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

28 June 2021

Each is to count for one and none for more than one: Predictors of support for economic redistribution

Leftists motivated by 'malicious envy'

Chien-An Lin, Timothy Bates


While theory predicts fairness motivates support for redistribution, tests have yielded near-zero effects. Here we propose the relevant evolved fairness motive operates within the community sharing relation, experienced as a unity motive to treat “all as one and none as more than one”. Study 1 (N = 403) supported this model, with a moderate (?? = .15 CI[.06, .23]) significant effect of a communal fairness measure on support for redistribution, incremental to effects of compassion, envy, and self-interest. Study 2 (N=402) replicated with larger effect (?? = .25 CI[.17, .33]). As distribution involves means as well as ends, we tested support for redistribution by coercive means. In both study 1 and 2, support for coercion was predicted by “ends justify the means” intuitions (instrumental harm: ?? = .21 CI[.12, .31)] and .16 CI[.08, .25]). Communal fairness also predicted willingness to coerce (?? = .15 CI[.05 .24] and .32 CI[.23 .41]). These five psychological motives accounted for 45% of support for redistribution, suggesting considerable value for political, economic, evolutionary, and ethical theory.

24 June, 2021

Woke Ideology Mimics Precursors to Totalitarian Slaughter, Experts Say

Some of the core tenets of the “woke” ideology spreading around the country mimic ideas used to justify many of the most horrendous atrocities of the past century, according to several experts.

A recently released documentary exploring the topic, called “Better Left Unsaid,” concludes that the self-identified “radical left” endorses four fundamental “truths” that they “hold to be self-evident,” noting that these tenets have also been used to justify and incite many of the worst massacres of the 20th century.

The first of the four claims is that “the world is best viewed through a group oppression narrative lens.”

The “woke” ideology is based on a set of quasi-Marxist theories that divide society into “oppressors” and the “oppressed” based on characteristics such as race, sex, class, or sexual proclivities. “Woke” is sometimes used interchangeably with Critical Race Theory (CRT), which is one of the more prominent ideologies that operate within this framework.

The second claim is that “evidence of oppression is the inequality between groups,” the documentary says. If the designated “oppressed” group does on average worse in some regard than the designated “oppressor” group, that is taken as virtually unassailable proof of “oppression.”

The third claim is that “peaceful dialog and understanding between the groups is impossible since the dominant group’s strategy is to retain its power.”

Woke theorists have posited that the “oppressed” have a uniquely valuable perspective on reality unavailable to the “oppressors.” Meanwhile, they say, “whiteness” or “white heteropatriarchy” can’t help but to try to maintain its “hegemony.” Even if it does things that benefit members of other groups, such as by abolishing slavery or giving women and blacks the right to vote, it’s still done out of self-interest and in order to further entrench its institutions and norms and thus ensure the “privilege” of its members.

Proponents of the ideology engage in dialogue between themselves, but with everybody else the communication is supposed to generally flow in one direction—that of acceptance of their views. Any challenge to the ideology is labeled as self-serving or even as an assault on the “oppressed.”

Finally, the ideology at least implicitly acknowledges that “because of the above, violence is justified to eradicate the inequities,” the documentary says.

“From my experience, they (to the degree they can be grouped together enough to call them ‘they’) tend to advocate for violence against those oppressing and equate it to laudatory behavior; hence, ‘punch a Nazi,’” author of the documentary, Curt Jaimungal, told The Epoch Times via email.

“I have catalogs of tweets, written statements, and videos of people ranging from students to [professors] explicitly calling for violence and downplaying the violence of those on the left when compared to the right,” he added, not because of intensity or frequency of such violence, but because of the so-called “nobleness of the extreme left’s position.”

These four tenets, Jaimungal demonstrated in the documentary, are common to many of the most brutal massacres and regimes of the 20th century, from the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany to communist China and the Rwandan genocide.

In each case, an entire class of society is painted as unfairly privileged and as such inherently oppressive, with little regard to specific actions of the individual members of the group. Meanwhile, disagreement with or mere disinterest in this classification is taken as support for the perceived oppression. With reconciliation through dialog taken off the table, the only remaining recourse is conflict—a “revolutionary” action where violence is seen as inevitable and, ultimately, preferable.

“Too few people know about the ceaseless carnage that took place under the masthead of the isomers of equity,” Jaimungal narrates in the documentary.

He said he avoided using examples of atrocities committed as a consequence of the totalitarian nature of the various regimes.

“I am careful to only list or only talk about the deaths associated with the philosophical doctrine of group guilt and class guilt,” he said.

Proponents of socialism commonly argue that the movements that led to these tragedies were commandeered or hijacked by people that didn’t really believe in the ideology. But they have tended to level the argument retrospectively, after they or their like-minded predecessors initially endorsed the movements and nascent regimes, the documentary points out. Also, proponents usually stop short of detailing how the next attempt will prevent any supposed nonbelievers from taking over.

The comparison between the preludes to past massacres and the current manifestations of the woke ideology is a fair one, as long as it’s not taken as an absolute, according to Erec Smith, associate professor of Rhetoric and Composition at York College of Pennsylvania.

“We’re not saying [a massacre] is definitely going to happen, but we need to be cognizant and remember our history and be careful about what’s going on here,” he told The Epoch Times.

Jaimungal’s conclusions were also recently endorsed by several scholars of totalitarianism, all of whom are critical of woke ideology. They were invited to comment on the film by Pat Kambhampati, chemistry professor and head of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship at McGill University in Canada.

“The same ideas that gave rise to Curt’s movie and the discussion of communism, we see a lot of parallels and isomorphisms taking place in the West and within academia,” he said during a May 31 panel discussion on topics raised by the documentary.

Janice Fiamengo, retired English professor at the University of Ottawa and self-declared anti-feminist, backed Jaimungal’s argument during the panel discussion. She was also featured in the film.

“As soon as one establishes these oppressor groups and oppressed groups, then when you are speaking supposedly on behalf of the oppressed, you can do nearly anything,” she said.

Gad Saad, evolutionary psychology professor at Concordia University, put forth the point during the panel that people professing utopian goals have a tendency toward eliminating those who oppose them.

“Utopians believe that the world could be a perfect place except for this one group that is stopping the world from becoming a perfect place,” he said.

Another panelist, retired New York University professor of liberal studies Michael Rectenwald, linked the woke ideology’s potential to unleash totalitarian force to its postmodern roots.

Postmodernism introduced the idea of fundamental relativism, professing that there is no objective truth, but instead the powers that be establish as true whatever is in their interest.

While the documentary notes that this notion is itself a “truth claim” and thus undermines its own validity, Rectenwald pointed out that adoption of the notion has serious real-life implications.

“The problem with this is not simply that we have no criteria for truth claims with this kind of notion, but rather it leaves open the possibility that when it has the requisite power behind it then anything can be asserted and can be asserted with force,” he said.

He gave the example of the ideology behind the transgender movement sweeping through government institutions.

“The force of the state is behind it and they can say that if you don’t accept that your child is a boy or a girl when they are the other then you could go to jail for this … or you could lose custody of your child,” he said.

“So when my truth becomes as good or better than any objective truth then we get to this point where the requisite power is applied and therefore we get the kind of authoritarianism and totalitarianism that we saw in the Soviet Union where people were forced to maintain things they knew to be false.”

Jaimungal defended in his film not only physical truths, but argued that just as there are “preserved genes” in human DNA that stand virtually unchanged through time and would be catastrophic to meddle with, there are also “preserved memes”—ideas that stand true throughout history and are similarly crucial to maintain, timeless lessons one can find in many religious scriptures and ancient stories.

These ideas are ingrained in humans, but have also been “externalized,” meaning imprinted on the external world in the form of the written word, art, rituals, and so on, he says in the film.

“Our survival depends on these ‘externalized memes.’”

Clinical psychologist and professor Jordan Peterson touched upon this topic during the panel discussion, noting the damage to the Western mythos inflicted by certain scientific theories, particularly Darwinism, and the subsequent substitution of the religious underpinnings of Western culture by an ideological ersatz.

“I could say to the atheists among the group, you know, ‘You’re not too fond of religion. How are you feeling about its replacement?'” he said.

In an “intact culture” a person is “inculturated” by the age of about 18 into “a religious belief that saturates the entire culture,” he said.

“It’s granted to you, it gives you an identity, and that’s what your identity is.”

Western culture has become in this sense fragmented, he argued, as it now lacks such a comprehensive unifying ethos.

Students still come to universities with a “messianic” urge, craving an initiation of this sort, but what they’re offered instead is an ideology, which he described as “a parasite on an underlying religious structure.”

“A proper religious structure gives you a balanced view of the world, there’s characters for that negative part of nature, there’s characters for the positive part of nature, for the negative part of culture, for the positive part of culture. [It] gives you a view that enables you to look at the world and it’s existential permanences, I guess, in a manner that allows you to live a balanced life.”

Ideology, he said, doesn’t serve this purpose.

“You get indoctrinated into an ideology and you find where Satan is, you know, it’s not in you, it’s out there in the patriarchal oppressor, let’s say. And the thing about that is that it rings true mythologically and it is also true because every culture is oppressive to some degree and we’re all crushed as individuals by the dictates of arbitrary society. And kids get into the university and they’re taught this one-sided, lopsided doctrine with a utopian end and it matches their developmental needs perfectly,” he said.

If an ideology is accepted as an intimate part of one’s identity, it becomes difficult to let go of as it provides the person’s life meaning, Fiamengo noted.

“They would actually rather die than admit that they’re wrong,” she said.

Part of the solution, the panelists agreed, would be to restore universities to their original purpose of pursuing objective truth.

23 June, 2021

Israel faces fresh Covid surge and calls for teens to be jabbed as even the fully-vaccinated catch Delta variant of the virus

Israel is facing a fresh surge of coronavirus cases leading to calls for teenagers to be given jabs as even the fully vaccinated are catching the Delta variant of the virus.

Israel recorded 125 new cases on Monday - the most per day since April, in a country where more than half the population has been fully vaccinated.

The country's latest outbreaks were identified in several schools during random testing and came after Israel rolled back nearly all of its coronavirus restrictions.

According to local newspaper Haaretz nine fully-vaccinated teachers in two schools were among those who contracted the virus, as were three fully-vaccinated members of the military, the Israeli Defence Forces announced.

At the peak of the country's outbreak in January, Israel was recording some 10,000 daily cases but has since been able to get it under control thanks to its world-leading vaccination programme.

On Tuesday, newly-elected Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned of a 'new outbreak' of coronavirus in Israel after the rise in infections, that he said was likely due to returning travellers carrying the Delta variant.

'Our goal is to end it, to take a bucket of water and pour it on the fire when the fire is still small,' Bennett said at Ben Gurion airport, where the government announced an expanded testing facility would be set up.

Bennett noted that a recent spike in infections appeared to be due to the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus that likely came from overseas.

An outbreak in the town of Binyamina, north of Tel Aviv, saw more than 1,000 people quarantined and appeared to be due to travellers returning from Cyprus, he said. 'Whoever doesn't have to fly abroad, please don't,' Bennett added.

Israel remains largely closed to non-citizens.

Last month, the country expanded its vaccine eligibility to include teenagers, but left the decision up to parents.

Defence minister Benny Gantz has ordered the military and the civil defence to renew its efforts to test the population and to keep the contract department open that was shut down.

On Tuesday, the health ministry announced that 49,044 tests had been conducted over the past day, with a positivity rate of 0.3 percent.

Bennett, who ousted former premier Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month, said he was reconvening a 'corona cabinet' to handle the challenge.

'We reached an initial decision to treat this as a new outbreak,' Bennett said.

Israel launched a sweeping vaccination campaign after obtaining millions of doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

More than 55 percent of Israel's population - some 5.2 million people - have received both doses of the vaccine.

Nearly a third of the new cases recorded in the past week have been found in vaccinated people, with many of the new infections being the delta variant.

Hezi Levi, the health ministry director-general, speaking to Israel's Channel 12 on Monday said that most of the cases among vaccinated individuals are mild, but called on parents to have their children vaccinated.

Bennett urged parents to get their children vaccinated too, calling for children aged 12 and older to get jabs 'as quickly as possible'.

Health ministry figures show that young people aged 10-19 were the most affected by the virus last month.

On June 15, Israel lifted its requirement to wear face masks in enclosed public places - one of the last measures in force to fight the country's outbreak.

IN total, the country has recorded over 840,000 novel coronavirus cases, including 6,428 deaths.


New Study Links Ivermectin to ‘Large Reductions’ in COVID-19 Deaths

The use of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin could lead to “large reductions” in COVID-19 deaths and may have a “significant impact” on the pandemic globally, according to a recent pre-print review based on peer-reviewed studies.

For the study (pdf), published June 17 in the American Journal of Therapeutics, a group of scientists reviewed the clinical trial use of ivermectin, which has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, in 24 randomized controlled trials involving just more than 3,400 participants. The researchers sought to assess the efficacy of ivermectin in reducing infection or mortality in people with COVID-19 or at high risk of getting it.

Using multiple methods of sequential analysis, the researchers concluded with a moderate level of confidence that the drug reduced the risk of death in COVID-19 patients by an average of 62 percent, at a 95 percent confidence interval of 0.19–0.79, in a sample of 2,438 patients.

Among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the risk of death was found to be 2.3 percent among those treated with the drug, compared to 7.8 percent for those who weren’t, according to the review.

“Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease,” the authors wrote.

Since the start of the pandemic, both observational and randomized studies have evaluated ivermectin as a treatment for, and as prevention against, COVID-19 infection.

“A review by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance summarized findings from 27 studies on the effects of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infection, concluding that ivermectin ‘demonstrates a strong signal of therapeutic efficacy’ against COVID-19,” the researchers wrote, referring to one recent review, which was based on data from both peer-reviewed studies and pre-print manuscripts.

They cited another recent review that concluded that ivermectin reduced deaths by as much as 75 percent, while noting that neither the National Institutes of Health in the United States nor the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the use of ivermectin outside clinical trials for use against COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in a note on “Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19,” warns that it has received “multiple reports of patients who have required medical support and been hospitalized after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses.”

“Using any treatment for COVID-19 that’s not approved or authorized by the FDA, unless part of a clinical trial, can cause serious harm,” the FDA said in the note, adding that it hasn’t reviewed data to support the use of ivermectin in COVID-19 patients.

The WHO said in March that “the current evidence on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients is inconclusive” and that, until more data becomes available, the agency recommends that “the drug only be used within clinical trials.”

The authors of the efficacy study argued, however, that the drug has an “established safety profile through decades of use” and “could play a critical role in suppressing or even ending the SARS-CoV2 pandemic.”

“The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally,” they wrote in the study abstract.

The authors noted in their publication that all the studies on which they based their conclusions have been peer-reviewed.




22 June, 2021

UK: Asthma inhalers can speed up Covid recovery by three days - boosting hopes of an end to lockdown

Using an asthma inhaler can cut the amount of time it takes to recover from Covid, MPs have been told.

Ministers say doctors have prescribed the respiratory aids in some circumstances which has shown in some cases to reduce recovery by three days.

As a result Sir Graham Brady, from the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, suggested the Government should make more use of them, according to the Telegraph.

He said in the newspaper: 'If the average length of stay in a hospital is now eight days, and you can reduce that by three days typically by using inhalers, why the hell haven't they done that?'

Health minister Jo Churchill replied guidance has been given to clinicians to consider prescribing inhaled budesonide, a drug most commonly taken through an inhaler to treat asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, on a case-by-case basis.

She said: 'The department will continue to monitor the results as more detailed data and analysis from the trial becomes available and stand ready to adjust guidance should this be appropriate.

'Clinical guidance has been issued for on a case-by-case basis, but inhaled budesonide is not currently recommended as the standard of care in the UK.'

The news has boosted hopes of an end of lockdown for good on July 19.

Earlier this year it was reported Coronavirus-infected Britons can now be prescribed inhalers on the NHS after experts found a commonly used asthma drug can help patients recover faster.

Budesonide will be the first treatment specifically for Covid patients to take at home – all other medical breakthroughs so far have been for hospital use.

Oxford University academics said recovery time was three days shorter, on average.

Professor Richard Hobbs, one of the experts running the study, called the discovery a 'significant milestone for this pandemic'.

Professor Gail Hayward, who worked on the trial and also works as a GP, said in April: 'This is the first time a treatment has been shown to be beneficial for patients in the community – and the majority of patients with Covid are in the community...

'For the first time in this pandemic I now have evidence for a treatment to offer my patients at home.

'If I was trying to think of a treatment for the community it needs to be relatively cheap, easy to use and have few side effects – budesonide has all of these.'

Professor Bafadhel told a briefing: 'What we know with inhaled budesonide is that it works at the site where SARS-CoV-2 is likely to be causing its biggest effect.

'Corticosteroids are widely known to reduce inflammation and that's known from studies of other viruses...

'In the lab they've reduced the viral replication of SARS-CoV-2 specifically and we also know inhaled corticosteroids reduce expression of the ACE-2 receptor, and that's an important receptor for SARS-CoV-2.

'The findings are something we should be excited about.'


Trump's top ten 'we were right' list: big tech is awful at identifying 'fake news'

Trump just released a video listing TEN examples of either true stories Big Tech deemed “fake news” and censored – or fake stories Big Tech allowed to stand and be spread.

Please read this list. And as you do, think of the millions of lives lost and harmed as a result of these lies and this censorship. The trillions of dollars of wealth destroyed. The election outcomes lyingly warped.

The list:

Hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment of – and prophylactic against – the China Virus.

The Virus came from a Chinese lab – not a bat in a wet market.

Hunter Biden’s laptop was real – not a Russian hoax.

Trump did not clear Lafayette Square Park for a photo-op.

The Russian bounty story in Afghanistan was a lie.

Trump said the Virus vaccines would be ready in less than a year. Big Tech and everyone else deemed that “fake news” – and that it would take 3-5 years. Multiple vaccines were ready in less than nine months.

Blue States entered into extreme virus lockdowns. Red States did not. Big Tech et al preemptively declared the lockdowns the only way to go – the more virulent and all-encompassing the better. That Red States were putting millions of lives at risk.

Now the data is in – and none of Big Tech’s declarations were even remotely true. The Red States were right.

Trump and Republicans have all along said schools should be open. Because the science right away showed almost no children got sick – and none transmitted the virus. Big Tech declared this heresy and “fake news.”

Trump’s southern border policies were declared to be ineffective and anti-human. Even though illegal border crossings diminished dramatically – leading prospective crossers to decide not to come.

Biden reversed Trump’s regime. And we now have a massive border crisis. Illegal border crossings are up 1,400%. Tens of thousands of children are living in squalor in makeshift housing – with tens of thousands of more surely coming.

Because Biden’s policies are tacit approval of their doing so. And entering along with the people – are massive amounts of narcotics.

We are FINALLY beginning to actually audit the actual voting in the 2020 election – beginning in Arizona. After months of Big Tech et al censoring any concern about illegal voting because it was “fake news” – does anyone who’s paid any attention at all totally dismiss the possibility that vote tally reversals will follow?

These are ten HUGE examples of Big Tech warping the news. And American life. All in the last four years – most in just the last year.

And it doesn’t include the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. The far-and-away greatest political scandal in US history.

Big Tech did all of this lying and censoring – in the name of their allegedly addressing “fake news.”

Big Tech should get out of the “fake news’ business. Because they are AWFUL at it.




18 June, 2021

Antiviral drug shown to save lives of covid-19 patients in hospital

People who get seriously ill from covid-19 could be offered a new lifeline with the first antiviral drug shown to save lives in patients admitted to hospital, researchers have said.

The drug, a combination of two antibodies developed by Regeneron, reduced the risk of death when given to people with severe covid-19 who hadn’t mounted a natural antibody response of their own.

The chances of these patients needing to be put on a ventilator were also reduced, as was the duration of their hospital stay.

In the Recovery trial between 18 September 2020 and 22 May 2021, 9785 patients admitted to hospital with covid-19 in the UK were randomly allocated to receive the usual care plus the antibody combination treatment, or usual care alone.

Of these, about one-third were seronegative, meaning they had no natural antibody response of their own, and half were seropositive, meaning they had already developed natural antibodies against the virus. For one-sixth of those involved in the study, their antibody status was unknown.

Among patients who received usual care alone, mortality within 28 days of being admitted to the trial was 30 per cent in those without an antibody response, compared with 15 per cent in those who were seropositive at the start of the study.

For patients who had no antibody response, the treatment reduced the chance of them dying within 28 days by a fifth, compared with usual care alone.

For every 100 such patients treated with the antibody combination, there would be six fewer deaths, researchers say.

“This is in some ways a first,” said Martin Landray at the University of Oxford, joint chief investigator of the study. “This is an antiviral treatment that is used later on – because these patients are severe, they’ve gone into hospital – and has a demonstrated clear impact on survival, and on those other outcomes.

“So in its own right, it’s an important result because these patients are among the sickest patients, and here we now have a treatment we did not have before.”

For the seronegative patients given the treatment, the duration of hospital stay was four days shorter than the usual care group, and the proportion of patients discharged by day 28 was greater.

The treatment made no difference in patients who had mounted their own antibody response by the time the study started.

“These results are very exciting,” said Peter Horby, the other joint chief investigator, also from the University of Oxford. “The hope was that, by giving a combination of antibodies targeting the Sars-CoV-2 virus, we would be able to reduce the worst manifestations of covid-19. There was, however, great uncertainty about the value of antiviral therapies in late-stage covid-19 disease.

“It is wonderful to learn that even in advanced covid-19 disease, targeting the virus can reduce mortality in patients who have failed to mount an antibody response of their own.”

The researchers say they aren’t sure when the treatment will be approved for use in the UK. It is unlikely to be rolled out quickly as the drug isn’t particularly easy to get hold of and patients would need antibody testing on their admission to hospital – which isn’t currently in place.

The study has been published as a pre-print on medRxiv and hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed.

The treatment uses a combination of two monoclonal antibodies (casirivimab and imdevimab, known as REGEN-COV in the US) that bind specifically to two different sites on the coronavirus spike protein, neutralising the ability of the virus to infect cells.

Previous studies in people in the community showed that the treatment reduced viral load, shortened the time to resolution of symptoms and significantly reduced the risk of being admitted to hospital or death.

Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, said: “These encouraging results from this trial carried out in and by the NHS suggest a new treatment option to help save the lives of some patients hospitalised with covid and are the latest example of research and innovation for patients, which the NHS has played a role in during the pandemic.

“Studies have also suggested the same treatments might help similar patients in the community avoid going to hospital in the first place, which is why yesterday the health service chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, asked the NHS to rapidly establish a new monoclonal antibody service so we are ready to offer these drugs if backed by regulators.”


YouTube Suspends Sen. Ron Johnson From Uploading Videos Over COVID-19, Hydroxychloroquine Claims

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) was suspended by YouTube and cannot upload videos for seven days, with the Google-owned video-sharing platform accusing him of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 treatments.

“YouTube’s arrogant Covid censorship continues,” he wrote in confirming the development. “How many lives will be lost as a result? How many lives could have been saved with a free exchange of medical ideas? This suppression of speech should concern every American.”

A spokesperson for YouTube told Fox News that one of Johnson’s videos was taken down because it violated its policies and claimed that he was spreading “medical misinformation.”

“We removed the video in accordance with our COVID-19 medical misinformation policies, which don’t allow content that encourages people to use Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus,” the spokesperson said. The Epoch Times has contacted the company for comment.

But by doing so, Johnson said that YouTube’s move to censor him suggests they have “accumulated too much unaccountable power.”

“Big Tech and mainstream media believe they are smarter than medical doctors who have devoted their lives to science and use their skills to save lives,” Johnson said in a statement to news outlets on Friday. “They have decided there is only one medical viewpoint allowed, and it is the viewpoint dictated by government agencies. How many lives will be lost as a result? How many lives could have been saved with a free exchange of medical ideas?”

In the video that was taken down, according to The Federalist, Johnson criticized federal bureaucrats for trying to dissuade the public from taking, or preventing them from knowing about, hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.

“It always baffled me that there was such a concerted effort to deny the American public the type of robust exploration research into early treatment early in this pandemic,” Johnson said, saying that he wanted more focus on the topic and said studies have suggested that “both hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin” are “incredibly safe” drugs.

Hydroxychloroquine, notably, was touted by President Donald Trump during COVID-19 task force briefings at the White House.

A recent study from medRxiv found that a combination of hydroxychloroquine, which is prescribed for malaria, and zinc may increase the COVID-19 survival rate by around 200 percent in some cases where a patient has a severe case and requires ventilation.

“We found that when the cumulative doses of two drugs, HCQ and AZM, were above a certain level, patients had a survival rate 2.9 times the other patients,” the study’s conclusion said.

But last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning against using hydroxychloroquine, citing potential side-effects such as “serious heart rhythm problems and other safety issues, including blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failure.”


Russian oil imports have set a new record in the United States despite the strained relationship between Washington and Moscow

Industry experts believe the Biden administration’s climate policies will make the country more dependent on foreign oil producers.

The United States imported record levels of crude oil from Russia in March and is expected to continue importing at high levels in coming months, according to the Western Energy Alliance, a trade association that represents 200 independent natural gas and oil producers in the United States.

Imports of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia reached 22.9 million barrels in March, the highest level since August of 2010, according to International Energy Agency (IEA). Of the total amount, crude oil imports from Russia stood at 6.1 million barrels. Russia has become the third-largest oil exporter to the United States.

High levels of oil shipment from Russia have continued since March, according to ClipperData, a commodity intelligence company that monitors cargo shipments worldwide.

“Last month we saw a record 5.75 million barrels of Russian crude discharged in the US, and we’re projecting a further record this month of 7.5mn bbls,” ClipperData analysts wrote on Twitter on June 7.

Critics argue that Biden’s climate agenda is hard on the U.S. oil industry but soft on foreign producers.

“It’s disturbing to our industry that the Biden administration goes out of its way to disadvantage the American producer while buttressing the Iranian and Russian industries,” Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, told The Epoch Times.

The recent spike in Russian oil imports has followed the “misguided climate policies” of the administration, including ending the Keystone XL pipeline and pausing new oil and natural gas permitting on public lands and waters, according to Sgamma.

President Joe Biden has “tipped us into oil dependence on Russia just a year after complete independence,” Sgamma said, calling it “a geopolitical gift” to the Kremlin.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude surpassed the $70 mark last week, reaching the highest level in over two years. Top commodity traders now believe oil prices could see $100 per barrel due to supply constraints. Oil hasn’t traded above $100 per barrel since 2014.

“There’s been kind of a dearth of investment in fossil fuels, which is going to leave us undersupplied as we go forward,” Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at the Price Future Group, told The Epoch Times in a recent interview.

He noted that the Biden administration’s climate policies, which will reduce the supply of oil and gas, have been a major factor in driving the prices.

“U.S. oil production has fallen by 1.715 million barrels [per day] from a year ago, so a large part of that void is being filled by Russia,” Flynn wrote in a recent op-ed on Fox Business.

“During Trump’s term, America was competing with Russia and Saudi Arabia to be the world’s dominant oil and gas producer, yet under Biden, we are retreating from that race in the name of climate change,” he wrote.

An increase in oil and gas prices will help boost Russia’s energy and political dominance, he argued, criticizing Biden’s recent move that will allow Russia to supply natural gas to Germany.

The Biden administration last month waived Trump-era sanctions against the company building the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline that links Russia and Germany.

The pipeline is expected to increase the dependence of the region on Russia for natural gas. Construction on the 764-mile pipeline that began in 2018 was a source of friction between Washington and its European allies.




17 June, 2021

A Group Of Parents Sent Their Kids' Face Masks to A Lab for Analysis. Here's What They Found

We've been told for well over a year that widespread forced public masking should be implemented because, even if only moderately to slightly to negligibly effective at curbing the spread of COVID-19, there are ZERO drawbacks.

"What's the harm?" they ask.

"It's only a minor inconvenience," they bleat.

"If it saves ONE LIFE, it's worth it!" they implore.

Meanwhile, we on Team Reality have not only continued to point to real-world data that shows masking to be entirely ineffective, we've also maintained that forced public masking, especially long-term, has negative societal and even health ramifications that the powers-that-be are all-too-happy to ignore in subservience to their newfound face mask god.

It only stands to reason that one of those health ramifications would be the fact that millions of people, particularly children, have been forced to wear and carry around pieces of cloth they've continually breathed through for hours on end. What lurking pathogens might be found on these disgusting contraptions being incessantly handled, stuck in pockets, and mindlessly tossed on books, tables, and desks? Well, one group of Florida parents sent a batch of masks worn by their children to a lab to find out. And yeah, you'll probably need to make sure you aren't eating dinner anytime soon before you digest THESE results.

Via press release:

Gainesville, FL (June 16, 2021) – A group of parents in Gainesville, FL, concerned about potential harms from masks, submitted six face masks to a lab for analysis. The resulting report found that five masks were contaminated with bacteria, parasites, and fungi, including three with dangerous pathogenic and pneumonia-causing bacteria. No viruses were detected on the masks, although the test is capable of detecting viruses.

The analysis detected the following 11 alarmingly dangerous pathogens on the masks:

* Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumonia)

* Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis)

* Neisseria meningitidis (meningitis, sepsis)

* Acanthamoeba polyphaga (keratitis and granulomatous amebic encephalitis)

* Acinetobacter baumanni (pneumonia, blood stream infections, meningitis, UTIs— resistant to antibiotics)

* Escherichia coli (food poisoning)

* Borrelia burgdorferi (causes Lyme disease)

* Corynebacterium diphtheriae (diphtheria)

* Legionella pneumophila (Legionnaires' disease)

* Staphylococcus pyogenes serotype M3 (severe infections—high morbidity rates)

* Staphylococcus aureus (meningitis, sepsis)

Half of the masks were contaminated with one or more strains of pneumonia-causing bacteria. One-third were contaminated with one or more strains of meningitis-causing bacteria. One-third were contaminated with dangerous, antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens. In addition, less dangerous pathogens were identified, including pathogens that can cause fever, ulcers, acne, yeast infections, strep throat, periodontal disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and more.

The face masks studied were new or freshly-laundered before wearing and had been worn for 5 to 8 hours, most during in-person schooling by children aged 6 through 11. One was worn by an adult. A t-shirt worn by one of the children at school and unworn masks were tested as controls. No pathogens were found on the controls. Proteins found on the t-shirt, for example, are not pathogenic to humans and are commonly found in hair, skin, and soil.

A parent who participated in the study, Ms. Amanda Donoho, commented that this small sample points to a need for more research: “We need to know what we are putting on the faces of our children each day. Masks provide a warm, moist environment for bacteria to grow.”

These local parents contracted with the lab because they were concerned about the potential of contaminants on masks that their children were forced to wear all day at school, taking them on and off, setting them on various surfaces, wearing them in the bathroom, etc. This prompted them to send the masks to the University of Florida’s Mass Spectrometry Research and Education Center for analysis.

Appetizing, eh? Of course, nothing above, or anything else, will deter the extremists in the masking cult, some of whom now want to see masking in schools forever.


Florida Appeals Court Just Dealt A Devastating Blow To Forced Masking

A Florida appellate court delivered a devastating blow to government-induced forced public masking in the state on Friday with a narrow 2-1 decision that finally took into account citizen privacy rights that have often been ignored throughout the pandemic.

In overturning and sending back for reconsideration the decision of a circuit judge in favor of Alachua County's mask requirement, the 1st District Court of Appeal panel cited the state Supreme Court's interpretation of privacy rights "so broad as to include the complete freedom of a person to control his own body," Fox13 reported.

A panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal, in a 2-1 decision, said Alachua County Circuit Judge Donna Keim did not properly consider the privacy rights of plaintiff Justin Green before she rejected a request for a temporary injunction against the mask requirement.

"The trial court simply looked at the right asserted by Green too narrowly, relying on the wrong privacy jurisprudence," said the 13-page majority opinion, written by Judge Adam Tanenbaum and joined by Judge Robert Long. "The right to be let alone by government does exist in Florida, as part of a right of privacy that our (Florida) Supreme Court has declared to be fundamental.

… (The Supreme Court) has construed this fundamental right to be so broad as to include the complete freedom of a person to control his own body. Under this construction, a person reasonably can expect not to be forced by the government to put something on his own face against his will. Florida’s constitutional right to privacy, then, necessarily is implicated by the nature of the county’s mask mandate."

The majority stopped short of declaring the Alachua County requirement unconstitutional but sent the case back to the lower court for reconsideration.

Judge Joseph Lewis' 15-page dissent predictably appealed to forced masking as a "temporary and de minimus interference with a person’s public interactions in response to a global pandemic," but Tanenbaum and Long - both appointed to the bench by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis - carried the day.

While Lewis also tried to argue that the case was moot because DeSantis' executive order in May preventing local governments from requiring masks, the majority pointed out that counties could always reissue orders at a future time.

"Because of the nature of the various emergency orders that we have seen and the county’s continued commitment to public mask wearing, we are not convinced that this is the last that we will see of this issue," Tanenbaum wrote in a footnote.

Later in the opinion, however, the majority appeared to acknowledge that the circuit judge might not have a case to reconsider.

"We remand for a new proceeding that presumes the unconstitutionality of the mask mandate, in the event there still is some mask mandate that remains to be litigated," the opinion said.

... Green, who operates a nursery business, took the lawsuit to the Tallahassee-based appeals court after Keim refused to grant a temporary injunction in May 2020.

Interestingly, Fox13 reported that the decision from Tanenbaum and Long "relied heavily on a 2017 Florida Supreme Court decision blocking a law that sought to require women to wait 24 hours before having abortions."

Hey, my body my choice, right? Except, in this case, nobody is actually getting killed because masks have never done squat to stop or even slightly curb the spread of COVID-19 or any other respiratory virus.

Florida state representative Anthony Sabatini called the decision a "huge legal win" for liberty.

This is how it's done, folks. The people trying to force you to cover your face with a disgusting bacteria collector in the name of 'public health' - with absolutely zero science or data on their side to support their claims - have always been the aggressors here, and using the courts everywhere possible to push back is definitely the right move.

It's hard to predict what will eventually happen with this case, but the decision does underscore just how important judicial appointments are, even at the state level. DeSantis appointed both of these judges, and he also has appointed three of the seven judges on Florida's Supreme Court.

16 June, 2021

What the Rich Don’t Admit About the Poor

The above heading occurs above a recent NYT article by Ezra Klein.

Klein is a smart young Jewish writer who writes persuasively in favour of Leftist causes. Like just about all leftist writers, Klein's persuasiveness depenfds on him leaving out half of the argument concerning his topic. The article concerned is a case in point The conservative side of his argument is glided over.

What he says (rightly) is that America still depends heavily on manual labour and that such labour is normally poorly paid. He regards that as outrageous.

So what is his solution? You will never guess: more government spending financed by big tax rises.How unoriginal can you get? Concern over income disparities goes back a very long way. The Soviets never solved it and a very wise Jewish teacher once told us: The poor ye always have with you

How does Klein deal with such facts? He doesn't. Klein just conveys outrage, not any kind of fully reasoned argument.


Inflation Is a Middle Class Tax Hike

Rapidly rising prices for all manner of goods and services are hitting us all hard.

It seems like just last month that we were expressing concern over rising inflation. Oh, right — it was. The Consumer Price Index (CP) jumped 4.2% in April. May said, “Hold my beer,” and saw a spike of 5% year over year.

CNBC crunches the numbers and right up top emphasizes the bad news:

fastest pace since August 2008

higher than Wall Street expectations

The 3.8% rise in the core inflation rate, which excludes food and energy prices, was the sharpest increase in nearly three decades.

There’s not much sugar coating here — the economic news is not good. Supply chains are broken. Companies can’t find enough workers, and the ones they can find are commanding higher wages. Inflated prices are largely a symptom of these underlying ailments.

Heather Boushey, a member of the White House Counsel of Economic Advisors, shrugged off the report as good news: “Today’s data on inflation is the latest indicator that things are both moving in the right direction and that we have supply-chain hiccups.”

“Hiccups”? We realize that having to wait a few months for a recliner or a bicycle is truly a First World Problem. But this is also not the America Joe Biden promised us, and it’s a far cry from the roaring American economy Donald Trump was fueling before the pandemic.

The Federal Reserve’s response? Apathy. “Though the inflation readings are well above anything seen since the 2008-09 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has been largely dismissive of the numbers,” says CNBC. “Central bank officials believe the current rise is due to temporary factors that will abate as the year goes on and look higher because of comparisons to the year-ago period, when much of the economic activity remained restricted due to pandemic precautions.”

There is some truth to that, but it’s far from the full picture. As it turns out, you cannot shut down much of the economy and then have the government flood the economy with $6 trillion in “magic money” and not have prices increase because of the havoc that wreaks on supply and demand.

The same experts who totally underestimated the inflation rate are telling us this is no big deal and prices will recede before long. That’s no doubt true of some things like lumber and houses, but it’s certainly not guaranteed, and it’s perhaps even unlikely for most goods and services. Higher prices will be the new floor.

“Chipotle executives announced this week the fast-casual chain will be raising prices by about 4 percent to offset some of the costs of the tighter labor market. Procter & Gamble warned customers earlier this year to expect mid- to high-single-digit percentage point price increases on staples like diapers and tampons,” reports The Dispatch. In fact, “The May 2021 NFIB Small Business Economic Trends survey found 48 percent of small businesses reported raising their prices, compared with just 5 percent that reported lowering them.”

Given that generous unemployment benefits have raised expectations for wages — just about at Democrats’ preferred $15 an hour, as it so happens — companies are going to be paying more for labor over the long term. And the supply disruptions show no sign of abating, which only exacerbates price problems.

That’s a middle class tax hike if we ever saw one.

But there’s also the national picture, which political analyst Kevin Williamson elucidates:

The worrisome, if not quite worst-case, scenario is this: We start to suffer genuinely problematic inflation, the Fed jacks up interest rates to stabilize prices, the cost of borrowing for the U.S. government goes up substantially, the cost of financing the debt rises from 8 percent of the budget to 12 percent of the budget and then appears set to keep on marching up from there, the economy goes into recession, and Washington has a choice — it can cut back spending during a recession, thereby almost certainly deepening that recession, or it can go even more deeply into debt at a time when the cost of debt service already is climbing, thereby making both the total debt and the cost of financing it that much worse.

“This,” he concludes, “is where fiscal crises and sovereign-debt crises come from.”




15 June, 2021

Donald Trump has reeled off the times he was blasted for spreading lies and conspiracy theories - only to later be proven right.

Speaking via satellite link from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course at the Frank Speech Rally in New Richmond, Wisconsin the former president recalled how he'd been blasted for saying hydroxychloroquine was a treatment for COVID, that the virus leaked from a Wuhan virus lab, and that Hunter Biden's laptop was real.

He said: 'We were right! Listen to this: Hydroxychloroquine works. The virus came from a Chinese lab - it just came out. Hunter Biden’s laptop was real. They tried to say it was made by Russia. Russia. Russia. Russia,' he started.

‘Lafayette Square was not cleared for a photo op. That just came out and I want to thank the Inspector General for having the courage to come out with the truth. The ‘Russian Bounties’ story was fake. Remember that? We produce vaccines before the end of 2020 in record time.'

Trump touted hydroxy - previously used as an anti-malaria drug, throughout last spring, and even took it as a precaution. He was condemned for doing so, with medics saying there was no evidence the treatment helped COVID.

But preliminary research released earlier this week showed hydroxychloroquine can increase survival rates in seriously-ill COVID patients by 200 per cent.

Trump has long claimed COVID may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He was dismissed as a quack over that theory throughout much of 2020. It is now being taken far more seriously, although no definitive proof of where COVID came from has been established.

He has repeatedly attacked liberal-leaning media outlets for failing to cover the damaging contents of Hunter Biden's laptop, and was cleared earlier this week of claims he'd cleared protesters from outside the White House to stage a photo opportunity amid George Floyd protests last year.

Trump also reminded the crowd of how he'd been shot down when claiming COVID vaccines would be ready by the end of 2020 - only to later be proven spectacularly right. The first approved vaccines were administered in the United States on December 15 2020.

He said: 'The vaccines are saving the country and frankly the world. This would have been another 1917 situation where you lost a 100 million people like in the Spanish flu. Everybody said it would take 3,4,5 years. Don’t even do it because it’s going to take so long. I got it done in less than nine months. All of the people that have been able to get their shots. Nobody would have been able to get it yet. But remember, it’s also about freedom, so it’s your choice.'

The former president also discussed the fraudulent 2020 election which he continues to claim he won, before rallying the gathered crowd with his MAGA message and the ongoing movement.

Trump made his remarks during a rally organized by conspiracy theorist MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a staunch supporter of the former president.

Trump together with Lindell promoted conspiracy theories about the 2020 election with Trump saying that it was 'rigged' by President Joe Biden and the Democrats, while bemoaning the fact he was no longer allowed on social media.

The former president has yet to share any definitive proof that last year's election was rigged, despite employing a large team of lawyers to do so.

'We do press releases now because we were banned from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They want to silence us because of the election. Cancel culture, call it what you will, but the reason is because of the election,' Trump said. 'They know the results. They know what really happened. That’s why if you go to any place, and you will see the Democrats don’t want recounts. They don’t want audits.

During his Saturday remarks, Trump insisted the 2020 election was 'totally rigged.'

'The election was rigged like never before. We got 'em by surprise four years ago and then we got 12 million more votes. Think about it, we got 63 million votes and we won, and then we got 75 million votes and they say we lost. But we didn't lose. If you win Miami, if you win Florida, and Ohio and add Iowa. Nobody won those states and lost. We were supposed to lose 25 seats and we gained 16 in the House of Representatives.

'If it wasn't for me, right now the Senate would be 60-40 against,' Trump argued during the event.

He claimed that Democrats would have 10 more seats than they currently have in the evenly split legislative chamber of Congress. 'Because I made teleconference calls—they call them town hall calls—speaking to tens of thousands of people, for congressional candidates and senators,' the former president said.

'And we would be at 60-40 against instead of 50-50,' Trump added, before attacking the GOP Senate minority leader. 'And unfortunately Mitch McConnell, with what he was doing, hurt us very, very badly in Georgia. We lost those two seats. We should have never lost those two seats.'

Trump has repeatedly criticized and attacked McConnell, after the Kentucky Republican condemned his actions leading up to the January 6 riots targeting the U.S. Capitol.

Although McConnell did not join seven GOP senators in voting to convict Trump for inciting the violence, he refused to defend Trump and blamed him directly for the assault.

Dozens of election challenge lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies have all been dismissed in both state and federal courts. Even judges appointed by Trump and others have rejected the allegations.

Election audits and recounts in key battleground states, including in places where the election was overseen by Republicans, have all reaffirmed Biden's win.

In the video message live-streamed during Lindell's MAGA Frank Free Speech rally at the River's Edge Apple River concert venue in New Richmond Trump proceeded to reel off a list of things insisting that he was ‘right about everything’.

'Blue state lockdowns didn’t work. They were a disaster. You look at California, you look at New York, you look at Illinois run by governors of a certain party called the Democrat party, they didn’t work, they were a disaster, and then you look at Texas and Florida they’ve done such a fine job.

'The schools have to be reopened. We’ve been saying that for a year. Open up the schools. And our border security program were vitally important and unprecedentedly successful. All Biden had to do was to leave it alone. So we went from the most safest border in the history of our country to the worst and most dangerous. Drugs are flowing in at a level we’ve never seen before. There is human trafficking. Nobody has ever seen numbers like this,' Trump stated.

‘I just saw a report where Sweden is doing very bad on crime. Germany is doing very bad on crime. These used to be the safest countries in Europe and now they’re becoming very unsafe. You know why? They’re letting in people into their country that are causing disruption. Well, we are letting people into our country at a level Sweden couldn’t even imagine. So people are just flowing across our borders. We built almost 500 miles of border wall and it would have been finished in just four weeks, and then Biden decided to stop it.

On coronavirus Trump again demanded China pay reparations to the United States, but said his earlier figure of $10 trillion wouldn't be enough.

It comes as China continues to face increasing international scrutiny over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with U.S. intelligence services investigating whether the novel coronavirus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, where the outbreak first emerged at the end of 2019.

'China and the China virus—they have to pay reparations. We've been hurt so badly in terms of death, human life,' Trump said.

'And in terms of monetarily, to a level that they have to pay us. And frankly, if they paid us $10 trillion that wouldn't cover it. But they really have to pay the world because this started in the world—the entire world has been, not only disrupted, but it's almost been destroyed and we're doing well because we created such a great economic foundation.'

14 June, 2021

How the Government Makes Corporations Woke

When corporations promote left-wingery, free-market conservatives are met with a taunt: “You want companies to have freedom of speech, and you want the free market to decide, so what are you complaining about? This is what you wanted.”

Of course, private, free-market de­cisions are never immune to private criticism. But “woke capitalism” is also not purely the result of private, free-market decisions. Behind the invisible hand of the market is the mailed fist of the government, pushing companies to the left in ways direct and indirect, in areas ranging from climate policy to workplace and hiring rules.

There are four major capacities in which government pressures companies to go woke: government as corporate shareholder, government as customer, government as capital-market regulator, and government as workplace regulator.

Government as shareholder: Who owns corporations? The shareholders. In theory, corporations work equally for the financial benefit of all the shareholders. But not all shareholders have an equal voice. Those with large holdings and organizations get more attention. In today’s America, many of the largest and most active investors are state and local public-pension funds that manage enormous pots of money, such as the colossal California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS). These are, in theory, merely investment fiduciaries, seeking the best returns to support the retirement benefits paid out to each state’s retired government employees. In practice, many of the pension funds are shot through with left-wing activists who see a government-controlled stake in public companies as a lever with which to move the world.

For example, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) is the second-largest pension fund in the U.S., with approximately $275 billion in assets. It owns $300 million of Exxon­­Mobil stock. It could reap the profits of owning ExxonMobil for the benefit of California teachers, or it could sell the stock if it felt morally obligated to divest. Instead, it is the largest share­holder involved in a “Reenergize Exxon” campaign that recently in­stalled three dissident directors on the board with the aim of moving America’s largest oil company away from carbon-based fuels.

In a March 2021 blog post on the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, the head of sustainable investment and stewardship strategies at CalSTRS, along with a member of her staff and an Oxford professor, wrote that “CalSTRS is working on develop­ing its model so that it can be sub­stantially scaled in order to address the many environmental (e.g., global warm­ing, loss of biodiversity, and plastics in the oceans) and social (e.g., racial, gender, and income inequality)” issues it wishes to address through its share­holdings. She described the anti-ExxonMobil campaign as a “pilot” for strategies to storm the “Corporate Castle” of companies that decline to follow the activists’ directives. That model includes an “army of investors (could be few but mighty) who will support attacking the castle walls,” “NGOs and other stakeholder repre­sentatives who can be marshalled to apply pressure,” “executive search firm(s) for identifying the slate of new executives and directors” to be installed, and “appropriate media outlets who can amplify the message.”

This pressure campaign goes beyond environmental issues, which are just one of the three corners of the “ESG” formula of environmental, social, and governance topics on which government shareholders are active. CalPERS has been investing in private as well as public companies and then using its stake to pressure the companies to meet racial and other “diversity” quotas. In 2018, CalSTRS announced that it would use its financial heft to pressure retailers anywhere in the country to stop selling guns that are banned in California — overriding the laws of other states. It signed on to a collective effort of state pension funds declaring “Principles for a Responsible Civilian Firearms Industry,” with a roster that also included CalPERS and the pension funds of Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, and San Francisco. These are all arms of government, seeking to own the means of production in order to dictate what may be produced and sold.

As discussed by Patrick Pizzella elsewhere in this issue, the Trump administration promulgated a rule re­focusing shareholder fiduciaries on pursuing the economic interests of their beneficiaries over their own political causes. The Biden administration blocked the rule from going into effect.

Public-shareholder activism is not limited to American government entities. Pension funds and sovereign-wealth funds of foreign states have their own lists of demands and priorities. Norway’s trillion-dollar sovereign-wealth fund, whose revenue comes from taxes and fees on the country’s oil industry, is the largest single owner in the world’s stock markets. Taking its marching orders from the Norwegian parliament, it sets “clear expectations” that “the companies in our portfolio should address global challenges in their corporate govern­ance” that “largely coincide with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

Government as customer: Government doesn’t just invest, it also buys and spends. Collectively, government con­tracts can provide a large share of a business’s income. In some industries, such as military contractors or health providers, it is effectively impossible to survive solely by selling to private customers. Federal, state, and local governments are especially aggressive about requiring contractors to sign on to their environmental and racial agendas. This phenomenon, too, is global in scope. A 2016 OECD paper observes that “public procurement expenditures amount to 13% of OECD countries’ gross domestic products” and urged that this large governmental footprint be used as leverage to promote “ambitious low-carbon innovation strategies.”

Contracts do not involve just the government spending its own money; governments also control access to public facilities. Chick-fil-A, for example, was banned from operating in airports in multiple cities — San Antonio, Buffalo, San Jose — by government officials angered at the company for the political views of one of its executives on same-sex marriage.

Government as capital-market regu­la­tor: It’s not possible to access American capital markets without getting past the gatekeepers. These include the Securities and Exchange Commission, which sets disclosure rules, the markets (the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ), the ratings agencies, and the accounting firms. The SEC is the government; the markets exercise directly delegated governmental authority, which in some circumstances can even preempt state law; the others live in that vague space where compliance is effectively compelled by the need to keep government happy. Then there are the central banks, which have been quite insistent in imposing their own woke visions on lenders, with the aim of raising the cost of capital for disfavored businesses and industries.

SEC disclosure requirements, and rules for what proposals can be raised by dissident shareholders, have been a hotly contested field for political activism. Joe Biden’s presidential campaign called for “requiring public companies to disclose climate risks and the greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains.”

Government pressure can be indirect, too. Climate envoy John Kerry spent this spring pressuring Wall Street banks to commit to “climate-friendly finance” that aims to redirect lending and investment towards “zero emissions” targets — with the understanding that collective refusals to do business made at the prodding of government may be less vulnerable to challenge under the antitrust laws.

Government as workplace regulator: Finally, the government’s rules shape the workplace. Civil-rights laws were originally written to guarantee equal opportunity under the law, even in private workplaces. But, in practice, many diversity-related corporate initia­tives have gone far beyond equality. They have instead created sinecures in human-resources depart­ments for left-wing activists who use the implicit threat of lawsuits to persuade corporate management to give them a free hand in leftist indoctrination. Maybe the most naïve joke among conservatives in recent years is to ask what kind of job you could get with, say, a gender-studies major. The answer is that you can get a job in a big corporation that puts you in a position to decide who gets all the other jobs. That power structure would not exist without substantial coercive govern­ment pressure.

If we want corporations to get back to the business of business, and out of politics, the first step is to get government out of their business.


TX Gov. Abbott says Texas will build its own Mexican border barrier

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Thursday that he has immediate plans to build border barriers along the state’s border with Mexico in an effort to assist law enforcement apprehensions of immigrants attempting to cross into the United States illegally.

“President Biden’s open-border policies have led to a humanitarian crisis at our southern border as record levels of illegal immigrants, drugs, and contraband pour into Texas,” Abbott said. “While securing the border is the federal government’s responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows.”

Abbott said the state will immediately begin construction on barriers in easily accessible and unsecured areas like Del Rio.

“The influx across the border is out of control, and the Biden Administration has shown that is not going to step up and do its job,” Abbott told Breitbart exclusively prior to a border summit on Thursday. “And amidst reports of even more people coming in across the border, we know we have to step up and do more.”

Customs and Border Patrol statistics revealed that the Del Rio Sector saw 27,890 illegal immigrant apprehensions in May this year, a 1,118 percent increase from the same period last year.

“The reason why we are here (Del Rio) is because of the massive increase,” Abbott stated, noting that unlawful border crossings were once “concentrated in the Rio Grande Valley. “Now, you know we’re upstream from the Rio Grande Valley in the Del Rio Sector and the Del Rio sector is suffering from some of the largest increases.”

Abbott said local residents are reporting “a lot of very bad dangerous people” coming into Texas illegally.

“They’re seeing a lot of very bad dangerous people come across the border,” Abbott said. “People that they are afraid of encountering, people who are causing damage to their fences, their livestock, their crops, their neighborhoods, and their homes.”

“Bad things are happening around here, and so they need help from the state to help them address this exploding crisis,” he continued.

Abbott said the Biden administration seems to be “welcoming these people into the United States,” but that Texas won’t send the same message. He said Texas will use it authority under a State of Emergency to ramp up enforcement of laws along the border.

“If you come to Texas, you’re subject to being arrested. You’re not going to have a pathway to roam the country,” Abbott said. “You’re going to have a pathway directly into a jail cell.”

“We want to be very aggressive in working with local officials and begin making mass arrests,” he continued. “In working in collaboration with a large number of counties — that means we’re going to be arresting a lot more people.”

Abbott acknowledged the increase in apprehensions will necessitate additional jail space, and he has partnered with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to seek assistance from governors nationwide with the crisis.

“With your help, we can apprehend more of these perpetrators of state and federal crimes before they can cause problems in your state,” the governors said. “Texas and Arizona have stepped up to secure the border in the federal government’s absence, and now, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact gives your State a chance to stand strong with us.”

Abbott said he predicts a “high level of participation,” adding, “The immigration issue and the border issue is not just the number one issue of Texas, it’s the number one issue in America. And so all of these other governors, they hear the same concerns that we hear about in Texas.”

Abbott said Texas is going to do whatever it can to secure the border, but “in the end, only the federal government and Congress can fix this.”

“…but as it stands right now, the state of Texas is going to step up and we’re going to start making arrests — sending a message to anybody thinking about coming here, you’re not going to get a free pass to the U.S. They’re getting a straight pass to a jail cell,” he concluded.




12 June, 2021

Evidence Mounts — Chauvin Did Not Murder Floyd

The strange evolution of the prosecution’s asphyxiation charge.

In his motion for a new trial, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, through his attorney Eric Nelson, made an obvious point. Quoting case law, Nelson reminded the court of “the prosecutor’s inherently unique role in the criminal justice system, which mandates that the prosecutor not act as a zealous advocate for criminal punishment, but as the representative of the people in an effort to seek justice.”

Had the State prosecutors set out to honor this mandate and seek justice, they would not have presented the medical evidence they did. In fact, they would not have charged Derek Chauvin with second-degree murder or charged his colleagues as accomplices.

Prosecutors knew they had a problem. To make the murder charge stick in the Chauvin case, they had to secure an “asphyxia” diagnosis from a physician.

If justice were the goal, prosecutors would have taken two critical steps to assure that the medical testimony supported the charge of murder. The first was to run a controlled experiment to see if Chauvin’s actions could possibly have resulted in the death of George Floyd. The second was to make the court and the defense aware of the potential compromise of its star medical witness, Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker.

Dr. John Dunn did run such an experiment, and he made a video of the same. Dr. Dunn comes well credentialed. He is a former member and chair of the medico-legal committee for the American College of Emergency Physicians, board certified in legal medicine, and co-author with a pathologist of a chapter on forensics for a text published by the American College of Legal Medicine. He has followed the case from the beginning, studied the videos, and reviewed Floyd’s autopsy report.

Not content to speculate, Dr. Dunn enlisted the help of two men to determine whether or not the prone restraint used by Chauvin on Floyd could have asphyxiated and killed him. He recruited a 230-pound man to play the role of Floyd and a 170-pound man to play Chauvin’s role. At the time of the incident, Floyd weighed 223 pounds, and Chauvin, with his gear, weighed about 170.

The Chauvin proxy applied the handcuffs and placed the “suspect” in the prone restraint position. For a 10-minute period, he put his left knee on the man’s neck and shoulder, matching the pressure Chauvin put on Floyd. Throughout the experiment, Dunn used a pulse oximeter to monitor the oxygen level and pulse of the man being held in this prone restraint.

As Dunn attests and the video shows, “The results were that there was no impact on the oxygen level or the pulse of the restrained man for the full 10 minutes, and no ill effects at the time or two days later when he was interviewed.” Arguably, Dunn’s experiment has more evidentiary value than any contrary proof offered by the State.

Dunn believes that Floyd died from cardiac arrhythmia — a lethal heart rhythm. He observes that Floyd was suffering from severe cardiac disease aggravated by the drugs in his system including methamphetamine and fentanyl. “Exertion and excitement from intoxication and the arrest situation along with the amphetamine stimulant drug effects increase the arrhythmia risk,” says Dunn.

As the State’s charging documents make clear, even the officers on the scene were aware that Floyd may have been suffering from the severe effects of intoxicants. While restraining Floyd, rookie officer Thomas Lane said to Chauvin, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.” Chauvin responded, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.” Chauvin was acting in the interest of Floyd’s safety in his positioning, not acting to kill him.

A week or so before Floyd’s death, I saw a Kansas City police officer use the same technique on a prone female suspect for at least 10 minutes. My thought on seeing this: ‘Thank God, she’s white.” Not wanting to make the officer nervous — the woman was large and violent — I chose not to shoot video. In retrospect I wish I had. The technique does not look good, but the officer in question was able to restrain the woman until backup arrived with no apparent ill effect to her or to him.

Prosecutors knew they had a problem. To make the murder charge stick in the Chauvin case, they had to secure an “asphyxia” diagnosis from a physician. Neither Dr. Baker nor another forensic pathologist who reviewed the case for prosecutors supported that diagnosis.

So prosecutors doctor-shopped until the congenial Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist, essentially recruited himself to the case. With no relevant experience in death investigation, Dr. Tobin charmed the jury and the New York Times into believing that Floyd’s drug use and heart problems had nothing to do with his death.

Key to Dr. Tobin’s testimony was his contention that Floyd’s hypopharynx was cut off by neck pressure. Under oath, Dr. Tobin testified to the existence of research that supports his contention implicating a closed-off hypopharynx in asphyxia deaths. But, tellingly, prosecutors failed to present any such research in support of Tobin’s claim.

Tobin’s testimony would not have sufficed without at least some support from Dr. Baker. In Chauvin’s request for a new trial, his attorney cited “evidence that, under pressure from prosecutors, Dr. Baker altered his findings and conclusions regarding the death of George Floyd.” This is not an idle accusation.

In the way of background, Baker prepared the autopsy on May 26, 2020, the day after Floyd died. He met with prosecutors that same day. On May 29, in a criminal complaint charging Chauvin with manslaughter and third-degree murder, the State attested as follows (emphasis added):

The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxiation or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in the system likely contributed to his death.

In an amended complaint on June 3, the State upped the charge against Chauvin to “Second Degree Murder — Unintentional — While Committing a Felony.” The complaint noted the results of the toxicology test, namely “the presence of fentanyl and evidence of recent methamphetamine use.”

Now, however, Baker supplied the State with one new detail that would prove to be essential for conviction: “The ME listed the cause of death as “[c]ardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression” (italics added). Baker first announced the “neck compression” detail in a June 1 press release.

In a May 17 article in The American Spectator, George Parry details the nature of the pressure brought to bear on Baker. The conduit for that pressure was Dr. Roger Mitchell, a former Washington, D.C., medical examiner and deputy mayor of Washington. Parry’s source was a motion for sanctions against the prosecution filed by attorneys representing Chauvin’s partner and alleged accomplice, Tou Thao.

Although some questioned Parry’s (and my own) reliance on the Thao motion, three days after Parry’s article the State confirmed that Thao’s attorneys were over the target. Admitted the State in its response to Thao’s motion, “At some point before Dr. Baker issued his findings and autopsy report on June 1, 2020, Dr. Roger Mitchell, who was acquainted with Dr. Baker professionally as a colleague and fellow forensic pathologist, reached out to Dr. Baker, and they discussed this case” (italics added).

Prosecutors go on to say they learned of Mitchell’s conversations with Baker during a routine meeting to discuss the medical aspects of the case on November 5, 2020. “Ultimately,” they report, “the State opted not to utilize Dr. Mitchell as a testifying expert witness.” They should never have even considered him.

On July 2, 2020, Mitchell had given an interview to the Guardian, in which he said, “From what the world has seen, we know that George Floyd’s intoxication, or George Floyd’s heart condition, played absolutely no part in his death.”

“From what the world has seen?” In that one statement, Mitchell summarized the effect a misleading video snippet was having on the State’s case. The mob was now dictating Minnesota justice.

The increasingly radicalized Mitchell was speaking out wherever he could find a microphone. His diagnosis of society’s ills was as skewed as his diagnosis of Floyd’s. Mitchell said on a podcast around the same time as his meeting with the prosecutors, “my people are starving. My people are hungry. My people have foots on their necks…. White supremacy has placed itself at the center disenfranchisement of black and brown people in this country.”

Five prosecutors and a paralegal sat in on the November 2020 meeting with Mitchell. If anyone recorded the conversation, no one provided the defense with the audio. The four defendants — Chauvin, Lane, Thao, and Alexander Keung — have had to rely on the State’s own account of that meeting. Prosecutors surely presented Mitchell’s story in its best possible light, but even that light is troubling.

The accusations against Mitchell in Thao’s motion came from the meeting summary prepared by the State and shared with the defense in a belated document dump. The summary was sufficiently well buried that defense attorney Eric Nelson was unaware of the Mitchell meeting at the time of the trial.

Thao’s motion quotes from the prosecutors’ notes taken at the November 5 meeting with Mitchell. Here are some of the highlights:

“Baker said that he didn’t think the neck compression played a part.”

Dr. Mitchell called Dr. “Baker first to let him know that he was going to be critical of Baker’s findings.”

“In this conversation, Mitchell said, you don’t want to be the medical examiner who tells everyone they didn’t see what they saw. You don’t want to be the smartest person in the room and be wrong. Said there was a way to articulate the cause and manner of death that ensures you are telling the truth about what you are observing and via all of the investigation. Mitchell said neck compression has to be in the diagnosis.”

George Parry covered this well, but in brief, Baker told Mitchell neck compression played no role in Floyd’s death, and Mitchell threatened to write a disparaging op-ed about Baker in the Washington Post unless he said it did. Thao’s attorneys knew what they were saying when they demanded “sanctions for prosecutorial misconduct stemming from witness coercion.”

In an angry response that reads as though written by Keith Olbermann, the State answered Thao by saying, “These preposterous accusations are simply false, and Defendant Thao does not offer even a shred of evidence to support this baseless conspiracy theory.” There it is, the ultimate refuge from a losing argument — a charge of “conspiracy theory.”

As Thao’s motion noted, Mitchell was not at all coy about his second cited attempt at coercion, namely his efforts to destroy the career of of Dr. David Fowler, the one medical witness to testify in Chauvin’s defense. But that is a story for another day.

The story for today is Chauvin’s sentencing in two weeks and his request for a new trial. Time after time, prosecutors have failed to honor their “inherently unique role.” On the medical front alone, they either ignored the evidence that cast Chauvin’s guilt into doubt or buried it. If their goal truly is “to seek justice,” they should at the very least run an experiment comparable to the one performed by Dr. Dunn to put their theory of the case to the test. Even police officers deserve due process, not just the semblance of it.


10 June, 2021

What Does It Mean When a Nation Honors a Mass-Murdering, Pedophilic Slaver?

Turning churches into mosques is very much on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s mind these days. Last Friday, June 4, he “spoke of the Turkish legacy of conquest and the conversion of the Hagia Sophia [into a mosque] during a mosque opening in the city of Zonguldak on Friday.” In his own words, “the re-opening of the Hagia Sophia as a mosque is important, as it is a legacy of conquest.”

Thus, while the West falls all over itself to disavow any “conquest” its ancestors may have engaged in—for example, the “conquest of the Americas” at the hands of the “genocidal” Columbus—here is the president of Turkey praising the violent conquests committed by his Muslim ancestors. The significance of this dichotomy, and what it portends for the future, is in need of acknowledgement.

As a case study, take Erdo?an’s stance towards Turkey’s greatest jihadis of history—men whose atrocious deeds would shame ISIS. Last summer, while celebrating his decree to transform the Hagia Sophia—which for a millennium had functioned as Eastern Christendom’s greatest basilica—into a mosque, Erdo?an repeatedly saluted Sultan Muhammad al-Fatah (“the Conqueror,” 1432-1481) for violently transforming Christian Constantinople into Islamic Istanbul.

And yet consider: Sultan Muhammad’s sole justification for conquering Constantinople was that Islam demands the subjugation of “infidels,” in this case, Christians. He had no other “grievance” than that. In fact, when he first became sultan, he “swore by the god of their false prophet, by the prophet whose name he bore,” a bitter Christian contemporary retrospectively wrote, that “he was their [the Christians’] friend, and would remain for the whole of his life a friend and ally of Constantinople.” Although they believed him, Muhammad was taking advantage of “the basest arts of dissimulation and deceit,” wrote Edward Gibbon. “Peace was on his lips while war was in his heart.”

During his siege of Constantinople, he regularly exhorted his Muslim army with jihadi ideology, including by unleashing throngs of preachers crying,

Children of Muhammad, be of good heart, for tomorrow we shall have so many Christians in our hands that we will sell them, two slaves for a ducat, and will have such riches that we will all be of gold, and from the beards of the Greeks we will make leads for our dogs, and their families will be our slaves. So be of good heart and be ready to die cheerfully for the love of our [past and present] Muhammad.

“Recall the promises of our Prophet concerning fallen warriors in the Koran,” the sultan himself exhorted: “the man who dies in combat shall be transported bodily to paradise and shall dine with Muhammad in the presence of women, handsome boys, and virgins.”

The mention of “handsome boys” was not just an accurate reference to the Koran’s promise (e.g., 52:24, 56:17, and 76:19); Muhammad was a notorious pedophile. His enslavement and rape of Jacob Notaras—a handsome 14-year-old nobleman’s son in Constantinople, whom Muhammad forced into becoming his personal catamite until he escaped—was only one of the most infamous. The sultan stabbed to death another Christian boy who “preferred death to infamy.”

After his conquest and desecration of the Hagia Sophia, Sultan Muhammad had the “wretched citizens of Constantinople” dragged before his men during evening festivities and “ordered many of them to be hacked to pieces, for the sake of entertainment.” The rest of the city’s population—as many as 45,000—was hauled off in chains to be sold as slaves.

This is the man whom Turkey and its president honor—including by rededicating one of Christendom’s greatest and oldest churches as a victory mosque to him last year. Nor is Muhammad al-Fatah the only terrorist to be honored; as Erdo?an explained in one of his speeches:

The conquest of Istanbul [Constantinople] and the conversion of the Hagia Sophia into a mosque are among the most glorious chapters of Turkish history.….The resurrection of the Hagia Sophia represents our memory full of heydays in our history, from [the battles of] Badr to Manzikert, from Nicopolis, to Gallipoli [all jihadi victories] … The resurrection of the Hagia Sophia is required by our respect and commitment to all of our ancestors, from Alp Arslan [Islamic victor of Manzikert who opened the way to the conquest of Asia Minor, and massacred or enslaved tens of thousands of Christians], to Muhammad al-Fatah, to Abdulhamid [who massacred as many as 300,000 Armenians in the name of jihad between 1894-1896]. The resurrection of the Hagia Sophia … honors Muhammad al-Fatah’s spirit of conquest… Allah willing, we will continue to walk on this sacred path without pause or hesitation, until we reach our ultimate destination [emphasis added].

The message could not be clearer: jihadi ideology dominates Turkey, at least its leadership. Invading and conquering neighboring peoples—not due to any grievances but because they are non-Muslim—with all the attending atrocities, rapes, destruction, and mass slavery, is apparently the ideal, to resume once the sunset of Western power is complete.

Meanwhile, because Americans are used to seeing statues of their own nation’s heroes toppled—for no other reason than that they were white and/or Christian, and therefore inherently evil—the significance of Erdo?an’s words and praise of Sultan Muhammad the Conqueror—who as an Asian Muslim is further immune from Western criticism, as that would be “racist”—will remain lost on them.


10 June, 2021

A malaria drug which Donald Trump touted as a possible prevention for COVID-19 could increase survival rates in severe patients by up to 200 per cent, according to a new study.

Scientists found that, when ventilated patients with a severe version of COVID were given high doses of hydroxychloroquine with zinc, their survival rates could increase dramatically.

Trump said in March 2020 he was taking it to prevent him catching the virus, rather than treat it. He did not become infected until October, and was not treated with the drug.

Yet Trump's allies on Wednesday were highlighting the study, conducted by Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey on 255 patients.

It was published on May 31 on the medical site medRxiv.

Trump's spokesman, Jason Miller, tweeted: 'Oh.'

He quoted: 'Study shows hydroxychloroquine and zinc treatments increased coronavirus survival rate by almost three times'

His son, Donald Trump Jr, said: 'In the last week alone, we've learned that the media, so-called fact checkers and their Big Tech enforcers lied to us about the lab-leak theory, Hydroxychloroquine and the clearing of Lafayette Square.

'All to hurt Donald Trump. 'What else are they lying about?'

Marjorie Taylor Greene, the stridently pro-Trump congresswoman for Georgia, tweeted: 'How many people died bc Dr. Fauci said trust the science and Hydroxychloroquine isn't effective?

'New study shows: Hydroxychloroquine + Azithromycin therapy at a higher dose improved survival by nearly 200% in ventilated COVID patients.

'Trump was right.'

In April 2020, Trump declared: 'We bought a tremendous amount of hydroxychloroquine, which I think is, you know, it's a great malaria drug.

'It's worked unbelievably, it's a powerful drug on malaria. And there are signs that it works on [coronavirus], some very strong signs.

'And in the meantime, it's been around a long time, and also works very powerfully on lupus. So there are some very strong, powerful signs, and we'll have to see.

'Because again, it's being tested now, this is a new thing that just happened to us, the invisible enemy, we call it.'

He continued: 'It's a very strong, powerful medicine, but it doesn't kill people. We have some very good results and some very good tests. You've seen the same test that I have.

'In France, they had a very good test. But we don't have time to go and say, gee, let's take a couple of years and test it out. And let's go and test with the test tubes and the laboratories.

'We don't have time. I'd love to do that.' A month later, on May 28, 2020, he told a roundtable event at the White House: 'I happen to be taking it.

'A lot of good things have come out. You'd be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the front-line workers. Before you catch it. The front-line workers, many, many are taking it.'

He added: 'I'm taking it, hydroxychloroquine. Right now, yeah. Couple of weeks ago, I started taking it. Cause I think it's good, I've heard a lot of good stories.'

White House physician Dr. Sean Conley released a memo that evening, which said that after discussing evidence for and against hydroxychloroquine with Trump, they concluded 'the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.'

Trump's support of the unproven drug was described by critics as reckless and dangerous.

Last summer, Twitter restricted the account of Trump Jr after he posted a video of doctors touting the effectiveness of the drug. The social media platform accused him of 'spreading misleading and potentially harmful misinformation' related to the coronavirus.

In March of this year, the World Health Organization warned against using the drug to prevent the coronavirus, citing data suggesting it was ineffective.

Yet the authors of the new report state: 'We found that when the cumulative doses of two drugs, HCQ and AZM, were above a certain level, patients had a survival rate 2.9 times the other patients.

'By using causal analysis and considering of weight-adjusted cumulative dose, we prove the combined therapy, >3 g HCQ and > 1g AZM greatly increases survival in Covid patients on IMV and that HCQ cumulative dose > 80 mg/kg works substantially better.'

Hydroxychloroquine is still an unproven drug for COVID treatment.

Early in the pandemic, Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation's top public health expert, expressed interest in the drug, but he maintained that more data was needed to prove its efficacy.

Fauci's emailed comments on hydroxychloroquine line up with what he said in public and the scientific consensus about the drug.

Republican critics, however, accuse him of secretly supporting the drug - although there is no evidence to prove it.

Several other studies in recent months, after Fauci's email, have found that hydroxychloroquine can be effective in certain situations.

A December study from the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents showed 84 per cent fewer hospitalizations among patients treated with the drug, and a January study, conducted by Hackensack Meridian Health, found encouraging results in patients with mild symptoms who were treated with the drug.

9 June, 2021

Why a Judge Has Georgia Vote Fraud on His Mind: ‘Pristine’ Biden Ballots That Looked Xeroxed

When Fulton County, Georgia, poll manager Suzi Voyles sorted through a large stack of mail-in ballots last November, she noticed an alarmingly odd pattern of uniformity in the markings for Joseph R. Biden. One after another, the absentee votes contained perfectly filled-in ovals for Biden—except that each of the darkened bubbles featured an identical white void inside them in the shape of a tiny crescent, indicating they’d been marked with toner ink instead of a pen or pencil.

Adding to suspicions, she noticed that all of the ballots were printed on different stock paper than the others she handled as part of a statewide hand recount of the razor-thin Nov. 3 presidential election. And none was folded or creased, as she typically observed in mail-in ballots that had been removed from envelopes.

In short, the Biden votes looked like they’d been duplicated by a copying machine.

“All of them were strangely pristine,” said Voyles, who said she’d never seen anything like it in her 20 years monitoring elections in Fulton County, which includes much of Atlanta.

She wasn’t alone. At least three other poll workers observed the same thing in stacks of absentee ballots for Biden processed by the county, and they have joined Voyles in swearing under penalty of perjury that they looked fake.

Now election watchdogs have used their affidavits to help convince a state judge to unseal all of the 147,000 mail-in ballots counted in Fulton and allow a closer inspection of the suspicious Biden ballots for evidence of counterfeiting. They argue that potentially tens of thousands may have been manufactured in a race that Biden won by just 12,000 votes thanks to a late surge of mail-in ballots counted after election monitors were shooed from State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

“We have what is almost surely major absentee-ballot fraud in Fulton County involving 10,000 to 20,000 probably false ballots,” said Garland Favorito, the lead petitioner in the case and a certified poll watcher who runs, one of the leading advocates for election integrity in the state.

He said the suspect ballots remain in the custody of the election officials and inaccessible from public view.

“We have confirmed that there are five pallets of shrink-wrapped ballots in a county warehouse,” Favorito said in an interview with RealClearInvestigations.

He and other petitioners were ordered to meet at the warehouse May 28 to settle the terms of the inspection of the absentee ballots. But the day before the scheduled meeting, the county filed a flurry of motions to dismiss the case, delaying the inspection indefinitely.

“We will be in court on June 21 to resolve these motions,” said Favorito, calling them another “roadblock” the county has tried to throw in their way. He expects talks over the logistics of the inspection to resume after the Fourth of July holiday.

As part of his May 21 order, Superior Court Judge Brian Amero requested officials guard the warehouse around the clock until an inspection date can be set. But just eight days later, a breach in security was reported after sheriff’s deputies left their post for a couple of hours.

“The front door was [found] unlocked and wide open in violation of the court order,” Favorito said.

County officials confirmed that a motion-detection alarm was triggered Saturday, May 29, shortly after the deputies drove away from the building in their patrol cars around 4 p.m. But they said a locked room where the ballots are kept “was never breached or compromised.”

Favorito is not convinced, and his lawyer is seeking to obtain the video footage from building security cameras. “How do we know for certain there was no tampering with the ballots?” asked Favorito, who said he did not vote for Trump.

News of the security lapse caught the attention of former President Donald Trump, who has claimed his loss to Biden was marred by fraud. In a statement, he implied election officials in the Democratic-controlled county are trying to hide evidence of fraud. “They are afraid of what might be found,” he asserted.

Trump is also closely monitoring the ongoing election audit in Arizona, another red state that turned blue in 2020. If evidence of fraud is found in these key swing states, it might help confirm suspicions the election was “stolen” from Trump and the 74 million who voted for him—as a recent poll found 61 percent of Republicans believe—as well as provide the proof of voter fraud that Democrats and major media have long claimed doesn’t exist.

The cases could potentially give other battleground states incentive to take steps to tighten election security and root out fraud, including passing legislation to limit the use of controversial mail-in drop boxes and require the verification of signatures on such ballots. In Georgia, relatively few mail-in ballots were rejected for invalid signatures in the November general election, even though several thousand had been disqualified for signature issues in the primary election.

In a move that inspired national boycotts alleging voter “suppression,” Georgia recently passed a law limiting, but not removing, the drop boxes. The state had installed them for the first time in 2020 under pressure from Democratic groups, who argued officials needed to make voting easier for minorities who didn’t trust the mail and feared going to the polls during the COVID scare.

The 38 drop boxes Fulton distributed throughout the county in the November election will be cut to eight in the future. The boxes had been largely unregulated and unattended—located outdoors, open 24 hours a day and available for drop-offs until the evening of Election Day, prompting complaints of ballot stuffing and double voting. But now they have to be located inside election offices or early voting locations, and can only be available during the hours when early voting is permitted. The new law also requires ballots be printed on special security paper.

Voting by mail traditionally was limited to voters who had clearly defined and well-documented reasons to be absent from the polls. But Democrats in key swing states lobbied to relax the rules in the middle of the election and amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mail-in or drop-off ballots create opportunities for voter error and fraud. In a typical election, one in 20 mailed ballots are rejected, according to recent studies. More than 534,000 mail-in ballots were rejected during the 2020 Democratic primaries alone.

Still, both Republican and Democratic officials in Georgia say they have found no credible evidence of widespread fraud in the general election. Democrats, as well as many major media outlets, have written off Favorito’s group’s allegations of fraud as “conspiracy theories.”

“This is nothing more than a circus that’s being put on by those who promote the ‘big lie’” that Trump won the election, said Robb Pitts, the Democratic chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. “Where does it end? The votes have been counted. The elections have been certified. It’s over.”

Pitts effectively controls the county elections board through his Democratic appointee Mary Carole Cooney, who runs the board. They are in charge of securing the pallets of disputed Biden mail-in ballots awaiting inspection in the county warehouse.

But Judge Amero, who federal elections records show is a Democratic donor, felt compelled to unseal the ballots for a forensics review after reading the sworn affidavits submitted by election monitors. Here are key witnesses in the case:

Suzi Voyles, a veteran Fulton poll manager who audited the Nov. 14 recount at Georgia World Congress Center, testified she examined several stacks of ballots of about 100 ballots each from a cardboard box marked “Box No. 5—Absentee—Batch Numbers 28-36.” She said these ballots “came from the ballot [drop] boxes that had been placed throughout Fulton County.”

“Most of the ballots had already been handled; they had been written on by people, and the edges were worn. They showed obvious use,” she wrote in her Nov. 17 affidavit. “However, one batch stood out. It was pristine. There was a difference in the texture of the paper,” and these mail-in ballots hadn’t been folded even though they ostensibly had been removed from envelopes.

All but three of the 110 ballots in the bundle—which had been labeled “State Farm Arena”—were marked for Biden and appeared to be “identical ballots.”

The most “alarming peculiarity” was the identically marked ovals next to Biden’s name. In every ballot, “The bubble next to ‘Joseph R. Biden’ had a slight white eclipse in the bubble,” she said, leading her to believe that the batch of 107 Biden ballots had been “copied” from a single ballot.

Voyles speculated that “additional absentee ballots had been added [for Biden] in a fraudulent manner” at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta on election night.

The void she and other auditors witnessed in the exact same spot of the oval filled in on 107 ballots for Biden “was alarming to us,” Voyles said in an RCI interview. “Every single bubble was precisely alike. I had never seen that before in 20 years” of election monitoring.

But when she and other recount workers raised concerns with county election officials, “we were told not to worry about it,” she said. “They seemed uninterested in the [integrity of the] ballots.”

After Voyles later blew the whistle in affidavits and state election hearings, she was fired as a poll manager by the Fulton County Department of Elections. “I got the boot for speaking the truth,” she told RCI.

Robin Hall, a certified Fulton County recount observer, also testified she witnessed a number of boxes of absentee ballots marked “100 percent for Biden” that appeared to be “perfectly filled out as if they were pre-printed with the presidential candidate selected.” She stated: “They did not look like a person had filled this out at home. All of them looked alike.”
Judy Aube also worked at the World Congress Center on Nov. 14 where she observed the same thing: “suspicious batches” of mail-in ballots for Biden whose markings appeared identical, as if they had been duplicated by a machine and not filled out by a voter at home.

Barbara Hartman, another election official auditor, also doubted the authenticity of absentee ballots she handled that she said were never folded, as would normally be the case for ballots returned in an envelope by mail or dropped in a box. “The absentee ballots looked as though they had just come from a fresh stack,” she swore in her affidavit. “I could not observe any creases in the ballots and [it] did not seem like they were folded and put into envelopes or mailed out.” Also, “The majority of the mail-in ballots that I reviewed contained suspicious black perfectly bubbled markings for Biden,” Hartman stated, adding that “they looked as if they were stamped.”
The veteran poll watchers found no plausible explanation for the anomalies other than possible fraud.

However, election officials have offered an explanation for why the mail-in ballots examined in the stacks did not have folds or creases. They say ballots are sometimes copied onto other paper when they are too damaged to be fed through one of the scanning machines during tabulation. The mailed ballots can be torn or crumpled by postal workers during delivery or by poll workers while opening them and removing them from envelopes, which could prevent the machines from reading them.

But Favorito suspects the hundreds, if not thousands, of allegedly duplicate absentee ballots for Biden might be connected to spikes in votes for Biden he observed late on election night in Fulton County after election officials cleared monitors from State Farm Arena and pulled cases full of ballots out from under tables and began scanning them.

“There’s always the chance it was an inside job,” said Favorito, a career IT professional who’s been a leading advocate for Georgia election integrity over the past two decades.

On Nov. 3, Fulton County elections officials informed monitors that they were shutting down the State Farm tabulation center before midnight, only to continue counting throughout the night while no one was watching.

“Election workers don’t bring ballots in after the supervisor has delayed processing until the morning, hide them under a table, and then bring them out for scanning and tabulation after the supervisor tells [monitors] they are done scanning for the evening and they go home,” Favorito said.

“Once scanning [was] completed, an election line feed showed an unprecedented vote spike that turned the election in favor of Biden,” he added. In fact, “just over a half hour after workers scanned the potentially fraudulent ballots, an election line feed showed a 100,000-plus vote spike for Biden.”

“Where did those ballots come from and why did they handle them so suspiciously?” Favorito asked.

Voyles noted that the county elections supervisor who oversaw the secret scanning of the cases full of ballots also helps run the warehouse where the suspect ballots are being stored.

Phone calls and emails to Fulton County went unanswered.

Similar Anomalies, Other Counties
Favorito pointed out that the potential for counterfeit ballots exists in other Georgia counties, not just Fulton.

In fact, two Democrat poll workers blew the whistle on similar anomalies they witnessed in neighboring DeKalb and Cobb counties, where the election process also is controlled by Democrats.

Carlos E. Silva, for one, declared in a Nov. 17 affidavit that he observed a similar “perfect black bubble” in absentee ballots for Biden during the recount he worked in DeKalb County. And while overseeing the Cobb County recount, he swore he “observed absentee ballots being reviewed with the same perfect bubble that I had seen the night before in DeKalb. All of these ballots had the same characteristics: they were all for Biden and had the same perfect bubble.”

Added Silva, a registered Democrat, “There were thousands of [mail-in] ballots that just had the perfect bubble marked for Biden and no other markings in the rest of the ballot.”

Another registered Democrat, Mayra Romera, testified that while monitoring the Cobb County recount, she noticed that “hundreds of these ballots seemed impeccable, with no folds or creases. The bubble selections were perfectly made … and all happened to be selections for Biden.”

In a recent article pooh-poohing complaints of fraud in Georgia, as well as Arizona, The New York Times portrayed Favorito as “a known conspiracy theorist” and suggested he was a 9/11 truther. As evidence, it cited a 2002 book he published “questioning the origin of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”

Asked about it, Favorito responded: “My book did not propose any theories on what happened on 9/11. I don’t mention anything about explosives” planted in the World Trade Center, as truthers have speculated. Rather, he said, he questioned Bush family business connections with the bin Laden family and other wealthy Saudis, and argued that the war on terror benefited the Bushes. He also faulted the Bush administration for “obstructing” FBI investigations into the attacks.

Favorito says he is a “constitutionalist” and neither a Republican nor a Trump supporter.

8 June, 2021

An Orchestrated Hoax

Dinesh D’Souza

It can now be said publicly: The massive public campaign to convince and even compel the world to accept the idea that SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, arose naturally from a meat market in Wuhan was a hoax.

The gory details are contained in a bombshell investigative report in the magazine Vanity Fair. This alone is surprising. Vanity Fair is a culture and trends magazine, not noted for this type of serious inquiry. Yet Katherine Eban’s in-depth article is thoroughly researched, with multiple named sources, and written in the style of a detective story.

The first question to ask is: How did we get a scientific and media consensus that SARS-CoV2 originally came from the Wuhan meat market? The answer is a group letter signed by leading virologists that appeared in the reputable science publication The Lancet. This article dismissed theories that suggested SARS-CoV2 might have come from the Wuhan lab as “conspiracy theories” that had were flatly rejected by the scientific community.

Apparently convinced they had to “listen to the science,” the Lancet statement convinced media around the world to revile public figures, especially politicians such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), for even asking for an investigation into where COVID-19 came from. Cotton was almost universally dubbed a kook for even raising the possibility of “debunked” and “discredited” theories.

Digital media promptly imposed its strict regime of restriction, banning, shadowbanning, and deplatforming of users who were deemed to share such “misinformation.” Acting on the recommendation of its so-called fact checkers, Facebook took down millions, perhaps tens of millions, of posts supposedly conveying the false notion that SARS-CoV2 might have leaked out from a lab.

But what Vanity Fair exposes is the behind-the-scenes mechanism for how that Lancet statement was produced. According to the article, it was organized by a zoologist named Peter Daszak, himself involved in U.S. government-funded research aimed at the making of deadly viruses in labs. Daszak has worked in close collaboration with Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina. Daszak’s group, EcoHealth Alliance, has worked directly with China’s Wuhan laboratories to research coronaviruses, and potentially make them more contagious and more lethal.

The ostensible purpose of such “gain-of-function” research is to study viruses, to understand them better, and to develop better cures for pandemics that might arise naturally. But of course, such research is very dangerous, because viruses could through accident or negligence be released and cause the very pandemics they are designed to prevent. Alternatively, such research can be exploited for military purposes, because lethal viruses also make for a powerful weapon of biological warfare.

When Daszak learned that a virus was causing global havoc, he moved quickly to line up a group of virologists to declare, without any persuasive evidence whatever, that COVID-19 had a natural origin. It might seem puzzling why prominent scientists would agree to sign a letter taking a position on something for which there is no valid scientific evidence. Why would they do this?

The one-word answer is: money. Figures like Daszak and institutions like EcoHealth Alliance that receive large amounts of government money typically package those funds into sub-grants that are dispersed among researchers and research institutions around the country. Consequently, there’s a large group of virologists who are, in a sense, in Daszak’s back pocket. They have a financial vested interest in doing what he wants, and moreover, they, like Daszak, have a stake in camouflaging the possibility that their type of work caused a global pandemic with millions of deaths and untold ruin in its wake.

Not only did Daszak organize the Lancet statement, but he did so, according to Vanity Fair, “with the intention of concealing his role and creating the impression of scientific immunity.” In an email addressed to Baric, Daszak said, “No need for you to sign the ‘Statement’ Ralph.” Daszak explained that neither he nor Baric should sign the declaration “so it has some distance from us and therefore doesn’t work in a counterproductive way.”

Daszak added, “We’ll then put it out in a way that doesn’t link it back to our collaboration so we maximize an independent voice.” Baric agreed, responding, “Otherwise it looks self-serving and we lose impact.” In the end, Baric didn’t sign. Daszak did. And at least six of the others who signed the statement either worked at, or had received funding from, EcoHealth Alliance, according to Vanity Fair.

What we have here is a group of scientists actively involved in cooking up potentially deadly viruses, and possibly involved in a dangerous collaboration with the Wuhan lab that may have helped cause the death of millions, working in concert to create a false public impression of scientific consensus, when they knew perfectly well that there was no such consensus.

Not only did the media and digital media run with it, but, in addition, the Biden administration used the pretext of scientific consensus—the bogus consensus the Lancet helped create—to shut down an ongoing State Department investigation, begun late in the Trump era and spearheaded by Mike Pompeo, into the true origins of COVID-19. This shutdown was actively promoted by U.S. government agencies and bureaucrats who had no intention of revealing their own role in sponsoring and subsidizing highly dangerous “gain-of-function” research.

The consequences of the COVID-19 deception, jointly promoted by scientists, journalists, digital moguls, and bureaucrats in the U.S. government, all eager to hide their possible role in a 21st century pandemic, are far-reaching. The big lie that COVID-19 arose naturally from a meat-market has stymied a true inquiry into what happened. Now we might never know. Not knowing means that preventing a future epidemic becomes that much more difficult.


‘Extortionists will never see this money’: US seizes ransom paid to Colonial Pipeline hackers

Washington: The US Justice Department has recovered the majority of a multimillion-dollar ransom payment to hackers after a cyberattack that caused the operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline to halt its operations last month.

The operation to recover the cryptocurrency from the Russia-based hacker group is the first undertaken by a specialised ransomware task force created by the Biden administration Justice Department.

It reflects what US officials say is an increasingly aggressive approach to deal with a ransomware threat that in the last month has targeted critical industries around the world.

“By going after an entire ecosystem that fuels ransomware and digital currency, we will continue to use all of our tools and all of our resources to increase the costs and the consequences of ransomware attacks and other cyber-enabled attacks,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said on Monday (Tuesday AEST) at a news conference announcing the operation.

Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline, which supplies roughly half the fuel consumed on the East Coast, temporarily shut down its operations on May 7 after a gang of criminal hackers known as DarkSide broke into its computer system.

Colonial officials have said they took their pipeline system offline before the attack could spread to its operating system, and decided to pay a roughly US$4.4 million ($5.6 million) ransom in hopes of bringing itself back online as soon as it could.

The 63.7 bitcoin ransom — a favoured currency of hackers because of the perception that it is more difficult to trace — is currently valued at $US2.3 million.

US law enforcement tracked multiple transfers of bitcoin that has been moved to a specific digital address, for which the FBI had the “private key,” which has a role similar to a password needed, to access assets accessible from the specific bitcoin address.

Once officials identified the account, called a “wallet,” that DarkSide had use to collect the payment, it sought permission from a judge in the Northern District of California to seize the funds from the wallet, the New York Times reported.

Ransomware to be treated more like terrorism, US official says

The filing said the “cryptocurrency address” was located in the Northern District of California. “Following the money remains one of the most basic, yet powerful tools we have,” said Monaco.

“Ransom payments are the fuel that propels the digital extortion engine, and today’s announcement demonstrates that the United States will use all available tools to make these attacks more costly and less profitable for criminal enterprises.”

“We will continue to target the entire ransomware ecosystem to disrupt and deter these attacks,” she said.

Stephanie Hinds, the acting US attorney for the Northern District of California, where the seizure warrant was filed, said “the extortionists will never see this money.”

The FBI generally discourages the payment of ransom, fearing it could encourage additional hacks. Monaco said the takeaway for the private sector is that if companies come quickly to law enforcement, officials may be able to conduct similar seizures in the future.




7 June, 2021

US promises vaccines for Taiwan amid China row

Taipei: The US will give Taiwan 750,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, part of President Joe Biden’s move to share tens of millions of jabs globally, three American senators said on Sunday, after the self-ruled island complained that China is hindering its efforts to secure vaccines as it battles an outbreak.

Democratic senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who made a three-hour stop in Taiwan with fellow Democrat Christopher Coons of Delaware and Republican Dan Sullivan of Alaska, said their visit underscores bipartisan US support for the democratic island that Beijing claims as its own renegade territory. Taiwan faces a severe vaccine shortage and has geopolitical significance as a flashpoint in US-China relations.

In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, President Tsai Ing-wen, second right, and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, right, listen as Republican senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska at left speaks next to Democratic senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois in Taipei, Taiwan, on Sunday.
In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, President Tsai Ing-wen, second right, and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, right, listen as Republican senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska at left speaks next to Democratic senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois in Taipei, Taiwan, on Sunday.CREDIT:AP

“I’m here to tell you that the United States will not let you stand alone,” Duckworth said at the airport after landing on a US military transport plane. “We will be by your side to make sure the people of Taiwan have what they need to get to the other side of the pandemic and beyond.”

Taiwan was included on a long list of places announced last week that would receive 25 million doses from the United States in what the Biden administration says is the first tranche of at least 80 million doses to be distributed globally. Most of the first tranche, including Taiwan’s, will be sent through COVAX, a UN-backed program to distribute vaccines to low and middle-income countries.

The island of 24 million people, which lies 160 kilometres off China’s east coast, is desperate for vaccines after a sudden outbreak that started in late April caught authorities by surprise. Japan shipped 1.2 million doses to Taiwan on Friday, opting to skip the COVAX process in the interest of speed. It was unclear when the 750,000 American doses would arrive.

Taiwan reported 343 new domestic COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including eight added to totals for recent days as authorities readjust infection numbers following delays in reporting positive tests.

The total was down from the 511 domestic infections reported on Saturday.

Taiwan has accused China of blocking its efforts to reach a deal with BioNTech to import the vaccine co-developed by the German company and Pfizer. Beijing has said it is willing to supply vaccines to Taiwan, including BioNTech, through Chinese partner Fosun, and that the island’s government is to blame for putting politics above the lives of its people. Taiwanese law bans the import of Chinese-made medicines.

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, welcoming the senators at the airport, said that Taiwan is fortunate to have like-minded countries showing support, which he said is about sustaining freedom and democracy in the face of autocracy.

“Taiwan is facing unique challenges in combating the virus,” he said. “While we are doing our best to import vaccines, we must overcome obstacles to ensure that these life-saving medicine are delivered free from troubles of Beijing.”

He said China is trying to block Taiwan’s international assistance and prevent it from participating in the World Health Organisation. “We are no strangers to that kind of obstructionism,” he said.

Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949, and most Taiwanese favour maintaining the current state of de facto independence while engaging in robust economic exchanges with the mainland.

China’s ruling Communist Party says Taiwan must come under its control, and has in recent months increased pressure on the island, including flying warplanes near Taiwan. The increasing activity and vast improvements in China’s military capabilities have raised concern in the US, which is bound by its own laws to ensure Taiwan is capable of defending itself and to regard all threats to the island’s security as matters of “grave concern.”

Taiwan, which had weathered the pandemic virtually unscathed until the recent outbreak, is now facing its most serious flare-up with more than 10,000 new cases since late April.

President Tsai Ing-wen, meeting with the senators, expressed gratitude to the Biden administration for including Taiwan in the first group to receive vaccines and said the doses will arrive at a critical time for the island.


No, Western Culture Is Not About “White Supremacy”

Chief among the Big Lies currently being promulgated by the American Left is that Western culture is inherently racist, a manifestation of White Supremacy. This is not only nonsense but pernicious, dangerous nonsense.

Before we go on, perhaps we should define “Western culture.” It is essentially the marriage of Judeo-Christian morality with classical (that is, Greek and Roman) intellectualism. It privileges reason over emotion and the individual over the state. Its central tenet is that, through their own efforts, a person can rise above their circumstances.

Western culture is not now nor has it ever been perfect. But it has given us a wealth of great ideas: that all men (and women) are created equal, that we are endowed by our Creator with natural rights, that we can learn much (if not everything) about our world through careful observation and experimentation, and that we must love our neighbor as ourselves.

It has produced the technological advances that have made modern life so relatively carefree and comfortable--such that, in the West, our “poor” now live better (and longer) than the royalty of years past.

Western culture has also given us much beauty, in the form of art, music literature, and architecture, as well as an appreciation for the even greater beauties of nature. For those reasons, Western culture represents the best that humanity has yet produced.

Still, we are told that Western culture is racist because Western nations once practiced slavery. Yes, they did. But what that indictment ignores is that virtually every culture in the history of the world practiced slavery, including in Africa and North America long before Europeans showed up. For most of recorded human history, slavery was the status quo. One group of people conquered another, and those that weren’t killed were captured and enslaved.

It was Western culture, in Europe and North America, that eventually put an end to that abominable practice (although it still exists in some parts of the world). And the reason the West was motivated to do so was that slavery is ultimately incompatible with our core belief in the worth of the individual. It took us a few hundred years to get to that point, true, and many thousands perished in the effort. But we did finally get there—precisely because of our cultural heritage, not in spite of it.

Furthermore, contrary to the popular narrative, Western culture has never been tied exclusively to “whiteness.” Its roots can be traced back to North Africa and the great library at Alexandria, as well as to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It has also absorbed and incorporated, over the centuries, the best that other cultures have to offer, as is readily apparent in today’s music, literature, and fashion.

That is not, as some would have it, “cultural appropriation.” Rather, it is a tribute to those other cultures and the good they bring. It also reflects the open-mindedness and liberalism (in the best sense of the word) of the Western ethos, which naturally seeks truth and beauty wherever they can be found.

Finally, Western culture in its current incarnation is expressly not racist because it is not limited to any particular race. It’s not just for White people or those whose ancestors were European. In fact, it is not exclusive at all. Far from it. All are invited to participate. And many do, all around the world, flocking if they can to Western Europe, the United States, and Canada specifically because they wish to be part of our culture and enjoy the individual freedoms and opportunities it presents.

And when they cannot actually come here, they seek as much as possible to incorporate elements of our culture into theirs. Indeed, the power of Western culture to promote freedom and prosperity is such that totalitarian, collectivist regimes, like the one in Communist China, must squelch or remove by force all vestiges of Western-style democracy with its emphasis on the individual. Despots know, if they allow their subjects (who are, in fact, little more than slaves to the state) too many of the freedoms we Westerners enjoy every day, their hold on power will become increasingly tenuous. That is exactly what is going on in Hong Kong today.

Unfortunately, it is also what is going on in the United States and other Western nations, although to a lesser extent (for now). The would-be despots of the Left understand that, if they wish to control us—as they clearly do; witness COVID—they must wean us from such “antiquated” notions as individual liberty and personal responsibility.

Make no mistake: They wish to make us all slaves, or at least serfs, as F. A. Hayek predicted many years ago. And when I say “us,” I mean all of us—Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, you name it. That, to the Left, is the end game, what “equity” really means: We all become serfs together.

But their opening gambit is to destroy our faith in Western culture as a force for good and convince us that, if we enjoy the peace and prosperity Western culture has produced, we must be racist. We cannot allow ourselves to fall for it—nor can we allow our children and grandchildren to do so. For that will indeed mark the end of what Ronald Reagan rightly called “the last best hope of man on Earth.”




2 June, 2021

With Trump Out of White House, Media Suddenly Finds ‘Lab Leak Theory’ Plausible

Former President Donald Trump is known for a lot of things, but one of his special powers is his ability to make the entire corporate media act in concert to bring embarrassment upon themselves.

For nearly a year, almost every major news outlet declared that it was a debunked, fringe conspiracy theory to even discuss the idea that the coronavirus pandemic began as a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

It so happened that Trump was the most visible person pressing the case of the “lab leak theory,” which meant that the media felt compelled to push back extra hard. Now, a year later, the very same news organizations are allowing that the lab leak hypothesis is indeed plausible.

So, what changed?

Practically and factually, the only real difference today, versus a year ago, is that Trump is no longer in the White House, so journalists are safe to entertain competing ideas again.

This is as stark a reversal of reporting on a story of worldwide interest as there has been in decades. And it is clearly attributable to the innate need of many in the media to oppose everything Trump did or said, their practice of following each other’s narratives, and their unwillingness to be the one who breaks away from the pack.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza, who once infamously tweeted that journalists don’t choose sides, gave away the game with a piece titled “Anthony Fauci Just Crushed Donald Trump’s Theory on the Origins of the Coronavirus.”

In that May 5, 2020, piece, Cillizza wrote that “Fauci’s view on the origins of the disease matters a whole lot more than Trump’s opinion about where it came from.” And he quoted Fauci from a National Geographic interview in which Fauci threw cold water on the lab leak theory and endorsed the belief that the virus evolved in nature and then jumped to humans.

Case closed, right? The rest of the media certainly thought so.

In an earlier March 2020 story, which was edited more than a year later to make it less strident, Vox wrote that the lab leak theory was “a dangerous conspiracy theory” that “won’t die.” Why exactly it was dangerous to discuss how the pandemic began remains unclear.

Vanity Fair chipped in with an item that included the headline “The Discussion is Basically Over,” regarding the virus origin. This venerable publication ascribed advancement of the lab leak theory to Trump’s “cold war” with China and his desire to implicate the communist government.

None other than The New York Times, in February 2020, blistered Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., for daring to “ask the question to see what the evidence says.” The Times accused Cotton of repeating a “fringe theory” put forward by “those who see China as a threat.” That would, presumably, include Trump.

On that same day, The Washington Post piled on Cotton for “repeating a coronavirus conspiracy theory,” even though he said, truthfully, that “we don’t know where it originated.” The Post suggested it was unnecessary to ask China about the virus’ origin because the lab leak hypothesis had been “repeatedly debunked by experts.”

So, a year later, let’s check in with those “experts” and our friends in the media.

Earlier this month, Fauci was asked if he still believed the virus developed naturally.

“I am not convinced about that,” he said. “I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China.”

Also this month, The New York Times related the position of a group of scientists calling for “further inquiry” into the origin of the virus, since the lab leak theory is one of the explanations that is still “viable.” Again, this is the same newspaper that called such talk by a U.S. senator a “fringe theory” a little more than a year ago.

At CNN, they are now acknowledging that a lab leak is a “possibility” and the theory “reasonable,” while noting a new Wall Street Journal report that several researchers in Wuhan fell ill mysteriously in November 2019. CNN is also now suddenly disturbed that the communist Chinese are curiously uncooperative with investigative efforts.

What about Cillizza, who previously celebrated that Fauci had “crushed” the lab leak theory? Well, now he says, “The origins of the virus remain not fully known.”

And finally, just this week, The Washington Post weighed in with a timeline titled “How the Wuhan Lab-Leak Theory Suddenly Became Credible.” But naturally, it was all Trump’s fault again because his “administration’s messaging was often accompanied by anti-Chinese rhetoric that made it easier for skeptics to ignore its claims.”

The Wall Street Journal story about the sick Wuhan researchers came after most of the radical shift in media perspective had occurred. So what had happened earlier to change everyone’s thinking?

According to the media’s favorite statistician, Nate Silver, not a whole lot. “[T]he evidence seems murky and inscrutable either way and I’m not sure it has *changed* that much,” he tweeted.

So it doesn’t take much scrutiny to realize that these media figures are admitting their biases in plain view. It didn’t matter what was being said last year as much as who was saying it.

If Trump or another Republican promoted the lab leak theory, it had to be wrong. But now that their villain is no longer in the White House, the media are free to consider all possibilities.

And—what do you know? —today all their stories are pretty much identical to each other again, even if their new pack narrative directly contradicts their groupthink of a year ago.


1 June, 2021

Antibody from common cold can neutralise COVID-19 and could lead to vaccine that protects against all coronaviruses, new study suggests

An antibody that develops after people have the common cold can neutralize the virus that causes COVID-19, a new study suggests.

Both the common cold and SARS-CoV-2 fall under a family known as coronaviruses, which cause upper-respiratory tract illnesses.

However, it was believed that antibodies that react to ordinary coronaviruses didn't work against the virus that leads to COVID.

But in blood samples of COVID survivors, researchers found high levels of immune cells generated during the common cold that 'remember' diseases and are called back into action if the threat returns.

The team, from the Scripps Research Institute, in La Jolla, California, says the findings could help scientists develop a vaccine or antibody treatment that protects against all coronaviruses.

The team found the antibody is produced by a type of immune system cell known as a memory B cell. Memory B cells lock onto the surface of invading pathogens and mark them for destruction by other immune cells.

They also can circulate in the bloodstream for years - even decades - and the immune system can call up on them if there is another infection.

For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, the team looked at blood samples from participants pre-pandemic and during the pandemic.

'By examining blood samples collected before the pandemic and comparing those with samples from people who had been sick with COVID-19, we were able to pinpoint antibody types that cross reacted with benign coronaviruses as well as SARS-CoV-2,' senior author Dr Raiees Andrabi, an investigator at Scripps' Department of Immunology and Microbiology, told News Medical.

Results showed that levels of memory B cell antibodies were higher in blood samples of people who had been infected with COVID-19 than those who never had been.

The team says this suggests that exposure to a non-serious coronavirus can spur the production of antibodies when infected with a more serious coronavirus.

Tests showed that the antibody also neutralized SARS-CoV-1, the coronavirus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and a cousin of COVID-19.

'We were able to determine that this type of cross-reactive antibody is likely produced by a memory B cell that's initially exposed to a coronavirus that causes the common cold, and is then recalled during a COVID-19 infection,' Andrabi told News Medical.

Next, researchers examined how the antibody was able to neutralize several different types of coronaviruses.

They found that the antibody binds to the base of the spike protein (S protein) on coronaviruses, which they use to enter and infect cells.

Co-author Dr Dennis Burton, Chair of Scripps' Department of Immunology and Microbiology, said the discovery is important for understanding how to protect against future coronaviruses.

'Another deadly coronavirus will likely emerge again in the future--and when it does, we want to be better prepared,' Burton told News Medical.

'Our identification of a cross-reactive antibody against SARS-CoV-2 and the more common coronaviruses is a promising development on the way to a broad-acting vaccine or therapy.'

For the notes appearing at the side of the original blog see HERE

Pictures put up on a blog sometimes do not last long. They stay up only as long as the original host keeps them up. I therefore keep archives of all the pictures that I use. The recent archives are online and are in two parts:

Archive of side pictures HERE

Most pictures that I use in the body of the blog should stay up throughout the year. But how long they stay up after that is uncertain. At the end of every year therefore I intend to put up a collection of all pictures used on the blog in that year. That should enable missing pictures to be replaced. The archive of last year's pictures on this blog is therefore now up. Note that the filename of the picture is clickable and reflects the date on which the picture was posted. See here

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