time to take command of this carnage, confront the virus comprehensively and steer the country to recovery is past due.

Louie did not offer specific prescriptions for Erie’s economic recovery except the need for stimulus. House Democrats first put forward their proposals for the next round of COVID-19 stimulus funding long months ago. So it is galling that the wrangling — with Senate Republicans and the White House divided on the scale and focus of the funding — continues.

The pandemic has plunged another 8 million Americans into poverty.

People face hunger and eviction and local and state governments risk insolvency and the prospect of layoffs and suspended services. Entities key to the recovery, from small businesses to the airlines, teeter on ruin.

As Louie said, ‘It isn’t as easy as it sounds to turn things around.’

Stimulus funds must be used to track and mitigate the virus and shore up those workers and industries who have paid a toll to keep Americans safe. States and local governments that face crippling tax revenue shortfalls need help now. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, Pennsylvania confronts a $4.5 billion deficit.

The president and Congress must act with Americans, not the upper hand, in mind.

It appeared Wednesday that the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were nearing agreement, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried and failed to pass a package less than half the size of the $2.2 trillion and $1.9 trillion packages eyed by Pelosi and the White House, respectively.

It is welcome to see the president join with Democrats to seek a package that matches the scale of the need.

Delivering relief to the American people is a winning strategy for both sides.

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‘Truth’ Over Facts – Taki’s Magazine – Taki’s Magazine

Posted by M. C. on October 20, 2020

The new style of journalist came to the story with a narrative in mind. He was a storyteller who would provide the reader with a sense of what it was like to be in the story, at least the story the writer wanted to tell. As Munnion explained, the journalist showed up with a prepared narrative and then went around looking for people, events, and images to fill in the details. The facts were mere ornaments to decorate the story, not the point of the story.

https://www.takimag.com/article/truth-over-facts/print

The Z Man

In his memoir, Banana Sunday, the late British newspaperman Christopher Munnion described his first encounter with what was then called New Journalism. This was a style of newswriting that got going in the 1960s and 1970s. It was more like long-form fiction than conventional reporting. The style relied on subjectivity and emphasized “truth” over facts. The idea was for the reporter to tell a story from the perspective of an active participant, rather than a passive observer.

Munnion had been reporting on Africa for a long time for The Daily Telegraph, covering the transition in Africa from colonialism to independence. Like most reporters of his day, he reported on what happened, who was there, what they said, and so forth. It was the old-style reporting that had been the standard for generations. That meant going to the event, observing what was happening, and interviewing people about the event. The facts drove the coverage.

The new style of journalist came to the story with a narrative in mind. He was a storyteller who would provide the reader with a sense of what it was like to be in the story, at least the story the writer wanted to tell. As Munnion explained, the journalist showed up with a prepared narrative and then went around looking for people, events, and images to fill in the details. The facts were mere ornaments to decorate the story, not the point of the story.

Munnion was a seasoned Africa hand at that point, so he was amused to learn that these new journalists knew absolutely nothing about Africa and had no interest in learning. They just needed material to authenticate their story. Like most of the men of his generation, he just assumed the fad would die out, because ultimately, facts matter. Of course, like most men of his generation, he was wrong about what was about to happen to the news reporting business.

The term “New Journalism” went out of fashion in the 1980s, but the style never really died. Instead, journalism became more narrative. Simply reporting the facts was never coming back in fashion, especially for a highly partisan media class now populated by bourgeois radicals. Instead, the facts are crafted to fit the story, which conveniently supports whatever ideological fads are popular at the moment with the great and the good. “Modern narrative journalism has now advanced to the point where the narrative no longer has to have any connection with reality.”

Modern narrative journalism has now advanced to the point where the narrative no longer has to have any connection with reality. In fact, it is probably better that it doesn’t, as the facts are most troublesome for narratives that claim some connection to reality. Instead it is best to come up with a good script that satisfies some desire in the audience. That way, they are not going to be too interested in looking for plot holes or conflicts in the story.

It’s why we were deluged with stories of heroic “first responders” battling the coronavirus at our overwhelmed hospitals. The COVID script required overwhelmed hospitals, so the journalist wrote stories about the overwhelmed hospitals. The fact that hospitals were mostly empty due to canceling all services did not register. New York City had hospital ships and an outdoor hospital, all of which sat empty, but that did not fit the story, so it was ignored and no one cared.

It is tempting to think narrative journalism is a form of propaganda, intended to warp public perceptions about daily reality. It often has that feel, but the smart propagandist is like the smart drug dealer. He makes sure to never get high off his supply. The people spinning these tales for us truly believe their narratives. In fact, the narrative incorporates ideological fads and the partisan sensibility into a weird secular religion. Commitment to the story is now a moral signifier.

To see how this works, go back to the 2016 election. The strong female lead was not just running for personal gain, but to change the world for those who would follow her. Hillary Clinton was the feminist Mary Sue, praised by everyone, but handed everything she wanted, because girl power is real and you go girl. The script said she would win a massive victory, humbling the terrible white male antagonist and thus confirming second-wave feminism.

When she lost, we immediately got a new narrative. This one was focused on the nefarious forces that vanquished the strong female lead in the first episode. The Russian collusion story, which was always nonsense, was driven entirely by the left’s need to believe. That’s important. It’s why they could consume all sorts of ridiculous plot devices like the Mueller investigation. Since the plot demanded a dramatic investigation of the villain, one was written into the script.

The Russian collusion story was a big hit, but the sequel, the Ukrainian impeachment story, was like most sequels in that it should never have been made. The audience was subjected to a cast of characters with weird names and confusing story arcs. The main character, the guy who was supposed to be the naive but courageous protagonist, reminded most people of every child molester they read about in the news. They kept wondering why a Ukrainian general worked in the White House.

Now that the election is upon us, the narratives are flying fast and furious. You see, the bad guy is always supposed to lose eventually, so we are getting every plot device available to point the story arc toward a smashing Biden victory. Never mind that the hero in this tale can never be more than five steps away from a toilet and has to take a nap after breakfast. The script demands that the villain be vanquished, so that’s the story we are getting.

While it is certainly fun to mock this stuff, the salient point here is that the people in charge believe the narratives they create. The prestige media believed they were on the trail of Boris and Natasha, who had used their secret mind-control device to control voters at the polling stations. The petty tyrants imposing crazy rules on people in response to the COVID virus really believe they are engaged in a life-and-death struggle to save their people from the virus.

Juvenal famously criticized the Roman people for abandoning their historical birthright of political involvement in exchange for “bread and circuses.” The corrupt ruling elite maintained power by infantilizing the populace. We are now living the mirror image of this. An increasingly disgusted public is desperately trying to reassert its historical birthright in response to a ruling class content to entertain itself with ridiculous tales that celebrate them as heroes for things they’ve never done.

That is the central question at this part of the story, to keep the metaphor going. Can a society carry on when it is ruled by giant toddlers obsessed with fantasy stories, rather than adults doing the hard work of governing a people? What happens when a significant portion of the people collectively realize that the people in charge are dangerously nuts? At some point the script will demand an answer, and it will not involve strong female leads riding a dragon. It will be much worse.

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Hospitals May Be Slow To Add Vitamin D To Covid-19 Treatment Regimens Because of Loss of Income – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 12, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/09/no_author/hospitals-may-be-slow-to-add-vitamin-d-to-covid-19-treatment-regimens-because-of-loss-of-income/

By Bill Sardi

A growing body of published studies indicate vitamin D supplementation may allay the symptoms and severity of COVID-19 infections, enough to keep hospitalized patients out of the intensive care unit.  The most recent of these studies, published in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Aug 29,2020) is more than convincing.

But this remarkable study is not likely to change the practices of modern medicine, even though it completely abolished COVID-19-related deaths in the intensive care unit (ICU) and reduced admission from a standard COVID-19 care ward to the ICU from 50% to 2%…

The rest here

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FDA Wants To Ban NAC Now That It Combats Covid-19 – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 4, 2020

It’s worth noting that the number needed to treat (NNT) in the study8 cited by Debé is 0.5, which means for every two people treated with NAC, one will be protected against symptomatic influenza.

That’s significantly better than influenza vaccines, which have an NNV (number needed to vaccinate) of 71,9 meaning 71 people must be vaccinated to prevent a single case of confirmed influenza. It’s even better than vitamin D, which has an NNT of 33.10 Even among those with severe vitamin D deficiency at baseline, taking vitamin D still had an NNT of 4.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/09/joseph-mercola/fda-wants-to-ban-nac-now-that-it-combats-covid-19/

By

Mercola.com

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has a long history of use as a first-aid remedy for acetaminophen poisoning. Emergency room physicians will administer it in cases when you’ve taken an overdose of Tylenol or other acetaminophen products. The way it neutralizes the toxic effects of the drug is by recharging glutathione, thereby preventing liver damage.

Interestingly, NAC may also be useful against COVID-19, as explained by pulmonologist Dr. Roger Seheult in the MedCram lecture above. By raising glutathione, it helps combat oxidative stress, which is a main factor in the cytokine storm associated with COVID-19.

A recent literature analysis1 linked glutathione deficiency to COVID-19 disease severity, leading the author to conclude that NAC may be useful both for prevention and treatment. NAC may also combat the abnormal blood clotting seen in many cases, and helps loosen thick mucus in the lungs.

FDA Cracks Down on NAC

Interestingly, with COVID-19 treatment as a new indication, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now suddenly cracking down on NAC, claiming it is excluded from the definition of a dietary supplement, as it was approved as a new drug in 1985.2 As such, NAC cannot be marketed as a supplement.

You certainly would not suspect this looking at the supplement market. As reported by Natural Products Insider,3 there are no fewer than 1,170 NAC-containing products in the National Institutes of Health’s Dietary Supplement Label Database.

Be that as it may, July 29, 2020, FDA announced4 it has issued warning letters to seven companies that market NAC as a remedy for hangovers. According to the FDA:

“A hangover can occur after alcohol intoxication. Alcohol intoxication, like all poisonings, causes dose-related dysfunction and damage, ranging from mild impairments to death … The products outlined in these letters, which are labeled as dietary supplements, are unapproved new drugs and have not been evaluated by the FDA to be safe and effective for their intended use.”

Members of the Council for Responsible Nutrition have expressed concern that the warning letters may indicate the FDA is considering targeting NAC more widely.

While the FDA makes no mention of COVID-19 in its warning letter, the timing of its crackdown on NAC marketed for hangovers is interesting, seeing how news of its potential benefits against the viral infection have come into circulation, and research is now underway to assess whether it might be used in the treatment of COVID-19.

At present, seven studies involving NAC for COVID-19 are listed on Clinicaltrials.gov.5 Time will tell whether the FDA ends up trying to block access to NAC supplements, similarly to the way hydroxychloroquine access has been stifled.

NAC Inhibits Viral Replication

The idea that NAC can be helpful against viral infections is not new. Previous studies have found it reduces viral replication of certain viruses, including the influenza virus. As reported by board-certified nutritionist Joseph Debé:6

“NAC was tested in a 6-month human study7 of influenza. It was a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial involving 262 people. Half of the subjects received 600 mg of NAC, the other half received placebo, twice daily for 6 months.

NAC was found to improve immune function and reduce the severity of influenza infections. Both groups had similar infection rates with A/H1N1 virus influenza. However, whereas 79% of placebo-treated people had symptomatic infections, only 25% of subjects treated with NAC were symptomatic!

There were a total of 99 flu-like episodes (symptomatic periods) that occurred in 62 people in the placebo group over the 6 month study. 48% of these were classified as mild, 47% were moderate, and 6% were severe.

In the NAC group, 46 flu-like episodes occurred in 37 subjects. 72% of these were mild, 26% were moderate and only 2% severe. There were many fewer days of being bedridden in the NAC group.”

It’s worth noting that the number needed to treat (NNT) in the study8 cited by Debé is 0.5, which means for every two people treated with NAC, one will be protected against symptomatic influenza.

That’s significantly better than influenza vaccines, which have an NNV (number needed to vaccinate) of 71,9 meaning 71 people must be vaccinated to prevent a single case of confirmed influenza. It’s even better than vitamin D, which has an NNT of 33.10 Even among those with severe vitamin D deficiency at baseline, taking vitamin D still had an NNT of 4.

NAC Inhibits Proinflammatory Cytokines

NAC has also been shown to inhibit the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in cells infected with highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza virus. According to the authors of such a study:11

“The antiviral and anti-inflammatory mechanisms of NAC included inhibition of activation of oxidant sensitive pathways including transcription factor NF-kappaB and mitogen activated protein kinase p38 …

NAC inhibits H5N1 replication and H5N1-induced production of pro-inflammatory molecules. Therefore, antioxidants like NAC represent a potential additional treatment option that could be considered in the case of an influenza A virus pandemic.”

Proinflammatory cytokines play a crucial role in COVID-19 severity. Researchers have confirmed that in severe cases, cytokines such as interleukin-6 (IL6), interleukin-10 (IL10) and TNF-ɑ are all elevated.12 Once they reach excessive levels, a so-called cytokine storm develops, causing significant tissue damage. NAC may be able to inhibit this damaging cascade.

NAC — Potential Therapeutic Agent for SARS-CoV-2

A paper13 published in the October 2020 issue of Medical Hypotheses reviews the potential therapeutic benefits of NAC in the battle against COVID-19 specifically. According to the authors:

“COVID-19 … continues to spread across the globe. Predisposing factors such as age, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and lowered immune function increase the risk of disease severity.

T cell exhaustion, high viral load, and high levels of TNF-ɑ, IL1β, IL6, IL10 have been associated with severe SARS-CoV-2. Cytokine and antigen overstimulation are potentially responsible for poor humoral response to the virus.

Lower cellular redox status, which leads to pro-inflammatory states mediated by TNF-ɑ is also potentially implicated. In vivo, in vitro, and human clinical trials have demonstrated N-acetylcysteine (NAC) as an effective method of improving redox status, especially when under oxidative stress.

In human clinical trials, NAC has been used to replenish glutathione stores and increase the proliferative response of T cells. NAC has also been shown to inhibit the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway (IL1β and IL18) in vitro, and decrease plasma TNF-ɑ in human clinical trials.

Mediation of the viral load could occur through NAC’s ability to increase cellular redox status via maximizing the rate limiting step of glutathione synthesis, and thereby potentially decreasing the effects of virally induced oxidative stress and cell death.

We hypothesize that NAC could act as a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of COVID-19 through a variety of potential mechanisms, including increasing glutathione, improving T cell response, and modulating inflammation.”

A second report14 reviewing the evidence for using NAC in the treatment of COVID-19 was published April 14, 2020, by The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford.

How NAC May Protect Against COVID-19 Read the rest of this entry »

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The Rutherford Institute :: Since 9/11, the Government’s Answer to Every Problem Has Been More Government | By John W. Whitehead |

Posted by M. C. on September 1, 2020

In other words, in the eyes of the U.S. military, noncombatants are American citizens a.k.a. domestic extremists a.k.a. enemy combatants who must be identified, targeted, detained, contained and, if necessary, eliminated.

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/since_9_11_the_governments_answer_to_every_problem_has_been_more_government

By John W. Whitehead

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”—Anonymous

Have you noticed that the government’s answer to every problem is more government—at taxpayer expense—and less individual liberty?

The Great Depression. The World Wars. The 9/11 terror attacks. The COVID-19 pandemic.

Every crisis—manufactured or otherwise—since the nation’s early beginnings has become a make-work opportunity for the government to expand its reach and its power at taxpayer expense while limiting our freedoms at every turn.

Indeed, the history of the United States is a testament to the old adage that liberty decreases as government (and government bureaucracy) grows. To put it another way, as government expands, liberty contracts.

To the police state, this COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge boon, like winning the biggest jackpot in the lottery. Certainly, it will prove to be a windfall for those who profit from government expenditures and expansions.

Given the rate at which the government has been devising new ways to spend our money and establish itself as the “solution” to all of our worldly problems, this current crisis will most likely end up ushering in the largest expansion of government power since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

This is how the emergency state operates, after all.

From 9/11 to COVID-19, “we the people” have acted the part of the helpless, gullible victims desperately in need of the government to save us from whatever danger threatens. In turn, the government has been all too accommodating and eager while also expanding its power and authority in the so-called name of national security.

As chief correspondent Dan Balz asks for The Washington Post, “Government is everywhere now. Where does it go next?

When it comes to the power players that call the shots, there is no end to their voracious appetite for more: more money, more power, more control.

This expansion of government power is also increasing our federal debt in unprecedented leaps and bounds. Yet the government isn’t just borrowing outrageous amounts of money to keep the country afloat. It’s also borrowing indecent sums to pay for programs it can’t afford.

The government’s primary response to this COVID-19 pandemic—flooding the market with borrowed money in the amount of trillions of dollars for stimulus payments, unemployment insurance expansions, and loans to prop up small businesses and to keep big companies afloat—has pushed the country even deeper in debt.

By “the country,” I really mean the taxpayers. And by “the taxpayers,” it’s really future generations who will be shackled to debt loads they may never be able to pay back.

This is how you impoverish the future.

Democrats and Republicans alike have done this.

Without fail, every president within the last 50 years has expanded the nation’s debt. When President Trump took office on January 20, 2017, the national debt—the amount the federal government has borrowed over the years and must pay back—was a whopping $19.9 trillion. Despite Trump’s pledge to drain the swamp and eliminate the debt, the federal debt is now approaching $27 trillion and is on track to surpass $78 trillion by 2028.

For many years now, economists have warned that economic collapse would be inevitable if the national debt ever surpassed the size of the U.S. economy. The government passed that point in June 2020 and has yet to put the brakes on its spending.

In fact, the Federal Reserve just keeps printing more money in order to prop up the economy and float the debt.

At some point, something’s got to give.

As it now stands, the U.S. is among the most indebted countries in the world.

Almost a third of the $27 trillion national debt is owed to foreign entities such as Japan and China.

Most of the debt, however, is owed to the public.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Fauci Recommends Goggles for Protection From COVID-19 – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 13, 2020

Fauci’s support of universal masking and goggle-wearing is in stark contrast to comments he made back in March 2020, when he stated that “people should not be walking around with masks” because “it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/08/joseph-mercola/fauci-recommends-goggles-for-protection-from-covid-19/

By

Mercola.com

As if universal mask recommendations weren’t enough, the last week of July 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci started flouting the recommendation to wear goggles and full face shields as well, as the mucous membranes of your eyes can also serve as entryways for viruses. Fauci is also urging everyone to get their flu shots as soon as they become available.1 As reported by The Hill:2

“During an interview with ABC News medical correspondent Jennifer Ashton, Fauci was asked whether the U.S. would one day recommend eye protection due to the pandemic. ‘You know, it might,’ Fauci said, noting that it would offer an added layer of protection.

‘You have mucosa in the nose, mucosa in the mouth, but you also have mucosa in the eye,’ he added. ‘Theoretically, you should protect all the mucosal surfaces.’

Fauci went on to say that if you have ‘goggles or an eye shield, you should use it.’ While it’s not universally recommended, both goggles and a face covering would provide ‘complete’ protection from the coronavirus, he said.”

Fauci’s support of universal masking and goggle-wearing is in stark contrast to comments he made back in March 2020, when he stated that “people should not be walking around with masks” because “it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And often there are unintended consequences: People keep fiddling with their mask and they keep touching their face.”3

Ocular Transmission Is Possible but Unlikely

The rest here

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The New (Pathologized) Totalitarianism – Consent Factory, Inc.

Posted by M. C. on August 12, 2020

Look, I don’t mean to be depressing, but seriously, spend an hour on the Internet, or talk to one of your hysterical friends that wants to make mask-wearing mandatory, permanently. This is the mentality of the Brave New Normal … irrationally paranoid and authoritarian. So, no, the future isn’t looking very bright for anyone not prepared to behave as if the world were one big infectious disease ward.

https://consentfactory.org/2020/06/29/the-new-pathologized-totalitarianism/

The New (Pathologized) Totalitarianism

It was always going to come to this … mobs of hysterical, hate-drunk brownshirts hunting down people not wearing masks and trying to get them fired from their jobs, “no mask, no service” signs outside stores, security staff stopping the mask-less from entering, paranoid pod people pointing and shrieking at the sight of mask-less shoppers in their midst, goon squads viciously attacking and arresting them …

Welcome to the Brave New Normal.

And it isn’t just the Maskenpflicht-Sturmabteilung. The new official narrative is omnipresent. The corporate media are pumping out hysteria about “Covid-19 hospitalizations” (i.e., anyone admitted to a hospital for anything who tested positive for the coronavirus) and “major incidents” (i.e., people at the beach). Police are manning makeshift social-distancing-monitoring watchtowers in London. There are propaganda posters and billboards everywhere, repeating the same neo-Goebbelsian slogans, reinforcing the manufactured mass hysteria. Dissent and nonconformity are being pathologized, “diagnosed” as psychopathy and paranoia. Mandatory vaccinations are coming.

You didn’t think they were kidding, did you, when they started introducing the Brave New Normal official narrative back in March? They told us, clearly, what was coming. They told us life was going to change … forever. They locked us down inside our homes. They ordered churches and synagogues closed. They ordered the police to abuse and arrest us if we violated their arbitrary orders. They closed the schools, parks, beaches, restaurants, cafés, theaters, clubs, anywhere that people gather. They ripped children out of their mother’s arms, beat and arrested other mothers for the crime of “wearing their masks improperly,” dragged mask-less passengers off of public buses, gratuitously beat and arrested people for not “social-distancing” on the sidewalk, shackled people with ankle monitors, and intimidated everyone with robots and drones. They outlawed protests, then hunted down people attending them and harassed them at their homes. They started tracking everyone’s contacts and movements. They drafted new “emergency” laws to allow them to forcibly quarantine people. They did this openly. They publicized it. It’s not like they were hiding anything.

No, they told us exactly what was coming, and advised us to shut up and follow orders. Tragically, most people have done just that. In the space of four months, GloboCap has successfully imposed totalitarianism — pathologized totalitarianism — on societies all across the world. It isn’t traditional totalitarianism, with a dictator and a one-party system, and so on. It is subtler and more insidious than that. But it is totalitarianism nonetheless.

GloboCap could not have achieved this without the approval (or at least the acquiescence) of the vast majority of the masses. The coronavirus mass hysteria was a masterstroke of propaganda, but propaganda isn’t everything. No one is really fooled by propaganda, or not for long, in any event. As Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari noted in the opening of Anti-Oedipus:

“The masses were not innocent dupes. At a certain point, under a certain set of conditions, they wanted fascism, and it is this perversion of the desire of the masses that needs to be accounted for.”

I am not going to try to account for the “perversion of the desire of the masses” here in this essay, but I do want to dig into the new pathologized totalitarianism a little bit.

Now, I’m going to assume that you understand that the official “apocalyptic pandemic” narrative is predicated on propaganda, wild speculation, and mass hysteria, and that by now you are aware that we are dealing with a virus that causes mild to moderate symptoms (or absolutely no symptoms at all) in 95% of those infected, and that over 99.5% survive … thus, clearly, no cause for widespread panic or justification for the totalitarian “emergency measures” that have been imposed. I am also going to assume that you watched as GloboCap switched off the “deadly pandemic” to accommodate the BLM protests, then switched it back on as soon as they subsided, and that you noted how their propaganda shifted to “cases” when the death count finally became a little too embarrassing to continue to hype.

So, I won’t waste your time debunking the hysteria. Let’s talk pathologized totalitarianism.

The genius of pathologized totalitarianism is like that old joke about the Devil … his greatest trick was convincing us that he doesn’t exist. Pathologized totalitarianism appears to emanate from nowhere, and everywhere, simultaneously; thus, technically, it does not exist. It cannot exist, because no one is responsible for it, because everyone is. Mass hysteria is its lifeblood. It feeds on existential fear. “Science” is its rallying cry. Not actual science, not provable facts, but “Science” as a kind of deity whose Name is invoked to silence heretics, or to ease the discomfort of the cognitive dissonance that results from desperately trying to believe the absurdities of the official narrative.

The other genius of it (from a GloboCap viewpoint) is that it is inexhaustible, endlessly recyclable. Unlike other official enemies, the “deadly virus” could be any virus, any pathogen whatsoever. All they have to do from now on is “discover” some “novel” micro-organism that is highly contagious (or that mimics some other micro-organism that we already have), and wave it in front of people’s faces. Then they can crank up the Fear Machine, and start projecting hundreds of millions of deaths if everyone doesn’t do exactly as they’re told. They can run this schtick … well, pretty much forever, anytime the working classes get restless, or an unauthorized president gets elected, or just for the sheer sadistic fun of it.

Look, I don’t mean to be depressing, but seriously, spend an hour on the Internet, or talk to one of your hysterical friends that wants to make mask-wearing mandatory, permanently. This is the mentality of the Brave New Normal … irrationally paranoid and authoritarian. So, no, the future isn’t looking very bright for anyone not prepared to behave as if the world were one big infectious disease ward.

I’ve interacted with a number of extremely paranoid corona-totalitarians recently (just as a kind of social experiment). They behave exactly like members of a cult. When challenged with facts and basic logic, first, they flood you with media propaganda and hysterical speculation from “medical experts.” Then, after you debunk that nonsense, they attempt to emotionally manipulate you by sharing their heartbreaking personal accounts of the people their therapists’ brother-in-laws’ doctors had to helplessly watch as they “died in agony” when their lungs and hearts mysteriously exploded. Then, after you don’t bite down on that, they start hysterically shrieking paranoia at you (“JUST WAIT UNTIL THEY INTUBATE YOU!” … “KEEP YOUR SPITTLE AWAY FROM ME!”) and barking orders and slogans at you (“JUST WEAR THE GODDAMN MASK, YOU BABY!” … “NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO MASK, NO SERVICE!”)

Which … OK, that would be kind of funny (or terribly sad), if these paranoid people were not just mouthpieces echoing the voice of the official power (i.e., GloboCap) that is transforming what is left of society into a paranoid, pathologized, totalitarian nightmare right before our eyes. They’re kind of like the “woman in red” in The Matrix. When you are talking to them, you’re not talking to them. You’re talking to the agents. You’re talking to the machines. Try it sometime. You’ll see what I mean. It’s like talking to a single algorithm that is running in millions of people’s brains.

I can’t lie to you. I’m not very hopeful. No one who understands the attraction (i.e., the seduction) of totalitarianism is. Much as we may not like to admit it, it is exhilarating, and liberating, being part of the mob, surrendering the burden of personal autonomy and individual responsibility, fusing with a fanatical “movement” that is ushering in a new “reality” backed by the sheer brute force of the state … or the transnational global capitalist empire.

It is irresistible, that attraction, to most of us. The chance to be a part of something like that, and to unleash one’s hatred on those who refuse to go along with the new religion … to publicly ridicule them, to humiliate them, to segregate them from normal society, to hunt them down and get them fired from their jobs, to cheer as police abuse and arrest them, to diagnose them as “abnormal” and “inferior,” these social deviants, these subhuman “others,” who dare to challenge the authority of the Party, or the Church, or the State, or the Reich, or Science.

Plus, in the eyes of GloboCap (and its millions of fanatical, slogan-chanting followers), such non-mask-wearing deviants are dangerous. They are like a disease … an infestation. A sickness in the social body. If they refuse to conform, they will have to be dealt with, quarantined, or something like that.

Or they can just surrender to the Brave New Normal, and stop acting like babies, and wear a goddamn mask.

After all, it’s just a harmless piece of cloth.

CJ Hopkins
June 29, 2020
Photos: (1) DHVANI billboard/pymnts.com; (2) United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek.

CJ Hopkins Summer 2018 thumbnail

DISCLAIMER: The preceding essay is entirely the work of our in-house satirist and self-appointed political pundit, CJ Hopkins, and does not reflect the views and opinions of the Consent Factory, Inc., its staff, or any of its agents, subsidiaries, or assigns. If, for whatever inexplicable reason, you appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to support it, please go to his Patreon page (where you can contribute as little $1 per month), or send your contribution to his PayPal account, so that maybe he’ll stop coming around our offices trying to hit our staff up for money. Alternatively, you could purchase his satirical dystopian novel, Zone 23, or Volume I of his Consent Factory Essays, or any of his subversive stage plays, which won some awards in Great Britain and Australia. If you do not appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to write him an abusive email, please feel free to contact him directly.

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Coronavirus Senate Republicans’ $1 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Billions for New Fighter Jets, Attack Helicopters, and Missiles

Posted by M. C. on August 4, 2020

The Trump administration only slashed the budget for the Navy’s procure P–8A Poseidon aircraft by $180 million, but is now seeing its funding increased by $1 billion, reports the Post.

In the best spirit of never letting a  good crisis go to waste we had coronavirus relief money going to diversify corporate boards in the first go around.

Now we  are helping the pentagram fight coronavirus.

I see a gap in college “studies” programs. We need coronavirus studies program to help fill the giant employment gap in professors that teach studies programs.

Still, I am relieved government is on top of this situation.

https://reason.com/2020/07/28/senate-republicans-1-trillion-covid-19-relief-bill-includes-billions-for-new-fighter-jets-attack-helicopters-and-missiles/

The $1 trillion coronavirus relief package released by Senate Republicans this week includes billions of dollars for new weapons and defense projects that appear to have little to do with fighting the pandemic.

Part of the Senate Republicans’ relief package—collectively known as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act—is a $306 billion appropriations bill authored by Sen. Richard Shelby (R–Ala.). That legislation includes close to $30 billion in defense spending, with a good chunk of that money allocated to purchasing new aircraft, ships, and missiles.

“I believe we need to act with a sense of urgency. The American people are fighters, but the accumulated strain of this pandemic is a serious burden on folks,” said Shelby, who chairs the Senate’s Appropriations Committee, in a press release. “With the additional resources this legislation provides, I believe we can give them greater confidence that we are getting our arms around this virus.”

Speaking of arms, Shelby’s bill includes $283 million for the Army through the end of 2022 “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally” on the condition that money be spent on acquiring AH–64 Apache attack helicopters made by Boeing.

The legislation also gives the Army another $375 million for upgrading its complement of Stryker armored personnel carriers, which are made by General Dynamics. The Army reportedly awarded the company a $2.48 billion contract to build new, more mine-resistant Stryker vehicles in June. The text of the HEALS Act says that this funding will come in addition to any money that’s already been allocated.

The Air Force, meanwhile, will get $686 million to purchase more F-35As, a fighter plane made by Lockheed Martin. Its development has been plagued by cost overruns and delays. The bill will also put $720 million into funding buying more C-130J military transport aircraft, in addition to $650 million to pay for replacement wings for the Air Force’s A-10 aircraft.

The Navy will get its beak wet too, receiving $1 billion to purchase P–8A Poseidon aircraft, plus $1.4 billion for new medical ships, $260 million for a new Expeditionary Fast Transport vessel, $41 million for new Naval Strike Missiles and launchers (made by Raytheon), as a well as close to $50 million for submarine-detecting “sonobuoys.”

The Washington Post reports that many of these programs had their funding repurposed to help pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall. Republicans’ coronavirus legislation replaces that funding, and then some.

The Trump administration only slashed the budget for the Navy’s procure P–8A Poseidon aircraft by $180 million, but is now seeing its funding increased by $1 billion, reports the Post.

The Department of Defense is hardly the only recipient of generous line items in the Senate GOP’s relief bill. The Trump administration reportedly requested that the legislation include $1.75 billion for a new FBI headquarters building (although the Wall Street Journal reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) has come against that particular item).

Whether all this defense pork will end up being passed by the Senate remains to be seen.

Given that the Senate just last week approved a $740 billion defense spending bill, and the federal government ran an $864 billion budget deficit last month, one could argue now is not the time to spend more money on the military.

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