Rose/Icke III: The Livestream | London Real

Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 6.27.40 AMJohnny Liberty, Editor’s Note: This is the third and final interview between Brian Rose and David Icke. After the first and second interviews which he exposed the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity for the Global Power Structure, or cult as he calls it, to impose their decades long New World Order (NWO) agenda to destroy the sovereignty of nations. 

Their ultimate goal is to undermine freedom, destroy independent small businesses, reduce the human race to a starving population fighting each other for survival and impose a an absolute totalitarian control system which includes mandatory vaccines laced with microchips/nanobots. All this is run robotically with the rollout of 5G networks.

Immediately after the second interview, David Icke was banned from Facebook and YouTube for violating “community” standards (and daring to air a controversial perspective the Global Power Structure doesn’t want you to hear about).

You can believe Icke’s perspective or not, but it’s your sovereign right (i.e., human right) to be able to hear his perspective and decide for yourself.  For anyone knowledgable in his field of research, you would know Icke is speaking truth if the technocrats have to go to the extreme measures of squashing/censoring the message to stop his message from getting out to the uninformed.  Friends of Liberty, do listen and decide for yourself, but under no circumstances bury your head in the sand. This is the turning point of human civilization and our individual awareness and collective decisions will determine the fate of all humanity.

By David Rose & David Icke

The Broadcast They Don’t Want You To See… The Ideas They Don’t Want You To Hear…

On May 3, 2020 at 5pm UK time, David Icke is LIVE on the DIGITAL FREEDOM PLATFORM for the largest LIVESTREAM of a conversation in human history. This single broadcast could change the course of humanity.

If we get the information now, we can act on it, we can change course.

If We Are Silenced, It Could Be The End of Humanity As We Know It.

WE NEED YOU!

Based on the popularity of our previous Icke I and II interviews, we expect to have a MILLION PEOPLE ACCESSING THIS LIVE.

As a member of the London Real Army you can make a difference by sharing this link and sharing this video.

Be Brave. Stand Up. Fight For Your Freedom.

What Will You Tell Your Grandchildren You Did During The Removal Of Civil Rights During The Great Pandemic?

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Join Us And Let’s Change The World.

WE WILL NOT BE CENSORED.
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JOIN THE RESISTANCE.
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Source: London Real

Some Thoughts on Thinking Critically in Times of Uncertainty and the Trap of Lopsided Skepticism | Denise Minger

twitter_these_daysBy Denise Minger

Long time no blog, fam!

So, I had this hope that the next thing I posted here would be a grand explanation about my extended absence, all the weird stuff that’s happened over the past few years, my loss of faith in nutrition as a front-line approach to healing, and various other sundries I’ve been storing up in my brain-attic.

But then COVID-19 happened, and if that isn’t the biggest cosmic plan-changer that ever did plan-change, then I don’t know what is. So we’re gonna roll with it. And at the risk of writing something that’ll already be outdated by the time I hit publish (such is the nature of current events), I’m hoping this post will stay evergreen (or at least ever-chartreuse) by sheer virtue of its universal core theme: navigating conflicting, emotionally charged narratives in which objectivity behooves us but doesn’t come easy.

So LET US BEGIN.

In case you didn’t notice, the cyber-world (and its 3D counterpart, I assume, but we’re not allowed to venture there anymore) is currently a hot mess of Who and what do we believe? This is zero percent surprising. Official agencies have handled COVID-19 with the all grace of a three-legged elephant—waffling between the virus being under control/not under control/OMG millions dead/wait no 60,000/let’s pack the churches on Easter!/naw, lockdown-til-August/face masks do nothing/face masks do something, but healthcare workers need them more/FACE MASKS FOR EVERY FACE RIGHT NOW PLEASE AND THANK YOU/oh no a tiger got the ‘rona!; on and on. It’s dizzying. Maddening. The opposite of confidence-instilling. And as a very predictable result, guerrilla journalism has grown to fill the void left by those who’ve failed to tell us, with any believability, what’s going on.

Exercising our investigative rights is usually a good thing. You guys know me. I’m all about questioning established narratives and digging into the forces that crafted them. It’s literally my life. Good things happen when we flex our thinking muscle, and nothing we’re told should be immune to scrutiny.

But there’s a shadow side here, too—what I’ll henceforth refer to as “lopsided skepticism.” This is what happens when we question established narratives… but not the non-established ones. More specifically, when we go so hog wild ripping apart The Official Story that we somehow have no skepticism left over for all the new stuff we’re replacing it with.

And that, my friends, is exactly what’s happening right now.

I’ve been watching homegrown theories about COVID-19 spiral through various social platforms, born from a mix of data (sometimes) and theory (usually) and anecdote (always). They’re generally a pushback against the mainstream narrative about the coronavirus’s timeline, severity, concern-worthiness, fatality rate, treatment, infection breadth, classification guidelines, origin… round and round we go. Some theories are reasonable (“Has the virus been here longer than we think?”), some are untenable (“The ‘virus’ is actually radiation poisoning from 5G towers!”), and many more lie somewhere between.

Most importantly, they all have one thing in common: a tendency to embrace any and all supportive data without, well, making sure it’s true. 

Y’all know what I’m talking about. Evidence we’d never give the time of day if it didn’t work in our favor. The “I remember reading somewhere…”, the “I have a friend who knows someone who…”, YouTube interviews that are impossible to fact-check (but please just trust this person’s top-secret info from an organization they can’t name without the Feds beating down their door), crowdsourced anecdotes, retracted papers, retweeted screenshots of Facebook comments from people whose names and profile pictures are blacked out, the whole shebang.

This stuff. Is. EVERYWHERE.

Unfortunately, throwing a bunch of really bad evidence together can create the illusion of a well-supported theory. And this is what’s happening, my dudes. This is what it’s come to. In our rabid quest to undermine the Powers That Be and figure out what’s really going on, we’ve thrown quality control out the window and become that which we loathe: loyalists to narrative over data.

resurcher

Case in point, let’s look at what might be the most popular COVID-19 theory circulating right now: that mortality stats are getting padded by assigning deaths to COVID-19 that are really from other causes—thereby making this whole thing seem worse than it actually is. Depending on the sub-theory, this might be due to financial incentives for hospitals (more COVID-19 patients = more $$$); a coordinated government hoax to trick people into relinquishing their sovereignty; a way to butter us up for mass ID microchipping; something something lizard people; and so on.

And from what I’ve seen—and by all means correct me if I’m missing something—this theory draws on the following claims:

  1. The CDC has literally issued guidelines telling doctors and medical examiners to classify deaths as COVID-19 if they “presume” the patient has it—no test results needed.
  2. CDC data shows a precipitous drop in pneumonia deaths right around the same time COVID-19 became a thing—suggesting pneumonia deaths have been getting reclassified as COVID-19 deaths, and creating the illusion of a pandemic.
  3. People who die with coronavirus, but not from coronavirus, are getting counted as COVID-19 deaths—again inflating the body count.
  4. Despite COVID-19 mortality skyrocketing, total mortality is staying the same (or even dropping)—suggesting a “cause of death” shuffle, if you will, and betraying the idea that we’re seeing additional deaths from a new disease. (Alternatively: “Only people with preexisting medical conditions are dying and they were gonna keel over any minute anyhow.”)

This theory would be pretty awful if it’s true. We’d have been got. Duped. Manipulated AF. But how solid is the evidence? Have we actually peeled this thing apart piece by piece before getting all ragey about the injustice of it all?

Oh, we haven’t? Well GUESS WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO NOW?

Let the unpeeling commence.


Claim #1

1. First, the whole “CDC is telling people to report COVID-19 deaths without testing!” ordeal. The damning bits come from the CDC’s COVID-19 reporting guide (PDF), which gives permission to use COVID-19 on a death certificate if it’s “suspected or likely” and “‘probable’ or ‘presumed’”:

cdc_covid_reporting_guide

And also says it’s okay to report COVID-19 without testing confirmation:

okay_no_test

And the WHO’s “Emergency use ICD codes for COVID-19 disease outbreak” gives a whole death code for COVID-19 cases that aren’t confirmed via test:

who_emergency_coding

And finally, this National Vital Statistics System document says COVID-19 can be put on a death certificate when it’s “assumed” to have caused death:

nvss_alert

The point of contention here, which has sparked something of an outrage in important places such as Twitter, is that these guidelines allow a level of guesswork that could mess things up real bad. Especially if there’s already some sort of incentive to bend data in the direction of more coronavirus deaths. What if people assign COVID-19 willy nilly to anyone who has a cough or fever? Or who had a poorly-timed bout of allergies? Where does the line get drawn? For sure, “probable,” “presumed,” “suspected,” and “likely” aren’t very reassuring words when it comes to a disease we’ve shut down the whole globe to contain.

But is this actually conspiracy worthy? And, in a clinical setting, with actual doctors doing doctor things rather than us internet-dwelling oafs imagining how it all might go, would these guidelines really lead to a significant over-reporting of COVID-19 deaths?

For starters, let’s look more closely at that CDC reporting guide. Although it does say COVID-19 deaths can be assigned without a positive test result, it also emphasizes the importance of drawing from all available evidence in order to make an informed judgment:

cause_of_death_reporting_covid-19

And it turns out, this is really no sketchier than the CDC’s guidelines for certifying pretty much any cause of death. Seriously. According to the agency’s Medical Examiners’ and Coroners’ Handbook on Death Registration and Fetal Death Reporting (PDF), it’s okay to use personal “judgment” when there’s uncertainty:

medical_examiners_handbook_1

And yes, medical examiners and coroners are invited to give their “opinion”:

medical_examiners_handbook_3

So are physicians, according to the CDC’s Physician’s Handbook on Medical Certification of Death—note also the use of “probable”:

physicians_medical_opinion

And medical examiners are broadly allowed to list “causes that are suspected,” and to “use words such as ‘probable’ or ‘presumed’”—again, for any death-cause:

probable_presumed_any_death

And here we see the CDC’s Instructions for Completing the Cause-of-Death Section of the Death Certificate telling us again that a condition can be listed as “probable” even if there isn’t a definitive diagnosis (and also the words YOUR and OPINION written in CAPS because the CDC successfully learned how to yell on the internet; good job, CDC):

probable_shmobbable

*I know it’s tiny; click for bigger

Are you sick of this yet? Guess what? Alzheimer’s deaths can get the same code whether the disease is confirmed or “probable”:

alzheimers

Oh hey, remember 83 seconds ago when we were so mad that COVID-19 deaths could be listed as “probable” or “presumed”? Because it seemed like some unique-to-coronavirus word twist intended to help pad the death stats? REMEMBER?

probable_presumed_covid_omg

No. Just no. This same language is consistent through all the cause of death guidelines, no matter the killer in question. It’s been that way for years. And COVID-19 is even lucky enough to get separate codes for “probable” versus “confirmed” cases, which is more than we can say for some other diseases. (And to boot, some places were already seeing COVID-19 mortality explode before reporting the “probable” deaths at all.) Heck, the guidelines for coronavirus deaths are far more straightforward than the maze-like estimation formula the CDC takes for flu mortality.

In short—and please make me eat my words if I’ve overlooked something important here—this really isn’t outrage-worthy. Certifying any form of death is an imperfect, partly subjective process, and concessions for that reality are baked into all sorts of official guidelines. If overzealous COVIDing is happening (and you’re welcome to investigate any theory-offshoots that it is), it’s not because the CDC told death certifiers to cook the books.


Claim #2

2. As for pneumonia deaths getting classified as COVID-19 deaths? This graph of CDC data has been making the rounds as evidence that something very shady, very shady indeed, is going on. As you can see, around week 10 of this year (starting March 2nd), pneumonia mortality told its wife it loved her and then jumped off a cliff:

pneumonia_drop

If we’re already primed to think the COVID-19 numbers are being doctored, we might take this graph at face value and add it to our stash of outrage fodder. But that would not be smart, friends. Face value is where critical thinking goes to die. And so, in the spirit of questioning literally everything, we must ask: could anything else explain what we’re seeing?

As a matter of fact, yes! So much yes! We only have to venture as far as the CDC’s Provisional Death Counts for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) page to see what’s up. Go take a look. Especially the “Delays in reporting” section. Thar be some gold.

Basically, the CDC’s death-certificate-processing system is a slow, laborious beast that ensures any recent mortality data is always incomplete. They give a decent rundown of how death certificates get handled from start to finish:

Provisional counts of deaths are underestimated relative to final counts. This is due to the many steps involved in reporting death certificate data. When a death occurs, a certifier (e.g. physician, medical examiner or coroner) will complete the death certificate with the underlying cause of death and any contributing causes of death. In some cases, laboratory tests or autopsy results may be required to determine the cause of death. Completed death certificate are sent to the state vital records office and then to NCHS for cause of death coding.

And here we have a special shoutout to our favorite infectious diseases, noting that pneumonia, flu, and COVID-19 certificates take extra long to trickle into the data pool due to manual coding (emphases mine):

At NCHS, about 80% of deaths are automatically processed and coded within seconds, but 20% of deaths need to manually coded, or coded by a person. Deaths involving certain conditions such as influenza and pneumonia are more likely to require manual codingthan other causes of death. Furthermore, all deaths with COVID-19 are manually coded. Death certificates are typically manually coded within 7 days of receipt, although the coding delay can grow if there is a large increase in the number of deaths. As a result, underestimation of the number of deaths may be greater for certain causes of death than others.

Zooming in even further, the CDC gives some stats conveying just how incomplete their recent data is, and boy howdy is it a sorry sight. At any given moment, data from two weeks ago is likely to be barely over a quarter completewhile data from eight weeks ago is still less than three-quarters complete:

Previous analyses of provisional data completeness from 2015 suggested that mortality data is approximately 27% complete within 2 weeks, 54% complete within 4 weeks, and at least 75% complete within 8 weeks of when the death occurred. Pneumonia deaths are 26% complete within 2 weeks, 52% complete within 4 weeks, and 72% complete within 8 weeks (unpublished). Data timeliness has improved in recent years, and current timeliness is likely higher than published rates.

The CDC even slaps this little disclaimer after each table of COVID-19, pneumonia, and flu death counts:

cdc_lag_time_8_weeks

Once again, with feeling: CDC mortality figures are initially very incomplete, low-balled-as-all-get-out, and retroactively fill in over time. Which means a weird pneumonia death-drop will show up any time we check the most recent data, COVID or No-vid.

To illustrate, Joseph Dunn graphed the CDC’s pneumonia data as it appeared on the same mid-March week of each year since 2013. Behold:

pneumonia_week_12_all_years

Look at all them swan dives!

And data scientist Tyler Morgan even went to the trouble of graphing the data from every weekly CDC pneumonia report published in the last decade, to show how the lines shift as data gets back-filled. Click here or on the image below for the really cool animation (it’s weirdly beautiful and absolutely worth the 30 seconds of your life):

tyler_morgan_animated_graph

In other words, there’s nothing anomalous at all about 2020’s pneumonia trends. Nothing. The popular graph up top is a meaningless piece of hooey and it’s sad that it went viral.

Note: there’s an issue here I’m cognizant of, but intentionally not touching on yet, which is that some people believe the CDC (and any other government organization) literally makes up data from thin air, thus rendering all of the above irrelevant. This level of conspiracy is beyond the scope of this post, but I may try to address it at some point later on. Not from a data angle, but from a psychological one.


Claim #3

3. Here we have the wildly popular claim that people are dying with COVID-19, not really from COVID-19. At least, not in the numbers we’re being told. It’s basically a steroided-up version of Claim #1—just with more trickery and plot-thickness and finger-tenting.

candace_owens_tweet

The evidence for this one is a lot harder to fact-check, because there are actually no facts to check. Its trueness rests on us believing that doctors and death-certifiers are being marionetted by evil forces and/or just plumb don’t know what they’re doing.

The closest thing we’ve got to “evidence” are citationless social media statements like the above, which we’re expected to trust because LOOK AT ALL THOSE RETWEETS!, a few well-publicized examples of allegedly mis-assigned COVID-19 deaths, and Youtube interviews with people who are pretty sure they know what’s going on. Like this one, featuring Dr. Annie Bukacek, with nearly 750,000 views at the time of writing.

Apparently, she knows her stuff. And the stuff she knows is that the coronavirus figures are being manipulated!

distinguished_and_cherished_physician

Hmmm…

highly_distinguished_omg

Hmmmmmm…

annie_google_reviews

annie_yelp_review

annie_healthgrade_reviews

Hmmmmmmmmm.

Serious question: how many of us bothered to look Dr. Bukacek up before thrusting her atop a pedestal of trustworthiness? And sharing her video far across the lands? And assuming she’s an impartial commentator on the whole situation (her praiseful introducer was literally her pastor)? Should we really put faith in someone we didn’t even know existed ten seconds ago just because 1) they’re telling us what we want to hear and 2) an internet headline made them sound prestigious?

By the way, to state the obvious, this is me intentionally and very shamelessly cherry-picking to make a point. Not all of her reviews are bad. Nor do the existing ones necessarily prove she isn’t credible. And if we wanted to be truly fair, we could prod deeper and ask whether she might be getting bad-review-bombed due to her vocal pro-life activism or religious affiliation or anti-vaccine stance (she’s definitely got some haterz). There’s a lot of sticky tricky gray-zone business in evaluating reputation, which is why—whenever possible—we should investigate a person’s claims rather than their character.

But the issue here is that with Dr. Bukacek, we can’t “investigate her claims” without installing cameras into every death certifier’s brain and watching what unfolds within their basal ganglias. So we’re left with only her word. And one person’s word is not useful data. Even if it’s the best of persons and the best of words.

Now, to play devil’s advocate with my own arguments here, there’s another popular video—this one featuring Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx—that seems more genuinely suspect. I saved this one for last because it might actually have some merit. In it, Dr. Birx talks about the USA’s “very liberal approach to mortality” and outright states that people who die with COVID-19 are counted as COVID-19 deaths:

Transcript: There are other countries that if you had a preexisting condition, and let’s say the virus caused you to go to the ICU and then have a heart or kidney problem, some countries are recording that as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death. Right now we’re still recording it and we’ll—I mean the great thing about having forms that come in and a form that has the ability to mark it as COVID-19 infection, the intent is right now that those—if someone dies with COVID-19 we are counting that [as a COVID-19 death].

It’s not surprising this clip went gangbusters! It seems like a deal-clinching A-ha for anyone who suspected COVID-19 was getting slapped onto every death possible.

However, here and always, context matters. After all, this segment was carefully cropped from a much longer coronavirus briefing from April 7th. And if we listen to the full segment—the audience question that came before this clip, and the follow-up question that came after it, and the follow-up answer Dr. Birx gave, and the addendum answer Dr. Anthony Fauci gave—we can better orient ourselves in the conversation that was happening.

Go have a listen. The relevant stuff starts at the 1:39:07 mark:

Could it be that Dr. Birx thought the question-asker was wondering if lack of testing might cause under-reporting, and tried to reassure her by explaining that the current COVID hotspots are flush with tests? And that people with “heart or kidney problems” wouldn’t be reported as dying from those things if they’d ended up in the ICU from coronavirus? (Especially given that COVID-19 itself can cause cardiac injury and kidney damage?)

It sounds to me like the thrust of the asker’s question—which was more along the lines of “Are we sure we’re not over-counting deaths?!”—went over the heads of the task force, and they addressed a different issue than the one she was trying to get at.

But I can’t read minds. And I can’t prove that it’s not all just political doublespeak and of course they understood the question. And I think there’s far too little information in this video alone to assess it from a “scam vs. not-scam” angle. And most importantly, in the absence of actual mortality data that could clue us in to potential over-reporting, I doubt analyzing this thing to smithereens can bring us any closer to the truth.

But, you be the judge. And speaking of mortality data…


Claim #4

4. Lastly and not leastly: the claim that COVID-19 isn’t actually causing excess mortality; we’re just reshuffling death causes to stack up higher for COVID-19 and lower for everything else. Boom, insta-pandemic!

First, a note. This is a Very Important claim. It’s the supreme ruler of all the claims that came before it and perhaps all those incipient ones that will come after. It has executive power and a VIP card for entry into the most highly guarded chambers of our brains. This is because, unlike causes of death, actual body counts can’t be fudged. This is the one true test. If COVID-19 really is taking lives en masse above and beyond what we’d expect from normal death trends, total mortality is where it’ll show up. If it’s not, then our game of death-code musical chairs will be revealed for the con that it is.

Again: Very Important claim. This is the crux of it, my dear readers.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to test this claim: looking at total mortality trends in areas that COVID-19 has purportedly ravaged, and comparing that to historical mortality in the same location. An absence of anomalous death spikes—taking into account, of course, delays in processing death certificates and the lag time between infection and dying—would suggest we’re over-reporting COVID-19. And if excess mortality does appear, then we either have to concede that COVID-19 isn’t a nothingburger after all, or propose that some other ghastly, unnamed entity is stealing lives very coincidentally at the same time we have a made-up pandemic.

*Keep in mind, too, that our current near-global quarantine should slash deaths from accidents and certain crimes and infectious disease—and thus “normal” mortality rates for right now would likely be lower than for previous years.

So let’s dig into this. The “COVID-19 is overblown” theory asserts that total mortality isn’t doing anything unusual. At least not significantly so. No more than a bad flu year, let’s say. And depending on the source, we may be furnished with graphs that seem to demonstrate this truth to our hungry, data-seeking eyes, such as the following for England and Wales:

no_excess_england_wales

old_mortality_england_wales

There’s one very big problem here. Check the dates.

Almost universally, the “See, it’s nothing!” graphs use data from mid to late March, when COVID-19 was just starting to pick up steam in the areas it’s most recently terrorized. And in March, there really weren’t massive mortality spikes, except perhaps for Italy. Nothing to see here, folks was true. And no one in the infectious disease world was claiming otherwise. In March, the rumblings of upcoming mortality explosions was what people were getting worried about, not the numbers as they then stood. The whole deal with “exponential growth” is that it’s—wait for it—exponential. This is how we went from 0 reported COVID-19 deaths in the USA on February 15th, 65 deaths one month later, and 30,000 deaths yet another month later.

So let’s see what happens when we look, instead, at more recent data from countries with known COVID-19 outbreaks. (This site is a great starting resource for raw mortality data and some visuals.)

First, here’s what’s up with England and Wales now (source):

excess_mortality_england_wales

And another depiction suggesting COVID-19 deaths may be under-reported (data source and image source):

excess_mortality_england_wales_2

London, OMG (source):

REPORT THIS AD

excess_mortality_london

Excess mortality in Spain as a whole, from December 2019 to April 15 of this year (source):

excess_mortality_spain

Madrid, in particular, got clobbered:

excess_mortality_madrid

And Bergamo, Italy, in which March deaths far surpassed anything seen locally within the past decade (source):

bergamo_italy_mortality

Heck, northern Italy as a whole (source):

excess_mortality_northern_italy

Switzerland looking pretty wonky for the 65-and-olders (source):

excess_mortality_switzerland

Total mortality in the Netherlands (source):

excess_mortality_netherlands

A big chunk o’ Europe getting excess-mortalitied (source):

euromomo_map_2020-14

New York City, graphed by the New York Times (article here; viewable with free subscription) (NOTE: this data is almost two weeks outdated and the the April deaths are now many magnitudes higher):

NYC_death_spike_april_4

We could do this all day, but you get the point.

Here’s the deal, folks. People. Are. Dying. The mortality trends for COVID-19-affected areas look like what happens when you’re trying to draw a straight line and then sneeze. This is not normal. This is not how things “should” look. We can argue all we want about how accurate the COVID-19-specific data is—and indeed, there’s plenty to argue about— but total mortality doesn’t lie. This is real.


Final Thoughts

By all means, the above peel-apart is far from complete. I’m sure there are more viral videos we could assess, more statistics to double-check, more anomalies to ponder. The point isn’t to reach a final conclusion here—just to demonstrate the process. The level of detail that must go into investigating a theory before we let ourselves fully entertain it. And if that process seems exhausting, excessive, excruciatingly nit-picky, too time consuming—well, it’s the price of admission for calling ourselves “informed.” Anything less and we’re operating on faith. Which is okay, if that’s our goal. But we must call it what it is.

Now maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, the ‘COVID-19 deaths are getting padded’ theory didn’t really hold up. But what about G5 radiation causing virus symptoms? What about mandatory vaccine agendas getting pushed on the world? What about COVID-19 being a bioweapon? What about what about what about?”

To which I say, Yes! Great! What about them indeed! Put on your best-tailored thinking cap and go find out. Marinate in all the data you can find. Watch out for claims that seem sciencey but trace back to a 4chan post. Be mindful of the universal human tendency to filter out things we disagree with and embrace any evidence that we like. Dig in, first and foremost, with the goal of proving yourself wrong. If you can’t, then perhaps there’s something there.

Of course, I realize the type of deep-dive we did in this post isn’t always possible, and not everyone can sit at home all day opening so many browser tabs that their MacBook freezes with a “System Has Run Run Out of Application Memory” error (anyone else? No? Just me?). Sometimes we need shortcuts. So for anyone who really wants to do the work, to prioritize truth-seeking over ideology, to stay oriented in reality, to let go of false narratives, but who doesn’t have infinite time to do so: here are some questions to ask whenever a new or alternative theory presents itself. Especially a theory we find ourselves enamored with. None of these questions can substitute for ruthlessly investigating, but they can help us stay grounded in situations where our minds easily lead us astray.

  • Am I claiming to see through the media’s fear-mongering, but falling prey to conspiracy fear-mongering instead?
  • Am I being pressured to accept this theory in order to be “woke” or “not sheeple”?
  • Have I read the full context of this quote, clip, or screenshot before assuming I know what it means?
  • Does the group promoting this theory invite questions and critiques? Or does it flippantly dismiss those things and/or attack its doubters?
  • If this same form of evidence (Youtube interview, social media comment, etc.) was used to support the “other side” instead of mine, would I still consider it trustworthy?
  • Am I taking time to research counter-arguments to these ideas, even when I want them to be true?
  • Am I looking for good vs. evil narratives as a distraction from my immediate reality? Is getting worked up about hypothetical injustice easier than being present with what is?
  • Am I embracing this theory as a way to feel like I have control—by naming an enemy in a situation where I’m otherwise helpless?
  • Does seeing myself as a “good guy” on the side of “truth” or “justice” make me feel validated, empowered, and important?

It’s easy to trick ourselves into thinking we’re being Good Skeptics when we’ve really only lifted one veil of many. There’s nothing “woke” about rejecting the official story while gullibly swallowing its alternatives.

Rather, waking up means waking up to ourselves. It’s recognizing that the battle of good and evil we project onto the world is playing out daily within ourselves. It’s committing to seeing “what is,” instead of stories about “what is.” It’s spreading our skepticism evenly across the info-scape instead of saving it for the things we already distrust.

So here it is, you guys. This is me groveling at the collective feet of the internet, with one thing to say: to anyone—everyone—listening, we need to reflect on how we’re processing the claims we hear. If we’re going to question official narratives, we need to question alternative narratives with the same degree of rigor. There’s no use retiring our sheeplehood from the mainstream only to rejoin the herd on a different pasture.

Source: Denise Minger

China Starts Mass Quarantines Again After Failing to Stop COVID-19: real death toll from the coronavirus in Wuhan, China may be over 40,000, more than 16 times the amount of deaths currently reported by China | Trending Politics

5e87b504daa4b7133According to a new breaking news report from Politico, China is once again implementing mass quarantines to combat the coronavirus outbreak after their initial quarantine failed.

“Henan province in central China has taken the drastic measure of putting a mid-sized county in total lockdown as authorities try to fend off a second coronavirus wave in the midst of a push to revive the economy,” Politico reported. “Curfew-like measures came into effect on Tuesday in Jia county, near the city of Pingdingshan, with the area’s roughly 600,000 residents told to stay home, according to a notice on the country’s official microblog account.”

This breaking news comes at the same time as a new report from Washington Post Beijing bureau chief Anna Fifield stated that the real death toll from the coronavirus in Wuhan, China may be over 40,000, more than 16 times the amount of deaths currently reported by China.

Check out what the The Washington Post reported:

The coronavirus pandemic ravaging the globe officially claimed 2,563 lives in Wuhan, where it began in a market that sold exotic animals for consumption. But evidence emerging from the city as it stirs from its two-month hibernation suggests the real death toll is exponentially higher. …

Using photos posted online, social media sleuths have estimated that Wuhan funeral homes had returned 3,500 urns a day since March 23. That would imply a death toll in Wuhan of about 42,000 — or 16 times the official number. Another widely shared calculation, based on Wuhan’s 84 furnaces running nonstop and each cremation taking an hour, put the death toll at 46,800.

This bombshell report comes not much after Bloomberg News reported that U.S. intelligence officials shared a classified report with President Donald Trump stating that China had lied about how bad the coronavirus was in their country.

“China’s public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete,” Bloomberg News reported. “Two of the officials said the report concludes that China’s numbers are fake.”

Vice President Mike Pence also spoke out on the matter: “The reality is that we could have been better off if China had been more forthcoming. What appears evident now is that long before the world learned in December that China was dealing with this, and maybe as much as a month earlier than that, that the outbreak was real in China.”

Dr Deborah Birx, the head of the White House Coronavirus Response also spoke out, indicating that China may have lied about their coronavirus numbers.

“When you talk about could we have known something different, you know, I think all of us, I was overseas when this happened in Africa and I think when you look at the China data originally, and you said, there’s 80 million people, or 20 million people in Wuhan and 80 million people in Hubei, and they come up with the number of 50,000, you start thinking of this more like SARS than you do this kind of global pandemic,” Birx said.

Based on the information that China provided, Birx stated that she did not think that the coronavirus would escalate into a global pandemic.

“So, I think the medical community interpreted the Chinese data as this was serious, but smaller than anyone expected because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of the data” from China, Birx said.

Source: Trending Politics, Politico, Bloomberg & Washington Post

Facebook Censoring Former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul Based on Bogus Politifact ‘Fact-Check’ | Ron Paul Institute

FalseinformationfoundonJohnnyLibertySocial media behemoth Facebook has just acted to censor and suppress Ron Paul’s latest weekly column, “The Coronavirus Hoax,” based on a hatchet job “fact check” by the notoriously biased “Politifact” organization.

At issue is Dr. Paul’s statement that National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci’s claim that the coronavirus is “ten times more deadly” than the seasonal influenza virus is “without any scientific basis.” Fauci made the claim recently in testimony before the US Congress in a move that significantly ramped up the fear factor in the US over the virus.

The Politifact “fact check” is literally drenched in sarcasm and bias, with Ron Paul being described as “a sometimes conspiracy-minded Texas doctor” and Fauci described as a “universally trusted person.”

For a “just the facts” analysis, that’s a lot of editorializing.

The Politifact hit piece admits that, “It’s not yet known what the death rate from the current coronavirus, COVID-19, will be,” but concludes nevertheless that, “early data indicate it is more than 10 times higher than the death rate for the flu.”

So if you don’t know how can you know?

One reason to question the “scientific basis” of Fauci’s claim is that Fauci contradicted his own statement before Congress in a recent article he co-authored in the New England Journal of Medicine.

If a scientist writes one thing in a scholarly journal and testifies very differently before Congress, does it not raise questions as to the “scientific basis” of the divergent claims?

Here are the two Anthony Faucis. Which one is scientifically based? Both can’t be:

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Founded by the Poynter Institute, Politifact is an outfit with a clear political agenda and it is not to promote truth and accuracy in the media. Rather, it is all about suppressing media outlets with which they disagree. It is all about creating blacklists in a McCarthyite push to control the flow of information.

Interestingly enough, major funders of the Poynter Institute include “open society” advocate George Soros along with Charles Koch (both founders and major funders of the “Quincy Institute“).

Soros loves an “open society” as long as it does not in any way challenge his own political biases. If anyone holds different views, he’ll spend millions to shut down debate.

The Poynter Institute is also funded by the United States government itself, via major grants from the National Endowment for Democracy. So here is what happens when you scratch below the surface a bit: The suppression of views like those of Ron Paul which are unpopular among those who control the foreign policy narrative are actually financed by the US government itself.

Do any of our dear readers support the US government taking our tax money and using it to shut Ron Paul up?

How is it that Facebook tries to sell itself as politically neutral, just making sure only facts are allowed through, while at the same time partnering with such a politically biased and unethical organization as Politifact and the Poynter Institute? Is Facebook really about fostering a lively debate or is it about controlling the narrative favored by the Washington elites?

We have fact-checked Politifact’s fact checkers and we find them to be biased, sloppy, and inimical to the values we should share as Americans in favor of open debate.

And Facebook? End your suppression of Dr. Ron Paul’s op-ed on the coronavirus!

Source: Ron Paul Institute

99% of Those Who Died From Virus Had Other Illness, Italy Says | Bloomberg

16Italy-Bodies01-superJumboJim Jordan, Editor’s Note: So why are not these deaths labeled: heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, etc? How these deaths are labeled drives the narrative. Yes, if you have underlying serious health conditions this virus could push that person over the edge; however, that does not mean the COVID -19 is THE CAUSE of death in any of these cases. It is a factor that has to be addressed and perhaps if government and health agencies put this in perspective there wouldn’t be this panic and crashing down of the economies, unnecessary fear and its consequences. Addressing chronic health conditions with better policies would mitigate the consequences of these viral outbreaks.

By Tommaso Ebhardt, Chiara Remondini & Marco Bertacche

More than 99% of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities were people who suffered from previous medical conditions, according to a study by the country’s national health authority.

After deaths from the virus reached more than 2,500, with a 150% increase in the past week, health authorities have been combing through data to provide clues to help combat the spread of the disease.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government is evaluating whether to extend a nationwide lockdown beyond the beginning of April, daily La Stampa reported Wednesday. Italy has more than 31,500 confirmed cases of the illness.

Screen Shot 2020-03-18 at 4.26.23 PMThe new study could provide insight into why Italy’s death rate, at about 8% of total infected people, is higher than in other countries.

The Rome-based institute has examined medical records of about 18% of the country’s coronavirus fatalities, finding that just three victims, or 0.8% of the total, had no previous pathology. Almost half of the victims suffered from at least three prior illnesses and about a fourth had either one or two previous conditions.

More than 75% had high blood pressure, about 35% had diabetes and a third suffered from heart disease.

Screen Shot 2020-03-18 at 4.27.41 PMThe average age of those who’ve died from the virus in Italy is 79.5. As of March 17, 17 people under 50 had died from the disease. All of Italy’s victims under 40 have been males with serious existing medical conditions.

While data released Tuesday point to a slowdown in the increase of cases, with a 12.6% rise, a separate study shows Italy could be underestimating the real number of cases by testing only patients presenting symptoms.

According to the GIMBE Foundation, about 100,000 Italians have contracted the virus, daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported. That would bring back the country’s death rate closer to the global average of about 2%.

Source: Bloomberg

New York Times Brags About Spying On Trump and Others With Phone Tracking | Trending Politics

ComingforYouEditor’s Note: The New York Times used to be the most respected journalistic source of all the nation’s newspapers, but now seems to have slipped down the rabbit hole of corruption acting as an exclusive arm of the intelligence community reporting on partisan issues beneficial only to deep state operatives. A private enterprise newspaper spying on American citizens then bragging about it!

On Thursday, the New York Times released their “Privacy Project” which revealed how they gained access to the cell phone tracking data of millions of Americans.

The Times explained that their data tracking went beyond just ordinary Americans as they explained that they tracked the movements of high profile people including President Donald Trump.

The original report which was titled “Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy,” states that if you saw what they could see, “you might never use your phone the same way again.”

“The data was provided to Times Opinion by sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to share it and could face severe penalties for doing so,” the Times says. “The sources of the information said they had grown alarmed about how it might be abused and urgently wanted to inform the public and lawmakers.”

The data is “by far the largest and most sensitive ever to be reviewed by journalists,” according to the Times, containing “more than 50 billion location pings from the phones of more than 12 million Americans as they moved through several major cities, including Washington, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.”

Researchers at the New York Times went as far to track data of famous people. “One search turned up more than a dozen people visiting the Playboy Mansion, some overnight,” they reported. “Without much effort we spotted visitors to the estates of Johnny Depp, Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger, connecting the devices’ owners to the residences indefinitely.”

Check out what else the outlet had to say:

With the help of publicly available information, like home addresses, we easily identified and then tracked scores of notables. We followed military officials with security clearances as they drove home at night. We tracked law enforcement officers as they took their kids to school. We watched high-powered lawyers (and their guests) as they traveled from private jets to vacation properties. We did not name any of the people we identified without their permission.

The data set is large enough that it surely points to scandal and crime but our purpose wasn’t to dig up dirt. We wanted to document the risk of underregulated surveillance. Watching dots move across a map sometimes revealed hints of faltering marriages, evidence of drug addiction, records of visits to psychological facilities.

In another report titled “How to Track President Trump,” the New York Times shows how “easy” it is to find out where the President is.

They continue:

The device’s owner was easy to trace, revealing the outline of the person’s work and life. The same phone pinged a dozen times at the nearby Secret Service field office and events with elected officials. From computer screens more than 1,000 miles away, we could watch the person travel from exclusive areas at Palm Beach International Airport to Mar-a-Lago.

The meticulous movements — down to a few feet — of the president’s entourage were recorded by a smartphone we believe belonged to a Secret Service agent, whose home was also clearly identifiable in the data. Connecting the home to public deeds revealed the person’s name, along with the name of the person’s spouse, exposing even more details about both families. We could also see other stops this person made, apparently more connected with his private life than his public duties. The Secret Service declined to comment on our findings or describe its policies regarding location data.

Source: Trending Politics & New York Times

Trump’s Error-filled Cabinet Meeting | FactCheck.org

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For more than an hour, President Donald Trump presided over a cabinet meeting, reeling off numerous false or misleading claims:

  • Trump claimed, without evidence, that President Barack Obama tried to call North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “11 times” but that “the man on the other side … did not take his call” due to a “lack of respect.” Obama’s national security adviser and deputy national security adviser both called Trump’s claim false.
  • Trump took credit for making a “deal” between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds that he said “people have been trying to make” for years. One expert called this claim “nonsense.” The deal is only a five-day pause in the conflict that arose when Trump pulled U.S. troops from the Syria-Turkey border.
  • The president boasted that “nobody has ever done” a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day until he took office. In fact, it started in 2010.
  • He wrongly claimed that “many” of the “ambassadors” House Democrats are interviewing in the impeachment inquiry were “put there” by past administrations. Seven of the nine officials who have testified behind closed doors so far were appointed to their most recent positions under Trump’s administration.
  • Trump made the illogical and unsubstantiated claim that there was no informant who provided information to the whistleblower, whose complaint triggered an impeachment inquiry. And even more absurdly, Trump suggested the informant was Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House intelligence committee.
  • Trump was wrong in saying “no other president” has donated his salary. John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover also did so, according to news reports and Hoover’s library.
  • In defending the quashed plans to hold the next G-7 at his own resort, Trump suggested that Obama getting a book deal was like “running a business” while Obama was in office. The deal came after Obama left office.
  • Trump said, “China is doing very poorly — worst year they’ve had in 57 years.” China announced its economy grew by 6% in the third quarter of 2019, when compared with the same period the previous year. That was “the weakest pace in at least 27-1/2 years,” according to a Reuter’s analysis of quarterly data.

Trump made his remarks during an Oct. 21 cabinet meeting, which started — after a prayer from Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson — with the president talking about the U.S. economy, which he described as doing “fantastically well.” (See “Trump’s Numbers October 2019 Update” for a statistical measure of how things have changed since Trump took office.)

Calling Kim Jong Un

Trump claimed, without evidence, that President Barack Obama tried to call North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “11 times,” but Kim “did not take his call.”

Trump, Oct. 21: I like Kim; he likes me. We get along. I respect him; he respects me. You could end up in a war. President Obama told me that. He said, “The biggest problem — I don’t know how to solve it.” He told me doesn’t know how to solve it. I said, “Did you ever call him?” “No.” Actually, he tried 11 times. But the man on the other side — the gentleman on the side did not take his call. Okay? Lack of respect. But he takes my call.

Obama’s national security adviser and deputy national security adviser both called Trump’s claim false.

Susan Rice, who served under Obama as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013 and as Obama’s national security adviser from 2013 to 2017, tweeted that Trump’s claim is “a total fabrication.” She added, “Trump is completely delusional, and it’s scary.”

Likewise, Ben Rhodes, who served as Obama’s deputy national security adviser, tweeted, “Obama never called Kim Jong Un. Obama never tried to meet Kim Jong Un. Trump is a serial liar and not well.”

Trump’s claim is similar to one we fact-checked back in July. Then, Trump said Obama was “constantly … begging for meetings” but that Kim Jong Un refused. As we wrote then, Obama administration officials and experts on U.S.-North Korea relations said that’s not true.

“At the risk of stating the obvious, this is horse-sh*t,” Rice tweeted then. “Yes. It’s horseshit,” added Gen. Michael Hayden, via TwitterHayden served as director of the CIA from 2006 to Feb. 12, 2009, shortly after Obama took office.

A Deal Between Turkey and Syrian Kurds

Trump praised his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, saying the subsequent fighting that resulted between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds sparked a “deal” that he claimed “people have been trying to make” for years.

Trump, Oct. 21: If shooting didn’t start for a couple of days, I don’t think the Kurds would have moved. I don’t think, frankly, you would’ve been able to make a very easy deal with Turkey. … If they didn’t go through two and a half days of hell, I don’t think they would’ve done it. I think you couldn’t have made a deal. And people have been trying to make this deal for years. But we’re close to making it. We’ll see what happens.

Henri Barkey, a professor of international relations at Lehigh University and adjunct senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, called Trump’s claim of failed past attempts to broker such a deal “complete nonsense.”

“There is no effort of any sorts in the past between Turkey and Syrian Kurds,” Barkey told us in an email. “He is making things up.”

On Oct. 6, the White House announced it would withdraw U.S. special forces in northern Syria and that Turkey would soon move “forward with its long-planned [military] operation” against the Syrian Kurds, who had been U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State. Three days later, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan started “Operation Peace Spring,” resulting in dozens of deaths of civilians and Kurdish fighters.

After bipartisan criticism, Trump sent Vice President Mike Pence to meet with Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey, where on Oct. 17 they announced a five-day pause in the Turkish military operation to “allow for the withdrawal of YPG” from “the nearly 20-mile-wide safe zone area, south of the Turkish border in Syria.” The People’s Protection Units, or the YPG, is the armed wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party.

Turkey does have a long history of conflict with the Kurds, but direct Turkish involvement in northern Syria dates only to 2016. In August 2016, Turkey began Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria to clear the area of Islamic State terrorists and “prevent the YPG from establishing an autonomous area along the northern Syrian border with Turkey,” as explained in a January Congressional Research Service report.

Turkey felt threatened by the Syrian Kurds on its border. The Kurds were hoping for support from their allies in Washington, D.C. “Syrian Kurds wanted political recognition from DC,” and “down the road support for their autonomous state” in northern Syria, Barkey said.

National Prescription Take Back Day

Trump falsely said that “nobody has ever done” a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, an event in which Americans can safely dispose of unused prescription drugs. The Drug Enforcement Administration began holding such national events in 2010.

Trump’s claim followed a briefing from White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on an upcoming take-back day on Oct. 26. After thanking Conway, he said, “Take Back Day is a big deal. And they’ve been talking about it for a long time. Nobody has ever done it. But it is big.”

The scheduled take back day, however, will not be the first, nor was the first national take back under Trump’s watch.

The initiative launched under Obama in 2010, with the primary aim of reducing misuse of old prescription drugs. The DEA has since organized two events each year — one in the spring and one in the fall — to encourage people to get rid of drugs lingering in their medicine cabinets. The most recent one was in April; Saturday’s take back will be the 18th event.

At the April 2016 event, the DEA collected a then-record 893,498 pounds of unwanted medicines. A new record was set two years later with 949,046 pounds. So far, across all 17 completed events, the DEA has collected nearly 12 million pounds of drugs.

During a take back, people can drop off their expired, unused or unwanted medications anonymously and for free — no questions asked — at a variety of locations across the country. This year, for the first time, the DEA will accept vaping devices and cartridges, in light of the recent spate of deaths and lung injuries linked to those products.

This isn’t the first time that Trump has falsely taken credit for launching a new program.

Last October, he took credit for the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans to seek health care outside of the VA if there are long wait times or travel burdens, and falsely added that it had taken “44 years” to pass the legislation. In fact, the program was created in 2014 under Obama. And in July 2018, Trump inaccurately said that prior to a law he signed in 2017, there was “nothing you could do” to get rid of VA employees who mistreat military veterans. On average, around 2,300 VA workers were fired each fiscal year before Trump’s legislation going back to 2005.

Trump Appointees

In remarks about the ongoing House impeachment inquiry, Trump wrongly claimed that “many” of the “ambassadors” Democratic-controlled House committees are interviewing were “put there during Obama, during Clinton, during the Never Trump or Bush era.”

Actually, among the nine government officials who have testified in closed sessions so far, just two were appointed to their current or recently resigned positions under the Obama administration. The other seven were appointed by Trump or Trump appointees, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Trump, Oct. 21: They’re interviewing — they’re interviewing ambassadors who I’d never heard of. I don’t know who these people are. I never heard of them. … Don’t forget, many of these people were put there during Obama, during Clinton, during the Never Trump or Bush era.

Let’s go through the list:

  • Steve A. Linick, the State Department inspector general, met with impeachment investigators on Oct. 2 and provided documents pertaining to Ukraine. Linick was appointed to the IG job by then-President Obama in 2013, and had served in the Justice Department under then-President George W. Bush and Obama from 2006 to 2010.
  • Kurt Volker was appointed special representative for Ukraine negotiations on July 7, 2017, by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a Trump appointee. Volker resigned from that job on Sept. 27 and testified before the House committees on Oct. 3.
  • Michael K. Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, was nominated to the post by Trump in November 2017 and sworn in on May 17, 2018. Atkinson, who worked in the Justice Department for more than 15 years under both Republican and Democratic administrations, testified on Oct. 4.
  • George P. Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state in the European and Eurasian bureau, assumed that job on Sept. 4, 2018, under Secretary of State Pompeo, a Trump appointee. He joined the foreign service in 1992; he testified Oct. 15.
  • Gordon Sondland, a Trump nominee, was confirmed as ambassador to the European Union on June 29, 2018. Sondland, the founder and CEO of Provenance Hotels, donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration committee through four companies registered to him, according to The Intercept. He testified on Oct. 17.
  • Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch was nominated to be ambassador to Ukraine by Obama on May 18, 2016, and confirmed by the Senate two months later. Yovanovitch, who joined the foreign service in 1986, was removed from her post by the Trump administration in May. She testified on Oct. 11.
  • Michael McKinley, another career diplomat, who joined the foreign service in 1982, was appointed senior adviser to Pompeo in May 2018. He testified on Oct. 16, days after resigning.
  • William B. Taylor served under the Bush and Obama administrations and was appointedchargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine in June after Yovanovitch was removed as ambassador. Taylor had been ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009. He testified on Oct. 22.
  • Fiona Hill became deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian Affairs under the National Security Council in 2017. Hill resigned this summer and testified on Oct. 14.

That list doesn’t include Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, a Trump appointee, who publicly testified before the House intelligence committee on Sept. 26.

Trump’s Strange Whistleblower Theory

Trump also made the illogical claim that there was no informant who provided information to the whistleblower. And even more absurdly, Trump suggested the informant was Rep. Adam Schiff.

Trump said the whistleblower relied on “second- and thirdhand information” and Trump questioned the very existence of an informant who told the whistleblower about the content of Trump’s July phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Trump, Oct. 21: Now, I happen to think there probably wasn’t an informant. You know, the informant went to the whistleblower, the whistleblower had second- and thirdhand information. You remember that. It was a big problem. But the information was wrong. So was there actually an informant? Maybe the informant was Schiff. It could be Shifty Schiff. In my opinion, it’s possibly Schiff.

Later, in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Trump reiterated his groundless theory.

Trump, Oct. 21: And where is the person who gave the whistleblower the information? Because is that person a spy? Or does that person even exist? I have a feeling that person doesn’t exist. I think Schiff might’ve made it up.

Let’s quickly deconstruct why Trump’s theory makes no sense.

Despite Trump repeatedly claiming that the whistleblower “gave a totally false account of my conversation” with the Ukrainian president, as we have written, the whistleblower’s account of the phone call matches up with the White House-released memo. (Though the president takes issue with the whistleblower’s allegation that he “pressured” Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.)

Specifically, the whistleblower made these three claims that were corroborated by the memo: Trump asked Zelensky to “initiate or continue an investigation” into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden; assist the U.S. in investigating allegations that “Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election originated in Ukraine”; and “meet or speak” about these matters with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr.

The whistleblower, described by the New York Times as a CIA officer who was detailed to the National Security Council, wrote in his complaint that while he did not participate in Trump’s phone call with the Ukraine president, “in the course of official interagency business” he was informed about details of the phone call by “multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call.”

The intelligence community’s inspector general conducted a preliminary review of the whistleblower’s complaint and determined there were “reasonable grounds to believe that the complaint relating to the urgent concern ‘appears credible.’” Fox News reported that during the closed-door testimony of Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson to House lawmakers, it was revealed that the preliminary investigation included interviews with a handful of witnesses, including two of the whistleblower’s supervisors.

Since then, the New York Times reported that a second whistleblower, one with firsthand knowledge of the phone call, has stepped forward and was interviewed by Atkinson’s office.

Given that the original whistleblower did not participate directly in the Ukraine phone call, and yet got key details about it correct, it stands to reason he was provided that information by an informant.

As for Trump’s theory that the informant might be Schiff, that makes no sense. As we wrote, Schiff, chair of the House intelligence committee, wrongly implied that his committee had no contact with the whistleblower before receiving the complaint, when the whistleblower had in fact reached out to a committee aide before filing a complaint. Trump has speculatedthat Schiff “probably helped write” the complaint, but there’s no evidence of that, and a spokesman for Schiff and the House intelligence committee said in a statement, “At no point did the Committee review or receive the complaint in advance.”

But Schiff did not participate in the phone call, and therefore could not have provided details to the whistleblower about it, at least not unless Schiff was debriefed on the call by — an informant.

Trump Isn’t Only President to Donate Salary

Trump does indeed donate his salary, which we’ve written about before, but he was wrong when he said “no other president has done it.”

Trump, Oct. 21: I give away my salary. It’s, I guess, close to $450,000. I give it away. Nobody ever said he gives away his salary.  … They say that no other president has done it. … They think George Washington did, but they say no other.

Trump’s annual salary is $400,000, and the press has covered the quarterly announcementson which government programs would be receiving Trump’s donated salary.

But John F. Kennedy also donated his salary in 1961, according to a Nov. 14, 1962, news article that attributed that information to the Minneapolis Tribune and Des Moines Register. The article said Kennedy was following the practice of Herbert Hoover, who “banked his presidential salary and gave it entirely to charity,” according to the Hoover presidential library.

Snopes.com wrote about this issue before Trump took office, noting that in Washington’s case, according to one book, he did refuse the salary at first but then accepted it at Congress’ urging.

In his book, “George Washington’s 1791 Southern Tour,” Warren L. Bingham wrote: “At first, Washington refused the salary, but Congress insisted on the principle, on which Washington also agreed, that the presidency should not be reserved for only those wealthy enough to work for free.”

Obama’s Book Deal

In defending his decision to host the 2020 G-7 at his Doral golf resort in Miami — and his subsequent reversal in the face of criticism — Trump claimed that other presidents “ran their business” while in office, citing Obama’s book and Netflix deals. But the book, reportedly a memoir on his presidency, and Netflix collaboration were announced after Obama left office.

Trump, Oct. 21: Hey, Obama made a deal for a book. Is that running a business? I’m sure he didn’t even discuss it while he was President. Oh, yeah. He has a deal with Netflix. When did they start talking about that? That’s only, you know, a couple of examples.

Penguin Random House announced on Feb. 28, 2017, a month after Obama left office, that it would publish books both by the former president and former First Lady Michelle Obama. The deal is reportedly worth about $65 million. Netflix announced a production deal with the Obamas in May 2018.

Trump also overlooks the fact that hosting the G-7 at Doral was akin to awarding a government contract to himself and accepting payments from foreign governments.

China’s Economy

Trump made several claims about China’s economy, and some of them were inaccurate.

First, Trump said, “China is doing very poorly — worst year they’ve had in 57 years.” Later, he claimed, “they announced that they have the worst numbers they’ve had in 20 years.” He was closer to being accurate the second time.

“They announced six,” Trump said, referring to China’s growth in its real gross domestic product.

Most recently, China announced its economy grew by 6% in the third quarter of 2019, when compared with the same period the previous year. That was “the weakest pace in at least 27-1/2 years,” according to a Reuters’ analysis of quarterly data.

On an annual basis, China is currently projected to have real GDP growth of 6.1% for all of 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund. But that would be the lowest annual growth in 29 years — since China’s GDP grew by 3.9% in 1990, according to World Bank data going back to 1961.

Trump went on to say: “So, if I weren’t elected, by right now, China would be the largest economy in the world. It was expected. It was said by many people that China would, right now — they were expecting around the second year of this term.”

We don’t know where Trump saw that China was projected to surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest economy in 2018. As of 2016, China’s GDP in nominal dollars was $11.2 trillion, which was still about 40 percent less than the U.S. GDP of $18.7 trillion.

Plus, by one measure — purchasing power parity, which accounts for differences in prices across countries — China had already become the leading economy in 2014, according to a Congressional Research Service report updated in June. Citing figures from the IMF and World Economic Forum, the CRS report said, based on PPP, China ($25.27 trillion) was still ahead of the U.S. ($20.49 trillion) in 2018, while the U.S. ($20.49 trillion) still outranked China ($13.40 trillion) in nominal dollars.

Trump also was wrong when he said, “And we’re getting bigger, and they’re not.” China’s economic growth has slowed in recent years, but it is still increasing at a faster rate than real U.S. GDP, which grew by 2.9% in 2018 and at an annual rate of 2% in the second quarter of 2019.

And as the IMF noted in July 2018, “[e]ven with a gradual slowdown in growth, China,” in nominal figures, “could become the world’s largest economy by 2030.”

Source: FactCheck.org