News roundup for Fri, Feb 18, 2022

All’s quiet on the Canadian front. All border blockades have ended, and CNN reports that the protests may end soon as Ottawa police consider no-go zones.

After the Canadian government gave banks the go-ahead to freeze protestors’ bank accounts, there was speculation that it could cause a bank run. We haven’t seen evidence of that, but Canada’s five major banks experienced major outages on Wednesday. Don’t read too much into it, but we’ll keep our eyes on it. If you’re in Canada, let us know if you’ve had bank trouble or are considering taking money out of the bank.

Meanwhile, the American protest convoy, which did not happen during the Super Bowl, may still become a reality. Maureen Steele of the “People’s Convoy” has been appearing on right-wing media to promote a convoy of supposedly 1,000 truckers that will begin February 23rd in Barstow, California, and is set to arrive in Washington, DC in March.

COVID-19: More regions are dropping mandates and vaccine passports. The latest in the US are Boulder County, Colorado and King County, Washington. Germany and Austria are lifting restrictions by spring, Singapore is lifting most travel restrictions, the Netherlands is going “back to normal closing times” but still recommends social distancing and mask-wearing, and the Israeli health ministry is recommending lifting travel restrictions. The CDC is set to loosen mask guidance next week.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is now saying it’s time to start “inching” toward normalcy without being reckless. “The fact that the world and the United States and particularly certain parts of the United States are just up to here with COVID – they just really need to somehow get their life back,” Fauci said. However, Denmark has already seen an increase in cases after lifting restrictions. We found an excellent Instagram slideshow that shows how to stay safe while mask policies change.

COVID-19 is blamed for killing more than 900,000 Americans, but we’ve suffered a total of 1 million “excess deaths” during the pandemic from conditions that arose or worsened as a result of infection, unreported COVID deaths, an uptick in car crashes, undetected medical conditions, and a shortage of donated blood.

Putin and Ukraine: Wednesday clearly wasn’t invasion day, but it may have been the start of the false flags the Biden administration has warned of. Either Russia or Ukraine blew up a kindergarten, but we’re not sure which. Russia blames Ukraine, Ukraine blames Russia.

The US government claims that Russia is lying about de-escalating and is actually sending more troops to the Ukrainian border. It’s also claiming that Russian hackers have already infiltrated Ukraine’s networks, with Ukraine experiencing its biggest cyberattack ever on Tuesday. In the meantime, the Russian parliament has asked Putin to recognize Russia-aligned regions of eastern Ukraine as independent states. Why is all of this happening? Vox explains why Putin may invade Ukraine.

If you’re an American citizen in Ukraine, you need to leave. Biden has made it very clear: if you’re an American abroad and in trouble, the US isn’t coming to save you.

Speaking of Biden, he gave a speech warning Americans that if Russia invades Ukraine, they’ll feel it at the pump, and he won’t “pretend this will be painless.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry is in full-on troll mode, asking western media outlets to publish a full list of dates that Russia will invade Ukraine so they can plan their vacations:

Climate: A study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change says the megadrought in the western United States is the worst one in 1,200 years. The study shows that although the West would have still experienced a drought without human-induced climate change, its severity would have been about 60% less than what it is today if humans weren’t contributing to heating the planet.

Scientific American warns that we’re no more serious about the climate than we were before the pandemic. Corn-based ethanol is proven to be worse for the climate than gasoline.

Other News: A Quinnipiac poll shows that inflation is the top issue Americans are concerned with, followed by immigration, Covid, and the climate crisis. The Fed is considering a rate hike soon to pump the brakes on inflation, though that may have other consequences.

Google is taking steps to prevent apps from tracking you on its Android mobile platform. But you’ll have to wait two years. On the other hand, facial recognition company Clearview AI is looking to expand beyond law enforcement.

The FBI is forming a new unit dedicated to addressing cryptocurrencies exploitation.

Did you know the US government stores 1.4 billion pounds of cheese in caves? We already knew that cheese is the perfect apocalypse prep, so no surprise there. You now have a new bug-out location. You’re welcome 😎

Wolves are being put back on the endangered species list, a reversal from Trump-era policy.

Scientists may have cured HIV in a woman for the first time, using a cutting-edge stem cell transplant method.

Animals may be able to warn you about disasters before they happen.


    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      • Keep some cash on hand
      • Keep building your pantry . Regardless of the reason for electronic or bank disruption, it is useful to be able to buy some items and eat.
      • Continue to wear a well-fitting mask
      • Consider donating blood, if it is safe to do so and fits your risk level.
      • Check your Go Bag . Make sure you have something ready to grab and leave if necessary.
      • Plant a tree. Every tree counts. Is there a group in your area that helps to find, supply, or plant useful native species? Could you join or start one?
      • Learn about your local sources of water. Where does your water come from? Do you have any backup sources? What are the possible threats? Consider a house filter or portable filter if appropriate.
      • Review your finances. There are two main levers: earn more, or spend less. I recommend both. Often discussions or even thinking about finance can be painful for many people. But spending even a small amount of time thinking on it and learning regularly can be helpful.
      • (edit) Consider learning about ham radio , if you want a way to communicate even when the network is down.
      • Get some exercise. This make also help to take your mind off things.

      Good luck.

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      • M. E.Contributor brownfox-ff

        Was the advice to consider learning about ham radio so that we’d have something to do with – all that cheese?

        Sorry, couldn’t resist! I know I once asked for more good news in these roundups, but 1.4 billion pounds of CHEESE was good news beyond my wildest dreams. Add a coffee cave and a chocolate cave and I won’t be able to contain myself. 

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      • TraceContributor M. E.


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      • Carlotta SusannaStaff M. E.

        I wish I could give you 1,000 upvotes <3 <3 <3

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    • Greg P

      I really loved the article on animals & their ability to predict weather events, quakes, etc.   It reminds me of an event some 15(?) years ago when our cats woke us up early one morning just before a small quake hit – BTW, we live in Indiana where earthquakes are very, very rare.  Coincidence ?, maybe, but I could see that a large number of animals could act as organic swarms of “sensors” for us poor humans. 

      Time for a grilled cheese sandwich now that I know we have an adequate back up supply, courtesy of the US government.  😉

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      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Greg P

        I actually had the same exact experience with my dog, back in Italy (definitely earthquake country). He once woke me up super agitated, I thought he was sick and needed to go out urgently, but after about 10 min an earthquake struck. He definitely didn’t need to do urgent business, he was just trying to warn me 🙂

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    • atlanticrando

      Canadian correspondent update: Ottawa police have set up 100 checkpoints and are slowly moving into the occupied zones around Parliament to make arrests – CBC coverage/livestream. Hopefully things remain nonviolent. 

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