This document is part of an archive of postings by John Ray on Dissecting Leftism, a blog hosted by Blogspot who are in turn owned by Google. The index to the archive is available here or here. Indexes to my other blogs can be located here or here. Archives do accompany my original postings but, given the animus towards conservative writing on Google and other internet institutions, their permanence is uncertain. These alternative archives help ensure a more permanent record of what I have written.

This is a backup copy of the original blog

29 April, 2022


My summary blog has been restored. My son is a computer whizz. He earns his money fixing computer problems. So I got him onto the job and he found the problem. A file had somehow become corrupted. Links at the foot of today's posts


CDC and FDA 'altered' Covid guidance and even 'suppressed' findings while under political pressure, bombshell report suggests

Investigators from the watchdog Government Accountability Office (GAO) spoke to more than a dozen directors and managers who worked at the agencies behind the country's pandemic guidance.

They unearthed allegations of 'political interference' in scientific reports, raising fears that research was tampered with.

In its 37-page report, the GAO warned that neither agency had a system in place for reporting allegations of political interference. It also said they had failed to train staff how to spot and report this.

Whistleblowers said they did not speak up at the time for fear of retaliation, because they were unsure how to report the issues or believed leaders were already aware.

This is just the latest in a growing patchwork of reports suggesting politicians influenced 'scientific' papers during the pandemic for their own ends.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration's top medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci declared the U.S. is now 'out of the pandemic phase' of Covid, citing low cases and hospitalizations.

But health experts were quick to question the claim — buried at the end of an interview with PBS' NewsHour — suggesting he may have bungled his words and should only have said the nation was in a phase of 'low hospitalizations'.

In the early phase the White House was accused of waging a war on science, with then-president Donald Trump repeatedly pushing for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports to be amended to support his views, as shown in emails made public by congressional investigators last April.

'A few respondents from CDC and [Food and Drug Administration] FDA stated they felt that the potential political interference they observed resulted in the alteration or suppression of scientific findings,' GAO investigators wrote in the report.

'Some of these respondents believed that this potential political interference may have resulted in the politically motivated alteration of public health guidance or delayed publication of Covid-related scientific findings.'

The GAO report published last week looked into the two agencies, alongside the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — America's top research institution— and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) — in charge of natural disaster response.

All are part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which in February was branded as at 'high risk' for fraud, mismanagement and abuse by the GAO in a separate report.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is at 'high risk' of fraud and mismanagement, a report published in February suggests.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) — which carried out the investigation — also said it was exposed to financial waste and abuse.

They pointed to a lack of leadership at the agency during the Covid pandemic, Zika outbreak and when natural disasters like hurricanes and forest fires sweep the U.S.

The Department is also responsible for the CDC and FDA which 'altered' findings during the pandemic due to political pressure, another report released this month suggests.

It is based on interviews with top-ranking officials at the agencies.

In the latest report, they defined 'political interference' as political influences seeking to 'undermine impartiality... and professional judgement'.

Investigators said they also set up an anonymous hotline for two months to allow employees to report instances, which received 'a few calls'.

No specific cases of altering advice were revealed for confidentiality reasons.

But the GAO mentioned in a footnote emails made public by congressional investigators last April that were sent between Trump officials and employees at the CDC.

They suggested the agency had bowed to political pressure over a study in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR) — a notice that documents current trends in U.S. health.

Former scientific advisor to the then-president Paul Alexander wrote in an email from 2020 that he had succeeded in getting the top line in one of its reports changed. He wrote: 'Small victory, but a victory nonetheless yippee!!!'

In the first year of the pandemic the FDA was also accused of 'grossly misrepresenting' the effectiveness of a blood plasma transfusion for hospitalized Covid patients, in a New York Times article that was also footnoted by the GAO.

Its press release thundered that the treatment was 35 percent effective against death, a figure which Trump branded 'tremendous'.

But scientists were taken aback by the figure, which was not mentioned in the official authorization letter or in the 17-page memo written by its scientist. It was also not in the analysis conducted by the Mayo clinic that was frequently cited.

Recently it has emerged that these transfusions actually provided little benefit to patients infected with Covid, and they are now no longer routinely offered by hospitals.

A state health official also alleged he had been reassigned after refusing to invest federal money in hydroxychloroquine, Stat News reported, which was previously touted by Trump as a possible Covid treatment.

Dr Fauci's comments yesterday were quickly blasted by other health officials, however, with Dr Louise Ivers, a global health expert at Harvard University, retorting 'there is a pandemic'.

The top medical adviser has doubled down on his personal policy of mask wearing and general isolation in spite of his comments yesterday.

He declined an invitation to the prestigious White House Correspondents Association Dinner this Saturday 'because of my individual assessment of my personal risk'.

The GAO report made seven recommendations to the four agencies it investigated for 'political interference'.

These included the agencies setting up a system for reporting potential interference, and training staff to notice and respond to it.

For the report they spoke to two former CDC directors, and four former FDA directors, as well as 17 employees.

The GAO pointed out it had not looked into the allegations to confirm whether political interference had led to changes to the science.

The HHS said in response: 'It is important to differentiate scientifically trained political officials engaging in the legitimate conduct, management, communication and use of science from political officials inappropriately breaching scientific integrity because of political motivations.'

They also 'concurred' with 'the recommendations that [HHS] should ensure that procedures for reporting and addressing potential political interference in scientific decision-making are developed and documented.'

It agreed that employees should be 'trained on how to report allegations of inappropriate political interference in scientific decision-making'.

It follows a report from the GAO in February which branded the HHS — that all four agencies sit under — as 'high risk'.

They warned of a 'lack of leadership and preparedness' in the department for dealing with either Covid or the zika virus outbreak, alongside natural disasters such as hurricanes and wild fires.

The HHS is at risk of financial waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement and other major shortcomings at times when it is required, they said.




28 April, 2022

Officials approve a Covid drug that does not work

“I am glad for Gilead as well.”

That was Dr. Clifford Lane, a deputy to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) boss Dr. Anthony Fauci, in an April 29, 2020 response to Tomas Cihlar, a senior vice president at the pharmaceutical company Gilead, developer of the drug remdesivir.

As the Epoch Times reports, recently revealed emails show Fauci and NIAID officials “scrambled in April 2020 to answer questions about altering the endpoint” in a trial of remdesivir. Once the drug was declared the new standard of care for COVID-19, as Forbes reported, Gilead’s stock surged more than 16 percent in overnight trading.

Cihlar and Lane had reason to be glad over what Fauci called “quite good news.” In its press release on remdesivir, also known as Veklury, Gilead claims that its FDA-approved drug “can help reduce disease progression across a spectrum of disease severity and enable hospitalized patients to recover faster, freeing up limited hospital resources and saving healthcare systems money.”

Scientific and medical journals were skeptical, to say the least.

As Jon Cohen and Kai Kupferschmidt noted in Science magazine, the European Union cut a deal in October 2020 with Gilead potentially worth $1 billion. Later that month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made remdesivir the first drug to receive approved status for COVID treatment.

The European Union settled on remdesivir pricing—$2,400 for a full course—one week before the Solidarity trial, and was unaware of the results. For its part, the Science authors charge, Gilead “knew the trial was a bust.” That didn’t sit well with Scripps Institute cardiologist Eric Topol.

“This is a very, very bad look for the FDA,” Topol told Science, “and the dealings between Gilead and EU make it another layer of badness.” The EU and American decisions, the Science authors noted, “baffled scientists who have closely watched the clinical trials of remdesivir unfold over the past six months—and who have many questions about remdesivir’s worth.”

One study found that remdesivir “modestly reduced the time to recover from COVID-19 in hospitalized patients with severe illness.” Other studies found remdesivir to have “no impact of treatment on the disease whatsoever.” The fourth and largest study, by the World Health Organization, “showed that remdesivir does not reduce mortality or the time COVID-19 patients take to recover.”

The Science authors cite Jason Pogue of the University of Michigan, president of the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists, that the FDA should not have approved remdesivir. There is not enough evidence that remdesivir works and “more questions than answers about the efficacy of remdesivir in hospitalized patients.”

Gary Schwitzer, publisher of HealthNewsReview.Org, found Fauci’s announcement of remdesivir as the standard of care “troubling.” Schwitzer also cited Dr. Eric Topol, who was “unimpressed” by the Gilead drug. As Schwitzer pointed out, “the primary endpoints or outcomes were shifted by the researchers in the NIH trial” (emphasis added). In the middle of that trial, the endpoint was changed from measuring the effectiveness against death and various forms of hospitalization on day 15 to time to recovery through day 29.

For the general public, Schwitzer wrote, “this is somewhat akin to the football field being shrunk so that the goal line is not 100 yards away but only 50 yards away—after the game has already begun.” And it was only after scientists and journalists pointed to evidence that the goalposts had been moved “that any public discussion or explanation was made by the researchers.”

It was this shift that Fauci and his aides scrambled to answer. In his public statement in April 2020, Fauci said the trial results proved remdesivir “can block the virus” that causes COVID-19, but the NIAID boss didn’t mention the change in endpoint. If anybody thought Fauci was rigging the trial to get the outcome he and Gilead wanted, it would be hard to blame them. And it wouldn’t be the first time.

Fauci’s favored treatment for AIDS was AZT (azidothymidine) marketed as Zidovudine. This DNA chain terminator is highly toxic and does not prevent or cure AIDS. Even so, in 1987, the FDA approved AZT at lightning speed, which disturbed molecular biologist Harvey Bialy, then scientific editor of Biotechnology.

“I can’t see how this drug could be doing anything other than making people very sick,” Bialy said. On the other hand, AZT was making some people very rich. At a price of $8,000 per patient per year, AZT was the most expensive drug ever marketed at the time. After FDA approval, Burroughs Wellcome stock went through the roof.

Fauci’s NIAID funded trials of AZT and other dangerous drugs on foster children in New York, nearly all of them African American or Latino. The BBC told the story in the 2004 documentary Guinea Pig Kids. According to one nurse, some 80 children died in the experiments. (For further reading, see Poison by Prescription: The AZT Story, by John Lauritsen.)

Cohen and Kupferschmidt cite a disproportionately high number of liver and kidney problems in patients receiving remdesivir, compared to other drugs. In The Real Anthony Fauci, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. cites the “toxicity” of remdesivir, Fauci’s “vanity drug.” Remdesivir shows “no clinical efficiency” against COVID, but at approximately $3,000 per treatment, remdesivir is much more expensive than either hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin, treatments that Fauci opposes.

As Kennedy explains, Fauci’s deputy Cliff Lane co-chaired the NIH treatment guidelines panel that supervised the remdesivir trials and stood to share in the patent rewards. So Lane was “doubly conflicted.”

“I am glad for Gilead as well,” Lane told Gilead boss Tomas Cihlar in April 2020. As the Epoch Times noted, “the first part of Lane’s response was redacted,” like other NIAID emails obtained by a FOIA request. Whitecoat supremacists enjoy protection from disclosure, on top of their vast power and privilege.

Meanwhile, as the prophet said, “is there no balm in Gilead?” Not this time, but there is a great deal of money. As Brian Robertson recently explained, “following the money has been the key to uncovering the corruption surrounding COVID-19; now it may be the key to providing a solution to it.”


White House announces new steps to make COVID-19 oral antivirals easier to access

The Biden administration announced new actions it intends to take to expand the country’s infrastructure for testing and treating the coronavirus, including making oral antivirals and preventative options easier to access for everyday Americans.

Senior administration officials at the White House discussed new steps Monday to ramp up distribution capacity, which included nearly doubling the number of places oral antivirals are available, and the new installation of federally-supported test-to-treat sites.

This image provided by Pfizer in October 2021 shows the company's COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. U.S. health regulators on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 authorized the first pill against COVID-19, a Pfizer drug that Americans will be able to take at home to head off the worst effects of the virus. (Pfizer via AP)
This image provided by Pfizer in October 2021 shows the company's COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. U.S. health regulators on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 authorized the first pill against COVID-19, a Pfizer drug that Americans will be able to take at home to head off the worst effects of the virus. (Pfizer via AP) (Pfizer via AP)

"These actions will help strengthen and further build the infrastructure to ensure that lifesaving treatments for COVID-19 are quickly distributed around the country, widely available and easy to access," the officials said.

"To date, the administration has worked with pharmacies, long-term care facilities, community health centers, and other health care settings to establish more than 2,200 tests-to-treat sites around the country, including sites specifically for military families and veterans," the White House added. "As a result, usage of oral antivirals has more than doubled over the last several weeks. But more is needed to make these treatments even easier to access and make sure health care providers and patients know about their safety, efficacy and availability."

The White House also specified its intention to support medical providers with more guidance and tools to understand and prescribe treatments, and to communicate these new safe treatment options to the American people.

First on the Biden administration’s agenda is to nearly double the places where oral antivirals can be accessed, a process which could take several weeks.

"Starting this week, the administration will allow all pharmacy partners in the federal antivirals pharmacy program representing tens of thousands of pharmacy locations nationwide to order free antiviral treatments directly from the federal government," officials said.

These pharmaceutical drugs will soon be available in more than 30,000 locations, a number the administration hopes to swell to 40,000 through a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and its pharmacy partners, it said.

One specific oral antiviral the administration is looking to swiftly move into circulation is Pfizer’s pill Paxlovid.

The administration described the pill as "the most effective available treatment… which has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by about 90%."

"The U.S. has committed to purchase 20 million treatment courses—more than any other country in the world," it added.

Next, the Biden administration also intends to expand federally-supported COVID-19 tests-to-treat sites, working alongside state governments, local health agencies, and their respective jurisdictions to ensure wide availability.

"These sites will be targeted to meet demand and increase equitable access to lifesaving COVID-19 treatment and will function in direct collaboration with state and local health agencies," officials said.

Lastly, the administration intends to keep healthcare providers across the country informed on the latest effective prescription of COVID-19 treatments, as well as patient side effects and risk factors.

"The administration has been working for months with health care providers around the country to inform them about new treatments with weekly webinars, with state and territorial health officials, health care and medical organizations," the White House said. "The administration will continue actively engaging the clinical community to broaden awareness and understanding of these treatments and to make sure that health care providers are counseling their patients about these effective treatments, prescribing them when appropriate and helping patients identify where their prescription can be filled."

These additional measures, however, will require securing additional funding from Congress, the administration said.




27 April, 2022

Site down

As most readers here will be aware, I put up 6 blogs 6 times a week. Most of my posts I put up without comment from me. They are simply my seletion of good recent posts by others that I agree with or find interesting.

Sometimes, however, I add a substantial comment of my own to An article that I putup. I do that in the form of a comment added to the beginning of an article.

So that readers will not have to access 6 posts to see my current personal comments, however, I draw together those articles that have my comments added onto a separate "summary" blog, called THE PSYCHOLOGIST. That blog has now been blocked, by whom and for how long I do not know. I have therefore now transferred operations to a summary new blog, also called The Psychologist.


Some Vaccine Injured Getting Better While Others See Little Improvement

Some people who experienced adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines are recovering from their injuries after spending months working to find treatments, though others have seen little improvement.

Dr. Danice Hertz, who was diagnosed with an adverse reaction to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, has had ups and downs since getting the jab in December 2020. During one of the more recent stretches, she was “constantly in horrible pain.”

That changed in February, when she began infusions of immunoglobulin, or antibodies, a type of protein that helps protect the immune system.

“That’s what my doctor recommended, and it’s really helped me,” Hertz, a retired gastroenterologist who lives in California, told The Epoch Times. “I would say it’s at least 50 percent improvement, maybe a little more than that.”

The drug is being covered by Medicare, as Hertz recently turned 65.

Hertz isn’t the only person to have responded well to immunoglobulin, which can be administered intravenously (IVIG) or subcutaneously (SCIg).

Brianne Dressen, who suffered severe neurological problems after getting AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Nov. 4, 2020, was advised by an expert in Germany to try the drug.

The expert also said two other treatments could work: rituximab, a monoclonal antibody typically used to treat autoimmune diseases, or plasmapheresis, an elaborate process that involves removing blood from a patient, separating the plasma, and returning it to the same patient.

The recommendations eventually led to Dressen getting IVIG at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland in June 2021.

“IVIG and plasmapheresis are standard treatments for immune-mediated neurological diseases where an underlying immune process is suspected and acute in nature,” Dr. Avindra Nath, a senior investigator at the agency and part of the team that treated Dressen, told The Epoch Times via email.

Nath has said he believes side effects following vaccination are immune-mediated, or the result of an irregular response by a person’s immune system, and that treatment with therapies that modulate the immune system may be the best approach to resolving the issues.

Dressen felt better after receiving IVIG. But the Utah resident saw her heart rate shoot back up and other symptoms return after flying home.

She tried to obtain the treatment locally. IVIG is expensive and difficult to get in the United States.

Dressen was eventually administered the treatment as a test of effectiveness. It sent her heart rate down again. That convinced her health insurance to cover the treatment and doctors to give it regularly.

“It’s helping a lot,” Dressen, who helped start React19, a nonprofit that aims to offer support for people suffering from lingering effects that stem from adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines, told The Epoch Times.

“There’s people in our group that, obviously, they can’t get it, there’s no access to it,” she added. “Those are the ones that are like ‘I just want to die, I can’t do this anymore’ because they’re being tortured all the time. That’s really sad.”

Over 807,000 people in the United States have experienced side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines, according to reports submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a federally-run passive reporting system. Some reactions are minor, but not all. Some are reported to have led to death; others to debilitating disabilities.

Patients looking for treatments for vaccine injuries have often run into difficulties. They typically have to see multiple specialists, who can be reluctant to link any conditions with a vaccine. In the end, many of the drugs prescribed prove ineffective.

A lack of federal guidance on treatments for serious vaccine reactions has left some patients disheartened. They feel that’s had a chilling effect on doctors, and contributed to problems getting insurance to cover treatments like immunoglobulin.

Seeking more information, patients have formed groups like React19, usually connecting through the internet. Peers have helped collect studies, patient reports, and other information regarding possible treatments for dissemination. A small number of researchers are studying the problems and potential solutions.

Kristi Dobbs saw her immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels plunge after suffering what was diagnosed as an allergic reaction to Pfizer’s vaccine in early 2021. She dealt with symptoms like nerve pain, heart palpitations, and seizures.

The symptoms eased after she saw a functional medicine doctor, who concluded Dobbs had mast cell activation syndrome—a common diagnosis for people who suffer adverse reactions to the vaccines—and prescribed supplements and a dramatic dietary change, advising his patient to cut out dairy, gluten, and sugar, and minimize histamine.

But the IgG levels remained low, and some symptoms lingered, prompting the Missouri resident to seek SCIg, which helps replenish the antibodies.

Dobbs received a letter in the mail in April from her insurer saying the company had decided to cover the treatment. But days later, the insurer said the request was being denied because it was not deemed medically necessary.

“Needless to say, I am sad, mad, confused, and most of all let-down, due to the fact that I have advocated to prove my vaccine injury for so long, and I finally have all the tests to prove my injury and then the door to health is slammed in my face,” Dobbs, of Missouri, told The Epoch Times in an email.

Dobbs was in contact with NIH scientists, including one who said she had a “vaccine reaction,” according to emails reviewed by The Epoch Times. They said she was likely suffering from immune-mediated small fiber neuropathy, a neurological disorder, and/or nerve dysfunction, with steroids or IVIG being the best treatments.

Dobbs feels she was let down by the government, a common theme among the vaccine injured.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the NIH, has confirmed it treated about 10 patients with suspected or confirmed vaccine reactions. It has said it submitted a paper with the details of the workups, but that paper has not yet been published.

Asked what treatments he’d recommend to those with vaccine reactions, Nath, the clinical director of the institute, declined to answer. “It will require clinical trials to identify the best modes of treatment,” he said.

The government has been conducting trials of certain issues triggered by the vaccines, including allergic reactions.

Immunoglobulin Helps, at Least for Some

Immunoglobulin is perhaps the most promising treatment for vaccine injuries. They have been used in the past to treat neurological problems such as Guillain-Barre syndrome as well as blood clotting, two known post-vaccination issues.

The therapy “is used in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases,” researchers wrote in 2015, reporting that the treatment was becoming more expensive and shortages were appearing.

The pooled antibodies are believed to work by neutralizing anti-PF4 antibodies, which cause clotting, among other mechanisms.

Case studies indicate that immunoglobulin performs well against vaccine injuries, including clotting.

Dr. Masatoshi Inoue, of Tajimi Hospital in Japan, treated a middle-aged woman who was diagnosed with SCLS, a rare syndrome, after receiving Pfizer’s shot, with IVIG. The treatment appeared to help initially, Inoue and colleagues reported. The woman had to stop the treatment due to financial reasons but after she returned to the hospital with generalized malaise and elevated hemoglobin levels, more IVIG improved the symptoms, Inoue told The Epoch Times in an email.

“We believe IVIG is effective for SCLS,” Inoue said. At the same time, “We have not seen indications that IVIG worked well against other health issues recorded following COVID-19 vaccination.”

The drug is one that helps recalibrate the immune system, which is needed after reactions, Dressen said.

Her heart rate was normal when she got vaccinated as part of a clinical trial but shot up afterwards, according to Apple Watch data. The first time she received a five-day course of IVIG, her heart rate dropped. It dropped again after she started receiving the treatment regularly.

Still, what works for some has not worked for all patients who have received it. And immunoglobulin has side effects, such as headache, fever, and blood clotting.

“There’s still a high-risk profile. And that’s what’s really unfortunate with all of the treatments that are available to us, is all of them have very dangerous side effects that accompany the medication,” Dressen said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which describes itself as the nation’s health protection agency, primarily in its messaging promotes vaccination, with little focus on side effects. Serious reactions are repeatedly described as rare, even afflictions seen at higher rates following vaccination than with COVID-19 infection. The agency did not respond to a request for comment for this article, nor did the Food and Drug Administration, which authorized the shots. Pfizer and Moderna have not returned inquiries regarding side effects.

‘A Roller Coaster’

In a recently completed survey of 508 React19 members, just 35 percent said they’ve been getting better over the past six to eight months. The most common answer, when asked what was helping with symptoms, was time, followed by rest, supplements, and gentle exercise.

IVIG was listed, but only by three people. Steroids, the antiparasitic drug ivermectin, antihistamines, and the nerve pain drug gabapentin were also named by some.

About 15 percent of respondents said they were getting worse; the rest said they were not getting better or were “staying the same.”

Nikki Holland, who suffered a suspected vaccine reaction, hasn’t experienced a breakthrough for a while. She was in and out of hospitals in 2021 with symptoms including difficulty breathing. Holland, who has also experienced neurological issues, had not heard of IVIG.

Many patients who have improved still deal with a variety of symptoms.

Skylar Bush, an Oregon resident who was diagnosed with a severe allergic reaction to Moderna’s vaccine after receiving the shot in April 2021, has dealt with lingering symptoms like dizziness to this day.

What has helped Bush the most was electric shock therapy involving low levels of shock while the patient is doing muscle movements, vision therapy, a good diet, and meditation. “No silver bullets yet, though,” Bush told The Epoch Times.

Depression has set in at times, especially when symptoms surge back. “There’s only so much your mind can take, so I think I’ll start to see a psychologist soon,” Bush said.




26 April, 2022

BA.2.12.1: New Omicron sub-variant on the rise across US as first cases detected in UK

BA.2.12.1 currently accounts for roughly 1 in 5 new cases in America, though BA.2 still remains dominant

A new Omicron sub-variant, thought to be the most infectious yet, is becoming more prevalent in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

BA.2.12.1, which is estimated to be 23 to 27 percent more transmissible than its predecessor, BA.2, currently accounts for roughly 1 in 5 new cases across America.

The variant is fuelling a resurgence in Covid cases seen in upstate New York, the State Department of Health reported last week.

“BA.2.12.1 has increased rapidly in proportion in the US compared to other BA.2 sublineages,” especially in the region that includes New York and New Jersey, CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund told CNN.

Five cases of BA.2.12.1 have also been detected in the UK. Covid Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK), which monitors the spread of new strains in Britain, says the variant was first picked up on 23 March.

The variant has also been spotted in Australia, Israel, Denmark and Austria.

There’s no evidence to suggest that BA.2.12.1 causes more severe disease than the original Omicron variant and its various spin-offs.

The majority of cases in the US — around 75 percent — are still caused by BA.2, which has been the country's dominant variant since late March.

It’s unclear whether BA.2.12.1 is spreading more quickly than other Omicron sub-variants because it is more contagious or better at evading the body’s immunological defences.

The variant has acquired one mutation of particular interest, called L452Q, in its spike protein — the part of the virus responsible for binding and gaining entry to human cells.

“We're now starting to see the evolution of new potentially impactful sublineages of Omicron,” tweeted Trevor Bedford, a virologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.


Masks and the Lack of Trust in the CDC

After a federal judge ruled that the Biden administration’s mask mandates violate federal law, organizations rushed to declare that they no longer required them to be worn, despite the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) continued recommendation that people wear them.

All the major airlines said they would no longer ask people to wear them. Uber sent out emails saying they no longer require drivers or passengers to wear them. Even the TSA, a federal agency, said it would no longer be enforcing the CDC’s recommendation.

The judge said in the ruling that she was not passing judgment on whether wearing masks was an effective way to reduce the transmission of disease, only that the mandate went beyond the administration’s legal authority.

The reaction to this ruling shows the lack of trust people have in the CDC’s public health advice. The ruling didn’t say masks were not effective, and airlines, Uber, etc., could have continued advising people to wear them even absent the legal requirement. But they didn’t. The reaction to the court ruling shows the widespread lack of public trust in the CDC and the Biden administration.

Before the ruling, people wore masks because they were forced. If you didn’t wear your mask, you would be pulled from your flight and possibly barred from future flights. People were not wearing masks because they thought it was a good idea to protect their health.

I’ve done a fair amount of travel in the past few weeks, to South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Nevada, and I observed that the only place where people wore masks was airports. Sure, a few people wore them in other areas, but the vast majority did not. People were already disregarding the CDC’s advice when they could get away with it.

The CDC might be right, so I’m not passing judgment on whether their advice to mask up is medically sound. I’m observing that most people don’t trust the CDC’s advice, and when they have a choice, they choose to disregard it (with regard to masks, anyway).

Government authority is undermined when people don’t trust the government. Perhaps the widespread disregard of the CDC’s public health advice is a good sign. People will think for themselves and make their own decisions rather than uncritically doing what the government tells them they should do.




21 April, 2022

The Democrat Party, Not Climate Change, Is the Existential Threat

The Biden Administration, the Democrat Party, and Democrat leaders in Congress have sponsored separate policies, laws, and initiatives that when viewed as a whole reveal one profound commonality, an intent to knock down every pillar of our free society: to sacrifice individual and parental rights; to destroy our free-market economy; to abandon our border defenses against illegal immigration, cross-border drug, sex, and arms trafficking, and terrorist infiltration; to defund the police and halt detention, prosecution, and incarceration of criminals; and to destroy the nuclear family. In short, the Democrat Party’s platform is one of nihilism.

The Democrat Party calls its suicidal ideations and policies by the collective term “transformational change,” a term Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer uses (and celebrates) almost daily. By transformational change, the Democrat Party seeks to empower and enrich those in government and those who are politically preferred and to disempower and impoverish all others. In effect, rights are deprived of protection and all social and economic opportunities are denied unless in furtherance of politically preferred objectives. In this way individual sovereignty is replaced with state sovereignty and the government becomes an ultimate master, not the intended servant of the people. All private wealth is redirected through regulation or confiscated through taxation, ultimately to afford more power and wealth to political elites and their allies.

The Democrat Party calls for a massive tax and redistribution of income from high-income earners and the middle class (that is, from the productive) to the politically preferred.

It calls for elimination of legal protections for the property and lives of individuals and the welfare of communities and states via abandonment of border defenses and of legal interdictions to stop drug, sex, and arms traffickers, gangs, and terrorists crossing our Southern border.

It calls for defunding the police (euphemistically referred to as “reimagining policing”) and cessation of law enforcement against crime, enabling violent criminals to remain on the streets incentivized to increase their criminal activity. They call for destruction of the fossil fuel backbone of the American economy, encouraging inflation but also an ultimate collapse of the economy.

They call for massive socialist spending, pumping trillions of dollars into the market, the predictable effect of which is runaway inflation. They call for official sanction of child abuse in K-12 whereby children are taught to view the absence of pigment as proof of one’s perpetual status as an oppressor and the presence of pigment as proof of one’s perpetual status as a victim (the skewed, left-eye lens of Marxist critical race theory).

They call for official sanction of even more horrific child abuse in K-12 whereby children are robbed of their innocence, sexualized prematurely, taught that they must discover their gender identity, and made to believe gender not a fact but a choice, optional and fluid, and appropriately reassigned through physical mutilation via chemical hormone suppression and surgical sex change (even to the extent of encouraging pre-pubescent youth to take hormone suppressive drugs and undergo castration or reconstructive genital surgeries without parental consent).

In short, the Democrat Party, the Biden Administration, and the Democrat Congress are at war with American liberty, American law, and American values. They have endorsed nihilism. They wish to lead Americans, as if lemmings, off the cliff of civilization into an abyss of total destruction. They plan to stand atop the ruins, all-powerful and to whom all will be dependent.

They do not support individual freedom of choice; rather, theirs is a collectivist agenda in which leaders define acceptable “rights” and insist that only those be upheld in law. They do not support freedom of speech and press; rather, they demand those who convey a conservative message be silenced in favor of an interminable liberal echo chamber where only politically preferred views may be heard. They do not support free enterprise; rather, they insist on government-planned economies where the politically preferred receive anticompetitive protection and where those in disfavored enterprise (e.g., the fossil fuel industry) are destroyed.

For the first time in American history, we have witnessed a governing party abandon all connection with that irreducible principle of our republic, the one responsible for American greatness without which we cannot be great: individual liberty. By individual liberty I mean the term as Thomas Jefferson defined it, which is the meaning understood and endorsed by all of the Founding Fathers. In his April 4, 1819 letter to the lawyer Isaac Tiffany, Jefferson explained: “Liberty . . . in the whole plenitude of its extent, . . . is unobstructed action according to our will, but rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the meaning of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.”

It was to ensure broad legal protection for individual liberty that the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and later endorsed for ratification the Constitution of the United States. It is that very liberty which has defined Americans sense of self throughout our history and has become the meaning of America understood by the world. It is the heart of our nation, and it is that very heart which the Democrat Party, this Administration, and the Democrat leaders in Congress mean to cut out from the body politic and discard forever.

Rather than talk of the rights of individuals (e.g., to dissent from officially sanctioned views on everything from racism, abortion, gender politics, religion, to COVID-19 vaccination and treatments), the Democrat Party condemns dissent, equates it with a lack of patriotism, and calls for voices of opposition to be canceled and banned from the information and idea marketplace. Facilitating this tyranny are the owners of Big Tech. So much for the adage, once celebrated by those who called themselves liberals: While I wholly disapprove of what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Instead, by word and deed, the Democrat Party has adopted politicized rather than blind justice—a political justice characteristic of totalitarian regimes in China and Russia. It does not recognize, let alone defend, individual rights unless consistent with the official orthodoxy of the party.

It rejects the foundation of American jurisprudence: equal justice under law. The “rules for thee but not for me” mentality and practice permeates the Party at all levels. Unequal justice expresses itself in, among other profound examples, rabid refusal to allow any meaningful criminal investigation into the unlawful and corrupt foreign influence peddling by the Biden family or to require criminal accountability by Hillary Clinton for violations of the Espionage Act and her campaign and agents’ financing of the fraudulent Steele dossier and false complaint to the FBI against candidate and President Trump.

While refusing to apply the law in those contexts and refusing to prosecute Antifa and BLM rioters for looting, arson, assault, battery, and murder nationwide, the Democrat Party vehemently insists on arrest, lengthy pre-trial incarceration (including in certain instances solitary confinement) and prosecution of hundreds allegedly associated with the January 6 events at the Capitol despite an absence in most cases of bona fide evidence of criminality and of criminal intent.

There is in this an assault on individual liberty, on equal justice under law, on impartial justice, and on the rule of law. It will not be enough for Republicans to take back control of the House, Senate, and White House. Once in power, they must act to restore America’s foundational principles through dismantlement of the nihilistic policies, laws, and initiatives of the Biden Administration and the Democrat Congress.


Alternative framings of the Ukraine war

The hysteria has moved on from Covid to Ukraine. Given official and media propaganda on lockdowns and vaccines on their own people, scepticism on their trustworthiness about a foreign war waged by Russia is understandable. The mainstream media and all Western leaders have echoed President Joe Biden’s Manichean framing of the war as a ‘great battle’ between democracy and autocracy, liberty and repression and a rules-based order and ‘one governed by brute force’. President Volodymyr Zelensky has been unexpectedly heroic, courageous and inspirational. But the ‘democracy-autocracy’ narrative is seriously defective. Ukrainians are fighting for their nation, not for universal freedoms. Fragmenting Western societies seem to have forgotten patriotic determination to defend one’s country as a universal civic virtue. The same fierce resistance to invaders was demonstrated in Vietnam and Afghanistan, highlighting both the power of the weak when fighting for the homeland and the fragility of the strong when engaged in imperialism.

The 2014 Maidan revolution was a de facto coup to oust the democratically elected pro-Russian president with ‘a deep degree of US involvement’ (Washington Post) in Ukraine’s internal affairs. In the annual report from Freedom House, Ukraine’s score of 61/100 put it in the same ‘partly free’ category as Colombia, Serbia, Liberia, El Salvador and the Philippines. After the 2014 coup, the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion – that’s a Daily Beast label from 2019 – was incorporated into President Petro Poroshenko’s military and security apparatus and has remained there. Zelensky has seized the opportunity of the war to ‘suspend’ eleven opposition parties, including the biggest with 44 MPs in the 450-seat parliament, and nationalise several media outlets to implement a ‘unified information policy’. In Transparency International’s 2021 corruption index published in January, Ukraine’s score was 32/100, making it Europe’s most corrupt country (cue Hunter Biden’s laptop). Russia is even worse. So pardon me for not joining in the rapturous standing ovations to Zelensky that has become part of the ritualised theatre of his Zoom addresses to Western parliaments.

Western countries have themselves witnessed grievous assaults on freedoms and curtailment of civil liberties and democratic practices in the last two years, with Canada and the state of Victoria being among the worst offenders. The media propagation of the Trump–Russia collusion hoax for three years and the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story, not to mention the pattern-defying anomalies, compromised the legitimacy of the 2020 US presidential election. This is not to imply a moral equivalence between imperfect Western democracies and Russia, but to explain non-Western dissent from how Biden framed the Ukraine war.

A second framing alleges Russian violations of foundational global norms on state sovereignty, territorial integrity and the use of force. The lopsided General Assembly vote, followed by this month’s suspension of Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, shows that most countries do care about core global norms and share in the repugnance at atrocities against civilians. Unfortunately, every charge levelled against Russia applies also to the US. It’s used force overseas more often than any other country since 1945, including Iraq in 2003. It rejected the World Court’s judgment on aggression against Nicaragua and threatened the International Criminal Court with sanctions for daring to investigate possible war crimes by US soldiers in Afghanistan, but backs the two courts vis-à-vis Russia in Ukraine. The downing of a Malaysian Airline flight over Ukraine in 2014 is comparable to the downing of an Iran Air flight by a US warship in 1988. Both Moscow and Washington rejected the World Court’s 1996 opinion on the legal obligation on nuclear disarmament.

The first two frames together, in combination with the global dominance of Western media, explain why Westerners conflate their local consensus into a global consensus that simply doesn’t exist. Much of the non-Western world views the Ukraine conflict within a third frame of an ongoing recalibration of the European balance of power since the Cold War ended. A continual readjustment of geopolitical frontiers along historical faultlines and buffer states is part of human history. Afflicted by hubris, the US and Nato effectively treated Russia as a permanently defeated enemy instead of one in temporary retreat. As Nato kept incorporating former Warsaw Pact members in a steady eastward expansion to Russia’s borders, the repeated proclamation of red lines over Georgia and Ukraine were contemptuously brushed aside. In a cable sent home on 1 February 2008, William Burns, then ambassador to Russia and current CIA director, concluded: ‘While Russian opposition to the first round of Nato enlargement in the mid-1990s was strong, Russia now feels itself able to respond more forcefully to what it perceives as actions contrary to its national interests’. Nato policy on Ukraine provoked but did not deter Russia. Last month, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said: ‘The war could have been avoided if Nato had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less, instability in the region’. This helps to explain why half of African countries refused to endorse the UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Arabs too have misgivings about the consistency of US policy between Ukraine and the Middle East.

Let’s also examine the war as contestations over Russia’s place in the European security, economic and political orders. Boris Yeltsin was told in October 1993 by Secretary of State Christopher that the US was pursuing, not Nato membership for selected but a Partnership for Peace for all European countries. When Yeltsin interrupted to make sure he had understood correctly that all Central and Eastern European countries and Russia would be treated equally in an all-inclusive partnership, Christopher replied, ‘Yes, that is the case’. Yeltsin responded, ‘This is a brilliant idea, a stroke of genius’. Within a year the US changed policy. Russia was frozen out. The rest is history.

But that history has regional resonance for Europe, not global resonance. Asian countries that did not join last month’s UN condemnation of Russia include Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Singapore was the only one of the Asean ten to condemn Russia. Shivshankar Menon, India’s former National Security Adviser, writes in Foreign Affairs that the Ukraine war will transform Europe’s geopolitical landscape but is not a transcendental conflict between autocracies and democracies, will not reshape the global order and has only limited relevance for the Indo-Pacific. China’s rise is far more consequential for reconfiguring the emerging global order on both the geopolitical and normative axes than the protracted death rattles of the Soviet empire that expired in 1990/91




20 April, 2022

Masks off: US judge throws out Biden’s face-covering mandate

Washington: Put it on or leave it off?

That’s the question airline passengers and public transport users across America were left asking after a federal judge in Florida struck down a national mandate that required masks to be worn on planes, trains, and buses to protect people from the pandemic.

Less than a week after the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention extended the mandate, a judge appointed by former president Donald Trump, Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, ruled the health agency had overstepped its legal authority by imposing the order that has been in place since February last year.

The move is a blow to the Biden administration, which appeared to be caught off-guard by the ruling and is now “reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps”.

But it’s also created another grey area in one of the most polarising debates the US has faced over the past few years, and has prompted the question: was the mandate unlawful all along?

America’s COVID-19 rules are confusing at the best of times. In Washington DC, for example, you can attend a packed nightclub or sit next to a stranger at a communal cafe table without wearing a mask; yet, you must put one on the moment you walk into the subway – even if you’re the only person on the platform waiting for the train.

Inconsistencies even when it comes to President Joe Biden himself have not gone unnoticed: sometimes he wears a mask indoors, sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes his administration abides by CDC guidelines; other times it doesn’t.

The Florida ruling has resulted in even greater uncertainty, with the transport industry left scrambling as they awaited federal guidance over how quickly airlines and train operators should stop forcing passengers to wear masks.

The Transportation Security Administration said it would no longer enforce the mask requirement, causing airports in Houston and Dallas to almost immediately do away with their mandates.

Some groups, such as New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Chicago Department of Aviation announced they would continue to abide by the previous order as they reviewed the ruling, whereas certain airlines, such as United, said they would drop the requirement in most cases.

“Effective immediately, masks are no longer required at United on domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country’s mask requirements) or at US airports,” it said in a statement.


FDA Authorizes Breath Test to Detect COVID-19

For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized for emergency use a breath test to detect COVID-19.

The InspectIR COVID-19 Breathalyzer is the “size of a piece of carry-on luggage” and can analyze chemical compounds in breath samples to test for COVID-19, the FDA states.

Samples can be collected and analyzed in the same place in less than three minutes, which enables it to be carried out in places such as doctor’s offices, hospitals, and mobile testing sites.

The test uses gas chromatography mass-spectrometry (GC-MS) to isolate different chemical mixtures and quickly detect certain compounds—referred to as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)—associated with COVID-19 infection in the breath samples.

InspectIR says it is the first company to make a commercially available miniature mass spectrometer to analyze breath samples directly.

If the test detects the presence of five VOCs associated with COVID-19, it will give an unconfirmed positive test result, which would need to be confirmed with a molecular test.

Negative results don’t rule out COVID-19 and “should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions,” the FDA noted. Negative results “should be considered in the context of a patient’s recent exposures, history, and the presence of clinical signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19.”

The breathalyzer was studied on a group of 2,409 people with and without symptoms. Per the study, the device had 91.2 sensitivity—it was able to correctly identify 91.2 percent of positive COVID-19 cases. It also showed 99.3 specificity, meaning it gave false positive results in 0.7 percent of cases.

The test also gave similar sensitivity in a follow-up clinical study focused on the Omicron variant, the FDA noted.

“Today’s authorization is yet another example of the rapid innovation occurring with diagnostic tests for COVID


Inequality and the Piketty Accounting Error

The political left’s love affair with steep progressive taxation got an academic boost with the publication of Thomas Piketty’s bestselling 2014 book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” Appealing to the New Deal era, Mr. Piketty proposed a simple explanation and remedy for rising economic inequality: The concentration of income among the top 1% could be mitigated by strategically targeting wealth with the tax system.

Mr. Piketty based his theory on a historical argument taken from his own empirical work with fellow economist Emmanuel Saez. When Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt hiked the top marginal income-tax rate to 91% during the New Deal and World War II, they allegedly broke up the concentration of the capital stock at the top of the income ladder. Inequality declined to a midcentury trough, where it remained until the Reagan tax cuts in the 1980s. Inequality then rebounded to form a centurylong U-shaped pattern. The solution, then, is to restore tax rates to their FDR levels.

But the Piketty-Saez theory is less a matter of history than an accounting error caused by their misunderstanding of World War II-era tax statistics. That’s the main conclusion of a new analysis of top income concentration in the U.S. between 1917 and 1960, which we recently published in the Economic Journal.

Progressives embraced Messrs. Piketty and Saez’s historical account after it appeared in an influential academic paper in 2003. Their story undergirds the wealth-tax proposals of Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Heather Boushey, a member of President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, is also a fan. Even the New York Times’s “1619 Project” draws on Messrs. Piketty and Saez to proclaim confidently that “progressive taxation remains among the best ways to limit economic inequality.”

Our findings paint a different picture. It’s true that income inequality declined in the early part of the 20th century, but the cause had more to do with the economic devastation of the Great Depression than the New Deal tax regime.

To see how, we must first turn to Messrs. Piketty and Saez’s inequality statistics. Their data show a rapid decline in top income shares between the 1929 stock-market crash and the end of World War II—a period economists have dubbed the “Great Leveling.” In their version, the sharpest decline took place between 1940 and 1945, just as the 91% top marginal rate schedule became a fixture of midcentury tax policy. Their statistics imply that more than 34% of the decline in the top 1%’s income share occurred in this brief period, as did an astounding 73% of the decline in the top 10% of earners.

Our investigation of the Piketty-Saez data reveals that they failed to account properly for historical changes in how the Internal Revenue Service reported income-tax statistics. As a result, their numbers systematically overstate the levels of top income concentrations by as much as a third, while also distorting the trend line during the “Great Leveling” period. The combination of these errors creates an illusion that FDR’s tax hikes caused inequality to fall.

Messrs. Piketty and Saez’s mistakes arise from how the IRS tabulates income. Between 1943 and 1944 the tax collection agency shifted from tracking “net income” to “adjusted gross income,” or AGI. The latter category, a truer depiction of annual earnings, includes both taxable earnings and deductible income such as charitable giving and state and local tax payments. Yet Messrs. Piketty and Saez didn’t bring pre-1944 IRS records into line with AGI accounting standards. Instead, they applied a fixed and arbitrary adjustment to all years before the AGI accounting change that conveniently scaled upward to the highest income brackets.

At the same time, Messrs. Piketty and Saez mishandled how they estimate the top 1%’s income shares. In addition to IRS records of tax payments, this calculation requires a measure for all personal income earnings. We found that in every year prior to 1960, the IRS’s numerator is mismatched to the total income denominator used by Messrs. Piketty and Saez. They used the wrong accounting definition for personal income and neglected to adjust their data for wartime distortions on tax reporting. When we corrected these problems, something stunning happened. The overall level of top income concentration flattened, and the timing of its leveling shifted away from the World War II-era tax rates that Messrs. Piketty and Saez place at the center of their story.


First infection of new Covid variant detected in Australia

NSW has reported a case of Omicron XE infection brought in by an overseas traveller.

The state was also the first to report a case of another recombinant strain dubbed Deltacron, with that variant spreading two Queensland within 24 hours of being detected.

There are fears a further relaxing rules for international arrivals will see more - and potentially deadlier - variants enter the country.

XE is a combination of the two Omicron variant subtypes BA.1 and BA.2.

The variant is what’s known as recombinant, meaning it is a mixture of the two different strains and has characteristics of both.

More than a thousand cases of XE have been recorded in the UK and cases have also been detected in Thailand, India and Israel.

It’s presence around the world suggests it has been spread by open borders and international travel.

From Monday, international arrivals will no longer need to test negative to Covid-19 before leaving for Australia, meaning more cases of new variants could arrive in the country.

“As the Covid pandemic has progressed, we’ve repeatedly seen the arrival of new viral variants,” University of Leeds virologist Grace Roberts wrote in The Conversation.

While the properties of XE are not yet well known, Dr Roberts said there did not appear to be cause for additional concern.

“We know that Omicron XE has the majority of its genetic information, including the spike protein, from the Omicron sub-variant BA.2, which is the variant predominating in the UK at the moment,” she said.

“ It is likely, therefore, that the characteristics of omicron XE (such as transmissibility, severity of disease and vaccine efficacy) are similar to those of BA.2.”

NSW recorded 17,856 positive cases of Covid on Thursday, with a total 1582 Covid cases admitted to hospital, including 71 people in intensive care, 23 of whom require ventilation.

The state also recorded 21 Covid-linked deaths on Thursday, including one person who was over 100-year-old. Of those that died, three people were not vaccinated




19 April, 2022

Heart problems as a Covid vaccine side-effect may be more common than is usually admitted

Report from Australia

It started with the ambulances. Queensland recorded its fourth-highest number of triple-0 calls for a single day last Monday with paramedics waiting up to three hours to offload patients and nine ambulances waiting outside a major hospital because there were no beds.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath was flummoxed. ‘I don’t think anyone can explain why we saw a 40 per cent increase in code ones,’ she told journalists. ‘We had a lot of heart attacks and chest pains and breathing/respiratory issues. Sometimes you can’t explain why those things happen.’

Ambulance ‘ramping’ has been at crisis point in every state in Australia over the summer. In Western Australia, just 70 per cent of priority one emergency call outs in March were responded to within 15 minutes. March was also the busiest month ever for paramedics in Tasmania with a 15 per cent increase in callouts. Ambulance Victoria experienced its busiest quarter on record, a 16 per cent increase on the same period last year. In South Australia, ramping was so bad that it became an election issue. Paramedics in New South Wales were so angry about staff shortages that they went on strike this week.

Part of the problem was the callous and stupid decision to sack paramedics during a pandemic because they refused to be immunised with a vaccine which, as it turns out, has almost no efficacy in preventing infection with the omicron variant. So, staff numbers have been reduced by mandates, by infection with omicron, and by the need to quarantine.

But what explains the increase in demand which has occurred in summer, not during the winter flu season? It’s not the pandemic. NSW, for example, has a combined private and government hospital capacity of 12,500 beds including 1,000 in intensive care units, but there are only 1,583 people admitted to hospitals ‘with’ Covid, and only 71 in intensive care. The chief executive of Ambulance Tasmania offered a clue saying that while a lot of the patients had respiratory complaints or chest pain in line with Covid, there was also an increase in mental health cases and in falls. What caused them?

To get some clues out, you needed to turn on the Footy Show. Discussing Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines, who was taken to hospital at half time where he was diagnosed with a ‘heart irregularity’, former Richmond forward Nathan Brown asked, ‘Is there a lot of this going on in world sport?’, clarifying that he was referring to the side effects of Covid vaccine booster shots. Journalist Damian Barrett said the question was being asked, ‘by a lot of people’ and that it wasn’t just the heart issues’. Essendon star Matthew Lloyd, another panellist on the show that night confirmed that he had Bell’s palsy – and that both heart issues and Bell’s palsy had ‘gone through the roof since the boosters and Covid issues’. He added that 3AW sports journalist Michelangelo Rucci had said that there’s a ward in Adelaide filled with people with similar symptoms to Ollie Wines – nausea, heart issues – ‘so there has to be something more to it’.

That Covid vaccines can cause myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and pericarditis (inflammation of the sac around the heart) as well as other severe reactions, including death, is a taboo topic in mainstream media. The Daily Mail accused the Footy Show hosts of making a ‘shocking claim’ for suggesting Wine’s heart issues could be linked to the Covid vaccines.

Yet as the Therapeutic Goods Administration confirms, myocarditis is a known side effect of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. So far there have been 1,168 reports of myocarditis to the TGA (10 fatal) and another 3,215 of pericarditis (1 fatal).

The TGA claims that only 593 are likely to be confirmed as myocarditis. But the Myocarditis Foundation in the US warns that nearly 20 per cent of sudden cardiac deaths are linked to myocarditis because common symptoms are misinterpreted. They include many reported to the TGA including chest pain (11,976 reports), shortness of breath (9,519), fatigue (14,569), palpitations (5,249), tachycardia (2,428), fainting (3,424), dizziness (2,843), and peripheral swelling (1,057). If any of these symptoms are detected, the foundation urges people to see a doctor straight away because myocarditis is the third leading cause of death in children and young adults and discouraging talk about the symptoms of post-vaccination myocarditis is dangerous, especially for young athletic men and boys who are at the greatest risk.

In less than three months, since Covid vaccines were rolled out to children aged 5-11, three have died. A 7-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl suffered cardiac arrests, the worst outcome of myocarditis, and a 6-year- old boy also died but whoever filed his report simply described his medical reaction as an ‘adverse event following immunisation’, a description that provides no useful information to investigators and has been used in 755 reports, 161 of them fatal.

There have also been 49 reports of adverse reactions in babies via exposure their mothers’ breast milk including trouble breathing, chest pain, fatigue, dizziness – all symptoms of myocarditis. One infant suffered Bell’s palsy. There have been 244 reports of spontaneous abortions, 14 stillbirths, 11 reports of foetal deaths, 11 of foetal hypokinesia (decreased bodily movement of the foetus). The vaccines were not tested on pregnant or breast-feeding women. The TGA had no clinical basis to say they were safe.

Since the vaccines were rolled out in February last year, 19,926 people have reported adverse reactions and 815 people have died. More than two every day. Compare that to influenza vaccines – 21 deaths in 47 years, less than one death every two years. Are any of these tragedies caused by the Covid vaccine? Is anyone at the TGA trying to find out? When the US government rushed out a swine flu vaccine to 45 million people in 1976, the program was halted when it was reported to have caused one case of Guillain-Barré syndrome per 100,000 persons vaccinated, and 53 deaths. To date in the US there have been 26,693 deaths, including those Pfizer, Moderna and J&J have reported occurring abroad, 49,516 people are permanently disabled, and the mainstream media says nothing.

Why the difference? In 1976, vaccine manufacturers could be sued for injury and death. Now they have immunity from prosecution unless they can be shown to have engaged in fraud or to have hidden safety data. While courageous scientists, doctors and whistleblowers sound the alarm about damning evidence, no one who has been coercing people to get vaccinated – government, media, employers – wants to admit that there might be a problem. Like ramping ambulances, nobody wants to explain why those things happen


California Bill Would Allow Doctors to Lose Licenses over COVID ‘Misinformation or Disinformation’

A new bill under consideration by the California State Legislature would allow the state’s medical board to discipline doctors who provide what is considered “misinformation or disinformation” about COVID-19 — and even strip them of their licenses.

The bill, AB 2098, introduced in February, “would designate the dissemination or promotion of misinformation or disinformation related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, or ‘COVID-19,’ as unprofessional conduct. The bill would require the board to consider specified factors prior to bringing a disciplinary action against a physician and surgeon. The bill would also make findings and declarations in this regard.”

The legislation also declares: “Major news outlets have reported that some of the most dangerous propagators of inaccurate information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines are licensed health care professionals.”

It specifies:

(a) It shall constitute unprofessional conduct for a physician and surgeon to disseminate or promote misinformation or disinformation related to COVID-19, including false or misleading information regarding the nature and risks of the virus, its prevention and treatment; and the development, safety, and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

(b) The board shall consider the following factors prior to bringing a disciplinary action against a licensee under this section:

(1) Whether the licensee deviated from the applicable standard of care.

(2) Whether the licensee intended to mislead or acted with malicious intent.

(3) Whether the misinformation or disinformation was demonstrated to have resulted in an individual declining opportunities for COVID-19 prevention or treatment that was not justified by the individual’s medical history or condition.

(4) Whether the misinformation or disinformation was contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus to an extent where its dissemination constitutes gross negligence by the licensee.

According to one law firm that represents physicians in disciplinary proceedings in California, if a doctor is found to have committed professional misconduct, “the minimum penalty is a stayed revocation with 5 years of license probation, with a maximum penalty of revocation.”

Stanford Medical School Professor Jay Bhattacharya, one of the co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, which favores “Focused Protection” over lockdowns during COVID surges, wrote at Bari Weiss’s Substack site that the California bill mirrors the way communist China has treated physicians merely for telling the truth about the coronavirus:

The language of the bill itself is intentionally vague about what constitutes “misinformation,” which makes it even more damaging. Doctors, fearing loss of their livelihoods, will need to hew closely to the government line on Covid science and policy, even if that line does not track the scientific evidence. After all, until recently, top government science bureaucrats like Dr. Fauci claimed that the idea that Covid came from a Wuhan laboratory was a conspiracy theory, rather than a valid hypothesis that should be open to discussion. The government’s track record on discerning Covid truths is poor....

What is abundantly clear is that this bill represents a chilling interference with the practice of medicine. The bill itself is full of misinformation and a demonstration of what a disaster it would be to have the legislature dictate the practice of medicine....

We are not the Soviet Union, of course, nor are we ruled by Chinese Communists. California lawmakers thankfully do not have the power currently being exercised in Shanghai. But this bill follows the same dangerous principle that government-authorized science should permit no opposition from people with the credentials and knowledge to oppose it. The false medical consensus enforced by AB 2098 will lead doctors to censor themselves to avoid government sanction. And it will be their patients, above all, who will be harmed by their silence.

Bhattacharya noted the current coronavirus lockdowns in Shanghai, China — ostensibly that country’s freest city — which have resulted in reported food shortages, the killing of household pets, and other abuses by the communist regime.

AB 2098 is sponsored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), who tweeted a racist cartoon supporting Black Lives Matter in 2020 — before the murder of George Floyd:

Low recently co-sponsored a law that requires toy stores to include gender-neutral sections.




18 April, 2022

The Nation’s Top Scientists Lied

Scott Atlas

CDC Director Robert Redfield’s congressional testimony on Sept. 23, 2020, immediately caught my attention. I watched in disbelief as Redfield told Congress that “more than 90 percent of the population”—more than three hundred million people in the United States—remains susceptible to the illness.

The statement was based on incomplete and outdated data, as well as an apparent lack of understanding of the literature, and it struck me as one of the most erroneous and fear-inducing proclamations of any public health official to that moment. Approximately two hundred thousand Americans had already died from COVID; the last thing the public needed was an exaggeration of the future risks, implying to some that ten times that number could still die.

First of all, the numbers didn’t add up. At that point, confirmed cases in the United States already totaled approximately seven million, and the CDC itself had estimated that approximately ten times the number of confirmed cases, a very conservative estimate, were likely to have had the infection. A Stanford seropositivity study back in April had shown that confirmed cases underestimated the total infections by a factor of approximately forty times. It made no sense that only 9 percent, or thirty million Americans, had been infected.

Second, the 9 percent calculation was blatantly wrong. That number came from antibody testing by the states. I looked at the CDC website myself, and sure enough, the data was based on antiquated testing from several states.

Some antibody totals were pulled from several months earlier, before many of those states had experienced a significant number of cases. It therefore grossly underestimated the number of cases that had already occurred. The data was simply not valid, but you needed to pay attention to the details.

More importantly, Redfield’s basic claim was fundamentally flawed. The conclusion that serum antibody testing revealed the entire population of those protected from COVID was counter to an entire body of published literature and contrary to fundamental knowledge of immunology, including other coronavirus infections.

It was well known that antibody tests showed one cross-section in time—they were transient—even though immune protection can last. From studies on SARS-2 and most other viruses, antibody levels change over a span of months. They typically appear in the first couple of weeks, peak in a few months, and then decrease over a span of several months.

The literature on COVID had already shown these patterns. A month before this press conference, a Nature Reviews Immunology study on COVID-19 explicitly stated, “The absence of specific antibodies in the serum does not necessarily mean an absence of immune memory,” and explained, “memory B-cells and T-cells may be maintained even if there are not measurable levels of serum antibodies.”

Japan’s study demonstrated this dramatically. In their study, antibody levels increased from 5.8 percent to 46.8 percent over the course of the summer. The most dramatic increase occurred in late June and early July, paralleling the rise in daily confirmed cases within Tokyo, which peaked on Aug. 4.

Out of the 350 individuals who completed both offered tests, 21.4 percent of those who tested negative became positive, and 12.2 percent of initially positive participants became negative for antibodies. A striking 81.1 percent of IgM-antibody-positive cases at first testing became negative in only one month. They stated that “[antibody tests] may significantly underestimate previous COVID-19 infections.” It had also been widely reported in several major scientific journals that antibody responses are not necessarily detectable in all COVID patients, especially those with less severe forms.

But the flaws in Redfield’s estimate extended deeper. Even those familiar with first-year college biology know that other components of the immune system, memory B-cell and T-cells, provide protection from virus infections. Some T-cells kill the virus, and they also help antibodies form. T-cells develop and provide protection that lasts far longer, even after antibodies disappear—sometimes for years in other SARS viruses.

T-cells for this virus had already been documented, even in people unexposed to SARS-2, meaning that in these cases, cross-protection was present from T-cells originating in response to other coronaviruses. T-cells had also been found in individuals with completely asymptomatic SARS-2 infections.

NIH Director Francis Collins had highlighted that very data in his Director’s Blog a few weeks earlier, writing, “In fact, immune cells known as memory T cells also play an important role in the ability of our immune systems to protect us against many viral infections, including—it now appears—COVID-19.”

Scientists from some of the top research institutions in the world, like Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, San Diego’s La Jolla Institute, Duke University, Berlin, and others had published this evidence. Karolinska demonstrated T-cell immunity in both asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID—even if antibody-negative.

Singapore researchers had noted robust T-cell responses to this virus, SARS2, from seventeen-year-old SARS1 samples. Since T-cells are obviously not discovered by antibody tests, those individuals were not included in Redfield’s count. Yet he apparently had not considered this essential, indeed fundamental, point as he testified to Congress and made headlines.

After watching this debacle on TV, I knew full well what was coming later that day. The media would latch on to this and create even more public panic. I also knew that the responsibility for clarifying this grossly erroneous statement would be mine. There was no question it would come up at the president’s press conference, and even if it did not, it still needed to be explained.

I rushed over to Derek Lyons’s office to update him and to make sure we would alert the president beforehand. A few others in the West Wing were there, so I summarized to them what had been said to Congress.

The mood ranged from amazement to dejection to frustration. An advisor to the president on legal matters warned me, with a smile on his face, “Scott, don’t just bluntly say, ‘Redfield is wrong!’ Say something softer, like ‘He misstated things.’”

I nodded, knowing that I needed to restrain my words, even though this was the same man who had tried to destroy me in the national press a few days earlier. But this wasn’t personal at all. Clarifying the facts about the pandemic and countering the unending barrage of misinformation and pseudoscience about it, in this case coming from within the administration itself, was one of my most important roles in this national crisis.

During the pre-brief in the Oval Office a few hours later, I outlined the issue to the president. It was decided, as expected, that I would answer the question when it came up. And so it did.

A reporter from ABC News directly asked me if Redfield’s statement that more than 90 percent of Americans remained susceptible to the disease was true. I took the friendly advice I had received earlier in the day.

“I think that Dr. Redfield misstated something there,” I said, and then did my best to calmly explain the problems with outdated information and the contribution of cross-reactive T-cells and T-cell protection that would not have been included in his data. I correctly stated what was widely known and factual—that the protection from the virus “is not solely determined by the percent of people who have antibodies.” During my answer, as I fended off interruptions, I tried to explain in understandable language as best I could.

I also made a serious effort to be somewhat delicate, because I felt extremely uncomfortable about having to correct the director of the CDC on the national stage.

Unfortunately, my disgust with the confrontational mood in that press room prevented me from being more diplomatic when that reporter asked, “Who are we to believe?” My reflexive answer was “You’re supposed to believe in the science, and I am telling you the science.” Then I referred him to several expert scientists by name. However, I had the strong sense that he was not really interested in the facts at all. Rather, it was another attempt to amplify discord.

After exiting the press room, I walked alongside the president. He briefly stopped to check the news coverage on the set of TV monitors outside the briefing room, as he typically chose to do. After some banter between the president and the staff standing in the area, we began walking back toward the Oval Office.

President Trump turned to me on his right, smiling wryly but with a genuinely puzzled look on his face. “Is Redfield political or just stupid?” he asked, subtly shaking his head. I looked right back at the president and hesitated. The answer was obvious to both of us.

Needless to say, the media immediately played up the disagreement between me and Redfield. It fed into their narrative of conflict between me and the other Task Force doctors, one that Redfield personally caused with his offensive and unwarranted remark that everything I said was “false.”

Later, Dr. Fauci appeared on TV and criticized my straightforward attempt to clarify important information as “extraordinarily inappropriate.” I wondered if he was more concerned with protecting his bureaucrat colleague’s reputation and undermining mine than ensuring that correct information was being told to the American public.

Martin Kulldorff, the world-renowned Harvard epidemiologist, posted his reaction on Twitter: “Scott Atlas stated the simple fact that immunity is higher than those with antibodies, whereupon Dr. Fauci criticizes him without contradicting what was actually said. Stating a simple scientific fact is not ‘extraordinarily inappropriate.’ What is going on?”


Reports of Rare Vulvar Ulcers in Adolescent Girls Following Pfizer COVID-19 Injections

Cases of rare vulvar ulcers have been diagnosed in adolescent girls after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer messenger RNA (mRNA) shot, according to the April edition of the Journal of Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology.

Six cases of adolescent girls ages 12 to 16 developing painful genital ulcers within four days of their second vaccine dose were reported in the medical journal, including two cases occurring after infection with COVID-19.

This is the first time that cases of vulvar ulcers in adolescents and young women are being addressed and discussed in the medical literature.

Doctors of these cases say that it is “important to identify and explain possible adverse effects to help dispel the hesitancy some patients might feel about receiving a novel vaccine.”

The vulvar ulcers—known as vulvar aphthous ulcers, lipschütz ulcers, or acute genital ulcerations—are non-sexually acquired painful lesions formed on the external structures of the female genitalia, or the vulva. The condition mainly affects adolescents and young women, but cases of older women have also been reported.

Unlike mouth sores which are an established adverse reaction of certain vaccines, including the COVID-19 injections administered in the United States, vulvar ulcers are not.

A simple search on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) for aphthous ulcer, vaginal ulceration, vulval ulceration, and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, resulted in 282 total events as of April 14.

Of those, over 40 reports were related to genital ulcers in adolescents and young women several days after the second Pfizer shot, while the rest were reports of mouth ulcers. Several cases have also occurred following the first and third dose.

The youngest to experience the vulvar ulcers was a 10-year-old girl from North Carolina, who developed several painful lesions 24 hours after her second Pfizer injection on Jan. 29, 2022, [VAERS ID number: 2087752-1]. She tested negative for the herpes simplex virus. The report did not mention whether a COVID-19 test was administered.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautions that reports made to VAERS do not necessarily prove causation.

“While very important in monitoring vaccine safety, VAERS reports alone cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness,” the CDC wrote.




17 April, 2022

Hospital dogmatism kills woman

The children of a 55-year-old Florida woman say the hospital treating their mother for COVID-19 told her, and them, that she would be treated with ivermectin. But the treatment was stopped after she improved because a hospital pharmacist intervened, medical records show.

Dianne Spangler, of Titusville, worsened after the ivermectin was stopped early. She was put on a ventilator and died, medical records obtained by The Epoch Times show.

What’s more, Spangler received the COVID-19 drug Remdesivir even after she and her children had expressed they did not want her to be treated with it, according to records and Spangler’s daughter, Megan Spangler.

Making the loss even more painful for Spangler’s three children—ages 32, 23, and 15—is knowing what has happened to the nurse who advocated for the use of ivermectin on their behalf.

Donna Lowery, who had worked at Parrish Medical Center for 31 years, was fired for suggesting the drug. The hospital has urged the state of Florida to revoke her license.

“Federal patient privacy laws prevent us from commenting on the specifics of any patient-related matters,” Parrish Healthcare’s senior vice president, Natalie Sellers, responded in a prepared statement. “What I can confirm is that COVID-19 patients receiving care at Parrish Medical Center receive appropriate treatment in accordance with evidence-based medical protocols using FDA approved medicines as medically necessary and consistent with the indicated standard of care.”

Doctors around the country have told The Epoch Times they’ve used ivermectin to treat patients with COVID-19, often by following the protocols developed by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC). Doctors with experience using the treatment have testified to its efficacy and safety before Congress and state legislatures. The legislatures of Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Kansas are currently considering bills that would allow, or even require, pharmacists to dispense ivermectin to people who ask for it.

Yet doctors around the country have told The Epoch Times they fear losing their licenses for advocating for the use of ivermectin and other drugs which are not part of the COVID-19 treatment protocols outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Hospitals receive payments under the CARES Act when they follow those protocols.

Some doctors have told The Epoch Times they’ve received threatening letters from professional boards and malpractice providers warning against speaking about COVID-19 treatments or vaccines in a way that could be considered “misinformation” or “disinformation.” The American Medical Association, the American Pharmacists Association, and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing have issued such statements (NCSBN).

In Lowery’s case, most concerning to her is the NCSBN’s Dec. 2 statement that addresses “misinformation being disseminated about COVID-19 by nurses” and says, “providing misinformation to the public regarding masking, vaccines, medications and/or COVID-19 threatens the public health. Misinformation, which is not grounded in science and is not supported by the CDC and FDA, can lead to illness, possibly death, and may prolong the pandemic.”

It goes on to state: “Any nurse who violates their state nurse practice act or threatens the health and safety of the public through the dissemination of misleading or incorrect information pertaining to COVID-19, vaccines and associated treatment through verbal or written methods including social media may be disciplined by their board of nursing. Nurses are urged to recognize that dissemination of misinformation not only jeopardizes the health and well-being of the public, but may place their license and career in jeopardy as well.”

The NCSBN declined to comment, and directed inquiries to the Florida Board of Nursing.

Nurses and doctors in Florida don’t have to worry about having their licenses stripped, simply for speaking what they believe about COVID-19 treatments or prevention, said Jeremy Redfern, spokesman for the Florida Department of Health, which oversees the Florida Board of Nursing. That’s because the boards governing their licenses in Florida have members appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), he said.

“I don’t think DeSantis is going to appoint anyone who doesn’t respect the [U.S.] Constitution,” Redfern said. “The Department of Health and our medical boards respect the First Amendment” and the free speech it guarantees, he said. “Speech does not constitute a reason to strip someone of their license.”

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo told The Epoch Times in February, “We’re definitely not going after anyone for prescribing ivermectin.”

State policies prohibit Redfern from confirming any state investigation of a medical professional, until after there’s been a determination of probable cause on the case, he said. Lowery knows an investigation of her was initiated, because former colleagues were interviewed, she said. She hasn’t been notified officially, she said.

DeSantis has argued publicly that doctors and nurses shouldn’t have to fear using their own clinical experience to talk about or even prescribe what they think is best for patients.

The governor asked Florida’s Republican-led legislature to create a new law to protect health care worker’s freedom of speech under the U.S. Constitution. The bill died in committee.

Since her firing, Lowery has worked as a lactation consultant and at an independent pharmacy. She worries she might not be able to work as a nurse again.

She told her story to the Florida House Health and Human Services Committee on Nov. 15.

When Lowery was still employed at the hospital, she’d seen an Aug. 26 memo from her employer addressing, among other things, the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients. The memo to employees stated: “According to the FDA, Ivermectin is not an anti-viral and should not be used to treat or prevent COVID-19. Ivermectin tablets are approved at specific doses for some parasitic worms and when taken in large doses can be dangerous and cause serious harm.”

Lowery said she didn’t view it as a formal policy of the hospital, because she knew of at least one patient who’d been treated with ivermectin. Additionally, the link in the memo led to a web page that suggested ivermectin was little more than livestock dewormer, which she knew was wrong.

A handful of her family members — some with conditions that made them more at-risk for serious COVID-19 infections — had used ivermectin to treat the COVID-19.

After her daughter, a respiratory therapist, had told her about miraculous recoveries using ivermectin, she researched the drug and spoke with other medical professionals who were using it. Ultimately, Lowery and others in her family took a livestock formulation of ivermectin hoping to prevent the infection throughout the pandemic.

On Sept. 5, she reported to work at the floor where she helped deliver babies, after praying on the way, as always, that God would put her where he wanted her to be that day. The obstetrics unit wasn’t busy, so she was moved to another floor to help with COVID-19 patients.

There, Lowery saw a colleague crying at the nurses’ station. The young nursing assistant had just been told by a doctor that, if her mother, Dianne Spangler, didn’t improve, she’d have to go on a ventilator.

Spangler had been in the hospital a week. Hospital records show she had “multifocal pneumonia.”

“Why don’t we use ivermectin?” Lowery wondered aloud, when the young woman excused herself to splash water on her face, and a doctor joined the group of nurses. The doctor, Lowery said, chimed in, “Yeah, why don’t we?”

Looking back on that moment, Lowery says, “I did not ask for something we had not already used in the hospital.”

Lowery and two other nurses went to console their coworker, and Lowery asked if her mom had been taking ivermectin. She had not.

After hearing about Lowery’s experiences with ivermectin, the colleague “said she wanted it for her mom,” Lowery said.

The four ladies acknowledged to each other that all were Christians. They bowed their heads to pray together before taking further action.

“That’s the most important part of this whole story,” Lowery says now.

Lowery then sought out the doctor caring for Dianne Spangler, and said she was speaking for their colleague. “What do you know about ivermectin?” she asked the doctor.

“I used it in my previous hospital,” she says he told her. “It doesn’t always work, and I don’t know if we have it here.”

So Lowery called the pharmacist, who confirmed ivermectin was available.

“But it doesn’t work for COVID,” the pharmacist told Lowery. “It does,” Lowery insisted, telling about her family members’ experiences.

The doctor overseeing treatment of all COVID-19 patients would have to approve it, the pharmacist told Lowery.

Lowery and the charge nurse went to find the doctor. With the pharmacist listening to the conversation by phone, that doctor also agreed that ivermectin could be used for Spangler, Lowery said. A third doctor put an order for the drug into the computer.

“I went to the coworker and said, ‘Your mom can have ivermectin,’” Lowery recalled. “She was so excited. She was crying.”

“So that was all I did. I advocated. That’s what nurses do. We advocate.”

Megan Spangler remembers the hope she felt when her sister, who’s still employed at Parrish Medical Center, called from the hospital and told her about the opportunity to try ivermectin to treat their mother.

“I said, ‘Yes, 100 percent! At this point, I will do anything, I want to try anything!’” Megan Spangler said. “And so she went into the room with my mom, and told my mom, and my mom said, ‘Yes, I want ivermectin!’ So they went and got it.”

Medical records confirm that the family requested the ivermectin, discussed the treatment with Spangler’s doctor and were told it would be administered. Records also stated: “Did explain to them that studies so far have shown that ivermectin is not helpful in Covid patients and has not been recommended as treatment by CDC,” and “patient was agreeable with the plan.”

What was ordered for Dianne Spangler was only about half the dose needed, said Ed Balbona, M.D., of Jacksonville, who reviewed her medical records with permission from her family. Balbona has used ivermectin to treat about 400 patients with COVID-19. None have died, he said.

With some minor changes, Balbona largely follows protocols developed by Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance.

Even receiving just a half-dose of ivermectin, Spangler improved, her records show, Balbona said.

She was “feeling good, no shortness of breath in this time frame, was able to eat and move around,” notes in her medical record show.

“When she took the ivermectin, she was able to get up, she was eating, she was able to talk on FaceTime,” Megan Spangler said.

She, her brother and sister, who asked not to be named, were overjoyed.

Two days after starting ivermectin, Dianne Spangler’s medical records note,”Patient still requiring high flow oxygen but currently feels okay with no acute shortness of breath. Try to wean off slowly.”

Her children couldn’t understand when she declined again. But on Sept. 15, Dianne Spangler was put on a ventilator and on Oct. 11, she died.

Crushed, they requested her records. Those revealed that the five-day course of ivermectin they were told she would receive was cancelled by the pharmacist, with the comment, “Not indicated for Covid diagnosis.”

Notes also seem to show that the drug Remdesivir was given from August 30 through September 12, and again on Sept. 15 and 16.

“We didn’t want her to have it,” Megan Spangler said. “My mom didn’t want to have it. My mom wanted the ivermectin. At that time, my sister was the power of attorney. But my mom was also still conscious and aware enough to say, ‘Hey, I want this.”

Meanwhile, five days after suggesting ivermectin for Spangler, Lowery’s supervisor called her, clearly upset.

“I’m like, ‘What’s going on? Am I getting fired or something?’ just being flippant. I had no clue anything was going on about this whole ivermectin thing,” Lowery said. She had been told Spangler had improved after being started on the drug.

“She said, ‘Donna, you’re suspended.’

“For what?” Lowery remembers demanding.

“For advocating for ivermectin,” she said her supervisor told her.

Two days later, the supervisor called again, and said the hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer Edwin Loftin, also senior vice president of integrated and acute care services, and hospital CEO George Mikitarian, had called for her to turn in her hospital ID. She was being fired.

Almost seven months later, she’s still incredulous.

“Are you kidding me? I advocated!” Lowery says now.

“I’m taking care of you, and let’s say, you have a chronic pain and you take a particular medication for your chronic pain, and now you’ve had surgery, and they ordered something else for you that you know that doesn’t work. That’s my job to call your doctor and say, ‘Hey, So-and-so is requesting this, because she knows that doesn’t work.’ That’s what we do! Imagine! Patient care at a hospital! Imagine that!”

The termination form from the hospital states that Lowery, “advocated for a medication to be used directly against FDA regulations and outside her scope of practice. This is cause for immediate termination.”

It goes on to say, “Ms. Lowery’s actions had the potential to cause serious harm and potential death of a patient. As such, she will be reported to AHCA [Agency for Health Care Administration] and the state with request to remove license.”

Using FDA-approved drugs for off-label uses—those uses not specifically approved by the FDA—is part of the everyday practice of medicine, doctors and nurses have told The Epoch Times.

“In labor and delivery, we use medicines [in off-label uses] every day,” Lowery says. “Misoprostol [known by the brand name] Cytotec—that is used to induce labor. If you look up that medication on the CDC or the FDA website, it says, ‘Do not use in pregnant women. Can cause uterine rupture, death to fetus and/or mother.’ We use it every day.”

“And how about the oath we took to do no harm?” Lowery asks.

Lowery says she prays for the two men who ordered her firing and who required strict adherence to CDC and NIH protocols for treating COVID-19.

She doesn’t regret what happened, and she says she believes it was no accident that she was ordered to that floor that day.

“Parrish Medical Center was my mission field,” she said.

Megan Spangler and her sibling have been told it’s nearly impossible to sue a hospital for a case involving COVID-19. And that’s true, attorneys told The Epoch Times.

Twenty-nine states, including Florida, adopted legislation at the urging of the federal government that gave hospitals immunity from lawsuits regarding COVID-19, as long as they followed government guidelines for treating the disease.

In Florida, one such measure was set to expire in March, but was extended for 14 months. That leaves Dianne Spangler’s children wondering if they have any legal ground for suing the hospital for what they see as their mother’s wrongful death.

For almost 20 years, Dianne Spangler had worked in customer service at the Brevard County Clerk of Court office. There’s a driver’s license program named for her, because of her efforts to help people get revoked driver’s licenses reinstated.

She loved the beach, and loved spending time with family and friends. She reveled in cheering for her teen-age son at his basketball and baseball games.

“She was just full of life, and always on the go,” Megan Spangler says.

During her hospitalization, Spangler would keep a brave face for her children during video chats. But to friends, she’d send texts imploring, “Please pray for me.”

Megan Spangler said if doctors felt the ivermectin wasn’t working or that Remdesivir should be administered, “none of that was ever told to us … So we didn’t even have the opportunity to say, ‘OK, but we want to transfer her to another hospital that will give her this.”

“I want someone in that hospital held accountable for my mom’s death, because she should be alive today.”




15 April, 2022

20 Federal ‘Assets’ Embedded at Capitol on Jan. 6, Court Filing Says

At least 20 FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives “assets” were embedded around the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a defense attorney wrote in a court filing on April 12.

The disclosure was made in a motion seeking to dismiss seditious conspiracy and obstruction charges against 10 Oath Keepers defendants in one of the most prominent Jan. 6 criminal cases.

David W. Fischer, attorney for Thomas E. Caldwell of Berryville, Virginia, filed a 41-page motion to dismiss four counts on behalf of all Oath Keepers case defendants before U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta in Washington, D.C.

Caldwell is charged in the indictment, but is not a member of the Oath Keepers, he told The Epoch Times in March.

“At least 20 FBI and ATF assets were embedded around the Capitol on J6,” read a footnote on Page 6 of the motion. No other details were provided in the document.

The footnote said defense attorneys “combed through a mountain of discovery,” including FBI form 302 summaries of interviews conducted by FBI agents.

In addition to the information about law-enforcement assets on the ground at the Capitol, the footnote says, the Oath Keepers “were being monitored and recorded prior to J6.”

Poring over evidence turned over in discovery by prosecutors in two major Oath Keepers cases has “not found one iota of proof” that defendants “had any plan, intention, design, or scheme to specifically enter the Capitol Building on J6,” the motion said.

Fischer told The Epoch Times he could not comment on the motion or provide more details on the footnote.

Since the first arrests of Jan. 6 defendants in early 2021, there has been extensive speculation and questions from attorneys, defendants, case observers, and members of Congress about the role law enforcement played that day.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Jan. 11, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) grilled top FBI officials on the subject.

“How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of Jan. 6?” Cruz asked Jill Sanborn, executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch.

“Sir, I’m sure you can appreciate that I can’t go into the specifics of sources and methods,” Sanborn said.

Cruz replied, “Did any FBI agents or confidential informants actively participate in the events of Jan. 6, yes or no?”

“Sir, I can’t answer that,” Sanborn said.

“Did any FBI agents or confidential informants commit crimes of violence on Jan. 6?” Cruz asked.

“I can’t answer that, sir,” Sanborn replied.

Jeremy M. Brown, an Oath Keepers member from Florida who was charged with two Jan. 6-related counts but is not part of either major Oath Keepers conspiracy case, told The Epoch Times earlier this year that the FBI unsuccessfully tried to recruit him in 2020 to spy on the group.

Brown said the same agents who later arrested him for alleged Jan. 6 crimes tried to recruit him on Dec. 11, 2020, to become a confidential informant. He refused. He was arrested on Sept. 30, 2021, when dozens of federal agents swarmed his Florida property.

“When asked by me and my girlfriend to produce the warrants at the time of arrest, they refused to produce them,” Brown said. “One agent was even recorded stating, ‘We don’t know what we are looking for yet.’ They should look for a copy of the Constitution and read it.”

No Crime Stated?

The Oath Keepers, including founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, are charged with conspiring to enter the Capitol on Jan. 6 to prevent the certification of the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election. Protests and rioting on Jan. 6 interrupted a joint session of Congress for about six hours.

“The Rhodes defendants seek dismissal of Counts 1-4 on the grounds that the indictment fails to state an offense as to each count,” Fischer wrote in his motion.

The four counts covered in the motion to dismiss all refer to obstructing a proceeding or preventing an officer from discharging duties.

Under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, the seditious conspiracy charge “requires proof that the purpose of the defendants’ seditious conspiracy was to forcibly obstruct a person authorized to execute a law, while that person was attempting to execute the particular law opposed by the defendants,” Fischer wrote.

“Per binding precedent, however, Members of Congress are constitutionally prohibited from ‘executing any law of the United States,’ ” the motion said. “Additionally, per binding precedent, the Electoral College certification process did not constitute the ‘execution of any law of the United States.’ ”

Counts 2 and 3 of the indictment are brought under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c), but that law only applies to obstructive acts related to the destruction of evidence, the motion said.

This argument was cited in March by U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols, who dismissed the same obstruction charge in two other Jan. 6 cases.

Count 4 accuses the defendants of conspiring to prevent an officer from discharging any duties.

Under binding legal precedent, the motion argues, the terms “office,” “officer” and “officer of the United States” take their meaning from the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Members of Congress are not “officers” under the Appointments Clause, Fischer wrote.

The motion described the indictment as “an obscenely one-sided, selectively edited, and inaccurate representation of [Oath Keepers’] actions and statements.”

The Oath Keepers “Quick Reaction Forces” (QRFs) described in the criminal complaint as being ready to assist in the attack on the Capitol with men and armaments were actually standing by in Virginia in case Oath Keepers in DC were attacked or threatened by Antifa, the motion said.

“… Every scrap of evidence reviewed confirms that the ‘QRFs,’ which were utilized on numerous prior dates, were intended as rescue forces in the event that the Oath Keepers were attacked by Antifa or a similar contingency, and not to attack the Capitol Building,” the filing said.

In a companion motion filed on behalf of defendant Kelly Meggs, attorney Jonathon Moseley described the notion of opposing the lawful transfer of presidential power as a “thought crime,” and the charge in the indictment as “devoid of supporting factual allegations.”

“The Constitution makes clear that it is a Constitutional impossibility to ‘oppose the transfer of presidential power.’ Not only could such a goal not be accomplished, but beyond that, it is an irrational concept lacking in any basis, in fact, law, or common sense,” Moseley wrote.

“This is not a case in which conspirators might attempt to do something they are unable to successfully achieve,” Moseley’s filing said. “It is an irrational concept like dividing by zero. There can be no such thing in law or fact.”


Bidenflation is going to get worse- government report

The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released the March Producer Price Index (PPI) report and the numbers are ugly.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning responded with the following statement:

“If you think inflation is bad now at 8.5 percent, hold onto your hat. The producer price index went up 1.4 percent in March alone. If that rate were to continue for an entire year, it would be a 16.8 percent increase on the cost of providing goods and services before profit and other costs are included. The Biden Presidency is leaving a mark on every American’s pocketbook unlike any president since Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s.

Unfortunately, the only answer offered by this failed administration is to blame Putin. What Joe Biden doesn’t seem to understand is that when you set the inflation house on fire and keep pouring gasoline on it through federal spending schemes, anti-energy policies and failed foreign policies, you don’t get to blame the guy down the street for fanning those flames you allowed to consume most of the house.”


Remembering Obamacare

Last Tuesday, in his first White House appearance in five years, former President Obama referred to Joe Biden as “Vice President Biden.” That was supposedly “a joke,” but Biden wasn’t laughing. Literally, nobody wanted to talk to the Delaware Democrat. For his part, the former president touted the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. That invites a review.

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explained, this was the measure that had to pass before Americans could “find out what’s in it.” Under Obamacare, you don’t get the health care you want, only the health care the government wants you to have. Contrary to what the president repeatedly claimed, you couldn’t keep your doctor or your plan, and the rates would skyrocket.

Covered California, Obamacare’s wholly-owned subsidiary, caused “widespread consumer misery.” Health journalist Emily Bazar noted that Covered California wasted millions on promotion, handed out lucrative deals to cronies, and its $454 million computer system was dysfunctional. With premiums skyrocketing, Covered California dropped 2,000 pregnant women from coverage, causing them to lose their doctors and miss key prenatal appointments.

The state’s vaunted health exchange sent incorrect tax information to the health plans, which led to “higher premiums than consumers initially anticipated,” People also owed more out of pocket than they initially thought. Obamacare hiked premiums by 13.2 percent and canceled policies when people reported changes in income. As a result, many Californians did not get the tax credits they sought. And so on.

The ACA was a disaster from the start. Still, its demolition of choice gave the president’s designated successor, Hillary Clinton, grounds to push for “single-payer,” a euphemism for government monopoly health care. Clinton lost to Donald Trump, but the Republicans failed to repeal the ACA and replace it with a plan that empowers individuals to purchase the plan that best suits their needs.

If Obamacare prevails under “Vice President Biden,” Americans won’t get the health care that best meets their needs. They will get only the care the government wants them to have. Based on the experience of California, widespread consumer misery is sure to follow.




14 April, 2022

New Drug Slashed Deaths Among Patients With Severe Covid, Maker Claims

An experimental drug halved the death rate among critically ill Covid patients who were receiving supplemental oxygen and were at high risk for serious lung disease and death, the drug’s developer announced on Monday.

There is a pressing need for new treatments for critically ill patients. Drugs like Paxlovid, made by Pfizer, are aimed primarily at patients who have mild or moderate disease. Other treatments administered to hospitalized patients in serious condition have shown limited effectiveness.

The new drug, sabizabulin, reduced deaths among hospitalized Covid-19 patients so drastically in a clinical trial that independent safety monitors recommended stopping it early, officials at Veru Inc., the drug’s maker, said. The trial was halted on Friday.

The results of that trial have not been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal. Veru announced the findings at an early-morning news conference. The company’s stock soared in trading Monday following the announcement.

About half of the 52 trial participants given a placebo or dummy pill along with regular care died within 60 days, an indicator of how very sick they were. But the death rate was 20 percent among the 98 participants who received sabizabulin, who were just as ill. The drug was given once a day for up to 21 days.

“Sabizabulin is the first drug to demonstrate a clinically and statistically meaningful reduction in deaths in hospitalized patients,” Dr. Mitchell Steiner, chief executive of Veru, said. “This represents a big step forward.”

Coronavirus Drug and Treatment Tracker

Most Covid restrictions have been lifted in the United States after declining case numbers, but cases, hospitalizations and deaths around the world continue to be high, Dr. Steiner added. New variants are bound to emerge, and surges will follow.

Close to a million Americans have died of Covid, and there are still 570 fatalities every day on average.

The drug was granted so-called fast-track status by the Food and Drug Administration in January, Dr. Steiner said. The designation is intended to prompt faster development and review of new treatments that address unmet medical needs and target serious or life-threatening conditions.

Dr. Steiner said the company plans to meet with the agency later this month and will be applying for emergency-use authorization for sabizabulin. An F.D.A. spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the agency did not confirm, deny or comment on pending applications.

No safety concerns related to the drug were identified in the course of the clinical trial, company officials said.

“Despite it being two and a half years into the battle, we are still working hard to get highly effective drugs into the mix to treat this specific population of patients, and this is a fairly dramatic improvement in 60-day mortality,” said Dr. Michael Gordon, one of the trial investigators and chief medical officer at HonorHealth Research and Innovation Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz.

But Dr. Gordon leavened his optimism with caution, saying he was eager to see more detailed analyses. Additional data were still being analyzed on Monday, including the proportion of treated patients without respiratory failure, the number of days they spent in intensive care, the length of their hospital stay and how long they were on mechanical ventilation.

“No drug works for everybody,” Dr. Gordon said. “The benefit that was seen is mortality — who is living and who is dying — not who is getting off oxygen, though I anticipate we will see improvement in other parameters, too.”

Patients on both arms of the multicenter trial received all standard care and treatment. The participants were in the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Bulgaria, and they had been infected with both the Delta and Omicron variants. The drug is effective regardless of the variant type, Dr. Gordon and company officials said.


When will Fauci and liberal leaders apologize for the millions of lives damaged with pointless COVID restrictions?

Fauci finally admitted to the nation this weekend what has been obvious to everyone, except the most hysteria-prone slice of the population, since last summer: that the pandemic is now endemic. That means it’s here to stay, no matter what we do, so let’s learn to live with it. There is no point to the insane restrictions people insist on like latter-day Puritans denouncing each other for failing to carry out the prescribed rites to ward off the Devil.

“This is not going to be eradicated, and it’s not going to be eliminated,” Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And what’s going to happen is that we’re going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take.”

Great! But what has changed? This is exactly the message Fauci needed to deliver to the people . . . approximately a year ago.

Let’s talk next steps. What’s he going to do to make up for all of the needless misery he caused? I’m not asking him to think like his fellow Italian Marc Antony and fall on his sword, so let’s turn our minds to the moderate and reasonable options. How many days is Fauci volunteering to place himself in stocks set up on the National Mall so that we can all pelt him with rotten eggs? One day for every completely wrong thing he ever said would be fair, but then he’d be there all summer. So let’s be charitable and just make it a long holiday weekend.

The nation’s 4-year-olds should be allowed to get to the front of the line, if any of them can squeeze in some time between appointments with all of the speech pathologists and psychotherapists they need because of Fauci’s insane policies.

Over the years, Fauci was very adamant about his findings and is sharing a complete different perspective now.

“We’re at that point where, in many respects, that we’re going to have to live with some degree of virus in the community,” Fauci also said Sunday.

COVID doves such as Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of San Francisco, saw all of this coming: wearing a rag over your face wasn’t going to stop an incredibly transmissible virus.

“We’re going to get it,” she predicted last September. “Unless you just sit in your room, you’re going to get it in your nose. But at least in this country, it will be manageable.”

“The emergency phase of the disease is over,” Stanford professor and health economist Jay Bhattacharya said last summer. “Now, we need to work very hard to undo the sense of emergency . . . panicking over case numbers is a recipe for continuing unwarranted panic,” because the vaccines provide superb protection against death or hospitalization.

Yet as recently as November, Fauci said, preposterously, that he was going to put off calling the virus endemic until we got the thing cornered: “We want control and I think the confusion is at what level of control are you going to accept it in its endemicity.”

Huh? Asserting “control” has nothing to do with “accepting its endemicity.” When you do the latter, you’re acknowledging the former isn’t possible. COVID is not subtle: ever since we learned in the middle of last year that even vaccinated people can catch it and spread it, it has been flashing a message as unmissable as the American Eagle signage in Times Square: “You can’t control me, bro. I’m coming for everybody. Get vaccinated and you’ll live.”

You may have missed it, but Fauci said something even stupider than “We gotta control this thing before we admit it’s endemic” in the November interview: that we shouldn’t get too excited about the distinction between such COVID outcomes as “getting killed” and “missing a day of work.”

Why did he say something so absurd? Because he’s Larry Lockdown and loves to create confusion and panic. Like another blustering egomaniac, the guy he used to work for, he can’t handle the idea of an America in which everyone isn’t talking about him all the time. In post-COVID America, guess who doesn’t get invited on Colbert and Kimmel and Meet the Press every week?

“I think we better be careful to not make too sharp a distinction between protecting against infection that’s symptomatic versus protection against hospitalization and deaths,” Fauci said in November. “I don’t know of any other vaccine that we only worry about keeping people out of the hospital. I think an important thing is to prevent people from getting symptomatic disease.”

By that reasoning, a head cold and stage-four lymphoma are the same thing. Ladies, and gentlemen, America’s doctor!

Fauci couldn’t grasp that the virus is two different animals depending on whether you’re vaccinated: A jab turns a venomous 100-foot dragon into an ill-tempered dog. For vaccinated and boosted Americans, you are at much higher risk of dying in a car accident than from the virus, yet people choose not to fear the Corolla the way they fear the Corona.

“Get vaccinated, then get on with your life,” should have been Fauci’s message from the start, except for small children, who were never at great risk in the first place and should therefore never have had to deal with idiotic restrictions such as mask mandates.

Vaccinated children are as well protected as vaccinated adults, and yet we continue to torture little kids by making them wear masks in day care, in schools, and on mass transit.


The replication crisis has spread through science – can it be fixed?

It started in psychology, but now findings in many scientific fields are proving impossible to replicate. Here's what researchers are doing to restore science's reputation

I HAVE a confession to make: some of the articles that have appeared in New Scientist, including ones I have written, are wrong. Not because we deliberately misled you. No, our reports were based on research by respected scientists at top universities, published in peer-reviewed journals. Yet, despite meeting all the normal standards of credibility, some findings turned out to be false.

Science is in the throes of what is sometimes called the replication crisis, so named because a big hint that a scientific study is wrong is when other teams try to repeat it and get a different result. While some fields, such as psychology, initially seemed more liable than others to generate such “fake news”, almost every area of science has since come under suspicion. An entire field of genetics has even turned out to be nothing but a mirage. Of course, we should expect testing to overturn some findings. The replication crisis, though, stems from wholesale flaws baked into the systems and institutions that support scientific research, which not only permit bad scientific practices, but actually encourage them. And, if anything, things have been getting worse over the past few decades.

Yet as awareness of the problem has grown, so have efforts to tackle it. So, how are these opposing forces faring? Will the efforts to combat fake science succeed? And how can you know if the research you read about in New Scientist and elsewhere will ever make it out of the lab and start working in the real world?




13 April, 2022

Ivermectin as Treatment for COVID-19 May Become More Accessible in Tennessee

If you read the research reports that purport to discredit Ivermectin, you find that NONE of them observed the stipulation that it must be administered as soon as possible after onset of the illness -- e.g. here. A typical interval in the studies concerned is 5 days. It can work after that time but usually does not

Tennessee may make ivermectin accessible without a prescription for treatment against COVID-19 if legislation that was approved in the Senate on April 6 is signed by Gov. Bill Lee.

One of the sponsors of Senate Bill 2188 (pdf), state Sen. Frank Niceley, a Republican, told The Epoch Times, “It’s one of the most important bills we’ve passed this year.”

“The bill would put it behind the counter with a consultation, which means you would explain your symptoms to the pharmacist, fill out a sheet listing your preexisting conditions and what other medication you’re on in order for the pharmacist to determine the right dosage,” Niceley said.

“Ivermectin is one of the many therapeutic options, like vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and anti-virals, that have proven to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19,” Republican state Sen. Rusty Crowe, a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “This bill will provide for a safe and effective way for patients to quickly access ivermectin over the counter, and under the supervision of their pharmacists and the physician with whom the pharmacists have their collaborative agreement.”

Ivermectin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an anti-parasitic drug but isn’t authorized for treatment of COVID-19.

In 2021, ivermectin joined hydroxychloroquine as one of the controversial early treatments for COVID-19. Many medical professionals were threatened with losing or lost their medical licenses for prescribing both drugs to treat COVID-19, based on the allegation of misinformation.

“Ivermectin clearly works,” Niceley said. “We’ve had doctors in the Senate who prescribe it all the time. You’ve got to take it early. As with any disease, early treatment is better than late,” he said, adding that he took ivermectin when he tested positive for COVID-19.

Niceley said one of the reasons for the bill is to make ivermectin safer so that people aren’t getting the wrong dose, as many have resorted to purchasing the farm-grade veterinary horse de-wormer. Though some have reported positive results even from using the veterinary version of the drug, media reports focused on allegations of people overdosing and crowding emergency rooms, leading to a false report that gunshot victims were being prevented from receiving care.

“Ivermectin is safer than Tylenol,” Niceley said. “There’s no reason to not try it.”

Because the efficacy of ivermectin depends on early treatment, the bill will facilitate a person’s ability to get the drug in the early stages.

“If you have to make an appointment with a doctor and wait two weeks to get in, it’s too late for early treatment,” Niceley said.

In a March Senate Health and Welfare Committee hearing, Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance co-founder Dr. Paul Marik, who has advocated for the use of ivermectin, spoke in support of the bill.

“It’s probably one of the safest medications ever made,” Marik said. “Over 3.7 billion people have been given ivermectin for the treatment of parasitic diseases in Africa, Asia, and South America.”

More people have died from Tylenol, which is also referred to as Panadol in some parts of the world, than from ivermectin, Marik said.

“One couldn’t have asked for nature to give us a more perfect drug because it kills the virus, via a number of mechanisms, and it also has potent anti-inflammatory properties. So it really is the perfect drug for the treatment of COVID-19,” Marik said.

There has been a propaganda campaign to dismiss the drug as a toxic horse de-wormer, he said, though “it’s probably the most effective drug against SARs-CoV-2.”

“It’s an outrage that there’s been such a profound propaganda to limit its use to silence doctors who prescribe it and to limit pharmacists from dispensing it,” he said. “If we had utilized our protocol, which we had published in March 2020, it’s my belief we could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives because the key to COVID is early treatment.”

Dr. Denise Sibley, a Johnson City, Tennessee, physician who said she had adopted Marik’s and the Front Line protocols using ivermectin in treating “almost 4,400 folks,” including members of the Tennessee House and Senate, said she’s used ivermectin not only for COVID-19 symptoms in her patients but also for vaccine injuries. Unfortunately, it became difficult to obtain after “a certain letter went out” in September 2021, she said.

The Misinformation Inquisition

In July 2021, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), a non-profit organization, issued a statement warning that physicians “who generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation are risking disciplinary action by state medical boards, including the suspension or revocation of their medical license.”

Medical boards such as the American Medical Association and the American Pharmacists Association followed suit.

In September 2021, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners (TBME) adopted the FSMB’s statement.

Throughout this time, the safety and efficacy of the vaccine has also come into question, with more reports of people contracting COVID-19 after getting the jab, as well as people experiencing sometimes fatal side effects.

After the TBME issued its own warning, Tennessee state Rep. John Ragan said the board didn’t have the authority to create a new disciplinary offense without lawmakers’ approval.

The board pulled the statement from its website, but the question remained as to whether the board would continue to investigate and charge physicians. To date, there isn’t a precedent for the board upholding a policy that was not published on its website.

Ragan had told The Epoch Times that the adopted policy moved out of “the guardrails of the law” and gives the board arbitrary judgment on what misinformation is.

“I explained that if they are going to have a policy on this sometime in the future, they need to define what misinformation and disinformation are because otherwise what you have is the Inquisition,” Ragan said. “It then becomes a situation of, ‘Heresy is what I say it is, and I’ll know it when I see it kind of thing.’”

In October 2021, the Tennessee legislature passed a bill that emphasized the legislature’s role in drafting laws that establish disciplinary offenses regarding dispensing and prescribing medication for COVID-19.

Still, the stigma around the drug continued, and physicians such as Sibley reported the drug close to impossible to find.

“I’ve had patients drive four hours on a Sunday to a pharmacy that had ivermectin, so it’s very difficult to obtain,” she said. “Any increased access to ivermectin would help save lives.”

A Placebo?

In an April 6 Senate floor discussion on the bill, Republican Sen. Richard Briggs said Marik and other “experts that we had testifying on this may be spreading more misinformation than actual information on it,” and said that, based on his research, he believes ivermectin has a placebo effect.

However, he went on to say that ivermectin must be administered within the first 48 hours “or it doesn’t work.”

Briggs’s concern, he said, is that by making ivermectin more accessible, it would show to the public that ivermectin is as effective as other drugs such as Remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies.

“We’re going to have patients on a scientifically proven ineffective drug rather than getting the treatment they need for COVID,” Briggs said.

Others who spoke in opposition to the bill, such as Democrat Sen. Jeff Yarbro, echoed Briggs’s argument, pointing to research that he said proved ivermectin is ineffective, and that what he called misinformation surrounding ivermectin had led to overdoses.


Proof that blue states DID fail their people during pandemic: Harsh lockdowns caused huge deaths rates, ruined kids' education and destroyed business, bombshell research FINALLY shows

States that imposed the harshest lockdowns had the most devastating impact on the public, the most wide-ranging study into Covid restrictions in the US to date has found.

New York, California, New Jersey and Illinois were panned for their pandemic performance after bringing in draconian measures to shut their citizens in their homes.

Those states' Democrat Governors' policies caused high death rates, ruined children's education and destroyed businesses due to the severe curbs on freedom, researchers found as they slapped them with an F-grade.

Nine out of the ten worst responses to the pandemic were in blue states, the report said, with only Republican-run Maryland bucking that trend and coming seventh last.

Meanwhile places that allowed their residents more freedom as coronavirus swept across the country appeared to fair better over the last two years.

Florida fared sixth, with its Governor Ron DeSantis condemned in the early days of the pandemic for what critics claimed was a reckless desire to reopen too quickly.

Utah, Nebraska, Vermont, Montana and South Dakota were also praised by analysts for their pandemic response which did not cause more Covid deaths. Maine was the only Democrat-run state in the top nine best responses, and came eighth.

The Republican-led areas - which dominated nine out of the top ten places in the study - have seen their economies remain strong and unemployment figures stay steady due to fewer restrictions.

The report, by the National Bureau of Economic Research and Committee to Unleash Prosperity, said shutting down during the pandemic was 'by far the biggest mistake governors and state officials made'.

It judged states on their economy, education and mortality and compiled a comprehensive list showing how they now stand as coronavirus dies down.

The bombshell study comes amid fears coronavirus restrictions may be phased back in as cases of the virus creep up, with Philadelphia bringing back its indoor mask mandate only a month after lifting it.

Co-founder Steve Moore told Fox: 'Shutting down their economies and schools was by far the biggest mistake governors and state officials made during Covid, particularly in blue states.

'We hope the results of this study will persuade governors not to close schools and businesses the next time we have a new virus variant.'

New York, California, New Jersey and Illinois were joined in the bottom ten for overall performance by New Mexico, Maryland, Nevada, Connecticut and Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

New Jersey, District of Columbia, New York, New Mexico, California, and Illinois were all branded with an F grade for their responses to the pandemic - with New Jersey slapped with a score of zero out of a possible 100.




12 April, 2022

A vaccine crash coming?

One who says so is Edward Dowd, a Wall Street hedge fund consultant who worked with BlackRock for a decade from 2002 to 2012 and managed a $14 billion equity portfolio. He says the world is on course for a global vaccine crisis as bad as the global financial crisis.

Dowd points to data which shows that in the US the millennial generation, aged 25-44, suffered its worst-ever excess mortality starting last autumn, when vaccine mandates were imposed, and booster shots approved. This cohort are not at risk from Covid, yet after vaccines were rolled out their all-cause mortality peaked at 80 per cent in September and is rising again to almost 60 per cent at present.

Dowd sheets home the blame to vaccines, pointing to the Pfizer clinical trial data which showed higher all-cause mortality in the vaccine group than in the placebo group. He also points to the Food and Drug Administration which fought in a court this year not to reveal the Pfizer clinical trial data for 75 years. What are they hiding, he asks? Meanwhile, insurance companies are reporting skyrocketing death claims and will seek to show that vaccines are the cause which will limit their liability. This would trigger financial collapse in the value of the Covid vaccine manufacturers, says Dowd.

At the heart of the crisis is regulatory capture, says Dowd, just as it was during the GFC, when credit agencies gave triple-A ratings to mortgage-backed securities worthy of junk bond status. This time around, the captured agencies are the FDA in the US and the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia which receive much of their funding from pharmaceutical companies.

While the release of its clinical trial data is putting the spotlight on Pfizer, Moderna is also under scrutiny. In February, scientists published a paper showing that a sequence of the Sars-CoV-2 spike protein which enhances the infectiousness of the virus was patented by Moderna in 2016. The first name listed on the patent is none other than Stéphane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna.

When Bancel was asked about the discovery by Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business he said, ‘My scientists are looking into those data to see how accurate they are or not’.Really? Does Bancel expect us to believe that his scientists turned the Covid spike protein into a vaccine without noticing that it contained the gene sequence he’d patented three years earlier?

The implications of the discovery are dramatic. To patent a sequence, a scientist must be able to show that it does not occur naturally so how did it turn up in a virus that evolved in a bat cave or a wet market? It appears to be unmistakeable evidence of human intervention. The question is by whom and to achieve what?

The patented sequence is part of a human DNA repair gene called MSH3 but instead of repairing gene damage it causes a mismatch leading to several diseases including cancer and to an increased susceptibility to viral infection. Its appearance in the Covid virus appears to be prima facie evidence that the virus was bioengineered through gain-of-function research.

That’s what Bancel suggests to Bartiromo saying, ‘As I’ve said before, the hypothesis of an escape from a lab by an accident is possible… It is possible that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China was working on virus enhancement or gene modification and then there’s an accident where somebody was infected in a lab — and then infected family and friends.’

If anyone else suggested this, they would be branded a conspiracy theorist and banned on social media but as we now know, despite Dr Fauci’s repeated denials, gain-of-function research on coronaviruses, which was banned in the US because it was considered too dangerous, was funded at the WIV by the US National Institutes of Health through grants it provided to the New York headquartered EcoHealth Alliance.

As it turns out, the president of the EcoHealth Alliance, Dr Peter Daszak, wasn’t too worried about a lab leak. Indeed, in a talk in March 2015 he said, ‘An infectious disease crisis’ could be useful in driving funding for a ‘pan-coronavirus vaccine’ and explained that ‘a key driver is the media… We need to use that hype to our advantage… Investors will respond if they see profit at the end of (the) process.’

Bancel was more than ready when the crisis arrived. Documents published by online investigative media outlet the show that Moderna and Dr Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) agreed to transfer ‘mRNA coronavirus vaccine candidates developed and jointly owned by NIAID and Moderna’ to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in December 2019 where virologist Ralph Baric worked, a long-time collaborator with Shi Zhengli of the WIV.

Baric and the NIAID technology transfer specialist signed the agreement on 12 December 2019, 19 days before the World Health Organisation even announced, ‘a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause.’ It gave Moderna a handy head start. Two years later, the company, which had never turned a profit in its history, posted $13 billion in pre-tax profits in 2021. If there is a vax crash coming, Bancel will be alright; he earnt $18 million last year and has a golden parachute of $926 million.


Dr Fauci discovers the individual

Dr Fauci FINALLY concedes that it's up to Americans to decide themselves how much 'risk they want to take' because Covid isn't going away

White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci conceded on Sunday that Americans now must use their own best instincts when it comes to dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fauci, speaking to Jonathan Karl on ABC's This Week, was asked about an op-ed in the Washington Post by former public health official Dr. Lena Wen who said that we will likely have to accept at some point that Covid infections will keep occurring.

Karl asked Fauci if we've reached the point where we 'accept there is going to be a risk' and get back to a new normal.

'There will be - and we've said this many times even in our own discussions between you and I, that there will be a level of infection,' Fauci said.

'This is not going to be eradicated and it's not going to be eliminated. And what's going to happen is that we're going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take in going to indoor dinners and in going to functions.'

Fauci insisted that people still should consider their age, status and if they live with anyone potentially vulnerable to the virus when they attend events like the Gridiron Dinner, were several public figures were infected last week, but said that overall Wen was correct.

The United States is averaging just over 28,000 cases a day, according to the CDC, a slight uptick in recent weeks. The nation's averaging about 516 deaths per day and hospitalizations continue to decrease, while 82 percent of Americans have taken at least one dose of a Covid vaccination.

'We're going to have to live with some degree of virus in the community. The best way to mitigate that, Jon, is to get vaccinated. If you're not, to get boosted if you're eligible to be boosted.'

He also urged Congress to pass another pandemic aid package. The White House has been sending out increasingly dire warnings about the federal government's dwindling ability to help Americans through the pandemic, including running out of supplies of monoclonal antibody treatments, COVID pills and the capacity to manufacture tests.

A $10 billion funding package that was meant to pass last week died in the Senate after Republicans demanded that an amendment be added stopping Biden from lifting Trump-era migrant expulsion policy Title 42.

Meanwhile the Omicron subvariant known as BA.2 is spreading like wildfire through the country after wreaking havoc in Asian and Europe.

'I hope the Congress comes through and gives us the resources, so that as we get into what might be another surge, that we're prepared with all of the tools that we need to address it,' Fauci said.

Fauci noted that he's concerned about the uptick in cases with the BA.2 subvariant, it was to be expected giving the loosening of Covid restrictions.

'It was said that if we do start seeing an uptick, particularly of hospitalizations, we may need to revert back to being more careful and having more utilizations of masks indoors,' Fauci said. 'But right now, we're watching it very, very carefully, and there is concern that it's going up, but hopefully we're not going to see increased severity.'


Omicron symptoms last HALF as long as the common cold for those who are triple jabbed: 'Boosters are worth it'

Omicron symptoms disappear in half the time of the common cold, provided the sufferer has had a Covid booster shot, a new study has shown.

Scientists at King’s College London studied 62,000 vaccinated people during the Omicron outbreak in the UK and found remarkable differences in recovery times depending on how many doses they had received.

Those who were triple jabbed reported symptoms that lasted an average of 4.4 days, compared to 8.3 days for those who had received two vaccinations.

That was about half the time of symptoms from the common cold, which lingers for seven to ten days.

For those with a booster, Omicron infection was 3.3 days shorter than a Delta infection, which lasts for 7.7 with a third dose or 9.6 days for the doubled-jabbed.

The findings indicated both that the Covid virus was evolving to be less virulent over time, and also that getting a booster drastically reduces the symptomatic period.

'Every time you boost immunity, even if it is not enough to stop infection, it helps you get over symptoms faster,' Professor Catherine Bennett, the chair in epidemiology at Deakin University in Melbourne, told Daily Mail Australia.

'But it also makes sense that it would clear the infection faster which means if you get vaccinated you won't have to put up with it for the same time.'

Professor Bennett said research shows the risk of catching Covid is also halved after having a booster shot.

However, while vaccination reduces the duration of illness, each person's experience is based on a number of factors.

'It also depends on the strength of your immune system, how long it has been since you had the booster, and the initial infecting dose,' she said.

'If you come across someone who is very infectious and get a big viral load in one hit, you may feel the impact more. 'But if it is a smaller viral load, it might be easier for your body to fight it off.'

Professor Bennett said the UK has been leading many studies into Covid-19 through out the pandemic as they have strong systems in place to conduct population based research.

While infection and immunity rates - through vaccination or catching the virus- previously varied significantly between countries, the worldwide spread of the more contagious but less virulent Omicron has made medical findings relatable across the globe.

'Now that we have had Omicron in every state and territory, we start to look more like the UK, and it makes their immunity information comparable to Australia.

'This research shows that booster are worth it. Even if you aren't likely to have a serious infection, Covid isn't pleasant to get.

'But if you have a booster, you halve the infection risk, are less infectious, have shorter symptoms, and your symptoms are more mild.'




11 April, 2022

Corrupt Federal Statistics Mask Government Cons

Federal agencies don’t count what politicians don’t want to know. President Joe Biden and other Democrats perennially invoke “science and data” to sanctify all their COVID-19 mandates and policies. But the same shenanigans and willful omissions that have characterized COVID data have perennially permeated other federal programs.

The rule of experts?

During his update on his Winter COVID Campaign in December, President Biden declared, “Almost everyone who has died from COVID-19 in the past many months has been unvaccinated.” This was true from the start of the pandemic in early 2020 until the vaccines’ efficacy began failing badly in recent months. Oregon officially classifies roughly a quarter of its COVID fatalities since August as “vaccine breakthrough deaths.” In Illinois, roughly 30 percent of COVID fatalities have occurred among fully vaccinated individuals. According to the Vermont Department of Health, “Half of the [COVID] deaths in August were breakthrough cases. Almost three-quarters of them in September were,” as Burlington, Vermont, TV station WCAX summarized.

The Biden administration guaranteed that the vast majority of “breakthrough” infections would not be counted when the Centers for Disease Control in May ceased keeping track of “breakthrough” infections unless they resulted in hospitalization or death. Ignoring that data permitted Biden to go on CNN in July and make the ludicrously false assertion: “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.” But federal data on fully vaxxed COVID fatalities is far flimsier and less reliable than the numbers compiled by some states. Biden’s attempt to define vaccine failure out of existence collapsed spectacularly with the arrival of the omicron variant in December, producing record numbers of COVID cases.

The same policymakers who claim to be guided by data have little or no idea how many Americans have been hit by COVID. According to CDC, there had been 51,115,304 COVID cases in America through mid-December. But a different CDC web page estimates that there had been 146.6 million COVID infections in the United States as of October 2, 2021. That CDC analysis estimated that only one in four COVID infections have been reported, which would mean that, based on the latest official case numbers, more than 200 million Americans have contracted COVID. For Biden policymakers, a potential error of 150 million COVID infections is “close enough for government work.” Relying on the lower number is convenient for policymakers who want to continue ignoring the natural immunity acquired by 199 million Americans who survived COVID infections.

Deceptive federal COVID data is not an anomaly. The same charades permeate the official data guiding both domestic and foreign policies.


America's lurch to the Left

Victor Davis Hanson

The last 14 months have offered one of the rare occasions in recent American history when the hard Left has operated all the levers of federal government. The presidency, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the permanent bureaucratic state are all in progressive hands. And the result is a disaster that is uniting Americans in their revulsion of elitists whose crazy ideas are tearing apart the fabric of the country.

For understandable reasons, socialists and leftists are usually kept out of the inner circles of the Democratic Party, and especially kept away from control of the country. A now resuscitated Bernie Sanders for most of his political career was an inert outlier. The brief flirtations with old-style hardcore liberals such as George McGovern in 1972 and Mike Dukakis in 1988 imploded the Democratic Party. Their crash-and-burn campaigns were followed by corrective nominees who actually won the presidency: Southern governors Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Such was the nation’s innate distrust of the Left, and in particular the East Coast elite liberal. For nearly half a century between the elections of John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama, it was assumed that no Democratic presidential candidate could win the popular vote unless he had a reassuring Southern accent.

How did the extreme Left manage its rare takeover of the country between 2018 and 2020? Certainly, Obama’s election helped accelerate the woke movement and energized identity politics. One could also argue over the political opportunities in 2020 following the devastation of COVID-19.

In the long term, the medicine of lockdowns and quarantines probably proved more calamitous than the disease, and this crisis mode made doable what had once been unimaginable.

State governors such as Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer, and Andrew Cuomo did not let the pandemic crisis go to waste. It was a rare occasion to leverage agendas that otherwise had no public support in ordinary times.

In the chaos of 2020, both laws and customs were altered or scrapped—changing the very way we vote.

Over 102 million ballots were either mailed in or cast during so-called “early voting”—strangely resulting in far lower rejection rates in most states than in past “normal” years of predominantly in-person voting on Election Day. Indeed, in just one year, Election Day went from an American institution to an afterthought.

The hatred of Donald Trump prompted an influx of hundreds of millions of dark dollars from Silicon Valley to supplant the responsibilities of registrars in key precincts with armies of paid activists.

A non compos mentis, basement-bound Joe Biden was cynically given an “Ol’ Joe from Scranton” moderate veneer to pursue a calibrated hard-Left agenda.

So Americans ended up with a neo-socialist government.

It is proving as disastrous as it is bitterly instructive—reminding this generation of Americans what the Left does when it grasps power. As all restraints came off, the hard and now unbridled Left went to work to turn America into something like a looney, one-party California. A wide-open border followed. We may see 3 million illegal aliens cross at the southern border during the first 18 months of the Biden Administration. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been allotted to reward those illegally entering America, who can expect free legal support from the U.S. government to ensure they are not subject to the laws of the United States.

In a sane world, Biden would have been impeached for deliberately destroying the very federal laws he swore to uphold. On the prompt of his hard Left controllers, he was eager to alter the electoral demography of the nation rather than ensure immigrants came in reasonable numbers, legally, with audit and background checks, and safely in a time of a pandemic. The former illegal arrivals were seen as needed constituents, the latter legal immigrants too politically unpredictable.

The Left in about a year has negated American gas and oil independence. Biden, who promised to end America’s use of fossil fuels on his watch, cast adrift millions of his fellow citizens to choose between driving and eating. Much of what the Left had traditionally demonized and wanted gone from American life—from gasoline to beefsteak to new pickup trucks—became so inflated in price as to be nearly unattainable.

The electrician now pays five times more for his wire, the carpenter eight times more for his plywood, the plumber six times more for his pipe—as all three have to pay off-the-books cash for rare workers who prefer to get checks from the Biden Administration. The Biden printing press has destroyed both the idea that all citizens will work if there are just good-paying jobs, and that affordable necessities for life—food, fuel, and shelter—form the basis for a middle-class life.

If the Left did all that in 14 months, imagine what it can still do before losing the Congress in 2022.

The Biden Administration’s profligate multitrillion-dollar budget, inflation of the currency, de facto zero interest rates, destructive subsidies that undermined labor participation, and incompetence at addressing the supply-chain and clogged port crises will all by midyear likely achieve a 10 percent annualized inflation rate. Carter-era stagflation is on the near horizon.

When an American president predicts a food shortage in what used to be the breadbasket of the world, then we see the wages of socialism in all their unapologetic cruelty. When the Left can scarcely hide its glee that diesel fuel hit $7 a gallon in California, the public is finally seeing that the Bidens, Newsoms, and AOCs of the world care nothing for the real-life consequences of their elite utopian green fantasies. How did America ever stoop to begging communist Venezuela, theocratic Iran, and dictatorial Russia to pump oil for us that we have in abundance but will not produce? Which insane person thought up the idea of using Vladimir Putin’s Russia as our mediator to restart the Iran Deal?


COVID-19 drug to ‘reduce hospitalisations’ now subsdized in Australia

Australians at risk of severe COVID-19 will soon be able to access two drugs that can lessen the disease’s impact through their GP after the federal government listed a second anti-viral treatment on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme.

Health Minister Greg Hunt will announce the PBS listing of Paxlovid, a combination of the drugs nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, on Saturday, as state governments prepare to scrap close contact rules once the Omicron BA.2 wave of infections has subsided.

Eligible adults who test positive to COVID-19 through a PCR or rapid antigen test will be able to get Paxlovid, which can prevent severe disease if taken within five days of onset, from their local pharmacy with a GP prescription from next month.

“This medicine will help reduce the need for hospital admission,” Mr Hunt said.

Lagevrio, the trade name for molnupiravir – another anti-viral used to treat COVID-19 – was listed on the PBS on March 1 and has since been used to treat about 5000 patients. Both listings followed the recommendation of the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

State and territory governments have agreed to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee’s recommendation that close contact isolation rules be scrapped when it is safe to do so.

Paxlovid will be available on the PBS from May 1 to people aged 65 or older, with two other risk factors for severe disease, or one factor for those aged 75 and over. It will also be subsidised for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander patients aged 50 or over with two other risk factors and patients who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

Patients will pay a maximum of $42.50 a script and $6.80 with a concession card.

Mr Hunt said it was important that patients “continue to follow local health guidance to isolate if they test positive for COVID-19”.

“It’s recommended they use telehealth to consult their doctor and ask their pharmacy to arrange for Paxlovid to be delivered to their home, if necessary,” he said.

The federal government has access to 1 million courses of Paxlovid, with 500,000 arriving last year and a further 500,000 secured for delivery throughout 2022 for supply through both state and territory health departments and the PBS. More can be procured if needed.

Paxlovid is already available to COVID-19 patients through state health hospitals, which can access it through the national medical stockpile, and patients ineligible under the PBS can still be treated with the drug through this pathway, which has been used 42,867 times.




10 April, 2022

The FDA's Own Experts Have No Idea Why It Approved Another COVID Booster Dose

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bypassed many of its own protocols to speed through the authorization of Pfizer’s second booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week.

Multiple medical experts, including some who sit on the FDA’s top vaccine advisory committee, said they had no idea why the agency skipped over its normal approval process to authorize the fourth vaccine dose for Americans aged 50 and older. The authorization was even broader than the drug company requested, which was that it be greenlit for those aged 65 and older.

That FDA vaccine panel, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), is meeting Wednesday, and part of the agenda will be to discuss the fourth vaccine dose and the Israeli studies which are being used to exhibit its effectiveness. Typically, the vaccine authorization process would involve a meeting and vote by VRBPAC on whether to recommend authorization, followed by the FDA head granting that authorization. Then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine committee would vote on how to recommend the vaccine, which would then be determined by the CDC director.

Dr. Paul Offit, a co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine and member of VRBPAC, said he couldn’t explain why the FDA didn’t present its data to the committee first before moving ahead with authorization: “The way it’s working here is that the government basically just declares that this is what they’re going to do.”

In an interview with the Daily Caller, Offit expressed concern that the data used to authorize the second booster could be flawed. The Israeli studies examine the outcomes of individuals who got a 4th shot versus those who declined one. Offit explained that this is lacking compared to a randomized, controlled clinical trial.

“That assumes that someone who chooses to get a fourth dose is just like someone who doesn’t. But you could argue that someone who chooses to get another dose is more attentive to their health, more likely to exercise, less likely to smoke,” he said.

Dr. Cody Meissner is a childhood vaccination expert at Tufts University who also sits on VRBPAC. He similarly couldn’t explain why his insight, along with the other committee members, wasn’t sought out before authorizing Pfizer’s fourth dose. (RELATED: Co-Inventor Of Rotavirus Vaccine, Two Former FDA Officials Take Stand Against Booster Mandates, Support Natural Immunity)

“I haven’t seen that data, they haven’t brought it to the committee… but this decision has been made, and certainly will not be reversed,” he told the Daily Caller. “You’d have to ask the FDA why they decided to go ahead and make this particular decision… because again, I have not seen the data.”

Like Offit, Meissner shared some skepticism about the Israeli data and the overall lack of studies about the fourth dose. “What all of the facts were, that were presented to the FDA, all the data, I don’t know. From what’s been available in the press that everyone has had a chance to see, the numbers are pretty small,” he said.

Some experts who spoke with the Daily Caller said that even though the authorization for the fourth shot was rushed and abnormal, it was still a reasonable decision to go ahead with greenlighting it. That isn’t a universal opinion. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Drs. Philip Krause and Luciana Borio lay out a case for why most Americans don’t need a fourth shot.

Krause and Borio would be authorities on the subject. The former was the deputy director of vaccines research and review at the FDA before resigning last year amid political pressure from the Biden administration after more than a decade at the agency. The latter was formerly the acting chief scientist at the FDA.

Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at the University of California San Francisco who does not sit on the FDA vaccine committee, said it was rare for the FDA to ram through an authorization in this way: “I am concerned about the FDA making decisions on booster shots without input from the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. This is rare for the FDA not to consult with advisory committees before making approvals that affect millions of Americans, especially without a randomized trial or better data on the need for younger populations like 50 and over.”

It’s also incredibly rare for the agency to grant an applicant a broader authorization than it asked for, such as authorizing Pfizer’s fourth dose for Americans aged 50 and older when the pharmaceutical giant only asked for approval for ages 65 and older. Offit said the decision to do so “completely shocked” him.

There’s always a possibility to have too much of a good thing. The rush to get fourth doses could have downsides, experts told the Daily Caller. Both Offit and Gandhi independently raised the issue of original antigenic sin — a phenomenon in which the immune system continually produces an immune response targeted at the first encounter with a pathogen, rather than updated strains or variants. It’s possible that this process could render variant-specific vaccine doses or boosters ineffective, because the body bases its immune response on the original vaccine dose.

Offit added that there are other possible drawbacks, from run-of-the-mill side effects from the shots like fatigue and pain to immune system exhaustion. There are diminishing returns to each booster dose, he explained. “The other thing that it’s created here, which I think is concerning, is the notion that there’s just no downside to this, that you can just get booster after booster after booster and there’s no downside – and I don’t think that’s true.”

Gandhi echoed that sentiment, saying simply pumping in booster after booster may be a result of a failure to understand how the immune system actually deals with the coronavirus: “Without a knowledge of the immune system, this discussion of antibodies alone will lead us to want to boost every 4 months, which is not logistically feasible and is unprecedented.” (RELATED: Man Investigated After Allegedly Getting 90 COVID-19 Vaccine Shots To Sell Vaccination Cards In Germany)

For his two cents, Meissner said it wasn’t entirely clear that there was even widespread need for further boosting, even if the fourth dose is safe and effective: “We aren’t seeing a lot of breakthrough disease in people who are appropriately immunized, so I’m not quite sure what motivated the FDA… why at this time?”

Ultimately, all of these concerns, tradeoffs and questions of necessity are the kinds of topics which would be debated at the VRBPAC meeting that would precede authorization. That didn’t happen, and nobody who spoke with the Daily Caller could guess why.

“I can’t really answer the question. The question’s a good one, but I cannot explain it,” Meissner said.

“I don’t know. Ask the FDA. Ask the Biden administration. Ask David Kessler (the chief science officer of the White House COVID-19 response team),” said Offit.


Ukraine war pushes world food prices to record high

Russia and Ukraine account for a huge share of the globe's exports in several major commodities, including wheat, vegetable oil and corn.

World food prices hit an all-time high in March following Russia’s invasion of agricultural powerhouse Ukraine, a UN agency said on Friday, adding to concerns about the risk of hunger around the world.

The disruption in export flows resulting from the Feb 24 invasion and international sanctions against Russia has spurred fears of a global hunger crisis, especially across the Middle East and Africa, where the knock-on effects are already playing out.

Russia and Ukraine, whose vast grain-growing regions are among the world’s main breadbaskets, account for a huge share of the globe’s exports in several major commodities, including wheat, vegetable oil and corn.

Ukrainian ports have been blocked by a Russian blockade and there is concern about this year’s harvest as the war rages on during the spring sowing season.

“World food commodity prices made a significant leap in March to reach their highest levels ever, as war in the Black Sea region spread shocks through markets for staple grains and vegetable oils,” the Food and Agriculture Organization said in a statement.

The FAO’s food price index, which had already reported a record in February, surged by 12.6% last month, “making a giant leap to a new highest level since its inception in 1990”, the UN agency said.

The index, a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, averaged 159.3 points in March.

The jump includes new all-time highs for vegetable oils, cereals and meats, the FAO said, adding that prices of sugar and dairy products “also rose significantly”.

Famine fears

Russia and Ukraine together accounted for around 30% and 20% of global wheat and maize exports respectively, over the past three years, the FAO said.

Wheat prices rose by almost 20%, with the problem exacerbated by concerns over crop conditions in the US, the organisation said.

The FAO’s vegetable oil price index surged by 23.2%, driven by higher quotations for sunflower seed oil, of which Ukraine is the world’s leading exporter.

Spanish supermarkets have rationed the sale of sunflower oil to stop customers stockpiling over shortage fears due to the war.

The US has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of creating “this global food crisis”.

France has warned that the war has increased the risk of famine around the world.

Ukraine on Thursday called on the European Union to provide aid to its farmers. The European Commission has been asked to coordinate the delivery of fuel, seeds, fertilisers and agricultural machines to the country.

For his part, Putin warned on Tuesday that, against the backdrop of global food shortages, Russia would “have to be prudent with supplies abroad and carefully monitor such exports to countries that are clearly hostile towards us”.

The conflict has also sent oil and gas prices through the roof, causing inflation to rise further across the world and raising concerns that it could derail global economic growth.




8 April, 2022

A doctor explains why you haven’t caught Covid yet

I haven't had it yet. I have been double vaxxed but that was relatively recently and I had plenty of exposure before that. So I think I am not going to get it in the future. I am not bothering about a booster. I do seem to have an unusually good immune system. It has even defeated some cancers -- JR

By now, it’s likely you’ve either had Covid or you’ve been a close contact of somebody who did. If you’re in the latter group and you haven’t caught it yourself, chances are you’re feeling very smug right now — but scientists are trying to work out why.

Australian National University lecturer and epidemiologist Dr Katrina Roper suggests there are three main factors that could be helping you avoid Covid.

Your immunity

Yes, of course, your immunity may just be better suited to avoiding Covid, or if you’re vaccinated and have been exposed, your vaccine may have been working more strongly at the time.

“Immunity to infection varies between people,” Dr Roper explained to “For example, compare the immune level of a younger person versus an elderly person.

“Immunity can also vary according to a person’s health status at any point in time. If a person is stressed — be that emotionally or physically — this can lead to reduced immunity and increased susceptibility to illness”.

While many scientists are talking about underlying health conditions, obesity and old age being the main factors that make a person more susceptible, Roper says that even the healthiest among us could be suffering from a weakened immune system.

“Even elite athletes, if they start over training, can stress their body and result in reduced immunity — despite being very fit for their sport”.

The circumstances of your exposure

I caught Covid at the start of this year from my boyfriend, when we were isolating in a studio apartment, but I know lots of people who avoided the virus despite being in close proximity with infected people.

We’ve all heard of boyfriends who never caught it from their girlfriend even though they live together. Or six-year-old boys who never passed it on to their sister or parents, despite them catching nearly every other cold under the sun from him.

So why are some people so lucky? Roper suggests it can have a lot to do with factors other than immunity.

“In households, there would also be other factors,” she explained, “such as how much time one person spends in close proximity to an infected person in comparison with another.

“The size of the household would also have an impact on why there is more transmission in some homes compared with another. Two people living in a one-bedroom apartment is not the same as two people living in a three-bedroom house, and their opportunities for exposure will be different”.

Prior infections

As it turns out, previous infections of any kind may have helped you escape Covid, according to research.

“Having a prior infection to another cold virus can confer some protection to Covid, or other respiratory viruses,” said Roper.

”Exposure to other respiratory viruses can prime parts of the immune system, leading to better defence against infection by the SARS CoV-2 infection”.

It’s not a foolproof system, however. Roper notes that some virus can live in your body together — like influenza and SARS CoV-2.

Of course, there’s also a good chance you did have Covid and just didn’t realise it, according to Immunologist, Professor Stuart Tangye.

“When we first started doing PCR testing, it was really done on symptomatic people … so we were obviously missing a lot of those asymptomatic people,” Tangye told the ABC.

“I’m sure we missed a lot of positive cases over December and January too, where there was a supply and demand problem in terms of getting tests”.

Or, it could just be your genetics

Earlier in 2022, UK researchers performed the first human-challenge trial of its kind for Covid.

The study found 36 young and healthy people who had no evidence of previous Covid infection or vaccination. It exposed all 36 of these people to the virus, and only about half of them actually caught it — which was defined by two positive PCR tests in a row.

Of those who didn’t catch Covid, about half of them did briefly show low levels of the virus. This suggests their immune systems shut it down pretty quickly.

“There’s probably a few people … who would have a really strong innate immune response [that] just quells the infection, without enabling the virus to get too far ahead,” said Tangye.

“There are going to be people who are less susceptible to viral infection because they have differences in their genes, such as genes that are important for viral entry into your cells”.

Although that group would be very small, Tangye also suggested this wasn’t the first time some people have been found to have a genetic resistance to diseases.

“With HIV, for example, there is a very, very small number of people who are genetically resistant to infection,” he said.

“That’s because they have naturally occurring genetic mutations in a certain gene so the virus can’t physically infect their T cells.”

So maybe you’re genetically lucky, but more likely you were just lucky at the time of your exposure to Covid — or never realised when you had it.


New Verdict in Capitol Riot Case Throws a Wrench Into Political Narrative

A federal defense contractor who had been charged with four misdemeanors for walking into the Capitol on Jan. 6, fought the charges and was acquitted on all counts today by Judge Trevor McFadden. Matthew Martin was charged with: entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, as well as parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.

But Martin didn’t commit any violence or break into the building. He argued that he believed that the Capitol Police had allowed him into the building, and he just walked in.

From Politico:

McFadden said that, based on video of the scene, that assertion was at least “plausible” and that prosecutors failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“People were streaming by and the officers made no attempt to stop the people,” said the judge [….]

“I do think the defendant reasonably believed the officers allowed him into the Capitol,” the judge said.

McFadden said that the government did not show any evidence of Martin crossing police lines, and that Martin’s “conduct was about as minimal….as I can imagine.”

This is a significant verdict. While some are charged with more serious offenses, many of the people charged for Jan. 6 offenses are in a similar position to Martin — they didn’t do much beyond walk into the building. Some have argued — as Martin did — that the police let them in.

McFadden has pointed out disparities in the way Jan. 6 defendants have been treated in the past. He said that he thinks there is a difference in the way that the prosecutors are handling the Jan. 6 cases versus cases in the past (that may have involved leftist protesters).

“It does feel like the government has had two standards here, and I can’t abide by that,” McFadden said. The judge added that before Jan. 6, 2021, he could not remember seeing a nonviolent, first-time misdemeanant “sentenced to serious jail time … regardless of their race, gender or political affiliation.”

But in the case of Jenny Cudd, McFadden said the prosecution had asked for 75 days in jail for misdemeanor trespassing on Jan. 6. But meanwhile, the judge noted the same prosecutors’ office asked for 10 days in jail in the case of a repeat offender activist Tighe Barry connected to the left-wing group Code Pink.

The judge said that the same prosecutor’s office in 2019 sought 10 days behind bars for Barry, who stood on a chair, held up a poster, and shouted at senators from the back row in one of Kavanaugh’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings in September 2018, and returned to protest three weeks later in violation of a stay-away order.

“The government’s sentencing recommendation here is just so disproportionate to other sentences for people who have engaged in similar conduct,” said McFadden, who added that Barry, a frequent demonstrator with 14 prior arrests, had accidentally knocked a chair into a bystander when Capitol Police arrested him. “I don’t believe in some sort of aggregate justice.”

We’ve seen another judge question the treatment of Jan. 6 defendants in the past.

McFadden’s decision, in this case, is likely to throw a wrench into the political narrative about the riot — and it’s already causing some on the left to melt down.




7 April, 2022

The State and Local Leaders Who Aren’t Ready to Give Up Pandemic Power

While many government leaders sound the all clear message on COVID-19, dropping vaccine restrictions and mask mandates, some states and municipalities are clinging to the emergency powers that allowed them to govern people's behavior in unprecedented ways.

Citing the need to direct emergency funding and oversee hospitals, they have held on to their emergency orders even as many restaurants, shopping centers, and sports arenas are once again packed and lingering pandemic concerns have faded into the background of a more normal life.

Emergency orders at the state level are usually issued in response to temporary threats, especially weather disasters, and are wrapped up in a few days or weeks. Soon after the new coronavirus exploded in March 2020, most governors issued broad executive orders. Under these powers, governors banned crowds, closed businesses, and imposed mask and vaccination mandates. They have also deferred to unelected public health officials in imposing restrictions.

Critical lawmakers are now challenging the power to take such sweeping actions – and keep the measures in place indefinitely – saying pandemic lockdowns exposed leaders’ unduly stringent authoritarian impulses.

Ruling by decree over an extended period during the pandemic “is part of a broader move to condense power to the executive branch,” said Nick Murray, policy analyst at the conservative Maine Policy Institute, who has studied emergency policies. “You see these things come into play during a crisis and then [remain in place] to give more executive power,” Murray said. “It’s a theme that has devolved into bureaucracy.”

In Nevada, the state of emergency has been declared in perpetuity, even as state lawmakers have unsuccessfully tried to pass measures limiting the authority of Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak.

In Kansas, the emergency authority of Gov. Laura Kelly, also a Democrat, extends to January 2023. She has clung to the order even as the state’s director of public health – a now-estranged former political ally – questioned the need for a continued state of emergency.

And in North Carolina, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in November vetoed legislation that would require wider input from elected leaders if he wished to continue his ability to issue restrictions under a declared emergency. The Republican-controlled legislature got around the veto by attaching provisions to the state’s budget bill, which prevent Cooper from again declaring a state emergency and exercising singular authority for longer than 30 days. Yet Cooper last week extended the emergency due to expire in April even as cases waned.

Lawmakers in most states have either passed laws or introduced legislation aimed at curtailing governors’ emergency authority. These laws include prohibiting mask mandates and business closures and set time limits on emergency orders.

Twelve states, seven of them with a Democratic governor and legislature, have emergency orders still in place. The remaining states have either ended their emergency or have announced a date to terminate it.

Supporters of an extended emergency, which include many in the health care field, argue that the effort to limit the ability of governors and health care officials to respond to future crises is dangerous.

“You can’t have this sweeping legislation based on a single event,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, which represents workers in 2,800 municipal public health offices and which issued a report last year criticizing legislative moves to rein in the authority of public health officials and governors. “There is a balance that can be found, but some of these have gone to the opposite end of the spectrum that allows them to prohibit [health officials] from doing anything.”

Jason Mercier, director of the right-leaning Center for Government Reform in Washington State, largely agrees with Freeman. “We’re not as worried about emergency orders; it’s the restrictions that need to be subject to legislative oversight,” he said.

States have varying laws regarding the ending of emergency power; in some states, only the governor can end an emergency. In others, legislators can. Mercier noted that in his state, where the party of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee also controls the statehouse, a state of emergency can be extended indefinitely and has been, with Inslee insisting he can rule without agreement from any other officials.

“What we have here is one person behind closed doors enacting policy,” Mercier said.

The struggle over emergency powers is also happening within states. Some cities and counties also declared emergencies in early 2020, using them to enact local restrictions, often in political clashes with state leadership they did not agree with.

In Texas, leaders in mostly urban cities and counties have ignored Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s COVID-19 rules, insisting they have the right under a local state of emergency to impose masking and other measures. Abbott contends he has full authority to issue emergency orders, which void local mandates declared under the same state emergency statute. Legal battles have moved through the court system since summer 2021.

Some municipalities, like the city of Phoenix, have refused to set a date to lift the declaration. City Council spokeswoman Stephanie Barnes did not respond to an email seeking comment.

“Most existing emergency management statutes, with some exceptions, are blunt instruments,” said Luke Wake, an attorney with the California-based Pacific Legal Foundation. The conservative group represented several businesses in legal battles to remain open.

“The orders are either on or off, but as long as they remain in place the governor has all of the power,” Wake said. “This experience has taught us that we need to rethink how broad the powers we give these people are. Most people had never looked at this, and [COVID-19] gave us all a good reason to do so.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom locked down people and closed businesses under the state’s emergency powers act, which remains in place despite persistent calls by mostly Republican forces for it to be removed.

Dozens of lawsuits challenging emergency authority have been filed against governors of both political stripes. The plaintiffs run from business owners and open meetings advocates to regular citizens who insist emergency powers used in some places are unconstitutional. Many of these cases have been settled as restrictions ended or agreements were struck.

Wake and the Pacific Legal Foundation are handling the case of Ghost Golf, an indoor recreation center in Fresno that challenged Newsom’s order to close. Several other businesses also sued the state to remain open, but dropped their cases when Newsom allowed businesses to open in June 2021. The Ghost Golf case continues, however.

“The governor lifted the restrictions, but he could reimpose those at any point as long as the emergency exists,” Wake said. “With every variant, people have to worry that the reason the governor hasn’t allowed it to lapse is to make it possible for him to take the same action again.”

In Michigan, it took a 4-3 state Supreme Court ruling to remove the vast emergency powers invoked by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, which she used to issue sweeping and detailed restrictions in the first year of the pandemic. At one point, her orders prohibited residents from purchasing specific “nonessential” items, including house paint, while the state’s recreational marijuana dispensaries were allowed to remain open.

Whitmer sidestepped the court ruling by handing over those same powers to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, where a political appointee and public health official enforced her orders. A group calling itself Unlock Michigan has battled Whitmer and her administration, filing petitions challenging the authority of her and her health department.

“To upend society and destroy people’s business, you should get some elected officials involved,” Fred Wszolek, a spokesman for the group, said. “We want whoever takes control in an emergency to have checks and balances.”

The authoritarian impulses of governors are not limited to Democrats. When legislatures in three GOP-controlled states passed bills curbing the emergency powers of chief executives, the Republican governors of Ohio, North Dakota, and Indiana vetoed the bills. Those vetoes were successfully overridden, however, and enacted into state law.

Proponents of strong emergency powers also claim that because legislatures in most states are not full time, a prompt response to a crisis requires that a single individual be able to designate a situation as a lethal health crisis.

Yet, four of the states with the most extensive restrictions during the pandemic all have full-time legislatures. All four (Michigan, California, New York, and Pennsylvania) are led by Democratic governors, although two of them – Michigan and Pennsylvania – have Republican-controlled legislatures.

Andy Baker-White, senior director for state health policy for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, noted in a recent legislative briefing to association members that maintaining legal authority to impose mask-wearing and other restrictions is “crucial” to preparing for outbreaks.

Baker-White said in an interview with RCI that some of the proposals to limit emergency authority “are like tying a hand behind your back before getting into the boxing ring.”

“These powers and authorities are part of the toolbox to prevent the spread of infectious disease,” he added. “These often need to be flexible and swift when dealing with these diseases. Limiting these powers can have an impact on the ability to respond, and without an adequate response, a disease can cause more harm.”

The flexibility to govern in an authoritarian fashion, though, is exactly what is being targeted by state lawmakers around the U.S.

“It’s so bonkers that any legislature did not put an expire time on these emergency orders,” said Wszolek of Unlock Michigan. “When you consider what these powers allow, we really need to think about that. This is a muscle that really got used.”




6 April, 2022

Russia Threatens to Limit Vital Exports of Agriculture Products to ‘Friendly’ Countries Only

A senior Russian government official has threatened to limit exports of agriculture products to “friendly” countries only amid sanctions from Western nations in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

Dmitry Medvedev, who previously served as Russia’s president from 2008 to 2012 and is now deputy secretary of the country’s security council, took to Telegram on April 1 where he warned of the potential move.

Medvedev said that many counties depend on supplies of food from Russia, a major global wheat exporter, writing: “It turns out that our food is our quiet weapon. Quiet but ominous,” according to Breitbart.

“The priority in food supplies is our domestic market. And price control,” he continued. “We will supply food and crops only to our friends (fortunately, we have a lot of them, and they are not at all in Europe and not in North America). We will sell both for rubles and for their national currency in agreed proportions.”

He then explained that Russia would not supply products and agricultural products to those countries it deems as “enemies.”

“And we won’t buy anything from them (although we haven’t bought anything since 2014, but the list of products prohibited for import can be further expanded),” he continued. Russia previously imposed a ban on imports of certain agricultural products from the EU and other Western countries in 2014 after its annexation of Crimea.

Russia serves as a major global exporter of several commodities, including sunflower oil, barley, and wheat; the latter of which it mainly supplies to Africa and the Middle East.

It is the world’s largest exporter of wheat, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, having exported $10.1B in wheat in 2020 alone, despite the global COVID-19 pandemic and various supply chain issues.

The European Union and Ukraine are its main competitors in the wheat trade, which manifests as items such as pasta, bread, cereal, and fried foods for consumers.

A ban on exports of certain agriculture products to so-called “unfriendly” countries could put further pressure on those nations that are already bracing for potential food shortages resulting from the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent western sanctions.

Speaking of possible shortages, U.S. President Joe Biden said during a press conference at the White House on March 24 that “it’s going to be real,” noting that “the price of these sanctions is not just imposed upon Russia, it’s imposed upon an awful lot of countries as well, including European countries and our country as well.”

Biden said the United States and Canada may need to boost their food production to avoid shortages in Europe and other places.

However, it is unlikely that the United States would likely experience any significant shortages, whereas European countries that are more dependent on Russia for imports, as well as less economically developed nations, could see fewer products on supermarket shelves.

Medvedev’s remark comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin set a deadline for customers from “unfriendly” countries, which includes all member states of the European Union, to start paying for Russian gas deliveries in roubles or face being cut off.

Multiple European buyers of Russian energy have so far refused to comply with the demand. However, Slovakia’s minister of the economy on Sunday said his country is willing to do so.


The personal effects of inflation and how it creates recessions

By David Potter

Historically speaking, high inflation—greater than 5 percent—has always preceded many of the recessions in the United States. The causality follows a simple chain of events. Household budgets for items such as housing, food, and energy are fixed — or at least rigid — for most Americans. When these costs rise, income must be reallocated to these three categories from different areas of one’s budget such as entertainment, travel, and other non-essentials.

Unfortunately, with overall inflation up 7.9 percent the last twelve months — the worst since 1982 — it is reasonable to expect Americans will begin to restrict their spending and enter survival mode.

Housing costs have been on the rise for years after falling during the financial crisis. 2021 was exceptionally expensive for renters and homebuyers. The national average cost of rent was 10.1 percent higher in 2021 than in 2020. Additionally, rent costs grew 5 times faster in 2021 than 2020. Even more shocking, the national average of home prices increased 19 percent in 2021. In the 50 years since this metric has been tracked, a yearly increase like this has never happened before. Combine this with the fact that the dollar lost 4.7 percent purchasing power last year and you have a recipe for impending economic and financial trouble.

Personally, my rent has increased 7.7 percent from last year. Witnessing one’s salary become less useful is demoralizing. During the last major recession in 2008, I was 18, in college, and very poor even for a college student’s standards. Living off campus, I vividly remember not being able to socialize as much as I’d like outside of class as my beater Chevrolet costed too much to fill the tank. Ramen noodles became an even larger staple of my diet.

Now, in my early 30s, the 2021 inflation hits different. The inflation from the 2008 financial crisis most substantially affected my day-to-day living. Today, the major impact of the 2021 inflation is on my future. As with most Americans my age, my current ability to invest, save for retirement, save for a home down payment, and pay off student loan debt has been decreased. It’s not that I can no longer do these things, but the speed at which I can achieve financial milestones has been diminished.

While housing is typically the most expensive item in a person’s or family’s budget, the 2021 increase in food costs was substantial. Prices for at home food increased 7.4 percent and prices for food away from home increased 6.4 percent. Even more expensive, the price of meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 12.2 percent.

While inflation greatly impacts the prices of gas and housing, it also makes groceries more expensive. For American families, this can be a serious problem, as food is often in the top 5 expenses in the household budget. During times of economic recession, inflation can be a major contributing factor to rising poverty rates. This is because families must spend more of their income on basic necessities like food, leaving less money for other essentials like healthcare and education.

For me, I’ve still been able to buy all the foods I regularly consumed in 2020 and 2021, but I have had to trim my budget in other areas to continue to do this. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts is one of my favorite simple, healthy meats to eat. In my area, the cost of 3 pieces (1.5 pounds) increased from $7 to $9.50. My favorite caffeinated beverages such as cold brew coffee (privileged, I know) increased as much as 20 percent. Even though I am unhappy about the increased prices, economic downturns and inflation force me to remember that life is easier in America (for most people) during the bad times than it is during the best of times in some poor, less fortunate countries.

Perhaps one of the most apparent signs of inflation is the 40 percent price increase of gas. Historically, it’s common for inflation and the cost of crude oil to be positively correlated. One contributing factor is the increased transportation costs of fuel and energy during inflation. Natural gas costs rose 23.9 percent in 2021. Electricity prices rose 10.7 percent. As a result, people will travel less and reconsider their thermostat settings at home. Less travel in general equates to brick-and-mortar businesses receiving less traffic and income.

Thankfully, the cost of my lease covers electricity, so I haven’t had to make any drastic changes there. Gas, however, is a different story. I am now less likely to go explore new places within my region of the state and within my city. I am also more hesitant to plan long-distance trips to visit family and friends. I miss the gas prices of the Trump days. I could go exploring with less guilt and not thinking about it as much.

In summary, inflation is the gradual loss of purchasing power of a currency. Inflationary effects can be seen in the prices of goods and services, which rise over time as the currency loses value. The financial pressure created by inflation forces average Americans to decrease their spending.

It’s happening right now. Less spending means less money re-entering the economy. Before we know it, as consumer spending takes a hit prices stayed too high for too long, soon businesses will be laying people off and some even closing their doors — leading to the next recession.


The Moron's gun control call out of touch with reality

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to President Joe Biden's call for federal gun control after a shooting in Sacramento, California left six dead:

"President Joe Biden's predictable call for gun control in the wake of the murder of six people in Sacramento, California demonstrates that the President does not have any actual functioning tools in his anti-crime toolbox. California has amongst the most restrictive requirements regulating the individual ownership of firearms in the nation, and to try to mirror those laws on a national level in response to their failure in the Golden State is beyond absurd. Perhaps the President should reevaluate the turnkey criminal justice system advocated by himself and his political allies that puts police on trial rather than criminals in order to get to the root of the dramatic increase in homicides and gang activity since he took office and to reestablish the rule of law in America."




5 April, 2022

Covid-19 first-of-its-kind study saw volunteers infected for science

The first “controlled investigation” of Covid-19 has been carried out and it has allowed researchers to dispel a widespread myth about the way people become infected.

The human challenge study involved people being deliberately infected with a virus — in this case it was SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

The study, published last week in the journal Nature Medicine, found that only the most minuscule amount of the virus is needed to infect a person — as much as a single airborne droplet from a person sneezing, coughing or talking.

It also found that, despite what most people have been told, viral shedding and transmissibility occur at high levels when a person is infected regardless of whether they have severe or mild symptoms.

Researchers from University College London Hospital, Imperial College London and the University of Oxford, among others, were also able to bust another myth, one pushed mostly by anti-maskers.

They found the virus is “present at significantly higher (levels) in the nose than the throat”, a finding they said provides “clear evidence that emphasises the critical importance of wearing face coverings over the nose as well as the mouth”.

“Deliberate human infection of low-risk volunteers enables the exact longitudinal measurement of viral kinetics, immunological responses, transmission dynamics and duration of infectious shedding after a fixed dose of a well-characterised virus,” authors wrote.

“Experimental challenge with human pathogens requires careful ethical scrutiny and regulation but can deliver unparalleled information that may inform clinical policy and refinement of infection control measures.”

Those “unparalleled findings” were made possible thanks to 36 volunteers aged between 18-30 years.

The participants were each given a dose of the virus via a small tube into their nose, then housed in a high-containment quarantine unit at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust with 24-hour close medical monitoring and full access to clinical care.

Researchers found that 18 participants — equating to 53 per cent — became infected with a viral load “rising steeply and peaking five days after inoculation”.

They said the virus was “first detected in the throat but rose to significantly higher levels in the nose”.

“Viable virus was recoverable from the nose up to 10 days after inoculation, on average.”

The researchers found that most of those who became infected recovered quickly. There were no serious adverse events and “mild-to-moderate symptoms were reported by 16 (of the 18) infected participants”.

The other two who were infected remained asymptomatic.

The researchers also looked at how Covid-19 impacts a person’s sense of smell.

They used smell identification tests with help from the University of Pennsylvania and found that 15 of the 18 participants who were infected reported “some degree of smell disturbance”.

Nine participants experienced complete smell loss, known as anosmia, but researchers said they “improved noticeably before day 28”.

Six months after the study ended, one of the participants has still not regained their full smell.


Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Results Not Strong Enough to Warrant Authorization for Children: Experts

Regulators in the United States and elsewhere should not clear Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children based on a clinical trial that found the shot under 50 percent effective in preventing infection, experts say.

Moderna is pushing for emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its jab for kids as young as 6 months of age, based on the results of the trial.

The decision to authorize would mean some 20 million of the youngest children in America could get a COVID-19 vaccine for the first time since the pandemic started.

Some parents and experts want that to happen sooner rather than later and are willing to accept less than ideal results. But others aren’t convinced that most of the age group needs a vaccine, especially a shot that doesn’t perform well against emerging variants.

While some children have died or gotten seriously ill from COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus, their vulnerability is much smaller compared with older people, and most youth experience mild or no symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A recently published study found T-cells, a form of protection, worked better against the virus in infant mice than in adult mice; while another concluded infants and toddlers who contract the virus have a superior immune response when compared to adults.

The very low risk of severe COVID-19 for children presents a much different risk-benefit calculus, experts say.

Particularly for children, “you’ve really got to show the benefits markedly outweigh any risks,” Dr. Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases physician at Canberra Hospital, told The Epoch Times over Zoom.

In 5- to 11-year-olds, for instance, a British government panel determined that 2 million vaccine doses would prevent as few as 17 hospitalizations due to acute COVID-19. Amid a less severe future variant, some 4 million doses would be needed to prevent a single intensive care unit admission.

“No prospective clinical or epidemiological data that I am aware of has been provided to show that younger age groups [tested] in the Moderna study would fare any differently,” Dr. David Gortler, an FDA policy oversight fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who used to work for the FDA, told The Epoch Times in an email.

Does the Trial Meet Regulatory Standards?

The trial from which Moderna announced interim results is called KidCOVE. It involves two groups: children 6 months of age to under 2 years, and children 2 years of age to 5 years.

The U.S.-based company, on March 23, released a summary of interim data, announcing the trial met its endpoint, which was a certain threshold of neutralizing antibody response in both age groups after receiving a two-dose series of the vaccine.

The results were so positive that “we are working with the U.S. FDA and regulators globally to submit these data as soon as possible,” Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s CEO, said in a statement.

But the actual clinical impact was substandard.

During the wave driven by the Omicron virus variant, the vaccine was just 43.7 percent effective in the youngest group, and 37.5 percent effective in the other children.

Both measures are lower than the 50 percent bars established by the FDA and the World Health Organization for emergency authorization.

“That’s not acceptable by the FDA’s own standards,” Dr. Steven Hatfill, a virologist who advised the Trump administration, told The Epoch Times.

“Our approach has always been to conduct a regulatory review that’s responsive to the urgent public health needs created by the pandemic, while adhering to our rigorous standards for safety and effectiveness. While we cannot comment on any submissions pending before the agency, we remain committed to conducting a timely and thorough evaluation of the available data and information on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in the youngest children,” Alison Hunt, an FDA spokeswoman, told The Epoch Times in an email.

Moderna did not respond to requests for comment.


Long Covid a serious problem

By the end of the year, modelling suggests tens of thousands of Australians will have experienced lingering symptoms of the virus.

Health economist Professor Martin Hensher warns that long COVID poses a serious public health threat and critical data is missing.

“At the moment we really have no idea of the extent of long COVID in Australia,” he said. “We are flying pretty blind.

Professor Hensher, who worked alongside a team modelling long COVID at Deakin University, estimates that at 12 weeks post infection, anywhere between 80,000 and 325,000 of the more than two million Australians infected during the first Omicron wave alone will have ongoing symptoms.

And, while a large proportion are predicted to recover within six months, thousands are expected to experience persistent symptoms.

He is part of a growing chorus of experts calling for the urgent rollout of a national survey to measure the scale of long COVID in Australia and a database to track symptoms.

In Australia, up to 30 per cent of seriously ill COVID-19 patients have reported at least one symptom persisting after six months. The most common symptom was shortness of breath, but others included fatigue, headaches and a loss of taste or smell.

Ms Costello, who was double vaccinated six months before contracting the virus, and before boosters were approved, is one of an estimated more than 90,000 Australians who have a smell or taste disorder after six months.

The figure in Australia is far below other parts of the world where Delta was the prevalent variant.

Studies have found up to 60 per cent of people who had Delta lost their sense of smell and/or taste, compared to one in five with Omicron, the most common variant in Australia. About two per cent of those people will have impaired senses long term.

People’s experiences range from complete or partial loss to distorted and imagined senses. Some people complain certain foods taste like garbage or rotting meat, while others can smell faeces or smoke when neither are nearby. Ms Costello often gets phantom garbage smells.

Exactly why this occurs is still unknown, but there is an emerging consensus, including by a team studying the phenomena at Harvard Medical School, that smell loss occurs when the coronavirus infects cells that support neurons in the nose.

To the frustration of sufferers, there is no easy cure for olfactory dysfunction.




4 April, 2022

Covid-19 outbreak: New XE variant possibly 10 per cent more transmissible than Omicron

The World Health Organisation is keeping an eye on a new strain of the Covid-19 Omicron variant which appears to be 10 per cent more transmissible than the Omicron variant.

XE was first detected in the United Kingdom on January 19 and over 600 cases have been reported and confirmed since.

The United Kingdom‘s Health Security Agency has said it is monitoring XE along with two other recombinants, XD and XF, which are made up of the Delta and BA.1 strains.

Meanwhile, China reported 13,000 Covid cases on Sunday, the most since the peak of the first pandemic wave over two years ago, as health officials said they have detected the new strain in the Shanghai area.

Officials in Suzhou, a city 30 minutes west of Shanghai, have detected a mutation of the Omicron variant not found in local or international databases, state media reported on Sunday.

“This means a new variant of Omicron has been discovered locally,” Xinhua said, citing health official Zhang Jun, deputy director of the Suzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here is what we know so far about the new variant.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSCA) said it was studying XE – a mutation of the BA. 1 and BA. 2 Omicron strains, referred to as a “recombinant”.

The new strain was first detected in the UK as of January 19 this year and is the most dominant strain at present, accounting for about 86 per cent of all the recent Covid cases.

The prevalence of Covid-19 in the UK has reached record levels, with about 1 in 13 people estimated to be infected with the virus in the past week, according to the latest figures.

Professor Susan Hopkins, the UKHSA’s chief medical Adviser transition lead, said that recombinant variants are not uncommon and usually die off “relatively quickly”.

“This particular recombinant, XE, has shown a variable growth rate and we cannot yet confirm whether it has a true growth advantage,“ Ms Hopkins said.

“So far there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about transmissibility, severity or vaccine effectiveness.”


Despite UK experts saying it is too soon to determine its transmissibility than previous strains, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned XE may be the he most transmissible variant of SARS-CoV2 yet.

A recombinant variant occurs when an individual becomes infected with two or more variants at the same time, resulting in a mixing of their genetic material within a patient’s body.

This is not an unusual occurrence and several recombinant SARS-CoV-2 variants have been identified over the course of the pandemic, the UK scientists say.

However, it is important to monitor such variants closely to identify recombinants that may have immune-escape properties, meaning they can cause Covid-19 infection even in those who have been infected previously or those who have been vaccinated.

The global health body noted that until they can detect “significant” differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, XE will remain categorised as part of the Omicron variant.

The newest variant of coronavirus does not lead to any severe symptoms, but it spreads rapidly.

Fatigue and dizziness are some of the initial symptoms, followed by headaches, sore throat, muscle soreness and fever.

But the most common symptoms of coronavirus such as the loss of smell and taste are rarely reported in people affected with the new Omicron variant.

Some other possible gastrointestinal signs like diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache and others are quite common.


The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has identified two other new strains besides from the XE variant.

These two new recombinant strains have been given the names of XD and XF, with XD being a hybrid of Delta and BA. 1 variants of Omicron and XF being a combination of the UK Delta virus and the BA. 1 virus.

XD has been mostly detected in France, Denmark and Belgium and XF has been predominantly detected in Britain.


An interesting email just in

Welcome to Year 3 of the Chinese Virus. Here are some thoughts as we begin a new year under the Biden Build Back Broke Disintegration Plan:

* According to the American Petroleum Institute, we have enough oil in North America to fuel every single passenger car and long-haul truck for the next 430 years. We have enough natural gas to provide electricity for every business and household for the next 535 years and enough coal to provide electricity for about 500 years. So, don’t you think that in 430 years we will have developed alternative fuel sources? Why then did Joe Biden sacrifice America’s energy independence, cease all exploration for oil and gas, abandon pipeline development and drive up prices of gasoline, heating oil, and jet fuel and make us once again dependent on foreign oil?

* Isn’t it curious that in some states like California, Washington, Illinois, and New York, shoplifting of items less than $950 is not a crime but the Biden Build Back Better Spendalooza calls for hiring 87,000 IRS agents to monitor individual banking transactions of $600 or more? Fascinating.

* Someone needs to educate me as to how we are going to produce all the batteries needed to facilitate a transition away from fossil fuels to battery-driven vehicles when the basic ingredients for batteries are all found in rare minerals such as lithium, cobalt, and zinc and others, all of which must be mined in countries not exactly friendly to us. Also, if you have ever driven on the Cross Bronx Expressway or the 405 in Southern California and were stuck in traffic, how exactly will the repair truck reach a disabled vehicle before their battery dies…along with the batteries of all the other vehicles in traffic?

* When will construction start to build the 500,000 battery charging stations Joe Biden told us about? Where will they be situated? Won’t they be powered by burning fossil fuels?

* If you ever feel like you haven’t accomplished anything, try to remember that it took 20 years, thousands of dead American soldiers, trillions of dollars and four Presidents to replace the Taliban in Afghanistan with………. the Taliban.

* If you feel your job is hard and you are unappreciated, think about the poor slob who serves as the sign language interpreter for Joe Biden.

* Let me try to understand this: we can’t seem to find illegals to deport, but we can sure find them to give them money! How does that work?

* If there was a barnyard election, the pigs would always vote for the person that feeds them and gives them treats, even though that same person is going to slaughter them someday. That same philosophy is the very definition of socialism.

* Memo to Generation Z and the Woke Generation: The Stars and Stripes that fly over our Nation’s Capital and are wrapped around the coffins of our honored dead who sacrificed their lives to keep us free, is my Flag. I will never apologize for it. The Flag does not stand for skin color, race, or religion. It stands for freedom. Never forget that!

If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools. -- Plato


Don’t Cancel All Russians for Putin’s Crimes

Not even the famed Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who was a Soviet stooge, and the equally fabled German conductor Herbert von Karajan, who was a Nazi fellow traveller, were “canceled” in the West the way Russian artists, athletes, performers, and cultural icons are being censored, bullied, and shamed in the United States and Europe due to Vladimir Putin’s criminal actions in Ukraine.

Did we learn nothing about the immorality of attributing collective guilt from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order setting up internment camps for American residents and citizens of Japanese descent in the U.S. during World War II?

The current “cancel” onslaught is indiscriminately hurting both Russians who openly oppose Putin’s immoral war and those whose political views aren’t known: people who likely have kept quiet out of fear. And fear they probably should, based on Putin’s recent tirade calling those who oppose his war “scum and traitors” and calling for the “cleansing” (or “self-detoxification”) of Russian society.

But some in the West are acting irrationally as well. Betraying a collectivist, almost totalitarian mentality, many in the West have decided that Putin incarnates the entire Russian people and that anyone of Russian origin should be held accountable for the cruelty of a tyrant whose actions they cannot stop.

The European Union, for example, has canceled all official sports and cultural events involving Russians and told cultural associations and sports federations that they are not to take measures against any private entity that bans an event involving Russian players or artists.

Anna Netrebko, perhaps the greatest living operatic soprano, has been forced to give up performances at La Scala in Italy, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and at various other venues due to her personal relationship with Putin—despite her public statements opposing the war. Referring to the fact that many of her colleagues have been canceled because they didn’t condemn Russia immediately and forcefully enough, she has protested that “forcing artists and any public figure to publicly express their political views and condemn their homeland is unacceptable.”

Although some, such as Kirill Petrenko, director of the Berlin Philharmonic, have attacked Putin (he has been able to keep his job), others have not. One wishes they all had, since a tragedy of the magnitude befalling Ukraine should entail a moral obligation to take a stance no matter the risk.

But not every artist and athlete is a hero, and we don’t know whether some of those who have been silent, and whom we are holding responsible for Putin’s actions, may have relatives who are being forced to fight in Ukraine and justifiably might fear that attacking Putin or the Russian government could cause them harm—not from Ukrainian resistance fighters but from Putin subordinates.

So the canceling continues.

Young athletes from Russian sports clubs now banned from all international competitions may themselves face the horrific prospect of having to fight in a war they do not even understand. How do we justify placing on their shoulders the blame for Putin’s genocidal bombardment of Ukrainian cities?

Alexander Malofeev, the 20-year-old piano virtuoso, was not allowed to perform in Canada. The Cannes film festival has announced it will not be showing Russian movies. London’s Royal Opera House has canceled a season of performances by the Bolshoi Ballet. A lecture on Dostoevsky was suspended in Milan, even though the professor, Paolo Nori, is ... Italian!

The “canceling” goes beyond culture and sports: Representatives Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) have urged the Biden administration to expel all Russian students attending U.S. colleges, and not a day goes by without someone boycotting Russian vodka (although, ironically, several popular brands aren’t Russian at all—such as Smirnoff, which is made by a British company and distilled in the United States). Are we really supposed to believe that the cause of freedom, civilization, and humanity will be advanced by taking revenge on the fewer than 5,000 Russian students attending U.S. colleges and universities?

Russia’s contribution to the arts, and therefore to civilization in the 19th and 20th centuries, was nothing short of phenomenal. We do not hurt Russia as much as we hurt ourselves by demonizing Russian artists, athletes, and culture out of frustration with the fact that Putin is now doing on a grand scale what he’s been doing for two decades: terrorizing the Russian people, including those living in exile, and Russia’s neighbors, while Western governments tut-tutted, looked the other way, or sucked up to him and made themselves ever more dependent on Russian commodities.




3 April, 2022

Australian doctors are now being warned they “are obliged to” follow public health messages

Australia’s march toward medical authoritarianism continues.

Doctors are now being told they could face discipline for saying anything that contradicts “public health messaging,” even if what they are saying is “evidence-based.”

They may even face investigations for “authoring papers” that health authorities do not like.

Unfortunately, I am not exaggerating.

Like all physicians, Australian doctors can face disciplinary investigations for medical errors or other problems. In Australia, those investigations are called “notifications,” a nicely Orwellian euphemism. Ahpra, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency, oversees them.

On Feb. 28, a big Australian medical insurer warned physicians that to avoid Aphra notifications, they needed to “be very careful” not to contradict “public health messaging” in social media comments.

But the warning - although first mentioning social media - went even further. It also warned against “authoring papers” that contradicted the authorities’ favored views.

Further, even “views… consistent with evidence-based material” could lead to problems if they contradicted “public health messaging.”

The warning came from the Medical Indemnity Protection Society, which provides professional insurance coverage for doctors. Although these insurers do not speak officially for government agencies, doctors effectively cannot practice without professional insurance, so their pronouncements are powerful.

In other words, only a very brave physician in Australia would consider offering advice that’s not “consistent with public health messaging” anytime soon.


How the media covered up the Hunter Biden laptop story

The New York Post is one of a tiny (yes, tiny) number of conservative newspapers in the United States. It also has something of a grand history. It was founded in 1801, making it the oldest continuously published paper in America. It was established by none other than Alexander Hamilton – the founding father killed in a duel by Aaron Burr and subject of the recent hit musical – as an outlet for federalist views. Oh, and the Post today has the fourth-largest circulation of US newspapers. So despite the fact many on the left will sneer (as they do) because it is these days owned by Voldemort, sorry by Rupert Murdoch, this is no Johnny-come-lately internet publication.

I bring up the NY Post because it was the newspaper that broke the Hunter Biden laptop story not long before – let me emphasise before – the 2020 US presidential election. The material on that laptop was damning to Joe Biden, for various reasons including because it contained one email showing what the Post characterised as a meeting between Joe Biden and the Ukrainian gas company Burisma which paid a fortune to Hunter Biden to be on its board despite his having no obvious skills at all (not the Ukrainian language, no knowledge of the oil business, nothing really other than a certain chromosomal set of advantages) and another email with Hunter complaining to his daughter about how Joe takes half his income from him. Let’s just say that if the laptop were authentic the material could have ruined Mr Biden’s presidential run. Or put differently, had the laptop been the property of one of Donald Trump’s children, and contained the exact same contents, it would have received 24- hour coverage every day up to the election by all the usual suspects including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, ABC news, CBS news, the woke, lefty sports network ESPN, and let’s be honest by ‘our’ ABC here in Australia most of all.

Instead, these usual suspects, along with the entirety of Big Tech, kicked into gear and acted as the protection arm of the Democratic party. And no, that is not an unfair description of what happened. To start, Big Tech blocked the NY Post, so it could not circulate this story online. Then they pulled out the big guns. They claimed this laptop story was Russian disinformation and even got dozens and dozens of US intelligence and ex-intelligence officials to sign a letter declaring that this looked to them like a Russian disinformation campaign. Anyone broaching the story was ridiculed, attacked and preferably silenced.

But just last week the NY Times conceded the laptop was real and it was Hunter’s laptop. The NY Post has been scathing about its cross-town rival which as we all know is beloved by all the wokerati chattering classes. One Post headline read ‘All the news that’s fit to print… once Biden is elected’ (a play on the NY Times’ sanctimonious motto).The questions this raises are myriad and most of us can guess most of the answers. When did the NY Times realise this was a real story and not disinformation? Before or after the election? How could some 50-odd US intelligence officers claim this was Russian disinformation? Is the deep state really that much in the back pocket of the Democrats? And note that Miranda Devine, now with the Post, has contacted all the senior ex-intelligence officers who signed the ‘nothing to see here folks’ letter before the election. Not one apologised. Most refused to comment.

So can we now expect these organs of the Democrat party (oops, I mean the wholly impartial mainstream media outlets above) to look into the truth of what the Hunter Biden laptop contained? Will they check out the email where Hunter’s business partner writes that he moves money between Hunter’s and Joe’s chequing accounts? Or the one above where Hunter complains to his daughter that his dad is creaming fifty per cent of his Ukraine monies off the top? Well, to ask is to know isn’t it? Joe will be protected as long as that is in the best interests of the Left. This is why so many average Americans have next to no trust in the media and in journalists generally. This is why Donald Trump’s brutal description of the fourth estate as ‘fake news’ was and is far more right than wrong. And this is why any conservative politician who wants actually to do something – to achieve real change in a conservative direction be it with respect to the schools and universities, the economy, the culture wars, taking on the lawyerly and doctorly castes, free speech, anything really – has to be prepared to take on the press and its feral left-leaning bias. That willingness to fight is what drove some, not all, of its hatred of Trump. That is what drives the legacy media crazy about Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida. These rare sort of conservative politicians call out the bias of the journalists. And they hate it.

Which leaves me a few words tangentially related to the above. I refer to last weekend’s election in South Australia. There are two strategies for right-of-centre political parties. One is to stand and fight and differentiate themselves on matters of principle from the Left. The second is to become a pale imitation of the Left, but promise to remain a fraction of a smidgen of a soupçon to the right of the other guys. This was the view that prevailed inside the Libs’ party room when it opted to defenestrate Tony Abbott in favour of Turnbull. This is how Team Marshall governed in South Australia. This describes the NSW Liberal government to a tee. And let’s all be brutally honest. This is how Scott Morrison has governed. I have long said it’s a loser strategy if you have any goal other than winning a couple of elections. If you want to bring about outcomes you purport to care about this doesn’t work.

Take the pandemic. If you fall in line behind policies that amount to the worst erosions of our civil liberties ever, and you empower a public health clerisy, later on trying to argue ‘we were an eensy-weensy bit less despotic than they would be’ won’t help you. Some voters will opt for the Labor real thing. And some will abandon you for your abandoning all principle. You lose.

This my friends is the tragedy of every state Liberal operation. And this is why I’ve been predicting a Morrison loss ever since he sold us out on the moronic ‘net zero’ pledge in Glasgow. Nine years of Coalition government and other than stopping the boats they have delivered what any fair observer would call across-the-board Labor outcomes. Now they’re having to pretend we really have four per cent unemployment (see Terry McCrann for a stinging rejoinder) and that they’ve done a splendid job, really splendid. A NY Post headline might read ‘All for conservative stuff… until we’re elected.’


Authoritarianism gets women hot…

To understand why the rise of authoritarianism in once-liberal Western democracies is greeted – not by resistance, but rapturous applause – we must first understand why half the population seem predisposed to embracing authority.

In surveys that ask about government power, whether for pandemic management, social policy, or law and order, women routinely outdo men in the belief that greater intervention is a good thing and that governments are responsible for just about everything.

Academic research backs this up: consistently, women are more likely than men to approve of measures that expand the reach of the State. Even political preferences fall along these lines. Parties that zealously advocate for an increasingly authoritarian society and ever-dwindling freedom – for our own good, of course! – have a higher proportion of female supporters than parties that lean towards libertarianism and individual responsibility.

Any enquiry about why this occurs is obscured by fuzzy rhetoric like ‘the greater good’ and ‘thinking of others’. The common view, pushed ardently by players who stand to gain power, is that ‘the woman’s perspective’ is less selfish and more conscious of public wellbeing than men’s. What a massive lie this is. Whether because of biology, socialisation – or both – women support the exercise of power because the State has become what men, and especially husbands, have been to women throughout history.

With so many men painfully feminised and socially castrated, it is no wonder that women have turned elsewhere for a source of authority and strength.

Over fifty years ago, Germaine Greer wrote in The Female Eunuch that women who fail to seize emancipation do so because they not only still need, but actively crave, the command of men. She argued that even though the suffragettes threw open the door to the cage, the canary refused to fly out. The housewives of the 1950s shrugged their shoulders at the opportunities that their forebears had fought to bring about, and happily remained in a State of dependence by insisting that somebody else should exercise responsibility for them.

The only thing that has changed since then is the colour of the cage, because the patterns of behaviour are the same. Just as obeying one’s husband was once a virtue, obeying the State now is – while a challenge to the State is viewed as darkly as emasculating menfolk once was. Just as turning hard decisions over to a man was once seen to lift a burden from women, allowing the State to do the thinking now provides that soothing security blanket. And just as many women once secretly feared the power of men even as they clutched it desperately to themselves, now they secretly fear the power of the State even while they cheer it.

Oddly, it is often the women who most promote themselves as models of liberated thinking who are the loudest to demand that the State must take responsibility for all and be involved in every aspect of human existence. Show me one of these paragons of progressiveness and I will show you a woman harbouring a deep-down Mills and Boon-esque fantasy about a dominating alpha male who takes complete charge, making her feel delicate, special, and sheltered. This is so shameful that she cannot even admit it to herself, so it becomes sublimated into a cry that anything even hinting of such appealingly untamed masculinity must be destroyed.

Smash the patriarchy, sisters! And while we’re at it, lobby for more government control over the lives of the people because, oh, how we hunger to submit.

Political parties who resist authoritarianism do not have a woman problem. Rather, the women who sneeringly denounce those parties have a problem with the possibility of liberation. Women’s liberation necessarily requires libertarianism. Yet still women refuse to see past their own intense yearning to sit like canaries in gilded cages, gazing smugly at bars bearing the insignia of the State and being too foolish to realise that they remain well and truly trapped.

Turning the very idea of libertarian values into something ugly and terrifying from which only the State can offer protection, is exactly how men once convinced women that the world outside the home was too rough and nasty a place to expose their pretty little heads to, and that they needed a man to look after them. Those who champion the erosion of libertarianism are doing nothing more than validating feminised inability or unwillingness to move beyond a State of dependence on something bigger and stronger than oneself.

If this is what ‘the future is female’ means, then we should all be terrified.




1 April, 2022

People with Covid super immunity, key to better vaccines, scientists find

Further research into people who have yet to contract Covid could help create better vaccines, scientists say.

Dubbed as people with Covid ‘super immunity,’ a study published in Naturelooked at how some healthcare workers appeared to have a natural immunity against Covid-19 and continued to test negative to the virus, despite exposure.

The research was led by Leo Swadling – an immunologist Leo Swadling from the University College of London – and his colleagues.

As this study was conducted during UK’s first wave of the pandemic in March 2020, a vaccine had yet to become available.

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The study found that repeated exposure to previous coronaviruses prior to the pandemic had equipped these individuals with better T-cell reactivity. This mean they were able to fight off the genetic elements of Covid-19 upon initial infection as they were similar to previous coronaviruses.

For reference, coronavirus is merely the name given to a family of viruses which cause respiratory and intestinal illnesses in humans and animals. For example, the 2002 to 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in China was another kind of coronavirus, however there are milder forms of the virus too.

A similar effect is also seen in individuals with immunity against hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV and Japaneses encephalitis, the study said.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Dr Swadling said the healthcare workers showed the ability to control the virus “very quickly”.

“We were particularly interested in people who are exposed to the virus, but control it very quickly, clearing the virus before it can replicate to detectable levels and before it induces an antibody response,” Dr Swadling said. “It may help us better understand what immunity is best at protection from reinfection.”

Their research also found that “long-lived” T-cells – which stop the development of a virus – may offer better and more lasting protection than antibodies which attack a virus once it enters the body. Although previous infection and vaccines help the body produce more antibodies against a virus, this protection wanes after a certain period.

Using this information, scientists may be able to create vaccines which can create “cross-reactive” T-cells which target multiple different coronaviruses. This means the vaccines could be effective against combating new variants and offer better protection without the need for additional doses.

Despite exposure to the virus, some people showed better immunity to Covid. Picture: iStock/Violeta Stoimenova.
Despite exposure to the virus, some people showed better immunity to Covid. Picture: iStock/Violeta Stoimenova.
In January 2021, a study from the UK’s renowned Imperial College London also looked at the importance of T cells in offering protection against contracting Covid-19.

Led by a research team from the Imperial College London’s National Heart and Lung Institute, Rhia Kundu, she found that T cells from even the common cold (another kind of human coronaviruses) can give people better protection.

The research was conducted by investigating blood samples from 52 people who lived with a Covid-positive case.

“Being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus doesn’t always result in infection, and we’ve been keen to understand why,” said Dr Kundu.

“We found that high levels of pre-existing T cells, created by the body when infected with other human coronaviruses like the common cold, can protect against Covid-19 infection.”

However, vaccination was still a crucial part of protection against the virus. “While this is an important discovery, it is only one form of protection, and I would stress that no one should rely on this alone,” Dr Kundu said.

“Instead, the best way to protect yourself against Covid-19 is to be fully vaccinated, including getting your booster dose.”


Professor Nick Coatsworth wants schools to end mask mandate for students

Australia’s former deputy chief health officer says mask mandates for school students in Victoria and WA are having a “detrimental” impact on kids.

Children in Victorian and West Australian schools attending grades 3-6 are required to wear masks inside the classroom.

No other Australian state and territory is enforcing masks requirements for students.

The infectious diseases physician and Associate Professor at the Australian National University was asked about the mandates by 3AW host Neil Mitchell on Friday.

He said not only should schools ditch masks for children, but Victoria and all other Australian states and territories are nearing a point where counting daily cases is redundant.

“It’s absolutely time to do away with the rules,” Prof Coatsworth said.

“Victoria was an outlier at the start, is still an outlier with regard to masks in schools. The only other place that’s doing it is Western Australia.”

Mitchell put to Prof Coatsworth that Australia is seeing a spike in cases from the latest Omicron subvariant BA. 2 and a corresponding rise in the number of deaths.

“Why wouldn’t you just cover (childrens’ faces) with the masks,” Mitchell asked.

Prof Coatsworth said children are not at risk of becoming seriously ill themselves from Covid-19.

“You’re not actually protecting the kids themselves because it’s a very, very mild disease in children with or without the vaccine,” he said.

“It doesn’t stop them from getting very sick because they don’t get very sick.

“Yes … there’s lots of cases around. The people who are getting very sick with this are the very frail elderly … in nursing homes. Or the people with severe underlying conditions.

“There is an overemphasis on the risks posed by Covid in a fully-vaccinated population and an overemphasis on the benefits of masking kids.”

Prof Coatsworth said he had just spent a week working on a hospital ward where he wore a mask and found it difficult to communicate with people.

“I have trouble communicating with my patients (while wearing a mask),” he said.

“It’s hard for them to hear me, it’s hard for them to know who I am, and if that’s hard for me then I can only conclude that it would be detrimental to kids.”

Prof Coatsworth said it would be reasonable for people over 70 to keep wearing masks in indoor settings until the current Omicron wave subsides.

When that happens, he said, it will be time to stop counting daily Covid-19 case numbers.

“This needs to move beyond cases now. There needs to come a time when we need to stop counting the cases. That’ll probably be when the Omicron curve comes well and truly down.”

Victoria’s chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton said in February that his advice remains the same regarding masks in schools.


Russian rouble bounces back to pre-invasion levels

Some predict that it will become MORE valuable than it was

Russia’s rouble has recovered nearly all of its value after crippling sanctions in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine last month sent the currency plummeting to less than one cent against the US dollar.

The rouble was trading at around 84 per dollar most of Wednesday after gaining around 20 per cent in the previous two sessions, and touched the 82.55 level for the first time since February 25 – the day after Moscow launched its “special operation” sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion sparked an unprecedented financial response from the US and Europe – including the freezing of the Russia’s foreign currency reserves and its expulsion from the SWIFT interbank messaging network – aimed at crippling the country’s economy and crashing its currency.

The rouble went into free fall as a result, bottoming out at around 150 per dollar on March 7 after Joe Biden announced a ban on US imports of Russian oil and gas – with the President boasting that the rouble had been reduced to “rubble”.

But the currency has steadily regained ground over the past month, spurred by Mr Putin’s announcement last week that Russia would demand payment for natural gas in roubles from European countries.

“When you look at it in a non-geopolitical sense but just the basic economic building blocks of the currency, it’s extremely bullish for the rouble,” said currency forecaster Clifford Bennett, chief economist with ACY Securities.

Mr Bennett said the rouble’s recovery was being fuelled by a near-total collapse in imports, even as Russia continued to export essential commodities including natural gas, oil and nickel.

While the pre-crisis level of 76-72 “is probably about right” considering the geopolitical risks and trade account imbalances, Mr Bennett said it was possible the rouble “could go to 50 to the US dollar”.




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Most pictures that I use in the body of the blog should stay up throughout the year. But how long they stay up after that is uncertain. At the end of every year therefore I intend to put up a collection of all pictures used my blogs in that year. That should enable missing pictures to be replaced. The archive of last year's pictures on this blog is therefore now up. Note that the filename of the picture is clickable and clicking will bring the picture up. See here (2021). See also here (2020).

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