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

May 31, 2021

Americans Remain Patriotic

Despite every effort of the “woke” left and its allies in the left-wing news media, most Americans remain proud of our country and value patriotism.

The greatest dangers facing the Democrats in 2022 and 2024 are their radical wing’s constant outbursts of public anti-Americanism and their woke efforts to coerce Americans into accepting ideas they don’t believe—and, in some cases, deeply repudiate.

Despite everything you see in the woke-radical left-dominated media, Americans remain remarkably traditional in how they see themselves and how they value patriotism.

McLaughlin & Associates did a survey for a Gingrich 360 project we are working on, and the results were far more definite than the left-wing media would lead you to expect.

Consider the following survey results.

The left constantly uses divisive language and tries to force Americans to assume tribal identities along racial or ethnic lines rather than favor a shared national identity. Regardless, 87 percent of Americans see themselves primarily as Americans, while only 8 percent see themselves primarily as persons of color. Blacks see themselves as Americans by a 66 percent to 28 percent margin. Hispanics are 76 percent to 17 percent pro-American identity. Specifically, among immigrant households, 85 percent consider themselves American and only 11 percent consider themselves persons of color.

So, the next time you hear some left-wing figure promoting racial or tribal identity over a united American identity, remember they are talking to one-tenth of the country and are rejected by 85 percent of the country.

While the left is attacking America, our history, and our institutions, more than three in four Americans (78 percent) agree that the United States is the greatest country on earth. Only 19 percent disagree. Interestingly, immigrant households are 79 percent to 18 percent in agreement that the United States being the greatest nation on earth.

While the left focuses on anti-American distortions of history and diatribes against the United States, three out of four Americans (75 percent) also agree that America is the freest and most democratic country on the planet. This is true for black Americans (64 percent), Hispanic Americans (72), and immigrant households (77 percent).

After all the ranting about systemic racism, critical race theory, and other efforts to get people to think in terms of tribal divisiveness, the American ideal remains unifying and oriented toward individuals rather than groups.

In fact, by 91 percent to 5 percent, Americans agree with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that the content of a person’s character is more important than the color of his or her skin.

This remarkably consistent support of the American people for a positive view of America is a warning to the left: If you persist in being the racist, negative, divisive party that is trying to use the government and societal elitism to force tribal identities upon the American people, you will be rejected by massive majorities.

Americans do not accept your warped and destructive repudiation of America.


Vietnam Finds Dangerous New Virus Variant

Vietnam has discovered a new coronavirus variant that's a hybrid of strains first found in India and the U.K., the Vietnamese health minister said Saturday.

Nguyen Thanh Long said scientists examined the genetic makeup of the virus that had infected some recent patients and found the new version of the virus. He said lab tests suggested it might spread more easily than other versions of the virus.

Viruses often develop small genetic changes as they reproduce, and new variants of the coronavirus have been seen almost since it was first detected in China in late 2019. The World Health Organization has listed four global "variants of concern" – the two first found in the U.K. and India, plus ones identified in South Africa and Brazil.

Long said the new variant could be responsible for a recent surge in Vietnam. Infection has spread to 30 of the country's 63 municipalities and provinces.

Vietnam was initially a standout success in battling the virus. In early May, it had recorded just more than 3,100 confirmed cases and 35 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

But in the last few weeks, Vietnam has confirmed more than 3,500 new cases and 12 deaths, increasing the country's total death toll to 47.

Most of the new transmissions were found in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang, two provinces dense with industrial zones where hundreds of thousands of people work for major companies, including Samsung, Canon and Luxshare, a partner in assembling Apple products. Despite strict health regulations, a company in Bac Giang discovered that one-fifth of its 4,800 workers had tested positive for the virus.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the country's largest metropolis and home to 9 million, at least 85 people have tested positive as part of a cluster at a Protestant church, the Health Ministry said. Worshippers sang and chanted while sitting close together without wearing proper masks or taking other precautions.

Vietnam has since ordered a nationwide ban on all religious events. In major cities, authorities have banned large gatherings and have closed public parks and nonessential businesses, including in-person restaurants, bars, clubs and spas.

Vietnam so far has vaccinated 1 million people with AstraZeneca shots. Last week, it sealed a deal with Pfizer for 30 million doses, which are scheduled to be delivered in the third and fourth quarters of this year. It is also in talks with Moderna that would give it enough shots to fully vaccinate 80% of its 96 million people.


May 30, 2021

'This is why Big Tech must never be the arbiter of truth': Republicans slam 'arrogant' Facebook for thinking it can 'decide where COVID comes from' - as it FINALLY scraps ban on 'man-made virus' posts

Republicans in Congress pounced on Facebook after the tech giant suddenly reversed its its policy of removing posts calling the COVID-19 'man-made' now that President Joe Biden has ordered the intelligence community to review the origins of the coronavirus.   

'The arrogance of @Facebook to decide where and how precisely covid originated, and who should be able to talk about it, is stunning. But sadly typical,' fumed Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Twitter.

'The more we learn, the clearer it is that Communist China played a role in killing millions of people,' said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

'This is why Big Tech must never be the arbiter of truth,' she said in a statement to

The blasts come as the 'lab leak' proposition has gone from a notion derided as a conspiracy theory to something viable enough that senior government officials are demanding be at least examined.

Ted Cruz tweeted: 'This is why the Big Tech overlords shouldn't be involved in fact checking'.  

Also slamming the company was Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.). 'This was another sorry attempt by Facebook to shut down discussions that didn’t fit its political narrative. Social media platforms should encourage open debate instead of blocking content that offends their political views,' he said. 

The tech giant was already facing political pressure in Congress over its efforts to impose guardrails on false election claims at election time and its privacy practices, as well as its role as a conduit for potential election interference and its overall market power. 

'In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured from our apps,' the company said in a statement Wednesday.

That was a stark turnaround from February, when it came out with a statement on its policy for 'removing more false claims about Covid-19 and vaccines.'

'Following consultations with leading health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), we are expanding the list of false claims we will remove to include additional debunked claims about the coronavirus and vaccines,' it said then.

Since that time, many top scientists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said the potential of a lab leak should at least be investigated.

Fauci said at a hearing this week if he still believed the virus was a 'natural occurrence.' 'I still believe that the most likely scenario was that this was a natural occurrence, but no one knows that 100 per cent for sure,' Fauci responded. 

'And since there's a lot of concern, a lot of speculation, and since no one absolutely knows that, I believe we do need the kind of investigation where there's open transparency and all the information that's available to be made available to scrutinize.' 

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) deemed the Biden administration's intel investigation 'too little, too late.' 

'Twitter users have never been stopped from sharing stories about the lab theory. Last September, Chinese virologist Dr. Li Meng Yan was suspended. She claimed it was because she'd promoted the theory. Twitter reactivated her account a month later. While neither Twitter nor YouTube have banned people from discussing the theory, they do both have policies on blocking COVID content that they deem to be 'misleading'. 

Twitter on Thursday told that it wasn't changing its policies on the subject, but a spokesman refused to confirm which stories Twitter deems to be false. YouTube, a which is owned by Google, has said nothing on the subject.'

Facebook was accused of 'showing its true and ugly colors' and smothering free speech to cosy up to China as it scrapped its ban on posts debating whether Covid-19 could be man-made - but only after Joe Biden ordered the CIA to probe if the virus came from a Wuhan lab.

Mark Zuckerberg's global policy chief Nick Clegg, the former British Member of Parliament and Liberal Democrat leader, has also been branded 'feeble' for allowing months of censorship on the social network.

Critics branded Facebook's behavior had been 'contemptible' and begged them to respect free speech rather than 'ingratiating' themselves with states such as China, which has banned the website but remains a $5billion-a-year ad market. 

The criticism spanned to Britain as well. British Conservative Member of Parliament Peter Bone told MailOnline: 'It does seem to me that Facebook is not an open platform for people to put their views on. It is an open platform for people to put their views on as long as they agree with Facebook.

'Their decisions are based on politics not on principle... if it is fashionable with the liberal elite it can go down. If it is liberal elite say it it must be OK, if it's President Trump that says it it must be awful.

'The thing that Trump was saying is exactly the same as Biden is saying, but Trump was according to Facebook not allowed to say that. Whereas everyone loves Biden from Facebook therefore it must be right. It is one rule for one political view and another for another.'

And the liberal media in the US, who lampooned Donald Trump when he said a year ago said he had 'a high degree of confidence' that the virus escaped from a lab, have finally conceded that he may have been right - after a year ridiculing the suggestion. 

Facebook ruled in February it would 'remove' any posts that claimed that coronavirus was 'man-made' or that the virus was 'created by an individual, government or country' - branding it 'misinformation' and a 'debunked claim' that required 'aggressive action' from moderators.

But today the tech giant reversed its ban on its users discussing the theory, just hours after President Biden ordered his intelligence agencies to launch a probe into whether it was man-made after all - and report back in 90 days.  

The tech firm has been accused of bowing to Beijing, liberal media outlets as well as left-wing politicians and commentators, who reacted furiously when then president Donald Trump laid blame for the fast-spreading virus on Beijing, calling it the 'China virus' or 'Kung Flu' and suggesting there was evidence it was borne from a laboratory in Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic in early 2020.  

'Social distancing does not help prevent the spread of Covid-19' 

The fundamental principle of social distancing – staying away from other people – is clearly a good way to stop the virus spreading. But scientists and authorities have disagreed on suitable distances.

In the UK the rule is 2 metres (6'6') or 'one metre plus' if someone is wearing a mask or is outdoors or behind a screen. Experts said almost no virus particles could make it through 2m of moving air to infect someone.

But the World Health Organization is less strict and its official guidance on social distancing is to keep people 1m (3'3') apart. Some countries have followed this while others have been more cautious, like Britain.

A study by MIT in Boston found that social distancing indoors could give people a false sense of security and that it wasn't enough on its own to stop the spread of Covid, which is airborne. 

China has reacted furiously to Biden's call for a new investigation into the virus's origins, accusing him of 'politicising' the issue and suggesting that US biolabs should be investigated instead.

Lijian Zhao, foreign ministry spokesman who has been Beijing's point-man in trying to pin blame for the pandemic outside the country's borders, accused the US of trying to shift blame away from its own high Covid case and death counts - and suggested security services may be involved in a cover-up.

Meanwhile Hu Xijin, editor of the state mouthpiece Global Times newspaper, accused Biden of trying to discredit a WHO investigation which concluded that a lab leak is 'unlikely' - though critics have previously blasted that report as a China-centric whitewash.

China's American embassy also hit out, accusing Biden and his security services of being 'fixated on political manipulation and (the) blame game' in a statement on its website.

Earlier this week, Project Veritas claimed that it obtained leaked documents from whistleblowers inside the company which prove that the social network is testing an algorithm that would rate users' comments according to a 'vaccine hesitancy score.'

Those comments which discourage others from taking the vaccine would be demoted, according to the documents obtained by investigators.

After months of minimizing that possibility as a fringe theory, the Biden administration is joining worldwide pressure for China to be more open about the outbreak, aiming to head off GOP complaints the president has not been tough enough as well as to use the opportunity to press China on alleged obstruction.

In another sign of shifting attitudes, the Senate approved two Wuhan lab-related amendments without opposition, attaching them to a largely unrelated bill to increase US investments in innovation.

One of the amendments, from Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, would block US funding of Chinese 'gain of function' research on enhancing the severity or transmissibility of a virus.

Paul has been critical of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious-disease expert, and aggressively questioned him at a recent Senate hearing over the work in China.

The other amendment was from GOP Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and it would prevent any funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Both were approved without roll call votes as part of the broader bill that is still under debate in the Senate.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the White House supports a new World Health Organization investigation in China, but she added that an effective probe 'would require China finally stepping up and allowing access needed to determine the origins.'

Administration officials continue to harbor strong doubts about the lab leak theory.

Rather, they view China's refusal to cooperate in the investigation — particularly on something of such magnitude — as emblematic of other irresponsible actions on the world stage.

Privately, administration officials say the end result, if ever known, won't change anything, but note China's stonewalling is now on display for the world to see.

'Because nobody has identified a virus that's 100 per cent identical to SARS-CoV-2 in any animal, there is still room for researchers to ask about other possibilities.'

Andy Slavitt, Biden's senior adviser for the coronavirus, said Tuesday that the world needs to 'get to the bottom ... whatever the answer may be.'

'We need a completely transparent process from China; we need the WHO to assist in that matter,' Slavitt said. 'We don't feel like we have that now.'

27 May, 2021

A reprieve

The core biopsy I had last week showed that my cancers are of a type that is susceptible to immunotherapy. My oncologist has recommended a drug which should cure me -- no certainty of course.  The cure will be a rather long road requiring at least 4 months so no early results can be expected.  There is however now hope that I could be back to my old form until something else gets me -- JR


Has the Covid vaccine blood clot puzzle been solved? Rare side effect from Johnson & Johnson and AztraZeneca shots is caused by cold virus used to deliver the jab - and can be fixed, scientists claim

German scientists claim they have discovered why some coronavirus vaccines cause blood clots - and how to fix it.

Two vaccines, one from Johnson & Johnson and the other from AstraZeneca-University of Oxford have been linked to rare, but serious, blood clots, particularly among women under age 50.

In the U.S., J&J's shot was paused for 11 days by federal health regulators while, in Europe, some countries have stopped using AztraZeneca's jab completely and others, like the UK, recommend that younger women get a different vaccine.

But in a new pre-print paper published on Wednesday, researchers at Goethe-University of Frankfurt and Ulm University, in Helmholtz, say the problem lies in the adenovirus vector - a common cold virus used so the vaccine can enter the body.

What's more, they say the vaccines can be adapted to prevent the rare side effect from occurring, reported the Financial Times.

Dr Rolf Marschalek, a professor at Goethe University, told the Financial Times the reason the vaccines have been causing these problems is because they are adenovirus vector vaccines.  

Both J&J's and AstraZeneca's vaccine combine genetic material from the new virus with the genes of the adenovirus - which causes the common cold - to induce an immune response.

The cold virus is altered so it cannot make you sick and a little section of the COVID-19 vaccine genetic material, which codes for the spike protein, is inserted.

The spike protein is what the virus uses to enter and infect our cells. The vaccine is injected and the body recognizes the protein and makes antibodies against it.

That way, if you become ill with the real virus, your body recognizes it and knows how to fight it off. 

Marschalek says the vaccine is sent into nucleus of our cells, where the genetic material is found, instead of into the cytosol fluid, liquid found inside cell where the virus makes it proteins.  

Marschalek told the Financial Times that after entering the nucleus, parts of the spike protein break off and create mutated versions of themselves, which then enter the body and trigger the rare blood clots.

In particular, the vaccines were causing a condition known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).

CVST is a rare type of blood clot that blocks the brain's sinus channels of draining blood, which can cause hemorrhages.

It occurs in about five per million people in the general population.

In most cases, CVST occurred in combination with low levels of blood platelets, also known as thrombocytopenia. 

As of Wednesday, the J&J vaccine has been linked to 28 cases in the U.S. out of more than 10.4 million shots.

Meanwhile, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been linked to 242 clotting cases and 49 deaths in the UK out of nine million shots and more than 100 in continental Europe out of 16 million.

Comparatively, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines use newer messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.

By comparison, mRNA vaccines use part of the pathogen's genetic code and give instructions for our cells to make part of the spike protein so the body can recognize the virus and attack if we become infected.

Marschalek told the Financial Times that with mRNA vaccines, the genetic material of the spike protein is sent directly to the cell fluid and does not enter the nucleus. 

'When these...virus genes are in the nucleus they can create some problems,' Marschalek told the Financial Times.

He says there is a fix, however, and says the vaccine can be genetically modified so the spike protein doesn't split apart when it enters our cells.

He says he has not spoken to AstraZeneca yet, but that J&J has contacted his lab and that he is working them to improve their shot.  

'[J&J] is trying to optimize its vaccine now,' Marschalek told the newspaper. 

'With the data we have in our hands we can tell the companies how to mutate these sequences, coding for the spike protein in a way that prevents unintended splice reactions.'

26 May, 2021 

Belarus is a Greenie dream

<i>Belarus is in the news lately so I thought I might say a little about it</i>

I was talking recently to a lady of Belarusian heritage who still speaks Russian and who still has close family in Belarus.  She reports that people who know Belarus are often very complimentary about it.  It seems well-organized and orderly with very little crime.  It is not a rich country (average income of $8,000 pa) by Western standards but most people eat well and products from all over Europe are to be found in the shops.  Some people who know the place say that Belarus is the best country in the world to live in.

Something that Greenies might like is that the roads are good but traffic jams are few. Belarus has an extremely good and comprehensive public transport system. So people get more exercise by walking and can do so without wading through vehicular pollution. It's a Greenie dream in action. Greenies would also like that over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested.

Climate skeptics would like that most of its electricity is thermal generated and that they have a nuclear power station under construction.

* The capital city, Minsk, has a population of about 2 million. It was completely destroyed during the Second World War, but, following the example of Warsaw, it was rebuilt in the same place and now is an attractive city

* Minsk is a very green and clean city. In addition to numerous parks, here is the third largest botanical garden in the world.

* Minsk is a very safe city. In the list of 378 most dangerous cities from Numbeo, Minsk was on the 351th place in terms of danger and became the safest city among the former Soviet Union countries. Belarus itself is one of the safest countries in the world according to statistics.

* It is also surprising for big cities that it's relatively quiet at night, relatively few nightclubs and bars.

* Public transport is always on time. Surprisingly, but it's true: the schedule is maintained with a possible deviation of a couple of minutes.  The American Green/Left wants to get people out of their cars and onto public transport.  Belarus shows it can be done.

So you see what people mean when they find a lot to like about Belarus. 


DeSantis Signs Bill to Stop Big Tech Censorship of Floridians

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law a bill—the first of its kind in the United States—allowing Floridians to sue Big Tech platforms.

A number of free speech advocates, including Cuban and Venezuelan exiles, state senators, and deplatformed influencers, stood behind DeSantis as he made the announcement at Florida International University on May 24.

Courts may award up to $100,000 in damages to an individual if a social media platform censors or shadowbans a user’s content, deplatforms a user, or if it hasn’t applied censorship or deplatforming standards in a consistent manner, according to the text of the bill.

“We will be the first state to hold Big Tech accountable,” DeSantis said at a press conference. “They are exerting a power that really has no precedent in American history.”

Big tech companies that violate the bill, SB 7072 Social Media Platforms, can be sued by Floridians for monetary damages. The state’s attorney general can bring action against companies that violate this law under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

As an example, the governor mentioned that people were deplatformed for discussing the Wuhan lab leak theory regarding the origins of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, whereas now that theory has become a topic of mainstream discussion.

“2021 looks more like the fictitious 1984,” the governor said.

The law also blocks Big Tech from deplatforming Floridian political candidates. The Florida Election Commission will impose fines of $250,000 per day on any social media company that deplatforms any candidates for statewide office. The fine is $25,000 per day when deplatforming candidates for other offices.

While Floridians have the right to block anyone, it’s not the role of Big Tech to censor, said DeSantis.

“SB 7072 is a bold first step to reining in Big Tech tyranny by defending the rights of all Floridians in the digital space,” DeSantis said. “Over the years, these platforms have changed from neutral platforms that provide Americans with the freedom to speak to enforcers of preferred narratives.

“Florida is the first state to hold Big Tech accountable by empowering each and every Floridian silenced by arbitrary corporate censorship to fight back. This is a groundbreaking bill that protects Floridians from Silicon Valley’s power grab.”

If social media platforms are found to have violated antitrust law, they’ll be restricted from contracting with any public entity. That “antitrust violator” blacklist imposes real consequences for Big Tech oligopolies’ bottom line. According to DeSantis, the law will also require social media companies to be transparent about their content moderation practices and give users proper notice of changes to those policies.

According to Florida state, the new law will likely be able to withstand legal challenges, as it contains language that explains how Big Tech companies are different from other corporations, and that Section 230 requires companies to act in good faith—something the governor accuses Big Tech of not always following.

Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez said at the same conference that “Florida is taking back the virtual public square as a place where information and ideas can flow freely.”

“Many of our constituents know the dangers of being silenced or have been silenced themselves under communist rule,” she said.

“Thankfully, in Florida we have a Governor that fights against big tech oligarchs that contrive, manipulate, and censor if you voice views that run contrary to their radical leftist narrative.”

Florida won’t be the only state enacting such a law, according to DeSantis.

“We are seeing other states now following suit,” he said. “It starts in Florida but it doesn’t end in Florida.”

25 May, 2021 

Why does Facebook still ban users from saying Covid was man-made even as Dr Fauci casts doubt on virus origins? And Italian journalist is censored by YouTube for claiming it was created in Wuhan lab

A fresh spotlight has been thrown on how tech giants police Covid 'misinformation' after Dr Antony Fauci questioned whether the virus was man-made in China - a sentiment banned across swathes of social media.

Facebook policies outlining what kinds of 'misinformation' its users cannot post about, specifically picks out theories that the virus was 'man-made' or 'manufactured' - the very theory Fauci was discussing.

At the same time, an Italian journalist claimed last week to have been censored by YouTube over a book which questions whether the virus was engineered in a Wuhan lab, despite America's top disease expert saying it warrants investigation.

These inconsistencies beg the question whether social media's 'misinformation' witch-hunt has gone too far in trying to prevent the spread of dangerous lies, and actually stifles productive debate instead.

For example, on vaccines: A large number of Facebook policies deal with clear misinformation - such as outlawing claims that jabs contain 'the mark of the beast', or turn you into a monkey.

But the site also says it bans 'claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill or seriously harm people (such as causing blood clots.)'

That is despite the fact that medical regulators in Europe and elsewhere have seen fit to put warnings on AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs saying they can cause blood clots - albeit in vanishingly rare cases.

Meanwhile YouTube also has clear-cut policies banning untruths, such as saying prayer will cure the virus or that Covid isn't real.

But the site's policies ban posts questioning the efficacy of masks or debating lockdown measures - even though government guidance on both has changed many times since the start of the pandemic, largely thanks to debate about their benefits.

Separate rules on advertising on YouTube outlaw adverts around 'sensitive events' such as Covid, banning anything that 'potentially profits' from the event 'without a benefit to users' - though what exactly qualifies as a 'benefit' is not explained. 

It was those advertising rules that Italian journalist Fabrizio Gatti fell foul of when adverts for his book - The Infinite Error: The Secret Story Of A Pandemic That Should Have Been Avoided - were 'blacklisted' from Google last week.

Google said the video violates the rules because it 'displays speculative intent or lacks reasonable sensitivity around a global health crisis.'

But Elisabetta Sgarbi, whose company is publishing Gatti's book on Covid, told Italian news agency Ansa: 'There is a big difference between "gratuitous offense" and the right to criticize. 

'[The book] documents the responsibilities of the Chinese regime, the allied governments and the WHO in the delayed response to the Covid-19 pandemic...  which should have avoided.

'I hope that Google... can help encourage reflection and discussion on the health and human catastrophe that has hit the world.'

Mr Gatti added: 'I express my full solidarity with colleagues who have been or will be economically damaged, just for giving space to... my research. 

'I hope that Google will revise its position as soon as possible. We already have to put up with the Chinese regime and the consequences of its failure to contain Covid. 

'[Google's action] it is yet another symptom of a very worrying drift.

'Once once the infection is overcome with vaccines, as I write in my book, we will have to defend our democracies from totalitarianism and the digital monopoly.'

Other policies that might get adverts banned from Google are ones which 'appear to profit from a tragic event with no discernible benefit to users', adverts selling products 'which may be in insufficient supply', and those which 'claim victims of a sensitive event were responsible for their own tragedy.'

Both Facebook and Google say the policies were created in response to the spread of misinformation as the pandemic spread, and aim to direct people towards reliable information and stop the spread of claims that could cause harm.

But others, such as former New York Times journalist Alex Berenson - whose own books were temporarily banned from Amazon or questioning the science behind masks and lockdowns - say they amount to censorship. 

'Big Tech censorship of opposing views on COVID is a huge problem, and it's part of an even bigger problem,' he said.

'This isn't about COVID, it's about whether or not as a society we're going to allow people who have views that are sort of outside what the mainstream media want you to believe, to present those views,' he continued. 

Last year, Google was criticised after directing search engine users away from the Great Barrington Declaration - a petition started by prominent academics urging a re-think on lockdowns.

Instead of being shown the petition itself at the top of search queries, Google users were instead shown articles and pages critical of it, according to Spiked.

Google also said in October last year that it had pulled more than 200,000 videos from YouTube, including one from Scott Atlas - who at the time was a physician advising the US government.

Meanwhile Facebook has also been pulling down pages that question whether lockdowns are effective, while attaching fact-check labels and warning notices to some news articles.

The company says it has removed over 18 million pieces of content across Facebook and Instagram globally since the start of the pandemic for violating its rules, and has displayed warning labels on 167million pieces of COVID-19 content on Facebook. 

While Amazon refused to disclose its policies around censorship at the time, Google and Facebook both publish detailed lists about what users can and cannot post.

The firms say they are acting to prevent the spread of 'misinformation' - but what exactly constitutes misinformation is something they cannot agree even among themselves. 

For example, Facebook's policy specifically bans any post that says coronavirus is 'man-made' or 'manufactured' - though users are allow to speculate that the virus may have leaked from a lab.

Google-owned YouTube's policy, meanwhile, makes no mention of banning videos discussing 'man-made' Covid.

However, YouTube does ban posts that discuss the use of Hydroxychloroquine as a Covid treatment - something that Facebook does not specifically outlaw. 

Both sites ban content discussing whether face masks help stop the spread of Covid and whether social distancing is effective.

23 May, 2021 

'Rigged': Mollie Hemingway's Definitive Account of the 2020 Election Democrats Won't Want You to Read

Bestselling author Mollie Hemingway is ready to set the record straight on the 2020 election with a definitive account of what happened from the fiery showdown between Donald Trump and Joe Biden to the U.S. House and Senate races that determined the precarious balance of power we now see on Capitol Hill. 

In Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections, Hemingway promises to reveal the backstory of the "devastating triple punch that took down the Trump presidency," Regnery Publishing—a fellow Salem Media affiliate—announced Tuesday. "Americans who feel silenced, subjected, and betrayed are about to learn the truth about a scandalous election," the publisher promises. 

"What happened during the 2020 election deserves to be investigated and discussed," noted Hemingway in a column announcing her book due out this September. "It must be investigated and discussed, not in spite of media and political opposition to it, but because of that opposition. That is why I am writing a book about what happened before, during, and after the 2020 presidential election."

Just as she did in Justice on Trial—her book co-authored with Carrie Severino telling the full story of the contentious confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh—Hemingway is sure to expose the truth of what went down before, on, and after November 3, 2020. 

"If questioning the results of a presidential election were a crime, as many have asserted in the wake of the controversial 2020 election and its aftermath, nearly the entire Democratic Party and media establishment would have been incarcerated for their rhetoric following the 2016 election," wrote Hemingway in her announcement of Rigged, scorching Democrats for their hypocrisy and feigned moral superiority.

    "My book will contain never-before-told eyewitness stories about what really went down in 2020, not just in the presidential race, but in tight House and Senate races as well. The book will contain analysis of how media and Big Tech oligarchs used their power to control information on the Internet to manipulate people’s behavior before and after the 2020 election. My book will contain not just interviews about the election with top officials from the Trump White House and presidential campaign, but also interviews with Trump himself."

"I have no doubt that the same powers that worked to oust Trump in 2020 will do everything they can to suppress this book in 2021," Hemingway admitted. "But I don’t care. The story has to be told."


Biden Gets a Real Vaccine Job

Instead of coasting along on Operation Warp Speed, he needs to vaccinate the world for global security.

By now you’ve heard that the Biden administration’s attempt to waive drug company patents will make virtually no difference to poor countries fighting the Covid pandemic. Oddly, you’ve heard it from both supporters and opponents of his action.

It won’t improve vaccine makers’ incentive to maximize production; they have every incentive now. It won’t improve affordability of the vaccine, already the best bargain in history. The World Bank has $4 billion burning a hole in its pocket to help poor countries acquire and distribute shots when available.

Nor is a lack of competition, aka monopoly, the problem: Fifteen vaccines, including four Russian and five Chinese, are already approved for large swaths of earth’s population, with dozens more in development.

The only real challenge is hiking production fast enough of a specialized product that didn’t exist a few months ago in order that everybody in the world can receive it.

The voices in Mr. Biden’s ear were the same voices that always clamor for invalidating drug company patents, regardless of circumstance. On Monday, in response to another clamor, he finally relaxed the U.S. claim on surplus vaccine coming off factory lines for the benefit of countries in deep struggle against the Covid virus. Remember these episodes next time the Biden administration tells you it isn’t just living off the capital of Operation Warp Speed, it’s “innovating” on its own.

More clearly than ever, the previous U.S. administration and the current British one were astonishing aberrations, casting aside bureaucratic caution, throwing billions at vaccine makers on grounds that it was impossible to waste money when the potential payoff was so high. Other countries, we’ve slowly come to understand, engaged in more hand-waving than action, their officials hesitant to commit to purchases for fear of being accused of overpaying, buying the wrong vaccine, or too much coziness with drug makers. Result: Money is not flowing to vaccine production that could be; the time and attention of vaccine makers is consumed with political gamesmanship it shouldn’t be.

Should investors devote scare resources to high-risk efforts to replace ingredients in short supply? Should they pour concrete for factories that might sit idle for want of equipment and materials? All the wrong signals were sent.

Covax, a vehicle for vaccinating poor countries born a month before Warp Speed, was sidetracked by multilateral virtue signaling. To show the magnanimity of its sponsors, most nations would get the vaccine free despite the availability of aid money, though this would mean Covax lacked any cash flow of its own to secure production commitments. In the name of equity, supply would be dribbled out to many countries simultaneously rather than focused on those that could use it. Congo recently tried to return 1.3 million doses in danger of expiring, having administered fewer than 1,000 shots.

Pledges by the U.S. and other countries did not result in what the World Bank delicately calls “encashment.” Covax’s self-praising sponsors seemingly didn’t want it competing with them for early vaccine supply. Now with the U.S. swimming in more vaccine than it can use, it’s still sitting on rights to 60 million AstraZeneca doses not yet approved for U.S. consumption that could be used elsewhere.

OK, countries will put their own voters first. The Biden administration’s overwhelming priority was to pass a superfluous domestic bailout package, on top of those already passed, so it could claim credit for the pandemic recovery already visible around the corner.

Politicians will act politically; only offensive is the unusual sycophancy of the U.S. press in covering the Biden administration’s political motives.

A top international aid official tells me Mr. Biden’s latest patent proposal, however popular with the left, would only upset the beneficial dynamic that led investors to pour billions into mRNA technology in the first place. The same incentive is attracting billions now to develop booster vaccines as well as more-practical delivery methods (e.g., nasal spray).

Happily Angela Merkel and other European leaders seem set to stop the charade at the World Trade Organization, whose approval would be needed. Maybe a new dawn of realism is breaking. The absurd credit Team Biden keeps bestowing on itself is wearing thin. It’s about time, because there’s a real job to be done. Amid the horrors in India you’ve been reading about, a billion Indians have yet to be exposed to the virus. Inoculating them and millions of others in Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Nigeria and other giant urbanized developing countries—and, yes, China—may yet be the difference between global stability and instability in the coming decade.


One Voter Bloc That Democrats Are Losing in Texas...And It's a Key One

Texas is becoming a blue state. It’s one of the Democratic Party’s unicorns. Every time, there’s been disappointment. In 2014, folks thought that Wendy Davis had a chance to be governor. She ended up getting less than 40 percent of the vote. Beto O’Rourke fell short in his bid to unseat Ted Cruz. Hillary Clinton also failed in 2016 and Biden in 2020. Oh, I know—the margins of victory weren’t as high in years past. Sure. But the Democratic Party’s extreme facelift towards Marxism has a lot of Hispanic voters switching parties. The Daily Caller News Foundation has more:

    “I am starting to see this need to connect with the Hispanic community and let them know nationwide that it’s the Republican party that offers opportunities,” Adrienne Pena-Garza, chair of the Hidalgo County Republican Party, told the DCNF.

    Pena-Garza grew up in Texas as the daughter of a Democratic state legislator who switched parties and became a Republican around 2010. Pena-Garza told the DCNF that her father’s community reacted very strongly to his switch, noting that he had been beloved as a Democrat but was treated with incivility as a Republican.

    But Pena-Garza also switched parties, concerned by the policies and talking points she was witnessing from Democratic lawmakers.

    “Things have shifted dramatically,” she said.  “I grew up as a strong Catholic,” she said. “This area has got strong Catholic roots today, Christian roots. Being pro-life and pro God was very important to me as an individual. And my family is a family that has served its country. My grandfather served in World War II and in the United States Navy, and my brother served 20 years honorably in the United States Air Force. I saw that the Democrat party was just moving quickly to the left and towards socialism. And those just did not did not align with my values any longer.”

This isn’t shocking. The 2020 election saw scores of Hispanics flee the Democratic Party from California to Florida. In Texas, the border counties which are Hispanic-majority saw support for Trump almost quintupled since 2016. The summer of rioting last year, along with the Left’s incessant call to defund the police cost Democrats a ton of votes. And it will continue to do so if scores of white liberals swell the ranks. College-educated white liberals are outliers when it comes to American politics. They want a liberal vs. conservative electorate which isn’t favorable to them. As David Shor, a liberal data scientist and pollster noted, most nonwhite voters are not liberal and do not see the issues through the lens of the ‘woke’ Left, even on issues like racial resentment. They’re far, far apart—on everything. Not the best groundwork for those who believe Democrats have an advantage due to demographics. The 2020 election pretty much shredded that given that Trump was only 43,000 votes from winning a second term. 

At any rate, it seemed as if Democrats have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. There was a period where Democrats probably could have solidified things with this voter bloc, but anti-police/pro-crime overtures, political correctness, and other extreme lefty narratives sunk the ship. One area Shor notes as an example of white liberals projecting a narrative onto a voter bloc where the data doesn’t exist is immigration. Hispanic voters aren’t overly liberal on this issue, but the pro-open borders nonsense they’ve been peddling seems to be pushing Hispanic voters to back Republicans. Liberal blogger Kevin Drum noted that for eons, analysts noted that if the GOP just moderated a bit, they could nab a solid chunk of Hispanic voters. Now, it seems that’s happening but only because the Democratic base has become increasingly more insane. 

This bodes well for the GOP, especially in Texas. It's a red state and it will remain a red state as long as the woke white Left continues to drive the messaging and agenda items.




22 May, 2021 

New Study Shows COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects May Be More Common and Severe in Recovered Recipients

A new study of COVID-19 vaccine recipients globally should give the public health community a reason to reevaluate recommendations that everyone needs to be vaccinated regardless of prior infection with the virus. The researchers surveyed slightly more than 2,000 self-reporting vaccinated individuals who were at least seven days past their first vaccine dose and monitored their reports of side effects and their severity through the vaccination process. They compared the results for recovered patients with a confirmed COVID-19 PCR or antigen test with those who had not had COVID-19. From the study (emphasis mine):

People with prior COVID-19 exposure were largely excluded from the vaccine trials and, as a result, the safety and reactogenicity of the vaccines in this population have not been previously fully evaluated. For the first time, this study demonstrates a significant association between prior COVID19 infection and a significantly higher incidence and severity of self-reported side effects after vaccination for COVID-19. Consistently, compared to the first dose of the vaccine, we found an increased incidence and severity of self-reported side effects after the second dose, when recipients had been previously exposed to viral antigen. In view of the rapidly accumulating data demonstrating that COVID-19 survivors generally have adequate natural immunity for at least 6 months, it may be appropriate to re-evaluate the recommendation for immediate vaccination of this group.

While this is the first study of its kind and certainly warrants further examination, particularly because the side effects were self-reported, it acknowledges something that the public health bureaucracy, including CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and Dr. Anthony Fauci, rarely, if ever, mention. The science has consistently shown an adequate immune response in recovered patients, and we also know that the response includes more than just antibodies. In March, researchers found the immune response was durable at eight months with minor declines in several immune system components, including T cells, B cells, and neutralizing antibodies. According to The New York Times:

“That amount of memory would likely prevent the vast majority of people from getting hospitalized disease, severe disease, for many years,” said Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology who co-led the new study.

The findings are likely to come as a relief to experts worried that immunity to the virus might be short-lived, and that vaccines might have to be administered repeatedly to keep the pandemic under control.

And the research squares with another recent finding: that survivors of SARS, caused by another coronavirus, still carry certain important immune cells 17 years after recovering.

The study above is in addition to several studies on durable natural immunity noted in the research paper on side effects. Clearly, this type of research should be ongoing, but it is only valuable if our public health officials share it broadly, and to date, they have not. Even if it is emerging data, there have been no reports of large numbers of reinfections with any COVID-19 variant causing severe illness or death in recovered patients. This fact appears to reinforce the research findings to date.

The new study also compared side effects between the mRNA and viral vector vaccines:

Moreover, this is the first head-to-head real-world comparison of the self-reported safety of viral vector versus mRNA vaccines, with the latter associated with a 58% decreased incidence of self reported severe side effects, requiring hospital care. While more recipients of mRNA vaccines reported at least one (any) side effect, the difference was predominantly driven by the frequent local reactions, while the incidence of each of the systemic side effects evaluated, which are more burdensome to the recipients, was significantly reduced. Recipients of the viral vector-based vaccines were relatively older. However, differences in the incidence of adverse events were confirmed in multivariate analyses accounting for the age of the respondents as a covariate. Moreover, given that older people reported side effects less frequently, potential bias due to age difference would be expected to favour viral vector-based vaccines. These findings may have an impact on vaccine choice, and health policies.

Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D., has warned of the possibility of a harmed minority in the public health bureaucracy’s rush to vaccination. He is not an anti-vaxxer by any means, views the development of the COVID-19 vaccines as a medical miracle, and has received the COVID-19 vaccination himself. Noorchashm raised the issue of receiving the vaccine after recovering because of how vaccine-induced immune responses work during an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight:

I want to reiterate as we have before, the most unprecedented thing that we’re doing in this vaccine campaign is that we’re deploying it indiscriminately into folks who have been recently or previously infected. And I think that we shouldn’t underestimate what the effect of a vaccine-driven immune response is on the tissues in individuals who have been previously infected, that literally, the antigenic footprint of the virus persists in the tissues of the previously infected.

So, it’s not a far stretch to imagine that those tissues, such as the inner lining of the blood vessel, will be targeted by the vaccine immune response.

To simplify, the sites where a recovered patient’s body fought off the virus—the lungs, the heart, the blood vessels, and even the brain, to name a few—remain physiologically “marked.” Vaccine-generated immune cells will attack these sites in the body as if they are still infected, potentially causing problems. Given the number of organs in the body that COVID-19 reportedly infects, Noorchashm’s explanation made me wonder if this phenomenon could cause the range of adverse reactions seen on VAERS data, from diarrhea to blinding headaches, high fevers, and shortness of breath. This study is the first to provide insight into a possible answer to those questions.

Anyone interested in finding out if they have a current immune reaction to COVID-19 can order a T-Detect test. It does not require a doctor’s order and can be completed at a local lab. The CDC estimates that only 1 in 4.3 infections with COVID-19 have been confirmed by testing. This test may be worthwhile for those who did not receive a positive test but are hesitant to get the vaccine to help them better assess their risk in conjunction with their doctors.

It would be great if our public health gurus would acknowledge recovered immunity. Then colleges and employers could accept proof of immunity in place of proof of vaccination, at least while researchers continue to study the question of the durability of naturally acquired immunity. Given this first glimpse regarding the increased severity of side effects, it would be irresponsible not to. And worth wondering why, if they do not.


Why Does the Left Seemingly Hate Israel?

With more than 3,000 rockets having been fired into Israel by Hamas recently, the Democratic Party seems paralyzed over how to respond to the latest Middle East war.

It is not just that it fears that “The Squad,” Black Lives Matter, the shock troops of Antifa, and woke institutions such as academia and the media are now unapologetically anti-Israel. It is also terrified that anti-Israelism is becoming synonymous with rank anti-Semitism. And soon, the Democratic Party will end up as disdained as the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.

The new core of the Democrats, as emblemized by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, has in the past questioned the patriotism of American Jews who support Israel, and occasionally has had to apologize for puerile anti-Semitic rants.

The left in general believes we should judge harshly even the distant past without exemptions. Why then, in venomous, knee-jerk fashion, does it fixate on a nation born from the Holocaust while favoring Israel’s enemies, who were on the side of the Nazis in World War II?

It was not just that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, was a Nazi sympathizer. Egypt, for example, welcomed ex-Nazis for their hatred of Jews and their military expertise, including infamous death camp doctor Aribert Ferdinand Heim and Waffen-SS henchman Otto Skorzeny. The Hamas charter still reads like it is cribbed from Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”

The left claims it champions consensual government and believes the United States must use its soft-power clout to isolate autocracies. But the Palestinian National Authority and Hamas refuse to hold free and regularly scheduled elections. If an Israeli strongman ever suspended free elections and ruled through brutality, U.S. aid would be severed within days.

If history and democratic values can’t fully explain the apparent hatred of Israel on the left, perhaps human rights violations do. But here, too, there is another example of radical asymmetry. Arab citizens of Israel enjoy far greater constitutional protections than do Arabs living under either the Palestinian National Authority or Hamas.

Is the left bothered by the allies of Hamas? After all, most are autocracies such as Iran and North Korea.

We return, then, to other reasons for the woke contempt directed toward Israel.

In part, the Western left always despises the unapologetically successful—as if they are inevitably beneficiaries of unfair privilege. Underdog Israel was not so hated from 1947 to 1967. Then, it was poorer, more socialist, and in danger of being extinguished by its many neighboring enemies.

But after the victories in the 1967 and 1973 wars, the Israeli military proved unconquerable in the region, no matter how large the numbers, wealth, and armaments of its many enemies.

For the left, Israel’s current strength, confidence, and success mean it cannot be seen as a victim, but only as a victimizer. As its Iron Dome missile defenses knock down the flurry of Hamas rockets, and as its planes take out the military installations that launched those rockets, the left bizarrely believes Israel wins too easily and acts “disproportionately.”

The left also has a strange idea of current “imperialism” and “colonialism.” The general rule is that Westerners cannot settle in numbers in the non-West. But the reversal is certainly not true.

Millions of Middle Easterners are welcomed into Belgium, France, Germany, the U.K., and the United States. Yet Jews have been in what is now Israel since nearly the dawn of civilization. And their 1947 borders only grew after they were attacked and threatened with extinction.

The left claims that its anti-Israelism has had nothing to do with anti-Semitism. But it is almost impossible now to make that distinction, when woke criticism obsesses over democratic Israel and ignores far greater oppressors and oppressed elsewhere.

Why are there no demonstrations in major Western cities damning the Chinese government for putting 1 million Muslim Uighurs in camps? Why are the world’s millions of former refugees—the Volga Germans, the East Prussians, the Cypriot Greeks—long forgotten, and yet the Palestinians alone are deified for being perpetually displaced?

Our formal NATO ally, Turkey, received little global pushback for its treatment of the Kurds, or its frequent intolerance of religious minorities. Why does Israel alone always earn such venom?

Hating democratic Israel while it is under attack is not just a reflection of the new woke and ethically bankrupt left. It is also a symptom of a deeper pathology in the West, one of moral equivalence, amoral relativism, and self-loathing.

Hating Israel has become the surrogate Western way of hating oneself.




May 19, 2021

Science Catches Up -- And Burns You All

<i>The article below is an attempt to explain simply what has appeared in a prestigious  academic journal article.  Unfortunately, even the simplified account takes  lot of brain strain to follow.  One can only hope that those who do understand it take notice of it</i>

There is a reason science is a process and until you understand something you should keep your ******ned mouth shut.

Especially when all you have against 40+ years of hard science is computer models.

Massssskss was one of them.  I warned early on that physics said masks could not work if the virus was in aerosols or transmitted in feces, no matter whether the feces were manually spread or through aerosols.  We knew this was virtually certain when a mass-spread event happened twice in Wuhan and Hong Kong in apartments on the same vertical drain stack where there were no P-traps; the people infected did not know each other and thus any other form of transmission other than through fecal aerosol was wildly improbable.  That was ignored.  We then had the German meatpacking plant where everyone was wearing masks and yet a huge outbreak took place across tens of feet, a claimed impossibility.  Yet it happened and was proved by RNA sequencing; the researchers were able to identify the index and daughter cases and thus conclusively prove that the infections happened in that plant via that route, despite masks.

Now MIT has weighed in and said the same thing. They try to sidestep the mask issue in their "research" but fail; nothing less than an N95, which is not a mask but rather a respirator, stops aerosols, and source control does not work even with N95s because when you exhale the positive pressure escapes around the edges and for aerosols goes right through the gaps.  Workplaces and airlines have banned N95s with exhaust valves which preserve the seal on your face and thus are the only ones that will provide protection for you against inhaling said aerosol.  Non-valved respirators repeatedly break said seal and thus render it ineffective within minutes.  Don't believe me?  Put on an N95 without a valve and do some sanding where there's lots of dust, when you take it off let me know what you find around the edges where the respirator used to be.  This is why you want the ones with a valve and why the ones I have for such work have a valve.

Pay attention to this paper folks and note its publication date, January 2021.  Nobody has paid any attention to it at all yet it is peer-reviewed in Nature, one of the "better" medical publications.  I will start right here with what you do not want to read, but you damn well should before you take the shots.

This T cell-mediated immune response is even more important as studies on humoral immunity to SARS-CoV-1 provided evidence that antibody responses are short-lived and can even cause or aggravate virus-associated lung pathology

Note that when you get the shot the first thing you get is antibodies; you may get a T-cell reaction.  This pre-existing knowledge, from SARS (CoV-1) entirely explains why people who just got vaccinated often get hammered by the virus and frequently end up in the hospital or die.  It marks the premise of attempting to vaccinate out of a pandemic where transmission is actively occurring as stupid.

You go get the shot.  Five days later you get the virus.  You have not yet developed immunity and the partial expression makes it worse.

You would have been better off, by far, taking the same infection straight up front.  It likely would have harmed you less.

This generally applies, by the way, to all vaccines and all viruses.  The government and researchers know this.  They've known this for decades.  It's fact.  It's why you don't wait until the measles is raging around you to get a measles vaccine and the same is true for the flu shot; you get it before the flu season starts for this very reason.  Attempting to vaccinate out of a raging infection does not work and in fact kills people.

Yeah, if you don't get infected during that latent period you get protection.  But if you do get infected you're screwed and all of the two-dose shots have a roughly four week window during which you get hosed instead of protected.  Israel's data, by the way, proves this is real; Berenson has been reporting on it since the beginning of the year and I've noted it as well.

If you remember I've also pointed out that multiple studies have shown that somewhere between 30-50% of the population is T-cell reactive to Covid-19 despite never having had it, nor SARS or MERS, its alleged "precursors."  But those studies were non-specific; that is, they looked for T-cell reactivity but never tried to identify the specific protein sequences and their part of the whole that was involved.  This study does, and it finally puts light on basically the entire reason that what we've done is not only wrong it's criminally stupid.

These folks did what we should have done originally -- they isolated a panel of 120 peptides that comprised roughly 10% of the entire virus, containing 57% and 1% of the nucleocapsid and spike proteins.  Note that while the "spike" facilitates entry into the cell there is evidence that it is, standing alone, pathological -- that is, it causes disease in the human body without the rest of the virus.  The nucleocapsid portion, on the other hand, is the part that is responsible for replication; if it is tagged and the cell containing it is destroyed then viral replication is prevented even though penetration of the cell has occurred.
This fully explains the wild divergence in outcomes even among similarly-morbid people.  The more "matches" you have on a pre-existing basis the more-fully your immune system can recognize the virus and while you will get infected if those matches are among the nucleocapsid section you're much more-likely to drive it off without serious consequence.

Note that among the "PRE" (not-infected) collection of samples all were prior to November of 2019 and thus presumed non-infected.  We in fact know there were infections during that time frame but most in that group were from wildly before Covid-19 by as much as 10 years or more, so the cross-contamination percentage is going to be very low.

Now let me point to the data itself.

Of the SARS donors, 100% showed T cell responses to cross-reactive and/or specific ECs (HLA class I 86%, HLA-DR 100%; Fig. 5d,e), whereas 81% of PRE donors showed HLA class I (16%) and/or HLA-DR (77%) T cell responses to cross-reactive ECs (Fig. 5d).

81% eh?  Isn't that an interesting number?  Where have we seen that before?

You know damn well where, don't you? It's the rough percentage of alleged Covid-19 infections that were either asymptomatic or very low-symptom for which no medical treatment was sought and, in many cases, not detected.

So it wasn't 30 or 50% who had pre-existing protection it's actually roughly 8 in 10!  This was not a "novel, everyone is susceptible" virus at all.  It never was.  You were lied to from the very beginning and thus all the "models" based on that were trash.

Again, just a bit further down:

Taken together, SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes enabled detection of post-infectious T cell immunity in 100% of individuals convalescing from COVID-19 and revealed pre-existing T cell responses in 81% of unexposed individuals.

Now we know why Diamond Princess happened the way it did.  It was never possible for more than 20% of the people on that ship to get seriously-symptomatic Covid-19 despite being cooped up in close quarters for weeks with an aerosol-spread disease and cruise passengers generally being wildly-overrepresented for various morbidity factors.  It also completely explains why one of two people quarantined in the same cabin got sick and the other did not.

We also know why my friend's grandfather was killed by it but his equally-morbid grandmother was not touched symptomatically even though she tested positive despite literally sleeping in the same bed with him until he wound up in the hospital and ultimately expired.

We also know why there is no place on the planet that has seen >20% of people with significant, symptomatic disease from Covid-19.  Not a single place has had that happen, even where sanitation is crap and people spread it like crazy (e.g. Iran where they lick monuments sequentially -- literally.)

This study explains every single example seen everywhere in the world, including high-concentration examples, of infection with Covid-19 back to the start of the pandemic.  We now know why no more than 20% of any exposed population has ever exhibited materially-serious disease -- it simply was not possible as no more than 20% of the population was potentially susceptible to serious disease.  Ever.  Period.



Let me distill this down for you before I go on:

In 100% of the persons who had and recovered from Covid-19 and 81% of those who have never had the virus a vaccine may well be worthless as they already have T-cell response.  While this will not prevent them from getting it again there is questionable at best benefit over their existing immunological state but there is risk, including a risk of death, from the side effects.

Furthermore, evidence was provided for a lower recognition frequency of cross-reactive HLA-DR EC in hospitalized patients compared to donors with mild COVID-19 course, which might suggest a lack of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 T cells in severely ill patients.

No kidding?  Gee, yet more points of contact with the obvious?

Then there's this:

Our observation that intensity of T cell responses and recognition rate of T cell epitopes was significantly higher in convalescent patients compared to unexposed individuals suggests that not only expansion, but also a spread of SARS-CoV-2 T cell response diversity occurs upon active infection.

Let me be clear: The entire premise of all of the "mitigations" and demand for mass-vaccination relied on a lie; that this was a "novel" virus to which nobody had existing resistance.  We now know that's false; 81% of the population in fact does have existing immunity and further, that immunity is strengthened, materially so, by natural infection.  In short if you have said partial resistance you want to get the disease as the odds of you being seriously harmed are statistically zero yet you will perfect your immunity and from a public health perspective you want those people who are not going to be seriously harmed to get it naturally, not take a ******ned shot because it is that perfection of immunity that stops the disease from being of harm to the public on a durable basis.

It gets worse -- the resistance isn't to the spike, it's almost-exclusively to the nucleocapsid portion of the virus among those with existing resistance; the largest set of reactions by far was to the nucleocapsid, not the spike.  This is very strong evidence that it is that nucleocapsid reactivity that provides effective resistance to serious disease.  The existing "vaccines" do not and cannot provide this since they encode only the spike.

Again for those who are reading-comprehension challenged: The existing vaccines are worthless for building said perfected immunity since the data is that the nucleocapsid section, which the vaccines do not code, is where most of the pre-existing resistance against serious disease resides.

Who is in the "not at risk" group?  Basically everyone under 50; said persons have comprised less than 5% of the deaths and especially those under 18 who almost never get serious ill or die.  This means we should have never closed schools, never masked kids and in fact we should have encouraged the equivalent of mass chicken-pox parties for both children and healthy young adults, especially in colleges.  The current push to vaccinate college students is not only stupid it's directly counter-productive to them building a robust and durable, likely life-long, immune response to this specific virus including the variants.

Further this paper points out that induction of immunity against the spike may well be worthless or even harmful.  Again "prevention of infection" is meaningless if it is bypassed and you get hammered, as has repeatedly occurred during the window following vaccination.  Indeed, such might even enhance the progress of infection and mortality and if that's not enough insult there's reason to believe the same enhanced risk may also present itself on the "back end" as antibodies to the spike wane too with no way to know when that window occurs in a specific individual.

It is quite clear from this study that recognition of the nucleocapsid proteins is the difference between asymptomatic or mild infections and severe ones; the correlation is exact and yet exactly zero of the existing vaccines target anything other than the spike.  You cannot build immunity to that which is not presented.  With the spike now having evidence of direct pathology and in fact quite possibly being why serious organ damage and death occur with natural infection we have clearly gone down the wrong road with "warp speed" and in fact may have done irrevocable and severe harm to millions of Americans while failing to induce long-term nucleocapsid immune recognition which occurs via natural infection and is the key to turning a potential infection into a nuisance at worst.

Short-term prevention of "infection" among the 81% of those with existing T-cell recognition to the nucleocapsid proteins is not only stupid it is likely to kill people over the intermediate and longer term since those who are not vaccinated and get infected with partial resistance build additional and durable immunity via said low-symptom and asymptomatic infections which do not materially harm them and blocking that process is harmful, not helpful.

This group includes nearly all young adults and children for which people are trying to force vaccination.

There are some holes in this study that require more work; specifically, trying to pin down how much protection is afforded by which specific nucleocapsid recognition profile, and how cytokine production bears on that along with binding properties.  This is definitely not the last word on such by any means, but it is a rather important contribution -- and one we should have pursued given that it certainly appears to fully explain the low-symptom and asymptomatic "infections."  The authors note this and intend to do further study.  Good!

What is not clear yet is where the cross-reactivity came from; it's obviously some other disease and it didn't kill the person with it; perhaps intentional infection with something that causes nothing more than a cold would be a good idea eh?  Of course first we must identify what gave that 80% of the population their cross-reactivity, which we have not done -- again, on purpose, despite having a full year to work on it.

To repeat this study is 100% congruent with what we have seen thus far in the wild with this virus.





18 May, 2021

Australian team develop antiviral treatment that could reduce virus by 99.99 per cent

A team of Queensland scientists has co-developed a “gene-silencing” antiviral treatment that could effectively kill COVID-19, in what’s been dubbed an “important missing piece” in the arsenal against the virus.

Nigel McMillan and his team from the Menzies Health Institute at Griffith University, alongside scientists from City of Hope research centre in the US, say the “next-generation” antiviral approach could stop the virus from replicating in the lungs.

Professor McMillan said stage one clinical trials revealed the antiviral treatment reduced the viral load in mice lungs by 99.99 per cent.

The antiviral treatment reduces viral load in the lungs by 99.99 per cent, according to the Queensland-led team.
The antiviral treatment reduces viral load in the lungs by 99.99 per cent, according to the Queensland-led team.
While traditional antivirals, such as Tamiflu and remdesivir, reduce symptoms and help people recover earlier, this new technology uses small-interfering RNA to attack the virus’s genome directly, stopping the virus from replicating.

Lipid nanoparticles, designed at Griffith University and City of Hope, will be used as the drug delivery vehicle to deliver the siRNA to the lungs.

Professor McMillan said the treatment had proved incredibly effective in mice trials.

“Treatment with virus-specific siRNA reduces viral load by 99.99 per cent,” he said.

“These stealth nanoparticles can be delivered to a wide range of lung cells and silence viral genes.”

The treatment can work on all betacoronavirus, including the original SARS virus, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus which causes COVID-19), and any new variants that could arise in the future, because it “targets ultra-conserved regions in the virus’s genome”.

“We have also shown that these nanoparticles are stable at 4C for 12 months, and at room temperature for greater than one month, meaning this agent could be used in low-resource settings to treat infected patients,” Professor McMillan said.

The team is hoping to progress to the next stage of trials by the end of the year, and if proven effective, could be made available commercially by 2022.


What the Left Ignores About Anti-Asian Hate Crime

Data shows that blacks are the primary perpetrators of violent crimes against Asians.

In his speech before a few joint members of Congress last month, Joe Biden insisted that the greatest terrorist threat our nation faces is “white supremacy.” Then, after asserting that George Floyd’s death presented an opportunity to address the country’s “systemic racism,” Biden praised the Senate for passing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act “to protect Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from the vicious hate crimes we’ve seen this past year.” The message is clear: According to Biden and his fellow Democrats, the root problem plaguing the nation is white racism.

However, despite all the pontification and accusations regarding “white supremacy” being the supposed source for the rising number of hate crimes against Asian Americans, neither the media nor Democrat politicians care to genuinely examine the facts or report them. The facts not only fail to support the “white supremacy” narrative, they contradict it.

Ying Ma, author of Chinese Girl in the Ghetto, notes, “Political leaders, activists, and the media have widely attributed the rise in hate crimes to former President Donald Trump’s controversial use of the terms ‘China virus’ or ‘kung flu’ … [but the] racially motivated violence [is] in heavily Democratic areas and from demographic groups that overwhelmingly opposed him.”

Ying Ma observes that the problem of anti-Asian hate crimes predates Trump. She reports, “A survey conducted by the San Francisco Police Department in 2008 revealed that 85% of the city’s violent crimes were black-on-Asian, a figure officials in this notoriously liberal city confronted with ‘squeamishness.’” The officials’ “squeamishness” was likely due to the data not supporting the Left’s white supremacy narrative that sees racism as a whites-only problem.

And it’s not just San Francisco witnessing this same race dynamic. Other major urban areas like New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle have seen the same.

In an interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, Ying Ma noticed something about those most often engaged in attacks against Asian Americans. “They don’t quite look like white supremacists,” she said. “They don’t look like white voters or Trump voters. In fact, many of these attacks have occurred in heavily Democratic cities where they did not vote for Trump in 2020 or 2016.” She adds, “What the Democrats or the far left have done, actually quite effectively, in the past year or so, is to libel former President Trump for something that the Democrats themselves actually are very much guilty of. And what is that? That is their silence and their cowardice before black-on-Asian attacks that often occur in America’s urban areas.”

Finally, Ying Ma rightly contends, “America must not only inquire but engage in a long overdue, honest conversation about the prevalence of black crime and the existence of racism among nonwhite Americans. The goal is not to vilify an entire race for the crimes of individuals, nor is it to absolve individuals of other races who commit racist acts.”

Individuals need to be held accountable for their actions, not the ethnic group from which they come. A high or low melanin count is not a metric for measuring morality.




17 May, 2021 

Singapore looks to tear up its vaccine playbook amid new virus surge

Singapore: In near lockdown less than three weeks after being named the best place in the world to be during COVID-19, Singapore is considering a significant shake-up of its vaccine strategy, including increasing the time between shots.

The city state recorded 38 new cases of community transmission on Sunday, its highest number in more than a year. Eighteen of those cases were unlinked.

It swiftly announced further tightening of restrictions, including the closure of most schools.

Singapore’s Health Minister Ong Ye Kung also revealed the fresh outbreak had convinced the government to weigh up a significant change in its approach to vaccination.

A quarter of the country’s 5.5 million people have been fully vaccinated and one-third have received at least one dose, he said. That makes the rollout in Singapore comfortably the fastest in south-east Asia in terms of an average of the population.

But after prioritising the most vulnerable citizens and frontline workers in a vaccination drive that to date is only open to people over the age of 45, the government may change tack.

“One possibility is that maybe for phase two we should try our best to give as many people a good level of protection against COVID-19. That means give as many people as possible one dose of COVID-19 vaccination,” Ong Ye Kung said on Sunday night.

“There have been many international studies that show even with one dose it confers good protection without compromising efficacy.

“Our scientists have been studying this. We have an expert committee and the evidence, locally and overseas, points towards [it being] reasonable for dose two to be further apart from dose one. So instead of 21, or 28 days or three weeks or four weeks, it can possibly extend to six to eight weeks without materially affecting the efficacy of the vaccine.

“This is something we are studying and once we are ready, not too long in the future, we’ll announce the details.”

Singapore is using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been given to people in the island nation with a three-week interval between the two shots. It is also rolling out Moderna, which has a four-week gap between doses.

If Singapore does press ahead with widening the interval between shots it would be following the path adopted by countries like the UK, which is leaving a three-month gap between doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

India, which had 311,170 new cases and 4077 deaths on Sunday, has started doing the same, extending the gap between doses of Covishield – the brand name AstraZeneca is distributed under there – from six to eight weeks to 12 to 16 weeks.

An Oxford University study found the efficacy of AstraZeneca rose from 55 per cent to 82 per cent if the time between doses was raised from less than six weeks to 12 weeks or more, and a single shot provided 76 per cent protection in the first 90 days.

Research by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has also found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 80 per cent effective with a single dose. On Friday, it was announced that a study of people over 80 by the University of Birmingham University had determined that a 12-week break between administering the first and second shots of Pfizer-BioNTech produced a three-and-a-half times better antibody response.

Singapore is facing nowhere near the scale of infections experienced in the UK and, more recently, in India. On April 27, Bloomberg’s COVID resilience rankings named Singapore as the best place to live during the pandemic.

However, a surge in cases is reflective of a new wave that has torn through south-east Asia in the past six weeks.

While Indonesia and the Philippines have been the hardest-hit countries in the region, Malaysia has entered a third lockdown and countries that had avoided major outbreaks such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and East Timor are recording record numbers.

With children among those infected during the latest spike in cases in Singapore, its Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said health authorities were deciding whether it was safe to use Pfizer-BioNTech for the 12-15 year age group.

US and Canadian health regulators have both approved Pfizer-BioNTech for that age category.

16 May, 2021 

Israel Dupes Hamas into Fleeing into Their Tunnel Network Then Bombs Them Systematically

The IDF made Hamas think that a ground incursion was about to happen. Fearing the attack Hamas terrorists escaped into their tunnel system. At least they thought they were escaping. They didn’t realize they were being set up, they weren’t escaping–the Israeli Airforce was waiting for them at the tunnels. 

At around 3pm EDT Thursday, the IDF began to assemble troops on its border with Hamas-controlled Gaza. It looked like the expected IDF incursion into Gaza to force Hamas to stop firing missiles would happen any second. About two and a half hours later, the IDF released this message:

The mainstream media throughout the world pounced on the story. Establishment media reported the attack with headlines such as. “Israeli troops have entered the Gaza Strip as conflict with Palestinians escalates, Israeli military says.”

Notice that the MSM said that the IDF ‘entered” Gaza, but the IDF only said attacked?

Hearing this news, Hamas terrorists fled into the ‘Metro’ tunnels, an underground city/tunnel system built by Hamas after the 2014 war. Hamas uses the Metro tunnels to hide their and move them from point to point within Gaza without being seen by the Israeli Air Force (IAF). But what the Hamas terrorists didn’t understand was there was no ground offensive. As they ran through the tunnels and began to come out the other side, they were sitting ducks. 160 IAF planes had assembled for a massive bombing run over the Gaza Strip specifically targeting the Metro.

According to Arutz Sheva:

On Thursday night, the IDF brought in 160 aircraft and dropped 450 bombs containing over 80 tons of explosives, hitting 150 terror targets in 35 minutes. Hamas’ underground city was hit with enormous force, and the IDF collapsed the terror tunnel system, on the heads of the terrorists hiding in the tunnels.

During the attack, many kilometres of terror tunnels were destroyed. As of now, neither Israel nor Hamas is clear on the exact scope of the damage, but according to estimates, a large number of terrorists were buried in the sands beneath Gaza.

(…)Simultaneous to the air force attacks, infantry, artillery and armored forces deployed along the border fired hundreds of artillery shells and dozens of tank shells at targets in Gaza.

“In addition, we apparently succeeded in injuring a senior official in the [Islamic] Jihad anti-tank force,” he added.

Avoiding a ground incursion saves the lives of Israeli soldiers and avoids collateral Palestinian casualties. This doesn’t mean that there will be no Israeli ground force incursion into Gaza. As long as Hamas keeps up its rocket attacks, that is an unfortunate strong possibility.


Liberal Media Viewers Misinformed About US Crime: Rasmussen Poll

Fewer than 50 unarmed black suspects were killed by police last year, and more people were killed with knives than with assault weapons. Viewers of MSNBC and CNN are far more likely than Fox News viewers to get those facts wrong.

Half of likely U.S. voters who said CNN or MSNBC was their favorite cable news outlet believe more than 100 unarmed African Americans were fatally shot by police in 2020, according to a new Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports survey.

Only 22% of Fox News viewers believe police shot more than 100 unarmed black people last year.

One survey question asked: "Approximately how many unarmed African Americans were fatally shot by police in 2020? Less than 50, 50 to 100, 500 to 1,000, 1,000 to 5,000, 5,000 to 10,000, or more than 10,000?"

Twenty-four percent of CNN viewers and 19% of MSNBC viewers thought cops fatally shot more than 500 unarmed black suspects last year. Only 9% percent of Fox News viewers thought so.

Fox News viewers (60%) and talk radio listeners (60%) were nearly three times more likely than MSNBC (19%) or CNN (23%) viewers to correctly estimate the number of unarmed black people shot and killed by police in 2020 as less than 50.

President Joe Biden's strongest supporters were most likely to overestimate the number of unarmed black suspects killed by police. Among voters who strongly approved of Biden’s job performance, only 19% correctly estimated the number of unarmed black people shot and killed by police in 2020 as less than 50.

Whites (46%) were more likely than black voters (38%), Hispanics (38%), or other minorities (44%) to correctly estimate the number of unarmed black people shot and killed by police in 2020 as less than 50.

The survey also asked voters about their viewing preferences for major network news and other media outlets, including online streaming services.

"There is a strong correlation between a likely voter's favorite television news outlet and his or her understanding of basic facts about police shootings and homicides involving rifles," Justin Haskins of the Heartland Institute observed in an analysis.

"Compared to viewers of Fox News, 'another' cable news outlet [such as Newsmax], and those who do not watch television news, viewers of CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC were substantially more likely to overestimate the number of fatal police shootings of unarmed African Americans."

Among Republican voters, 58% said they watched Fox News. Democrats are divided between CNN (34%) and MSNBC (29%). Among voters not affiliated with either major party, 27% said they went to Fox News, 15% said CNN, 12% said MSNBC, 30% said "another" network, and 15% said they didn’t watch cable news.

Homicides committed with knives in the U.S. annually total about 1,500, and those committed with rifles number fewer than 500.

However, 30% of likely voters said the annual number of homicides committed with rifles was more than 500, including 18% believing more than 1,000 homicides are committed annually with rifles.

Thirty percent of MSNBC viewers, 22% of CNN viewers and 19% of Fox News viewers correctly estimated the number of homicides committed with rifles as between 100 and 500.

But while 63% of Fox News viewers underestimated the number of killings with rifles as less than 100, viewers of CNN and MSNBC were more likely to overestimate the number of homicides committed with rifles.

CNN viewers (43%), MSNBC viewers (40%), and talk radio listeners (26%) were more likely than Fox News viewers (19%) to believe rifles are used in more than 500 homicides annually.

The national telephone and online survey of 2,000 likely voters was conducted April 29-May 3, 2021 by the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.


A Gaza Building Housing Media Outlets Was Destroyed by IDF. This is Why.

Earlier today the Israeli Defense Forces took out a building in Gaza that housed a Hamas intelligence office. The building was shared with the Associated Press and Hamas propaganda outlet Al Jazeera. IDF warned of the strike ahead of time, giving journalists ample time to safely evacuate. 

"An Israeli airstrike on Saturday targeted and destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets. Hours later, Israel bombed the home of Khalil al-Hayeh, a top leader of Gaza’s ruling militant Hamas group," the AP reported. "The Israeli military said Al-Hayeh’s home served as part of what it said was the militant group’s “terrorist infrastructure.” Al-Hayeh is a senior figure in the Hamas political leadership in Gaza, and the attack marked a further escalation, signaling that Israel is going after Hamas’ top leadership, and not just military commanders. His fate after the strike was not immediately known."

"Earlier, AP staffers and other tenants safely evacuated the building after the military telephoned a warning that the strike was imminent within an hour. Three heavy missiles struck the 12-story building, collapsing it in a giant cloud of dust," the report continues. 

The Associated Press is blasting the Israeli military for the strike, but hasn't condemned Hamas for putting them in harms way and conducting military operations within a commercial building. The White House has done the same.

The coverage of the incident has been wildly dishonest and severely lacking context, prompting pushback.

15 May, 2021 

A vaccine for all occasions

It took Barney Graham, Jason McLellan and their collaborators just a weekend in January 2020 to design a novel vaccine they believed would be capable of protecting people against COVID-19. Their design formed the basis for the vaccines that Moderna, Pfizer and others would eventually use to inoculate millions of Americans a little more than a year later, a pace of development unprecedented in the annals of modern medicine.

By then, however, the two pioneering virologists were already thinking about future pandemics— and how they might get ahead of them.

Graham and McLellan are part of a corps of researchers hoping to take the technology they used on COVID-19 vaccines and apply them to an even more futuristic creation: an arsenal of off-the-shelf premade vaccines that could be easily modified to attack new pathogens as they arise—a kind of “pan” or “universal” coronavirus vaccine capable of protecting against many different strains of the virus at the same time.

Even as scientists race to develop booster shots and tweak existing vaccines to work against new variants to SARS2, they’re looking ahead to future pandemics caused by entirely new pathogens from the same coronavirus family, one of just 26 known to infect humans. But SARS-CoV-2 is the third novel, deadly coronavirus to cross over from animals to humans in the last 20 years, and many scientists warn more will inevitably follow. Even though a “universal” vaccine that can protect against any new coronavirus that nature throws at us probably won’t be available this year or next, development has become a high priority.

“We want to be proactive rather than reactive to coronaviruses,” McLellan says. “The idea is to develop a single vaccine that could protect against all different coronaviruses, including ones that are still in bats and haven’t emerged yet.”

The idea isn’t new. Many scientists were already working on pandemic preparation projects before the coronavirus hit, including several experimental pan-coronavirus vaccines. Approaches that show promise include efforts to identify distinct protein molecules common to all coronaviruses that could attract virus-killing antibodies and custom-made nanoparticles studded with viral fragments from a number of different varieties, to name two. Scientists have also been working for years on a universal influenza vaccine that would do away with the need for a yearly shot that only protects against some common strains.

Scientists have long complained that these efforts—particularly those geared toward coronaviruses—have been hampered by low funding and a lack of urgency. Now that may be changing. Over the last six months, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a notice of “special interest” calling for research labs to apply for funding to develop a universal coronavirus vaccine. Democrats have introduced legislation that would allocate a $1 billion investment for the project, and private foundations and public health officials have promised to contribute, too.

The scientific establishment, meanwhile, has been stepping up its lobbying efforts. In recent months, leading public health officials and scientists have penned editorials in leading scientific journals, including Nature and Science, and begun to make the case for a major investment. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, has used his platform to argue the case.

“I believe that we have the capability scientifically to develop one that really covers at least all of the SARS-CoV-2 mutations, but also the entire spectrum of the family of coronaviruses,” Fauci said at a public event in February. Then, referring to MERS, which killed about one-third of those who caught it, SARS1, which killed up to 10 percent of its victims, and COVID-19, which has so far caused more than 3 million deaths around the world, he warned: “We got hit with three in 18 years that have been either pandemic or pandemic potential, so shame on us if we don’t develop the universal coronavirus vaccine.”

Humans develop immunity to an invading virus when the body learns to recognize unique shapes formed by the proteins on the pathogen’s surface, and then starts producing cellular-level sentinels, known as antibodies, that seek out those specific shapes, glom on to them and keep them in check until other immune cells can arrive to destroy the pathogen they belong to.

Only certain parts of a pathogenic virus are visible to the immune system. Most viruses consist of a piece of genetic material wrapped in a protein and encased in a protective soap-bubble-like membrane. Protruding from this membrane is a grappling hook-like spike used to ensnare and hijack vulnerable host cells. These grappling hooks have distinct shapes, designed to allow them to fit into the protruding target proteins, and bind to them, like a key in a lock. These protruding parts of a virus used to attack the cells are also its Achilles heel

In the early 2010s, Graham, who oversees two dozen scientists focused on developing vaccines for a wide array of respiratory viruses at the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center, began collaborating with Mc- Lellan, then a post-doctoral researcher in the lab of Peter Kwong, to develop a vaccine that would target a deadly pathogen known as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). It was difficult to develop a vaccine against this virus, which caused a sometimes fatal respiratory condition in children, because the proteins it used to glom onto cells were capable of shape-shifting—engaging in what one structural biologist describes as a form of “crazy protein yoga” that made it difficult for antibodies to recognize them.

To combat this, McLellan and Graham developed a technique that allowed them to engineer synthetic versions of the grappling-hook-like proteins found on the surface of the respiratory syncytial virus. These synthetic proteins had a few carefully chosen changes to their genes that prevented them from bending and shape-shifting, effectively locking them into a single position so the body had a chance to develop strong antibodies against them. When Graham created a vaccine using the technique and injected it into macaque monkeys, it elicited among the most potent immune responses he had ever seen.

“The body will make antibodies against whatever shape you show it,” explains McLellan. “But you need to show it the right shape.”

Adds Graham: “We thought we already had potent monoclonal antibodies or neutralizing antibodies for RSV but these ones were 100 to 1000 times more potent.”

They two scientists published a paper detailing their success in 2013, showcasing their new technologies and how they could help usher in a new age in vaccine development that involves creating custom-made antibody recipes and turning them into vaccines that can be mass produced. The vaccine entered human Phase III clinical trials in late 2020, and results are expected next year.

By the time the RSV paper was published, Graham, McLellan and their collaborators had already begun modifying their approach to prepare for pandemics. When a virus capable of sparking a deadly new respiratory infection broke out in the Arabian Peninsula, called the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Graham and McLellan used their new technique to create a vaccine that attacked the spike-like proteins on the MERS virus. It was never approved for human use—MERS had died out before human trials could begin—but it later formed the basis for their work on the COVID-19 vaccine.

After the MERS outbreak, Graham also approached his boss, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is head of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about developing a blueprint for an arsenal of new tools to protect against future pandemics. His plan—which he officially unveiled in a paper published in the summer of 2019 titled a “Prototype Pathogen Approach for Pandemic Preparedness”— called for the NIH to develop vaccine prototypes and stockpile the materials needed to make them for at least one representative pathogen in each of the 26 viral families known to infect humans—including influenza and coronaviruses. By the time the paper came out, Graham had already begun a collaboration with Moderna to demonstrate the feasibility of a prototype vaccine for coronavirus.

Then the pandemic hit. When Chinese researchers published the genome of COVID-19 in early January, McLellan and Graham quickly pulled out their plans for the MERS vaccine and copied the genetic instructions used to stabilize the virus’ grappling-hook protein. Then they incorporated these spike-stiffening genetic tweaks into a vaccine they believed would work against COVID-19 and shipped it off to colleagues at Moderna and some other drug manufacturers. “We started all this before we had the first case in the United States,” Graham says.

Graham is hoping the success of the COVID-19 vaccine will create momentum to move ahead with a unified effort to develop prototype vaccines that protect against future pandemics. In the meantime, the battle to keep pace with the current virus, SARS- CoV-2, and prepare for new unrelated coronavirus pathogens has continued. The new tools of structural protein design continue to play a key role.

Last spring, McLellan published a second-generation version of his stabilized spike protein vaccine design which makes even more changes in the structure of the synthetic spikes that makes them even more immobile—and seems to create an even more potent immune response against the COVID-19 virus. The added potency makes it easier to manufacture using the existing infrastructure than developing nations rely upon to make annual flu vaccines, which could help solve the supply bottleneck that has many nations lagging behind the United States in vaccination efforts. Vietnam, Thailand, Brazil and Mexico all have launched clinical trials to test out the new techniques.

Meanwhile, western pharmaceutical companies manufacturing vaccines have begun exploring ways to ensure their existing COVID-19 immunizations are effective against newly emergent variants.

Andrea Carfi, head of infectious disease research at Moderna, says the company has been closely monitoring variants. “Among all the variants that we have looked at so far—the variant in California, the variant from New York, the variant from the UK and the South African variant—the one that raises most of the concerns is the one that was identified in South Africa,” he says. 

The South African variant is the one most likely to develop the ability to escape the immune protection of the initial vaccine, due to the way its genetic mutations change the shape of the spike proteins antibodies use to identify it. Moderna currently is testing three different approaches against it: one is to inject subjects with a third dose of the original vaccine in the hope of increasing the number of antibodies in circulation that will neutralize it; a second approach uses a vaccine based on a separate spike structure of South African variant designed to elicit antibodies against its unique shape; the third approach combines the old original vaccine with the South African variant.

In the long run, however, a universal coronavirus vaccine is perhaps the best way to protect against new strains, since it would also work against novel strains.

In his lab, McLellan has identified a portion of the spike protein that appears to be highly conserved in multiple coronaviruses. But he has only just begun experimenting with ways of creating a stable protein structure that will stay in one shape long enough to elicit the desired antibodies.

Researchers in other labs have also identified promising targets. In 2014, a pair of scientists at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh identified a portion of an enzyme present in all known human coronaviruses. Researchers at the University of Virginia have found a part of the SARS2 spike protein that appears to persist among many of the variants. A vaccine that targets this part was able to protect pigs from both COVID-19 and another coronavirus that gives pigs diarrhea. And researchers at the University of North Carolina, isolated antibodies in the blood of an individual who had survived SARS1 that appeared to offer protection against SARS2, suggesting molecules common to viruses.

One of the most clinically advanced efforts is being developed by VBI Vaccines Inc., a biotechnology firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In recent months it has received tens of millions of dollars in research grants to develop a mechanism of delivering custom-designed proteins to the immune system that closely resemble native pathogens. They are preparing to test new vaccines in humans that would protect against the South African variants and would only require one dose—human trials could begin later this year.

The company has demonstrated in mice that a single vaccine also in development using this technology can provoke an immune response against SARS2, SARS1 and MERS virus and had the added benefit of protecting against a coronavirus that is responsible for 42 percent of common colds. “If you think about those spike proteins as being the three primary colors, red, yellow and blue, we showed that exposing mice to them could also produce neutralizing antibodies of orange,” says Jeff Baxter, the company’s CEO.

At the NIH, meanwhile, Graham is also working to develop a pan or universal COVID vaccine. For the last five years, he has been collaborating with Neil King, a University of Washington structural protein biologist, who has developed a technique to make custom designed, self-assembling nanoparticles that resemble microscopic soccer balls. Instead of a mosaic of black and white pentagrams, however, their surface displays 20 different varieties of distinctly-shaped, spike-like proteins, which resemble those present on different varieties of coronaviruses. When introduced into the human body through a vaccine, the nanoparticles will hopefully train the immune system to recognize and attack all of the proteins in the mosaic, and many in between. King relies on computational techniques to determine which varieties are most likely to elicit a response that will work against viruses with different shapes on their spikes.

Prior to COVID-19, King and Graham had already begun testing one version in mice, complete with six different varieties of coronavirus spikes—one from SARS, MERS and four other common varieties. The hope is that any new varieties of novel coronaviruses to arise in the years ahead will prove sufficiently similar to at least one of the six different inoculated strains for the body to recognize them as dangerous and attack.

“If this approach works, we’ll have made a broadly protective coronavirus vaccine,” says King. “We’re going to get it. It’s just a matter of blood, sweat and tears. And money.”




14 May, 2021 

2.4 Million US College Students Face Vaccine Mandate, Immune or Not

More than 180 college and university campuses across the United States are requiring more than 2.4 million students to produce proof of vaccination against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus to attend in-person classes this fall, regardless of whether the students have acquired immunity to the virus.

The number of schools with a mandate is likely to grow by then, especially if the Food and Drug Administration grants full approval for one or more vaccines in the coming months. None of the schools currently accept acquired immunity as an exemption from the vaccination mandate, even amid evidence that prior infection results in broad and lasting protection from the virus, according to an Epoch Times review of more than 130 university vaccine mandate notices and immunization requirement pages.

Only a handful of the four dozen schools contacted for this article offered direct responses for why infection-conferred immunity isn’t being considered as an exemption. The vast majority responded by referencing their immunization exemption rules, which don’t address acquired immunity. When pressed for an answer, several schools said they couldn’t offer more information, while others said they are still finalizing their policies.

The few that responded pointed to guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which advises people to still be vaccinated because “experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.”

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

“BSU will not be offering exemption based on prior infection,” Dr. Christoper Frazer, executive director of the Wellness Center at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, told The Epoch Times.

“For students who have already had COVID-19, we are still requiring that they be vaccinated and recommend they talk to a doctor about when it is best to do so,” Daniel Telles, assistant director of media relations at the University of San Diego, told The Epoch Times in an email. “Even if members of our university community have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that they could again be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.”

“As the CDC suggests, data from clinical trials indicate that COVID-19 vaccines can be given safely to people with evidence of a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Therefore, Wesleyan University will require all students, even those who have tested positive for COVID-19, or who have had positive COVID-19 antibodies, to be vaccinated in order to enroll in fall semester classes,” Olivia Drake, the campus news editor for Wesleyan University, told The Epoch Times in an email.

According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, 95 percent of the people with prior COVID-19 infections had durable immunity to the CCP virus lasting up to eight months.

Preliminary data on vaccines suggest they offer a similar level of protection and durability. Pfizer and Moderna are already developing booster shots because the efficacy of their vaccines drops over time. Pfizer says efficacy diminishes to 91 percent from 95 percent in six months. The efficacy of the Moderna vaccine drops to 90 percent after six months, according to the company. Both vaccine makers foresee that an annual revaccination may be necessary.

Two Columbia University students who spoke to The Epoch Times on campus in New York took no issue with the school not providing an exemption for immune students. Both used similar reasoning to the CDC, saying that too much is still unknown about the virus.

“I think because there is so much that we don’t know there, it makes sense that that’s not enough for them,” said Courtney Treglia, a postgraduate student who plans to teach an in-person course in the fall.

“I think that’s a good thing to Columbia because we just don’t know all of the science behind it and at some point, the antibodies do go away, so it’s a good thing, generally,” said a male student, who asked to remain anonymous.

Some schools, including California State University, University of Northern Colorado, and the Southwestern Community College District, are still finalizing their vaccination policies and say they haven’t yet made a decision on how to treat students who request an exemption based on acquired immunity. Despite the discussions, the vaccine mandates on their websites don’t advise students that such exemptions are being considered and could become available.

Fort Lewis College, one of the few schools that spoke on the record about their approach to students with infection-conferred immunity, referenced guidance by the CDC, which states that reinfection is rare in the 90 days after the initial CCP virus infection but cautions that “the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity.”

The statement notably conflates the risk from COVID-19 facing non-immune people with the protection from acquired immunity. The apparent intent of the statement is to warn people who may be considering becoming infected and acquiring immunity as an alternative to getting a vaccine.

The CDC didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for clarification.

“Just like scientists don’t know how severe the COVID-19 illness will be for each person, scientists don’t know how long natural immunity lasts for each person. We are following CDC guidelines which state that regardless of whether individuals have been sick with and recovered from COVID-19, vaccination is recommended,” Lauren Savage, a media relations strategist at Fort Lewis, told The Epoch Times.

“For FLC students, the benefits of the vaccine include protection from severe illness and death, as well as the opportunity to get back to a normal college experience.”

In addition to lasting protection, acquired immunity to the CCP virus is effective against its variants, according to an NIH-funded study led by Dr. Anthony Fauci and published in late March. The immune system cells in people with acquired immunity “could recognize virtually all mutations in the variants studied” and “should offer protection against emerging variants.”

Another NIH-funded study, which hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed, found that COVID-19 patients had “broad-based immune memory response” eight months after being infected.

“Naturally acquired immunity is superior to anything this vaccine could deliver. So, any students who have been through infection and COVID-19 should be exempt from vaccination,” H.C. Tenenbaum, professor of laboratory medicine and pathobiology at the University of Toronto, told The Epoch Times.

“There’s a vast array of evidence in the scientific literature that shows definitively that if you’ve had COVID and recovered, the vast, vast majority of people have a durable immunity that it’s very unlikely that you’ll be reinfected and you’ll be protected from reinfection,” Jay Battacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, said during a roundtable discussion with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in March.

“Even if you do get reinfected at some later time, it’s very likely to be less severe than the first time. So, yeah, it’s just like the other coronaviruses; if you get infected, you get immunity and it lasts a while. Not forever, but it lasts a while.”

During the same roundtable, Sunetra Gupta, an infectious disease epidemiologist and a professor of theoretical epidemiology at the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford, noted the curious way in which some public health experts cling to the notion that it’s unknown whether there would be durable acquired immunity after an infection from the CCP virus.

“What do the scientists do under those circumstances? They look around to other viruses, and we had four others circulating, we still do, coronaviruses, to which we knew from the studies that had already been done, that you do get immunity in a very similar manner,” Gupta said. “You make antibodies … and that those do protect you, particularly from severe disease and death, forever. They don’t protect against reinfection, but they protect you against severe disease and death.”

Regardless of how long acquired immunity is shown to last, the NIH-funded studies suggest that students with acquired immunity who prefer to wait and see when it comes to getting vaccinated have the level of immune protection needed to do so.

One in four young adults ages 18 to 29 wants to “wait and see” before taking the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The data suggests that as many as 600,000 students could be forced to make a vaccination choice before this fall against their current preference and, if they have immunity, with no proven benefit to themselves or those around them.

To date, the risk of adverse negative effects from vaccines remains extremely low. The CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) has logged 4,178 deaths following a COVID-19 vaccination, although a review of the cases hasn’t established a causal relationship with vaccines. There have been 15 cases of severe blood clots which are believed to have been caused by the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.




13 May, 2021 

The Top 10 Absurdities Of The COVID Pandemic... So Far

President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party may be in denial, but the truth is unavoidable. For all intents and purposes, the COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged our country and our economy for fourteen months is over. As we prepare to close the book on the nightmare it has been, let’s pause for a moment with the Top Ten list for the Month of May to reflect on some of the most ridiculous aspects of the handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

#10 – One-way traffic rules in supermarket aisles –

At the beginning of the pandemic – when we were still making jokes about coronavirus and Corona beer – there was a lot of confusion. As the magnitude of COVID became clear, people were erring on the side of caution; fair enough. But over a year into this thing, we can still see signage in stores telling us which direction to push our carts. If anyone ever abided by these rules, it was only for a short while, and that was a long time ago. If you were one of those people who tried to scold me for going the wrong way down an aisle last June, to which I told you, “shut the hell up,” I’m still not sorry. Here’s a prediction: no one will bother to conduct a study on exactly how many lives were saved by one-way supermarket traffic. And if an accurate analysis does come along it will arrive at this conclusion: Zero.

It could’ve been sillier… they could’ve put in traffic lights

#9 – COVID is Trump’s fault –

Throughout the presidential campaign, the left and their media hammered away at this point. If Trump had acted properly, the pandemic never would have happened. Trump is responsible for every death. There are hundreds of thousands dead because of Trump. Somehow, a substantial portion of the electorate bought into the nonsense. It’s a virus, and a highly infectious one at that. Trump did what he could, and in fact initially received praise from just about every Democratic governor in the country. If anyone is to blame for COVID, it’s China and the World Health Organization. But perhaps nothing better illustrates the ridiculousness of this claim than when Joe Biden, less than a week after taking office, explained, “There’s nothing we can do” about the virus. Well, I’ll be darned.

“Remember all those times I said I was going to kick COVID’s ass? Well, I’m going back to my basement to hang out with Corn Pop now.”

#8 – Teachers can’t go back to work, but everyone else can –

From virtually the very beginning of the pandemic, it was clear that school-aged children were far less susceptible to infection and severe symptoms, and probably not vectors of transmission. Statistically, kids are the least in danger. But while the rest of us were back working in stores or driving trucks, and subjecting ourselves to genuine risks, teachers’ unions across the country continued to push the narrative that it’s too dangerous for teachers and kids to return to school. Like every other industry, at-risk kids and teachers could have been allowed to stay at home while the rest went back to normal. Instead, we inexplicably kept schools closed, gave students a significantly inferior education, and took away opportunities for social interactions that will never come again.

Finally parents became fed up with school closings, but far too many Americans nodded in agreement and played along

#7 – It was xenophobic for Trump to halt travel from China  –

The media would prefer that we all forget their accusations, but we mustn’t. They called President Trump “xenophobe in chief” for his actions, and Nancy Pelosi went to San Francisco’s Chinatown in February to tell everyone how safe things were. Trump had suspended travel from China at the end of January, and in retrospect the only legitimate criticism you could make of Trump is that he waited too long. But to categorize his actions as xenophobic was absurd from the beginning. The virus came from China, and that’s a fact; and it’s not racist or xenophobic to point it out or to act accordingly.

If your policies don’t work, just call the other guy (who happens to be married to an immigrant) a xenophobe

#6 – Fifteen days to slow the spread  –

The idea itself isn’t absurd at all, and in fact it originated with the Trump White House. We didn’t know the trajectory of the disease in mid-March 2020 when the initiative began; we didn’t want to overwhelm hospitals, and we needed to “flatten the curve.” It took closer to 30 days to reach the goal, but we succeeded, and we achieved those objectives. There wasn’t a location in the country where COVID patients couldn’t access care, and we indeed flattened the curve. What’s absurd is that the approach has continued for almost 400 days now in some places. Many states such as Texas, Florida and Mississippi have been essentially back to normal for months, but other states (mostly of the Blue variety) can’t bear to let go of that power, as lockdowns and mask-mandates continue.

Did we say 15 days? We meant to say 30… no, make that 90… no, no, we meant 400 days

#5 – President Joe Biden: “Help is on the way” –

The claim came in December before he took office, and much of the rhetoric was focused on the economic impact on COVID, but Biden repeatedly made assertions that he would “fix” the federal government’s handling of COVID. By the time Biden was inaugurated, there were already one million vaccinations occurring each day, and one of his first promises was to achieve 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days, which would have meant actually decreasing the trend graph for vaccines. Way to set the bar low, Joe. Essentially the only issue in which the Biden Administration has approached COVID differently from Trump is with their authoritarian fixation on masks. That’s it.

Rest easy America, Joe Biden is coming to save us

#4 – The response by The World Health Organization –
Prior to COVID, most Americans were only vaguely aware of the WHO and their efforts. If we heard, “The WHO,” we would immediately think of Roger Daltrey swinging his microphone and Pete Townshend smashing his guitar. Once we learned how they screwed the pooch with the early days of the pandemic, and of their coziness with China, everyone started paying attention. The virus likely originated at the lab in Wuhan – though probably unintentionally – and China thoroughly mishandled the initial infections. Once the virus began spreading, the WHO provided cover for the Chinese by downplaying the extent of the spread and China’s role in it. The organization which gets much of its funding from our tax dollars was in bed with China and covering up their incompetence. President Trump was absolutely correct in pulling our funding, and if Biden had an ounce of integrity he’d do the same thing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping pays a visit to his puppets at the World Health Organization

#3 – Blue states did it better –

The media spent the first six months of the pandemic essentially engaging in journalistic copulation with Democratic governors like New York’s Andrew Cuomo, while simultaneously vilifying and openly rooting against Republican governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis. DeSantis would “have blood on his hands” they told us, while concurrently paving the way for issuing an Emmy Award for Cuomo. In reality, the performances were the exact opposite of their narrative. Cuomo was dreadful in his handling of nursing homes in New York, and it was clear from the beginning he was covering up the results; a scandal which may eventually result in his removal from office. Meanwhile DeSantis was stellar in managing the virus in a state with the second oldest population in the country. The worst four states in the country for deaths-per-million are all blue states (#1 New Jersey, #2 New York, #3 Massachusetts, and #4 Rhode Island), and Florida is in the bottom half of that list and going lower. Democrats, unsurprisingly, were absolutely horrible in their handling of COVID, whereas Republicans did pretty well overall.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis  showed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo the proper way of handling the COVID crisis

#2 – Get the vaccine, but keep doing all of the other stuff  –

This is some of the most bizarre messaging we’ve ever seen. We were blessed with three miracles: the vaccines by Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J. All three are not only highly effective at stopping infections, with efficacies of between 75% and 94%, they’re almost 100% effective at preventing hospitalization and death in the unlikely scenario you are infected. So what did Biden and the Democrats do? They told everyone that even if you’re vaccinated you need to keep social distancing and keep wearing masks. Those communications begged the question: if I have to keep doing all that stuff, then why should I get the shots? None of it made any sense. If you get vaccinated: 1) it’s highly unlikely you’ll get infected, 2) you’re almost definitely not going to be hospitalized or die from it if you do, and 3) you will not be able to transmit the disease. In other words, if you get the vaccine you can go back to normal.

Democratic Party propaganda, brought to you by their sycophants in the media

#1 – Wear two masks  –

The beginning of the pandemic was chaotic, and it would have been understandable if Dr. Anthony Fauci had simply made a mistake when he told us we didn’t need masks. But it wasn’t a mistake. He lied to us and admitted doing so. Fauci justified his deceit by claiming concern that masks might not be available for health care professionals. Then Fauci decided to stop lying to us and told us to wear masks, but wouldn’t even follow his own directive. Fauci threw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals opening game last year, and forget that he threw the ball like a little girl; which, if anything, is insulting to little girls. He was wearing a mask despite the nearest person being sixty feet away. He then proceeded to sit in the stands directly next to a friend, at which point he removed his mask. Then late last year Fauci decided that it would be best if we wore two masks, without any evidence to support his notion. Like lockdowns, there’s still no evidence that mask-wearing had a significant impact on the pandemic. Dr. Fauci has zero credibility at this point, and if you’re following this recommendation by wearing two masks, then you are a moron.




12 May, 2021 

Professor Explains Flaw in Many Models Used for COVID-19 Lockdown Policies

Economics professor Doug Allen wanted to know why so many early models used to create COVID-19 lockdown policies turned out to be highly incorrect. What he found was that a great majority were based on false assumptions and “tended to over-estimate the benefits and under-estimate the costs.” He found it troubling that policies such as total lockdowns were based on those models.

“They were built on a set of assumptions. Those assumptions turned out to be really important, and the models are very sensitive to them, and they turn out to be false,” said Allen, the Burnaby Mountain Professor of Economics at Simon Fraser University, in an interview.

Allen says most of the early cost-benefit studies that he reviewed didn’t try to distinguish between mandated and voluntary changes in people’s behaviour in the face of a pandemic. Rather, they just assumed an exponential growth of cases of infection day after day until herd immunity is reached.

In a paper he published in April, in which he compiled his findings based on a review of over 80 papers on the effects of lockdowns around the world, Allen concluded that lockdowns may be one of “the greatest peacetime policy failures in Canada’s history.”

He says many of the studies early in the pandemic assumed that human behaviour changes only as a result of state-mandated intervention, such as the closing of schools and non-essential businesses, mask and social distancing orders, and restrictions on private social gatherings.

However, they didn’t take into consideration people’s voluntary behavioural changes in response to the virus threat, which have a major impact on evaluating the merits of a lockdown policy.

“Human beings make choices, and we respond to the environment that we’re in, [but] these early models did not take this into account,” Allen said. “If there’s a virus around, I don’t go to stores often. If I go to a store, I go to a store that doesn’t have me meeting so many people. If I do meet people, I tend to still stand my distance from them. You don’t need lockdowns to induce people to behave that way.”

Allen’s own cost-benefit analysis is based on the calculation of “life-years saved,” which determines “how many years of lost life will have been caused by the various harms of lockdowns versus how many years of lost life were saved by lockdowns.”

Based on his lost-life calculation, lockdown measures have caused 282 times more harm than benefit to Canadian society over the long term, or 282 times more life years lost than saved.

Furthermore, “The limited effectiveness of lockdowns explains why, after one year, the unconditional cumulative deaths per million, and the pattern of daily deaths per million, is not negatively correlated with the stringency of lockdown across countries,” writes Allen. In other words, in his assessment, heavy lockdowns do not meaningfully reduce the number of deaths in the areas where they are implemented, when compared to areas where lockdowns were not implemented or as stringent.

Today, some 14 months into the pandemic, many jurisdictions across Canada are still following the same policy trajectory outlined at the beginning of the pandemic. Allen attributes this to politics.

He says that politicians often take credit for having achieved a reduction in case numbers through their lockdown measures.

“I think it makes perfect sense why they do exactly what they did last year,” Allen said.

“If you were a politician, would you say, ‘We’re not going to lock down because it doesn’t make a difference, and we actually did the equivalent of killing 600,000 people this last year.’”

You wouldn’t, he said, because “the alternative is they [politicians] have to admit that they made a mistake, and they caused … multiple more loss of life years than they saved.”

Allen laments that media for the most part have carried only one side of the debate on COVID-19 restrictions and haven’t examined the other side. Adding to the concern, he says, is that views contrary to the official government response are often pulled from social media platforms.

He says he has heard that even his own published study has been censored by some social media sites.

“In some sense these are private platforms. They can do what they want. But on the other hand, I feel kind of sad that we live in the kind of a world where posing opposing opinions is either dismissed, ignored, or … name-called, [and] in some ways cancelled,” Allen said.


More job losses in the Biden era

BRADDOCK, Pennsylvania -- Exactly two years ago, U.S. Steel Corporation announced that the company would turn its Mon Valley Works operations into a key source of lightweight steel for the automotive industry.

At the time, local leaders and company officials called the investment "transformational."

It involved a whopping $1.5 billion upgrade to the three Mon Valley Works plants, all in Pennsylvania -- the Edgar Thomson Plant in Braddock, the Irvin Plant in West Mifflin and the Clairton Coke Works in Clairton -- with technology and improvements that would have resulted in cleaner air for all three communities as well as good-paying jobs providing regional prosperity for decades.

On April 30, U.S. Steel said that after months of tug of war with the Allegheny County Health Department, it was canceling the $1.5 billion upgrade and idling three batteries at Clairton Coke Works by 2023.

U.S. Steel said in a statement that a dragged-out delay from Allegheny County officials for permitting the project contributed to the decision, along with the new direction that the company is taking to focus on sustainability.

Allegheny County chief executive Rich Fitzgerald, a city Democrat, said he was "blindsided by the news."

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, also a Democrat, was simply devastated. "It is heartbreaking," said Fetterman, whose home is across the street from the sprawling 148-year-old Edgar Thomson Works that hugs the Monongahela River.

Local economic development forecasters estimate over 1,000 direct jobs will be lost, as well as countless supporting jobs that would have facilitated the buildout.

Jeff Nobers, the president of Pittsburgh Works, an economic group made up of officials in manufacturing, steel, energy and labor unions, said the unknown costs and future implications due to this decision are formidable and long-lasting. "We have to be thinking about what manufacturers who were looking to locate here are thinking," he said. "Do they look at the climate here and wonder if it is worth it? Well, that is a problem, too."

Local elected officials are of several minds on this project. Most of them were just hoping it would fly under the radar of the climate justice warriors and go up without notice. That was never going to happen. The rest fully backed its demise because of their views on climate change.

One exception has been Fetterman, the progressive populist Democrat who is seeking his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey in 2022. He was a vocal supporter of the project, which sometimes placed him at odds within his own party's ranks. His support created a strange alliance between him and Republican state lawmakers such as Allegheny County state Sen. Devlin Robinson and the state Senate majority leader, Kim Ward.

Ward said that although she does not agree with Fetterman on much, she sure does "on this one."

Robinson agreed. "The constant rhetoric attacking manufacturing in this country is going to impact jobs," he said. "That is not something to worry about in the future -- it is happening right in front of us."

Critics of the closure also point to the constant drumbeat coming from local environmental justice nonprofits and reporting organizations funded by elite, left-wing foundations such as the Heinz Endowments. These, they argue, are contributing to a hostile business climate.

The Edgar Thomson Steel Works, named after a Pennsylvania Railroad president, was built by Andrew Carnegie in the 1870s on the site of an old French and Indian War battlefield.

U.S. Steel also told its investors that it is reallocating capital to other places -- which means all of the work that was going to go here will likely go someplace where bureaucrats are less beholden to (or aligned with) environmentalists.

Fetterman calls the moment an opportunity lost: "We could have made the safest, greenest steel in the world right here in Braddock. We could have secured thousands of good-paying union jobs."

Now that opportunity is gone.

President Joe Biden said in his joint speech to Congress that there's no reason steel can't be continually manufactured in the United States, and in a safe and green way. Biden even riffed, "There's no reason the blades for wind turbines can't be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing."

"Well, that's what this investment was about," said Robinson. "This $1.5 billion was about making steel in a more environmentally friendly way. But the current environment right now is so hostile to manufacturing, manufacturers know making things in America is not a viable option. Especially not now, and especially not into the future, where they're going to see a return on their investment."

Manufacturers may have to relocate to places where there are no unions, or even outside the country. This makes hollow Biden's promise to protect union jobs and bring back manufacturing -- and it will be doubly hollow if he looks the other way when things like this happen.

This conflict between manufacturing and environmentalism is also going to place Biden at odds with both sides. Biden argues that a decarbonizing economy will create millions of jobs. Here, however, it meant zero jobs created and perhaps many destroyed.




11 May, 2021 

Here's How You Know Democrats Rigged and Stole the 2020 Election

By Wayne Allyn Root

Let me put this in terms even Democrats can understand.

Let's say a white police officer killed a black man who did nothing wrong. Unlike George Floyd, this man had not committed any crime, did not resist arrest, didn't have fentanyl in his system and had no record of violent crime. Assume this poor guy was a law-abiding, taxpaying, churchgoing American and that the cop killed him for the crime of "driving while black."

How do the police react? They say the shooting was righteous. They refuse to investigate. There is bodycam footage, but they refuse to release it. And get this: They refuse to allow anyone to even talk about it. If any cop talks about it, he loses his job. If anyone in the black community talks about it, social media will suspend them or ban them for life.

What would all of that mean to you? Guilty as charged, right? The police must be covering up a crime. No one who's innocent acts like that, right?

Guess what? That's equivalent to the reaction (or, should I say, overreaction) of liberals, Democrats and assorted socialists and communists when Republicans make accusations of massive voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

I thought we're all allowed to have our opinion in America. I thought we have free speech. I thought we have a right to investigate. I thought we have a right to see the videotapes. I thought we have a right to forensic audits.

I was wrong.

The fix is in. It's crystal clear to me now that not only was the election rigged but so is everything post-election. It's simple psychology. Just look at the absurd reaction, or overreaction, by Democrats.

Would anyone dare ban the right to discuss a possibly racist police killing? Can you imagine the reaction by liberals, black activists and the American Civil Liberties Union? What if the Minneapolis police were to permanently ban any discussion of George Floyd's death? What if every black American trying to give his or her opinion on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube were banned for life?

Who would react like that? Only guilty people.

Here are the questions I want answered.

— If Democrats didn't rig and steal the election, why are they so afraid of forensic audits in key battleground states, specifically the current audit in Arizona?

— When Trump was an 8-to-1 landslide favorite with bettors around the world late on election night and clearly headed toward a landslide electoral victory, why did five states suddenly announce they would pause counting for the night? And how come Biden was suddenly ahead by morning?

— How come Michigan apparently had a dump of 149,772 votes at 6:31 a.m. on Nov. 4, 96% of which went to Biden?

— How did Wisconsin count 149,520 votes for Biden from 3:26 to 3:44 a.m. on Nov. 4?

— How come Philadelphia vote counters were so desperate to keep witnesses out of the counting room? Why did they refuse entry to witnesses (to Republicans) until those witnesses had a court order in hand?

— Why were the windows in a vote-counting location in Detroit covered with cardboard so nobody (no Republican) could see inside?

— There are videotapes filmed in Detroit of vans pulling up in the middle of the night with what obviously look like boxes of ballots. In Atlanta, there are videotapes that clearly show ballot containers appearing at a vote-counting location after a fake water main break was used to force all GOP witnesses out of the counting room. Why can't we discuss these videotapes?

— How come Twitter banned me for life over mentioning these videotapes?

— How come the Arizona Senate's liaison for the vote audit says Maricopa County hasn't complied with the subpoena by turning over passwords to Dominion voting machines?

— How come the Biden DOJ suddenly wants to stop the Arizona audit?

These are all valid questions. Why do we get backlash for asking them and posting them on social media? What are Democrats hiding? What are they so afraid of?

In the end, that's the proof Democrats rigged and stole the 2020 presidential election. The truth is in their ridiculous, heavy-handed overreaction. They're desperate to stop you from looking into or even talking about this.

Democrats are guilty as sin.




10 May, 2021 

Conservatives Condemn Facebook’s Indefinite Suspension of Trump: ‘Un-American,’ ‘Dangerous,’ 'Obscene'

Conservative groups condemned Facebook Oversight Board’s decision Wednesday to continue to block former President Donald Trump’s Facebook page and Instagram account as “un-American” and an “obscene” abuse of power, pointing out that if it treated liberals like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) the same way, people would be outraged.

As reported, the Oversight Board said “it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension" of the former president’s account. 

The board called on Facebook to review its decision “to determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform.” The review must take place “within six months of the date of this decision.”

The decision was panned by conservative groups:

This is censorship, plain and simple. Facebook executives are simply attacking President Trump for political reasons as they work to prevent him from communicating with his supporters. Their claim that President Trump’s rhetoric contains ‘a serious risk of violence’ is laughable.  If Facebook were really concerned about that, they would have taken down Maxine Waters’ page – not to mention the Facebook pages of all the other Democrats who cheered on the violent riots of 2020.  Facebook is silencing our 45th President for purely political reasons.  Every American should be appalled by this ongoing attack on free speech.

Cancelling 'anti-Semitism'

by Jeff Jacoby

IT ISN'T OFTEN that a hyphen, or the absence of one, draws attention. But when the Associated Press announced recently that it was changing the spelling of "anti-Semite" and "anti-Semitism" in its highly influential style guide to "antisemite" and "antisemitism," it made news — and drew cheers from historians and civil rights activists.
There is a good deal of history behind that detail of punctuation, and it begins with the fact that the father of "anti-Semitism" was an antisemite.

In 1879, a German nationalist and political agitator named Wilhelm Marr published a pamphlet in which he claimed that Jews were the mortal enemy of the German people and called for their forcible removal from German soil. His document, Der Weg zum Siege des Germanenthums über das Judenthum ("The Road to Victory for Germanness over Jewishness"), argued that Jews posed a particularly dangerous threat not simply because of their religion or behavior, but because they belonged to an alien racial group — the "Semites." Marr wanted a word that would imbue his loathing of Jews with the ring of sophistication, so rather than speak of primitive Jew-hatred (judenhass), he promoted the pseudoscientific term antisemitismus — enmity toward the Semitic race. But there was never any doubt about the meaning of his neologism. Antisemitismus — which became antisémitisme in French and antisemitismo in Spanish — meant only one thing: hatred of Jews. And when Marr founded a new political organization, the League of Antisemites (Antisemiten-Liga), it had only one purpose: to ignite anti-Jewish bigotry into a political movement.

When the term entered the English language in 1893, however, it became "anti-Semitism." That is how it has typically been spelled ever since.

But as scholars have long pointed out with consternation, that hyphen and upper-case "S" were a mistake. There is no such thing as Semitism or a Semitic race. "Semitic" is a term in linguistics; it denotes a family of North African and Middle Eastern languages, including Akkadian, Amharic, Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, and Ugaritic. But people who speak those languages are not "Semites" anymore than people who speak one of the Romance languages — Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and Catalan — are "Romantics."

German agitator Wilhelm Marr launched a political movement founded on anti-Jewish bigotry — and popularized the term "antisemitism" as a synonym for Jew-hatred.

Like countless Jew-haters through the ages, Marr made no secret of his animosity, but wanted to cloak it in respectability. So he gave it a name, "antisemitism," that didn't actually mention Jews — not unlike the way racists and nativists a century ago sanitized their bigotry by calling it "eugenics." It was unfortunate that Marr's euphemism came into common usage at all, but the orthography it acquired in English made matters worse. The hyphen, by explicitly turning "anti" into a prefix, encouraged the falsehood that the word adopted by Marr and his followers referred to hostility toward "Semitism" and "Semites."

That is why scholars and Jewish institutions have argued for decades that the word should be "antisemitism" — with no hyphen or upper-case "S," as in every other language. "Why do I spell antisemitism without a hyphen?" asked Emory University historian Deborah Lipstadt, whose highly regarded book Antisemitism Here and Now was published in 2019. "Because antisemitism is not hatred of Semitism or Semites — people who speak Semitic languages. Antisemitism is Jew hatred."

Without the hyphen, it becomes easier to recognize "antisemitism" for what it has always been: a generic, undivided word for the hatred of Jews. Obviously it doesn't change the etymology of the word or eliminate Marr's racist motive in using it, but it no longer legitimizes it, either.

A change in punctuation will not undo what has often been called the oldest hatred, or even slow its alarming global rise. But it will at least help to clarify, as the Anti-Defamation League observes, that "hatred toward Jews, both today and in the past, goes beyond any false perception of a Jewish race." Jews can be found across the racial spectrum, even as they can be found in every economic stratum and in every political party. Jews are not united by a single religious identity, a single national affiliation, a single DNA sequence, or even a single definition of what it means to be a Jew.

The only thing all Jews can be said to have in common is that they belong to a minuscule people with an ancient history, and that there have always been those prepared to revile them, for reasons as inconsistent as they are irrational. The AP Stylebook change is admittedly a tiny thing. But it will weaken, at the margins, the racial pretext that has animated far too many Jew-haters, both in Marr's era and in ours. There will always be antisemitism, alas. But "anti-Semitism" has at long last been cancelled, and that is a change to be welcomed.


What’s Behind Masks in Cars and Other COVID-19 Insanity

If you wanted to teach a class on how to cause confusion and distrust, you would follow the U.S. government’s coronavirus playbook.

A lot has been written about the historically low levels of trust Americans have in their leaders and institutions. There’s been less analysis on what happens when a government has no faith in its own citizens.

We are seeing the results today. From the start of the pandemic, health authorities have chosen gamesmanship over honesty.

That has resulted in muddled and inconsistent messaging from national leaders. The end result is a broken country of citizens at one another’s throats.

Mask fights, deboarding flights, and, of course, the crazy people driving around alone in their cars with masks on all stem, at least in part, from a government that has refused to treat Americans like adults who could handle the truth.

It’s important to note that the government has done a lot of good things in response to COVID-19. In the area of vaccine development, we have done more, faster than any other large country.

The combination of heavy government subsidies and an innovative free market system produced strong, reliable vaccines at a record pace. We crushed efforts by China, Russia, and others to fight COVID-19 with medical innovations.

That is why America is ahead of Europe and most of the world. We should celebrate the much-maligned pharmaceutical industry and the administrations of both President Donald Trump, whose Operation Warp Speed was a historic achievement, and President Joe Biden, who helped quicken the vaccine distribution.

Outside of medical innovation, however, the government’s response has been marked by a failed communications plan that shows extreme distrust of the American people.

The government famously began its COVID-19 communications with a lie about masks. Despite what some of the fever swampers may tell you, masks work. That’s why doctors wear them around sick people. They aren’t perfect, of course, but they do help.

Numerous high-ranking officials took part in the lie that masks aren’t effective, including Dr. Anthony Fauci. They defend the lie now by noting, correctly, that we needed to conserve as many masks as we could for health care workers who truly needed them.

Fair enough, but there was another option that our leaders didn’t seem to consider; namely, tell the truth.

They could have told the American people that it’s going to require some sacrifice and that we need to come together as a society to fight this contagious disease.

They could have told everyone that the first step of the fight is saving the professionally made masks and other protective equipment for the first responders.

As part of that message, they could have reminded people that the young and healthy probably weren’t in extreme danger—something we already knew, even then. There will always be people on the margins who won’t cooperate, but I would bet most Americans would have rallied around such an honest message.

After lying about the masks, the government lied about lockdowns. Remember when this all started and we were told to lock down briefly in order to “flatten the curve”?

In many states, that turned into extended lockdowns that destroyed American businesses and families. Why? Couldn’t people have managed to safely go about some semblance of life while taking some prudent precautions? Our government never gave them the chance. 

We have known for months that wearing masks outside when walking or running is just silly. The air dissipates quickly, and the research shows these fleeting encounters with others aren’t responsible for much disease transmission.

The risk is tiny, yet in many places, outdoor mask mandates were the norm. Now, for those who have been vaccinated, the risk is negligible.

Yet it took awhile after vaccinations were available for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to change its outdoor mask guidance, and leaders are still not able to send a consistent message.

Did you see the picture of Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband kissing each other outdoors with their masks on? What message are they trying to send with that insanity?

Intentions aside, people are getting two messages.

The first is that the truly responsible people are still wearing their masks, so we all should. That has likely caused more conflict on America’s streets than any other government communications foible.

The second message is the vaccine doesn’t seem to help much. If the vaccines work as well as our officials claim, why are they all still running around outside with their masks on? It’s a reasonable question, yet it’s one that all these smart people don’t seem to have considered.

The biggest and most destructive part of the government’s dishonesty is school closures. The kids should be back in school.

The scientists have agreed for a long time now that the risks to in-class learning are manageable. On this one, the dishonesty is of a slightly more sinister variety. Just look at which politicians are making excuses for the school closures and where all the teachers unions’ political donations go.

All the dishonesty and gamesmanship from top national leaders comes with huge downsides. The next time the government has something important to say—about vaccines, for instance—people will be less likely to believe it.




9 May, 2021   

Death by cop in Britain

<i>This would provoke a huge reaction in America but not so much in Britain, where the police are held in better esteem

As is often the case in such matters, judgment depends on the rightness of what a police officer did in one fraught moment.

  The cop obviously was frightened by the appearance of a large, aggressive and apparently insane  black immediately before him and acted to ensure that the black could not harm anybody.  

Whether the actions he took were "excessive" is very hard to say and could only be safely decided by someone else who was there.  

The cop should therefore be given the benefit of the doubt.  We should probably be grateful to him for the actions he took to safeguard the community</i>

A female police officer has been accused of colluding with her Pc boyfriend to lie about how he kicked ex-Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson in the moments before his death.

Pc Benjamin Monk Tasered Atkinson for 33 seconds before kicking him twice in the head as he lay stunned on the ground, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

His girlfriend and colleague Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, was accused of colluding with her boyfriend in not telling the truth about the kicks.

Alexandra Healy QC for the prosecution told the court: “That Pc Bettley-Smith appears to have colluded in not telling the truth about the kicks to the head, is indicative of the two officers having discussed between themselves how best to account for their unlawful attack on the unarmed Dalian Atkinson.”

The Crown have accused Pc Monk of changing his story because he knew he couldn’t justify his actions, and the jury heard how Pc Bettley-Smith's account was largely the same as her colleague's.

Ms Healy told the jury: “Delivering two forceful kicks to Dalian Atkinson’s head cannot have been an act in reasonable self-defence.

“It is difficult to see how a kick to the head could ever be a reasonable act taken to prevent Dalian Atkinson from getting up. It is impossible to see how two kicks could be.

“The fact that PC Monk claimed in his first interview to have kicked Dalian Atkinson only once to the left shoulder area, when the evidence of what other officers heard him say at the scene shows that he knew full well that he had kicked him in the head, demonstrates that he himself is only too aware that those kicks could not be justified.”

The court previously heard how Pc Monk kicked Atkinson so hard he left the imprints of his laces on the ex-footballer's forehead.

In the view of three prosecution pathologists, it is likely the kicks knocked Atkinson unconscious and that "the prolonged period of Tasering and the kicks to his head made a significant contribution to his death".

Patrick Gibbs QC, defending Pc Monk, told the court it was "not in dispute that he must have kicked Dalian Atkinson twice in the head".

"That’s the only explanation for the marks on his forehead," he said, telling the jury his client "he did it because he had to".

Mr Gibbs also said: "Everyone agrees for those first five minutes, Pc Monk and Pc Bettley-Smith acted lawfully. But they’re then accused of acting unlawfully in the 6th minute. Another thing is whether that distinction is either realistic or fair."

The court heard how a "frightened" Pc Monk had told his girlfriend to run away from Atkinson as he threatened to "take you to the gates of hell". He was in a relationship with his West Mercia Police colleague Pc Mary Bettley-Smith, 31, at the time and both were responding to a 999 call in Meadow Close, Telford.

The female officer, who was 26 at the time of the incident, was still on her probation period having only become a police constable in 2015. Both were interviewed under caution in 2016, when Pc Monk said he told his partner to run because he was fearful for himself and his girlfriend. Pc Monk described how on approaching Dalian Atkinson's father's house in Meadow Close, Telford, he was aware of a “very, very loud row” taking place within the property.

Alexandra Healy for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told the jury: "Monk explained that Mr Atkinson appeared at the doorway of the house in an obvious rage and said, 'This is the Messiah'.

"He said he produced the Taser, but Dalian Atkinson - but he didn’t know at the time that this was Dalian Atkinson - was apparently unconcerned, saying, 'I am going to take you to the gates of hell'.

"Pc Monk was, he said, fearful for himself, his partner and whoever was in 22 Meadow Close. “And the partner was his partner and colleague at the time but also they were in a relationship.”

The first attempt at Tasering Atkinson failed, and at that point he told Pc Bettley-Smith "to run", the court heard.

The first witness called in the trial was Atkinson's girlfriend Karen Wright, and she told the jury her boyfriend had a premonition that the police would kill him in the weeks leading up to his death.

Karen Wright told Birmingham Crown Court that on the day before he died, Atkinson had told her: “You’ll see when I’m dead. I’m the Messiah.”

Miss Wright told the court: “I’d not heard him say that before. It was unusual. “He was quite convinced he was going to be killed or he wasn’t going to be with us any more.”

Asked if he had told her previously who he thought might kill him, Miss Wright said that her boyfriend said “the NHS or the police will kill me”.

Miss Healy QC for the prosecution told Birmingham Crown Court that the cause of death was "effectively, cardiorespiratory arrest close in time to the deployment of the Taser and followed by restraint and blunt forced trauma in a person who had two serious illnesses - heart and kidney disease".

Pc Monk denies murder and the alternative charge of manslaughter while Pc Bettley-Smith denies assault. The trial continues.


Britons were black 'before these isles were British', says BBC children's show

<i>Exceptionally stupid propaganda

The only evidence for this claim is just one skeleton. Skeletons don't have skin colour.  And even if they did there would be no evidence that the  skeleton concerned is typical</i>

The special bank holiday edition of the BBC’s Horrible Histories children series will be dedicated to Britain’s ‘black history’ after the show’s creators said they felt the need to “reevaluate” the nation’s ethnic history in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and the tearing down of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol. 

The Telegraph reports that the long-running comedy/history series, adapted from Terry Deary’s beloved kids books have already probed Britain’s racial history with a punchy take on colonialism, but has decided to go further with a special edition.

The opening sketch to illustrate Britain had a black population “from the start” features Hadrian’s Wall being manned by African troops in the 3rd Century AD.

However, auxiliary (foreign) troops serving in Britannia would have come from North Africa, and would not have been black. For one thing, the empire beyond Rome, where most Roman soldiers came from, did not stretch into sub-Saharan Africa. And Romans were a racist bunch too. Roman chronicle, The Historia Augusta notes Emperor Septimius Severus was ‘disgusted’ when offered a black slave to sacrifice.

Winding back further, the episode explores pre-historic Britain’s dark-skinned people going back 10,000 years, “before these isles were British”. The Cheddar Man acts as a reference point and is thought not to have been white. Other topics include: Dark Age churchmen, Tudor servants, the Sons Of Africa abolitionist group, and soldiers during the Second World War.

“We take our lead from what we think our young audience will want to know, what’s on their minds, and what they’re hearing about,” said Richard Bradly, Horrible Histories’ creative lead.  

“When we started out we had no idea of the responsibility we would end up having. There is an onus on us to get it right.”

The CBBC show had previously tackled the Civil Rights Movement, but Bradley wanted to “go deeper”. He insists Britain has “always been a country with many races and ethnicities” and added that the decision to make a special black history edition was promoted by the “express demand” of teachers.

He added: “We take our lead from what we think our young audience will want to know, what’s on their minds, and what they’re hearing about.

“When we started out we had no idea of the responsibility we would end up having. There is an onus on us to get it right.”

Horrible Histories came in for a shellacking for its earlier crack at presenting British History from a woke perspective. A song on colonialism described sugar, tea and cotton as “British things” that actually came “from abroad” and were “frankly stolen”. Somehow, Queen Victoria was listed as one of these commodities.

Bradley took a bold line of defence, comparing his pandering programming to British comedy classics.  

“Horrible Histories is one of the most British of things,” he said. “It’s in the tradition of Blackadder and Monty Python. And going back to 1066 And All That. We engage with our history and we laugh at our history.”

The creators may laugh, but will anyone else?


Is America racist? Kamala Harris and Tim Scott say no

by Jeff Jacoby

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the first black senator elected from the Deep South since Reconstruction, was chosen to deliver the Republican response to President Biden's address to Congress.

LAST WEEK, from opposite ends of the political spectrum, two of America's most prominent Black elected officials affirmed that the United States is not a racist nation.

The first was Senator Tim Scott, the conservative South Carolina Republican who delivered the GOP response to President Biden's address to Congress on Wednesday.

"Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country," Scott said. He acknowledged that racial bigotry has not been eradicated — indeed, he said, he has himself "experienced the pain of discrimination." But he insisted that race not be deployed as "a political weapon" and that "it's wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present."

On Thursday morning, Vice President Kamala Harris, a liberal Democrat and until recently a California senator, agreed with her former colleague.

Asked during an ABC interview to comment on Scott's remarks, Harris answered clearly. "Well, first of all, no, I don't think America is a racist country," she said. "But we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today."

Her answer was noteworthy. It came as Scott was being savaged on the left for rejecting the idea that America is fundamentally racist. In progressive strongholds — the press, academia, much of social media, and what Howard Dean memorably called "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" — the hard-wired racism of America is taken as a self-evident truth. When Scott repudiated that claim, Twitter erupted with so much liberal mockery and venom that the racial slur #UncleTim became a trending hashtag.

Nonetheless, Harris made a point of seconding Scott's motion. President Biden did the same on Friday. "I don't think America is racist," he said on NBC's Today show, "but I think the overhang from all of the Jim Crow and before that, slavery, have had a cost and we have to deal with it."

Harris, Biden, and Scott are right: While America used to be a society in which racism was entrenched by habit and enforced by law, and while it still contains people who spew racial bigotry, this is no longer a racist country. Until fairly recently, that would not have been a controversial proposition. For the first decade and a half of the 21st century, according to Gallup, large majorities of adults consistently said that relations between white and Black Americans were good.

The president and vice president agree that America, for all its racial flaws and grievous history, is not a racist country. Our national conversation about race remains contentious, but it just got a little better.




4 May, 2021 

What we know about the Indian B.1.617 variant of coronavirus

India has recorded the world's sharpest spike in coronavirus infections this month, with political and financial capitals New Delhi and Mumbai running out of hospital beds, oxygen and medicines.

Scientists are studying what led to an unexpected surge, and particularly whether a variant of the novel coronavirus first detected in India is to blame.

The variant, named B.1.617, has raised global concern after being reported in some 17 countries including Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the United States, Singapore and Fiji.

Here's what we know about it:

How does the B.1.617 variant differ from regular COVID-19?

The B.1.617 variant contains two key mutations to the outer spike portion of the virus, referred to as E484Q and L452R.

Both are separately found in many other coronavirus variants, but this is the first time they have been reported together.

Virologist Shahid Jameel explained that a "double mutation in key areas of the virus's spike protein may increase these risks and allow the virus to escape the immune system".

The spike protein is the part of the virus that it uses to penetrate human cells.

The WHO has described it as a "variant of interest", along with other strains with known risks, such as those first detected in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa, signifying a higher threat level.

Why India's crisis might be much worse than you imagined

Are variants driving the surge in cases? It's hard to say.

The WHO says more study is urgently needed. Laboratory-based studies of limited sample size suggested potential increased transmissibility, it concluded.

The picture is complicated because the highly transmissible B.117 variant first detected in the UK is behind spikes in some parts of India. In New Delhi, UK variant cases almost doubled during the second half of March.

The Indian variant, though, is widely present in Maharashtra, the country's hardest-hit state.

Prominent US disease modeller Chris Murray, from the University of Washington, said the sheer magnitude of infections in India in a short period of time suggested an "escape variant" may be overpowering any prior immunity from natural infections in those populations.

"That makes it most likely it's B.1.617," he said.

But gene sequencing data in India is sparse, and many cases are also being driven by the UK and South African variants.

Are vaccines effective against it?

White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said earlier this week that preliminary evidence from lab studies suggested Covaxin, a vaccine developed in India, appeared capable of neutralizing the variant.

Public Health England said it was working with international partners but that there was currently no evidence that the Indian variant and two related variants caused more severe disease or rendered the vaccines currently deployed less effective.


China's bid to woo the world with vaccines is backfiring: surge of Covid cases in Chile etc

Chile used a Chinese vaccine in one of the world's fastest vaccination drives, but then saw a strange surge in Covid cases. In the UAE, some recipients had to be given a third injection after two were found to deliver insufficient immunity.

Other nations have been left infuriated by supply failures. Turkey's president rebuked China's foreign minister over shortfalls that forced the closure of vaccination sites, and now cases have exploded.

In Mexico, delays have forced the postponement of second doses.

This weekend, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is weighing up available data to decide whether to give emergency use listing to two key Chinese vaccines, a safety endorsement that guides regulatory agencies around the world.

The move comes amid concerns over the lack of peer-reviewed studies and published data on clinical trials of the vaccines, unlike those developed by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson that have received a WHO listing.

'We don't have a lot of clarity about them, which is very unusual,' says Peter English, a British expert on vaccines and communicable diseases, who is concerned about the wide range of results from countries using Chinese vaccines.

Chong Ja Ian, professor of political science at the National University of Singapore, told the Washington Post his government had accepted a Chinese vaccine to avoid giving offence to Beijing but could not approve use given its limited data. 'Singapore has options, unlike some of the countries which have received [the Chinese vaccine] Sinovac,' he added.

There are two main Chinese vaccines being sent around the world. The first to be reviewed by WHO is made by Sinopharm, a huge state-owned firm that claimed 79 per cent efficacy – impressive but significantly lower than jabs made by Western or Russian rivals.

Another by Sinovac, which has distributed more than 260 million doses worldwide, varied in trials from 50.7 per cent efficacy in Brazil – marginally above the 50 per cent threshold deemed acceptable for use – to more than 83 per cent in Turkey. The results of an earlier trial were even worse: the jab was estimated to be just 49.6 per cent effective against symptomatic cases, a figure that dropped to 35 per cent when asymptomatic Covid infections were included.

Studies in Chile found alarmingly low levels of protection after the first shot, with one reporting a single dose to be only three per cent effective, while a second found it was 16 per cent effective, rising to 67 per cent after the second shot.

These figures, along with the arrival of more virulent strains and a relaxation of rules, might help to explain why Chile's hospitals were overwhelmed with patients as cases rose to record levels last month, despite an impressively fast vaccine rollout. Chile has vaccinated more than four in ten citizens, not far behind British and Israeli rates – yet its confirmed fatality rate from Covid is 16 times higher than the UK, with ten times more cases.

Such figures are a shattering blow to China's efforts to promote its pharmaceutical industry, which has been plagued by scandals and low trust within its own borders, as well as setting back global efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

'This suggests Chinese vaccine science is not as advanced as in other areas,' said Nikolai Petrovsky, a vaccine developer and professor of medicine at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia.

Prof Petrovsky said China was relying largely on older technologies that use inactivated viruses mixed with aluminium-based compounds, called adjuvants, that stimulate human immune systems. This well-established process is similar to how vaccines have been made for a century, but it is harder to ensure quality control and eliminate variability when inactivated viruses are rushed into mass production, compared with modern genetic techniques being harnessed by the West.

'Unless Chinese firms can improve standards and provide data to show consistent effectiveness, their vaccines are likely to be used only by desperate countries where any vaccine may be attractive, particularly if provided for free,' said Prof Petrovsky.

Last week, the EU warned that China's vaccine diplomacy is backed by 'disinformation and manipulation efforts to undermine trust in Western-made vaccines'. 'Russia and China are using state-controlled media, networks of proxy media outlets and social media to achieve these goals.'


Welcome to the promised land

by Jeff Jacoby

FOR IMMIGRANTS who come to America from a dictatorship or a theocracy, writes Roya Hakakian, "the hardest task of all" is figuring out "how to go about the business of living." A question that never even occurs to native-born Americans — "How do free people live?" — is one that immigrants from all but the most privileged backgrounds must grapple with.

Having entered the United States as a refugee from Iran in 1985, Hakakian knows firsthand how disorienting freedom can be to those who grew up without it.

"What is the shape of a day," she asks in A Beginner's Guide to America, her compelling and insightful portrait of the immigrant experience, "that is not fitted between the hours of official curfew or electricity outage? What is a night without fear? What is one that does not end at sundown because bars, discos, music, dancing, and gambling are not banned?" In the old country, it took all of one's mental and emotional energy to resist the government's oppression. In America, she tells newcomers who are going through what she once went through, the challenges are of a very different sort — not the least of which is getting used to a society in which freedom is taken for granted and the pursuit of happiness is a national ambition.

There is no shortage of books about immigration policy, immigration's history, or the economic and social effects of immigration. But "A Beginner's Guide to America" is something different. Written in the form of a manual for new immigrants, it is intended as a window for US-born natives on what the process of Americanization feels like to those going through it.

Hakakian, who came to the United States speaking no English, is today an accomplished essayist, poet, journalist, and human rights activist. She doesn't sugar-coat America's failings and imperfections, and her book notes candidly the strain of anti-immigrant hostility that has always existed here. Yet love and gratitude for her adopted country far outweigh the disappointments. However mean or obnoxious the nativists, she writes, "America remains the pioneer, however imperfectly, in accepting immigrants."

From the moment a newcomer arrives in America, signs of that acceptance are everywhere. At the airport, for example, "pinned on the ... chest pockets of the officers guiding everyone are name tags — 'Sanchez,' 'McWilliams,' 'Cho,' 'Al-Hamed' — and, by God, all of them are Americans!" This ethnic diversity is "the surest sign of America," Hakakian exults. "In the monochrome life you just left behind, such a motley human landscape would have been unthinkable."

Again and again, Hakakian calls attention to such seemingly unremarkable details, infusing them with insight into the American character.

Streets, she observes, are named for trees, birds, or natural features — not, as is common elsewhere, for "old wars and bygone enmities." There may be the occasional Washington Boulevard or Franklin Street, but no avenue or public square proclaims the glory of glowering ayatollahs or all-powerful despots.

Meaningful, too, is something else that to Americans is perfectly humdrum: Purchases can be returned for a refund.

This evokes disbelief in many immigrants, Hakakian says, since it would have been unthinkable in their native land. Yet it should evoke their joy and even patriotism as well, for "the exercise of returning goods is the surest sign of America's greatness to them." The right to get a refund demonstrates that the ordinary consumer is "formidable" here. More than that, she writes, it is evidence that in America, "anything is possible because a one-time decision need not be destiny."

Like foreign-born observers going back to Alexis de Tocqueville, Hakakian marvels at America's extraordinary culture of charity and volunteerism. "Americans do not help because you are one of them," she writes. "They help because that is what they do." They clean up beaches and register voters, coach Little League and support unknown artists, raise funds in a walkathon and serve meals at the homeless shelter. Hakakian describes America as a "land of strangers" who "bond through shared love."

Above all, perhaps, America is the "great equalizer," the land where "you can get to know the bogeyman of your past." Here, the detested or feared "other" of one's homeland — the Jew, the Pakistani, the Hutu, the Arab — is simply a fellow citizen. In America, someone an immigrant would once have shunned is the doctor who treats her illness or the mechanic who fixes her car. As foreigners become American, old bigotries fade away.

Lyrical and perceptive, A Beginner's Guide to America is an immigrant's love letter to the nation that took her in, and a timely reminder of what millions of human beings endure when they uproot their lives to become Americans by choice.




2 May, 2021 

The risks of getting a J&J shot: What you need to know

In weighing all their options on Friday, federal regulators made the decision to lift their suspension of the use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for a simple reason: It might just save your life.

That’s true even for women aged 18-49. So far, 13 of 15 reported cases of rare blood clotting and low platelets among J&J shot recipients have occurred among that demographic, and regulators believe that it is likely that the vaccine is associated with the condition. Three have died and seven have been hospitalized, with four in intensive care. The remaining five have been discharged.

Connecticut has resumed offering J&J to residents in addition to the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines that have been available to residents since the beginning of the year. With 136,000 J&J doses in reserve and a number of walk-up clinics opening in coming days, residents will have more ways to get the single-shot option.

But will they? Or will the “pause” have scared away people that could benefit from it the most?

“Oftentimes people kind of overread the relative risks,” said Josh Geballe, the state’s chief operating officer, at a press conference on Monday. “So there was a little bit of initial apprehension. I think it will take some time to see how that plays out.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration “have full confidence that this vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older,” FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock said during a press conference Friday night. The agencies chose not to limit the use of the vaccine by age or gender but to add a warning label for young women.

Here’s a walkthrough of the numbers behind the FDA’s decision — and what they mean. There are two parts to determining whether to take the J&J vaccine: Understanding the implications of making a decision, and understanding the implications of inaction in the face of the morbidity and mortality dangers posed by COVID-19.

What are the risks of getting the J&J vaccine?

Based on available data, the risk varies based on demographic characteristics. Reported cases have largely clustered by gender, although one man developed the condition in a Johnson & Johnson clinical trial. Among the 15 women, “the age ranged from 18 to 59, with a median age of 37,” said Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC during a press conference Friday night. These cases include the six that were initially reported; in addition, the CDC “broadened our case definition to make sure we were capturing all of the possible cases,” she said.

Part of the rationale behind the pause was also to help physicians understand how to treat the condition; the CDC specifically discouraged the use of heparin, a common blood thinner, when it put the pause into effect. “Of the additional cases that were reported to the CDC, none of them received heparin, likely improving their outcome and demonstrating that our systems worked,” Walensky said.

On Friday, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices discussed additional updates on the management of the condition, including recommending other anti-coagulants and cautioning against platelet infusion. Current guidance also recommends a course of treatment with immunoglobulins “that appears to reverse this process in, at least, a number of people who received it,” said Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA, during a press conference Friday night.

What are the benefits of getting the J&J vaccine for you?

While the risk of complications may vary by age and gender, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has shown to be effective at preventing illness across demographic groups, FDA data show. In the J&J trials, efficacy was measured in the relative reduction of the risk of contracting COVID-19 and was found to be 72%.

The efficacy rate is widely misunderstood to mean that people still have a 30% chance of contracting COVID after vaccination with J&J. This would only be true if infection rates were so high that everyone without protection was guaranteed to get sick with COVID-19, which isn’t the case. The true risk of contracting the virus after vaccination is much lower, depending on present rates of community transmission. Whatever the present risk of getting infected, it would reduce by 72% on average post-J&J vaccination.

But these rates don’t take into account the most serious outcome of contracting COVID-19: death. In the clinical trial, none of the J&J recipients died; 16 in the placebo group did.

The data also show that 28 days after vaccination, none of the J&J recipients required medical intervention, which was defined separately from severe COVID. Five people in the placebo group did, however.

What are the consequences for you of not getting vaccinated at all?

If vaccination carries risks, the decision not to get vaccinated carries greater risks.

The CDC’s Advisory Panel on Immunization Practices considered the chances of being hospitalized and dying of COVID against any risk posed by the vaccine and concluded that the vaccine was beneficial on balance for individuals of all demographics under consideration.

What are your other options?

Connecticut continues to receive the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, both of which use different biotechnology — based on mRNA — than the J&J, which is an adenovirus vaccine. The CDC has not identified any cases of these rare blood clots and low platelet counts among recipients of either; 5.2 million doses have been administered in the United States so far, per the CDC. Five potential cases of the rare clotting were identified but without the low platelet count observed in the case of the J&J vaccine.

“Individuals with questions about which vaccine is right for them should discuss their options with a medical provider,” Woodcock said.

Why are the CDC and FDA making this your decision?

Unlike some European regulators in the case of another adenovirus vaccine, the CDC and FDA did not limit the use of the J&J but chose instead to add a warning label.

Modeling shows that limiting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to individuals above 50 would have severely reduced the vaccine’s ability to prevent hospitalizations and deaths nationally in all transmission scenarios. Vaccination is as much about a community as it is about an individual; vaccines have been proven to be effective at reducing transmission of the disease in addition to conferring immunity upon their recipients. The estimates look at direct and indirect benefits of vaccination with J&J over a six-month period in the United States.

Population-level modeling aside, the CDC also wanted to be sensitive to the fact that “some people want a one-and-done. Some people will not have access to another vaccine in the near future, and I think that this risk trade-off is one that people have to individually measure for themselves,” Walensky said.

The public should take heart in the fact that the CDC was able to identify rare clots, act on the knowledge quickly and conduct “rational risk-benefit analysis, which was done in the open,” said Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health. “This should be reassuring to people.”


The best vaccination strategy is simple: Focus on Americans 65 and older

Now that covid-19 vaccines are increasingly becoming available to people beyond health-care workers and those in long-term care, the question turns to who should be immunized next. For many people, the answer is essential workers. But while many workers face an elevated risk and should receive a vaccine soon, we believe the most ethically justified path forward is to focus on individuals 65 and older.

The primary reason to prioritize people in this age group is simple: They account for more than 80 percent of covid-19 deaths, even though they are only about 16 percent of the population. This disproportionate toll is why the Biden administration’s vaccine plan encourages states to expand vaccine eligibility to those who are 65 and older.

But while many places — such as D.C., New York and Florida — are converging on a 65-and-older strategy, whether seniors qualify for vaccination largely depends on where they live. In New Mexico and Connecticut, you need to be at least 75 years old. In Colorado and Nevada, 70 is old enough. And in Hawaii and Virginia, older adults must compete with many other people for the same limited vaccine supply, including essential workers.


Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler Gets Mugged by Reality

Antifa, that figment of right-wing fever dreams, may have finally found a believer in hard-left Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

You remember antifa. It’s the black-clad, Portland-based anarchist mob that New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler famously dismissed as “a myth that’s being spread only in Washington, DC.”

A “myth,” Jerry? Try telling that to Ted Wheeler.

As The Wall Street Journal editorial board reports, “A well-known politician on Friday denounced ‘self-described anarchists who engage in regular criminal destruction’ and want to ‘burn,’ ‘bash’ and ‘intimidate.’ He called for ‘higher bail’ and ‘tougher pretrial restrictions’ on rioters. And he pleaded with the public to cooperate with police and identify miscreants: ‘Our job is to unmask them, arrest them, and prosecute them.’ Donald Trump? Sheriff Arpaio? Nope. That was Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler, the über-progressive, who made a national reputation last year by apologizing for vandals and rioters he said were merely exercising their right to protest against an unjust America.”

All this is a humiliating flip-flop for the guy who enabled antifa to engage in a nearly year-long orgy of nonstop rioting, and the guy who last June vowed to defund his city’s police force. As The Oregonian’s Everton Bailey Jr. reported at the time, “Wheeler pledged the city will divert $12 million from the police bureau and other city departments to directly support communities of color, defund three police units including the gun violence reduction team and ban officers from using chokeholds as part of plans to reform the Portland Police Bureau.”

Wheeler, who’s also — get this — the city’s police commissioner, said, “My privilege as a white man, my privilege as the mayor and the leader of the institutions of power in this community I believe shielded me from time to time from the many difficult and uncomfortable truths about our history and about our society.”

Clearly, that mea culpa wasn’t good enough for antifa. Nor, we think, was it properly directed. Wheeler seemed to be trying to atone to the city’s black residents for his white privilege, but last time we checked, antifa was as lily-white as Wheeler.

In any case, as the Journal reports, unbridled antifa rioters “shot fireworks at law enforcement, firebombed government buildings, and set fire to cop cars and a police union hall” — all while the milquetoast mayor carried on like a modern-day Neville Chamberlain.

And now, he’s crying uncle. Yep, the guy who slashed $27 million from the city’s 2021 police funding, the guy who called Donald Trump’s decision to send in federal forces to quell the rioting last July “an attack on our democracy,” has finally been mugged by reality. He’s now begging for the citizens of Portland to start ratting out that mob he’s been trying to appease these many months.

As The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti reports, “Wheeler extended a city-wide state of emergency and begged for Portland residents to assist law enforcement in ‘unmasking’ and identifying members of the ‘self-described anarchist mob’ that have rioted through the city nearly every night since last May.”

Wheeler, it seems, has learned a valuable lesson in human nature: Weakness is provocative. Better late than never.

And who knows? Maybe Wheeler’s wisdom will wind its way north to Seattle, where the people clearly want law and order, and where feckless Mayor Jenny Durkan seems to be holding out hope for that Summer of Love.




1 May, 2021 

Lawyer for Ashli Babbitt’s family announces major lawsuit   

<i>Shooter was an African-American</i>

It has been months since the tragic death of Ashlu Babbitt and still, no one is being held accountable for her death in the so-called Capitol riots. After the Justice Department decided that there was no case and dropped all charges against the police officer involved in the shooting the Babbitt family has been understandably upset. Now, they are taking matters into their own hands and suing the Capitol Police Force.

“The family and I were disappointed in the Department of Justice’s decision on this, but my role is really to bring a civil action and in that way, vindicate her rights,” attorney Terry Roberts told Newsmax.

Roberts said the “clearly, the officer a required willfullness … he could clearly see that she was not armed” and thus the shooting was not justified, contending that the officer did not give Babbitt warning despite ample time to do so.

“This is a situation in which the officer could have easily arrested her if he had grounds to arrest her without using deadly force,” Roberts said. “This was an egregious act of excessive force.”

Of course, it was excessive force, and to make matters even worse was that the other officers in the vicinity stood by watching know that Babbitt was in mortal danger.

As mentioned earlier, the Biden Department of Justice dropped all charges related to an unidentified Capitol police officer’s shooting of Ashli Babbitt. The attorney for Ashli Babbitt spoke out against the decision in a statement.

“The shooting of Ashli Babbitt on January 6, 2021, by an unidentified U.S. Capitol Police Officer was an unjustified use of deadly force which violated her constitutional rights,” attorney Terrell N. Roberts III said.

“It is clear from video footage that Ashli did not pose a danger to the officer, or any other person when she was shot. Ashli was unarmed. She did not assault anyone. She did not threaten to harm anyone. There was no excuse for taking her life,” he added.

“It is a universal law enforcement standard that a police officer should use no more force than necessary to accomplish a lawful purpose,” Roberts continued. “At 5? 2? tall and 110 pounds, an arrest of Ashli could have been accomplished by a single trained officer with a set of handcuffs. At the time of the shooting, there were over a half-dozen police officers in close proximity to the Speaker’s door where Ashli was standing.”

“Some of those officers had just allowed protesters access to the door by stepping aside,” he added. “Other officers, dressed in full tactical gear, stood among the protesters just a few feet behind the door. Still, others stood casually at the opposite end of the Speaker’s Lobby, unconcerned with the activities of Ashli and the protesters around her.”

Here is more from Trending Politics:

Babbitt’s lawyer presents an essential question that needs to be answered to fully grasp the circumstances surrounding her death. The officers allowed agitators to orchestrate a breach of the inner chamber, and let Babbitt crawl through a window, without actively intervening. Along with the Capitol Police effectively issuing a “stand down” order, and the National Guard’s unjustifiably low profile, the police’s behavior only adds to the mysterious circumstances of the January 6th event.

“All of these officers were in a position to have aided in the apprehension of Ashli if it was necessary,” Roberts said. “Given her background as a 14-year veteran of the Air Force, it is likely that Ashli would have complied with simple verbal commands, thereby making the use of any force unnecessary.”

“However, the officer who shot Ashli never attempted to arrest her,” the attorney continued. “Nor did he call on his fellow officers to arrest her. Instead, he fired a shot into her chest.”

“Witnesses confirm that the officer did not give Ashli a single verbal warning prior to firing,” Roberts added. “In fact, Ashli was not even aware that the officer was present, as he was located in the doorway of a room off to the side of her field of vision.”

Ashli Babbitt was captured on video being shot by an unknown Capitol Police officer on January 6th.

In the video, an agitator named Zachary Alam backs the crowd up and smashes the window with a black helmet he is given by an accomplice. Babbitt crawls through the window, unarmed, but is shot by an unidentified police officer.

The unnamed capitol officer held aloft .40-caliber Glock handgun and pointed it at Babbitt, while Sullivan shouts repeatedly that “there is a gun.” The officer shoots her after about 15 seconds, while police officers look on without intervening.

The New York Times reported more information about the unidentified shooter in January, who called him a “lieutenant” and a “veteran officer.” He was not charged for excessive force or for negligence after shooting the unarmed woman.

In an interview with the Epoch Times, Masako Ganaha performs as “analysis of the Ashli Babbitt shooting.” If you haven’t watched the analysis yet, it raises even more questions about the death of Ashli Babbitt.

As far as the unidentified police officer is concerned, he is reportedly in hiding due to alleged threats made against his life.

“More than six weeks after Babbitt succumbed to a single gunshot wound to the upper chest, authorities are keeping secret the identity of the officer who fired the fatal round,” Real Clear Investigations’ Paul Sperry noted. “They won’t release his name, and the major news media aren’t clamoring for it, in stark contrast to other high-profile police shootings of unarmed civilians.”

“The officer who opened fire on Babbitt holds the rank of lieutenant and is a longtime veteran of the force who worked protective detail in the Speaker’s Lobby, a highly restricted area behind the House chamber, sources say,” Sperry notes. “An African-American, he was put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation led by the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia, which shares jurisdiction with the Capitol Police. The Justice Department is also involved in the inquiry.”

Ashli Babbitt’s attorney commented on the police officer at the heart of the closed case.

“To date, the officer who shot Ashli has not been identified,” Roberts said. “Neither the Capitol Police nor any other governmental authority has given an account of the facts surrounding the shooting. There has been no official explanation or justification for the use of lethal force in this matter.”

“This lack of transparency impedes the public scrutiny which is necessary to hold government officials accountable in a free society,” the statement added. “It also interferes with the ability of Ashli’s family to obtain justice for their loss.”

The family’s lawyer closed the statement with a plea for justice and transparency.

“My law firm and I represent Ashli’s husband and family members,” Roberts said. “We will continue to investigate this matter. We intend to take appropriate legal action when our investigation has been completed. We call upon the Capitol Police as well as the United States Congress to make public the facts and circumstances of Ashli’s shooting.”


Why do people experience side effects from COVID-19 vaccines?

When we get vaccinated for COVID-19, we often experience some side effects. The reason that we get side effects is that our immune system is revving up and reacting. When you get sick, the same thing happens. Actually, a lot of the symptoms from illnesses that we get, like influenza and COVID-19, are actually not caused by the direct action of the virus, but rather by our immune system. Our bodies react, and that gives us these general symptoms like fever, achiness and headache.

Why are some people more likely to experience side effects after the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine?

When you take two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, the first dose is the first time for your body to see the spike protein that the COVID-19 vaccines produce, and your body begins to develop an immune response. But that happens slowly. Then when you come back with a second dose, your body is ready to attack it. Your body is primed by that first dose of vaccine. The second vaccine dose goes into your body, starts to make that spike protein, and your antibodies jump on it and rev up your immune system response. It's kind of like they've studied for the test. And it's acing the test.

How long could symptoms or side effects of COVID-19 vaccination last?

The vaccine side effects that we've seen in these large phase three trials resolve within about 72 hours of taking a COVID-19 vaccine. At most, those side effects can last up to a week. We really have not seen long-term side effects from COVID-19 vaccines beyond that, and that makes sense when you look at other vaccines. And we have a lot of experience with different vaccines. Long-term side effects are just basically unheard of in the vaccine world.

So with two months of follow-up data in people undergoing those clinical trials, and now even longer follow-up from the trials and our experience giving vaccines to the public, we really are not seeing any trend toward any long-term side effects.


Single dose of Covid vaccine can nearly halve transmission of virus, study finds

A single dose of a Covid-19 vaccine can slash transmission of the virus by up to half, according to a Public Health England study.

The PHE finding offers further hope that the pandemic can be brought under control as it indicates that vaccinated people are far less likely to pass the virus on to others.

The study found that people given a single dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines – and who became infected at least three weeks later – were between 38% and 49% less likely to pass the virus on to people living in their homes, compared with those who were unvaccinated.

Protection was seen from about 14 days after vaccination, with similar levels regardless of a person’s age. Other studies have already shown that both vaccines are highly effective at stopping people getting sick and ending up in hospital.

Experts will now assess whether two doses of vaccine can cut transmission of the virus even further, and more work is being carried out on transmission in the general population.




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

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Most pictures that I use in the body of the blog should stay up throughout the year. But how long they stay up after that is uncertain. At the end of every year therefore I intend to put up a collection of all pictures used 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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