This document is part of an archive of postings 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

31 January, 2021

A conservative defence of the Soviet Union

The Left defended the Soviet Union right up to its implosion. But conservatives think of it as indefensible. Vladimir Vladimrovich Putin mourns its loss. I am very pro-Russian but could see nothing good about the Soviet system.

Several older ladies of Russian ancestry inhabit my social environment. One I get on particularly well with is very Right-wing. She admires Donald Trump and thinks Muslim refugees should be sent back to the hellholes where they came from, for instance. So I was a little surprised to hear her express great regret for the loss of the Soviet system in Russia. What was that about?

Her reasons were in fact straightforward. As a Russian-speaker, she watches the Russian news so is much more aware of what is going on there than most Westerners. And she also has Russian relatives in several parts of the old Soviet empire with whom she keeps in touch.

And what particularly grieves her is the loss of the peace and unity that prevailed in the Soviet system.. There were no race riots, Muslim uprisings or nationalist mini-wars in the old days. People from different ethnicities could and did live anywhere in the Soviet empire and lived their lives in peace together with the people around them. Russians could live in places like Kazakhstan and still live normal Russian lives there without fear of hostility towards them. And it worked the other way: Muslim Chechens could and did move to Moscow for the economic opportunities there without harassing Russians about Jihad.

In more recent times that has all changed. Eastern and Western Ukraine are at war with one-another, Georgia is openly hostile to its Russian minority, There was a brutal war of independence in Chechnya which is still bubbling beneath the surface. And Chechens have carried out grave atrocities in Russia itself. So Russia is now not much better than the United States when it comes to huge disharmony and violent upheavals. The urban riots of Black Lives Matter and Antifa would have been unthinkable in the Soviet Union.

So what my friend mourns is the loss of social harmony. Departures from social harmony were simply not allowed in Soviet times. Regardless of what might be bubbling beneath the surface, social peace and order was maintained.

So is she being unreasonable? Is she overlooking the limitations of Soviet life? She is not. She knows perfectly well how the material circumstances of Soviet life differed from the consumer society she now inhabits. But she is quite simply not materialistic. She thinks that people in Soviet society had "enough" materially for a satisfactory life and that the calm and order there were much more important to a happy life.

A peaceful and relaxed life is not necessarily opposed to a materially prosperous life. Both she and I live in Australia, where we have both those things. But Australia is something of an outlier. Australians hear with horror stories about the seething hatreds of American society but nothing bothers us much on our way to the beach. So you CAN have it all but not so much in the USA or Russia

This whole discussion reminds me of the East German experience, something I have previously written about. East Germans too tended to regret the loss of their old Communist system and its predictabilities. For my previous comments on East Germany, see here

And it might also be worth mentioning that economic historian Martin Hutchinson compares Belarus (White Russia) favourably with California. See here

Communist regimes offered STABILITY, which is a good conservative value


Why the Dutch are rioting

The riots are wrong and heartbreaking. But many people feel desperate in this lockdown.

We in the UK say we are turning a blind eye to something. In the Netherlands, they say, ‘we zullen het door de vingers zien’, which means, we’ll see it through the fingers. It is how the Dutch communicate that they are letting something slide.

The Dutch government has been seeing a lot through the fingers lately, especially the effects of its pandemic response. And it is not going well. Over the weekend, tensions boiled over, with unrest and rioting in many parts of the country. The Dutch capital of Amsterdam was a hotspot, and there were flare-ups in Rotterdam and Den Bosch. But it was Eindhoven that was the worst hit, with rioters setting cars on fire, smashing windows, and pelting the police with rocks and fireworks.

Dutch media reported around 300 arrests on Sunday, with many remaining in custody well into Monday. While this will undoubtedly shock those who know the Netherlands well, tensions have been rising steadily since Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and his government placed the country under lockdown in mid-December.

The new lockdown meant that Christmas was all but cancelled, as strict social restrictions were brought in to prevent households from mixing. As in the UK, businesses have been hit hard, with many unable to trade. Not only have bars and restaurants been forced to close, but so have any shops not deemed ‘essential’.

This decision was taken when as many as 10,000 new Covid-19 cases a day were being reported. As Rutte announced it, there were jeers and whistles from protesters gathered outside. Though he said 9 January was the date on which restrictions would end, this was always treated with scepticism by the Dutch public. So, few were surprised when it was extended to 19 February. And you won’t find much confidence that it will end then, either.

The imposition of an additional curfew has further stoked tensions. This means that as of Saturday, the Dutch are forced to stay off of the streets between 9pm and 4:30am. Violating the curfew risks a fine of at least 95 euros. This new measure is seen by many as the latest in a series of whimsical infringements on Dutch life. In many quarters, it seems to be the straw that has broken the camel’s back.

According to Mark Rutte, 99 per cent of the Dutch public are complying with the various restrictions, and that may be true. However, the feeling I get is that people’s compliance is becoming increasingly begrudging. Many here, who have already been placed under severe pressure financially, also feel they are kissing their way of life goodbye bit by bit. This is leading to a rise in resentment towards the government and authorities.

And Rutte already has enough problems, not least that he is leading a caretaker government at the moment. On 15 January, he handed his resignation and that of his cabinet to King Willem-Alexander. This followed the results of an inquiry into a child-benefits scandal, which led to approximately 26,000 parents being falsely accused of fraud and made to pay back thousands of euros. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the inquiry found that the tax authority broke the law by investigating in a discriminatory way and with institutional bias. Due to heavy criticism of Rutte and his cabinet, they resigned en masse.

However, the resignation is a sleight of hand. Not only are Rutte and his cabinet remaining in their posts until a new government is in place — they are also likely to be returned at the General Election, scheduled for March. This ‘pseudo-resignation’ has been widely slated by Dutch opposition MPs, who have called for those involved also to take themselves off the candidates list. Rutte for one has ruled that out.

Just days ago, Rutte suffered a slip of the tongue in the Dutch parliament. During the debate on the curfew, he shocked many by stating that his government actually has more power due to its caretaker status. Upon being quickly corrected about this, he added, ‘well, they can’t get rid of us’, much to his own amusement. At a time when the people he serves are suffering so much, this flippancy, not to mention arrogance, has not gone down well.

Of course, this is not to endorse the rioting. The scenes of hostility, wilful damage and looting I am witnessing on the streets of this normally peaceful and tolerant country are heart-breaking. Worryingly, just how peace is going to be restored is as yet unclear. Bringing in the military has been ruled out for now, but with more violence and looting taking place on Monday, calls for that to change are increasing.

There is certainly much cause for reflection here, not least by the people holding the power and calling the shots. They have destroyed people’s livelihoods and they have taken away their freedom. Extraordinary times or not, they should expect to be held accountable.


The West’s Russian folly continues

Alexei Navalny’s ability to galvanise anti-government sentiment in Russia is impressive.

After his arrest and detention in Moscow last week, his associates released a two-hour long video report, alleging that President Vladimir Putin had spent $1 billion of state funds on a coastal palatial compound, complete with an underground ice-hockey rink. While allegations of large-scale kleptocratic goings-on and general municipal and state-level corruption have been Navalny’s stock-in-trade for the best part of a decade, this particular exposé clearly struck a nerve – within 24 hours of its release on 19 January it had been viewed over 70million times.

What is more, it was released amid calls from Navalny and his aides for nationwide protests against Putin’s rule on Saturday. And a significant minority were more than ready to respond. Not only in the expected garrisons of Navalny support in Moscow and St Petersburg, where tens of thousands turned out, but also across Russia, from the island of Sakhalin, just north of Japan, to Russia’s urban centres in the west. Indeed, such was the turnout of protesters and, of course, Russian security forces, that, according to one activist group, over 3,100 people had been arrested in 109 Russian cities – a sign both of the prevalence of dissent, and the Russian state’s intolerant approach to it.

With Russia’s parliamentary elections looming in September, the protests look set to continue, especially as the weather and pandemic abate. As Leonid Volkov, one of Navalny’s closest associates, put it, ‘Without a doubt this whole story is just beginning’.

And no doubt that is true. Navalny’s investigative broadsides, highlighting the corruption of Russia’s ruling elites, have reached and helped cultivate a significant domestic audience. And his plight, from the arbitrary arrests and suspicious sentences to his near death at the hands of a Soviet-era nerve agent in August, have turned him into something of a hero.

But only for some. For it is important to remember that Navalny’s appeal is to specific sections of Russian society – to the largely urban young and to middle-class professionals. He has channelled and given shape to their reservations about, and grievances against, Putin. And he has substantiated, with detailed allegations, the sense that Russia’s elites have, effectively, stolen their wealth from the Russian people. He has shown them that Putin et al are the reason why Russians’ lives are not better. That this ‘mafia state’ is the obstacle to a prosperous future. Hence many protesters were chanting ‘Putin is a thief!’ outside government buildings, while passing traffic honked their horns in support. Navalny plays the role of the figurehead here, the vector for anti-government, anti-Putin sentiment.

But Navalny is not what too many Western leaders and a largely anti-Russian Western media are now desperately turning him into. He is not the ‘opposition leader’ in any organisational or party-political sense. Nor is he the leader of an overwhelmingly popular revolt. Certainly not yet.

So, while his simple anti-corruption message commands the support of a sizable minority, many in Russia, although far from hardcore Putin supporters, are largely indifferent towards Navalny – someone Russian state media has only recently started referring to by name. Indeed, an indication of how Navalny is perceived by Russians was given in a survey conducted by the independent Levada Centre late last year. It showed that not only did few Russians believe the Kremlin was behind Navalny’s poisoning (with the Russian state media blaming a foreign conspiracy), but also most Russians did not care either way, or believed the entire poisoning was staged. Navalny’s cause matters a lot, then, but, as it stands, only for some.

Yet, such is the anti-Putin myopia of Western leaders that they seem keen not only to anoint Navalny as the official opposition, but also to throw their weight behind him. Incredibly, Joe Biden’s new US administration, ushered in under armed guard only days ago, condemned Russian ‘restrictions on civil society and fundamental freedoms’, and announced it ‘will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies and partners in defence of human rights – whether in Russia or wherever they come under threat’. Which certainly sounded like it was pledging its support for Navalny.

Likewise, Manfred Weber, the leader of the largest bloc in the European Parliament, condemned the arrest of Navalny and the crackdown on this weekend’s protests, and called for the EU to hit ‘the Putin system’ ‘where it really hurts’ – ‘and that’s the money’. In other words, more sanctions against Putin. French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian backed Weber’s call for sanctions, and described the arrests of protesters as a ‘slide towards authoritarianism’.

The problem here is not that the criticism is inaccurate. It is not. The Russian state is often authoritarian, as its treatment of political dissent and protest frequently shows. No, the problem is that Western interference in Russian political affairs is no answer.

For a start there is the irony that those pushing it from the opinion pages and parliaments of the Western public sphere are precisely those who have complained loudest about supposed Russian interference in Western politics over the past four years. More importantly, there is the simple fact that, if anything, such interventions help their nemesis Putin himself, providing the Kremlin with proof that Navalny really is backed by foreign forces. That then becomes a justification for a further crackdown not just on Navalny, but on any opposition to Putin. Which is precisely what Russia’s UK embassy tweeted about the pro-Navalny protests: ‘This is a professionally prepared provocation, encouraged by embassies of Western countries.’

Moreover, by effectively seeking to create political instability in Russia from without, backing and supporting those opposed to Putin, what do Western powers hope to achieve? Nothing concrete exactly. No, it seems that, right now, they’re content with the anti-Putin posture. They enjoy venting against the bad guy. They enjoy slamming the evil mastermind behind a thousand anti-Western plots, from Brexit to Trump. And they enjoy conjuring Russia up as the authoritarian antithesis to Western liberalism and democracy.

But their actions, from EU-led sanctions to NATO’s looming presence in Russia’s neighbouring states, are not merely postures. They have real-world effects, fomenting conflict both within Russia and without. If Putin really is to be ousted at some point in the near future, it can only happen because Russians want it, not because Western powers wish it.



30 January, 2021

Johnson & Johnson's long-awaited one-shot vaccine WORKS: Single jab prevents 72% of COVID cases and 100% of deaths

America has a contract for 100 million doses, and the firm has said it can provide that supply by June.

President Biden aims to get 100 million Americans vaccinated by late April, but states say they are running out of doses of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, both firms say they are manufacturing as fast as they can and the White House is desperate to boost its supply of shots.

Because it requires just one dose, 100 million doses of J&J's vaccine will get twice as many people full protection as 100 doses of either of the two vaccines currently approved in America.

The shot was slightly less effective globally (66 percent) because it only prevented 57 percent of cases in South Africa and 66 percent in Brazil, where new variants that are somewhat resistant to vaccines are rampant.

J&J said it would ask the FDA to give emergency authorization for its shot within the week, but doesn't expect the regulators will actually green-light the jab until March, despite the urgent need to boost the US supply.

The US has a $1 billion contract with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) for 100 million doses, pending the green light from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The firm has said it is on track to provide the doses by June.

J&J's data suggests its vaccine completely prevents hospitalization and death. No participants who received the shot died of or had to be hospitalized for COVID-19.

Those results compare to the high bar set by two authorized vaccines from Pfizer and partner BioNTech and Moderna, whose two-dose shots were around 95 percent effective in preventing symptomatic illness.

Those trials, however, were conducted mainly in the United States and before the broad spread of new variants now under the spotlight.

Brazil's variant is triggering massive outbreaks and reinfections there, and one case has been reported in the US.

Dr Anthony Fauci warned that the South African variant was most concerning to him because it has mutations - shared by the Brazilian variant - that could make vaccines less effective.

He said on Friday that the shot is 'value added' despite its lower efficacy, compared to vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer.

Specifically, the fact that the shots are cheap to make, easy to store and offers protection within seven to 10 days of one shot - 'and only one shot' - will mean they fill an important role in the rollout, Dr Fauci said.

He also noted that J&J is ready to make 'in the numbers of billions' of doses.

The company plans to seek emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration next week.

Unlike the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, J&J's does not require a second shot weeks after the first or need to be kept frozen, making it a strong candidate for use in parts of the world with weak transportation infrastructure and insufficient cold storage facilities.


Hedge funders have lost $19 BILLION in war with Reddit investors who have pushed GameStop shares up 1,800% this month

Big time hedge funds have suffered an estimated $19 billion in losses on their bets against GameStop, which surged on Friday in a rally fueled by mom-and-pop investors - and one hedge funder who got burned says he won't short sell stocks again.

GameStop shares ended the day up nearly 70 percent, as Robinhood eased restrictions on buying the unlikely market darling, even as the broader market tanked, with the Dow dropping 620 points amid concerns about the ripple effects of the bubble. Stock in theater chain AMC, which, like GameStop, had been heavily shorted, closed up 54 percent.

The target of a campaign on the online message board Reddit to 'squeeze' hedge funds betting against the stock, GameStop shares have rallied roughly 1,800 percent since the beginning of the month as the 'meme stock' insurgency picked up steam.

So far, the gains and losses for each side in the battle are mostly on paper, with each side hoping to outlast the other before cashing out. But as of Friday, investors who bet against GameStop are sitting on about $19 billion in losses, with the damage topping $10 billion alone on Wednesday, when GameStop shares surged 135 percent, according to data from Ortex provided to Business Insider.

Though their specific losses are undisclosed, hedge funds Melvin Capital, Citron, and Maplelane LLC are known to be among those that took out massive positions betting that GameStop's share price would fall.

Citron Research founder Andrew Left - once called the 'Bounty Hunter of Wall Street' and one of the key investors who had bet against GameStop - said on Friday morning that he would no longer publish 'short reports' and instead focus on opportunities for 'long' investments, a term for betting that the stock of a company will rise.

The notorious activist short-seller has claimed that he pulled the plug on his bets against GameStop after suffering losses of 100 percent as the stock surged this week.

The Reddit insurgency against hedge funds was led in part by YouTuber 'Roaring Kitty', a 34-year-old financial adviser named Keith Patrick Gill, who broke cover on Friday at his suburban Massachusetts home and appeared to be leaving with luggage ahead of the weekend.

On the Reddit forum WallStreetBets, where people trade stock tips and opinions, Gill and others have promoted a campaign to buy and hold shares of GameStop to punish hedge funds that had bet against the struggling video game retailer. The campaign has required steely resolve not to sell the shares, even as their value skyrocketed.

GameStop's continued rally came as Robinhood began to allow 'limited' purchases of shares on Friday after provoking widespread outrage with a buying ban yesterday, as the trading platform struggled to cover the bets its customers made amid extreme volatility.

Robinhood's trading restrictions triggered political backlash from both Democrats and Republicans, including Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Republican attorney general of Texas and his Democrat counterpart in New York are both investigating the matter.

On Friday, Robinhood relaxed its buying restrictions on a number of volatile stocks, including GameStop, but still placed limits on the number of shares users could accumulate. GameStop, for example, had a limit of one share for those who didn't already own more.

In an unusual statement just before the start of trade, the SEC said it 'is closely monitoring and evaluating the extreme price volatility of certain stocks' trading prices over the past several days.'

'Our core market infrastructure has proven resilient under the weight of this week's extraordinary trading volumes. Nevertheless, extreme stock price volatility has the potential to expose investors to rapid and severe losses and undermine market confidence,' the statement added.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday launched an investigation into Robinhood and other entities that halted certain trades related to GameStop.

Discord, the company that suspended a chat server used by the Reddit traders, was also a target.

“Wall Street corporations cannot limit public access to the free market, nor should they censor discussion surrounding it, particularly for their own benefit,' Paxton said in a statement.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, also said she is 'reviewing' the matter.

Launched by small investors on Reddit, GameStop assault is directed squarely at hedge funds and other Wall Street titans that had made bets the struggling video game retailer's stock would fall. Instead, it has surged some 1,800 percent since the beginning of January, forcing hedge funds to buy up shares to cover their staggering losses.

Left and other short-sellers have already essentially admitted defeat -- but the army of small investors organizing on the Reddit forum WallStreetBets is pledging to keep up the momentum for GameStop shares in hopes of inflicting more pain. On the forum, many boast that they will never sell until the hedge funds are driven to ruin.

Even as GameStop's shares soared to dizzying levels, the insurgency began to spread beyond the bounds of Reddit, with deep pocketed investors vowing to support the movement.

But Robinhood's buying halts drew fierce backlash from members of the Reddit forum WallStreetBets, which had promoted the stock, and the Senate Banking Committee announced it would hold a hearing on the matter.

On Thursday, a federal class action lawsuit was filed against Robinhood in the Southern District of New York over the move to halt certain trades.

The suit accused Robinhood of 'pulling securities like [GameStop] from its platform in order to slow growth and help benefit individuals and institutions who are not Robinhood customers but are Robinhood large institutional investors or potential investors.'

Tenev likewise flatly denied that Robinhood had faced any outside pressure to limit buying on certain shares, telling CNBC the claim is 'completely false, that's complete misinformation' and adding 'nobody pressured us'.



Biden starts staffing a commission on court packing now that Trump has balanced the judiciary (Politico)

YouTube extends Trump's suspension for a second time (CNET)

Shameful theatrics: DHS issues nationwide terrorism alert over "violent extremists" (American Military News)

National Guard ludicrously to remain in Washington, DC, until at least end of March (Disrn)

To Iran's delight, Biden administration slows arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE for review (Bloomberg)

Who'd a thunk it? Hydroxychloroquine may have some use to treat COVID after all, study shows (

Not exactly benign: Long-term study reveals harm in regular cannabis use (University of Queensland)

Red-state governors lead the COVID recovery after blue-state tyrants tanked the economy (The Federalist)

Press Secretary Jen Psaki on GameStop stock surge: "We have the first female treasury secretary" (Daily Wire)

Climate czar John Kerry's family still owns private jet as he (mis)leads climate fight (Fox News)

Policy: Canceling Keystone and reducing U.S. arms are Biden's first two major gifts to Russia (The Federalist)

Policy: The dark side of global "gender equality" (The Daily Signal)

The Virtue Signal: Dependency — Co-hosts Bill Whittle and Alfonzo Rachel discuss the corrosive effect of losing control of your own destiny.

Why Tom Brady Has a Career and Colin Kaepernick Doesn't — Some on the Left are complaining, which is a little bit like complaining that Kevin Durant has a job in the NBA but Matt Walsh doesn't.

Democrats eye 14th Amendment as impeachment alternative (Washington Times)

Talks stalled over Senate power-sharing agreement (Fox News)

A voice of sanity: Democrat Tulsi Gabbard asks Joe Biden to denounce the targeting of all Trump supporters (Post Millennial)

Just one in five Americans have ill-considered confidence Biden can unite the country (NY Post)

Highway to hell: Pete Buttigieg says a gas tax hike is "on the table" (Disrn)

A trip down memory lane: In 2011, Nancy Pelosi praised unionists storming Wisconsin State Capitol (Fox News)

Trump wasn't exactly a role model when it came to always speaking truth, but The Washington Post evidently needs reminding that Biden's entire career is checkered with lies.

Adding insult to injury: WaPo is caught scrubbing Kamala Harris "prisoner" story (NY Post)

Journalists celebrate the destruction of freedoms they once championed (City Journal)

The Latest on COVID-19: Researchers say 17% of Americans — 55 million people — have been infected (Daily Mail)

Hospitalizations fall to lowest levels since mid-December as U.S. reports sharp drop in new cases (Daily Mail)

Biden reinstating COVID travel ban targeting UK, Europe, and Brazil (NY Post)

Merck ends clinical trials for two inferior vaccine candidates (UPI)

Only 10 serious allergic reactions to Moderna vaccine and no deaths (Examiner)

California, with its nincompoop governor, naturally ranks last in administering vaccine doses (Hot Air)

Amazon, owned by archenemy of liberty Jeff Bezos, slams mail-in voting on unionization (Daily Wire)

Kentucky bill protecting abortion survivors passes without governor's signature (Live Action)

Sarah Huckabee Sanders officially announces run for Arkansas governor (NY Post)

More than 3,000 arrested in Russia in protests calling for release of Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny (NPR)

ISIS claims responsibility for twin suicide bombings in Baghdad (Fox News)

Missile or drone intercepted over Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh (CBS News)

Mexico president tests positive for COVID (Fox News)

Policy: Biden has reinstituted the pernicious Critical Race Theory at the federal level, but governors and local legislators can still fight it off (City Journal)



29 January, 2021

Fears as Germany rejects AstraZeneca vaccine for over-65s

A vaccine war in Europe has intensified with Germany refusing to give the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine approval for use in people over 65.

A vaccine war in Europe has intensified with Germany refusing to give the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine approval for use in people over 65.

In Britain, the Oxford jab has made up a substantial part of 7.5 million vaccinations so far, mainly in those over 70, as well as younger health care workers.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected Germany’s assessment, based on trial data, saying that the Oxford jab provides a “provides a good immune response across all age groups”.

Germany’s shock health decision comes after days of moaning from European Union leaders about access to the Oxford vaccine, with AstraZeneca warning it was unlikely to meet the EU’s 100 million dose order by the end of March.

The EU has demanded that Britain divert its supplies to help fill its order.

Germany’s decision was pinned on a lack of over 65s involved in the Phase 3 clinical trials, which Public Health England’s Dr Mary Ramsay acknowledged on Friday morning Australian time.

But she said other data had been reassuring, as Britain continued with its big bet on the Oxford rollout, which has been gathering pace and reaching up to 500,000 people each day.

Mr Johnson said he does not agree with the German ruling, as he backed the advice from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

When asked if he was worried about Germany’s move, he replied: “No, because I think the MHRA, our own authorities have made it very clear that they think the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is very good and efficacious, gives a high degree of protection after just one dose and even more after two doses.

“And the evidence they’ve supplied is they think it’s effective across all age groups and provides a good immune response across all age groups.”

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) was expected to approve the vaccine for use in the EU on Friday, although it is not yet clear whether it will set an age limit.

But the German authorities said: “There currently is not sufficient data to assess the vaccination effectiveness from 65 years.”

Oxford University, which partnered with AstraZeneca to develop the vaccine, has stressed that its jab offers high protection against severe disease and prevents people needing to go to hospital.

“The latest analyses of clinical trial data for the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine support efficacy in the over 65 years age group,” AstraZeneca said in a statement.

“We await a regulatory decision on the vaccine by the EMA in the coming days.”

A Phase 3 Lancet study published in December said older age groups had been recruited later into the study so “efficacy data in these cohorts are currently limited by the small number of cases, but additional data will be available in future analyses”.

In that particular analysis, only 12 percent of people given two doses of the vaccine in the UK arm of the trial (285 out of 2,377) were aged 56 to 69, while 9 per cent (213) were over 70.

Some 12 percent of people in the control group (given a dummy vaccine) were also aged 56 to 69 while 9 per cent were over 70.

Older people made up similar proportions in the Brazilian section of the trial, which was made up of 4,088 people.

Previous work published in November included findings for 560 people. Of these, 160 were aged 18 to 55, 160 were aged 56 to 69, and 240 were 70 or older.

Those results found that all age groups, including older people, had an immune response to the vaccine after two doses.


Populism Is Engulfing Wall Street…And They’re Not Happy About It

Harrison is a good friend of the Triggered Podcast and his tweet pretty much sums what’s happening on Wall Street: “Populism is contagious.” Yes, a few smart randos on a Reddit thread, ‘wallstreetbets,’ decided to exercise their right to free speech and only boost the stock price of GameStop through the roof.

It cost hedge fund firms, who were trying to keep the price low, tons of money—billions of dollars were just roasted. If you need a visual comparison, think the Joker lighting that mountain of money on fire in The Dark Knight. Some hedge funds got wiped out. I have another media reference for what’s happening—sort of—and it centers on the ending of Trading Places with Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy manipulating the market of frozen concentrate orange juice. It’s that scene, but in reverse—and yes, those margin calls can be quite steep. They have been quite steep. As a Mets fan, I know new owner Steve Cohen, who serves as the basis for the character Bobby Axelrod on Showtime’s Billions, will be okay. That doesn’t negate the fact that his hedge fund lost a ton of money in the past few days.

Look, a few small-time guys are beating Wall Street. They’re making some money—and the big wigs aren’t happy. The power of the people is screwing the folks who are rigging the system. And now, that’s a problem. How dare the little guy make some scratch by conducting some trades? How dare they? This is our playground. Well, everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth. So far, some of the stocks targeted for this money train ride are AMC Theaters, Nokia, GameStop, and a couple of others. It’s a financial ‘storming of the Bastille,’ which I wholeheartedly endorse. Even Barstool's Dave Portnoy is getting in on the action

A real estate salesman in Valparaiso, Ind. A former line cook from the Bronx. An evangelical pastor and his wife in Huntington Beach, Calif. A high school student in the Milwaukee suburbs.

They are among the millions of amateur traders collectively taking on some of Wall Street’s most sophisticated investors — and, for the moment at least, winning. Propelled by a mix of greed and boredom, gleefully determined to teach Wall Street a lesson, and turbocharged by an endless flow of get-rich-quick hype and ideas delivered via social media, these investors have piled into trades around several companies, pushing their stock prices to stratospheric levels.


On Wall Street, individual investors are often derided as “dumb money,” destined to lose against the highly compensated analysts and traders who buy and sell stocks for a living. But in recent days, individual investors — many of them followers of a popular, juvenile, foul-mouthed Reddit page called Wall Street Bets — have upended that narrative by banding together to put the squeeze on at least two hedge funds that had bet that GameStop’s shares would fall.

While the hedge funds and other professional money managers had been shorting GameStop’s shares, betting that its stock was doomed to further decline, the retail investors — online traders, mom-and-pop investors, small brokers and others — have been pushing the other way, buying shares and stock options. That caused GameStop’s market value to increase to over $24 billion from $2 billion in a matter of days. Its shares have risen over 1,700 percent since December. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, the market value rose over $10 billion.


Ben Patte, 16, a high school student in Wisconsin who said he made $750 off GameStop stock, said the campaign felt like vindication for himself and fellow young traders. “It’s a good opportunity to make money and stick it to the hedge funds,” he said. “By buying GameStop, it’s kind of like beating them at their own game.”

No one knows how this ends. Some analysts say the intense activity could eventually prompt a wider sell-off in the market by forcing hedge funds on the losing side of these trades to sell parts of their portfolios to raise cash to cover their losses.

Yeah, those poor billionaires. How will they ever live now? Also, it’s hilarious to see the NASDAQ CEO make suggestions that trading be halted so the elites can recalibrate their standing in the market. This right here is one of the many reasons why Trump won. Believe it or not, there are significant Trump and Bernie supporters who feel the economic system is rigged and the elites are trash. Well, this is exhibit A in that regard. Also, Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) husband bought $50,000 in stocks that weren’t disclosed. But it’s okay—she’s willing to pay a fine. Two separate rules, except it’s between the wealthy and well-connected and the little guys.

Best of luck, guys. Keep making them pay.


UPDATE: The Elites Fight Back

Well, all good things come to an end. Yet, that usually doesn’t come with a hefty side of corruption. As Leah wrote this morning, Robinhood app, which allows ordinary folks to participate in the stock market, pretty much froze trading on the stocks being targeted by WallStreetBets by removing those companies from the app. Again, how dare the little guy make some money after using the very same pump and dump schemes the big hedge funds use. How dare they? And then, the elite strikes back like this by limiting Robinhood app users' participation in the market—and people wonder why populism is on the rise. Why Trump won. And why folks act crazy at times. We all talk about market manipulation. This is it in its purest, most corrupt form.

These elite hogs set off a dirty bomb inside Wall Street today. It's a total and complete atrocity.


GameStop stock price crashes as Robinhood app restricts trading

GameStop shares have sunk as trading platforms including Robinhood and Interactive Brokers restricted trading in the video game retailer along with AMC Entertainment, Blackberry and other stocks that soared this week in a social media-driven trading frenzy that shook stock markets.

GameStop, the US video game chain whose 1,700 per cent rally has been at the heart of a battle between small scale "retail" investors and hedge funds over the past week, lost half its value in early trading.

Having finished Wednesday's session at $US347.51 a share, GameStop plunged to $US265 when the New York Stock Exchange opened last night, ending the day down 44 per cent at $US193.60.

However, the company's share price rallied in after-hours trade when Robinhood released a statement after the NYSE's close saying that it would allow "limited buys" of the securities it had suspended from trade.

"Starting tomorrow, we plan to allow limited buys of these securities," the company announced on its "Under the Hood" blog. "We'll continue to monitor the situation and may make adjustments as needed."

GameStop shares had previously jumped more than 1,000 per cent in the past week, driven primarily by retail investors trading on online apps and sharing tips on social media messaging boards.

Such gains have forced short-sellers to buy back stock to cover potential losses in what is dubbed a "short squeeze".

On Reddit board WallStreetBets, where calls to buy stocks have helped drive the extraordinary moves, some of its more than 4 million members reported trading platform Robinhood was now preventing investors from buying GameStop and other volatile stocks.

In a statement on its website, Robinhood said the restrictions were necessary to comply with Securities and Exchange Commission financial requirements given the recent volatility in these stocks. It said restricted stocks also included BlackBerry, Koss and Express.

It was quickly hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging that as many as 10 million people may have "lost out on earnings opportunities" as a result of Robin Hood's move.

Interactive Brokers, another online trading platform, also said it was restricting trading in those stocks. "We do not believe this situation will subside until the exchanges and regulators halt or put certain symbols into liquidation only," Interactive Brokers said.

On Twitter, many observers decried the decision to remove certain stocks, arguing the retail trading platforms were trying to protect Wall Street interests at the expense of Main Street.

"Robin Hood: a parable about stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Robinhood: an app about protecting the rich from being short squeezed by the poor," tweeted Jake Chervinsky, a lawyer for fintech company Compound.

The decision to halt trading on the platforms was also condemned by US politicians from opposite ends of the political spectrum, with Republican Senator Ted Cruz retweeting a tweet from Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez labelling Robinhood's move "unacceptable" and flagging the possibility of a congressional investigation into the issue.

However, Robinhood has defended its actions, saying they were taken purely due to regulatory requirements and not at the behest of big Wall Street players.

"To be clear, this was a risk-management decision, and was not made on the direction of the market makers we route to," the trading platform wrote on its blog.



28 January, 2021

Mutant COVID strain spreads as AstraZeneca war erupts

A fast-moving coronavirus variant found in the UK has spread to more than 70 countries as AstraZeneca invokes the wrath of the EU over vaccine shortages.

The new and more contagious COVID-19 variant first spotted in Britain has now spread to 70 countries — 10 more than a week ago, the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday (local time).

In its latest epidemiological update, the UN health agency also said the variant of the virus first found in South Africa had spread to eight more countries in the past week and was now present in 31 nations; meanwhile another variant discovered in Brazil had spread to eight countries.

It comes as global cases passed 100 million and more than 18,000 people worldwide died of coronavirus over the past 24 hours, a new grim record amid the battle to stem the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the EU has demanded that AstraZeneca make up delays of its COVID-19 vaccine by supplying doses from its UK factories on Wednesday (local time) risked setting the bloc and Britain on a post-Brexit collision course.

Both the European Union and former member Britain insisted the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company uphold contractual delivery promises to each of them — even as the company said there was not enough to go around.

“The 27 European Union member states are united that AstraZeneca needs to deliver on its commitments in our agreements,” EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides told a Brussels media conference.

“We expect contracts to be adhered to. AstraZeneca has committed to two million doses a week here in the UK and we do not expect that to change,” Mr Johnson’s spokesman said.

The row was triggered last Friday when AstraZeneca informed the EU that it could only supply a quarter of the vaccine doses it had promised for the first three months of this year.

That infuriated the European Commission, which is planning this week to add the AstraZeneca vaccine to two others it has already authorised — from BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna — to help reach a goal of inoculating 70 per cent of adults in the EU by the end of August.

The anger became incandescent when AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot on Tuesday gave an interview saying his company was prioritising supplies to the UK, which had signed its contract three months before the EU did, and was required only to make a “best effort” to supply the bloc.

Kyriakides said that went against the terms of the contact AstraZeneca signed with the European Commission.

“The view that the company is not obliged to deliver because we signed a ‘best effort’ agreement is neither correct nor is it acceptable,” she said.

“We reject the logic of first-come, first-served. That may work at the neighbourhood butcher’s but not in contracts, and not in our advanced purchase agreements.”

Should AstraZeneca start diverting vaccine supply from the two UK plants, however, that could jeopardise Mr Johnson’s commitment to have 15 million Britons vaccinated by mid-February.

Already, thanks mainly to the AstraZeneca vaccine, Britain is one of the leading countries for the pace at which it is inoculating its population — doing so at five times the rate of EU member states collectively.

A sudden slowdown in those doses would be dramatic, especially as Britain has suffered the highest death toll from COVID-19 of any European country and Mr Johnson is counting on the vaccinations to stem deaths

Tensions between the EU and Britain remain high in the wake of Brexit, with British traders and consumers suffering as they cope with higher costs and bureaucracy outside of the European single market.

The EU, meanwhile, plans to grill AstraZeneca further in a meeting with its executives later Wednesday (local time). There was some confusion, though, over the videoconference, with one EU official saying the company had abruptly pulled out but AstraZeneca saying it would attend.


So It’s Safe to Talk about Joe Biden’s Corruption, Flaws and Mental Decline Again

That didn’t take long! Apparently, the moratorium on stating truthful facts about Joe Biden’s corrupt family dealings, his weirdo hands-on approach with women and little girls, and his severe mental decline has been lifted. Just in the last few days, the Washington Post has noticed something truly alarming: Joe Biden seems to be a doddering old fool with dementia. He’s not quite the same old vigorous Joe who ran such a robust, energetic campaign in 2020!

It’s as if the media is suddenly admitting what all of us knew all along: Joe Biden is probably not long for this world. They may as well begin reporting on some of the sleazier truths of Joe Biden, now that he is no longer needed.

For example, Politico – Politico, of all places (!) – is reporting that one of Joe Biden’s revenue streams is suddenly refusing to reveal who his donors are. Now that the media is no longer wildly disinterested in vetting Joe Biden, it turns out that something called the “Biden Institute” was founded at the University of Delaware in 2017. That was the first year that Biden was out of office, you may remember.

Yeah, I had never heard of this “Institute” before either – that’s how much the media avoided looking into Joe Biden for four years, even though everyone was pretty sure he was going to run for office in 2020.

Anyway, Politico notes that this Biden Institute is being quite a bit less subtle than the Clinton Foundation ever was. If someone wants to curry some sort of favor with the Biden administration, they should feel free to make a generous donation to the Biden Institute, winka winka.

Oh, and it gets even sleazier!

At the University of Pennsylvania, there’s also a previously-unheard-of thing called the “Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.” The man who has been running the Penn Biden Center since it was founded in 2018 is a guy named Tony Blinken. That name might sound familiar to you, since Tony Blinken is Biden’s nominee to be the new US Secretary of State.

The Penn Biden Center under Blinken’s leadership took in more than $20 million in anonymous donations from Chinese nationals. And the Penn Biden Center is now refusing to disclose the identities of those Chinese donors.

Almost every dime that the Penn Biden Center raked in over a two-year period came exclusively from anonymous Chinese donors. Yet not one Republican in Blinken’s Senate confirmation hearing bothered to ask about it. They were too busy complimenting Blinken while nervously asking questions about the embassy in Jerusalem.

Since the Penn Biden Center is almost entirely bought and paid for by anonymous Chinese donors, you should know that there are a few other people who worked there who are also moving over to the White House this week.

The list includes White House counselor Steve Ricchetti, Brian McKeon who will be headed to the State Department, the new Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, the new deputy UN ambassador Jeff Prescott, and three other people that Biden has appointed to the National Security Council.

See how that scam works? All of these people are required, obviously, to fill out financial disclosures during the nominating process. But they’re all just going to write that they were paid salaries by this Penn Biden Center. And the Penn Biden Center is refusing to disclose its list of anonymous donors from Communist China.

Bought. And. Paid. For.

The good news for the media is that the Biden-Chinese-money funnel is a scandal that won’t impact their preferred fake president, Kamala Harris. Now that Joe Biden no longer serves any purpose in the communist takeover of America, the press can feel safe about digging into the corrupt Biden family cesspool.

Once that happens, look for Joe Biden to have some sort of health emergency that requires him to step down.

Here’s another reason why this is all significant. None of the money that flowed into the Penn Biden Center from Communist China had anything to do with Hunter Biden. The Biden family can’t just pawn that off on their black sheep of an excuse for a son. This is Joe Biden’s money scandal – and his alone. Which gives the puppet masters one more reason to take Joe back behind the barn and give him the Old Yeller treatment.


The Left Wants Unconditional Surrender, Not Unity

About two years ago, one of my wife's best friends began to turn down invitations to get together. Then, out of the blue, she unfriended my wife on Facebook.

That's kind of a rude way to brush off someone, so my wife finally asked her: What gives? Have I offended you? Her terse text response was full of self-righteousness: "John (her husband) and I are so appalled by the things that Steve writes that we don't want to associate with you anymore."

I wasn't offended that they disagree with my positions or even that they felt our political disagreements are so wide that we probably shouldn't hang out together anymore. After all, we are two Americas today.

What stuck in my craw was the word "appalled." It was her way of saying: "We are better people than you. We have higher standards." "Appalled" is the outrage you feel when someone gets drunk and starts hitting on your wife.

I recite the incident because it is an example of how liberals have anointed themselves as not just intellectually but morally superior to those on the right. Welcome to the "religious left."

A case in point: the Boston Globe recently printed a front-page opinion piece by the paper's liberal columnist Yvonne Abraham, who denounced the idea of any "unity" agenda with Republicans or conservatives. "Here's the thing about unity," she snuffed. "To achieve it, you have to believe in a common good. And most members of this Republican Party have demonstrated over and over that they simply don't." You can't find common ground with a movement "defined by lies."

Of course, the irony here is that it is President Joe Biden, not Republicans, who is pledging an agenda to unify the country. But so far, the new administration's position seems to be: Why bother to find common ground when you control all of the levers of governmental power and you can steamroll over them instead?

What is to be gained by uniting with people who are "white supremacists" or "insurrectionists"?

Most everyone I know on the right agrees that violence is rarely, if ever, an acceptable form of political protest.

Do liberals? The new vice president of the United States called the liberal mobs who ransacked cities this summer "social justice warriors." Apparently, it is excusable to burn down a building or assault a police officer if you are protesting racial injustice, climate change, abortion rights or cuts in social programs.

The Trump Haters say that the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol are guilty of a treasonable offense. OK, but several years ago, when many thousands of "social justice warriors" (i.e., union thugs) stormed past the police and occupied the domed Capital building in Madison for days, the media celebrated.

Abraham is right about unity. America is now a country divided into Hatfields and McCoys. In just his first four days in office, it's clear there isn't going to be any unifying of the country under Biden. That was a hollow campaign slogan that has swirled down the drain as the White House issued executive orders, such as killing the Keystone XL pipeline, that have infuriated conservatives. The absurd House snap-impeachment of former President Donald Trump a few days before he was to leave office was absurd enough, but not nearly as divisive as the apparent Senate plans to go ahead with a trial.

Biden said he "doesn't see red states and blue states, only sees the United States." Really? Then why is one of his first proposals a blue-state bailout to the tune of $350 billion -- to be paid by the Republicans in red states. That is a financial insurrection against the half of the states that are not run by Democrats.

The left doesn't want unity with the right. It wants submission. They don't think we live up to their standards of proper behavior and righteousness.

If these are the people that are collectively "unfriending" us on Facebook and in the grocery stores, that's fine by us. Frankly, the feeling is mutual.



Rule by decree: Joe Biden sets record with at least 21 executive orders in first week (Breitbart)

Senate confirms Janet Yellen as treasury secretary (UPI)

Supreme Court throws out lawsuit alleging Trump profited illegally from presidency (Post Millennial)

"It has gotten harder and harder to break through the partisan gridlock": Ohio Senator Rob Portman not running for reelection in 2022 (Fox News)

Biden admin to "speed up" efforts to place Harriet Tubman on $20 bill honor gun-wielding Republican who freed Democrat slaves (National Review)

New York Times claims Dr. Fauci has "commitment to hard facts" after he admitted to paper he lied about herd immunity (Fox News)

Unity! Biden officially ends Trump's ban on troops suffering from gender dysphoria (American Military News)

Thousands of National Guard troops to remain in DC for Trump impeachment trial (Examiner)

Testing Biden: For second straight day, China provokes Taiwan — and the U.S. (NY Post)

Moderna says its vaccine is effective in blocking new COVID strains (UPI)

Globally, job losses from coronavirus were four times as bad as the 2009 financial crisis (AP)

And not a minute too soon: Seattle police chief announces tougher policy of prosecuting anarchists (Seattle Times)

Ironic: Baltimore "Safe Streets" gun control advocate shot and killed (TTAG)



27 January, 2021

It's Not a Lie to Say the Left Hates Us

Recent history is replete with examples of the Left's extreme animus for those of us on the Right.

In the course of pursuing accountability for the 2020 election results, we can’t ignore those who’ve been actively gaslighting grassroots Patriots about the Left’s intentions. It’s a strong word, yes, but when one looks at the facts, it’s an accurate description of what The Dispatch’s David French recently tried to do.

Pundits make their living by stirring the pot, no doubt about it. If they can generate a lot of discussion and comment in these click-bait times, so much the better. But French’s insistence that it’s a lie to say that the Left hates us is itself a lie. Furthermore, the evidence of left-wing hatred for the Right long predates Donald Trump’s escalator ride to announce his 2016 bid for president.

The Left’s track record of extreme animus is undeniable, and we’re not the only outlet to have noticed. It comes from Hollywood, from politicians like Maxine Waters, from pundits like Eugene Robinson, from “media figures” like Al Sharpton, and from plenty of other places. Hollywood elites and politicians who never missed a paycheck mocked not just those exercising their First Amendment rights to protest the harm the lockdowns did but those who were watching their businesses die and their financial situation turn more and more desperate. A certain former first lady said those trying to fix a botched school-lunch experiment were okay with kids eating crap.

But beyond ugly statements and the mocking of valid concerns, we have a long train of abuses. What motivated the regime of Andrew Cuomo and Letitia James to target the National Rifle Association? Cuomo all but admitted his reasoning — he hated the NRA for its opposition to gun control. And, by the way, the NRA is now leaving New York for Texas.

What motivated the notorious John Doe investigations in Wisconsin? French himself answered the question in his own National Review article on those abusive probes: hatred stemming from Scott Walker’s status as a Republican governor, and later his long-overdue reforms of the state’s teachers unions. Or, to put it bluntly, the vindictive leftist prosecutor hated the conservatives and the success they enjoyed in Wisconsin in the early 2010s.

What motivated the state of Colorado’s harassment of Masterpiece Cakeshop? The Supreme Court answered that in a 7-2 ruling: hatred toward the sincerely held religious beliefs of bakeshop owner Jack Phillips. The smoking gun was the disparity in how other bakeries were treated.

The abuse leveled at conservative commentator Dana Loesch after she took on Jake Tapper at CNN’s post-Parkland Second Amendment shaming special? Pure hatred for conservatives’ support of the Second Amendment. Much of the invective is unprintable, and Loesch isn’t the only woman who’s faced it. Just ask Sarah Palin, Candace Owens, or Nikki Haley to name three prominent targets.

When we look at the Left over the years, we see the over-the-top hatred leftists have directed at grassroots Patriots and other advocates for constitutional government. We can go on and on, but the fact pattern is undeniable. When it comes to the Left’s hatred of the Right, are we to believe David French or our own lyin’ eyes?


Dear Conservatives: Big Corporations are Not Your Friends

Over the past three decades, the Left-Right debate in America has been full of oddities and contradictions. Perhaps the strangest of them all has been the conservative movement's devotion to the interests of large corporations, which routinely use their wealth and power to support causes that directly conflict with conservative ideals.

Among the most notable examples is the recent attack on political speech waged by large technology companies (and multi-billion-dollar corporations) such as Apple, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook.

Conservatives spent years calling for limited regulations, special laws that allow for tech companies to operate more easily online and lower tax rates for all corporations, including tech giants. Tech companies have responded by limiting the political speech of conservatives—and no, I am not referring to restrictions placed on the social media accounts belonging President Trump.

One could present dozens of examples of social media's bias against prominent conservative voices and right-leaning media outlets. For instance, consider Twitter's decision to ban The New York Post in October because it refused to remove a story from Twitter about evidence showing Chinese and Ukrainian businesses had paid Hunter Biden—and possibly Joe Biden as well—to gain access to the White House while Joe Biden was serving as vice president.

Regardless of whether you believe the Post's story, there was no denying that the evidence it presented was compelling and in line with modern journalistic standards, and thus should never have been prohibited on an allegedly "open forum" like Twitter.

Conversely, hundreds—perhaps even thousands—of stories claiming to show that Donald Trump had colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign were reposted millions upon millions of times during Trump's four years in office. Social media platforms did nothing about these stories, despite the fact that many of them relied solely on a dossier paid for by Hillary Clinton and dependent on interviews with unnamed foreign sources.

Consider also the recent removal of social media app Parler from the Google Play and Apple app stores, as well as the subsequent removal of the website from web servers run by Amazon.

Apple, Google and Amazon all claim they decided to effectively shut down the right-leaning Parler app—silencing its more than 10 million users in the process—because Parler had not done enough to moderate obscene content and calls for violence on its platform. But if that were truly the reason for the actions taken against Parler, why haven't these big tech companies also closed down left-leaning services like Facebook and Twitter, which permit all sorts of reprehensible posts on their platforms?

For example, to this day, Twitter continues to allow the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, to spew hateful language on its platform, including this racist, violent post from June 2018: "Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen."

Of course, large technology companies are not the only powerful corporations that have worked against conservative interests.

The massive corporations controlling the health insurance industry were some of the biggest supporters of the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010, when President Obama and Vice President Biden were working to push their proposal through Congress.

Today, dozens of prominent leaders in business and finance, including the CEOs of Mastercard, BP and Bank of America, are working with the World Economic Forum to create a "new social contract" that aims to dramatically alter the global economy in line with progressive goals.

Corporations across the country frequently use their vast resources and influence in the labor market—about half of all employees work for large businesses, many of which are corporations—to coerce state and local governments to provide crony tax breaks or government funding in exchange for relocating, expanding or keeping business operations in particular regions.

Large corporations have been some of the largest advocates for and beneficiaries of government bailout programs, going all the way back to the George W. Bush administration. Analysts on the ideological Left and Right have found that the government coronavirus bailouts provided in 2020 mostly favored large, often very wealthy, corporations.

There is nothing even remotely "conservative" about any of this. And yet, many within the conservative movement, a group I have belonged to for my entire adult life, have for years supported policies designed to help this powerful group. The question is not whether this has occurred, but rather why it has occurred. Why have conservatives fought so hard for people who have worked so tirelessly to undermine right-wing principles?

"We're for the free market!"—that's the response you'll most likely hear if you ask many, but certainly not all, within the conservative movement. But the truth is, large corporations are often the creations of government policies, not free-market economics.

Corporations operate under different regulatory and tax structures than individuals. They have special liability protections that are not available to individuals, either. And publicly traded corporations are typically not loyal to any one country; they will often go wherever they can secure the most lucrative conditions, often at the expense of taxpayers. In fact, they are the opposite.

The era of conservatives supporting large corporate interests must end. Taking any other course of action would not only be hypocritical; it would be in direct opposition to conservatives' interests, and possibly even the survival of the movement.

If those of us who value free markets and individual liberty cannot see the desperate need to reverse course by now, then we will deserve the catastrophic consequences in the years to come.


Joe Biden's deportation freeze blocked by federal judge

A federal judge in Texas has delivered a major blow to Joe Biden's immigration plan, blocking the new President's 100-day pause on deportations.

The ruling comes after the state of Texas sued the federal government over the move.

US District Judge Drew Tipton on Tuesday issued a 14-day nationwide restraining order blocking the policy while both parties submit briefs in the case.

“VICTORY,” tweeted Texas Attorney-General Ken Paxton, a close ally of former President Donald Trump.

“Texas is the FIRST state in the nation to bring a lawsuit against the Biden Admin. AND WE WON. Within six days of Biden’s inauguration, Texas has HALTED his illegal deportation freeze. *This* was a seditious left-wing insurrection. And my team and I stopped it.”

Judge Tipton, a Trump appointee, said in the order that Texas has a “substantial likelihood of success” on at least two claims, including that the freeze violated federal immigration law which says authorities “shall remove” illegal immigrants with final deportation orders within 90 days, Reuters reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union had in turn filed a brief asking the court to deny the request.

“The voters rejected the Trump administration’s disastrous immigration policies, but Texas is now seeking to keep the Biden administration from turning the page,” said Cody Wofsy, an attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

Joe Biden says he is rescinding the previous administration's "harmful ban on diversity and sensitivity training" and abolishing the "offensive, counterfactual" 1776 Commission set up by Donald Trump.

"Unity and healing must begin with understanding and truth, not ignorance and lies," Mr Biden said on Tuesday.

Last September, the former President signed an executive order banning federal agencies from using diversity training programs that teach about "white privilege" and critical race theory.

"The President has directed me to ensure that federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions," Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought wrote in a memo at the time outlining the directive.

"Executive branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date 'training' government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda."

In response to the Biden administration's move, a network of private lawyers and conservative organisations has formed to fight such training on the grounds that it violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the US Constitution.

"Critical race theory training programs have become commonplace in academia, government, and corporate life, where they have sought to advance the ideology through cult-like indoctrination, intimidation and harassment," Discovery Institute researcher Chris Rufo, who is leading the coalition, said in a press release.

But one lawyer who has conducted such sessions defended the practice. "If we are going to live up to this nation's promise — 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal' — we have to see each other as human beings, and we have to do whatever it takes, including taking whatever classes make that possible," M.E. Hart told The Washington Post.



26 January, 2021

President Biden told vast lies about the vaccine roll-out - but the groveling US media was too busy putting halos on Saints Joe and Kamala to say so

Well, the brave new world of honesty in American politics lasted a grand total of 24 hours. President Joe Biden promised an immediate end to the constant lying from the White House that we endured over four years of Donald Trump's tenure.

But then he couldn't help himself and promptly spewed the kind of brazen, bare-faced, media-bashing whopper that Trump is accused of loving.

Biden's made a big noisy deal of setting a target of 100 million coronavirus vaccines in his first 100 days.

But he knows that hitting this target would be a completely bogus 'achievement' because the US is already at that level of vaccination, averaging 914,000 daily doses administered last week according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and rocketing to 1.6 million on the very day of Biden's inauguration.

So, at this rate, the goal will be easily attained, and masks the reality that America could and should be aiming a lot higher.

That, though, wasn't the lie. That was just the kind of under-promise, over-deliver type of sneaky political spin designed to grab headlines and win a cheap 'victory' down the line when the target is easily met.

No, the lie came when Biden was asked by a reporter at the White House to defend such a comparatively derisory target and angrily snapped back: 'When I announced it, you all said it's not possible. Come on, give me a break, man. It's a good start - 100 million.'

This was utter nonsense. Nobody qualified to comment in the mainstream media said it was impossible. In fact, on the day in December when Biden first made his 100 million pledge, CNN's medical expert Dr Sanjay Gupta said it was 'very doable' given what he'd been told by the vaccine companies controlling supply.

Biden knows this, because he'll have been told the same information by the same companies. Yet he chose to pretend the media had ALL attacked him for making an impossible promise. And he did that to deflect them from rightly pulling him up on the weakness of his pledge.

Good politics, bad optics – especially from the man the media seems to think is more Saint than President.

I didn't have a problem with the generally euphoric reaction to Biden's inauguration. Like most people, I found his unifying speech very inspiring and it was a welcome relief to hear some civility coming out of the mouth of the President of the United States again after four long profane years.

But by the following morning, I expected the US media to start doing to Biden what they did to Trump from the moment HE got elected and hold his feet to ferocious fire. After all, the most important function of the media is to make government accountable for its actions.

Instead, the open fawning has carried on in a quite nauseating manner. With the exception of Fox News, which naturally is trashing Biden with the same fervour it defended Trump – often indefensibly - America's news networks and newspapers have fought amongst each other to see who can win the title of Biggest Biden Toady.

One journalist was even fired by the New York Times for being too overt about her breathless excitement after she tweeted 'I have chills' over a photo of Biden's plane landing for the inauguration.

I don't agree with the firing, not least because she was only tweeting what 99% of other New York Times journalists would have been thinking. But the fact she was happy to be seen to be so publicly partisan is a very bad look for the liberal-dominated media.

We've seen the same kind of cringe-worthy groveling across cable news too. Former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly lambasted the media this week because she claimed they 'checked their objectivity' when covering Trump and the public 'lost trust' as a result. She even said this abandonment of normal impartial journalism was partly to blame for the riots at the US Capitol three weeks ago.

Kelly makes a good point about the danger of supposedly impartial journalists bringing personal feelings into covering a president, any president.

For example, I can't have been the only CNN viewer who was shocked when Anderson Cooper described President Trump as 'an obese turtle on its back flailing in the hot Sun'.

Cooper, who spent four years openly sneering at Trump on air, including spending two years gorging over a Russia collusion story that turned out to be a nothing-burger, has been barely able to contain his personal glee since Trump's downfall and Biden's election.

But Cooper's not alone. Much of the US media is currently in the grip of an unctuous prolonged period of gratuitously intense derriere-smoke-blowing towards 'Halo' Joe and his Vice-President, Kamala 'the new Mother Teresa' Harris.

Laughably, the only time the media's got angry about anything involving Ms Harris is when they thought her recent Vanity Fair cover wasn't flattering enough.

Yet she is now the second most powerful person in the country, already involved in huge decisions with huge ramifications for people's lives and livelihoods.

The vaccine roll-out is a perfect illustration of the double standard at play. The media's largely been very content to play along with Biden's narrative that Trump did nothing on vaccines, it's all been a 'dismal failure' and he's now the jab-administering cavalry to save everyone. One White House official even asserted as fact about the vaccine program: 'There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch.'

This completely false statement was quickly debunked by Dr Anthony Fauci who said: 'We certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution.'

There certainly is….

It's perfectly true the Trump administration fell short of its own pledge to deliver 20 million vaccine doses by the end of 2020.

It only delivered around three million by then.

However, by the time of the Inauguration on January 20, that number rose to 16.5 million including, as I said earlier, 1.6 million that day alone.

This was equivalent to five doses per 100 people and put the US fourth in the world behind Israel, the UAE and the UK.

So, not the best, but considerably better than most other countries including European power-houses Germany and France. And the US federal government had actually distributed 35 million doses to the states by January 20, but less than half had been given.

If they'd all been administered, the US would have been even higher up the global vaccine league table.

I have no desire to defend Donald Trump but to pretend his administration did nothing on vaccine distribution is palpably untrue; another Biden administration vaccine-related lie in fact.

And ironically, the main reason President Biden will comfortably hit his 100m target is because his predecessor had already got the vaccine roll-out to the required daily levels.

So, why isn't Biden being torched for all this disingenuous self-promoting vaccine bullsh*t?

Sadly, I fear it's because the liberal torch-carriers in the media are reluctant to light the flame because Biden's one of them.

CNN's media correspondent Brian Stelter, an evangelical Trump-basher, added a personal comment to an image on his show yesterday featuring new White House press secretary Jen Paski. The banner headline said: 'Psaki promises to share 'accurate info' (How refreshing)'.

Hmmm. If would have been rather more 'refreshing' if Stelter had got Ms Psaki onto his show to flame-grill her about her boss's untrue claims about the vaccine roll-out.

He'd have certainly been all over the lies like a cheap rash if it had been Trump spewing them, as would the rest of the news media.

The non-questioning hero-worshipping treatment of Joe Biden and his administration is gut-wrenching and needs to stop immediately. And the media needs to start doing its job properly.

Otherwise, the 75 million Trump voters who suspected there was a media bias against their guy will have all those suspicions confirmed before their very eyes on a daily basis.

And that will cement rather than repair the shockingly partisan disunity that has enveloped America in recent years.


Lockdowns cripple the poor and pamper the rich

Lockdown has improved the physical and mental health of the wealthy, while devastating the poor.

A new poll from Morning Consult provides a stark illustration of the unequal impact of personal finances, mental health and physical health.

Those in the US earning under $50,000 per year were the most likely to report a decline in their personal finances in 2020, whereas those earning over $100,000 reported a net improvement. The job security, take-home pay, personal life and work-life balance of the poorest have deteriorated significantly, too.

More strikingly, lower earners also experienced the greatest deterioration in mental and physical health. Those with postgraduate degrees, on the other hand, reported improvements in their physical health – by a whopping 23 per cent.

As spiked has repeatedly highlighted since the lockdowns began last year, the consequences for the working class have been devastating, while the more affluent seem to have profited from the restrictions.

In the US, between 18 March and 10 April 2020, over 22million people lost their jobs. But in the same three weeks, the wealth of billionaires increased by $282billion, according to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies.

And in the UK, an Instititue for Fiscal Studies report found that between March and September last year, the average monthly savings of the poorest fifth of people fell by £170 compared to a normal year. Higher-income quintiles, on the other hand, enjoyed a rise in their savings.

All this gives the lie to the absurd claims that opposition to lockdown serves the interests of the wealthy. Supporters of the lockdown – particularly on the left – are quick to denounce any call to reopen society as an attempt to ‘save the billionaires’.

But the billionaires and the well-heeled have done brilliantly out of lockdown. It is the poor who have suffered most from the shutdown of society, as they are less likely to be able to work from home and more likely to be hard-hit by redundancy and declines in pay.

Lockdowns are crippling the poor and pampering the rich.


Biden's 'Illegals First' Amnesty Plan

Joe Biden plans to put the concerns of American citizens and their interests in the back seat as he will return to the disastrous Barack Obama-era immigration policy. Noncitizens and those who gained access to this country illegally will now receive priority treatment as if they were not only welcomed guests but were themselves citizens of the republic.

Biden has proposed a plan that will put an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the country on an eight-year path to U.S. citizenship. The Washington Post reports, “To qualify, immigrants must have been in the United States as of Jan. 1, a move meant to blunt any rush to the border.”

Well, so much for preventing that border rush. A migrant caravan that has formed in Honduras is not only expecting but demanding that Biden open the border for them. As one migrant stated, “I just want patience and prayers that we can get to the U.S. because they have a new president, Biden. He’s going to help all of us, he’s giving us 100 days to get to the U.S. and give us [legal] papers, so we can get a better life for our kids, and for our families.” Who can blame these migrants? Biden has essentially laid out the welcome mat by eliminating Donald Trump’s “wait in Mexico” asylum policy and suspending deportations.

Meanwhile, American citizens, especially lower-income working-class Americans, will be the ones feeling the brunt of Biden’s amnesty policy as they see their wages and job opportunities diminish due to an influx of illegal aliens.

Of course, for Biden and company, the prospect of gaining 11 million new Democrat voters outweighs any concerns over the plight of the American working class. As Breitbart reports, “Under current rules, legal immigrants can get citizenship and voting rights five years after getting green cards. But the Biden bill would allow the migrants to convert their green cards into citizenship in just three years.”

By the way, aren’t we still in the middle of a “dark winter” of a global pandemic? Why fling the immigration door open wide right now? Well, because the Democrats’ agenda on immigration has not changed. It is what it always has been — making more Democrat voters.



25 January, 2021

The luckiest country: Australia goes a WEEK with zero coronavirus cases across the entire nation

Australia has gone a week without a single community transmission of Covid-19, as other nations across the world continue to buckle under the strain of the virus and its ever changing and increasingly dangerous mutations.

While a day without any local cases may seem impossible for other countries battling the virus, for Australia it is slowly becoming the new normal.

In Victoria, the state has gone an incredible 18 days without a single community transmission case following fears the Northern Beaches cluster would completely ruin their long standing streak after it spread across the border.

After enduring a hard three-day lockdown in Brisbane, Queensland also recorded zero new cases of Covid-19.

The rest of the country have continued to record no community transmission as the virus is once again under control.

In the meantime, beaches around the country were packed over the weekend with restrictions eased many weeks ago, in stark comparison to the strict lockdowns experienced across Europe.


Justice Department considers NOT charging up to 800 MAGA rioters who caused havoc at the Capitol 'since most of them just trespassed and were not violent'

This is a very big admission: "most of them just trespassed and were not violent"

The FBI and prosecutors at the Justice Department are debating whether to decline to charge some of the MAGA rioters who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to derail President Joe Biden's certification.

There is concern among DOJ officials that bringing charges against all of the estimated 800 rioters who ransacked the Capitol building could flood the local federal courthouse in Washington, DC, with cases.

There appears to be unanimous agreement among Justice Department officials to bring charges against alleged extremists who are suspected of coordinating and planning violent actions inside the Capitol.

Prosecutors have indicated that they intend to bring seditious conspiracy charges to anyone who has been found to plot violent actions against the government.

Among those who participated in the January 6 assault were members of the Oath Keepers, which often recruits current and former military, police or other first responders; the Proud Boys neo-fascist group; followers of QAnon, which spreads bizarre conspiracy theories; racists and anti-Semites; and others with nearly blind devotion to then-President Donald Trump.

Federal authorities on Tuesday presented new details about three self-described members of a paramilitary group who were the first to be charged with plotting the attack.

The FBI said a Virginia man, Thomas Edward Caldwell, appeared to be a leader of the effort. Caldwell and a man and woman from Ohio were all charged with conspiracy and other federal counts.

Details of the documents made public offer some insight to planning and coordination behind the extraordinary attack, which apparently took law enforcement by surprise despite various warnings online.

But there is serious question as to whether it is worth pursuing charges against a large majority of the people who were seen streaming into the Capitol.

Those individuals entered the grounds of the building and trespassed, but they were not involved in any serious crimes that would warrant stiff prison sentences.

There is also a fear among federal prosecutors that bringing trespassing charges against those who did not commit any other violent acts could lead to losses in trial.

'If an old man says all he did was walk in and no one tried to stop him, and he walked out and no one tried to stop him, and that's all we know about what he did, that's a case we may not win,' one official said.

DOJ officials told the Post that evidence is still being gathered and that those rioters who were initially thought to be relatively harmless could be charged if photos or videos show them committing serious crimes.

One option that federal prosecutors are weighing for non-violent Capitol offenders is to enter deferred plea agreements in which they agree to drop charges if they do not commit crimes over a certain period of time.



That number keeps coming back to me.

74,216,722 votes for a president who was relentlessly vilified, maligned, lied about, and falsely accused of treason (not to mention high crimes and misdemeanors) every day of his presidency.

74,216,722 votes for a man who made unforced errors and harmed his own cause in innumerable ways but still managed to accomplish policy goals the polished, practiced, professional Republicans who came before him only gave lip service to but never really intended to lift a finger to accomplish.

74,216,722 voters who defied the overwhelming, multi-headed leviathan of academia, pop-culture, mainstream news media, Hollywood, Broadway, professional sports, and big tech by going out of their way in a pandemic to vote for the most demonized figure in modern American history.

74,216,722 voices who are now expected to just go away.

Well, we won't. We aren't going anywhere.

"Unity" seems to be the word of the hour. It's a lovely notion. I mean, who doesn't want unity? Things are so much easier when we are unified, aren't they?

But unity is a goal without any moral, principle, or value associated with it. To merely unify is a meaningless activity without examining what we are to unify around.

That important detail was glaringly absent from President Biden's inauguration address.

To unify a nation around a destructive, immoral, and even evil policy is no great accomplishment.

We are all for unity. We would have appreciated a little unity around "America First" or perhaps around "Enforce our immigration laws as written" or "The US Embassy in Israel belongs in the capital city of Jerusalem." These are all good ideas and would be worthy of unified support. Instead, all we got was The Resistance.

The calls for unity are really calls for no more debate. As Obama (the last great "Let's all unify" president) said as he dismissed Republicans who wanted some input into some of his more radical agenda items, "I won, you lost."

They want to shut you up. They want to shut me up.

They sort of succeeded in the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

The mainstream media and big tech oligarchs colluded with the Biden campaign to virtually erase a factual, truthful, and completely legitimate report concerning an open FBI criminal investigation involving Hunter Biden and his ties to America's foreign adversaries, millions of dollars, and an alleged pay-to-play scheme reaching all the way to the new president.

That story was virtually muted. Silenced. In other words, we had unity.


They want all of us to shut the hell up. That's the only way they achieve unity.

We aren't going away. At least, not easily.

But, all of us have to be ready because the attempts to silence us and our ideas in the name of unity have already begun.

The attacks on social media freedom are now leading to an attack on conservative-leaning news outlets and will be followed by attacks on talk radio and eventually on right-leaning websites like this one.

The first thing all of us can do is to support all those outlets we need on a daily basis to stay informed and, even more importantly, stay united in our loyal opposition to the creeping socialism we are about to witness in Washington, DC.

To that end, please, if you haven't already, renew your VIP membership to Townhall and, more importantly, share the news of your membership with your friends and contacts on Facebook and other social media platforms so they can join too. If we stay strong and stay together, we have a chance to stay alive to fight another day.

Now is the time when we need to know who our friends are and plan for what's coming next.

74,216,722. That's not nothing. And it is the perfect start for the courageous growth we need to renew this country again.

We aren't going away. And we won't be quiet. Never.


Lockdowns cripple the poor and pamper the rich

A new poll from Morning Consult provides a stark illustration of the unequal impact of personal finances, mental health and physical health.

Those in the US earning under $50,000 per year were the most likely to report a decline in their personal finances in 2020, whereas those earning over $100,000 reported a net improvement. The job security, take-home pay, personal life and work-life balance of the poorest have deteriorated significantly, too.

More strikingly, lower earners also experienced the greatest deterioration in mental and physical health. Those with postgraduate degrees, on the other hand, reported improvements in their physical health – by a whopping 23 per cent.

As spiked has repeatedly highlighted since the lockdowns began last year, the consequences for the working class have been devastating, while the more affluent seem to have profited from the restrictions.

In the US, between 18 March and 10 April 2020, over 22million people lost their jobs. But in the same three weeks, the wealth of billionaires increased by $282billion, according to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies.

And in the UK, an Instititue for Fiscal Studies report found that between March and September last year, the average monthly savings of the poorest fifth of people fell by £170 compared to a normal year. Higher-income quintiles, on the other hand, enjoyed a rise in their savings.

All this gives the lie to the absurd claims that opposition to lockdown serves the interests of the wealthy. Supporters of the lockdown – particularly on the left – are quick to denounce any call to reopen society as an attempt to ‘save the billionaires’.

But the billionaires and the well-heeled have done brilliantly out of lockdown. It is the poor who have suffered most from the shutdown of society, as they are less likely to be able to work from home and more likely to be hard-hit by redundancy and declines in pay.

Lockdowns are crippling the poor and pampering the rich.



Making America energy dependent again: Joe Biden pauses federal drilling program (Reuters)

House to send Trump impeachment article on Monday (AP) | Trump hires attorney Butch Bowers to represent him at trial (Forbes)

Biden to keep Christopher Wray on as FBI director (NBC News)

Hunter inquiry looms large as Biden pledge prevents "improper interference" with DOJ investigations (Examiner)

Democrats slap Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley with ethics complaint over Capitol mob (Examiner)

Unity! Bernie Sanders dismisses meeting in "the middle" with Republicans (Newsweek)

House approves waiver for Lloyd Austin to serve as defense secretary (U.S. News & World Report)

Policing free speech but not actual crimes? Twitter faces lawsuit for refusal to remove child porn (Disrn)

Google threatens to pull out of Australia over plan to make it pay for news (Time)

U.S. sees five-fold increase in methamphetamine overdose deaths from 2011 to 2018 (UPI)

Policy: Raising the minimum wage won't stimulate the economy, but it will stimulate Democrat interest groups (City Journal)

Policy: Don't rush to failure on Iran nuclear negotiations (Daily Signal)



24 January, 2021

Proof the Pfizer Covid vaccine works in the real world? Israeli healthcare group says coronavirus infections have PLUNGED by at least 60% among vaccinated over-60s

An Israeli healthcare group on Friday said coronavirus infections had plunged among people aged over 60 who had been vaccinated with the Pfizer Biontech vaccine.

Israel is currently leading the global vaccination drive, with around 30 per cent of its citizens having had at least a single dose of a jab so far. But concern had risen globally over infection, death and hospitalisation rates in the country, which remained stubbornly high.

Out of 82,930 active cases on Thursday, 1,918 were hospitalized. Last week, the hospitalisation figure was just over 1,000.

Officials had hoped that the vaccine drive - which began on December 19 - would start to show an effect by mid-February.

But KSM Maccabi Research and Innovation Center claimed on Friday there had been a 'significant decrease' in the number of coronavirus infections among people aged over 60 who were vaccinated between December 19 and 24.

After analysing data of more than 50,000 patients aged over 60, they also found that hospitalisations in the same group had plunged by more than 60 per cent.

Israel secured access to large amounts of Pfizer's jab by agreeing to provide data about its citizens for the company to track how well the jab works.

The new figures are a sign of hope that nationwide infections, deaths and hospitalisations could soon start to see a sustained fall.

KSM Maccabi Research and Innovation Center's report was based on data 50,777 members of Maccabi who were aged over 60 and were vaccinated 23 days ago.

KSM, which is part of Israeli healthcare provider Maccabi, noted that there was a 'significant decrease within the vaccinated members aged 60+', reaching a decrease of around 60 per cent in new infections.

They added that there was also a 'decrease of slightly more than 60 per cent in the number of new hospitalised patients.'

However, KSM cautioned that 'on this level of efficiency, there should be no exemption from performing Corona tests, isolation, or the enablement of crowded gatherings, until additional convincing data is obtained. 'And of course continue to wear masks and keep social distancing, as recommended'.

It was reported yesterday that a single shot of the Pfizer vaccine had led to a 'major presence' of antibodies in 91 per cent of doctors and nurses who received it in Israel within 21 days.

On Friday, Israel announced a further 6,159 new cases, an 18 per cent increase on the figure of 5,235 announced seven days ago, but down from Wednesdays and Thursdays totals, of 10,213 and 7,027 respectively.

Since the rollout of vaccinations one month ago, more than 2.5 million of Israel's nine-million-strong population have been vaccinated already, the health ministry said on Friday.

Israel began administering vaccines on December 20, beginning with health professionals and quickly proceeding to the elderly, sick and at-risk groups, continuously lowering the minimum age of those entitled to the shot.

On Thursday, the estimated COVID-19 reproduction number in Israel dipped below 1 for the first time since the country launched its vaccination campaign, the government announced.

An 'R' number above 1 indicates infections will grow at an exponential rate, while below 1 points to their eventual halt.

Israel's 'R' number hit 1.3 on Dec. 11. It began vaccinating citizens the following week. With contagion surging, on Dec. 27 it imposed a third national lockdown - which is still in effect.

On Friday, the UK's Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said it was too early too draw conclusions from Israel's vaccination drive after alarm that hospitalisations have not yet dropped.


As more countries impose COVID curfews, scientists ask: Do they work?

The NYT:

With coronavirus infections rising and a contagious new variant threatening to accelerate the pandemic, France has implemented a stringent 6pm-to-6am curfew. Citizens nationwide are sequestered indoors, and businesses must close down.

In Quebec, Canadian officials imposed a similar restriction earlier this month, running from 8pm to 5am. It has frayed nerves: Notably, a woman who was walking her boyfriend on a leash at 9pm has argued that this was permitted during the curfew, surely one of the pandemic’s most unexpected moments.

The question for scientists is this: Do curfews work to slow transmission of the virus? If so, under what circumstances? And by how much?

A curfew requires people to be indoors during certain hours. It is often used to quell social unrest — many cities imposed curfews during the George Floyd protests this summer — and following natural disasters or public health emergencies.

But curfews also have been used as instruments of political repression and systemic racism. Decades ago, in so-called sundown towns in the United States, black people were not permitted on the streets after dusk and often were forced to leave altogether.

As the pandemic unfolded, Melbourne, and many European countries imposed curfews, on the theory that keeping people at home after a certain hour would slow viral transmission. Usually curfews were implemented alongside other measures, like closing businesses early and shuttering schools, making it difficult to tease out the curfew’s effectiveness.

The scientific evidence on curfews is far from ideal. There has not been a pandemic like this one in a century. While curfews make intuitive sense, it’s very hard to discern their precise effects on viral transmission, let alone transmission of this coronavirus.

Ira Longini, a biostatistician at the University of Florida, believes that curfews are, on the whole, an effective way to slow the pandemic. But he acknowledged his view is based on intuition. “Scientific intuition does tell you something,” Longini said. “It’s just that you can’t quantify it very well.”

“In general,” she said, “we expect that staying at home mechanically slows the pandemic, as it reduces the number of interactions between people.”

“The trade-off is that the reduction in economic activity especially hurts many workers and their families in the large service sector of the economy,” she added.

“Assuming that nightclubs and such are already closed down anyway, for instance, prohibiting people from going for a walk around the block with their family at night is unlikely to reduce interactions,” Polyakova said.

Moreover, the virus thrives indoors, and clusters of infection are common in families and in households. So one daunting question is whether forcing people into these settings for longer periods slows transmission — or accelerates it.

“You can think of it like this,” said William Hanage, a public health researcher at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, “what proportion of transmission events happen during the time in question? And how will the curfew stop them?”

One study, published recently in Science, analysed data from China’s Hunan province at the start of the outbreak. Curfews and lockdown measures, the researchers concluded, had a paradoxical effect: These restrictions reduced the spread within the community but raised the risk of infection within households, reported Kaiyuan Sun, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health, and his colleagues.

Longini and his colleagues incorporated lockdowns and curfews into models of the pandemic in the United States and concluded that they can be an effective way to reduce transmission. But, he cautioned, models come with a lot of assumptions about the population and how the virus spreads.

“Whether you believe that is a scientific rationale depends on whether you believe the model,” he said.

Jon Zelner, a public health researcher at the University of Michigan, said that there was too little scientific data to know whether curfews are effective, but that such coercive measures rarely work in the long run.

“With respect to curfews, I think that it is hard to understand what the positive impact of them is going to be,” he said. “One of the things I worry about with relatively vague or poorly reasoned orders is that it erodes the trust people need to have to follow these.”

In countries like Japan, which have a much lower incidence of COVID-19 than the United States, the secret seems to be a population that accepts and follows guidelines like social distancing and mask wearing, “rather than a series of rule-like restrictions” like curfews.

That could have happened in the United States, Zelner said, but public health recommendations were “drawn into our broader set of unending cultural and political conflicts.”


UK PM Boris Johnson warns new COVID-19 variant may be more deadly

New evidence is emerging to suggest the UK’s new COVID-19 variant may be more deadly, says prime minister Boris Johnson.

The variant is already known to be more easily spread, and is putting the National Health Service under “intense pressure”, he said in a press conference.

“We’ve been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant, the variant that was first discovered in London and the southeast, may be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” he said.

The new UK variant is transmitting between 30 per cent and 70 per cent more easily than the original COVID-19 strain.

However Johnson said current evidence showed both vaccines remained effective against old and new variants.

Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance has warned that there was some uncertainty about the data, and the evidence suggesting a higher risk of death was not strong at this stage.

“I want to stress that there’s a lot of uncertainty around these numbers and we need more work to get a precise handle on it,” he said. “But it obviously is a concern that this has an increase in mortality as well as an increase in transmissibility.”


Hi-tech quarantine solution proposed in Australia

The Queensland State Government is pushing ahead with controversial plans to establish quarantine camps in central Queensland and Toowoomba.

Dr Anseline, together with epidemiologists Professor Marylouise McLaws and Dr Henning Liljeqvist, is lobbying for a similar national scheme.

They said recent evidence suggested hotels were far from optimal for quarantine, as the virus could easily spread among guests and workers.

Dr Anseline said locking people up in hotel rooms for 14 days – often without fresh air or exercise – was having a huge impact on mental health.

He said while state and federal governments had done a great job thus far containing the virus, changes were needed as the pandemic dragged on.

“Hotels have been a stopgap solution, but we have to look at the medium and longer term because even with a vaccine, this virus could be with us for years,” he said.

“There are still tens of thousands of Australians waiting to return home, as well as overseas students and tourists hoping to travel to Australia again in the not-too-distant future once travel bans are lifted.

“We need to come up with safer, novel and more effective solutions, and we believe that new technology and processes, which can be overlaid on existing hotel quarantine protocols, are the answer.”

Under Hemisphere’s plan, overseas arrivals would be rapid-tested on arrival in Australia, with those testing positive housed in separate quarantine accommodation.

Those testing negative would be quarantined in single-level cabins with their own kitchens, outside CBDs but close to airports and hospitals. “This would reduce worker and guest transmission but also significantly improve mental health outcomes,” Dr Anseline said.

The plan also involves guests and staff wearing new hi-tech wristband trackers to monitor movements and vital signs. The wristbands could also be used for home quarantine, Dr Anseline said.

Quarantine facilities would have COVID marshals and on-site sewage testing.



23 January, 2021

Biden Promises Pain

America’s new placeholder president speaks.

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., 78, was installed North Korea-style as the placeholder president of the United States of America on January 20, surrounded by 25,000 U.S. troops, along with hundreds of socially-distancing well-wishers in front of an empty National Mall populated with a vast forest of planted American flags to distract from the fact that no one was there.

How long he will last before Nancy Pelosi invokes the 25th Amendment to replace him with the predatory Obama wannabe Kamala Harris is anyone’s guess.

The speech came as the Washington Post admitted hours after militia members were charged in connection with the January riot that former President Donald Trump had nothing to do with the civil disturbance that delayed our Potemkin parliament’s certification of electors a few hours. This was, of course, the riot after which Biden, statist simpleton that he is, scolded lawmakers who thought they were running for their very lives for not stopping to put face masks on.

In the process Biden misgendered his own home state House member, saying he was “so proud of my congressman right here in the state of Delaware, Lisa Blunt Rochester,” for trying to distribute masks to other lawmakers during the riot. Reportedly, some Republicans declined the offer, prompting Biden to growl, “What the hell’s the matter with them? It’s time to grow up.”

No one needed to worry about riots in the nation’s capital, not only because of the armed soldiers and out-of-state police that occupied the city, but because the nonentity who blundered his way into becoming the leader of the free world does not inspire passion, except perhaps in the most radical precincts of the Left. While he enjoyed his first half-day in the Oval Office busily trying to erase the legacy of Orange Man Bad by executive fiat, mostly peaceful Antifa rioters marked the occasion in Seattle, Denver, and Portland, Oregon.

The man who administered the oath of office to Biden, Chief Justice John Roberts, is arguably largely responsible for Biden’s so-called victory because he signed on to a series of decisions that ignored election law and put Trump, whom he hates with a passion, at a disadvantage.

In one case, on October 19, 2020, Roberts inexplicably betrayed his own oath of office by voting with the three liberal justices to refuse a stay in Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar. With only eight justices on the Supreme Court at the time, this resulted in a tie 4-4 vote denying a Republican request to stay the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s blatantly unconstitutional ruling that usurped the power of the state legislature and forced state election officials to accept mail-in ballots received up to three days after Election Day. The GOP presciently argued the extra time was an invitation to fraud, especially because the Pennsylvania court ruled election officials had to accept ballots late even if they lacked a postmark.

Roberts ignored the Electors Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which vests the power to determine state election procedures in state legislatures alone. Article II of the Constitution provides that “Each State shall appoint [electors for president and vice president] in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” The courts have long held that the legislative power here is “plenary,” meaning unqualified and absolute, so when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court acted it did so unconstitutionally.

The Supreme Court ruled in McPherson v. Blacker (1892) that “the appointment and mode of appointment of Electors belong exclusively to the states under the constitution of the United States.”

“The legislative power is the supreme authority except as limited by the constitution of the State, and the sovereignty of the people is exercised through their representatives in the legislature unless by the fundamental law power is elsewhere reposed.”

The Supreme Court affirmed this legislative power as recently as 2000 in Bush v. Gore.

When Florida lawmakers saw that Democrat Al Gore was trying to steal the election by gaming the courts, they threatened to ignore the statewide popular vote and appoint electors pledged to Republican George W. Bush. The Supreme Court reminded the litigants that state legislatures have the final say. “The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for Electors for the President of the United States…”

But instead of following the law, Roberts decided to stick it to the Trump campaign and snuff out any momentum his campaign might have had a chance of developing in courts across the nation.

Eager to get started destroying the American republic, the cadaverous former vice president was sworn in at 11:48 a.m., 12 minutes before Noon when the 20th Amendment specifies an incoming president’s term actually begins.

Squinting, and at times barking out the words on the teleprompter like someone with a wildly malfunctioning hearing aid, the newly inserted chief executive stumbled over a text that was weighted down with clichés, sentence fragments, and what passes for patriotism in Democratic Party circles. It was a bargain-basement inaugural address.

A co-conspirator in the ultimately successful four-year-plus-long rolling coup that used, among other things, Hillary Clinton’s fake Russian dossier and taxpayer-funded U.S. intelligence agencies to undermine the duly elected 45th president of the United States, the corrupt, lying serial plagiarist, groper of females of all ages, and hair sniffer, outlined his planned assaults on economic freedom, the First and Second Amendments, as well as the coming wave of repression directed against his enemies.

“Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged, and found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now,” Biden said.

“A once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country. It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. A cry for survival comes from planet itself. A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear now. A rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat. To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future America – requires so much more than words.”

He’s right.

Words are not enough.

Doing what Biden and his far-left base want to do requires brute force because sane Americans won’t allow it. Normal Americans oppose slavery reparations paid by people who never owned slaves to people who were never slaves. They don’t want to kill the economy by banning gasoline-fueled cars to save an environment that doesn’t need saving. They don’t want to turn America into a giant prison to control a virus that spares almost all its victims. They don’t want what Biden is selling.

The Chinese Communist Party-promoted virus that causes the disease COVID-19 has ravaged the land, if the questionable official body count for the disease is to be believed. Biden, who refuses to blame the People’s Republic for its murderous biological attack, wants to expand on the failed containment policies including universal mandatory mask-wearing and continuing the economy-killing lockdowns that have thrown millions out of work. He wants to use more force to compel compliance with pandemic mitigation efforts.

Biden’s allies, left-wing Democratic governors like New York’s Andrew Cuomo, California’s Gavin Newsom, and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, condemned thousands of elderly Americans to COVID-19 deaths in elder care facilities.

Pennsylvania’s Health Secretary Rachel Levine, the Butcher of Harrisburg, sent infected old people to such facilities. Levine is Biden’s token transgender nominee to be Assistant U.S. Secretary of Health.

America is systemically racist, argued Biden, who for most of last year’s nationwide Antifa-Black Lives Matter riots following the drug-caused death of George Floyd remained silent about the lawlessness and destruction as his bloodthirsty running-mate Kamala Harris cheered them on, saying they “should not let up.”

In the hours after taking the oath, Biden rescinded President Trump’s executive order banning Marxist-invented Critical Race Theory in federal training, and killed his 1776 Commission that sought to move American education away from a Howard Zinn-style curriculum that unduly emphasized race-related injustices of the past.

Biden previously endorsed the communist Green New Deal which would return the United States to the 1800s in a few years, so unsurprisingly he falsely claimed that the environment was in grave danger in his speech. The Green New Deal “is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face,” his campaign website states.

Joe “You Ain’t Black” Biden’s ominous statement that “political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism” are on the rise and must be confronted should be particularly worrisome to anyone concerned about civil liberties. This is because we know he wasn’t referring to his friends on the Left. He was smearing 75 million Trump voters as potential enemies of the state.

The leftists who run the Democratic Party believe that anyone outside of their ranks is a potential enemy. And they have funny ideas about what constitutes racism. Remember that when principled conservatives opposed Barack Obama’s socialist juggernaut they were reflexively denounced as racist. The only reason to oppose Obama was “racism – straight up,” washed up actress Janeane Garofolo whined at the time.

The activists of the Tea Party movement who filled townhall meetings as Obama and Biden were forcing Obamacare down the throats of the American people, were similarly denounced at the time by leftists as domestic terrorists. Biden obviously plans to apply the label to Trump supporters to discredit and marginalize them, along maybe with throwing some of them into prison for their political beliefs if he can get away with it . And since some of the January 6 rioters had military backgrounds, he is already setting in motion a disturbing Stalinist-style purge of the armed forces.

Then there was the Orwellian part of Biden’s address in which he seemed to be outlining plans for a new Thought Police or maybe a citizen-dominated Thought Militia.

Biden said, “we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.”

“Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and a responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders – leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation — to defend the truth and defeat the lies.”

This sounds much like Barack Obama urging his supporters to “get in the face” of his opponents.

The ”lies” to which Biden refers concern the justified worries of Americans about election fraud. Anyone who says Biden or the Democrats stole the election from Trump may be targeted in some way. As I wrote earlier this week, Republican lawmakers and lawyers are the first to be attacked but more harassment and persecution are coming.

And this supposed duty to defend truth and defeat lies isn’t something the Founding Fathers would have recognized. They believed, in the words of the Declaration of Independence that exalted “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Americans are supposed to be free to believe what they want.

People have to be left alone to figure out the world for themselves, without compulsion from the government or politically correct censorship at the hands of Mark Zuckerberg’s 12-year-old content moderators jam-packed into electronic sweatshops.

Joe Biden will never get that.

And his inability to comprehend this quintessential aspect of what it is to be American is going to get people killed.



So woke! White House adds preferred pronouns dropdown to contact form (Examiner)

Department of Homeland Security suspends deportations, stops "Remain in Mexico" policy (NPR)

Evidence shows well-laid plan by some Capitol rioters (Politico)

Workers file 900,000 new jobless claims as COVID total tops 75 million (NY Post)

"Anti-Facebook" MeWe social network adds 2.5 million new members in one week (ZDNet)

Colleges lobby Biden to halt federal probe into foreign donations; Education Department has already found $6.5 billion in unreported gifts (Free Beacon)

Unsatiated antifa anarchists trash Oregon Democrat Party HQ to mark Biden's inauguration (Post Millennial)

Congress gears up for fight over Joe Biden's cabinet nominees (Fox News)

Biden to propose eight-year citizenship path for immigrants (AP)

Wobbly Senator Joe Manchin: "I really do" support deplatforming Republicans (Daily Wire)

For the record: There's a lot Biden won't be able to do with a 50/50 Senate (Hot Air)

Democrats publish bill to install Capitol fence despite claiming walls don't work (National Pulse)

FBI and DOJ knew there was no Russia collusion by spring of 2017 (Washington Times)

Lincoln Project funneled over $10 million to its own founders' companies (National Pulse)

Facebook and Google allegedly cut a deal that reduced ad competition (Engadget)

Portland "defund police" activists have vandalized commissioner's home seven times in three months (Hot Air)

New York University professor attributes black Trump support to "multiracial whiteness" (PJ Media)

China's economy grew 2.3% in 2020 — no doubt augmented by its cornering the PPE market (UPI)

The states Americans headed to the most in 2020: Tennessee, Texas, and Florida (CNBC)



22 January, 2021

Pfizer's Covid vaccine COULD stop people spreading the virus as well as preventing serious illness, Israeli doctor claims

Pfizer's Covid vaccine could produce a strong enough immune response to stop people who get the jab from spreading the coronavirus, a doctor in Israel has claimed.

Researchers found in a small study that recipients of the jab developed up to 20 times more antibodies within a week of having the second dose of the jab.

Higher levels of antibodies likely lead to a stronger immune response which could clear the virus before someone has a chance to spread it, but this is still not proven.

Until now, scientists didn't know whether vaccines would stop transmission and were banking only on it preventing severe illness and death. Pfizer itself has not published any data showing how the jab affects the spread of the disease.

Developers of other vaccines have also not offered any proof that their vaccines will be able to reduce transmission of the virus.

The survey done on 102 hospital staff in Israel is the first indication that a Covid-19 vaccine may stop transmission. It saw all but two of them develop antibody levels that were even higher than patients who had recovered from Covid-19.

Antibodies are substances produced by the immune system which store memories of how to fight off a specific virus.

Study leader Professor Gili Regev-Yochay said the results were 'encouraging and reasonable to assume that these people will not be carriers or contagious, although that is still not a direct conclusion,' the International Business Times reported.

Medics running the study found that 100 out of 102 people mounted large antibody responses to the coronavirus after two doses of the vaccine. The research was done on members of staff at the Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Aviv.

One of the two who didn't had a compromised immune system; the other is still being investigated, The Telegraph reports.

The main purpose of the Covid-19 vaccines when they were developed was to give people some early immunity against the virus so they wouldn't end up in hospital or die if they caught it.

The jabs developed so far have all shown signs of being able to do this and are being rolled out to try and stem the tide of deaths caused by Covid.

But if the vaccines produce a strong enough immune response they could also stop the virus from spreading by training people's bodies to destroy it on sight.

Immunity developed by vaccines is based on substances called antibodies and also other types of immune substances such as white blood cells.

These destroy the virus when it gets into the body, stopping it from reproducing and entering the body to cause infection.

Any amount of this protection will likely reduce the risk of illness and death because it reduces how much of the virus can get into the body, but a weak response might allow the virus to linger in the body for a short period of time, during which people might be infectious to others even if they don't get ill themselves.

A strong immune response from a highly effective vaccine, however, could make the body so good at destroying the virus that all of it gets eliminated as soon as it enters the body of a vaccinated person.

This could mean it exists for too short a period of time for the person to breathe it out and spread it to other people.

None of the vaccine-makers have yet published data showing whether this will be the case.

Antibodies are critical for the immune system because they both destroy viruses and also flag them up for destruction by other white blood cells.

The director of the hospital's Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, Professor Regev-Yochay, said she thought it was unlikely that people who receive two doses of jab would spread the illness.

This is expected to be because they develop strong enough immunity that the virus cannot reproduce in their body.

It is possible that if people have vaccines that aren't highly effective, the virus can continue to circulate in their body for a short while without making them ill but still allowing them to pass it on.

Professor Regev-Yochay said in a briefing yesterday: 'The results of the survey are in line with Pfizer’s experiment and even better than expected,' the Jerusalem Post reported.

'I expect that the survey results of the other employees participating will be similar. There is certainly reason for optimism.'

Israel has had one of the world's fastest Covid vaccination programme and has given jabs to 2.6million of its 9million people already.

But the country has yet to see its infection and death numbers come tumbling down after four weeks of immunisations.

Studies from the country suggest the jab could eventually slow the rate of contagion by up to 50 per cent as well as stopping infected recipients becoming sick.

While Israel is leading the world in the vaccine race with more than one in five people receiving an initial dose, its infection rates were last week at their highest ever with more than 8,000 positive tests per day and a record 1,102 patients in hospital.

The vaccine trials run by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Oxford University and AstraZeneca had one primary goal which was to try and reduce Covid-19 rates.

To do that, the scientists simply vaccinated half of their volunteers with two doses apiece, and gave the other half two doses of a placebo jab.

They then recorded how many people were diagnosed with Covid-19 after the vaccine, they did not test how much participants caught or transmitted the virus without knowing.

In earlier tests in monkeys, animals that got Pfizer's jab had no traces of the virus in their respiratory tracts, and earlier tests in people showed they produced plenty of antibodies after vaccination.

Combined with the final clinical trial data, that suggests that the vaccine is triggering an immune response, and that immune response is strong enough to keep the virus from copying itself and spreading in the body.

In turn, that means the odds are low that someone's viral load - the concentration of virus in their cells - is high enough to spread the infection.

However the trials that Pfizer completed were not designed to state for sure that the vaccine can slow the spread of the virus.

It comes after nearly 5million people aged between 70 and 80 are being invited to receive their first dose, with some in Whitehall suggesting the rollout is going so well that the wider adult population could be covered by June rather than September.

However, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said people in their 70s will only be offered jabs in areas where the 'majority' of over-80s have already had their first shot.

That could mean people in areas such as London and Suffolk, where progress has been slower, will have to wait longer.


Allergies to vaccine rare

Research report just out. Most allergic reactions were in people with other allergies

Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt of the First Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

On December 11, 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine, administered as 2 doses separated by 21 days.1 Shortly after, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued an interim recommendation for its use.2 Following implementation of vaccination, reports of anaphylaxis after the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine emerged.3 Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that occurs rarely after vaccination, with onset typically within minutes to hours.4

Notifications and reports of suspected severe allergic reactions and anaphylaxis following vaccination were captured in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), the national passive surveillance (spontaneous reporting) system for adverse events after immunization.5 Physicians at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evaluated these reports and applied Brighton Collaboration case definition criteria6 to classify case reports as anaphylaxis or not anaphylaxis. Nonallergic adverse events, mostly vasovagal or anxiety-related, were excluded from the analysis. Anaphylaxis and nonanaphylaxis allergic reaction cases with symptom onset occurring later than the day after vaccination were also excluded because of the difficulty in clearly attributing allergic reactions with delayed onset after vaccination. Because the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was only available beginning December 21, 2020, this article focuses on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

During December 14 to 23, 2020, after administration of a reported 1 893 360 first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (1 177 527 in women, 648 327 in men, and 67 506 with sex of recipient not reported),3 CDC identified 21 case reports submitted to VAERS that met Brighton Collaboration case definition criteria for anaphylaxis (Table), corresponding to an estimated rate of 11.1 cases per million doses administered. Four patients (19%) were hospitalized (including 3 in intensive care), and 17 (81%) were treated in an emergency department; 20 (95%) are known to have been discharged home or had recovered at the time of the report to VAERS. No deaths from anaphylaxis were reported.

Median interval from vaccine receipt to symptom onset was 13 minutes (range, 2-150 minutes); 15 patients (71%) had onset within 15 minutes; 18 (86%) had onset within 30 minutes.3 The most common symptoms and signs were urticaria, angioedema, rash, and a sense of throat closure. Seventeen (81%) of 21 patients with anaphylaxis had a documented history of allergies or allergic reactions, including to drugs or medical products, foods, and insect stings; 7 (33%) had experienced an episode of anaphylaxis in the past, including one after receipt of rabies vaccine and another after receipt of influenza A(H1N1) vaccine (Table). During the same period, VAERS identified 83 cases of nonanaphylaxis allergic reactions after Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination.3 Commonly reported symptoms in nonanaphylaxis allergic reactions included pruritus, rash, itchy and scratchy sensations in the throat, and mild respiratory symptoms.

Mortality from COVID-19 in populations at high risk is substantial,7 and treatment options are limited. Widespread vaccination against COVID-19 with highly effective vaccines represents an important tool in efforts to control the pandemic. CDC guidance on use of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines8 and management of anaphylaxis is available.9 Specifically, vaccination locations should (1) ensure that necessary supplies are available to manage anaphylaxis, especially sufficient quantities of epinephrine in prefilled syringes or autoinjectors; (2) screen potential vaccine recipients to identify persons with contraindications and precautions; (3) implement recommended postvaccination observation periods, either 15 or 30 minutes depending on each patient’s previous history of allergic reactions; (4) ensure that physicians and other health care professionals can recognize signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis early; and (5) immediately treat suspected anaphylaxis with intramuscular epinephrine (because of the acute, life-threatening nature of anaphylaxis, there are no contraindications to epinephrine administration).

Patients experiencing anaphylaxis should be transported to facilities to receive appropriate medical care. All patients should be instructed to seek immediate medical care if they develop signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction after their observation period ends and they have left the vaccination location. Clinicians have an important role in vaccine safety monitoring by being vigilant in recognizing and reporting adverse events to VAERS



Chuck Schumer looking for "power-sharing" agreement with GOP; filibuster is a sticking point (Fox News)

CIA Director Gina Haspel announces resignation (Forbes)

Biden taps "transgender" health official with horrifying COVID nursing home record (PJ Media)

Biden defense nominee blames leaders for failing to root out white supremacy (Examiner)

Court gifts Biden admin a running start by dumping Trump EPA's "Affordable Clean Energy" plan (Roll Call)

Mike Pompeo forces Biden into a corner, says China's policies on Muslims amount to genocide (AP)

Twelve National Guardsmen removed from inaugural duty "out of an abundance of caution" (UPI)

Trump grants Venezuelans 18-month protection from deportation (UPI)

Boston-based political scientist charged with being unregistered agent of Iran (Examiner)

Army soldier, a supporter of ISIS, arrested in plot to blow up 9/11 Memorial (AP)

Study shows extremely low rate of coronavirus transmission in school — 0% from child to adult (Examiner)

German quarantine breakers to be held in refugee camps and detention centers (NY Post)



21 January, 2021

A careful look at the Swedish death statistics

There is here a long and very academic recent article on Covid deaths in Sweden, The author looks at all sorts of confounding factors before we can make a judgment about whether the Swedish death-rate is high by historical standards.

For me, the most interesting point to emerge was that the death rate in 2019 was unusually LOW, so you would expect some rebound from that on regression to the mean alone. He calls that the "Dry tinder effect". So we could expect the 2020 figures to be above average on that ground alone. And, sure enough, when you combine the 2019 and 2020 years you have two fairly average years. So the claim that Covid caused a high death rate in Sweden falls rather flat.

Let me quote his final conclusions:

My personal take on Covid 2020 in Sweden is as follows:

Yes, Covid 2020 was real (and continues to be real at least until spring 2021, as all seasonal viruses). The number of deaths 2020 was higher than it should have been, which ever way we define “Excess”. Not exceptionally higher, and far from all the disaster scenarios painted by media, politicians and failed scientists.

Was Covid 2020 our generation’s “Spanish Flu” ? No. Far from it, as can be seen in the graph showing 1918 above, and by comparing mortality rates, where non-age-adjusted mortality 2020 is on par with that of 2012, and age adjusted mortality 2020 on par with 2013.

Was the Swedish Government’s response adequate ? To a large extent yes. Until they panicked and lost their mind in November 2020, and introduced “The Swedish Enabling Act“, a form of legislation that is a disgrace to any nation pretending to be democratic.

Where “The Strategy” failed was in protecting the frail and elderly, particularly in the care homes. The strategy also failed in overall crisis & contingency planning & management, where various governments since the early 90:ies have radically reduced investments and capacity in health care, care of elderly as well as many other vital parts of the societal safety net. So, the frequently repeated “Isolate, or our hospitals will be overwhelmed!” mantra was primarily caused by several decades of catastrophic political decisions and priorities regarding medical care and other critical societal function investments and resources, as much as by the virus itself.

What the future brings will be seen by those who survive. Myself, I’m afraid that more doom & gloom will follow for a long time in the tracks of the “2020 Covid Experience”, even if we should manage to eliminate the virus, e.g. by vaccine, during 2021. The psychological effect on populations having spent a year or more in Lockdown, thus missing most of what makes life and living worthwhile, will be interesting to observe, as will be whether social interaction patterns and behaviors eventually return to normal, or whether our future social interactions will be so deeply ingrained by Anno Covidis that we will, similar to Pavlov’s dogs, continue regarding fellow human beings as potentially deadly virus vectors.

Similarly, as this recent article (Swedish) shows – 90000 (!) medical treatments cancelled during 2020 – we will also have to expect further “Excess Deaths” down the road, where these deaths are only indirectly caused by Covid.


Real Threats to Democracy Still Come From the Left

It is a well-rehearsed fantasy that Trump supporters threaten democracy. It is an observable fact that the left does

If self-congratulatory pats on the back could cause skin damage, Trump haters would have leprosy. Having been on a witch hunt to burn him at the impeachment stake since he took office, they believe they are vindicated forevermore.

But apart from their brutal mistreatment of President Donald Trump from the beginning through their coordinated and malicious hoaxes that incidentally rejected lawful election results (in 2016), and apart from the question of whether they have some legitimate complaints against him, this is still not mainly about him. In a few days, he’ll be gone. This is about whether America will descend into tyranny.

Just as the left exploited COVID-19 to damage the economy and President Trump’s political fortunes (as the Democratic New York governor’s and Chicago mayor’s recent call to reopen their economies demonstrate), and just as it milked the virus to exercise unprecedented control over Americans, it is now exploiting the Capitol riot to shame conservatives into succumbing to its efforts to further consolidate its power and erode our liberties.

I would love nothing more than to turn down the volume, take a breather from politics and pretend that partisan strife can be overcome by virtue-signaling platitudes, but that would be a delusional, selfish cop-out. Unless we no longer believe in American exceptionalism, the principles of limited government and the blessings of liberty, we are honor bound to continue the fight.

Whatever caused the breach of the Capitol, whatever percentage of the malefactors were Trump supporters and no matter how much their complaints coincide with those of the 74 million Trump supporters, their misdeeds do not taint the entire lot of us or what we stand for. They do not render moot our concerns over election integrity.

The overwhelming majority of Trump supporters oppose and condemn violent riots, including the riot at the Capitol, and they strongly sounded the alarm about them during the left’s march of mayhem and anarchy throughout America’s cities last summer. For the most part, Democrats who are now decrying riots remained silent. Many of those who voted for Trump’s impeachment have literally called for political violence.

Additionally, millions still believe (and observed) that there were massive election irregularities and that COVID was cynically used to relax voting procedures, which led to most of this insanity in the first place. All these efforts to demonize Trump and intimidate his supporters will not make them believe otherwise, and it will not calm the turbulent waters of political unrest in the country.

Did you read the articles of impeachment? You might find Trump’s speech to his supporters objectionable, but to say that he willfully encouraged violence, when his actual language called for peace, and to use that as a specification for impeachment is chilling, especially when we have evidence that the riots were planned far in advance of his speech (per CNN, no less).

Just as troubling, did you see how this Democratic-controlled Congress, with the help of 10 Republicans, snuck in the “fact” that Trump “reiterated false claims that ‘we won this election, and we won it be a landslide’”?

You may think Trump’s claims are outrageously false, but do you believe the Congress of the United States has any business declaring the expression of such an opinion an impeachable offense? Trump is entitled to his opinion until his dying day, as are the millions of Americans who share it. There is no question that Trump’s legal efforts to challenge the election failed — that’s a fact. But the leftist narrative that Trump’s allegations of election fraud “are false and not supported by the evidence” have been inserted in every liberal-media news report since Trump first started challenging the election. In other words, they dismissed these claims as factually false way before they’d even been formally filed. Now Democrats have outrageously memorialized their narrative in their articles of impeachment.

Even if the election-night shenanigans didn’t change the result of the election — and I’m not sure we’ll ever know for certain – way too many suspicious things occurred that night, and way too many state laws were changed in the middle of the stream to relax voting procedures. Many warned this could potentially lead to misconduct and rampant distrust in the election results. If election-integrity reform measures aren’t undertaken, I don’t see how it’s possible to restore confidence in our system.

Feel free to call us hypocrites in an effort to shame us into silence about the Democrats’ double standards on violence, rioting and threats to our democratic system, but the issue isn’t hypocrisy. That, too, is a distraction. The issue is whether the left, in reality, is threatening our liberties, about which there can be no reasonable doubt.

Whatever you do, don’t take your eyes off the big ball of leftist tyranny. This nation is now under siege by the digital oligarchy, which is censoring political speech with every bit as much power as an authoritarian government. It is about to be under siege by a Democratic-controlled government, one of whose prominent members, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is threatening to create an investigative commission to “rein in” the media following the D.C. riots.

Go ahead and bark about President Trump’s intangible so-called threats to our democracy, but while you’re falling for that diversion, understand that many Democrats are on the verge of proposing concrete measures to undermine our constitutional system in ways that will ensure their permanent majority, from opening our borders to turning territories into states to legislatively neutering the Electoral College to enacting federal laws that legalize obscenely lax voting procedures and more.

While you’re busy hating on Trump and his supporters, ask yourselves whether conservatives ever call for the silencing of their political opponents. The answer is never, or almost never.

In the meantime, leftists are purging conservative speech and conspiring to destroy conservative digital competitors. Leftist students at Harvard University seek to ban Trump administration officials from speaking on their campus and are now calling for revoking the degrees of Trump supporters and aides. Where are the long-lost civil libertarians in the Democratic Party?

It is a well-rehearsed fantasy that Trump supporters threaten democracy. It is an observable fact that the left does.

Be peaceful, but stay vigilant, because freedom is “never more than one generation away from extinction.” Indeed, we are well into that menacing generation today.


Now the Washington Post Admits Trump Did Not Incite the Capitol Riot

With the second bogus impeachment in the books, the Washington Post has finally seen fit to admit that President Trump did not incite the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 with his speech, acknowledging that it was, in fact, planned in advance.

The article, published Tuesday, the day before Biden’s inauguration, declares in its headline “Self-styled militia members planned on storming the U.S. Capitol days in advance of Jan. 6 attack, court documents say” and opens with the following paragraphs.

Self-styled militia members from Virginia, Ohio and other states made plans to storm the U.S. Capitol days in advance of the Jan. 6 attack, and then communicated in real time as they breached the building on opposite sides and talked about hunting for lawmakers, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

While authorities have charged more than 100 individuals in the riot, details in the new allegations against three U.S. military veterans offer a disturbing look at what they allegedly said to one another before, during and after the attack — statements that indicate a degree of preparation and determination to rush deep into the halls and tunnels of Congress to make “citizens’ arrests” of elected officials.

U.S. authorities charged an apparent leader of the Oath Keepers extremist group, Thomas Edward Caldwell, 66, of Berryville, Va., in the attack, alleging that the Navy veteran helped organize a ring of dozens who coordinated their movements as they “stormed the castle” to disrupt the confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory.

Several paragraphs later, here’s what the authors of the article concede:

The arrests this weekend of several people with alleged ties to far-right extremist groups, including the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters, suggest that the riot was not an entirely impulsive outburst of violence but an event instigated or exploited by organized groups. Hours of video posted on social media and pored over by investigators have focused on individuals in military-style gear moving together.

CNN acknowledged last week that the storming of the Capitol was planned prior to Trump’s speech, reporting that, “Evidence uncovered so far, including weapons and tactics seen on surveillance video, suggests a level of planning that has led investigators to believe the attack on the US Capitol was not just a protest that spiraled out of control, a federal law enforcement official says.”

The CNN report and the Washington Post article completely undermine the entire case Democrats made for impeaching Trump. As I previously noted, the riot at the Capitol was either planned in advance or inspired by President Trump’s speech. It simply cannot be both. That the media is starting to acknowledge the whole thing was planned in advance now, after the bogus impeachment, is no accident.



20 January, 2021

Is Novavax the dark horse of COVID-19 vaccines?

Experts say early clinical data on Australia's third COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax, is promising enough to suggest it could play a significant role in the nation's pandemic strategy.

The federal government has signed up to buy 51 million doses of Novavax’s two-shot vaccine and those involved in trials say it is expected to be made available as early as the middle of this year, in addition to COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca that will be available in coming weeks.

Australia's Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly on Tuesday confirmed the nation's drug regulator was in direct talks with European and Norwegian authorities after several elderly people died after receiving Pfizer's vaccine. It is not yet clear if there was a link between the deaths and the vaccine.

While large phase three studies for the Novavax vaccine are ongoing, early data released in December suggests it is likely to offer strong protection against COVID-19. There are even hints it may do something other vaccines have struggled with: stop the coronavirus' spread.

"The phase one data was really convincing. The immune responses were really strong – up there in the realms we saw with the mRNA vaccines. That level of immune response tends to be a bit of a correlation ... those are the vaccines that have ended up giving very strong efficacy," said University of Sydney professor of medical microbiology James Triccas.

Paul Young, co-leader of the University of Queensland's aborted COVID-19 vaccine project, agreed the data "does look promising".

"The preclinical animal data showed that viral titres in the upper respiratory tract were lower in vaccinated animals, suggesting but not proving that infectivity and transmission may be lower," he said.

Paul Griffin, medical director of the Nucleus Network – contracted by Novavax to conduct clinical trials in Australia – said if all went well, the vaccine could be available for use by May or June.

"I think this is one, just based on where it’s up to timing wise, that has fallen off the radar in this country. There has been a lot of attention on Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna," he said. "It is looking very safe and effective."

It is difficult to directly compare phase one trial results, but data reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in December suggested Novavax’s vaccine produced an immune response similar to vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.

"They were able to induce higher [antibody] titres than recovered COVID patients. And that’s a really good sign. When we were seeing results like that, it did highlight Novavax is one to watch, and a really promising formulation," said Kylie Quinn, an RMIT vaccine designer.

Griffith University virologist Adam Taylor said the trials showed the vaccine was safe and generated good antibody responses. "Certainly, this is a useful candidate."

Other vaccines have already shown themselves capable of inducing strong immune responses and protecting people from the virus.

What makes Novavax different is a hint in the early data it could not just protect people but also stop the virus spreading. Stopping or reducing transmission of the virus is valuable to protect people who cannot or will not get vaccinated. At this stage, it remains unclear if any of the vaccines available can prevent transmission.

In a small study, Novavax’s vaccine effectively prevented COVID-19 growing in the noses of monkeys. Results in animals often do not translate to humans. But other vaccines have struggled to repeat the achievement; they effectively protect the lungs but still allow the virus to grow in the nose, where it could spread.

While other vaccines quickly moved from phase one to phase three trials and then approval, Novavax's progress has been slower. The company started its key phase three trial on December 28 after several delays due to issues scaling up vaccine manufacture.

Novavax has had a chequered history. Two failed vaccine trials in recent years led to the company’s stock plunging; it sacked 100 employees and closed two manufacturing plants. In its near-30-year history it is yet to develop an approved vaccine.

Nevertheless, the company is aiming to produce 2 billion doses of vaccine this year.

Novavax’s jab combines traditional and cutting-edge technology. Inside each vial are copies of COVID-19’s spike protein – the cellular harpoon it uses to attach to and enter our cells – and a dose of the company’s adjuvant. The adjuvant triggers the immune system, which recognises the spike protein and builds antibodies and immune cells capable of defending the body against the virus.

"It’s more of a traditional vaccine – the same type we have used for other vaccines we have in use," said Professor Triccas.

Novavax produces the spike proteins using moth cells, and then studs them on a nanoparticle, creating a shape that looks much like the spike-covered virus. In theory, immune cells should be much more likely to spot and attack these nanoparticles, as they look just like little viruses.

The company used similar technology in a flu vaccine it is developing. In a late-stage clinical trial, it produced much stronger antibody results than a current flu vaccine.

Addressing the deaths in Norway, Chief Medical Officer Professor Kelly said on Tuesday: "In a normal week, 400 people do pass away in their aged care facilities.

"In general terms, they were very old, they were frail, some of them were basically terminally ill."

It is not yet clear if the deaths are linked to the vaccine, and Australian experts have already said they are no reason to slow the vaccine's rollout.

Professor Kelly said it was possible Australia's drugs regulator would advise against giving the very elderly and frail the vaccine.

"That is a very tricky balance. We know elderly people, as is the case in Norway, elderly people in aged care facilities are towards the end of their life. We know from our own data from the Australian pandemic, of the 900 people who have died, they have mostly been in the very elderly group, they are of the greatest risk of severe infection," he said.

"The mortality rate is very high once you get over 80 or 90 if you get COVID-19. It's that risk balance equation which the [regulator] will need to do around which people should be excluded from the vaccine."


Relying on Lockdowns, Social Distancing, and Masks Isn’t Working to Curb COVID-19

COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to surge. The seven-day moving average of daily confirmed new cases eclipsed 260,000 on Jan. 9, the highest rate yet recorded. The U.S. is expected to reach the grim milestone of 400,000 COVID-related deaths later this month, around the anniversary of its first confirmed case.

These numbers suggest that the strategy of relying predominantly on social distancing, lockdowns, and mask-wearing is not working. We need better interventions.

Some have called for national mask mandates. We recently examined the effects of mask mandates in the U.S. and Italy, and our findings are not encouraging.

Of the 25 U.S. counties reporting the highest number of new cases during the current surge, 21 had mask mandates in place before August. Looking at the 100 counties with the most confirmed cases during this period, 97 had either a county-level mask mandate, a state-level mandate, or both. Of these 97 counties, 87 instituted their mandates prior to October.

Mask mandates failed to prevent a surge in cases in other countries as well. Italy enforces a national mask mandate, imposing fines of up to 1,000 euros. That mandate did not prevent a surge of cases that began in October and peaked in mid-November. As of early January, Italy was still recording new infections at four times the early October rate.

Our findings do not deny the efficacy of mask-wearing. Nor should they discourage the practice. Public health authorities in the U.S. and throughout the world cite studies showing that mask-wearing slows the pathogen’s rate of spread.

Although mask-wearing may reduce transmission rate, it has not prevented cases from spiking either here or abroad.

Governments should pursue additional strategies. These include adopting better measures to protect nursing home residents and enabling nationwide screening through the widespread use of rapid self-tests.

The U.S. and other governments have done an abysmal job at protecting nursing home patients. As of Jan. 7, U.S. nursing home residents accounted for less than 0.5% of COVID-19 cases but 37% of COVID-related deaths.

Cases and deaths continue to mount even as the process of vaccinating residents and staff has begun. The current federal policy of requiring weekly tests of staff and temporal thermometer screenings of visitors is inadequate. Government should require daily testing of staff, at least until all residents and staff have been immunized. Visitors should be tested before entering the facility.

Government should also take steps to protect the general population. The distribution of rapid, at-home tests that don’t require a prescription or laboratory analysis would inform people of their COVID-19 status and limit the disease’s transmission.

The technology exists to produce low-cost, rapid home tests in sufficient volume for tens of millions of Americans to test themselves daily. Unfortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved these tests. The agency’s concern is that self-administered, in-home tests are less sensitive than laboratory-analyzed tests used for clinical diagnosis. This view allows the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

Acknowledging this, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently embraced the notion of “flooding the system with tests, getting a home test that you could do yourself, that’s highly sensitive and highly specific.”

Rapid tests are marginally less accurate, but that is more than offset by their volume (testing tens of millions of people daily, as opposed to 2 million), frequency (people can test themselves often), and immediacy (results within minutes, rather than days).

Unlike mask-wearing and lockdown edicts, widespread self-testing is neither culturally nor politically divisive, making it more likely to gain population-wide acceptance. It combats the contagion by empowering and informing people, not confining them, restricting their activities and suggesting that they are to blame for the spread of a contagious pathogen.

Equipping people to make the best decisions for themselves, their families, and their fellow citizens offers a promising new approach to combating the pandemic.



Biden to ask Congress on Day One to legalize 11 million illegal aliens (Daily Wire)

Incoming White House climate team blames "systemic racism" for climate change (Free Beacon)

Biden team already in talks with Iran over return to nuclear deal (Breitbart)

Biden poised to undo Trump alternatives to Obamacare plans (Examiner)

Biden to yank Keystone XL permit on first day of presidency (Politico)

New rule bars banks from targeting gun manufacturers — at least until Biden (maybe) negates it (Free Beacon)

Ben Sasse, in fiery op-ed, appropriately says QAnon is destroying GOP (The Hill)

Nancy Pelosi puts Eric Swalwell back on Homeland Security panel despite spy scandal (NY Post)

Lincoln Project in disarray after founder accused of "grooming" young men for sex (Free Beacon)

Hotel chain cancels fundraising event for Senator Josh Hawley (Examiner)

Minnesota law school students — who can't even get her district right — aim to "cancel" alumna Rep. Michelle Fischbach (Daily Signal)

Thanks to right-wing boycott, Fox News trails both CNN and MSNBC in ratings for the first time since 2000 (Disrn)

Federal court dismisses charges against church deacon arrested for singing outdoors without a mask (Disrn)

Portland City Council demands reparations from Congress (The Federalist)

Welfare fraud scandal leads to resignation of Dutch government (Disrn)

The nuclear energy advancements of the past four years will blow your mind (The Federalist)

Guy accidentally found a dead body on Google Maps that had been missing for 22 years (Not the Bee)

New Yorker releases new 12-minute footage of inside view of Capitol riot (Examiner)



19 January, 2021

More Trumped-up hypocrisy from inflammatory left

How can Democrats equate Trump’s strong language with incitement, yet ignore their own record of inflammatory rhetoric?

The great revolt against the US election featured a man in animal skins howling like a lunatic while blokes with flags walked around in a state of bewilderment. A menacing sort broke into the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, spread his legs over her chair and sneered at the camera. There were no great speeches, no articles of faith. There was no grand vision for an alternative future. If this is politics as entertainment, bring back boring.

The Save America rally began with President Donald Trump delivering a speech outlining his belief that the election result was invalid because of fraudulent vote harvesting and counting. State legislatures have rejected the claims. Tens of thousands went to the rally, which spiralled out of control when protesters marched on Capitol Hill, stormed barricades, assaulted security staff, ransacked congressional offices and obstructed the joint session of congress convened to confirm Joe Biden as president-elect. It was an outrageous display of anti-democratic thuggery.

In the wake of the riots, much media attention was given to the Democrats’ resolve to impeach Trump. Major liberal media outlets ran headlines accusing the President of incitement. The New York Times front page read: “Trump Incites Mob”. A week later, it read: “IMPEACHED Trump, After Inciting Rampage In Capitol, Is First President To Face 2nd Senate Trial”.

The Democrats’ last attempt to impeach Trump failed after the Senate acquitted him and legal experts have raised serious doubts about the current grounds for impeachment. The text of the article on incitement includes the following allegations: “President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted … He also wilfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol, such as: ‘If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore’.

Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd … unlawfully breached and vandalised the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced members of congress, the Vice-President, and congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive and seditious acts.”

Trump played a significant role in leading his supporters to believe they were cheated on election day, but he neither mentioned violence in his speech nor directed his supporters to enact it on January 6. Rather, he urged them to march peacefully.

Those who engaged in violence should be prosecuted. The vast majority who remained peaceful should not be condemned. They did nothing more than put their faith in the only man on Capitol Hill who consistently defended the “deplorables”, a group the liberal elite routinely belittles as uneducated, white and working class. The fact that such a large section of the US feels so poorly represented by government reflects the state of American democracy.

Before the election, Democrats argued in favour of curbing the monopolistic power of Big Tech. The US House judiciary subcommittee on antitrust found Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google seriously wanting. Having won the election, some Democrat representatives and their allies have called on Big Tech companies to censor the President, his supporters, or people who questioned the election process. Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has enthused about figuring out how to “rein in” the press. She criticised “disinformation and misinformation” in the media before sharing some of her own fake news homebrew: “White supremacists (were) ordered by President Trump to attack the Capitol.” She tendered no evidence to support the claim the President “ordered” such an attack.

Former first lady Michelle Obama called on Big Tech to censor the US President: “Now is the time for Silicon Valley companies to … go even further than they have already by permanently banning this man.” Twitter announced it would, and justified the act of censoring the President by repeating the allegation of incitement: “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Yet Twitter has not permanently suspended the account of Democrat Maxine Walters, who incited supporters to act against members of congress in 2018, saying: “If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and create a crowd and … push back on them.”

Pelosi believes Trump deserves to be impeached for inciting insurrection in his January 6 speech. However, Pelosi once described the President and congress as virtual enemies of the state, saying: “The domestic enemies to our voting system and … our constitution are right at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with their allies in the congress of the United States.”

There is more than a hint of hypocrisy in Democrats who condemn Trump for using strong language and equate it with incitement, despite having their own record of inflammatory rhetoric. Freedom of speech is indispensable to democracy, but equally destructive when it is used to either incite violence or censor dissent.

To watch America from afar is a dispiriting exercise. The free world depends on Americans defending democracy as a form of government and a living culture. Both are under attack. Joe Biden has a choice: lead his country towards a more enlightened future or drive it deeper into despair.


New Poll Should Have Mitch McConnell Rethinking Support for Trump's Inpeachment

The 2016 election showed the gulf between the GOP base and its leadership in Congress. The base didn’t want Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan anymore. They wanted something new. Donald Trump zeroed in on the issue that the base was truly passionate about, which was immigration. There were others, but Trump getting on that narrative first catapulted him to the top of the GOP field. The base wanted fair trade deals; there was an increased skepticism on free trade. The GOP leadership was the opposite.

As we leave 2020, it’s now a fact that the GOP is Trump’s party. Trumpism is here to stay, and there’s not much that can be done about it. For starters, it’s not like there’s much of a difference between this right-leaning populist variant and the traditional conservative Republican agenda. Both sides want a smaller government, fewer taxes, and less regulation. They want economic growth. They want a strong national defense. They’re both against the authoritarian political correctness ethos. They’re for school choice. They may differ on criminal justice reform, tariffs (though that was mostly a negotiating tactic with the Chinese), and some aspects of the America First doctrine, but overall both wings overlap a lot. Oh, and both sides want a conservative judiciary. I don’t see where the massive divide is here. On foreign policy, Trumpism is averse to nation-building and long protracted wars. The horror!

It’s also an ideology that has brought millions more into the GOP camp concerning those who have never voted before. The GOP of old is gone. Dead. It’s over. To use a quote from "The Mandalorian," "This is the way."

It’s why Sen. Mitch McConnell’s somewhat aggressive support for the Democratic impeachment push over the Capitol Hill riot is fraught with danger. The base isn’t leaving Trump. In fact, it wants GOP politicians to be more like the president. Even after the chaotic scene last week, where five people died, the base isn’t leaving the 45th president. Ninety-one percent of GOP voters are still dedicated to making America great again (via Washington Examiner):

An overwhelming majority of President Trump supporters surveyed by pollster Frank Luntz over the weekend said they’d still vote for the president again despite last week’s riot on Capitol Hill.

Okay, I get it. They’re Trump voters. They’re not leaving, but other polls are also showing the changes that have occurred in the base. When it comes to choosing between Mitch McConnell and Trump, GOP voters break for Trump. It’s not shocking at all. It’s why McConnell’s alliance with Senate Democrats here on impeachment could be a monumental blunder.

Does the Capitol Hill riot change the situation? No. As of now, and as it will be until the next election in 2024, Donald J. Trump is bound to be the nominee should he decide to run again. Also, the so-called Trump Republican wing is numerous in their millions — and has the ability to truly chop the more traditional GOP at the knees if the latter does stuff like, I don’t know — support the impeachment of Donald Trump

Big majorities of Republicans still think Trump was right to challenge his election loss, support him, don’t blame him for the Capitol mob and want him to be the Republican nominee in 2024, Margaret Talev and David Nather write.

The survey shows why Trump could run again in 2024 (and possibly win) if he isn't convicted — or banned from holding federal office — by the Senate. It also shows the peril and opportunity for institutionalists like McConnell trying to reclaim the GOP.

In addition, it helps explain why a majority of House Republicans voted against certifying the election, and against impeachment.


My Encounter With Medicaid Is a Cautionary Tale About Biden’s Public Option

If Biden’s health care plan was ever to be realized, it would be a total disaster, as I can attest from my own experience.

On its surface, having reliable insurance coverage with low premiums is an attractive concept many pandemic-stricken Americans can get behind. Unfortunately, that concept is just a mirage concealing unreasonable tax hikes and an eventual segue to a single-payer health care system that will prolong wait times.

In the final analysis, the public option is just a slow-baked single-payer system in disguise.

Every devised single-payer system raises taxes. It’s unavoidable. Even the 2016 plan from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., would have cost the federal government $30 trillion just to implement. And for what? The supposed savings Americans would receive from not paying monthly insurance bills would most likely shift to covering the 36.5% increase in payroll taxes that would be required to fund Sanders’ plan.

To be precise, the typical American household would lose an annual average of $5,671 in disposable income, according to a November 2019 special report from The Heritage Foundation, “How ‘Medicare for All’ Harms Working Americans.”

In addition, the public option is inherently disposed to transfer power to the government. For example, Washington state’s public option, Cascade Care, is only able to maintain lower premiums because the state caps its reimbursement rate at 10% below individual-market insurers’ rates.

Since health care providers can’t negotiate with the state, they shift costs onto private insurers to make up for the loss of revenue. Encumbered by additional costs, private insurers are forced to raise their rates. That in turn compels consumers to ditch their private insurance for Cascade Care, thus perpetuating a vicious cycle that continually grows the government’s presence in the insurance market.

As the current American health care system stands, it sounds momentous to switch to a single-payer plan, but if millions of people are already under some form of government-administered insurance, the jump to a single-payer system becomes a lot more feasible.

Before blindly accepting another government-run health coverage option, Americans should review problem-riddled programs in their backyards.

Just look at the vulnerable low-income populations on Medicaid that are being dismissed or forced to endure ludicrous wait times for elective surgeries.

Due to the way Medicaid reimburses doctors for a fraction of their fees and the fact that the Affordable Care Act does not mandate physicians to operate on elective surgeries, doctors tend to delay procedures for Medicaid enrollees until they can get a better reimbursement rate.

Unfortunately, for me, that’s not just an abstraction. It’s something I’ve lived through personally. I tore my ACL playing football at George Fox University. Since I was injured in Oregon, my parents’ Washington-based health care plan wouldn’t cover me. So, I was left to the loving embrace of Oregon’s Medicaid program—which meant my ACL reconstruction surgery was delayed for nearly four months.

The reason for the holdup? The Oregon Health Plan reimbursement rate was offering only about 63% of the cost of the procedure. As a result, doctors delayed MRI scans and the pre-assessment appointment for surgery. It wasn’t until my team’s athletic trainer and head coach appealed to one of the local orthopedic surgeons to work for the Oregon Health Plan rate that I underwent surgery.

For comparison, consider my teammate, Mitchell Lemos, who tore his ACL just eight days after my injury. Lemos was on the Kaiser Permanente Point of Service II plan, a well-known private health insurance plan in Oregon. Unlike me, Lemos underwent surgery the following weekend.

Even though I was spared from out-of-pocket costs, the four-month wait time left me with mobility complications, increased my risk of arthritis, and actually resulted in a minor meniscus tear because my leg gave out while walking down the stairs.

Americans should be free from unreasonable wait periods, and that freedom resides outside of single-payer systems and slippery-sloped public options.

My experience with the inefficiency of government-sponsored health care is tame compared with those of others.

In 2014, the government-run Department of Veteran Affairs was subjected to an internal audit that revealed 35 veterans died while waiting for coverage approval for medical services. Another audit undertaken in the same year showed that more than 120,000 veterans either waited 90 days for an appointment or were denied getting an appointment at all.

In the United States, it’s clear. Government-managed health care programs engender longer wait times and prolong suffering, which has drastically diminished our health care system’s ability to protect Americans’ health resiliency. Swift delivery of care and the ability to return to health after a medical emergency is an absolute necessity for thriving in today’s American workforce.

And it’s the same abroad. For example, Britain’s National Health Service guidelines state, “The maximum waiting time for non-urgent, consultant-led treatments is 18 weeks from the day an appointment is booked.” Yet, last year, National Health Service hospitals canceled 4,076 emergency procedures and more than 50,000 non-urgent elective surgeries, sometimes on the day of the scheduled treatment.

Even our own neighbor, Canada, has a staggering average wait time for arthroplasty surgeries that ranges from 20 to 52 weeks.

Time and again, single-payer health care systems have produced complications and slowed access to quality care, both at home and abroad. Biden’s public option may carry promises of an improved American health care system, but what good is an alleged panacea if it arrives months too late?



18 January, 2021

UK: In defence of a lockdown critic

The witch-hunting of Karol Sikora is a new low for the dogmatists of the lockdown cult.

It isn’t only Covid-19 that is mutating. So is cancel culture. This nasty strain of censorship is spreading, intensifying, becoming ever-more poisonous and harmful to the body politic. The more coronavirus spreads, the more the virus of cancellation spreads too, with packs of censors and neo-Stalinists now demanding the silencing and punishment of anybody who deviates even slightly from the consensus on Covid-19. Just consider the current efforts to destroy the reputation of Karol Sikora.

Professor Sikora is the cancer expert who has been questioning the Covid consensus for the past few months. He has queried the need for harsh lockdowns and kicked up a necessary fuss over the NHS’s suspension of various forms of medical treatment, including for cancer. In the fog of fear about Covid-19, Sikora has shone a light of hope. We’ll get through it, he says. Don’t live in dread, he counsels. Let normal life, and normal medical treatment, continue as much as possible, he’s advised. Has he always been right? Of course not. Show me the man who has. He suggested there wouldn’t be a second wave. In May he said that, come August, things will be ‘virtually back to normal’. That was wrong. String him up! Get out your rotten tomatoes. Pelt this speechcriminal who made a prediction that was not correct.

For the supposed crime of not being entirely right about the course coronavirus would take, Professor Sikora is now public enemy No1 in the eyes of the lockdown fanatics. Leading the mob, as is so often the case these days, is Guardian columnist Owen Jones. From the very start of the Covid crisis, Mr Jones, like many other privileged millennial leftists, has relished the authoritarianism of the lockdown. In March he expressed delight at being ‘placed under house arrest along with millions of people under a police state by a right-wing Tory government’. Yes, if you are well-off, middle class, capable of working from home and cancer-free, lockdown was probably a riot. For other people, however, it wasn’t. Professor Sikora’s chief sin was to express this truth – to say that lockdown will exact a wicked toll on many people – and now privileged beneficiaries of lockdown like Mr Jones are out to destroy him for it.

Jones’ complaint about Sikora is that he has been wrong about some things and he has criticised the policy of lockdown. He takes aim at Sikora’s proposal that instead of locking down the entire population, we should pursue shielding measures for certain sections of the population – ‘the old and vulnerable’. He mocks Sikora for being too chirpy. ‘The Positive Professor.’ Optimism is a crime in the land of the misanthropes. But most notably, letting slip his illiberal tendencies, Jones doesn’t merely criticise Sikora – that would be fine; everyone must have the right to criticise everybody else. No, he also suggests that Sikora should be denied the oxygen of publicity. The media outlets who give Sikora a platform should be ashamed of themselves, he says. They are ‘helping to spread disinformation’ and that is dangerous during a pandemic.

In short, dissent kills. Criticism of consensus is not only wrong, it is potentially lethal – it threatens to pollute men’s souls and encourage people to take reckless risks that could literally sicken them. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it has been the cry of every censor in history, from Torquemada to Joe McCarthy to the blue-haired posh kids running riot on campuses in the Anglosphere right now – ‘words are not only wrong sometimes, they are also dangerous and murderous’, all these people have crowed. Now the same is being said about Sikora and other dissenters from the lockdown consensus. Jones’ column is a new low, even for him. It is a shrill, vindictive and transparent effort to achieve the expulsion from media life of a man who has dared to say we need more balance in our approach to Covid-19.

Jones is not alone in the war on Sikora. The right-wing authoritarian Sam Bowman has branded Sikora and other sceptics, including Sunetra Gupta, a professor of epidemiology at Oxford University who supports the Great Barrington Declaration, as ‘cranks’. Bowman, senior fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, detests these people’s suggestion that we should try to shield vulnerable people in the name of preserving liberty. He is far more keen on China’s approach to Covid, which, let’s not forget, involved literally locking people in their homes and silencing sceptical doctors. Who predicted that in 2020 the ASI would shill for Chinese communist dictatorship? Elsewhere, Sikora has been censured by YouTube and is regularly subjected to insults and accusations that he is killing people.

We are now in full-on witch-hunt territory. Sikora, Gupta, Carl Heneghan, also of Oxford, and others are now routinely demonised. They must be silenced, the illiberal fanatics cry. The witch-hunters have helped to unleash hysterical abuse against sceptics. Gupta says she regularly receives emails calling her evil and dangerous. She has even wondered: ‘Would I have been treated like this if I were a white man?’ Of course, identitarians who normally stand up for women from ethnic minorities who are being trolled and harassed have nothing whatsoever to say about the war of words against Gupta, because to them she is scum. Well, she’s critical of the lockdown, so she must be, right?

This is the chilling climate that the lockdown dogmatists have helped to create: one in which it is now tantamount to a speechcrime to raise a peep of criticism of the strategy of lockdown. Big Tech will censure you, mobs will hound you, neo-Stalinists will demand that you be added to a blacklist – for make no mistake, that is what the likes of Jones are essentially calling for when they suggest Sikora and others should not be ‘platformed’. A climate of McCarthyite vengeance is whooshing around the Covid crisis, making the lockdown even more authoritarian than it already was – now it isn’t only our daily lives that are being locked down; so are our minds and our thoughts.

There are two things to say about this. The first is simply to marvel at the gall of commentators who brand a celebrated oncologist like Sikora as ‘dangerous’. Sikora has been wrong during the lockdown – so has everybody – but it seems unquestionable to me that he did far more good in 2020 than his commentariat critics did. He kept the pressure on the NHS to go back to treating things other than Covid. He constantly drew attention to the looming cancer crisis. He offered cancer sufferers advice. And he cut through the misanthropic doom of the lockdown cult by saying we will get through this crisis one day. His voice has been far more refreshing, and fundamentally honest, than the 24-hour rolling-news of horror and hysterical fearmongering that has intensified people’s sense of despair and atomisation.

And secondly, even more importantly, there’s the small matter of freedom of speech. Of freedom of conscience. These things don’t become less important when society faces a significant challenge like Covid-19 – they become more important. Dissent is always good; but in an era of unprecedented authoritarianism it becomes essential. When officialdom assumes control over every aspect of our lives – our social lives, our family lives, whether we can go to work, even whether we can leave the house – then it is absolutely right to question things, constantly, unflinchingly. No one should ever feel comfortable with the suspension of freedom. They should be talking about it and challenging it every hour of every day. Whether their challenges are ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ is not the most important thing here – the most important thing is that we maintain a culture of criticism in response to the most extraordinary climate of authoritarianism any of us has ever experienced.

Dogma is the enemy of progress. Dissent – however irritating the police, the government and the Guardian might find it – is the guarantor of progress. It is the means through which all of us, including society more broadly, entertain the possibility that we are wrong. That lockdown is a mistake, that giving teenagers puberty-blockers is an error, that the Earth is not in fact at the centre of the solar system. Dogma protects even immoral policies and incorrect thinking from criticism by demonising dissenters; dissent, on the other hand, helps to shine a light on the wrongness of certain political strategies or ideological beliefs by encouraging criticism and scrutiny. Even where dissenters are wrong, factually, the climate they help to create is of enormous benefit to society and to mankind.

We must defend freedom of speech in this crisis. Our lives are locked down – and many people accept that as a temporary measure – but our minds should never be locked down. Free thought and free speech are the great guards – our only guards, in fact – against the ossification of public debate and the creation of new, potentially damaging orthodoxies and policies. If we allow free thinking to die alongside the economy, millions of people’s jobs and those cancer patients who were neglected for months on end, then society will be the poorer for a very, very long time. So carry on, Positive Professor. Dissent is now the duty of every individual who wants to ensure that freedom is still breathing when this cursed lockdown is lifted.


Donald Trump leaves office on all-time low approval rating - but Republicans do NOT blame him for MAGA riot or accept Joe Biden as legitimate, new polls reveal

Two polls Sunday showed Donald Trump leaving office on his lowest approval ratings from Americans but still with the overwhelming backing of his base for his actions in the wake of the MAGA riot.

An SSRS poll for CNN put Trump's final approval rating at just 34%, the lowest of his presidency, and far behind Barack Obama's final rating of 60%.

But a separate Washington Post/ABC News poll showed how Republicans refuse to blame Trump for the MAGA riot which caused his second impeachment, and still back his claims that Joe Biden is not a legitimate president.

The polls show some of the task facing Biden in the attempt to 'unite America' which will be the theme of his inauguration - an event itself held under unprecedented security, with 25,000 armed National Guard members, razor wire round the Mall and the White House, and crowds banned entirely.

Trump's approval rating at the end of his single term put him in a minority of post-war presidents leaving office with approval under 40%.

Jimmy Carter left on 34%, Harry Truman had 32%, George W. Bush 31% and Nixon, in the polls before he resigned, 24%.

The CNN poll shows a mixed record for Trump on success versus failure.

A majority - 54% - say he was more of a success than a failure on the economy, but the numbers for race relations (34%), immigration (36%) and the coronavirus (36%) show how he could not capture support beyond his base.

But it is the Washington Post/ABC News results which show the grip he still has on Republican voters ahead of his second impeachment trial and Biden's inauguration.

It found overwhelming support for Trump among those who say they voted Republican.

Fifty seven per cent say that the party should follow his leadership when he leaves office, and 51% say that party leaders did not go far enough in attempts to overturn the election results.

The party's voters do not blame Trump for the MAGA riot for which he is being impeached, with 56% saying he was not to blame for the Capitol being stormed at all.

And 66% said that his overall conduct since the election had been 'responsible.'

Those findings put the party's supporters entirely out of step not just with Democrats but with majority opinion.

Just 27% of all voters think Republicans should follow Trump's leadership.

The findings underline the difficulties Republican senators face with Trump's impeachment trial.

Those who face primary elections in 2022 or 2024 would face angry Republican voters and even the possibility of Trump himself campaigning against him, making a vote to convict politically difficult.

But if they vote against conviction to survive a primary, at a general election they would face a Democratic rival determined to hang that voter around their necks as a mark of shame - and a general electorate to whom Trump is a pariah.

While Democratic voters favor Trump being convicted and banned from running for office again 89 to nine, Republicans oppose it 85 to 12. Among independents, it has 56% backing.

Similarly, Biden's legitimacy is a matter of deep partisan divide: 62% of voters overall and more than 90% of Democrats say his election was legitimate.

But Trump was so successful in sowing distrust in the election that among Republican voters, 70% say Biden did not win legitimately.

A similar question in the SSRS/CNN poll saw 58% of Republicans say there was 'solid evidence' that Biden's election win was fraudulent. And 75% of Republican respondents said that they had little confidence that elections reflect the will of the American people.

The possibility of Trump trying to pardon himself before he leaves office on Wednesday also divided opinion: 68% of all voters say he should not, but 59% of Republicans say he should.

A move to self-pardon would bring about a fresh constitutional crisis because it is unknown if it would be valid and many experts believe that new Biden Justice Department would be forced to prosecute him just to get a Supreme Court ruling on whether it is possible - then consider a constitutional amendment to explicitly rule it out if the justices say Trump was allowed to pardon himself.



What could possibly go wrong? "Squad" members elevated to key House committees (National Review)

South Carolina politico and unsuccessful Lindsay Graham challenger Jaime Harrison selected as Biden's DNC chairman (Politico)

AOC wants a government commission to (unconstitutionally) "rein in" media (PJ Media)

Macaulay Culkin supports erasing Trump cameo in "Home Alone 2" (Daily Wire)

Large study of UK healthcare workers suggests most people immune for at least five months after catching COVID for first time (Nature)

Mayo Clinic study: Antibody-rich plasma treatment reduced chance of COVID death by 25% (NY Post)

Federal prosecutors hit MS-13 "board of directors" with terror charges (NY Post)

Killing of Christians increased 60% in 2020, mostly due to Islamic violence in Nigeria

Record 21 million guns sold in 2020, up 60%; women and blacks top buyers (Examiner)

"Kill all Republicans": Amazon sells 204 items promoting violence and hate (NewsBusters)

The mobbing of a Portland bookstore reminds us why Fahrenheit 451 was written (FEE)

Memory refresher: A left-wing terrorist who bombed the Capitol building in 1983 was pardoned by Clinton and now fundraises for BLM (Not the Bee)

Policy: EU's new investment deal with China a blow to transatlantic alliance (Daily Signal)



17 January, 2021

55 Americans Have Died Following COVID Vaccination, Norway Deaths Rise To 29

Amid increasing calls for suspension of the use of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines produced by companies such as Pfizer, especially among elderly people, the situation in Norway has escalated significantly as the Scandi nation has now registered a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first COVID-19 vaccination shot.

As Bloomberg reports, this adds six to the number of known fatalities in Norway, and also lowers the age group thought to be affected from 80.

Until Friday, Pfizer/BioNTech was the only vaccine available in Norway, and “all deaths are thus linked to this vaccine,” the Norwegian Medicines Agency said in a written response to Bloomberg on Saturday.

“There are 13 deaths that have been assessed, and we are aware of another 16 deaths that are currently being assessed,” the agency said. All the reported deaths related to “elderly people with serious basic disorders,” it said.

“Most people have experienced the expected side effects of the vaccine, such as nausea and vomiting, fever, local reactions at the injection site, and worsening of their underlying condition.”

Norway’s experience has prompted the country to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines may be too risky for the very old and terminally ill... the exact group that 'the science' shows are actually at risk from this virus.

Pfizer and BioNTech are working with the Norwegian regulator to investigate the deaths in Norway, Pfizer said in an e-mailed statement. The agency found that “the number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations,” Pfizer said.

However, it's not just Norway as The Epoch Times' Zachary Stieber reports that fifty-five people in the United States have died after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, according to reports submitted to a federal system.

Deaths have occurred among people receiving both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, according to the reports.

In some cases, patients died within days of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

One man, a 66-year-old senior home resident in Colorado, was sleepy and stayed in bed a day after getting Moderna’s vaccine. Early the next morning, on Christmas Day, the resident “was observed in bed lying still, pale, eyes half open and foam coming from mouth and unresponsive,” the VAERS report states. “He was not breathing and with no pulse.”

In another case, a 93-year-old South Dakota man was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Jan. 4 around 11 a.m. About two hours later, he said he was tired and couldn’t continue with the physical therapy he was doing any longer. He was taken back to his room, where he said his legs felt heavy. Soon after, he stopped breathing. A nurse declared a do-not-resuscitate order.

In addition to the deaths, people have reported 96 life-threatening events following COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as 24 permanent disabilities, 225 hospitalizations, and 1,388 emergency room visits.

It's not just the old and frail, in Israel, which proudly lays claim to the greatest vaccination effort in the world (largest percentage of the population inoculated),

As RT reports, at least 13 Israelis have experienced facial paralysis after being administered the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, a month after the US Food and Drug Administration reported similar issues but said they weren’t linked to the jab.

Israeli outlet Ynet reported, citing the Health Ministry, that officials believe the number of such cases could be higher.

“For at least 28 hours I walked around with it [facial paralysis],” one person who had the side effect told Ynet. “I can't say it was completely gone afterwards, but other than that I had no other pains, except a minor pain where the injection was, but there was nothing beyond that.”

Ynet quoted Prof. Galia Rahav, director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Center, who said she did not feel “comfortable” with administering the second dose to someone who had received the first jab and subsequently suffered from paralysis.

“No one knows if this is connected to the vaccine or not. That's why I would refrain from giving a second dose to someone who suffered from paralysis after the first dose,” she told the outlet.

Finally, as we noted yesterday following the news of rising post-vaccination deaths in Norway, health experts from Wuhan, China, called on Norway and other countries to suspend the use of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines produced by companies such as Pfizer, especially among elderly people.

China's Global Times reports Chinese experts said the death incident should be assessed cautiously to understand whether the death was caused by vaccines or other preexisting conditions of these individuals.

Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist from Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Friday that the death incident, if proven to be caused by the vaccines, showed that the effect of the Pfizer vaccine and other mRNA vaccines is not as good as expected, as the main purpose of mRNA vaccines is to heal patients.

A Beijing-based immunologist, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times on Friday that the world should suspend the use of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine represented by Pfizer, as this new technology has not proven safety in large-scale use or in preventing any infectious diseases.

Older people, especially those over 80, should not be recommended to receive any COVID-19 vaccine, he said.

All of which is a problem since it is the elderly who are at most risk (quite frankly at any real risk at all) and thus who need the protection the most.

The Chinese health experts instead say that the most elderly and frail should be recommended to take medicines to improve their immune system.

Of course, one cannot help but note the irony of scientists from the source of the plague that has killed millions around the world and destroyed lives/economies almost everywhere, is now calling for the cessation of the process to protect against the plague


Anti-Tump Organizer Resigns After 'Inappropriate' Sexual Conversations With Young Men Revealed

Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver has resigned from the Democratic PAC after it was revealed he had “inappropriate” sexual conversations with young men. Dozens of young men have come forward in the last few days describing their relationship with Weaver, including the allegation that Weaver “groomed” the men by promising them lucrative career opportunities in exchange for sex.

The Lincoln Project was created by former John McCain staffers Steve Schmidt and Weaver for the express purpose of defeating Donald Trump for re-election. It began as a nominally Republican, “NeverTrump” group and has since become just another Democratic PAC.

Washington Free Beacon:

Weaver admitted to making the young men “uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations,” which included at least one instance in which Weaver allegedly emailed an unsolicited photo of his penis. However, he appeared to suggest the men accusing him of grooming them, or offering favors in exchange for sex, are lying, perhaps for nefarious reasons.

“While I am taking full responsibility for the inappropriate messages and conversations,” Weaver wrote in the statement, “I want to state clearly that the other smears being leveled at me … are categorically false and outrageous.” The emergence of the allegations, Weaver suggested, was facilitated by political critics of the Lincoln Project.

So the young men were “uncomfortable” but the conversations were “consensual”? Sounds like wishful thinking on Weaver’s part.

The organization issued a statement saying simply that “John’s statement speaks for itself.” As the Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles points out, that sort of statement had a familiar ring to it.

It is precisely the sort of curt, deflective statement the Lincoln Project bros would attack Republican politicians for making in regard to Trump. Perhaps one day Weaver’s colleagues will be forced to confront their own complicity in enabling his behavior.

This story is not being widely reported on, although the sexual angle is quite juicy. A man with money and power approaches young men — we assume all were of the age of consent — and flatters them with sexy talk and hints of intimacy. Weaver claims the “grooming” part of the narrative is false, although it’s hard to believe Weaver would resist the temptation to use his position for sex. He certainly wasn’t shy about talking up his potential partners.

In case you missed it, Schmidt and another Lincoln project advisor appeared on MSNBC on Thursday and had wide ranging discussion about the riots and impeachment.

It’s funny that Joe Scarborough or any other MSNBC host never brought up the sexual misconduct allegations against the group’s founder.

Daily Caller:

Joe Scarborough of “Morning Joe” discussed riots and reconciliation with Schmidt during the television hit but did not bring up allegations of sexual misconduct which have been levied against Weaver, who formerly worked for former presidential candidate John McCain’s campaigns and on former Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s presidential campaign.

MSNBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter. Lincoln Project Senior Advisor Kurt Bardella also appeared on the network Thursday without being questioned on the allegations against Weaver.

It can get tiresome pointing out media double standards and hypocrisy. But given how Weaver and Schmidt were lionized by the liberal press as having such incredible “courage” for going against Trump, you’d think that since the media made both men rich and influential, they might enjoy bringing them down a peg or two.

No such luck.


More doubts about the benefit of lockdowns

A peer-reviewed international study found lockdowns in the early months of the pandemic provided no significant benefit in slowing the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus when compared to voluntary measures like social distancing and travel reduction. The study, published in the Wiley Online Library, comes after several months of brutal lockdowns upended life and caused severe economic damage in the United States.

Given the harmful consequences of lockdowns, a group of Stanford researchers set out to assess the effects of lockdowns compared to less restrictive measures. The researchers compared data from 10 different countries, two of which did not implement lockdowns -- South Korea and Sweden -- and found "no clear, significant beneficial effect of [stay-at-home orders and business closures] on case growth in any country." The countries analyzed in the study include the U.S., England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

While the lockdowns had "no clear, significant" benefit on case growth, lockdowns do have clear and significant consequences. Suicides and drug overdoses are up, birth rates are down, and millions are out of work.

In October, Dr. David Nabarro, the World Health Organization's special envoy on Covid-19 said, "Lockdowns have one consequence that you must never ever belittle and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer."

That same month, thousands of doctors and scientists signed the Great Barrington Declaration, calling on leaders to abandon lockdowns given the "physical and mental health impacts" accompanying such measures.

"The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice," the experts declared.

Still, Democrats defended the lockdowns and accused critics of being "anti-science." In return, some on the right accused Democrats of continuing the lockdowns in order to damage the economy and give Democrats an edge in the November elections. Some are now questioning the timing of Democrats who are suddenly calling for the lockdowns to end with just days to go before Joe Biden's inauguration.

New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reversed course and is now calling for businesses to reopen, as has Chicago Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Hopefully, history will properly remember which party clamored for more lockdowns and ignored all the warnings about the consequences. But libs control the history departments, so don't count on it.



16 January, 2021

Reminding Leftists What 'Fascist' Means

Leftists love to throw around the word “fascist,” although half the time they don’t appear to even know what it means. Usually, it’s just a way of insulting someone unenlightened enough to disagree with them. At best, they’re calling the person a big meanie, an authoritarian. But that’s not exactly (or at least not entirely) what a “fascist” is.

Perhaps, for our leftist friends, a brief primer is in order.

Fascism is a political and economic system that arose in Europe following World War I. It has three primary characteristics: extreme nationalism, authoritarianism, and a state-run economy. Indeed, in terms of economics, fascism is very much an ideology of the left, not the right, having more in common with socialism than with any conservative, free-market system. Remember, “Nazi” was short for “National Socialists.” No less an expert than Benito Mussolini called fascism “the third way,” meaning another statist alternative to socialism and communism.

The difference is that, instead of actually owning the means of production, the fascist state allows them to remain nominally in the hands of private citizens and then dictates to those business “owners” what they may and may not do. In that way, the state essentially determines economic winners and losers, depending on which industries and individuals it favors.

As a practical matter, I think we could fairly refer to any person or system that meets two of the three criteria as “fascist.” That’s why the left continues to insist that Donald Trump is a fascist—because they see him as both nationalistic and authoritarian. But Trump is not an extreme nationalist, as his dealings with other nations—including “win-win” trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, Japan, and others as well as his efforts to promote Middle East peace—have made clear. As for his much-publicized (and criticized) “America First” agenda, well—for the president of a country to put the interests of his own citizens ahead of those of other countries should hardly be viewed as controversial, much less extreme.

Nor is Trump an authoritarian, despite the left’s attempts to brand him as a “dictator.” What, exactly, has he dictated? What has he forced American citizens to do against their will? What constitutionally guaranteed rights has he stripped from us? Indeed, in our system, the only way a president can “dictate” is via executive order, and in that respect, Trump’s presidency has been unremarkable. Among one-term presidents, he has issued fewer EOs than Democrats John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter. He has averaged fewer per year than multi-termers Harry S. Truman or Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In his four years, he issued about the same number (204) as Bill Clinton did in his first term (200).

Moreover, when his executive orders were overturned by the federal courts—as was the case with some of his orders on immigration, early in his presidency—Trump grudgingly acquiesced. He allowed the system to work as it was intended, however much he might have hated doing so. Some authoritarian.

And of course, Trump is obviously no statist. He is a free-marketer all the way, a capitalist par excellence who rose to power on a promise to cut regulations, which he did. So at most, he meets only one of the three criteria for classification as a fascist—nationalism—and even that one, I believe, is a bit of a stretch. (Keep in mind, too, that the most authoritarian AND nationalistic regimes on the planet are communists, not fascists—although I think a good argument could be made that China today, with its selective “capitalism,” is actually closer to Hitlerian fascism than Leninism or Maoism.)

In their embrace of the “Green New Deal,” their Faustian bargain with Big Tech, and their anticipated draconian COVID policy (which I plan to talk about more in a subsequent column), the Bidenites (or should I say “Harrissians”?) are salivating over what they see as their golden opportunity to choose economic winners and losers—the winners, of course, being those businesses and business persons that most closely align with their left-wing ideology.

They might be globalists rather than nationalists, but they certainly meet the other two criteria. So who, exactly, are the real fascists here?


Going Galt

On January 6, 2021, a terrible thing happened in Washington, DC. A small group of mostly Trump followers staged a violent riot at the U.S. Capitol, causing death and destruction. Those who perpetrated it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Yet something far more sinister has occurred ever since. In the most toxic and blatant outburst of totalitarian impulses this nation has ever witnessed, an American Left that fancies itself the sole arbiter of tolerance and bigotry has broad-brushed 74 million Americans as de facto terrorists for harboring precisely the same doubts about the 2020 election as the speaker of the House did about the 2016 election. Even worse, America’s corporate oligarchy, sensing its moment for total control is at hand, is leading the charge, every goose step of the way.

“People who had nothing to do with the violence in the U.S. Capitol are being punished for that violence in a way that is repugnant, immoral and anti-American,” says Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Make that formerly anti-American. What this nation is witnessing is the flowering of nearly a half-century of wholesale educational corruption that has produced legions of “wokesters” who wear their contempt for their own nation and its Constitution like a badge of honor. In her dystopian novel, Atlas Shrugged, author Ayn Rand aptly described those who would crush all Liberty and dissent simply because doing so currently accrues to “their side”:

“People don’t want to think. And the deeper they get into trouble, the less they want to think. But by some sort of instinct, they feel that they ought to and it makes them feel guilty. So they’ll bless and follow anyone who gives them a justification for not thinking.”

Enter the corporate and tech “justifiers.” Many of the same corporations that not only abided the “summer of love” riots but eagerly financed their BLM and and antifa perpetrators — riots that precipitated more than 700 injured law enforcement officers, dozens of people killed, billions of dollars in damage, and the destruction of thousands of small businesses, many minority-owned — have now decided that anyone associated with President Trump or anyone even remotely concerned with election integrity is as guilty of insurrection and/or sedition as the rioters themselves. And the very same Big Tech platforms used to organize those riots and disseminate incitements to violence will give themselves a pass, even as they deplatform Parler for violating the every same “community standards” they themselves violated with impunity.

In 2014, communist China established a Social Credit System that went fully operational this year. In the space of a week, American leftists and their corporate collaborators have instituted the same system in what is becoming our post-constitutional republic.

Thus, YouTube has banned all videos discussing election fraud, and Facebook shut down #WalkAway, which encouraged people to leave the Democrat Party. The National Association of Realtors revised its professional ethics code to ban “hate speech and harassing speech” by its members, written or spoken, public or private, 24/7/365. Hotel giant Marriott, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Commerce Bancshare, and others are suspending donations to Republicans they dub the “treason caucus” for daring to question the validity of the election. And Forbes magazine’s Chief Content Officer Randall Lane has warned that if any company hires one of Trump’s “fabulists,” “Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie.”

Such examples are the tip of the totalitarian iceberg, but the motivation behind it all can be reduced to a single word: vengeance. No president and no political movement did more to expose the utter hollowness of leftist “tolerance,” the wholesale corruption of unelected bureaucrats and their deep-state enablers in the FBI, the DOJ, the 17 intel agencies, and the FISA Court, and the unbridled greed of communist Chinese-kowtowing Hollywood, academia, Big Business, and Big Tech than Donald Trump and the America First agenda.

Therefore, Trump and his 74 million followers must be relentlessly demonized because “non-woke” Americans must never again get the idea that their concerns are worthwhile or valid if they conflict with the corporate oligarchy’s agenda in any manner. And the very same dissent the Left championed for decades will now be considered treason going forward.

Yet despite their confidence, our Ruling Class hucksters and their corporate collaborators might want to consider what might happen if those same 74 million people decide that wholesale marginalization is a two-way street. Perhaps a number of truckers, food stockers, plumbers, electricians, cops, firemen, and countless other genuinely essential workers might decide to take a break from delivering goods and services to people who despise them.

Perhaps “going Galt,” an expression arising from Rand’s aforementioned novel, whereby the genuinely productive people of the nation abandon the “looters,” might play itself out in real life.

Already, the cracks are beginning to appear. On Monday, Twitter’s stock was down 6% following its decision to ban the president of the United States from its platform. NFL and NBA ratings have tanked substantially. Millions of Americans have gotten used to living without Hollywood and Broadway. Progressive strongholds like New York, New Jersey, California, and Illinois are hemorrhaging denizens, most of whom are fleeing to conservative states like Texas and Florida. And House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) is calling for a RICO investigation of Big Tech for stifling Parler.

Moreover, cracks regarding the “official” riot narrative are appearing as well. On Tuesday, the FBI admitted it had received intel about possible “war” at the Capitol. A timeline constructed by The New York Times through videos shows protesters began breaching the Capitol 20 minutes before Trump finished his speech. U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned following the riot, stated that House and Senate security officials rebuffed his early request to call in the National Guard. And no one has yet offered an explanation for video showing officers and other people freely granting rioters access to the Capitol building.

One thing is certain: The debate about possible election fraud was permanently shelved — possibly to the relief of both political parties.

Decent Americans of all political persuasions should want the unvarnished truth to come out, regardless of the consequences. But that isn’t likely to happen because there is too much at stake. The pre-Trump status quo must be reimposed at all costs, and anyone daring to deviate from the established narrative that abets it might get added to an enemies list.

One that already contains 74 million Americans.

It won’t stand. The French Revolution is instructive about many things, but above all else it reveals that those who lust for vengeance ultimately become its victims. In short, ask not for whom the bell tolls, wokesters. Sooner or later it tolls for thee — as loud as it does for any “deplorable.”



New York City cancels contracts with Trump Organization (NPR)

Former campaign staffer fired from new job because he worked for Trump (Townhall)

Mail-in ballots were just a teaser: House Democrats introduce bill to abolish Electoral College (National Pulse)

With "friends" like these, who needs enemies? The Lincoln Project teams up with billionaires, left-wing activists to punish GOP and elect more Democrats (Free Beacon)

Supreme Court says abortion pills can't be dispensed by mail (Daily Caller)

Census Bureau wrongly stops work on illegal immigrant count (NPR)

Universal basic income advocate Andrew Yang to run for New York City mayor (Reuters)

Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine shows promise in early-stage trials (Time)

Cancer deaths in U.S. down by nearly one-third in last 20 years (UPI)

U.S. finally bans cotton imports from Xinjiang, citing Uyghur forced labor (National Review)

Iran works on uranium metal in new breach of nuclear deal (Reuters)

Space Command headquarters to be located in Huntsville, Alabama (AP)

Airbnb cancels bookings in DC for next week's Biden inauguration (UPI)

Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder faces two criminal charges in Flint water case (Detroit Free Press)

Faith in humanity: Missouri declared the first "abortion-free" state (Disrn)

California hospital fined $43K after COVID outbreak linked to — wait for it — inflatable Christmas costume (NY Post)

Policy: Reducing the marriage penalty for low-income families (AEI)



15 January, 2021

The True Oral History of January 6th, 2020. This is from a friend of ours who went to DC. Carol Ann????

Hello Family & Friends,

It has been several days since January 6th, 2020. I am going to go out on a limb and assume that unless you have been living under a rock (lucky) that you have been inundated by a mainstream media bombardment of atrocities, terrorist acts and incredible displays of violence that happened in our Capitol at the direction of President Trump. For the past 4 days I have sat in the evening watching as the media portrays what happened in DC on January 6th as a likened act to 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing or the war of 1812. Well my friends, let me take this time to share with you the first hand oral history of that day.

Back in December, Trump sent out a tweet asking patriots to be present on the 6th for a “wild protest.” At the time of that tweet and in discussion with my wife and our closest friends we made the decision to be present in DC on January 6th. For we millennia’s we have lived through 9/11, endless wars, the great recession, the housing crisis and the idea of missing one more “once in a lifetime” event on the historic day where an illegitimate and fraudulent election would be certified sounded like another experience that would be best experienced first hand. For those who would like to delegitimize the crowd or dismiss the size of the event the pictures that have been attached to this email will paint the honest story. We were told at the event that there were roughly 2.5-3 million patriots in DC. For simplicity the photos have been arranged in order to follow along with this email.

Our Trip-

Tuesday was a travel day for our group, the day started picking up friends at the airport who had flown in from other areas of the country (AZ, TX) and making a beeline for DC. The next 10 hours were filled with every gas station we stopped at encountering other travelers with familiar flags, bumper stickers and hand drawn phrases on their vehicles with the same objective of attending the event. While these individuals were strangers they all shared the same passion and found validation in meeting more of the “silent majority” on their way to represent a president that had asked nothing of his people for 4 years. We arrived into Arlington, VA at 10:30 PM, all DC hotels had been booked by mid-December so we stayed outside of DC because of the price point and also the proximity to a highway if necessary. As you can see from the picture it looked like an agriculture convention was being held in the WRONG area. Lots of 4x4 Diesel trucks with our parking lot being represented by AZ, NV, TX, NE, WY, AR, WV, TN, SD, ND, WY, PA, OH. It seemed that everyone we spoke to that evening had the same look on his or her face, “We just drove 10+ hours straight.” We elected to run over to the Metro and purchase our Metro passes before the 6th. We had concerns that there could be lines or issues trying to purchase passes the day of. This would come in handy, as we were able to jump right on the metro the day of the event.

January 6th, 2020

By design the day started early for us, we had no plans to spend another night in DC and we wanted to leave the Capitol by 4pm at the latest. We awoke at 3:45 am and prepared for the day, the DC mayor was kind enough to make sure restaurants and public bathrooms were closed so that would lead to us needing to utilize backpacks to bring in a days worth of supplies for each of us. We had prepared by making sure each of us could carry enough water for ourselves while including nutrition bars to supplement food. Luckily multiple conservative events bussed in port-a-potties but this isn’t the county fair… this is 2.5-3 million people. I guess the old adage is correct, “It’s the thought that counts.” We arrived outside the Whitehouse Ellipse at 5:45 AM. A line of people that was already ¼ mile long had formed for those who wished to get in next to the stage where Trump would be speaking. The problem was that security was not letting attendants in who had backpacks and we were unwilling to part with them, so we quickly looked around and found a great spot with a bench next to a giant monitor, this would be basecamp. For the next 8 hours we would come to experience many emotions, continually find ourselves in awe of the moment while also being a part of many formative discussions about our country, the people who love it and why 3 million people, in 30 degree weather, felt the need to stand with their president. This crowd was a true melting pot, White, Latino, Asian, Indian, African American, the list could go on; the narrative that this event was somehow “white only” is beyond misleading. We were surrounded by flags from South Vietnam, Korea, and Japan all there to protest with us against the embolden face of tyranny; however, the most emotional point for myself came from the Chinese refugees. I cannot tell you how many there was just that there were many. These individuals carried pamphlets about the atrocities that are being carried out against their fellow countryman and families still under the rule of the CCP. Why I say that this was emotional was because through broken English each one tried their best to communicate, tears in their eyes, impassioned tone in their cracking voices. What humbled me was the fact none of these refugees cared about how they would look as they struggled to communicate or the embarrassment of saying a word wrong, instead all of their energy and focus was on one thing, “DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO OUR COUNTRY.”

So what did this terrorist mob due for 8 hours? Well we sang Amazing Grace, the Star Spangled Banner, recited the pledge of allegiance and The Lord’s Prayer. I want to repeat myself for absolute clarity about one thing: we were surrounded by diversity. We had a family from American Samoa next to us; we had 4 African American girls from a local college in front of us; we had Latino Farmers for Trump out of Central Ca. to the left of us, and yet in these moments we all stood simply as Americans. I never heard one racial slur or derogatory comment. 3 million people shoulder-to-shoulder gets pretty uncomfortable yet no one pushed, yelled or cussed one another out. On top of this, anyone who saw Trump’s speech knows that he instructed the crowd to peacefully march to the Capitol for our voices to be peacefully heard. THIS is the truth. There was no rioting or destruction. Another interesting fact was that as the crowd transitioned to marching we were all asked to pick up one piece of trash to help keep the area clean. We watched as many patriots pulled garbage bags out of their backpacks and continued to clean up the areas we used with the reverence and honor our public spaces deserve.

As you can see from the pictures our group walked up to the steps of the Capitol, another thing not being mentioned by the news media is the fact that WE WERE ALLOWED to be there, police did not start to evacuate the area until about 3:45pm. One piece of information I would like to share was the cellular black out that happened in DC. Trump’s speech ended roughly at 1:45pm, by 2:15pm we were on the lawn of the Capitol. At 2:30 the tear gas canisters and flashbang grenades began and the “siege” happened between 2:45-3:30pm. During this 45 minute window all cellular access and GPS went down, TOTAL technological darkness. We were unable to livestream out of DC and unable to showcase the truth that the crowd had identified ANTIFA and BLM and were screaming at the police to stop the segment of individuals who were being destructive. I would like to also comment that my handheld Garmin GPS which had been linked with 5 satellites all day, lost signal during this same 45 minute period. It was during this time period our group decided it would be to our benefit to start leaving DC due to being unable to communicate with loved ones and individuals who had been tracking our movement (for our safety.) As we left the Mall, which is on Madison Avenue, it should be pointed out that approximately 15-20 police cars with police officers were staged in this area. What our group found interesting was how relaxed the officers were with many laughing outside their patrol cars and behaving in such a way that would not make one feel as if these officers were on “high alert” or that the Capitol was “under siege.”

Our trip out of DC was uneventful (thank God.) The Metro was PACKED with fellow patriots many again being very friendly; speaking about their trip to the march and a constant theme of, “Pray for our Country.” What blew our group away at the end of our travel was when we returned to our hotel for a quick shower and to hit the road only to watch as the drive-by media fired up the misinformation machine and started sharing deliberate lies. It was then as I sat on the end of my hotel bed that I knew this email had to be written. My friends and family we are beginning a new era in reporting where the information we consume will need to come first hand. We can no longer trust that the free press means the objective press and that is why I drove to DC. Because I wanted my eyes on this moment in history free from a desired narrative and instead to be moored to the actual lived experience.

I am attaching here some other videos you can view online that show what truly happened. Such as police moving barricades to allow people onto the rotunda and then again with Capitol police opening the doors to statutory hall (allowing patriots INTO the capitol building.) I apologize for the long email but again I feel as if we are moving into the need for written and oral history to be shared fervently with our loved ones and friends. This is the new way of reporting and the new way of staying informed.

Photos & Videos we took ourselves:

So from here we ask that you share this message with YOUR family and friends, allow for this information to lead to more enriched and clarified discussions. This is not our truth or THEIR truth, but THE TRUTH.


Leftist perversion of values

Bruce Hendry

This morning, I realized that everything is about to change. No matter how I vote, no matter what I say, lives are never going to be the same.

I have been confused by the hostility of family and friends. I look at people I have known all my life so hate-filled that they agree with opinions they would never express as their own. I think that I may well have entered the Twilight Zone.

You can't justify this insanity. We have become a nation that has lost its collective mind. We see other countries going Socialist and collapsing, but it seems like a great plan to us.

Somehow it’s un-American for the census to count how many Americans are in America.

People who say there is no such thing as gender are demanding a female President.

Universities that advocate equality, discriminate against Asian-Americans in favor of African-Americans.

Some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, and other people are not held responsible for what they are doing right now.

Criminals are caught-and-released to hurt more people, but stopping them is bad because it's a violation of THEIR rights.

People who have never owned slaves should pay slavery reparations to people who have never been slaves.

After legislating gender, if a dude pretends to be a woman, you are required to pretend with him.

It was cool for Joe Biden to "blackmail" the President of Ukraine, but it’s an impeachable offense if Donald Trump inquiries about it.

People who have never been to college should pay the debts of college students who took out huge loans for their degrees.

Immigrants with tuberculosis and polio are welcome, but you’d better be able to prove your dog is vaccinated.

Irish doctors and German engineers who want to immigrate to the US must go through a rigorous vetting process, but any illiterate gang-bangers who jump the southern fence are welcomed.

$5 billion for border security is too expensive, but $1.5 trillion for “free” health care is not.

If you cheat to get into college you go to prison, but if you cheat to get into the country you go to college for free.

And, pointing out all this hypocrisy somehow makes us "racists"!

Nothing makes sense anymore, no values, no morals, no civility and people are dying of a Chinese virus, but it is racist to refer to it as Chinese even though it began in China.

We are clearly living in an upside-down world where right is wrong and wrong is right, where moral is immoral and immoral is moral, where good is evil and evil is good, where killing murderers is wrong, but killing innocent babies is right.

Wake up America. The great unsinkable ship Titanic America has hit an iceberg, is taking on water and sinking fast.



Democrat Rep. Mikie Sherrill absurdly claims lawmakers led "reconnaissance" tours prior to Capitol attack (Fox News)

To (ahem) heal the nation, Joe Biden plans to "defeat the NRA" (Daily Wire)

Socialist AOC says country will heal with the "actual liberation of southern states" from GOP control (Fox News)

Biden pick for DOJ Civil Rights Division promoted racism and anti-Semitism at Harvard (Free Beacon)

Before becoming Boston's mayor, Biden's labor pick was embroiled in union extortion scandal (Free Beacon)

A lawyer for PBS resigned after being caught describing Trump as "close to Hitler" (AP)

YouTube suspends Trump's ability to upload content indefinitely (Fox News)

After banning Trump and suppressing American news, Twitter condemns Internet censorship ... in Uganda (Post Millennial)

Feds pursuing seditious conspiracy cases in "unprecedented" probe of Capitol riot (Free Beacon)

FBI internal memo warns of plans for armed protests in all 50 state capitals (Fox News)

"This fight is inside the gates today": Pompeo warns lawmakers of the Chinese Communist Party (Breitbart)

Chinese COVID vaccine far less effective than initially reported (National Review)



14 January, 2021

'No chance’: Plot to remove Donald Trump from office implodes

Donald Trump may have become first President in US history to be impeached twice but the Democrats will not be able to kick him out of office.

Shortly after the House of Representatives voted to impeach this morning, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted there’s “no chance” the forthcoming trial in his chamber could be wrapped up before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated -meaning Mr Trump will serve a full term.

“Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” McConnell said in a public statement.

“The President-elect himself stated last week that his inauguration on January 20 is the ‘quickest’ path for any change in the occupant of the presidency,” he continued.

“In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump issued a video statement after the vote that interestingly he didn’t mention impeachment. It showed a stark change in tone from his message to Americans before and during last week’s riots.

Last week, he addressed the protesters in that video saying, “We love you” and “You’re very special.” In his message today, he has attacked them.

“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for,” Mr Trump said in his new video. “No true supporters of mine could ever endorse political violence.

“No true supporter of mine could disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag. No true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans.

“If you do any of these things, you are not supporting our movement- you are attacking it. And you are attacking our country. We cannot tolerate it.”

The single article of impeachment, charging Mr Trump with “incitement of insurrection”, passed by a margin of 232-197.

Every Democrat voted yes. Ten Republicans joined with them, voting against their own party’s President.

If you’re interested, those 10 Republicans are: Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, Peter Meijer, John Katko, Fred Upton, David Valadao, Tom Rice and Anthony Gonzalez.

The most significant name on that list is Ms Cheney, the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, who is the third-highest ranking Republican in the House.


The purge has begun. Cancel culture is going to be worse than ever as the social tyranny rises

President Donald Trump has finally had his Twitter account banned permanently, which had more than 80 million followers.

He got his posting privileges suspended from Facebook yesterday. The account itself may not be too far behind.

The purge has begun. Cancel culture is going to be worse than ever. You either bend the knee, and renounce President Trump — or your days on social media or in official Washington, D.C. could be numbered.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) just had a book contract cancelled. He and his colleague Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are being cut off by the GOP establishment and Republican donors, simply for fighting for election integrity in a process prescribed under law by Congress more than a century ago.

Parler, the social media alternative to Twitter, has been banned from the Google Play store barring it from Android devices

And there are a number of other accounts and cancellations occurring. It is a wholesale assault on the entire Republican Party. Not just Trump supporters.

Make no mistake. This is a bid for one-party rule.

In the fallout of the tragic storming of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., where police were unjustly attacked, doors broken down, windows smashed, and offices robbed — resulting in the death of five individuals including a Capitol Hill police officer — we have entered a brave new world.

If you are alarmed, you should be. And it’s nothing you did. The overwhelming majority of you have never engaged in political violence once in your entire lives.

President Trump at his speech on Jan. 6 at the Save America Rally on the National Mall called for protesters to be peaceful: “We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

After the violence began, Trump on Twitter urged his followers to stop immediately: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”

I cannot guarantee for how much longer you will see our content posted on major social media platforms.

This is a mortal threat to our republic and our two-party system, where some of the most prominent figures in the political opposition who would speak out against the Joe Biden administration are being censored by the largest companies in the world.

In April 2018, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey retweeted an article by Peter Leyden and Ruy Teixeira that called our political discourse a “new civil war,” with Leyden and Teixeira writing, “America can’t afford more political paralysis. One side or the other must win. This is a civil war that can be won without firing a shot. But it is a fundamental conflict between two worldviews that must be resolved in short order.”

It called for “Democratic One-Party Rule” in the U.S. as a means of reconciling issues facing the country and ultimately implementing the progressive agenda. Dorsey called it a “great read.”

This is exactly what John Stuart Mill warned against in 1859 in On Liberty, the most compelling defense of free speech in human history, the philosopher warned how a tyranny of the majority could impose censorship that would be “more formidable” than even governmental censorship and that it could “enslav[e] the soul” with little room for escape.

Mill wrote, “[W]hen society is itself the tyrant — society collectively over the separate individuals who compose it — its means of tyrannising are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates; and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”

This is where we are. It is no longer hypothetical. The social tyranny is here.

So I am urging you to find alternatives. Alternatives to Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. Alternatives to the Republican Party establishment that seems to think you are the problem.

And alternatives to violence. Please. The damage that was caused at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to our country and the Union may be irreparable.

The danger is that this purge will drive more and more people to darker and darker corners of the web. It will become itself a radicalizing element. They are driving you and millions of other Americans into a desperate situation. Submit or be cancelled.

And that, sadly, makes it more likely that the civil society will continue to collapse as individuals give up on believing that our system works at all.

This is dangerous. And it has to stop — before it is too late and we reach the point of no return. We are about to enter into an abyss for which there is no escape.


Liberal Reporter: 'The New...Authoritarian Liberal-left...Is Going to be Absolutely Ruthless'

Liberal reporter Michael Tracey probably saw this event coming from miles away. Months ago, he probably predicted it. Actually, he did—sort of. He said that Twitter’s glorifying violence protocol is arbitrary and can never be fairly enforced. This was the first wave of the social media giant censoring tweets from the president during the Minneapolis riots. Last night, Twitter finally followed through on something they’ve probably have been waiting to do for months: ban Donald Trump. After flagging and censoring his tweets, the storming of the Capitol Building was probably the last straw. Trump is done on Twitter.

Yet, Tracey is not popping champagne. If this company can do this to Trump, they can do it to anyone. For those who are cheering this, you have no leg to stand on when these tech giants start coming after you. Give it time. It’ll happen. Tracey went on a lengthy series of tweets calling out liberals for celebrating this event, while also warning of an increasingly authoritarian future to come.

“The most extreme, coordinated corporate censorship offensive in modern history and liberals/leftists are in a mindless celebratory stupor. Pathetic shillsm” he wrote. Oh, but when Tracey gets going, it’s a mountain of commentary that drives the ‘woke’ Left insane.

“Imagine thinking that the pattern of unaccountable corporations orchestrating increasingly extreme purges of political speech is a positive development for society...idiots,” he added.

“None of this is about ‘safety,’ it’s about purposely inflating a threat in order to assert political and cultural dominance.”

Earlier last night, he slammed Twitter’s decision to ban Trump calling it “absolute authoritarian lunacy.”

Finally, he said that this push could get state sponsorship, as the Biden administration will soon be ushered into the halls of power.

“The new corporate authoritarian liberal-left monoculture is going to be absolutely ruthless -- and in 12 days it is merging with the state. This only the beginning,” he warned.

We appear to have fallen off the slippery slope in the free speech wars. Dark times ahead? Be vigilant.



Transportation Secretary (and wife of Mitch McConnell) Elaine Chao resigns (Washington Examiner)

Senator James Inhofe says he's never seen Mike Pence so angry amid Trump calls to block election certification (The Hill)

U.S. loses 140,000 jobs, first monthly loss since spring (AP)

Trade deficit soars to 14-year high in November (Politico)

Porch pirate gets caught in the act, then gets his car stuck in the snow trying to escape (Not the Bee)

Nancy Pelosi says she spoke to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about protecting nuclear codes from Trump (Fox News)

Quasi-Democrat Joe Manchin on proposed round of $2,000 checks: "Absolutely not" (The Hill)

Marriot, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Commerce Bank suspend donations to lawmakers who objected to certifying Electoral College vote (Washington Examiner)

PGA strips Trump's Bedminster golf course of its 2022 championship (Daily Mail)

The day after permanently banning Trump for "inciting violence," Twitter allows "Hang Mike Pence" to trend (Not the Bee)

Pope Francis prays for Capitol violence victims — but not other victims of violence (Examiner)

Measure creating reparations committee advances at Illinois statehouse (Examiner)

Four dead following hourslong shooting spree in Chicago area (ABC News)

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler assaulted by left-wing agitators while dining (Disrn)

New York is throwing away vaccines rather than distributing them competently (Reason)

Just 1 in 100,000 had severe allergic reaction to vaccine (Insurance Journal)

Study suggests Pfizer vaccine works against virus variant (AP)

Policy: Why ban of @realDonaldTrump proves Twitter is not "just a platform" (NY Post)



13 January, 2021

Did Trump incite a violent demonstration at the Capitol?

He did not. Just one line of his January 6 speech scotches that claim:

"I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. "

So he did incite a demonstration but he wanted it to be peaceful. And it mostly was. It was just a few hotheads and hangers-on who messed up.

Below is the best than the Left can do to make something different out of Trump's speech. I have inserted some comments in italics to counter the false accusations

New York Times best-selling author, journalist and lawyer Seth Abramson dissected the President’s speech on January 6 and found numerous examples of incitement — some subtle, and others far more direct.

Abramson says Trump almost immediately hints at what is to come.

“Seconds into his speech, Trump says, ‘These people are not going to take it any longer. They’re not going to take it any longer … They came from all over our country. I just really want to see what they do’. It’s an astonishing admission he thinks something is going to happen,” Abramson writes.

Yes. He wanted to see them demonstrate but he said it would be their decision about what they did. It was not under his direction

He says Trump is very deliberate with his use of verb tenses. He stresses the urgency that the election is being “stolen”, not in general terms but very specifically by those counting ballots for the Georgia run-off at the US Capitol.

“So when Trump speaks in the present tense of the election being ‘stolen’ by Democrats and the media — it’s ‘what they’re doing’ — he means it literally: he’s telling the Save America March that he and they are imminently facing a ‘stolen election’ due to events at the Capitol.”

They were

Abramson argues that Trump “clearly sees the crowd as an army”.

“He crows about the size of the crowd, claiming it is ‘hundreds of thousands’ strong. That’s important for his ‘mens rea’ (mental state) as a criminal actor: he believes he’s commanding the actions of a massive force near the Capitol.

“The action Trump is demanding isn’t a protest-type action. It’s not a let-your-voice-be-heard action. It is explicitly an intervention — the ‘steal’ will be ‘stopped’ by the assembled army marching on the Capitol as Trump will shortly direct them. There’s no fuzz on this.”

He simply wanted a really big demonstration

The Harvard Law School graduate and author of Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America says the “strangest line in (Trump’s) speech) involves a call for “military, Secret Service, police, law enforcement” to “come up please”.

Trump says: “If those tens of thousands of people would be allowed — the military, the Secret Service, the police, law enforcement, you’re doing a great job — but I’d love it if they could be allowed to come up here with us. Is that possible? Can you just let them come up please?”

Abramson says the line is “beyond a doubt the strangest line in the speech”.

“When he says ‘come up here with us’ he couldn’t be referring to the stage he’s standing on, as he says he’s referring to ‘tens of thousands’ of military people and cops. So where does he want them to ‘come up’ to?

“The obvious answer — indeed, the only answer — is that, as he’s about to reveal, he is well aware (and was pre-speech) that the Save America March he paid for is a march on the Capitol to ‘stop’ the certification, and that ‘we’/‘us’ will be making that march. And therefore he is asking ‘the military, the Secret Service, the police, [and] law enforcement’ (his words) to march with ‘us’ to the Capitol.”

Rubbish. If you read the speech carefully, you will see that Trump was referring to the big crowd in front of him, including many law-enforcement personnel. He was asking them to come up towards the front of the crowd

Abramson’s analysis ends with this: “America must know what this man did/said. He incited insurrection. Just as the article of impeachment says.”

Trump, of course, denies he did anything of the sort. He distanced himself from such accusations in a statement through his spokeswoman, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

“Donald Trump condemns in the strongest possible terms” the violence, she said Thursday.

“Let me be clear: The violence we saw yesterday at our nation’s Capitol was appalling, reprehensible and antithetical to the American way.

“We condemn it — the president and this administration — in the strongest possible terms.”

The Babylon Bee has a good satirical comment on the false accusations


The All-Out Assault on Conservative Thought Has Just Begun

After the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and others renewed their demands for the suppression of conservative speech on social media. After Trump’s supporters breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Big Tech companies clamped down on President Donald Trump and many of his supporters. Incoming President Joe Biden has said he plans to pass a law against domestic terrorism.

While conservatives rightly denounced the violence this week, this response bodes ill for conservative speech not just on social media, but in the public square and even in private organizations.

In the aftermath of the Capitol riots, Twitter suspended President Donald Trump’s account for the first time and Facebook permanently banned the president. After Trump deleted the tweets Twitter had flagged and had his account restored, Twitter proceeded to ban him entirely on Friday, and then it banned the official President of the United States (POTUS) account.

Facebook throttled the great Rush Limbaugh, notifying him that his “Page has reduced distribution and other restrictions because of repeated sharing of false news.” Limbaugh left Twitter in protest after the platform banned Trump. Apple and Google attacked Parler, claiming that the new haven for conservatives had allowed people to plan the violence of the Capitol riots on its platform.

House Democrats filed articles of impeachment that explicitly blame President Trump for the Capitol riots, even though he never told his supporters to invade the Capitol. While the president’s exaggerated rhetoric inflamed the rioters, Democrats repeatedly did the same thing this summer. Before and after Black Lives Matter protests devolved into destructive and deadly riots, Democratic officials repeatedly claimed America suffers from “systemic racism” and institutionalized “white supremacy.”

Columbus’ Proposed Police Witch Hunt Will Send Chills Down Your Spine
Big Tech did not remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accounts when she called for “uprisings” against the Trump administration. Facebook and Twitter did not target Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she claimed that allegedly marginalized groups have “no choice but to riot.” These platforms did not act against Kamala Harris when she said the riots “should not” stop.

This week, Joe Biden condemned the Capitol rioters, saying, “What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent, it was not disorder, it was not protest. It was chaos. They weren’t protesters, don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic, it’s that simple.”

Yet he refused to speak in those terms when Black Lives Matter and antifa militants were throwing Molotov cocktails at federal buildings, setting up “autonomous zones,” and burning down cities. Instead, he condemned Trump for holding up a Bible at a church — without mentioning the fact that that very church had been set on fire the night before.

Despite this hypocrisy, Biden’s speech on Thursday proved instructive. Biden used the Capitol riots to condemn Trump’s entire presidency, accusing Trump of having “unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of our democracy from the outset.” Biden twisted Trump’s actions into an attack on “democracy.” He claimed Trump’s originalist judges were a ploy to undermine impartial justice — when they were truly the exact opposite. Biden claimed Trump’s complaints about the Obama administration spying on his campaign were merely an “attack” on America’s “intelligence services.” Biden said Trump’s complaints about media bias constituted an attack on the “free press,” when the Obama administration actually attacked the free press.

Despite the fact that leftist violence has wracked American cities for years (remember Ferguson and the shooting of police officers in Dallas in 2016?), Biden seized on the Capitol riots as evidence that everything the Right had been saying the past four years was a blatant and destructive lie.

This reminded me of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a once-noble civil rights organization that has become a far-left smear factory. The SPLC weaponizes its history suing white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan into bankruptcy and monitoring them through its Klanwatch program to silence conservative thought. It brands mainstream conservative organizations “hate groups,” listing them along with the KKK on a “hate map.” This “hate map” inspired a deranged man to target the Family Research Council (FRC) for a mass shooting in 2012.

The Trump administration has worked with conservative organizations the SPLC falsely smears as “hate groups,” and the SPLC has made hay of this fact. Its latest “hate group” report — published last March — mentioned Trump no fewer than 66 times. Yet the SPLC carried water for antifa during the riots this summer.

The SPLC has repeatedly pressured Big Tech to clamp down on conservative “hate groups,” suggesting this is the right way to fight white supremacist terrorism. Amazon has excluded mainstream conservative Christian nonprofits from its charity program, Amazon Smile.

After Charlottesville, the SPLC raked in cash with big donations from Apple and JPMorgan. CNN even shared the SPLC “hate map” on its website and Twitter account, effectively endorsing the false accusations.

Not surprisingly, the SPLC has already seized the moment after the Capitol riots.

“One of the powerful lessons we must take away from this week’s coup attempt by President Trump and his supporters is that 2021 is not a time for half measures in the fight against hate and extremism,” Margaret Huang, the SPLC’s president and CEO, said in a statement on Friday. “This violence is bolstered by the infrastructure of white nationalist movements that the Southern Poverty Law Center has been tracking and fighting for decades.”

She warned that the Capitol riots will become “a recruitment tool for white nationalist movements” and “hate groups.” She claimed that “the violence in Washington was predictable and preventable,” citing the SPLC’s list of “hate groups” — specifically the increase in the number of white nationalist hate groups. (Since the SPLC does not explain how large specific “hate groups” are, the number of such “groups” is arguably meaningless. Some “hate groups” consist of merely one person.)

Prominent leftists are likely to celebrate the SPLC as the harbinger of this violence, and the SPLC does do some important work monitoring white nationalists. Unfortunately, the group also smears conservative and Christian groups because they defend biblical sexuality, oppose illegal immigration, and warn about the threat of radical Islamist terrorism. Even fellow liberals have condemned the SPLC’s “anti-LGBT hate group” accusation against Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative Christian law firm that has won multiple Supreme Court cases.

The SPLC also has skeletons in its closet. In 2019, the SPLC fired its co-founder, had its president step down, and had a prominent member of the board distance herself. The scandal broke out due to accusations of (decades-old) racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Amid the scandal, former employees came forward to expose the “con” of exaggerating hate to bilk donors.

Despite all this, the SPLC still enjoys considerable sway among Big Tech, corporate America, the legacy media, and the Democratic Party. When Attorney General Dana Nessel (D-Mich.) announced a new “hate crimes” unit, she specifically cited the SPLC’s list of “hate groups” in the state. Kamala Harris, soon to become vice president, has repeatedly cited the SPLC in attacking Trump’s judicial and administration nominees.

This makes it all the more ominous that Biden has said he plans to prioritize passing a law against domestic terrorism. Domestic terrorism is indeed a serious problem in America, but Biden’s egregious and blatant double standard on the Capitol riots and antifa, along with his party’s growing alliance with the SPLC, suggests he may use such a law to silence conservative dissent while going soft on far-left rioters.

Conservative Christians should pay close attention to this threat. Biden, like the SPLC, has long championed LGBT activism, and in 2018 at an LGBT activist group, he attacked people who have “tried to define family” in the U.S. as “the dregs of society.” At the CNN LGBT town hall in October 2019, Biden called for a kind of terror watchlist to monitor organizations that oppose same-sex marriage and transgender identity. Biden firmly supports the Equality Act, which would outlaw discrimination against LGBT people. While Americans do not support discrimination, laws like this have been weaponized to punish Christians for refusing to celebrate same-sex weddings.

Buckle up, conservatives. The Biden administration represents a serious threat to conservative thought in the public square, and now Democrats have both houses of Congress to ram their agenda through.



12 January, 2021

Are the covid vaccines safe and effective?

Sebastian Rushworth M.D. writes below. He likes the Moderna vaccine best so I reproduce below just that part of his article

Let’s move on to the final trial, of the Moderna vaccine. I’m going to run through this one a little bit more quickly, because in many respects it is similar to the previous two trials. The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine at the end of December. The technology used for this vaccine is identical to the technology used for the Pfizer vaccine, so it’s reasonable to expect that the results would be similar. This was a randomized controlled trial involving 30,000 participants, who were recruited from a large number of sites across the United States. The study was primarily funded by the US government and by Moderna. Half the participants received two doses of the Moderna covid vaccine one month apart, and half received two doses of a placebo injection (consisting of saline). The median length of follow-up after receiving the second dose was two months.

As with the previous two trials, the primary objective of the study was to see if there was a reduction in cases of covid-19, which in this study was defined as at least two symptoms suggestive of covid-19 plus a positive covid PCR test.

The study included adults over the age of 18. As with the previous studies, participants had to be healthy or “stable” in terms of any underlying chronic conditions. The study excluded pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with allergies, and people who were immunosuppressed. The average BMI was 29. Only 5% of participants were over the age of 75, so as with the other two studies the proportion of participants in the oldest category was low. 5% had chronic lung disease. 5% had significant cardiac disease. 7% were obese. And 10% had diabetes.

Ok, so what were the results?

Among those who had received the placebo injections, 1,3% developed covid. Among those who had received the vaccine, 0,07% developed covid. That represents a 94% reduction in cases, and it is highly statistically significant. If we look at those over 65 (average age 70), then we see an 86% reduction in cases, so the vaccine seems to be highly effective even for older people (although unfortunately no data is provided for the very oldest people, aged 80+).

The results are even more impressive if we look only at people with severe covid. Among those getting the placebo, there were 30 cases. Among those getting the vaccine, not a single person developed a severe case of covid. So, just as with the previous two vaccines, the Moderna vaccine appears to be highly effective against covid-19.

What about safety?

1,0% of participants in the placebo group experienced a serious adverse event and 1,0% of participants in the vaccine group experienced a serious adverse event. Ideally we would like to see fewer serious adverse events in the vaccine group, but there weren’t enough cases of severe covid-19 for the vaccine to have any noticeable positive effect on the overall number.

If we look through the list of serious adverse events (yes, unlike Pfizer, Moderna actually provided this information), we see that there is nothing that could reasonably be thought to have been caused by the vaccine (unlike the transverse myelitis seen in the Astra-Zeneca study), and there is nothing that sticks out as being more common in the vaccine group than in the placebo group.

Overall, the Moderna vaccine does appear to be both effective and safe. Would I be willing to take it? Yes, I would, actually. There is a strong signal of benefit, and zero signal of harm. Considering that there were 15,000 people in the vaccine group, any serious side effects that can happen as a result of the vaccine are likely to be very rare (in those groups that were included in the study).

Ok, let’s wrap up. So all three vaccines appear to be highly effective at preventing covid-19, although both the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine are clearly more effective than the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. In terms of safety, I have significant concerns about the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, considering that there is a signal suggesting that it increases your risk of developing transverse myelitis by a hundredfold or more. Future research will have to show whether that is a real risk or not. I also have concerns about the Pfizer vaccine, since there was a 60% increase in severe adverse events among those taking the vaccine, an issue that Pfizer hasn’t bothered to address at all, and I am also concerned about the fact that Pfizer does not provide a detailed breakdown of adverse events, which makes it impossible to see if there is anything in there that we should be worried about. The Moderna vaccine does appear to be safe however, based on the data available up to now.


Angela Merkel calls Trump's permanent Twitter ban 'problematic' and says freedom of opinion is a fundamental right

German chancellor Angela Merkel regards Donald Trump's permanent ban from Twitter as 'problematic' because it gives too much power to social media bosses, her spokesman said today.

Trump was permanently booted off the platform on Friday because of the 'risk of further incitement of violence' after his supporters stormed the US Capitol while Congress was certifying his election defeat.

Merkel - a longstanding critic of Trump - said she was 'furious and saddened' by the rampage, but her spokesman Steffen Seibert said today that 'the chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the US president have been permanently blocked'.

'The fundamental right to freedom of opinion is a fundamental right of elementary importance,' he said.

'This fundamental right can be interfered with, but through the law and within the framework defined by the legislature, not according to the decision of the management of social media platforms.'

While tech giants were right not to 'stand back' and were justified in red-flagging Trump's tweets, banning his account altogether was a step too far, he said.

He added that social media bosses 'bear great responsibility for political communication not being poisoned by hatred, by lies and by incitement to violence'.

France's finance minister Bruno Le Maire also voiced doubts about Trump's ban today, telling France Inter radio that it should not be for the 'digital oligarchy' to regulate itself.

Echoing Merkel's spokesman, Le Maire said that regulatory decisions should be taken by elected governments rather than by American corporate bosses.

Merkel, an understated multilateralist who has little in common with the brash Trump, has been critical of the US president on numerous occasions during his four years in office - including when she condemned the Capitol riots last week.

But both leaders have clashed with social media giants during their terms in office - with Germany bringing in a new law in 2018 to force them to remove hate speech.

Like several European countries, privacy-conscious Germany has also been at loggerheads with US tech firms over data protection and tax payments.

Merkel herself does not have a Twitter account, although Seibert does and many German government ministers do.

Though Twitter hasn't issued any further statements after its banning of Trump , it appears to be conducting a mass purge of any accounts connected with the 'QAnon' conspiracy theory, banning Trump loyalists Mike Flynn, Sidney Powell, and thousands of others.

The apparent effect has been to massively shrink the follower counts of high-profile conservative figures and Trump allies.

In a video message on Facebook, Don Jr claimed that he had lost 100,000 Twitter followers in the past day.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted an image of an analytical tool showing key elected Democrats gaining tens of thousands of followers, while key Republicans were losing them at the same rate.

'This is how you create an echo chamber...' Pompeo wrote.

In his tweets on Saturday, Don Jr pointed out that Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who tweeted last year calling for 'the elimination of the Zionist regime' through 'firm, armed resistance,' still has multiple official Twitter accounts


Parler Will 'Be Down Longer Than Expected': Difficulty finding a new host

Parler, which emerged as a Twitter alternative for conservatives, officially went offline on Monday after Amazon Web Services refused to host the site any longer. Following the Capitol riots on Wednesday, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores, claiming the site had refused to take down posts inciting violence. On Saturday, Amazon announced it would follow suit after employees pressured the company to remove Parler.

Parler saved its data and prepared to switch to a different provider, but on Monday, Parler CEO John Matze announced the process would take longer than expected.

“I wanted to send everyone on Parler an update,” Matze posted. “WE will likely be down longer than expected. This is not due to software restrictions—we have our software and everyone’s data ready to go. Rather it’s that Amazon’s, Google’s, and Apple’s statements to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well.”

“And most people with enough servers to host us have shut their doors to us,” Matze added. “We will update everyone and update the press when we are back online.”

“Parler is my final stand on the internet,” the CEO concluded. “I won’t be making an account on any social. Parler is my home.”

The All-Out Assault on Conservative Thought Has Just Begun
When conservatives complained about Twitter and Facebook throttling conservative speech, leftists encouraged those on the Right to develop their own social media platforms. Yet when conservatives started flocking to Parler, the established Big Tech companies colluded to destroy this alternative.

Some posts on Parler reportedly encouraged violence before the Capitol riots, but posts on Facebook and Twitter encouraged violence against the police before and during the Black Lives Matter riots over the summer.

Big Tech did not remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accounts when she called for “uprisings” against the Trump administration. Facebook and Twitter did not target Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she claimed that allegedly marginalized groups have “no choice but to riot.” These platforms did not act against Kamala Harris when she said the riots “should not” stop.

On Thursday, Joe Biden condemned the Capitol rioters, saying, “What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent, it was not disorder, it was not protest. It was chaos. They weren’t protesters, don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic, it’s that simple.”

Tellingly, Biden refused to use such language when Black Lives Matter and antifa militants were throwing Molotov cocktails at federal buildings, setting up “autonomous zones,” and burning down cities. Despite the fact that leftist violence has wracked American cities for years (remember Ferguson and the shooting of police officers in Dallas in 2016?), Biden seized on the Capitol riots as evidence that everything the Right had been saying the past four years was a blatant and destructive lie.

Big Tech companies appear to have applied this same double standard on political violence — and those who were paying attention could have predicted this back in 2017.

In September 2017, after the Charlottesville riots, the credit card processing company Vanco Payment Solutions canceled its contract with the small Catholic nonprofit The Ruth Institute (RI), citing the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). RI aims to help victims of the Sexual Revolution, but the SPLC placed this small conservative Christian nonprofit on a list with the Ku Klux Klan because RI cites the Catechism of the Catholic Church to say that homosexual activity is “intrinsically disordered.”

To conservatives who are familiar with the SPLC, this attack would not come as a surprise. This once-noble civil rights organization has become a far-left smear factory, weaponizing its history of suing white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan into bankruptcy and monitoring them through its Klanwatch program to silence conservative thought. Using the modern version of the Klanwatch program, the SPLC brands mainstream conservative organizations “hate groups,” listing them along with the KKK on a “hate map.” This “hate map” inspired a deranged man to target the Family Research Council (FRC) for a mass shooting in 2012.

Big Tech, the legacy media, Democrats, and corporate America have used the SPLC “hate group” list to cancel mainstream conservative groups.

The SPLC is not a reliable arbiter of hate and it has many skeletons in its closet. In 2019, the SPLC fired its co-founder, had its president step down, and had a prominent member of the board distance herself. The scandal broke out due to accusations of (decades-old) racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Amid the scandal, former employees came forward to expose the “con” of exaggerating hate to bilk donors. I wrote a book, Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center, explaining the many reasons why this far-left smear factory should not be trusted.

Parler’s disappearance from the internet reminds me very much of the SPLC’s nefarious efforts to silence conservative nonprofits. It seems the SPLC’s cancel culture has gone mainstream. With Parler gone, conservatives are flocking to Gab, MeWe, and other alternatives. What happens when Big Tech turns on those, too?



11 January, 2021

UK: These senseless lockdown fines will only foster contempt among the public

We all know we are in the middle of a pandemic, that Covid-19 is spread by human contact, that the new strain of the virus is significantly more infectious, that cases are soaring and deaths are high – and that the NHS is in danger of being overwhelmed.

We know, too, that we all have a responsibility to keep contact with others to a bare minimum.

It is dangerous and wrong to hold parties, raves and other gatherings – and quite right for the police to use their powers to break them up.

But there comes a point at which over-zealous enforcement of the rules becomes dangerous in itself.

If we want everyone to obey the lockdown rules it is vital that those rules have public consent.

Lose this and we find ourselves in a situation which tends to afflict all dictatorships after a while – where people pay lip service to laws but have such contempt for the rules that they are determined to break them at every opportunity.

Moreover, it destroys public trust even further when police are seen apparently making up the law as they go along.

As the National Police Chiefs’ Council has since acknowledged, there is nothing in the legislation passed last week that prevents someone driving five miles to take a socially distanced walk in the country.

That is exactly what the two women stopped at a Derbyshire reservoir last week had done – they went there, they said, because it was less crowded than the paths near their homes. The tea they had taken to drink on a bitter day apparently constituted a ‘picnic’ and they were fined £200 each on the vague grounds of breaking the ‘spirit’ of lockdown.

Nor is there anything in the legislation to prevent people leaving their home twice a day – the ‘offence’ over which an overly ‘keen’ Thames Valley policeman challenged drivers following the new national lockdown. The ‘once-a-day’ rule is a guideline, but it is not law. The Home Secretary Priti Patel and Health Secretary Matt Hancock surely know that, so why were they so keen yesterday to jump to the support of police officers who appear to have acted outside the powers that Parliament voted to give them?

The irony is that the only social interaction likely to spread Covid in any of these instances was between police officers and the people they were apprehending for perceived breaches of lockdown.

Do these crowds of police hanging around the streets possess some kind of immunity to the disease which the rest of us do not?

I am sure that the vast majority of officers around the country are not acting disproportionately, but are enforcing the rules with common sense – giving advice and verbal warnings to people who, in many cases, are simply confused by the ever-changing rules.

But it damages the reputation of the police as a whole when some start behaving like the Stasi. I wonder whether those individuals who’ve been interrogated by over-zealous boys in blue in recent days will be inclined to cooperate with officers in future if, for example, their assistance is required as witnesses to a real crime?

And I find it particularly worrying that several cases seem to have involved crowds of male officers surrounding women who are either alone or in pairs. It is as if years of equality training have gone out of the window and some officers suddenly think themselves entitled to pick on what they see as soft targets.

We all need to follow the rules of lockdown, but that will be made easier if police forces can retain our respect by acting proportionately, rather than jumping on the first person they can find an excuse to fine.


Parler faces SHUTDOWN: Amazon vows to switch off 'free-speech' site's servers at midnight as Apple follows Google in banning it

Conservative social media platform Parler could be shutdown from midnight Sunday after Amazon said it was shutting down its servers.

Jeff Bezos' Amazon said it had suspended Parler from its Amazon Web Services (AWS) unit, for violating its terms of services by failing to effectively deal with a steady increase in violent content on the social networking service.

Parler's CEO John Matze announced the news, revealing it could leave the app unavailable for a week as the company attempts to rebuild from scratch.

Earlier Saturday night, Apple said it is also suspending the app over accusations it is being used to incite violence.

The Apple suspension comes after the tech giant gave Parler 24 hours to address the 'threats to people's safety' or be removed from its app store.

The move comes one day after Google also removed Parler from its app store, also citing posts inciting violence, and demanded 'robust' content moderation from the app favored by many Trump supporters.

Parler had been flooded by conservatives and right wingers fleeing Facebook and Twitter in recent days in the wake of suspension of prominent conservative figures, including Trump himself, and the warnings from Apple.

Maetze branded the shutoffs and suspensions 'a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place'.

The CEO also revealed late Saturday that Parler had removed a post from right-wing attorney Lin Wood, a staunch Trump supporter, that called for Vice President Mike Pence to be executed by 'firing squads'.

'Yes, some of his parleys that violated our rules were taken down,' Matze told Mediaite, specifying that the post, or parley, about the 'firing squads' was among those removed.

The parley, uploaded Thursday, read: 'They let them in. Get the firing squads ready. Pence goes FIRST.'

In a statement to CNN, Wood denied making any threats against Pence, claiming, 'I don't believe in violence, I do believe in the rule of law.'

'I have reliable evidence that Pence has a engaged in acts of treason. My comments were rhetorical hyperbole. Any journalist should understand that concept. If my information is accurate, law enforcement will address what punishment, if any, should be administered to Pence as they do with all criminals,' Wood said.

News of Wood's controversial post came just hours after Apple announced it would be suspending Parler from its app store indefinitely, having earlier issued the company 24 hours to address the 'threats to people's safety'.

In a letter to the social media site explaining its suspension on Saturday, Apple said: 'Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity, and is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.'

Apple explained: 'We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity.

'Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people's safety,' it added.

'We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues'.

Matze, in a post on Parler responding to the Apple suspension, said, 'They claim it is due to violence on the platform. The community disagrees as we hit number 1 on their store today'.

'More details about our next plans coming soon as we have many options,' Matze said.

He was forced to post again shortly afterward as Amazon announced the shut off of its servers.

'Amazon will be shutting off all of out servers in an attempt to completely remove free speech off the internet,' he wrote.

'There is the possibility Parler will be unavailable on the Internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch. We prepared for events like this by never relying on Amazon's proprietary infrastructure and building bare metal products.

‘We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business, however Amazon, Google and Apple purposefully did this as a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited and knowing this would inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies.


Tech giants’ censorship of history must be thwarted

Incoming US president Joe Biden would show his country and the world he is a genuine libertarian and democrat if he took the lead in insisting that Twitter, Facebook, Google and other players overturn their alarming efforts to silence Donald Trump online. Regardless of his faults as a world leader, including his egregious behaviour last week, Mr Trump is an important figure at a fascinating point in history. His election in 2016, as a rank outsider, exposed the deep fissures in American society and since then he has been controversial.

When professional historians come to write and analyse the current period in the context of its strategic challenges, economic struggles, culture wars, Chinese expansionism and the COVID-19 pandemic, primary sources will be central to their work. Twitter has long been Mr Trump’s preferred platform for addressing his followers, whose number had grown to 88 million — foes as well as friends — and millions more who read his tweets but were not signed up. The tweets were candid, spontaneous snapshots of his reactions and attitudes, largely undoctored by officials and spinners. In reaching for the Twitter button at all hours of the day and night, he was often his own worst enemy. But this makes it more important to preserve the record openly and transparently. As former UN ambassador Nikki Haley tweeted: “Silencing people, not to mention the President of the US, is what happens in China not our country.’’

Twitter’s attempt to justify its permanent suspension of @realDonaldTrump does not stand scrutiny. Nor is its claim that it acted “due to the risk of further incitement of violence’’ any justification for obliterating his account. The tech giants’ cancelling Mr Trump also provokes a key question. Which controversial figure will they target next? In pulling the plug on the President, they have crossed a crucial line; from being purveyors of first-hand, unedited political utterances to controllers of whose views the public will and will not be allowed to see and hear. Mr Trump has been a consequential president who, in his final days in office, as The Times writes, “may have added another notch to his complicated legacy: bringing the curtain down on the first phase of our social media age’’.

On Friday, we castigated Mr Trump in relation to the violent breach of the Capitol’s security, which resulted in five deaths, including that of a police officer. The President, we said, “had been inciting the mayhem for days, tweeting exhortations to his followers to rally in Washington when both houses of congress were scheduled to go through the ceremonial process of formally certifying Mr Biden’s victory. ‘It’s going to be wild,’ he tweeted. ‘Don’t miss it’.’’ It would be hard to imagine a more incendiary act by an incumbent President, we said, than to exploit passions that were running high. The time for social media to edit or contradict those tweets was then.

In contrast, the two tweets on January 8 that finally provoked permanent suspension of his account were mild. The first said: “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” So what? The second, while significant, was not incendiary: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.” He will be the first president in more than 150 years not to attend his successor’s inauguration.

Christchurch gunman Brenton Tarrant demonstrated the potential of terrorists and other criminals to misuse the internet to glorify violence. All media, including social media, must guard against such abuses. Examples abound of Twitter giving voice to militant dictators, such as Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei. Social media, in general, is more open to abuse and misuse than traditional media, which accounts for its potential to plant dangerous ideas in the minds of unstable individuals. This, regrettably, is how it has evolved; it is not a call for censorship.

But cancelling Mr Trump violates the principle of free speech, a democratic cornerstone, without sufficient reason. So do the actions of Facebook and Instagram, which have blocked him indefinitely, or for “at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete”, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says. Google, Apple and Amazon are also culpable, for booting Parler, a free speech-focused social media network favoured by conservatives.

Across the world, the general public and traditional media organisations should be wary of the unchecked power of a small group of unelected tech titans, including Californian billionaires Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Mr Zuckerberg, to manipulate public discourse and thinking. They must not be allowed to delete history. As Republican senator Marco Rubio has tweeted: “Even those who oppose Trump should see the danger of having a small and unelected group with the power to silence and erase anyone. And their actions will only stoke new grievances that will end up fuelling the very thing they claim to be trying to prevent.”



10 January, 2021

Why Trump Will Weather This Nonsense: He’ll be back

Dov Fischer

We have been through this drill before — as with Charlottesville and as when President Trump held a press conference alongside Vladimir Putin overseas and stated that he believed Putin’s questionable asseveration that Russia had not messed with the 2016 American elections. Everyone is smart except Trump.

I view the video, and more than 95 percent of the people who made their ways inside clearly were just drifting and roaming around, walking mostly in single or double file, as in a tour of the Capitol.

In each case, the Mainstream Media whipped up a froth and frenzy. In all of human history, we essentially were told, there never had been such perfidy. We kept hearing, night after day after night after day, the carefully selected clip: “There were fine people on both sides.” So that meant, we were told, that President Trump, grandfather of Orthodox Jewish children, benefactor of Jared Kushner, doting father of Orthodox Jewish Ivanka, a man who commuted the unfair sentence of Shlomo Rubashkin, endorses Nazis. As recently as this very week, the Mainstream Media still are at it, still lying shamelessly that he endorsed Nazis at Charlottesville. While I was watching the nightly Hebrew news out of Israel on Israel’s equivalent of PBS, the Left-oriented public broadcasting station that the Government funds and that the taxpayers hate because all their Mainstream Media likewise are Left-oriented, their Thursday news report included that same precisely edited clip: “There were fine people on both sides.” Not a word about how the President in truth had condemned Nazism and White Nationalists two separate times in the same four-minute conference. That is why the general Israeli population hate their Mainstream Media and love Trump.

There was a similar froth and frenzy during and after that overseas press conference with Putin: James Clapper and John Brennan were all over CNN asserting that the President had perpetrated treason and such. It was worse than Benedict Arnold giving secrets to the British in the days when the Brits were our mortal enemies. (Interesting how time changes realities.) How could the President publicly say, alongside Putin, that he believes Vladimir Putin and not his own director of intelligence? Why didn’t Trump look Putin in the face, in front of world news media, and call him a liar and a crook and a tyrant — and then privately try to negotiate other issues that were on the table? As if any world leader ever would stare another in the face, in front of the world media, and would speak that way, that directly, rather than scold behind closed doors.

And now the current nonsense.

I have watched video of the Wednesday, January 6, incident over and over and over again. Insurrection? Coup? Yes, the Mainstream Media kept calling them “rioters.” But if you watch again carefully, muting the sound and believing only your own eyes, more than 95 percent of the people inside the Capitol just were milling around. It simply was not anything even remotely approaching what the frenzied Mainstream Media are trying to whip up. They make it sound like an insurrection, a coup. This was not the Bolshevik Revolution. Most trespassers inside had no intention of ending up there. They were rallying outside, and an incredibly deficient police and security detail found itself predictably unable to prevent a comparatively small number of people from knocking over pathetically inadequate barricades. The barricades then were down and the crowd just went forward. They were not armed for insurrection. They were not searching for blood. They were angry but — equally or more — just plain curious: “Let’s see where this goes.”

They meandered inside. I view the video, and more than 95 percent of the people who made their ways inside clearly were just drifting and roaming around, walking mostly in single or double file, as in a tour of the Capitol. The guy in Nancy Pelosi’s chair? OK, he should not have been there. It was not his office, not his chair. My mother taught me that: you don’t sit in someone else’s office chair without permission. But the guy obviously was just playing around, putting his legs on her desk, reading or taking an envelope from her desk. That was not an insurrection; it was a grown-up misbehaving — and, by the way, quite peacefully and jovially. It was not Black Lives Matters breaking a street of windows, ransacking stores, and burning down buildings. It was not Antifa shooting rockets into federal buildings including court houses. Rather, it was a bunch of people who played “Follow the Leader” and, out of curiosity as much as anything else, meandered into and out of the Capitol. It was January D.C. winter, and it was warmer inside.

For the Mainstream Media the incident offered a perfect bookend to their four years of dishonest coverage of a president they hated vitriolically from Day One and from before. They found a nut with a T-Shirt that said “Camp Auschwitz” and did their best to make him a symbol of the day. I am a Jew, an Orthodox rabbi, and I have devoted a good chunk of my life to the causes of American Jewry and Soviet Jewish freedom from Communist tyranny, and I have disseminated the words “Never Again” more than most. Yet I am sophisticated enough to discern that a jerk with a “Camp Auschwitz” T-shirt was but one of countless others having a field day in the Capitol. For comparison: a wonderful middle-aged married couple in Brooklyn, Orthodox Jews and former members of the shul where I am congregational rabbi — and still active financial supporters of my rabbinic work and secular writings from their new home in Flatbush — sent me a photo of the two of them, both very pro-Trump activists who campaigned for him across state lines in Philadelphia because New York electoral votes were not in play but Pennsylvania was an electoral battleground, just having fun and smiling outside the Capitol. Another very close friend, the son of an equally very close friend — both actively devoted for decades to the National Council of Young Israel, an organization of more than 130 Orthodox synagogues (including mine) across America and in Israel — was there. If one guy was wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” t-shirt, there were many times more Orthodox Jews than he thrilled to be there — and so many scores more mainstream, easy-going, perfectly normal pro-Trump activists who just meandered into the Capitol because the House and Senate Sergeants-of-Arms and the Capitol Police defaulted and practically left the doors open. It was like Motel Six: just come on over, and we’ll leave the lights on for you.

This was no insurrection. It just wasn’t. Any objective look at the pictures sees that, yes, a few did break in, did shatter glass. That is inexcusable and must be prosecuted and punished. But, by and large, this simply was a weird day, when the Capitol found itself pathetically unguarded, and masses poured into the building because, well, hey, everyone else is doing it, so why not, and this is so cool, and can I take a selfie? What kind of insurrection and coup is dominated by people taking selfies and snapping photos on their smart phones? Really, c’mon.

OK, it makes total sense that many Congressional representatives and Senators were in a panic because they heard the worst, and you cannot take chances when something crazy like that happens. You have to be cautious, prudent, and secure when throngs throng into your place uninvited. Fair. And yet there is something rich in hearing all those Democrats who have been demanding “Defund the Police!” now screaming about how they have to fire the Sergeant-at-Arms, presumably the Lieutenant-at-Legs, the head of the Capitol Police, all while demanding angrily: Where were the police?

Uh, defunded?

Meanwhile, Trump made a speech. He urged people to march to the Capitol and peacefully protest. That is what he said: “peacefully.” He simply asked his followers to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. Since this is the Charlottesville Big Lie all over again, you have to listen for yourself to the actual speech. Where is the call for insurrection, for a coup? Where is the incitement? He simply called on them to act peacefully and to make their voices heard. When Obama and Holder and that Crew did that, Ferguson burned, Baltimore burned. Obama fanned flames for eight years: If he had had a son, the boy would have looked like Trayvon Martin. Right.

The whole thing, the whole Media froth and frenzy, comprises a shameful denouement of its four-year effort to destroy President Trump. In its context, of course the Elaine Chaos and Betsy DeVoses are jumping ship. It is January, the start of a new year. Their jobs expire in fewer than fourteen days. So they give two weeks’ notice. It gives them a résumé boost, conveying they “left the Trump Administration in protest.” In protest of what – that your job ends in ten days anyway? So they get to do a bit of virtue signaling, and OK. If that is what they feel they need to do to advance their careers, well — since when did Americans never hear of “taking care of Number One”? So be it. Mick Mulvaney leaving his post as a quasi-ambassador to Northern Ireland. Of course he is doing that. He previously served as the acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from November 2017 to December 2018. He also had served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from February 2017 until March 2020, then as acting White House Chief of Staff from January 2019 until March 2020. So, when the president made Mark Meadows the full-time Chief of Staff, sending Mulvaney for a tour of Northern Ireland, it was a clear demotion. So Mick got his chance to “Watch Out for Number One” by announcing, just two weeks before he is out of a job anyway, that he is coming back to America. Good for him. Welcome back. Set a spell.

As for impeaching Trump with ten days left to his first term in office, that also is rich. In a quirky way, imagine Mike Pence suited up as 46th President for, like, a day — and then watching Pence, as his one act in office, doing as Gerald Ford did and issuing a full anticipatory pardon to his predecessor. But that quirky moment will have to wait. The House would impeach Trump seven days a week if it could. And if the Senate went berserk, down to Joe Manchin, and voted for conviction — well, at least the Mormons of Utah would wake up to the shame they have brought on their state by replacing a statesman like Orrin Hatch with a sore loser like Mitt Romney who, like Hillary, never came to terms with how a sometime-bullvahn like Donald John Trump, often seeming to be a bull in search of a china shop, proved to be so much more popular than did either of those two.

In the 24-7 news cycle in which we live, politicians vie frantically for coverage by out-extreming each other, and media do the same. They exaggerate everything shamelessly. And then a few weeks pass, new “breaking news” captures center stage, and sensible people look back and recognize the hyperbole with accurate hindsight. Let the job seekers give their two-weeks’ notice. Play the full actual speech. Listen especially to the embedded link for one minute between 18:00 and 19:00 — and particularly to the words at 18:47-18:56. Read the transcript. And remember the more sensible, calm, and courageous who weathered the passing storm of Mainstream Media Big Lie Number Infinity with President Trump.


Apple bans Parler from App Store in wake of US Capitol riots

The silencing moves into high gear

Apple has suspended an online platform described as a "free speech" Twitter clone from its App Store in the wake of deadly riots at the US Capitol.

Apple says social networking service Parler has not taken adequate measures to prevent the spread of posts inciting violence.

The company had given the platform 24 hours to submit a detailed moderation plan, following complaints it was being used to "plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities".

"Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people's safety," Apple said in a statement. It said it was removing the app "until they resolve these issues".

Parler CEO John Matze complained on his site of being scapegoated. "Standards not applied to Twitter, Facebook or even Apple themselves apply to Parler," he said.

He said he "won't cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech".

Losing access to the app stores of Google and Apple — whose operating systems power hundreds of millions of smartphones — severely limits Parler's reach, though it will continue to be accessible via web browsers.

US President Donald Trump has been either banned or restricted on several social media platforms following riots at the US Capitol Building.

Online speech experts expect social media companies led by Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube to more vigorously police hate speech and incitement in the wake of the Capitol rebellion.

University of California-Irvine law professor David Kaye, a former UN special rapporteur on free speech, believes the Parlers of the world will also face pressure from the public and law enforcement, as will little-known sites where further pre-inauguration disruption is now apparently being organised.

They include MeWe, Wimkin, and Stormfront, according to a report released by The Althea Group, which tracks disinformation.

Professor Kaye rejected arguments by US conservatives including the President's former UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, that the Trump ban savaged the US constitution's first amendment, which prohibits the Government from restricting free expression.

"Silencing people, not to mention the President of the US, is what happens in China not our country," Ms Haley said on Twitter.

Professor Kaye said companies also had freedom of speech. "It's not like the platforms' rules are draconian. People don't get caught in violations unless they do something clearly against the rules," he said. "The companies have their freedom of speech too."


DC mayor extends public emergency declaration until after Biden's inauguration (Washington Examiner)

At least the media finally came around to the idea that riots are scary (Washington Examiner)

A confident Stacey Abrams says Georgia runoffs are "just the beginning" (Yahoo News)

George Soros gets behind abolishing the police (Free Beacon)

Two Louisville detectives involved in Breonna Taylor raid are fired (AP)

Half of Chicago teachers refused to return to work this week (Disrn)

Tit for tat: Buffalo Bills fans launch petition to keep Andrew Cuomo from attending Saturday's playoff game (Disrn)

Link found between self-control in childhood and success later in life (Medical XPress)

Policy: With 2021 still young, we already have trouble from Tehran (Daily Signal)



9 January, 2021

Pfizer study suggests vaccine works against COVID-19 mutation

New research suggests that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine can protect against a mutation found in the two more contagious variants of the coronavirus that have erupted in Britain and South Africa.

The study was preliminary and did not look at the two other major vaccines being used in the West – Moderna’s and AstraZeneca’s. But it was reassuring, given questions of whether the virus could mutate to defeat the shots on which the world has pinned its hopes.

The mutated version spreading in Britain has also been detected in Australia, the US and numerous other countries.

The variants that are causing global concern carry multiple mutations but share one in common that's believed to be the reason they are more contagious. Called N501Y, it is a slight alteration on one spot of the spike protein that coats the virus. Most of the vaccines being rolled out around the world train the body to recognise that spike protein and fight it.

Pfizer teamed with researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for laboratory tests to see if the mutation affected its vaccine's ability to do so.

They used blood samples from 20 people who received the vaccine, made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, during a large study of the shots. Antibodies from those vaccine recipients successfully fended off the virus in lab dishes, according to the study posted on Friday AEDT on an online site for researchers.

The study has not yet been reviewed by experts, a key step for medical research. But “it was a very reassuring finding that at least this mutation, which was one of the ones people are most concerned about, does not seem to be a problem” for the vaccine, said Pfizer chief scientific officer Dr Philip Dormitzer.

A similar vaccine by Moderna is being rolled out in the US and Europe, and on Friday was cleared in Britain. Moderna is doing similar testing to tell if its shot also works against the variants, as are makers of other types of COVID-19 vaccines.

But Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, said this week that vaccines are designed to recognise multiple parts of the spike protein, making it unlikely a single mutation could be enough to block them. Still, testing is needed to be sure.

Viruses constantly undergo minor changes as they spread from person to person. Scientists have used these slight modifications to track how the coronavirus has moved around the globe since it was first detected in China about a year ago.

British scientists have said the variant found in the UK – which has become the dominant type in parts of England – still seemed to be susceptible to vaccines.

But the variant first discovered in South Africa has an additional mutation that has scientists on edge, one named E484K. The Pfizer study found that the vaccine appeared to work against 15 additional possible virus mutations, but E484K wasn’t among those tested. Dormitzer said it is next on the list.

If the virus eventually mutates enough that the vaccine needs adjusting – much like flu shots are adjusted most years – that tweaking the recipe wouldn’t be difficult for his company's shot and similar ones. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are made with a piece of the virus genetic code, simple to switch, although it’s not clear what kind of additional testing regulators would require to make such a change.

Dormitzer said this was only the beginning “of ongoing monitoring of virus changes to see if any of them might impact on vaccine coverage”.


Did the Capitol Police 'Let In' the Protesters?

One of the most pervasive story lines following the Capitol protest that turned violent is that the Capitol Police let in protesters.

Though some still doubt it, it’s beginning to appear that some of the protesters were, in fact, allowed onto the grounds and into the building, which explains why there were those who entered and stayed within the velvet guide ropes, taking selfies, and staying peaceful. And those who were not peaceful.

There are several people who talked to The Washington Examiner’s congressional reporter, Susan Ferrechio, who claimed that police let them into the Capitol Building.

One small group of men said they walked into the Capitol without resistance through the House side door and were allowed to enter by the police but told to stay away from certain areas. “They were not blocking people from coming into the building,” Nick from St. Louis said.

Nick and his group sat on benches in the Rotunda for about 15 minutes “until a cop comes up with an AR-15 strapped to him and says, ‘You guys got to get up. You can’t sit there.’” The officer did not make them leave the building but rather told them to remain in the center of the Rotunda.

Jeff from Illinois told the Washington Examiner he blamed the violence “on the young kids” and said the vast majority of the protesters were peaceful, even though they entered the Capitol against the wishes of the police.

Some of the protesters “were breaking windows and kicking doors,” Jeff said, adding that he and a friend blocked a protester from breaking into one room outside the Senate.

The Federalist’s Sean Davis says he spoke with multiple people who said that police let them in.

But clearly things went south in a hurry. Windows were bashed in and cops were pushed around.

Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran from San Diego, reportedly climbed through a broken window and was shot and killed by Capitol Police.

Video by Elijah Schaffer shows what he claims is the “exact moment the siege of the Capitol began as the two men in front ripped down a preliminary barrier and rushed officers.”

Police didn’t “let them in.” They were rushed.

Others posted video to show that police let in the protesters onto the Capitol building grounds.

Another woman, who identified herself as Elizabeth from Tennessee, was pepper-sprayed by police as she attempted to step into the building. As she wiped her eyes, she told a reporter what she was doing.

“We’re storming the capitol. It’s a revolution.”

Democrat Congressman Jim Cooper complained to WUSA TV that Capitol Police appeared to be working with the protesters.

“Some people are worried today that some police were complicit with the protesters,” Cooper said. “It’s one thing to be friendly and to de-escalate the violence. But it’s one thing to take selfies with them (rioters) and let them go through the lines.”

Cooper said he did not see these actions by Capitol Police himself, but said he’s “never seen a crowd less afraid of the police than this one.”

“At best they were overwhelmed and did not anticipate what they had been warned of by (President) Trump, even as of this morning when he said he would join the protests at the Capitol. … At worst, they let this protest proceed unlike any other.”

If police did let them in, it’s understandable. Trump supporters have been peaceful in the country. To the extent there has been violence, the Leftist mob started it with few, if any, exceptions.

How soon we forget that Washington, D.C. was on fire last summer by antifa and BLM rioters.

The same scene was played out in several cities throughout the country.

It’s also understandable that these protesters would believe that nothing would happen to them even if they got inside the Capitol. After all, nothing much has happened to BLM and antifa for burning churches, looting stores, trying to kill cops, and attempting to burn them alive at police stations all over the country and inside the nation’s capital.


Ignoring the concerns of Trump supporters will destroy America

JASON WHITLOCK (who is black)

Wednesday afternoon, angry, unarmed, mostly peaceful protesters stormed the Capitol. They caused hundreds of dollars in damages to "The People's House," the taxpayer-funded building where elected lawmakers work.

They took pictures seated at Nancy Pelosi's desk. They shoved furniture out of place. They pushed their way past unprepared and overwhelmed law enforcement. They shattered a window or two.

If not for police shooting and killing an unarmed, female 14-year Air Force veteran, the protest staged by Trump supporters would have more in common with a 1950s fraternity panty raid than political riot.

Here, I guess, I should apologize for not joining the rest of the media in feigning outrage and calling for the trespassers to be tried for treason. But I'm neither outraged nor feeling vengeful because of their act of civil disobedience.

I understand it. It was an inevitable repercussion from 2020 and what we've all witnessed the last decade. It was Sir Isaac Newton's third law come to life. "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

For four years now, the billionaire and millionaire elites who control academia, the mainstream media, politics, popular culture, and the sports world have framed Trump supporters as racist deplorables worthy of elimination from society.

These same elites spent the past decade elevating Michael Brown, George Floyd, Jacob Blake, Rayshard Brooks, Eric Garner, and other resisting criminal suspects to icon status while simultaneously raising bail money for protesters willing to riot, loot, burn, and vandalize in the name of racial justice.

This blatant hypocrisy will not go unchallenged. You cannot ignore the desires, concerns and feelings of 74 million citizens. You cannot write them off as Nazis and answer all their complaints with allegations of racism or sexism. That's fascism.

At this point, the Deplorables should be commended for their restraint. Antifa and Black Lives Matter search, burn, and destroy well into the wee hours. The Deplorables returned to their hotel rooms by nightfall and watched our lawmakers return to work inside the Capitol by 8 p.m.

The critics say President Trump provoked Wednesday's political "violence." His refusal to concede a corrupt election baited his followers to overrun the Capitol with flags, put Ashli Babbitt in harm's way, and do enough property damage to delay the Electoral College confirmation three or four hours.

Fine. Guilty as charged.

But our president for the next two weeks was not Lee Harvey Oswald, a lone provocateur. He had plenty of collaborators. They work on all the major and cable news and sports networks. They play in the NFL and NBA. They represent both political parties, hold high positions in Hollywood, at Netflix, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The people wagging their fingers the hardest at Trump and the Deplorables sanctioned, financed, and promoted political violence throughout all of 2020 and for much of the past decade.

Ashli Babbitt's blood is on the hands of Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg as much as, if not more than, on President Trump's. That's why Dorsey and Zuckerberg rushed to silence Trump on their respective platforms, Twitter and Facebook.

Political tension and violence are fomented, planned, and monetized on Silicon Valley's social media platforms. Wednesday's "violence" hit the wrong target. The Capitol is where global elites exchange cash for influence and privilege. It's where $150,000-a-year politicians become multimillionaires building cozy relationships with Big Tech lobbyists and American corporations looking to curry favor with China.

There are two different American realities. There's the false reality world created by and for elites and their groupies. In this world, progressive elites feign concern for poor black people by championing the cause of a tiny handful of black resisting criminal suspects harmed by white police officers tasked with subduing them. The elites have no interest in the thousands of black men and boys killed annually due to random gang, street, and drug violence. Those black lives do not matter. Progressive elites live inside a social media matrix where they call the Crips and the Bloods to protect them from the police.

The rest of America lives in an alternate universe driven, at least partially, by reality, facts, and common sense. We don't see the norms of Western Civilization as the root of all evil. We have no interest in disrupting the nuclear family. We don't think the storming of the Capitol is analogous to the months of looting, arson, shooting, rioting, and anarchy we watched throughout 2020.

Trump supporters will not go away quietly or peacefully. It's their country, too. Their concerns are legitimate. The lawmakers they chased to the basement of the Capitol sold out the American working-class man and woman.

Skin color does not explain the Trump phenomenon, the passion of his followers. Trumpism is rooted in a rejection of the elitism, idolatry, and secularism pervasive in modern American culture.

Trumpism is the cry of American citizens uninterested in adopting the cultures and customs of France, China, Italy, Cuba, Venezuela, Canada, or any of the other places global elites romanticize. Trumpism is the cry of the working class who believe the Big Tech billionaires are building an America that cuts them out of the American Dream. Trumpism is the cry of Americans who value authenticity over the fraudulence of political correctness.

The price of ignoring their cries will be war, a civil war.



January 08, 2021

Was it really an “attempted coup” in Washington last night?

Was it really an “attempted coup” in Washington last night?
Watching the highly disturbing footage from Washington DC, last night, my mind kept going back to the autumn of 2018.

On October 4th, of that year, the US Senate was engaged in a confirmation hearing for now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh of the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh had been accused, you’ll recall, of sexually assaulting a high school classmate, as a teenager. At the height of the #metoo movement, many people on the left found the mere existence of the accusation – devoid of any particular evidence – sufficient enough to disqualify him from service on the court. There were mass protests.

And then, on that day, October 4th, anti-Kavanaugh protestors invaded, and occupied, the US Senate’s Hart Office building:

US Senators were cornered, and shouted at, by protestors. Senators Jeff Flake, and Orrin Hatch, for example, were accosted in an elevator. The US media, and, indeed, the Irish media, did not regard the occupation of parliamentary offices as a coup. Indeed, on MSNBC, over footage of protestors roaming the halls of the US Senate, a reporter described the events as “a large and well organised protest”:

You’ll note that the reporter seems quite nonchalant about the prospect that the invasion of the US Senate’s office complex might be intimidating for politicians: “Just in terms of the optics of this, if you will, this is all definitely audible to Joe Manchin, or Joe Manchin’s staff, and Lisa Murkowski’s staff, who are also in this building”

Manchin and Murkowski, at the time, were two of the US Senators whose votes could have blocked Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. MSNBC had no qualms about the subtext then: These Senators can hear these angry people, and maybe it will change their votes.

What’s interesting, of course, is that nobody called it an attempted coup.

Last night, there was, of course, an attempted coup. The intent of the Trump protestors, in breaching the US Capitol, was to force the US Congress to change its mind when it came to counting the votes for President, and to use some mechanism (which one is unclear) to win a second term for President Trump. That the attempt never had any chance of succeeding is irrelevant – when it comes to coups, intent is all that matters.

But what’s the difference between these two events, exactly? One of them was covered as a heroic, normal, protest, even though the intent was to invade and intimidate congress into changing its mind on a vote. The other is being covered as an unprecedented attack on democracy, even though the intent was to invade and intimidate congress into changing its mind on a vote. What’s the difference, and what explains the difference in coverage?

The simple answer, whether people like it or not, is that journalists, and other opinion formers, really didn’t like Brett Kavanaugh, and sympathised with the efforts to prevent his confirmation. And those same journalists and opinion formers have considerable antipathy for President Trump, and therefore strongly oppose any effort to prevent Biden’s ratification. Thus, one event is a protest, the other is an attempted coup, or insurrection, as CNN called it last night.

This double standard does nobody any good. It is true that the scenes from Washington last night were disgraceful. It is also indisputably true that President Trump bears almost all of the blame for them: He summoned these people to Washington. He told them explicitly to go to the Capitol. He told them an election was being stolen. Now, a woman, one of his own supporters, lies dead, and his own allies in the US congress are abandoning him in disgust.

But the outrage, to many of us, comes across as both selective, and fake. Throughout the summer, when US Cities burned, the media shied away from talk of insurrections, and coups. Black Lives Matter protestors, who burned cities to the ground, and attacked peoples businesses, were described as protestors. Trump supporters, who smashed some windows in Congress, are described as traitors.

The truth is that when it comes to this kind of thing, people are no longer judged on what they actually do. They’re judged solely on why they did it. Thus, if you burn out a business in Kenosha, Wisconsin, because you are angry at a police shooting, you are a protestor. But if you sit in Nancy Pelosi’s chair for five minutes after occupying congress, because you are angry at an election, you are a domestic terrorist.

If you occupy the US Senate to stop a right wing Judge, you are a peaceful protestor. If you occupy the US Congress to stop a left wing politician, you are an insurrectionist thug.

None of this makes much sense, and yet, it makes perfect sense. There is, and has been for some time, one set of rules for the political left, and another set of rules for the rest of us. And it’s not just in the United States.

In Ireland, if you breach social distancing to protest lockdown restrictions, you are an irresponsible person who is risking the lives of the elderly. But if you breach social distancing to protest a police shooting, you are a group of angry and passionate young people trying bravely to change the world. Though your actions are identical in both instances, you are judged only on what your political views are.

This, it goes without saying, cannot last. People see the double standard. They see the completely different rules. And they stop listening, or caring, what you say about them.


Democrats Were For Riots Before They Were Against Them

In 2018, the media was writing up glowing stories about the hundreds of Women’s March members who were engaging in "direct action” to disrupt the Senate’s Kavanaugh hearings.

Hundreds of members from the radical leftist group had invaded the hearings and were arrested. Their travel expenses and bail for the disruptions were covered by the Women’s March. Radicals from the March and other leftist groups blocked hallways, shouted down Senate members, and draped protest banners from balconies. Democrats cheered them on.

When a leftist mob assailed the Supreme Court, pounding on the doors, MSNBC called it an “extraordinary moment” and praised the crowd, “besieging the Supreme Court” and “confronting senators”.

"If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them," Rep. Maxine Waters had urged earlier that year.

Later, the Democrat House member told MSNBC, "They’re going to absolutely harass them".

In 2020, Black Lives Matter rioters vandalized the Lincoln Memorial and the WW2 Memorial, along with statues of Gandhi, General Kosciuszko, and Andrew Jackson. The racist thugs marched through the city starting fires, including at a historic church, and tried to besiege the White House. Attempts by federal law enforcement to fight BLM terrorism were falsely denounced as a brutal attack on “peaceful protesters”, and as “militarism” and “fascism”.

Democrat House members took to proposing bills to protect the racist mobs from law enforcement. Meanwhile the BLM mob besieged the White House and battled Secret Service personnel, allegedly forcing the evacuation of President Trump and his family to a bunker.

This was the new normal enthusiastically supported by Democrats and the media.

A bail fund backed by Senator Kamala Harris and Biden campaign staffers focused on helping the rioters and looters get out of prison. Along with any other criminals along for the ride.

Violent protests, including those targeting public officials and legislative bodies, had been championed and normalized by Democrats and their media over the last four years. That included the harassment of officials, property destruction, and assaulting law enforcement.

Now, as the Democrats expect to take power, they suddenly decided that rioting is bad.

Before the Save America protest even began, the same Washington D.C. authorities who had championed and protected the Black Lives Matter riots, prepared for a crackdown.

“We want the military, we want troops from out of state out of Washington, D.C.,” Mayor Muriel Bowser had ranted when BLM was attacking national memorials and the White House.

“We will not allow people to incite violence, intimidate our residents or cause destruction in our city,” Bowser now insisted, demanding that the National Guard come out to stop the protests.

Unless they're Democrats, she failed to mention.

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine had responded to the Black Lives Matter assault by condemning law enforcement. He had issued a statement falsely accusing President Trump of "responding to nonviolent demonstration with war-like tactics".

"We —the Mayor, the Council, OAG, and MPD—must commit to standing in between our community and the boot of tyranny. And we must act on this commitment. We must start by promising to defend our residents from harm while they engage in peaceful, nonviolent protest.”

"My level of anxiety is high. My preparation is even more intense than that," Racine was telling the media before the pro-Trump Save America rally now.

The double standard was obvious and blatant. The Democrats and media had cheered Black Lives Matter violent protests. They had colluded in previous invasions of Congress and the harassment of elected officials. But now they wanted a violent riot they could condemn.

And such a riot would helpfully put to bed any further questions about a rigged election.

After a massive peaceful rally by Save America protesters, who had been addressed by President Trump, a smaller group marched on Congress. The MPD however reacted very differently than it had to previous Black Lives Matter and four years of leftist rallies.

In the resulting confrontation, a number of fringe elements, Neo-Nazis, Groypers, Boogaloo Bois, a leftist-libertarian anarchist group that collaborates with Antifa and Black Lives Matter, took the opportunity to cause damage and stage photo-ops for the media. Unfortunately some legitimate conservative protesters who had entered the building were caught in the violence.

But the media stars of the confrontation were not conservatives and were anti-Trump.

One photo showed Nick Fuentes, the alt-right Groyper leader whose antisemitic group had previously shut down a Turning Point USA event by booing Donald Trump Jr. off the stage, and Tim ‘Baked Alaska’ Gionet, a former Black Lives Matter supporter and BuzzFeed employee, who has a history of going back and forth between the alt-right and the Left.

Another appeared to show Matthew Heimbach, formerly with the National Socialist Movement, an alleged Neo-Nazi leader, who had previously argued in court that his actions were President Trump’s fault and that Trump should be held legally liable.

Much as in Charlottesville, marginal figures who were hostile to President Trump, to Republicans, and to conservatives, had taken center stage at the behest of the media.

The purpose of the entire circus was to provide a propaganda opportunity for the Left.

The outrage over the protests is a farce coming from a political movement that advocated terrorizing Republican elected officials, that aided invasions of Congress, and that supported the Black Lives Matter riots which, aside from terrorizing D.C., also wrecked much of the country.

Why is broken glass on Capitol Hill so much more precious than the broken glass that ended the dreams of store owners in Kenosha? Where was all the outrage, the tears wept for our country when Black Lives Matter thugs were prying open shops around the country, looting them, and assaulting their owners on a scale so vast it racked up $2 billion in damages?

“Please, show me where it says protesters are supposed to be polite and peaceful,” CNN’s Chris Cuomo had barked while his news network showed rioting and looting in New York.

Riots are obviously wrong. Except that Democrats and the media decided that wasn’t true.

Martin Luther King's infamous quote, "a riot is the language of the unheard", popped up in Time, USA Today, and on CNN. “Violence was critical to the success of the 1960s civil rights movement,” a Washington Post op-ed argued. The AP urged reporters to use "uprising" instead of "riot" to describe the violence, while suggesting that protests can be violent and that reporting should not focus on the "property destruction”, but instead on the “underlying grievance".

A subsidiary of one of the big 5 publishers put out a book titled, "In Defense of Looting."

You can’t normalize political violence and then expect it to be a one-sided affair. After months in which BLM mobs attacked a federal courthouse in Portland, throwing fireworks and shining lasers in the eyes of law enforcement personnel, toppled statues across the country, and injured hundreds of police officers, the Democrats and their media are suddenly outraged.

How, in the midst of all this rioting, could anyone get the idea that rioting is okay?

Laws only work when they apply to everyone. When violence is okay for some, but not for others, then a violent struggle ensues until a totalitarian monopoly on violence is achieved.

Or until we come to our senses.

There’s little question as to which side of the political spectrum has championed and mainstreamed violence for over a century. The very different fate of Kluxers and the Weathermen, trailer parks for the former and academic careers for the latter, show which side finds political violence not only acceptable, but praiseworthy. And this is no different.

Contrary to the media’s spin, Republicans have never normalized violence. And Republican political power doesn’t depend on political terror and violence. Leftist power invariably does.

The Left began a new age of political violence in 2016. It can turn it off anytime it wants to.

The problem is that it won’t, and an illiberal partisan media and accompanying cultural establishment will never dare to suggest that maybe there should be fewer riots and threats.



7 January, 2021

How Virus Bureaucracy Killed Hundreds of Thousands of Americans

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the media have spilled barrels of ink over mistakes by the federal government. We've heard endlessly about the failure to quickly ramp up testing, the confusion over mask-wearing and the debates over proper lockdown policy. But when the history of this time is written, the fundamental mistake made by the United States government won't be rhetorical excesses by the president or conflicting public health advice. It will be the same mistake the government always makes: trusting the bureaucracy.

We now know that the miraculous Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 had been designed by Jan. 13, 2020. That was just two days after the sequencing of the virus had been made public. As David Wallace-Wells writes for New York magazine, "the Moderna vaccine design took all of one weekend. ... By the time the first American death was announced a month later, the vaccine had already been manufactured and shipped to the National Institutes of Health for the beginning of its Phase I clinical trial." Meanwhile, for six weeks, Dr. Anthony Fauci assured Americans that there was little to worry about with COVID-19.

Fast-forward to the end of 2020. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died. Tens of thousands of Americans continue to die every week. The Food and Drug Administration has still not cleared the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which costs a fraction of the other vaccines (about $4 per dose, as opposed to $15 to $25 per dose for Moderna's vaccine or $20 per dose for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine). The FDA approval process cost us critical months, with thousands of Americans dying each day. As Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins University told me this week, "Safety is their eternal excuse. They are entirely a broken federal bureaucracy...Why did we not have a combined Phase I-Phase II clinical trial for these vaccines?"

This is an excellent question, of course. Phase I trials involve small numbers of participants, who are then monitored. Phase II trials involve larger numbers. Huge numbers of Americans would have volunteered for a combined Phase I-Phase II trial. And even after we knew the vaccines were effective, the FDA delayed. Data was collected by late October that suggested Phase II/III trials had been successful. The FDA quickly requested more results, which it did not receive until November. It then took until Dec. 11 for the FDA to issue emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna vaccine wasn't cleared until Dec. 18, nearly a year after it had first been produced.

The disgrace continues. The government continues to hold back secondary doses of the vaccine, despite the fact that the first doses provide a significant effect. As Makary says, "We're in a war. The first dose gives immunity that may be as high as 80 to 90 percent protection, and we can probably give half the dose, as Dr. Moncef Slaoui suggested ... We can quadruple our supply overnight."

Meanwhile, states continue to be confused by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on how to tranche out the vaccines. It took until nine days after the FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for the CDC to release its recommendations. Those recommendations were still complex and confusing and often rife with self-defeating standards -- even though it was perfectly obvious from the start that the solution ought to be based on age.

Americans have relied on the government -- a government supposedly comprised of well-meaning experts -- to get us through a pandemic. The government not only failed with conflicting information and incoherent lockdown policy but also actively obstructed the chief mechanism for ending the pandemic thanks to bureaucratic bloat. If Americans' takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic is that centralized government is the all-purpose solution, they're taking precisely the lesson most likely to end in mass death in the future.


Left media can’t admit Donald Trump was likely right on COVID lab creation

Comment from Australia

A Chinese virologist whistleblower who fled the country after leaving her job at a Hong Kong university claims coronavirus was “man-made” in a lab – and the communist nation released the virus “intentionally”.

Wait a second, this wasn’t supposed to happen. We were all supposed to believe that the COVID-19 pandemic just sort of happened when someone slaughtered the wrong ­animal too close to some other animal in Wuhan’s notoriously gruesome “wet markets”.

The idea that it may have been cooked up in a lab, even for legitimate purposes? The stuff of internet ­loonies, we were told.

Yet how things change.

Evidence is now building that in fact the coronavirus was cooked up in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, with the idea now being endorsed by US deputy national security adviser ­Michael Pottinger saying that there was “a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus” — and that in ­Beijing, “even establishment figures … have openly dismissed the wet market story”.

This lends credence to the theory that the virus may have been created at the lab as part of legitimate scientific research that aims to cut up and recombine viruses in what are known as “gain of function” experiments ­designed to predict how viruses might evolve — and thus better counter their threat should that occur.

But it’s dangerous work. In 2014 a paper by scientists at Johns Hopkins University in the US called for a moratorium on such experiments, saying that “research that aims to create new potential pandemic pathogens … poses extraordinary potential risks to the public.”

You don’t say.

Now, like the credibility of doctors who used to advertise cigarettes, the preferred media narrative that no way could the coronavirus have slipped through the gates at the Wuhan ­Institute of Virology is falling apart.

And it hasn’t been helped by China’s response, blocking a World Health Organisation team from landing in Wuhan to investigate the pandemic’s origins.

As the possibility that the pandemic is China’s own Chernobyl, it’s worthwhile looking back at just how this theory of COVID-19’s origins has been dealt with in the leftist media.

After all, the idea that the virus ­escaped some lab where these things were being tinkered with, for whatever purpose, was popular with Trump and his supporters, making it automatically suspect.

Recall that before the latest round of trade sanctions and social media attacks, hawkishness on China was seen as a thing for the sabre-rattling right.

For the respectable left, it was far better to treat the coronavirus as the natural but unfortunate outcome of Wuhan’s exotic local food scene and make anyone who said otherwise out to be a war-hawk or a pariah.

To blame the communist state which, after all, was supposed to make us all wealthy while providing a counterbalance to a blustering America was unthinkable.

The [Austraian] ABC, naturally, led the charge to depict those who thought something fishy (or even batty, pardon the pun) was going on at the Wuhan ­Institute of Virology as a swivel-eyed lunatic or, even worse, a Trump supporter. “Coronavirus may have come from a Chinese lab, if you believe ­Donald Trump — but experts disagree”, sneered the headline on a piece by reporter Alan Weedon on April 18 of last year.

Ah yes, where would we be without “experts”?

A month later, after Sharri Mark­son reported for the The Daily Telegraph that a US State Department dossier suggested links between the coronavirus outbreak and the Chinese facility, the ABC again swept into action to shoot the story down.

“The document contained no new evidence linking the laboratory to the outbreak and instead relied on publicly available news and scientific journal papers,” the ABC’s Dylan Welch wrote.

Not to be outdone, the ABC’s Media Watch did not one but two hit pieces, one week apart, slamming the story as a “conspiracy theory” and ­citing condemnations of the reporting by everyone from Gareth Evans to Bob Carr.

The same pattern was repeated in leftward-listing newsrooms around the world where for the past four years Donald Trump has been Enemy Number One.

The Los Angeles Times told readers in May that “Like the virus whose origin it purports to explain, the following conjecture refuses to die: The novel coronavirus was cooked up in a Chinese lab.”

A Washington Post “fact check” (yes, really) that same month looked at the question “Was the Wuhan coronavirus accidentally released from a Wuhan lab?” and came up with the answer “It’s doubtful”.

This, as they say, is not journalism. It’s activism in plain sight, stemming from the simple equation that has governed so much of the news cycle for the past four years: If Trump says X, then not only must that X be false, it also must be driven into the ground and the earth above it salted so that nothing ever grows there again.

And it is pretty rich to see the ABC of all outlets getting all high and mighty about “conspiracy theories”.

Recall that the billion-dollar broadcaster spent wheelbarrows of cash pushing the greatest conspiracy theory of all (still taken as an article of faith by many on the left), namely, that Donald Trump was somehow an agent of Moscow.

This saw taxpayers fork out for everything from the “Russia, Are You Listening?” podcast to special three-part Four Corners humbly titled, “The Story of the Century”.

The great irony, of course, is that those on the left love to pride themselves on listening to facts and ­experts and what is pretentiously known as “the science”, while at the same time judging every piece of information’s worth by whether or not it serves their narrative.

There is nothing political about a lab accident; they might happen anywhere scientists are working with these sorts of viruses.

But there something deeply political, to say nothing of incredibly dangerous, about dismissing that possibility simply because it might vindicate the US president



Well-deserved Medal of Freedom goes to Devin Nunes for "courageous" efforts to stop "plot" against Trump (Washington Times)

British prime minister imposes another national lockdown on England (CNBC)

Nearly one million excess deaths expected over next 15 years from pandemic rise in unemployment (Washington Examiner)

Google workers form union in latest show of discontent with evil tech giant (CBS News)

DC mayor calls in National Guard for Trump supporters but refused to during BLM/antifa riots (Post Millennial)

This just in: Trans women retain athletic edge after a year of hormone therapy, study finds (NBC News)

Nothing to see here... Hunter Biden email associate is on DOJ transition team (Washington Times)

Census Bureau misses year-end deadline for delivering numbers for House seats (NPR)

U.S. votes against UN budget over anti-Israel measure, lack of Iran action (Fox News)

Pelosi just proposed banning gendered terms like "father, mother, son, daughter" in the House. Yet she has "mother" and "grandmother" in her Twitter bio. (Not the Bee)

Novavax starts late-stage trial of vaccine in United States (Reuters) | UK authorizes Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (NY Times)

New Mexico fines two churches $10,000 each for Christmas Eve services (Disrn)

ICE deports more than 185,000 illegal aliens and 4,200 gang members in 2020 (Breitbart) | ICE says arrestees had average of four criminal convictions or charges each (Fox News)

Mom and pop landlords struggle through eviction freeze (Washington Examiner)

Britain's trade agreement with the European Union enters legal force (UPI)

Portland mayor, antifa enabler now asks for federal and state help against "radical Antifa" (Disrn)

Emancipation Memorial honoring freed slaves in Boston officially removed (Disrn)

New York City shootings doubled in 2020 (Washington Examiner)

Chicago ends 2020 with 769 homicides (AP)

Massachusetts allows abortions without parental consent, codifies Roe v. Wade (Disrn) | Meanwhile, Ohio governor signs bill requiring cremation or burial of aborted babies (Disrn)



6 January, 2021

FDA Admits PCR Tests Give False Results, Prepares Ground For Biden To "Crush" Casedemic

Tyler Durden points out that most Covid "positive" test results are false positives

The FDA today joined The WHO and Dr.Fauci in admitting there is a notable risk of false results from the standard PCR-Test used to define whether an individual is a COVID "Case" or not.

This matters significantly as it fits perfectly with the 'fake rescue' plan we have previously described would occur once the Biden admin took office. But before we get to that 'conspiracy', we need a little background on how the world got here...

We have detailed the controversy surrounding America's COVID "casedemic" and the misleading results of the PCR test and its amplification procedure in great detail over the past few months.

As a reminder, "cycle thresholds" (Ct) are the level at which widely used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test can detect a sample of the COVID-19 virus. The higher the number of cycles, the lower the amount of viral load in the sample; the lower the cycles, the more prevalent the virus was in the original sample.

Numerous epidemiological experts have argued that cycle thresholds are an important metric by which patients, the public, and policymakers can make more informed decisions about how infectious and/or sick an individual with a positive COVID-19 test might be. However, as JustTheNews reports, health departments across the country are failing to collect that data.

Here are a few headlines from those experts and scientific studies:

1. Experts compiled three datasets with officials from the states of Massachusetts, New York and Nevada that conclude:“Up to 90% of the people who tested positive did not carry a virus."

2. The Wadworth Center, a New York State laboratory, analyzed the results of its July tests at the request of the NYT: 794 positive tests with a Ct of 40: “With a Ct threshold of 35, approximately half of these PCR tests would no longer be considered positive,” said the NYT. “And about 70% would no longer be considered positive with a Ct of 30! “

3. An appeals court in Portugal has ruled that the PCR process is not a reliable test for Sars-Cov-2, and therefore any enforced quarantine based on those test results is unlawful.

4. A new study from the Infectious Diseases Society of America, found that at 25 cycles of amplification, 70% of PCR test "positives" are not "cases" since the virus cannot be cultured, it's dead. And by 35: 97% of the positives are non-clinical.

5. PCR is not testing for disease, it's testing for a specific RNA pattern and this is the key pivot. When you crank it up to 25, 70% of the positive results are not really "positives" in any clinical sense, since it cannot make you or anyone else sick

So, in summary, with regard to our current "casedemic", positive tests as they are counted today do not indicate a “case” of anything. They indicate that viral RNA was found in a nasal swab. It may be enough to make you sick, but according to the New York Times and their experts, probably won’t. And certainly not sufficient replication of the virus to make anyone else sick. But you will be sent home for ten days anyway, even if you never have a sniffle. And this is the number the media breathlessly reports... and is used to fearmonger mask mandates and lockdowns nationwide...

In October we first exposed how PCR Tests have misled officials worldwide into insanely authoritative reactions.

As PJMedia's Stacey Lennox wrote, the “casedemic" is the elevated number of cases we see nationwide because of a flaw in the PCR test. The number of times the sample is amplified, also called the cycle threshold (Ct), is too high.

It identifies people who do not have a viral load capable of making them ill or transmitting the disease to someone else as positive for COVID-19.

The New York Times reported this flaw on August 29 and said that in the samples they reviewed from three states where labs use a Ct of 37-40, up to 90% of tests are essentially false positives. The experts in that article said a Ct of around 30 would be more appropriate for indicating that someone could be contagious - those for whom contact tracing would make sense.

Just a few days earlier, the CDC had updated its guidelines to discourage testing for asymptomatic individuals. It can only be assumed that the rationale for this was that some honest bureaucrat figured out the testing was needlessly sensitive. He or she has probably been demoted.

This change was preceded by a July update that discouraged retesting for recovered patients. The rationale for the update was that viral debris could be detected using the PCR test for 90 days after recovery. The same would be true for some period of time if an individual had an effective immune response and never got sick. Existing immunity from exposure to other coronaviruses has been well documented. These are many of your “asymptomatic” cases.

However, due to political pressure and corporate media tantrums, the new guidance on testing was scrapped, and testing for asymptomatic individuals is now recommended again. Doctors do not receive the Ct information from the labs to make a diagnostic judgment. Neither the CDC nor the FDA has put out guidelines for an accurate Ct to diagnose a contagious illness accurately.

Hence, our current “casedemic.” Positive tests as they are counted today do not indicate a “case” of anything. They indicate that viral RNA was found in a nasal swab. It may be enough to make you sick, but according to the New York Times and their experts, probably won’t. And certainly not sufficient replication of the virus to make anyone else sick. But you will be sent home for ten days anyway, even if you never have a sniffle. And this is the number the media breathlessly reports.

A month later, Dr. Pascal Sacré, explained in great detail how all current propaganda on the COVID-19 pandemic is based on an assumption that is considered obvious, true and no longer questioned: Positive RT-PCR test means being sick with COVID.

This assumption is misleading. Very few people, including doctors, understand how a PCR test works.

In mid-November, none other than he who should not be questioned - Dr. Anthony Fauci - admitted that the PCR Test's high Ct is misleading:

“What is now sort of evolving into a bit of a standard,” Fauci said, is that “if you get a cycle threshold of 35 or more … the chances of it being replication-confident are minuscule.”

“It’s very frustrating for the patients as well as for the physicians,” he continued, when “somebody comes in, and they repeat their PCR, and it’s like [a] 37 cycle threshold, but you almost never can culture virus from a 37 threshold cycle.”

So, I think if somebody does come in with 37, 38, even 36, you got to say, you know, it’s just dead nucleotides, period.”

So, if anyone raises this discussion as a "conspiracy", refer them to Dr.Fauci.

In response to this and the actual "science", Florida's Department of Health (and signed off on by Florida's Republican Governor Ron deSantis), decided that for the first time in the history of the pandemic, a state will require that all labs in the state report the critical “cycle threshold” level of every COVID-19 test they perform.

All of which leads us to today's announcement from The FDA...
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting patients and health care providers of the risk of false results... with the Curative SARS-Cov-2 test.

And why does this matter?
Well it's simple - this is how the establishment can show Joe Biden's plan is miraculously rescue the world.

We explained the "fake rescue" plan in October.

The Fake Rescue

Biden will issue national standards, like the plexiglass barriers in restaurants he spoke about during the debate, and pressure governors to implement mask mandates using the federal government’s financial leverage (NOTE: his 100-day mask-wearing 'mandate' is already in play).

Some hack at the CDC or FDA will issue new guidance lowering the Ct the labs use, and cases will magically start to fall.

In reality, the change will only eliminate false positives, but most Americans won’t know that.

Good old Uncle Joe will be the hero, even though it is Deep-State actors in the health bureaucracies who won’t solve a problem with testing they have been aware of for months. TDS is a heck of a drug.

So, there you have it folks... First Fauci, then WHO, now FDA all admit there is malarkey in the PCR Tests, but have - until now, done nothing about it... allowing the daily fearmongering of soaring "cases" to enable their most twisted 1984-esque controls.

All that's needed now is for one of these estemeed groups to decide to cut the Ct for a "positive" PCR Test to say 15x or 20x and suddenly, we are rescued from the "Dark Winter" as Biden's plan slashes the positive case count dramatically... we are saved.

As an aside, this also clearly explains the disappearance of the "flu" during this season as the plethora of high Ct PCR Tests supposedly pointing to a surge in COVID are nothing of the sort.


I Now Better Understand the 'Good German'


As my listeners and readers can hopefully attest, I have been on a lifelong quest to understand human nature and human behavior. I am sad to report that I have learned more in the last few years, particularly in 2020, than in any equivalent period of time.

One of the biggest revelations concerns a question that has always plagued me: How does one explain the “good German,” the term used to describe the average, presumably decent German, who did nothing to hurt Jews but also did nothing to help them and did nothing to undermine the Nazi regime? The same question could be asked about the average Frenchman during the Vichy era, the average Russian under Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Leonid Brezhnev and their successors, and the millions of others who did nothing to help their fellow citizens under oppressive dictatorships.

These past few years have taught me not to so quickly judge the quiet German, Russian, etc. Of course, I still judge Germans who helped the Nazis and Germans who in any way hurt Jews. But the Germans who did nothing? Not so fast.

What has changed my thinking has been watching what is happening in America (and Canada and Australia and elsewhere, for that matter).
The ease with which tens of millions of Americans have accepted irrational, unconstitutional and unprecedented police state-type restrictions on their freedoms, including even the freedom to make a living, has been, to understate the case, sobering.

The same holds true for the acceptance by most Americans of the rampant censorship on Twitter and all other major social media platforms. Even physicians and other scientists are deprived of freedom of speech if, for example, they offer scientific support for hydroxychloroquine along with zinc to treat COVID-19 in the early stages. Board-certified physician Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, who has saved hundreds of COVID-19 patients from suffering and/or death, has been banned from Twitter for publicizing his lifesaving hydroxychloroquine and zinc protocol.

Half of America, the nonleft half, is afraid to speak their minds at virtually every university, movie studio and large corporation — indeed, at virtually every place of work. Professors who say anything that offends the left fear being ostracized if they have tenure and being fired if they do not. People are socially ostracized, publicly shamed and/or fired for differing with Black Lives Matter, as America-hating and white-hating a group as has ever existed. And few Americans speak up. On the contrary, when BLM protestors demand that diners outside of restaurants raise their fists to show their support of BLM, nearly every diner does.

So, then, who are we to condemn the average German who faced the Gestapo if he didn’t salute Hitler or the average Russian who faced the NKVD (the secret police and intelligence agency that preceded the KGB) if he didn’t demonstrate sufficient enthusiasm for Stalin? Americans face the left’s cancel culture, but not left-wing secret police or reeducation camps. (At least not yet — I have little doubt the left would send outspoken conservatives to reeducation camps if they could.)

I have come to understand the average German living under Nazism and the average Russian living under communism for another reason: the power of the media to brainwash.

As a student of totalitarianism since my graduate studies at the Russian Institute of Columbia University’s School of International Affairs (as it was then known), I have always believed that only in a dictatorship could a society be brainwashed. I was wrong. I now understand that mass brainwashing can take place in a nominally free society. The incessant left-wing drumbeat of The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and almost every other major newspaper, plus The Atlantic, The New Yorker, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, NPR, all of Hollywood and almost every school from kindergarten through graduate school, has brainwashed at least half of America every bit as effectively as the German, Soviet and Chinese communist press did (and in the latter case, still does). That thousands of schools will teach the lie that is the New York Times’ “1619 Project” is one of countless examples.

Prior to the lockdowns, I flew almost every week of the year, so I was approached by people who recognized me on a regular basis. Increasingly, I noticed that people would look around to see if anyone was within earshot and then tell me in almost a whisper: “I support Trump” or, “I’m a conservative.” The last time people looked around and whispered things to me was when I used to visit the Soviet Union.

In Quebec this past weekend, as one can see on a viral video, a family was fined and members arrested because six — yes, six — people gathered to celebrate the new year. A neighbor snitched on them, and the celebrants were duly arrested. The Quebec government lauded the snitches and asked for more public “collaboration.”

Snitches are likewise lauded and encouraged in some Democrat-run states and cities in America (Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in March: “Snitches get rewards”) and by left-wing governments in Australia. Plenty of Americans, Canadians and Australians are only too happy to snitch on people who refuse to lock down their lives.

All this is taking place without concentration camps, without a Gestapo, without a KGB and without Maoist reeducation camps.
That’s why I no longer judge the average German as easily as I used to. Apathy in the face of tyranny turns out not to be a German or Russian characteristic. I just never thought it could happen in America.



5 January, 2021

Mask Mandates Aren’t Working As Promised

SUMMARY A surge in COVID-19 cases in the United States and Europe has prompted calls for a national mask mandate here in America. Advocates of government edicts have asserted that these would bring the pandemic “under control” in a matter of weeks. The authors of this Backgrounder found that 97 of the 100 counties with the most confirmed cases had mask mandates. Nor did a national mask mandate prevent a surge in Italy. These findings do not deny the efficacy of mask-wearing, nor should they discourage the practice. Instead, they point to the inadequacy of public health strategies that rely too heavily on lockdowns and mask mandates. Governments should undertake more effective interventions, such as specifically protecting nursing home residents, enabling nationwide screening through use of rapid self-tests, and establishing voluntary isolation centers where infected people can recover, rather than exposing their families to infection.


A surge in COVID-19 cases in the United States and Europe has prompted calls for a national mask mandate here in America. Advocates of government edicts have asserted that these would bring the pandemic “under control” in a matter of weeks.

Public health officials here and throughout most of the world believe that mask-wearing has some value in reducing the rate at which the pandemic spreads. Accepting this premise, however, does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that government mask mandates will bring the contagion under control.

This Backgrounder examines the effects of mask mandates in the U.S. and Italy. While there is no national mask mandate in the U.S., many states and counties have imposed them. We (the authors) find that, of the 25 counties reporting the highest numbers of new cases during this latest surge, 21 had mask mandates in place since at least July.

Italy does have a national mask mandate that is backed by fines of up to 1,000 euros for non-compliance. We find that the mandate did not prevent a surge in cases in Italy that began in October, peaked in mid-November, and had not yet subsided in mid-December.

These findings do not deny the efficacy of mask-wearing per se. Nor should they discourage the practice.

Instead, they point to the inadequacy of public health strategies that rely predominantly on lockdowns and mask mandates. Governments should undertake more effective interventions. These include adopting better measures to protect nursing home residents, enabling nationwide screening through the widespread use of rapid self-tests, and establishing voluntary isolation centers where infected people can recover, rather than exposing their families to infection.

The Value of Masks

Mask-wearing has become a highly politicized practice in the U.S. Some detractors consider it an emblem of social submission. Others, such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, see masks as the best way to get the pandemic under control: “I think if we could get everybody to wear a mask now,” Redfield said in July, “I think in four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this epidemic under control.

Mask-wearing has thus inspired both enthusiasm and revulsion that likely exaggerates its significance.

The CDC in general is a bit more tempered about mask-wearing than its Director. While the CDC has changed its guidance on masks numerous times throughout the pandemic, the agency’s recommendation (as of November 20) endorses mask-wearing both to reduce the risk of infecting others and to protect uninfected people from the contagion.

The discussion of CDC guidance on mask-wearing represents claims that the agency made as of November 20, 2020. As noted, the agency changes its views frequently, and likely will continue to do so.

The CDC and other public health authorities in the U.S. and abroad have been trying to determine the relative efficacy of mask-wearing for two different, though related, purposes. The first is “source control”—meaning the extent to which wearing a mask prevents an infected individual from spreading the virus. The second is “protection”—meaning the extent to which wearing a mask protects an uninfected individual from contracting the virus.

The CDC has, for many months, believed that masks have “source control” value. More specifically, it advises that “multi-layer cloth masks block release of exhaled respiratory particles into the environment.”

According to this theory, by reducing the speed and volume of droplets that an infected person releases into the environment, masks help to protect the uninfected from the infected.

Since November 20, 2020, the CDC has also asserted that masks provide some protection for uninfected people who wear them: “Cloth mask materials can also reduce wearers’ exposure to infectious droplets through filtration.”

The CDC bases its mask guidance on “experimental and epidemiological data,” rather than controlled studies

Experimental data is collected, for example, by squirting an aerosol through a cloth mask and measuring how far particles travel. Epidemiological studies or, as the CDC calls them, “real world” data, generally involve case studies of transmission.

In perhaps the most famous of these, two St. Louis hairstylists who had COVID-19 wore masks while they continued to service customers. They saw 139 clients over eight days. Of those, 67 consented to follow-up testing. None of those 67 tested positive for COVID-19.7

The CDC assigns great weight to this study.

One drawback of these studies is that they lack a control group. Danish researchers recently published the only controlled study of mask-wearing. It tests the hypothesis that wearing a mask protects uninfected people.

The researchers conducted the study, in which 6,000 Danes participated, in spring 2020, before Denmark instituted a mask mandate. The control group followed existing social distancing guidelines but did not wear masks. Researchers provided the experimental group with high-quality surgical masks with a filtration rate of 98 percent and instructed participants to wear them outside their homes.

Those who completed the study underwent COVID-19 tests one month later. Researchers found that 1.8 percent of those in the mask-wearing group tested positive, while 2.1 percent of the control group did. The results were not statistically significant. The researchers concluded that mask-wearing is compatible with a range of outcomes—from a 46 percent reduction in infections to a 23 percent increase.

Although the Annals of Internal Medicine published the study on November 18, the CDC did not cite it in its November 20 revised mask guidance. The Danish study casts doubt on the CDC’s advice about the protective value of masks.

In sum, some studies support the source control value of masks, though none of those studies are controlled. Source control benefits also align with common sense: A face-covering will reduce the speed and distance that an infected person’s droplets travel. The prevention value of masks is less well attested, and the only controlled study of the hypothesis contradicts it.

Much more here:


The Media Is Lying About Trump's Call with Georgia Secretary of State

Over the past couple of days, media headlines have tried to convey the impression that a leaked phone call between President Trump and top Georgia officials shows Trump pressuring Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to fraudulently “find” enough votes for him to win the state.

“Trump pressures Georgia’s Raffensperger to overturn his defeat in extraordinary call” read the headline from the Washington Post.

CNN called the leaked audio “astonishing new evidence of a desperate President Donald Trump” trying to “steal the election,” claiming Trump “tried to bully” Raffensperger “into finding votes” for him.

But a review of the transcript of the call shows no such thing. The Washington Post claimed that Trump “repeatedly urged [Raffensperger] to alter the outcome of the presidential vote in the state,” but that isn’t what happened.

Throughout the conversation, Trump lays out the evidence that there was voter fraud in the state, and demands an honest accounting of the ballots, which he believes would give him more than 11,000 votes needed to win the state. “I just want to find 11,780 votes,” is the key quote cited by the media, but there’s more to the quote.

“So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” is what Trump said, in context. He also insisted that “there’s no way I lost Georgia. There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.”

During the conversation, Trump laid out the evidence, explaining how there “4,502 voters who voted but who weren’t on the voter registration list,” and “18,325 vacant address voters” whose votes should not have been counted. He even mentioned 904 votes linked to post office boxes, which is also not allowed. Trump also mentioned the State Farm videotape that corresponds to a late-night vote dump of at least 18,000 votes which were counted after Republican poll watchers were told to leave. Trump brought up nearly 5,000 out-of-state votes, 2,326 absentee ballots sent to vacant addresses, and roughly 5,000 votes from dead people. Then there are the suspicious military ballots that went all for Biden.

“So there were many infractions, and the bottom line is, many, many times the 11,779 margin that they said we lost by — we had vast, I mean the state is in turmoil over this,” Trump said on the call.

Raffensperger disputed Trump’s claims, saying that only two dead people voted, that the State Farm video didn’t actually show fraud. Raffensperger also claimed that an audit showed that there weren’t any ballots that were scanned three times.

While it’s true that not all of these allegations by Trump’s team may pan out or be proven, the allegations are linked to many thousands of votes and should be investigated properly. Yes, Trump did acknowledge that he’d only need roughly 12,000 votes to change the result, but that margin is smaller than the number of disputed ballots. “Look, Brad. I got to get . . . I have to find 12,000 votes, and I have them times a lot. And therefore, I won the state. That’s before we go to the next step, which is in the process of right now. You know, and I watched you this morning, and you said, well, there was no criminality.”

Trump very clearly believes that he legitimately won Georgia, and wasn’t asking Raffensperger to fraudulently “find” enough ballots to make up that margin. Trump discussed at length the examples of fraud, which are backed up by video evidence, affidavits, and statistical analyses.

Like the transcript with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky that Democrats impeached him over, this phone call is yet another nothingburger that has the media and the left crying foul. There’s already a Wikipedia page for the “Trump-Raffensperger scandal.” Democrats are reportedly looking to censure Trump and have asked FBI Director Wray to open a criminal probe. But Trump quite clearly presented evidence that there was fraud, and made the case that the number of disputed ballots is larger than his deficit in the certified results. A proper investigation would resolve these outstanding questions about these disputed ballots.


The Worst Argument Ever

Rob Jenkins

As a professional rhetorician and teacher of rhetoric—the art of persuasion—for over 35 years, I have seen a lot of bad arguments. And not all of them have come from my college students. Not by a long shot.

But in all that time, the worst argument I have ever heard, by far, is this one: “If it only saves one life….”

It’s a line big-government types love to trot out whenever they want good-hearted, well-meaning people to accept some sketchy, illogical, oppressive measure because, you know, it just might save one person’s life. An example is socialized medicine, which would make health care worse for far more people than it helped.

Unfortunately, even many conservatives fall for this line, because they’re generally good-hearted, well-meaning people. Yet in almost every case, it is a bad argument, even a ridiculous argument, for several reasons.

First, it is completely irrational, based solely on emotion. It says nothing about the actual merits of the policy or proposition being put forward. It merely attempts to tug at people’s heartstrings — no one wants to see anybody die, right? — while making those who would oppose the idea on moral or logical grounds appear cruel.

Basically, it’s a form of ad hominem attack, a way to make your opponent look bad without actually addressing what they’re saying—probably because you can’t argue the point logically.

Along with that, the “if it only saves one life” argument is also self-righteous and condescending. It’s not only a way of making your opponent look (and hopefully feel) bad, it’s a way of making yourself look better — as if you, and only you, really care about people. Anyone who disagrees with your (cockamamie) idea obviously just wants people to die.

But mostly it’s a bad argument because it’s disingenuous, at the very least, if not downright hypocritical. For example, those who want to ban “assault rifles” because doing so “might save one life” wouldn’t dream of banning alcohol, even though alcohol kills far more people than AR-15s. So do knives. So do falls, for that matter.

Here’s an idea: Let’s just ban ladders. No? Why not? After all, if it just saves one life, it’s worth it, right? What are you, heartless?



4 January, 2021

The America First Policy Is ‘Never Going Back in the Bottle’

Support for President Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy cannot be erased, said Richard Grenell, former acting Director of National Intelligence, in an interview with Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday.

Pollak asked what threat a future administration led by former Vice President Joe Biden would pose to Trump’s foreign policies.

Grenell remarked, “Let’s just be honest, the American First policy and the America First agenda that Donald Trump has unleashed is never going back to the bottle. We have won the debate on putting America first. No matter what [President-elect] Joe Biden or any future president does, they are not going to be able to put America second without a huge cry from the American people. “

Grenell continued, “Foreign policy has always been one of those things that the American people have not fully embraced, or understood, or wanted to get into the details of for a variety of reasons. I think the American people are very smart, but sometimes they are too busy to get to know every single detail of what the State Department is doing.”

The foreign policy bureaucracy exploits the public’s lack of familiarity with foreign policy in justifying its operations and largesse, he asserted.

Grenell explained, “The State Department types — many bureaucrats, and I would say foreign policy experts in Washington — have taken advantage of the American people in that they they go out and make these policies around the world, spend the American people’s money, and don’t ever come back to talk about what the American people are paying for, or what they’re doing around the world.”

“What Donald Trump has done with pushing the America First agenda is never going to cease,” added Grenell. “Future presidents may try to couch it a little bit differently, or they may try to roll it back, but they are going to be unable to do that.”

Grenell credited Trump with building popular support for a U.S. foreign policy prioritizing the American national interest.

“The American people now see that their money must be spent wisely, including at the State Department, including for foreign policy,” Grenell held. “Experts in Washington have controlled and monopolized the spending, and tried to pretend like they’re smarter than everybody and really gone down the path of being a globalist for America.”

Grenell continued, “Those days are over. The American people are much more engaged now because of Donald Trump, and they’re going to expect their government to put America first.”

Pollak highlighted left-wing news media hype of Pete Buttigieg as potentially “the first openly gay member” of a presidential cabinet, despite Grenell, who is openly gay, serving as Trump’s acting director of national intelligence.

Grenell said Trump does not practice left-wing “identity politics” when making appointments or nominations.

“I’m really proud of President Trump,” Grenell declared. “He is somebody who doesn’t send out press releases when he hires somebody about irrelevant characteristics that they have. He’s somebody who doesn’t keep lists. He doesn’t want to play this identity politics game, and thank God, because it’s really what I think the gay community has been asking for for a very long time.”

Grenell continued, “I was close friends with Andrew Breitbart who really took a stand with me a long time ago. I can’t even guess the year, it’s been so long, but to just bring the gay conservatives to the table of the Republican Party and the conservative party. Andrew was a leader on these issues, and I certainly will never forget it, and I’m indebted to his leadership as a straight guy who just saw an injustice and stood up and helped lead the fight.”

“I think Andrew Breitbart would be ecstatic with Donald Trump and the way that he goes about hiring people according to what they do and how good they are in their job and what kind of expertise they bring to the table,” concluded Grenell. “I’m tired of having the rainbow table down the hallway, which is where most politicians want us to be, down the hallway, where they check in every once in a while, and Donald Trump just said, ‘No, you’re you’re going to be at the cabinet table, where I’m hiring somebody according to their expertise not according to some sort of box that I need to check and then send out a press release on.'”


Bringing jobs back home may be harder than you think

Supply-chain managers have had a stressful few years. From Sino-American trade wars and Brexit to covid-induced restrictions on medical exports and travel, there has been a lot to deal with. At the worst of the pandemic company bosses inevitably wondered if bringing production closer to consumers might help. In April a survey conducted by ey, an accounting firm, found that as many as 83% of multinational executives were contemplating so-called “reshoring” or “nearshoring”. Recent history shows how sticky supply chains can be, but might this time be different?

Politicians have long angled for companies to shift production to their shores because they want jobs for their constituents. There can be a business case for it too, in order to cut transport costs, say, or reduce inventories. The Reshoring Initiative, which advocates for more manufacturing in America, cites the allure of “Made in usa” branding for older Midwesterners. Some reckon technology might encourage reshoring. In 2017 a report by ing, a bank, predicted that 3d printing could wipe out 40% of trade flows by 2040.

Yet the experience of the past decade suggests that for every company reshoring production, there may be more doing the opposite. A survey of German manufacturers found that 2% brought production home between 2010 and mid-2012. Four times as many shifted operations abroad during that time. A study published in 2016 by the oecd, a club of mostly rich countries, found that the effects of reshoring on national economies were “(still) limited”.

Nor does recent history suggest that new technologies will cannibalise trade. Take 3d printing. A study by Caroline Freund, Alen Mulabdic and Michele Ruta of the World Bank found that its use in the hearing-aid industry increased trade by 58% over nearly a decade, compared with what it might have been expected to be otherwise. As the technology was useful for only part of the manufacturing process and hearing aids are cheap to transport, supply chains did not retreat. Gary Gereffi of Duke University cites the failure of Adidas to print shoes in America and Germany as evidence of the importance of highly orchestrated production networks. He found that a lack of locally available components meant the shoes had to be simplified so much they lost their consumer appeal. The adoption of other technologies can make importing, rather than reshoring, more attractive. Katherine Stapleton of the World Bank and Michael Webb of Stanford University found that Spanish firms using robots were more likely to increase their imports from low-income countries, or open affiliates there. Productivity-enhancing automation led firms to expand output, and so import more parts.

The rise in tariffs in America and elsewhere over the past four years could, in theory, have been a game-changer, encouraging companies to move supply chains nearer consumers. But evidence of a great shift towards “Made in usa” following President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports is scant. Although American manufacturing imports from 14 Asian countries fell in 2019, there was no offsetting increase in gross domestic manufacturing production. A study by Ben Charoenwong of the National University of Singapore and Miaozhe Han and Jing Wu of the Chinese University of Hong Kong suggests that, while trade-policy uncertainty was associated with a reduction in the number of foreign suppliers to American companies serving the home market, on average these acquired no more domestic suppliers.

Might the pandemic prompt a shifting of supply chains? So far signs of reshoring are limited. In America import growth is outpacing domestic manufacturing production. Medical companies may be scarred by their experience of the swine-flu outbreak in 2009. At a hearing held by the United States International Trade Commission in September this year, one speaker recalled that companies ramped up production after the swine-flu pandemic, only to be driven to the verge of bankruptcy when demand fell back to normal. Sebastien Miroudot of the oecd finds that the evidence in favour of diversifying across many suppliers is shaky; experience suggests that firms with fewer, longer relationships recover from shocks more quickly. Rather than relocation, he has written, the research seems to argue for ensuring that production can be flexibly moved from place to place in an emergency.

The call of home

After their initial scare at the start of the pandemic, many companies now seem to have lost their urge to rush back home. A follow-up survey by ey in October found that just 37% of executives were still considering reshoring; a recent survey of firms in America and Europe by Euler Hermes, a trade-credit insurer, found that less than 15% were contemplating reshoring because of covid-19.

Some caution is in order, though. The pandemic is not over, and shifting production can be a slow business. There is some sign of movement in specialist industries: Biju Mohan of gep, a supply-chain consultancy, reports increased interest from life-sciences firms in moving production from China to America. And industrial policy is back in vogue, and only just gathering steam in Europe and America. Both have plans to subsidise chipmaking, for example, and to make home-grown renewable-energy investments. The economic plan of America’s president-elect, Joe Biden, talks of firms being “dangerously dependent on foreign suppliers”.

The resilience of supply chains so far may come down to a virtuous circle created when globalisation accelerated in the 1990s. When production networks stretch across several countries, trade restrictions can backfire, hurting both the exporter and the importer. That gave governments a big incentive to co-operate, and in turn meant companies were comfortable building or relying on far-flung factories. But, as Brexit, the trade war and a hobbled World Trade Organisation show, that trust is eroding, and companies’ sense of security with it. Companies do not want to hunker down behind borders. But they could yet be forced to do so


Poll Observer Claims 'Statistically Impossible' Number of Military Ballots in Georgia County Went for Biden

A poll observer in Cobb County, Georgia said during a state Senate subcommittee meeting that she reviewed nearly 300 overseas military ballots and that as high as 90 percent of them went to Biden.

The poll observer, Debbie Fisher, says she reviewed ballots during the November 16 hand recount, and that “throughout the day, it made me sicker to see” that so many were going for Biden. According to Fisher, such a scenario was “statistically impossible” as that part Cobb County is traditionally Republican.

But that’s not the only suspicious thing she witnessed.

“Of those ballots, as I walked through them piece by piece … I noticed something disturbing. They were inordinately perfect” in how they were filled out. “About 90 percent of them had no paper folds,” which means that they were not mailed in an envelope, as is required by law.

Fisher said she challenged the suspicious military ballots, requesting they be thrown out—but the election official in charge refused, and insisted the ballots were legitimate.

“People talk about obstruction, they talk about rudeness, they talk about whatever, but I can honestly tell you there was obstruction,” Fisher said of the behavior of the election workers.

But, a signature audit by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and secretary of state investigators claims there was no widespread fraudulent absentee ballots.

According to a press release from Secretary of State Raffensperger’s office, “The absentee ballot envelopes for the audit were ‘pulled from 30 randomly selected boxes of the accepted ABM ballots and one box identified as accepted Electronic Ballot Delivery ABM ballots.’ Each of the boxes that held the ballots were previously ‘secured in boxes by the Cobb County Elections Department’ and were selected by a random number generator.”

Fisher doesn’t buy it. She says that election officials certified the signature audit “with no observers available to watch how they audited them.”



3 January, 2021

New Approaches Besides Lockdowns Show Promise in Fighting COVID

New knowledge in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 is renewing hope that the public will no longer have to endure drastic mitigation efforts such as lockdowns, government-enforced social distancing, and mask mandates.

Within months, with huge incentives under the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed,” two U.S. drugmakers announced successful trials of their vaccines. The first, announced by Pfizer and BioNTech, was found to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19. Moderna announced on November 16 an analysis showing its vaccine is 94.5 percent effective. On November 23, U.K. drugmaker AstraZeneca should results of a study indicating its vaccine has an average efficacy of 70 percent.

On the treatment side, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this fall approved two drugs that must be administered in the hospital. Remdesivir is an antiviral therapy infused into patients, and bamlaanivimab is a monoclonal antibody treatment.

Researchers are also learning much from studies on how cocktails of existing drugs, antivirals, antibiotics, steroids, zinc, and vitamins are keeping COVID patients out of the hospital altogether. The FDA and National Institutes of Health have yet to approve an early outpatient approach using the drug hydroxychloroquine.

Vaccine Development Hurdles

In the early stages of the pandemic, public health authorities were at a loss as to how to respond to the threat. Mitigation efforts such as social distancing and mask use were easy, inexpensive go-to measures that showed a low risk of adverse results while helping keep the public safe.

Other mitigation measures had much more drastic consequences. Numerous states shut down schools and businesses and limited the size of public gatherings. Several states ordered citizens to wear masks in public.

A vaccine eliminating the need for such protection seemed like the ideal solution, but development is rife with challenges.

Vaccines go through a strenuous, three-stage clinical trial process before they are sent to regulatory agencies for final approval. Vaccines have to be not only effective but also safe.

Manufacturing and distribution is another big challenge. All vaccines currently under development appear to require two doses. To get to a level where the virus is no longer a public health threat, so-called herd immunity, billions of people would have to receive a vaccine, twice each. Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine must be stored at minus-94 degrees Fahrenheit, requiring special storage equipment and transportation which will make it very difficult for some countries to distribute.

Trust, Distrust, Mandates

Another significant challenge is public trust. In May, a survey of more than 1,000 people conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 51 percent had not decided or were unsure about whether they would take a COVID-19 vaccine. Many respondents cited concerns about possible side effects and the speed at which the vaccine was produced possibly affecting its quality.

More information about vaccine side effects will be known after Phase 4 trials, which begin after a drug has been approved and is on the market.

Talks of mandating the COVID-19 vaccine have continued to circulate as states begin to prepare for vaccine distribution, with some considering laws that would allow employers to fire employees who choose not to get vaccinated.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) took to Twitter to speak out against possible vaccine mandates, stating, “Americans should have the freedom to take the COVID vaccine. Americans should also have the freedom to decline the vaccine.”

Early Treatment Alternatives

A successful vaccine is not the only way out of the pandemic. Medical providers around the globe have been successfully treating COVID-19 with low doses of existing drugs and vitamins during the early stages of infection.

One treatment that has garnered particular attention is hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a drug used for decades to treat malaria and even autoimmune disorders such as lupus. The NIH and FDA have singled out this drug for particular condemnation, stating they discourage the use of hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19. On June 15, the FDA revoked the emergency use authorization for donated and stockpiled HCQ to be used on hospitalized patients with COVID-19 outside of clinical treatment trials

As a result, numerous states have limited, restricted, or banned off-label use of HCQ in outpatient settings during the early stages of infection.

Data on the drug from trials around the globe proves the restrictions are unwise, says Steven Hatfill, M.D., a virologist and adjunct assistant professor at the George Washington University Medical Center.

“There are now 53 studies that show positive results of hydroxychloroquine in COVID infections,” Hatfill wrote on August 4 in Real Clear Politics. “There are 14 global studies that show neutral or negative results—and 10 of them were of patients in very late stages of COVID-19, where no antiviral drug can be expected to have much effect.”


Swedish Covid-19 data exposes our fatal lockdown hysteria

Economist SANJEEV SABHLOK comments from Australia:

Three months ago I resigned as an economist in the Victorian ­Department of Treasury and ­Finance to protest against disproportionate public health measures by Daniel Andrews that had led to a police state. Information has since become available that makes these policies even less ­justified.

As I have written previously, this pandemic is not the Spanish flu. Data is now telling us that it is not even in the league of the Hong Kong flu.

In May, modellers had said Sweden would experience more than 100,000 additional deaths from COVID this year, with 96,000 additional deaths by July if lockdowns were not imposed.

Fortunately for the Swedes, their policy is led by arguably the world’s best epidemiologist, ­Anders Tegnell. He followed the standard approach found in all ­official pandemic plans, including in Australia. Tegnell did not impose coercive lockdowns or close borders. And no masks, no quarantines. He tried to shield the elderly while flattening the curve by slowing the spread of the virus.

Since Sweden is almost the only country in which the coronavirus was allowed “to let rip”, this pandemic’s true magnitude will be conclusively known from its annual mortality statistics.

Official Swedish mortality data as at December 18 is available at . After controlling for recent under-reporting, I estimate Sweden will end up with about 97,000 deaths this year. Long-term trends suggest Sweden would have had about 92,500 deaths this year, so there will be about 4500 additional deaths this year, a far cry from the models.

Note that these 4500 excess deaths are well below the 8300 ­officially reported COVID deaths to date. And these 4500 additional deaths are not all COVID deaths. Sweden’s Public Health Agency noted in October that “the 2019-2020 influenza season was mild”. As a result, 3419 fewer people died in Sweden last year than in 2018. Many of the frail among these 3419 survivors last year would have died this year anyway. Of its own accord, therefore, COVID has caused a much smaller number of deaths than these 4500 additional deaths. Sweden’s average two-year death rate in 2020 will be around 0.92 per cent, the second lowest in the past 10 years.

One struggles from this analysis to identify a serious pandemic in Sweden: just a bad flu, milder than the Hong Kong flu.

When I outlined this to an international panel on December 10, British MP Andrew Percy demurred and said the UK had experienced proportionately many more excess deaths than Sweden. It has, but analysis for nations other than Sweden needs to account for the additional deaths caused by the hysteria drummed up by governments and their coercive lockdowns.

As I have explained in my book, The Great Hysteria and the Broken State, and in my 68,000-word complaint to the International Criminal Court, lockdowns have likely killed two million people and shortened the lives of hundreds of millions.

Lockdowns kill in many ways, including by causing additional COVID deaths. For instance, the Victorian government spent most of its effort during the lockdowns in restricting the movement of the young, who were never at risk, while ignoring aged-care homes. This led to hundreds of avoidable COVID deaths. Australia’s governments went “all in” on a hunch in March on the basis of models, all of which turned out to be wrong — as they have always been in the past.

Our governments also shut their eyes to the data, which has been telling us a different story since mid-April, ending up in perhaps the biggest policy blunder in Australia’s ­history.

Moreover, I have discovered during my research that community-wide cordons have been used only once in the past 500 years: for Ebola in 2014 in Africa. But only “very small-scale cordons” — comparable to quarantines — were found to be effective by an evaluation, not the larger-scale lockdowns. When lockdowns are rejected by the science even for a lethal virus such as Ebola, the idea of lockdowns being applied for a flu-like virus does not arise. That is why lockdowns were never part of any official pandemic plan, nor were indefinite international border closures.

Scott Morrison wants to keep Australia’s borders closed and freeze the virus at a level of zero until everyone is vaccinated. But such a policy is preposterous, apart from being unlawful. Section 5 of the Biosecurity Act 2015 states the “appropriate level of protection for Australia is a high level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection aimed at reducing biosecurity risks to a very low level, but not to zero”.

In 2013, British epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta had shown that major pandemics are behind us because international cross-mingling boosts immunity. Minor vir­uses, however, cannot be avoided.

Are we going to close Australia for every bad flu in the future? We must get back the spunk we lost during this Great Hysteria and resume our normal life as a proudly rational, thinking Western nation. We must reassert our faith in freedom and reason, and end our embrace of the cowardly, totalitarian, zombie ways of the communist Chinese government.

Since 80 per cent of COVID deaths in Sweden have occurred among those over 75, people in this age group should continue to be sheltered and offered the vaccine. To mandate it for others would be yet another ­display of intellectual and spiritual cowardice.


Democrats Have Objected to Electoral Vote Certification for the Last Three GOP Presidents

Democrats are outraged that Republicans are planning on objecting to the certification of electoral votes. It’s “conspiracy and fantasy,” says Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“The effort by the sitting president of the United States to overturn the results is patently undemocratic,” the New York Democrat said. “The effort by others to amplify and burnish his ludicrous claims of fraud is equally revolting.”

There’s only one problem with Chucky’s “argument based on fact and reason.” Democrats have been challenging the electoral vote certification for two decades.

The last three times a Republican has been elected president — Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004 — Democrats in the House have brought objections to the electoral votes in states the GOP nominee won. In early 2005 specifically, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., along with Rep. Stephanie Tubbs, D-Ohio, objected to Bush’s 2004 electoral votes in Ohio.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin appears to be even more incensed at Senator Josh Hawley’s plan to object to the Electoral College vote. “The political equivalent of barking at the moon,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said of Hawley joining the challenge to electoral slates. “This won’t be taken seriously, nor should it be. The American people made a decision on Nov. 3rd and that decision must and will be honored and protected by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.”

Brave Sir Dick seems to forget he was singing a different tune in 2005. Then, it was Democrats questioning the results of the Ohio vote, which went narrowly for George Bush.

Durbin had words of praise for Boxer then:

“Some may criticize our colleague from California for bringing us here for this brief debate,” Durbin said on the Senate floor following Boxer’s objection, while noting that he would vote to certify the Ohio electoral votes for Bush. “I thank her for doing that because it gives members an opportunity once again on a bipartisan basis to look at a challenge that we face not just in the last election in one State but in many States.”

In fact, the Ohio electoral vote challenge was only the beginning. Rumors and conspiracy theories swirled around the outcome on election night that saw Bush winning Ohio by a close, but the surprisingly comfortable margin of 120,000 votes. So why are so many of these headlines familiar to us today?



2 January, 2021

Fascism in America, 2021

As it happens so often, the Left accuses the Right of committing crimes that the Left themselves have actually committed. In practice, it's a dead giveaway: Anytime they accuse the Right of any crime, that is a crime which the Left has committed over and over. Antifa is a stunning case in point. Antifa, short for "anti-fascist," is actually among the most fascist organizations in the world.

As Old as the Romans

The concept of fascism dates back to the time of the Romans. Originally fasces, referring to a bundle of weeds or wooden rods tied together, with an ax blade attached, was the symbol of unity and strength. It meant that all aspects of political control were under the auspices of one supreme leader.

Fascism is the antithesis of democracy. In a fascist state, the people don't rule, vote, or choose representatives. Everything is under the control of an autocrat. Fascists, as represented by Antifa, have no regard for the rule of law, one citizen per one vote, fair elections, or civil obedience. Fascists disregard legal rulings and take the law into their own hands. They have no intention of permitting lawful elections and do whatever they can to ensure that elections are not held or are otherwise contorted.

They believe that they are the law, morally and otherwise. They engage in acts of sabotage and violence to create anarchy and mayhem so that law-abiding citizens are coerced into giving up freedoms for enhanced security. If a fascist government takes control, its people lose their freedom and those who don't capitulate are dealt with harshly. They are either murdered, beaten, robbed, canceled, re-educated, or otherwise shunned in society.

You and I Have No Rights

In America today, and around the world, Antifa represents the opposite of individual rights. They prefer censorship to deal with anybody who has views opposing theirs. Groups that are contrary to their way of viewing the world are denied free speech, the right to assembly, the right to petition, the right to a free press, and many other rights that we routinely enjoy in America.

Antifa has little, if any, regard for personal property. They'll pull down statues. They will burn down or bomb what stands in their way as surely as they pick their own noses. They do not support religious freedom. They'll desecrate memorials and destroy religious places of worship such as churches, synagogues, and potentially mosques, although they seem to tiptoe around Islamics.

Antifa’s worldview is that everyone must submit to their will. They are vigilant supporters of big government control – as long as such governments strictly enforce Leftist edicts.

No Mirrors Available

When Antifa blames those on the right, including President Trump, congress, judges, governors, etc., of being fascists, they ought to hold a mirror up to themselves. Fascists are not for individual rights, industry deregulation, tax cuts, or school choice.

Fascists, as typified by Antifa, prefer to operate in a cancel culture where they literally ruin the careers of others with whom they disagree. Antifa, in America, typically are cowards. They'll approach a large gathering and wait until the sturdy men among them have left. Then, they'll attack older adults, the weak, and the frail, and batter them without mercy, as has happened in Seattle, Portland, Berkeley, and many other cities.

Antifa members tend to be disgruntled, underemployed males, often led by professors or those on the left who show an inkling of intellectual capacity. Many in the Antifa rank-and-file don't fully comprehend why they riot, loot, and incite violence. They have vague notions that their actions are beneficial for the society that they seek to "reform." They are roused by utopian ideals of global government which will magically improve the lives of everyone on Earth.

Why don't they form a political party and have leaders who speak openly on political talk shows? Certainly, CNN and MSNBC would host them.

Why do they wear masks, if they're committed to their cause and proud of what they do? Why creep around incognito? Why exactly do they slither in the dark? We can all guess why. It's because they are vile and detrimental to any society in which they exist.


Tainted Electors in Post-Legal America

The American left has been working overtime to obfuscate the real issues at the heart of whether or not the 2020 presidential election is being stolen. For instance, when Chris Krebs, the former head of the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), announced in a statement on November 12 that the 2020 election was "the most secure election in American history" and President Trump fired him, the Left went berserk and cited the firing as just more evidence that Trump is an illegitimate tyrant or something.

On December 13, however, the Department of Homeland Security released Emergency Directive 21-01, a version of CISA's "Mitigate SolarWinds Orion Code Compromise." CISA is charged with protecting the nation's electronic infrastructure from foreign hackers, and it seems to be fairly incompetent at it. Inasmuch as the SolarWinds hacks had been happening for many months, perhaps when he fired Krebs, the president knew things the leftist media didn't.

In any event, the furor over Krebs's firing takes one to Wikipedia to gather some basic info on the guy. It appears that Mr. Krebs is not an information technology professional, an electrical engineer, a computer programmer, or any kind of techie whose opinion on cyber-security matters might carry some weight. You see, Chris Krebs is a lawyer. So his previous job at CISA could only be as a manager, and when he says the election was the safest ever, it means nothing. He's merely repeating what he's been told by his staff. And the opinions of his staff also wouldn't carry much weight, given the SolarWinds "compromise." (To lead CISA more effectively than Krebs, maybe the feds should have gone to the local BestBuy and hired someone from the Geek Squad.)

Given the above, it was heartening to listen to Steve Hilton's opening monologue, "Lack of government action has made people more skeptical about the 2020 election," on the December 20 edition of his FNC show The Next Revolution, wherein he briefly touched on Krebs:

Chris Krebs, the cyber guy, keeps saying it was the safest election ever. But that's like the security guard at the hospital telling you how great the brain surgeon is. The constitutionality of electoral changes, the validity of ballot-harvesting, the merits of signature-matching, none of that's got anything to do with Chris Krebs. His job was running the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in DHS. And oh, on his watch we had the biggest ever cyber-security attack and the worst ever assault on our infrastructure security. So frankly I don't think we need to hear from Chris Krebs on the election or anything else.

(Hilton's fiery monologues are always edifying and a pleasure, so do watch this one in its entirety; it's only 6 minutes and 37 seconds.)

Cyber-security isn't what's at issue in the 2020 election. Such claims are just more leftist obfuscation, similar to charges that the 2016 election was "hacked." The Russians meddled in the 2016 elections, but the feds have assured us that no vote counts were changed. The real issue in the 2020 elections is what seven battleground states broad daylight.

There's an old observation that goes something like this: the problem is not what's illegal; it's what's legal. In other words, it is that which is allowed that plagues us. Just as vexing and corrosive as the issue of election fraud is that of whether or not the elections conducted in the battleground states were even legal. Indeed, legality may be the overarching central issue in the 2020 elections, not fraud, not cyber-security. So the MSM's droning on about the nonexistence of "widespread voter fraud" and the firing of Chris Krebs is just more of their obfuscations.

America's big problem of late is not just with the trashing of constitutional norms; it also involves the left's lack of appreciation for the very idea of law itself. America seems to be entering a "post-legal" twilight, where laws on the books are not enforced and where governors and mayors create capricious new "laws" out of whole cloth that are clear violations of inconvenient pre-existing laws.

Sometimes post-legal "laws" can have the imprimatur of the legal, as when a law has been enacted by lawmakers. So a new law that is contrary to already existing law is allowed until it receives judicial review and is struck down. But what if the courts don't grant certiorari and decline to review?

Where we see abundant evidence that America has entered a post-legal era is in the battleground states of the 2020 federal elections. Laws and even constitutions were ignored and superseded. The prime example is Pennsylvania. Act 77, the law that legalized mail-in voting in Pennsylvania, violated the state's own constitution. And then PA's own Supreme Court violated the U.S. Constitution by usurping the power of the state's Legislature. If that's all true, then the election in the Keystone State was illegal. So how can Congress accept the votes of Pennsylvania's electors on January 6?

Anyone who denies that significant election fraud occurred in November is either dishonest or a fool (here and here). But the issue before Congress on January 6 should not focus on fraud; it should mainly be about the legality of the elections in the battleground states. Some have argued that it falls to the vice president to rule January 6 on the legality of the elections in the battleground states.

It would take a tremendous amount of courage for one man to "decide" the 2020 presidential election. But after their abysmal performance, that seems better than letting the courts decide. The prospect of the V.P. asserting his plenary power to reject the tainted electors of the battleground states has even got the attention of the old media. Mike Pence is a profoundly decent man, and he's been a terrific V.P. He should consider that if he accepts the tainted electors and hands the election to Biden, his political career will be over. On the other hand, if he rejects the tainted electors, he'll be seen as the savior of the republic. After all, haven't we all been saying this is the most consequential election of our lives?

This writer highly recommends Ted Noel's powerful December 26 article "It's for Mike Pence to Judge whether a Presidential Election Was Held at All" (if you've already read it, read it again). Mr. Noel's idea is for Pence to merely reject the electors in question, and it is the cleanest, quickest remedy. If Pence did as Noel suggests, it would send a stinging rebuke to the seven battleground states for their intolerable lawlessness. It might even provide the impetus for Congress to at long last legislate some real reform for federal elections.

If some fear that Noel's solution might trigger social unrest, then another remedy might be to have new elections in the affected states. However, Pence should not agree to such unprecedented elections unless they were strictly supervised. Sadly, the affected states are too corrupt and weak to be allowed to conduct such elections on their own. Another remedy might be to establish a commission to decide the election, as was done in 1876, which would also take much of the onus off Pence. But regardless of the remedy, the vice president should not accept the tainted electors and thereby ratify illegality.

Either America is "a nation of laws, not men" — or she's a fraud.


Drug used for more than a decade to treat cancer could cure Covid-19 – outperforming remdesivir in lab tests

The drug, called pralatrexate, is a chemotherapy medication that was originally developed to treat lymphomas – tumours that originate in the glands.

Chinese researchers found pralatrexate outperforms remdesivir, which is currently the leading anti-viral medication used to treat Covid-19 patients.

Pralatrexate was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2009 for patients with terminal disease in spite of its toxicity.

Adverse effects of pralatrexate include fatigue, nausea and mucositis – inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract.

However, repurposing pralatrexate in a way that eliminates its side effects shows much potential, according to researchers.

'Identifying effective drugs that can treat Covid-19 is important and urgent, especially the approved drugs that can be immediately tested in clinical trials,' say the study authors, led by Dr Haiping Zhang at the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, China.

'Our study discovered that pralatrexate is able to potently inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication with a stronger inhibitory activity than remdesivir within the same experimental conditions.'

Following the global outbreak of Covid-19, researchers were inspired by the idea of repurposing existing drugs that were originally developed to treat other conditions.



1 January, 2021

Lockdowns may prevent a natural weakening of this disease

Matt Ridley

Boris Johnson's fondness for the metaphor of the US cavalry riding to the rescue is risky: ask General Custer. With the vaccine cavalry in sight, and just when we thought we had earned a Christmas break, the virus has ambushed us with a strain that seems more contagious, and which is rapidly coming to dominate the epidemic in south-east England.

It is now a race between the virus and the vaccine as to which can get into your bloodstream first.

Lockdown sceptics are suspicious. Nervtag, the sinister-sounding "new and emerging respiratory virus threats advisory group", is dominated by people on public salaries holding the extreme view that all Covid risks must be considered and most economic, social, mental and physical effects of lockdown pretty well ignored, and they have clearly been itching to call off Christmas.

But that does not mean the new B117 strain is a myth or its danger is exaggerated. Britain does 50 times more genome sequencing of viruses than most other countries which means that we are cursed with knowing more about these mutations but not necessarily being able to do anything about them. Most mutations, thankfully, make little difference.

This one, however, is different because an unprecedented 14 sense-changing substitutions and three deletions in the virus's genomic recipe, rather than accumulating gradually, appeared all together for the first time in a patient in Kent on Sept 20.

The explosive growth of this strain, and the fact that eight of the mutations are in the spike gene (the key that opens the locks on a cell) implies that they make the virus more contagious.

This number of changes would normally take months to emerge at the rate the virus typically evolves: it is less prone to random mutation than an influenza virus. What caused such a burst of evolution within perhaps a single body?

Here the story gets alarming. According to analysis by Andrew Rambaut at Edinburgh University and colleagues for the Covid-19 Genomics Consortium UK, such high rates of mutation have happened in people with suppressed immune systems who get a Covid infection that persists for months and are treated with "convalescent plasma" - essentially blood extracted from those who have recovered from Covid.

In a person with a deficient immune system, a large population of viruses can proliferate, mutate and diversify, and then the treatment selects a new strain from among this diversity.

Essentially, the virus has a crash course in evolution. If so, this casts doubt on the wisdom of convalescent-plasma treatment, pitting the possibility that it might save a life against the possibility that it might help the virus become more infectious or lethal.

There is fortunately no evidence the B117 strain is more virulent, immune to one of the vaccines or can re-infect people who have recovered, though the last of these cannot be ruled out.

Viruses will always evolve to be more contagious if they can, but respiratory viruses also often evolve towards being less virulent. Each virus is striving to grab market share for its descendants. The best way of achieving this is to print as many copies of itself as possible while in a human body, yet not make that person so ill that they meet fewer people.

Where the sceptics have a point is that it is a worrying possibility that lockdowns could prevent this natural attenuation of the virus. They keep the virus spreading mainly in hospitals and care homes among the very ill, preventing the eclipse of lethal strains at the hands of milder ones.

If so, and it's only a possibility, then not only do lockdowns fail to wipe out the disease, they may be prolonging our agony.

We need that vaccine cavalry, and soon.


What you need to know about the new variant of coronavirus in the UK

Many countries have closed their borders to people leaving the UK due to the rapid spread within the country of a new variant of the coronavirus that might be more transmissible. Meanwhile, South Africa is also reporting the spread of another new variant. Here’s what you need to know.

What do we know about the new UK variant so far?

B.1.1.7, as it is known, has 17 mutations compared with the original SARS-CoV-2 virus first discovered in Wuhan, China, including eight that may change the shape of the outer spike protein. Many of these mutations have been found before, but to have so many in a single virus is unusual. It was first sequenced in the UK on 20 September, but only caught the attention of scientists on 8 December, when they were looking for reasons for the rapid growth of cases in south-east England. On 14 December, the UK’s health minister, Matt Hancock, told parliament that a new variant that seems to spread faster had been identified.

How worried should we be?

There is no evidence so far that this new variant causes more severe disease or that it can evade the protection conferred by any of the vaccines. Some lines of evidence suggest that it spreads more readily, but the evidence isn’t conclusive. On 21 December, a UK expert committee on emerging viral threats said that they have “high confidence” that there is a substantial increase in transmissibility compared with other variants. “There is still more data that we need to get to be 100 per cent sure of this,” says committee member Peter Horby at the University of Oxford.

How much faster is it thought to spread?

The latest estimate is that it was 50 per cent more transmissible than other circulating strains during England’s latest lockdown, according to Neil Ferguson at Imperial College London, another committee member. However, it isn’t clear if this figure is true more generally, he says. B.1.1.7 is already responsible for 80 per cent of infections in London.

What does it mean if this variant is better at spreading?

“No matter how the virus changes, it needs us to be close enough to each other and to have interactions to let it jump between us,” says Emma Hodcroft at the University of Basel in Switzerland. “If we don’t give the virus those opportunities, it simply can’t spread no matter what variant it is.” In other words, standard control measures such as wearing masks and social distancing will still work. The new, tighter “tier 4” restrictions introduced in some parts of England, for example, will be effective if people follow the rules. But imposing such restrictions is obviously highly undesirable.

How did we discover these variants?

Standard tests look for the presence of the virus. It is also possible to sequence the entire genome of the virus, which is around 30,000 RNA letters long, to look for any changes compared with previously sequenced samples. Researchers around the world sometimes sequence samples to track the spread of the coronavirus and see if it is evolving.

What is different about the UK variant?

The mutations that might change the shape of the spike protein may allow the virus to bind to receptors on human cells more strongly and thus get into cells more easily. This may increase viral replication in the upper airways – initial results suggest there are more viruses present on average in swabs from people infected with B.1.1.7 than with other variants. There are also “hints” that it is more likely to infect children, says Ferguson.

And the South Africa variant?+

Around 90 per cent of infections in South Africa are now due to one variant, sequencing suggests, but much less is known about it. This variant, called 501.V2, also has 17 mutations, but only one is the same as in the UK variant. This particular mutation, called N501Y, has been around for a while – it was first seen in Brazil in April and has been detected in several countries since.

How unusual is it for the coronavirus to mutate?

Not unusual at all. In fact, there are tens of thousands of “mutants” that differ from each other by at least one mutation. But any two SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses from anywhere in the world will usually differ by fewer than 30 mutations, and they are regarded as all belonging to the same strain. Researchers instead talk about different lineages.

Are the mutations in this variant helping it spread?

We don’t know. By chance, some coronavirus lineages do spread more than others. For instance, a variant first found in Spain spread rapidly across Europe in the summer. There was concern that this variant was both more transmissible and more dangerous, but this turned out not to be the case. Its rapid spread is now thought to be due to people travelling to Spain for holidays. However, Hodcroft, who studied the Spanish variant, thinks the UK variant really could be more transmissible. “There is an increasing amount of evidence that there might be a real difference here,” she says. “But nothing we have right now is conclusive.”

How do we find out for sure?

Health authorities will have to keep tracking variants to see if this variant spreads faster than others. Researchers also plan to carry out lab experiments to try to determine the effects of all the mutations. This will include testing antibodies from people who have been vaccinated or were previously infected to see if they are less effective against B.1.1.7.

Has the UK variant spread to other countries already?

Yes. So far, confirmed cases of B.1.1.7 have been reported only in Denmark and Australia, with possible cases in Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands. However, few countries do as much sequencing as the UK, so many cases could have been missed. Given that the UK variant was first detected in September, it is possible that it has already spread to many more countries – we should find out soon now health authorities around the world are looking for it.

So is it too late for travel bans to work?

They will still help, by preventing more introductions of the new variant and thus keeping down the number of cases and making them easier to control, says Hodcroft. “The goal here is more to buy time,” she says.

Can this variant be detected by normal tests?

The short answer is yes. However, some tests may need to be tweaked. The standard test for the coronavirus involves looking for any of three parts of the viral genome sequence. By chance, in some tests used by major labs in the UK, one of the parts is one of the mutated bits of the UK variant. This has turned out to be very useful. By looking at test results that came back positive for only two of the three parts – called S gene dropouts – health authorities have been able to get a much better idea of how fast the variant is spreading than would be possible from sequencing data alone.

Where did the UK variant come from?

“It very much looks like a point source in England,” says Susan Hopkins at Public Health England. In other words, it came from a single individual. There is speculation that it could have evolved in the body of a person with a weakened immune system, meaning the immune response wasn’t strong enough to kill off the virus but did force it to evolve. This would help explain why it has more mutations than normal.


"Mr. Hawley’s challenge is not unprecedented... Democrats in both the House and Senate challenged certification of the 2004 election results..."

"... and House Democrats tried on their own to challenge the 2016 and 2000 outcomes, though without Senate support. ... Senator Barbara Boxer of California... briefly delayed the certification of George W. Bush’s victory... cit[ing] claims that Ohio election officials had improperly purged voter rolls... which Mr. Bush carried by fewer than 120,000 votes. Nancy Pelosi, then the House Democratic leader, supported the challenge.... The House voted 267 to 31 against the challenge and the Senate rejected it 74 to 1...

After the 2016 election, several House Democrats tried again, rising during the joint session to register challenges against Mr. Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in various states. The Democrats cited reasons ranging from long lines at polling sites to the Kremlin’s election influence operation."

From "Hawley Answers Trump’s Call for Election Challenge/The Republican senator said he would object to certifying the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, a move that is unlikely to alter President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory" (NYT).

So... in the last three decades, every time a Republican won, Congressional Democrats challenged the certification of the election, and every time a Democrat won, Congressional Republicans did not challenge the certification.

That certainly puts a different light on what Josh Hawley is doing!

Either challenging the certification is the norm or it is not. It can't be the norm for Democrats and abnormal when a Republican does the same thing. Either Congress has a role in looking into the workings of the state elections or it does not. It can't be that the role is to question Republican victories and rubber-stamp Democratic victories.



For the notes appearing at the side of the original blog see HERE

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Archive of side pictures HERE

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