Wednesday, December 01, 2021



South African centre of the Omicron variant shows increase in hospitalisations

Figures emerging from the epicentre of South Africa’s Covid outbreak show a staggering rise in hospitalisations that indicate the new Omicron variant may not be as mild as hoped.

Covid cases in the City of Tshwane, a municipality that encompasses one of South Africa’s capitals Pretoria, in the Gauteng province, now account for more than half of the country’s infections.

Known for being a centre of academic excellence and home to a number of universities and foreign embassies, Tshwane has been thrown into turmoil by the emergence of the new Omicron variant.

The new strain was first detected in specimens collected in Gauteng on November 12 and it now dominates Covid infections in the area, accounting for about 76 per cent of genomically sequenced samples, although the numbers of samples are low.

Omicron now seems to have spread around the world and led to many countries closing their borders, including Australia. The World Health Organisation has declared it a variant of concern.

While much is still unknown about Omicron, it seems to be more infectious than the Delta strain, which may be due to a large number of mutations that could also make it harder to control with current vaccines.

There is hope though that the variant could induce a milder form of the disease, although this is yet to be proven.

Experts have cautioned about “misinformation” that Omicron is “mild”. Respected United States epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding said it was “nonsense” and the theory was based on an “out-of-context quote”.

South African doctor Angelique Coetzee, who first alerted authorities about a possible variant, told The Telegraph in the United Kingdom that many of the patients she had seen had mild symptoms.

However, what was not as widely reported is that she was talking about a specific group of young, healthy patients. In the same article she also voiced concern about more severe illness in older people.

Hospitalisations in Gauteng now appear to be on the rise. Across the province, the number of hospital admissions increased by 330 per cent over two weeks from 135 cases in the week ending Saturday, November 13, to 580 cases last week, figures from South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) show.

The total number of Covid cases also increased dramatically in Tshwane from 547 on Thursday, November 25, to 1204 cases on Monday, November 29, the Mayor Randall Williams said in a statement. Tshwane’s cases made up more than half of the 2273 cases recorded across South Africa on Monday.

Dr Feigl-Ding said even if Omicron was milder than Delta, the fact that it spread easier or could evade vaccines would still make it more dangerous. “Exponentially more cases is still exponentially more hospitalisation & deaths!” he tweeted.

Concerningly, children under the age of two years old made up about 10 per cent of hospital admissions in Tshwane, although this may be because parents were more likely to take babies to hospital just in case, Bloomberg reported.

“People are more likely to admit children as a precaution because if you treat them at home, something can go wrong – especially very young children because there is a higher proportion of death,” Dr Waasila Jassat from the NICD is quoted as saying.

According to The National, Dr Jassat said indications so far were that Omicron was not more severe than other strains. She said most of the eight people who died in the two weeks from November 14 to 28 were aged 60 to 69 years old.

Only 1.5 per cent of the children younger than four died and there were no deaths among those aged between five and 19 years old. “It doesn’t look at the moment like there is any increase in severity, but it is early,” she said.

It takes about two weeks for the rate of hospital admissions to reflect any increase in Covid cases and any rise in death rates will take even longer to emerge.

South Africa has very low vaccination rates with only 42 per cent of the population aged over 18 years old double dosed.

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The New COVID Drugs Are a Bigger Deal Than People Realize

In infectious diseases, control of a pathogen means reducing its impact even if it remains endemic in the world. Fortunately, the United States is poised to authorize two oral antivirals: molnupiravir and Paxlovid. The former is the generic name of a drug made by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics; the latter is the trade name of a drug combination made by Pfizer. Both come in pill form, and a five-day treatment course of each will provide certain patients with significant benefits.

These miraculous drugs arrived with minimal fanfare but represent the biggest advance yet in treating patients already infected with COVID-19. The supply of vaccines in the U.S. has exceeded demand for some time, and authorities recently widened eligibility to include children as young as 5, but uptake is not universal. Millions of Americans have decided, for a variety of reasons, not to get shots, while many more around the globe have yet to be offered a vaccine. And although the vaccines have remained amazingly effective against severe disease, some patients, especially those who are older or immunocompromised, remain at risk of hospitalization if they get a breakthrough infection.

The widespread use of oral treatments for influenza hints at the value of COVID drugs that can be provided in an outpatient setting and reduce the severity of symptoms for unvaccinated and vaccinated patients alike.

Molnupiravir and Paxlovid are particularly exciting because antivirals that effectively target viruses at specific points in their life cycle are the “holy grail” of viral therapeutics—as past experience with other viruses has shown.

Infection with HIV was fatal for nearly all patients until antivirals were developed against enzymes crucial to viral replication and researchers figured out how to combine those drugs to maximize their effectiveness and limit the emergence of resistant viral strains. These changes revolutionized HIV treatment, massively improving the prognosis for people who had access to antivirals. Instead of developing severe illness, treated patients could live healthily and expect normal life spans.

The development of these highly active oral antivirals for HIV infection took a decade and a half after the disease first came to light; the incredible progress in COVID-19 therapeutics took 18 months. Intriguingly, the COVID-19-treatment research borrowed many ideas from the HIV field; the two new COVID-19 drugs focus on similar pathways in the viral life cycle that HIV drugs target. In essence, these drugs prevent the target virus from reproducing itself.

Because they work differently from the majority of COVID-19 vaccines, which teach the immune system to identify and attack the coronavirus’s characteristic spike protein, the antivirals remain effective against mutant variants whose spike proteins are harder for immune cells to recognize. Designing, manufacturing, and distributing vaccines updated for new variants will take time, so the availability of antivirals will be all the more essential.

The rapid development of vaccines against COVID-19—something that doesn’t yet exist for HIV—has overshadowed the progress on treatments. And yet, the need and public demand for effective medications are evident. Doctors and patients have sought out potential oral COVID-19 treatments, including drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, that did not prove effective in clinical trials. But researchers needed to keep working on the question, because COVID-19 will be with us for the long haul. Although health experts agree that preventing a disease is better than treating its symptoms, not everyone will get vaccinated. People who become infected are worthy of compassion and care, regardless of the circumstances of their infection, and medical treatments that shorten the period of viral transmission and keep unvaccinated COVID-19 patients out of hospital beds will protect everyone.

The COVID-19 treatments that have shown some effectiveness up to this point have significant drawbacks. Remdesivir is an intravenous antiviral used for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. But by the time a patient is admitted, the virus may already have caused considerable damage, and viral replication may have stopped. An intravenous drug has far less power to affect the trajectory of the pandemic than affordable, effective, and short courses of oral pills do.

Until now, the only outpatient therapeutic for COVID-19 has been monoclonal antibody treatments, which are effective in preventing severe disease in high-risk patients. But they are expensive and require intravenous infusion or subcutaneous injection, and health-care providers must monitor their administration closely.

Although molnupiravir—which is named after the Norse god Thor’s hammer, Mj√∂lnir—was being tested for the treatment of the Ebola virus, researchers had not settled upon a purpose for the drug before SARS-CoV-2 arrived on the scene. Early studies of molnupiravir showed that its recipients cleared the coronavirus more rapidly than recipients of a placebo did. The drug did not help patients who were already hospitalized, but in outpatients with mild to moderate disease who had a high vulnerability to severe disease, it reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 30 percent if given within five days of developing symptoms.

The drug proved so beneficial that the clinical study was called off early. Merck applied for emergency-use authorization, and the FDA is expected to review the drug this week. Merck has promised to share its technology with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), which will allow for more affordable global access to molnupiravir.

Paxlovid, a formula developed largely from scratch for the current pandemic, is actually an RNA-virus protease inhibitor called PF-07321332 “boosted” with another drug called ritonavir. It too was the subject of a clinical trial that was stopped early because the treatment looked so effective. Outpatients who had both COVID-19 and medical conditions that put them at high risk of severe illness were 89 percent less likely to be hospitalized if they received Paxlovid twice daily for five days than if they got a placebo.

The FDA will likely review this important therapeutic before the end of the year. The U.S. government has bought millions of courses of molnupiravir and Paxlovid for Americans in anticipation of the authorization of both. Moreover, Pfizer has promised to accelerate worldwide access to Paxlovid through an agreement with MPP.

The importance of these two highly anticipated outpatient antivirals for COVID-19 cannot be overstated. Both medications were studied in unvaccinated individuals, of which the U.S. and other countries around the world have many. For the vaccinated, “breakthrough” infections are generally mild, but they can lead to time out of work and require cutting back contact with others. Not only should rapid treatment with one of these two antivirals shorten symptoms in breakthrough infections (as is the case with influenza), but bringing down the viral load quickly by inhibiting viral replication should limit transmission.

Further study of the new COVID-19 drugs is under way for potential use in lower-risk individuals and as preventive medications. The development of HIV antivirals also led to the development of “post-exposure prophylaxis,” a strategy in which people who have come in contact with that virus take antivirals to avoid becoming HIV-positive. The new COVID drugs have at least the potential to provide a similar benefit.

Moreover, the development of these two antivirals is spurring research on other COVID-19-specific antivirals. So despite the arrival of Omicron, we still have grounds for optimism.

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Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021


A President Betrayed by Bureaucrats: Scott Atlas Exposes The Real COVID Disaster

I was always surprised that almost all countries adopted the Chinese Communist approach to dealing with the virus: Sweeping lockdowns. As it was mainly the elderly who were dying, it seemed to me that they alone should have been the focus of government action.

But the Leftist establishment have always been sympathetic to Communism so it is no surprise that it was the Communist example that was automatically assumed to be best. The article below shows just how rigid and resitant to evidence the establishment were in gleefuly grabbing their opportunity to control everyone


Jeffrey Tucker

I’m a voracious reader of Covid books but nothing could have prepared me for Scott Atlas’s A Plague Upon Our House, a full and mind-blowing account of the famed scientist’s personal experience with the Covid era and a luridly detailed account of his time at the White House. The book is hot fire, from page one to the last, and will permanently affect your view of not only this pandemic and the policy response but also the workings of public health in general.

Atlas’s book has exposed a scandal for the ages.

It is enormously valuable because it fully blows up what seems to be an emerging fake story involving a supposedly Covid-denying president who did nothing vs. heroic scientists in the White House who urged compulsory mitigating measures consistent with prevailing scientific opinion. Not one word of that is true. Atlas’s book, I hope, makes it impossible to tell such tall tales without embarrassment.

Anyone who tells you this fictional story (including Deborah Birx) deserves to have this highly credible treatise tossed in his direction. The book is about the war between real science (and genuine public health), with Atlas as the voice for reason both before and during his time in the White House, vs. the enactment of brutal policies that never stood any chance of controlling the virus while causing tremendous damage to the people, to human liberty, to children in particular, but also to billions of people around the world.

For the reader, the author is our proxy, a reasonable and blunt man trapped in a world of lies, duplicity, backstabbing, opportunism, and fake science. He did his best but could not prevail against a powerful machine that cares nothing for facts, much less outcomes.

If you have heretofore believed that science drives pandemic public policy, this book will shock you. Atlas’s recounting of the unbearably poor thinking on the part of government-based “infectious disease experts” will make your jaw drop (thinking, for example, of Birx’s off-the-cuff theorizing about the relationship between masking and controlling case spreads).

Throughout the book, Atlas points to the enormous cost of the machinery of lockdowns, the preferred method of Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx: missed cancer screenings, missed surgeries, nearly two years of educational losses, bankrupted small business, depression and drug overdoses, overall citizen demoralization, violations of religious freedom, all while public health massively neglected the actual at-risk population in long-term care facilities. Essentially, they were willing to dismantle everything we called civilization in the name of bludgeoning one pathogen without regard to the consequences.

The fake science of population-wide “models” drove policy instead of following the known information about risk profiles.

“The one unusual feature of this virus was the fact that children had an extraordinarily low risk,” writes Atlas.

“Yet this positive and reassuring news was never emphasized. Instead, with total disregard of the evidence of selective risk consistent with other respiratory viruses, public health officials recommended draconian isolation of everyone.”

“Restrictions on liberty were also destructive by inflaming class distinctions with their differential impact,” he writes, “exposing essential workers, sacrificing low-income families and kids, destroying single-parent homes, and eviscerating small businesses, while at the same time large companies were bailed out, elites worked from home with barely an interruption, and the ultra-rich got richer, leveraging their bully pulpit to demonize and cancel those who challenged their preferred policy options.”

In the midst of continued chaos, in August 2020, Atlas was called by Trump to help, not as a political appointee, not as a PR man for Trump, not as a DC fixer but as the only person who in nearly a year of unfolding catastrophe had a health-policy focus. He made it clear from the outset that he would only say what he believed to be true; Trump agreed that this was precisely what he wanted and needed. Trump got an earful and gradually came around to a more rational view than that which caused him to wreck the American economy and society with his own hands and against his own instincts.

In Task Force meetings, Atlas was the only person who showed up with studies and on-the-ground information as opposed to mere charts of infections easily downloadable from popular websites.

“A bigger surprise was that Fauci did not present scientific research on the pandemic to the group that I witnessed. Likewise, I never heard him speak about his own critical analysis of any published research studies. This was stunning to me. Aside from intermittent status updates about clinical trial enrollments, Fauci served the Task Force by offering an occasional comment or update on vaccine trial participant totals, mostly when the VP would turn to him and ask.”

When Atlas spoke up, it was almost always to contradict Fauci/Birx but he received no backing during meetings, only to have many people in attendance later congratulate him for speaking out. Still, he did, by virtue of private meetings, have a convert in Trump himself, but by then it was too late: not even Trump could prevail against the wicked machine he had permissioned into operation.

It’s a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington story but applied to matters of public health.

From the outset of this disease panic, policy came to be dictated by two government bureaucrats (Fauci and Birx) who, for some reason, were confident in their control over media, bureaucracies, and White House messaging, despite every attempt by the president, Atlas, and a few others to get them to pay attention to the actual science about which Fauci/Birx knew and care little.

When Atlas would raise doubts about Birx, Jared Kushner would repeatedly assure him that “she is 100% MAGA.”

Yet we know for certain that this is not true. We know from a different book on the subject that she only took the position with the anticipation that Trump would lose the presidency in the November election.

That’s hardly a surprise; it’s the bias expected from a career bureaucrat working for a deep-state institution.

Fortunately, we now have this book to set the record straight. It gives every reader an inside look at the workings of a system that wrecked our lives. If the book finally declines to offer an explanation for the hell that was visited upon us – every day we still ask the question why? – it does provide an accounting of the who, when, where, and what. Tragically, too many scientists, media figures, and intellectuals in general went along. Atlas’s account shows exactly what they signed up to defend, and it’s not pretty.

The cliche that kept coming to mind as I read is “breath of fresh air.” That metaphor describes the book perfectly: blessed relief from relentless propaganda. Imagine yourself trapped in an elevator with stultifying air in a building that is on fire and the smoke gradually seeps in from above. Someone is in there with you and he keeps assuring you that everything is fine, when it is obviously not.

That’s a pretty good description of how I felt from March 12, 2020 and onward. That was the day that President Trump spoke to the nation and announced that there would be no more travel from Europe. The tone in his voice was spooky. It was obvious that more was coming. He had clearly fallen sway to extremely bad advice, perhaps he was willing to push lockdowns as a plan to deal with a respiratory virus that was already widespread in the US from perhaps 5 to 6 months earlier.

It was the day that the darkness descended. A day later (March 13), the HHS distributed its lockdown plans for the nation. That weekend, Trump met for many hours with Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and only a few others. He came around to the idea of shutting down the American economy for two weeks. He presided over the calamitous March 16, 2020, press conference, at which Trump promised to beat the virus through general lockdowns.

Of course he had no power to do that directly but he could urge it to happen, all under the completely delusional promise that doing so would solve the virus problem. Two weeks later, the same gang persuaded him to extend the lockdowns.

Trump went along with the advice because it was the only advice he was fed at the time. They made it appear that the only choice that Trump had – if he wanted to beat the virus – was to wage war on his own policies that were pushing for a stronger, healthier economy. After surviving two impeachment attempts, and beating back years of hate from a nearly united media afflicted by severe derangement syndrome, Trump was finally hornswoggled.

Atlas writes:

“On this highly important criterion of presidential management—taking responsibility to fully take charge of policy coming from the White House—I believe the president made a massive error in judgment. Against his own gut feeling, he delegated authority to medical bureaucrats, and then he failed to correct that mistake.”

The truly tragic fact that both Republicans and Democrats do not want spoken about is that this whole calamity is that did indeed begin with Trump’s decision. On this point, Atlas writes:

Yes, the president initially had gone along with the lockdowns proposed by Fauci and Birx, the “fifteen days to slow the spread,” even though he had serious misgivings. But I still believe the reason that he kept repeating his one question—“Do you agree with the initial shutdown?”—whenever he asked questions about the pandemic was precisely because he still had misgivings about it.

Large parts of the narrative are devoted to explaining precisely how and to what extent Trump had been betrayed. “They had convinced him to do exactly the opposite of what he would naturally do in any other circumstance,” Atlas writes, that is

“to disregard his own common sense and allow grossly incorrect policy advice to prevail…. This president, widely known for his signature “You’re fired!” declaration, was misled by his closest political intimates. All for fear of what was inevitable anyway—skewering from an already hostile media. And on top of that tragic misjudgment, the election was lost anyway. So much for political strategists.”

There are so many valuable parts to the story that I cannot possibly recount them all. The language is brilliant, e.g. he calls the media “the most despicable group of unprincipled liars one could ever imagine.” He proves that assertion in page after page of shocking lies and distortions, mostly driven by political goals.

I was particularly struck by his chapter on testing, mainly because that whole racket mystified me throughout. From the outset, the CDC bungled the testing part of the pandemic story, attempting to keep the tests and process centralized in DC at the very time when the entire nation was in panic. Once that was finally fixed, months too late, mass and indiscriminate PCR testing became the desiderata of success within the White House. The problem was not just with the testing method:

“Fragments of dead virus hang around and can generate a positive test for many weeks or months, even though one is not generally contagious after two weeks. Moreover, PCR is extremely sensitive. It detects minute quantities of virus that do not transmit infection…. Even the New York Times wrote in August that 90 percent or more of positive PCR tests falsely implied that someone was contagious. Sadly, during my entire time at the White House, this crucial fact would never even be addressed by anyone other than me at the Task Force meetings, let alone because for any public recommendation, even after I distributed data proving this critical point.”

The other problem is the wide assumption that more testing (however inaccurate) of whomever, whenever was always better. This model of maximizing tests seemed like a leftover from the HIV/AIDS crisis in which tracing was mostly useless in practice but at least made some sense in theory. For a widespread and mostly wild respiratory disease transmitted the way a cold virus is transmitted, this method was hopeless from the beginning. It became nothing but make work for tracing bureaucrats and testing enterprises that in the end only provided a fake metric of “success” that served to spread public panic.

Early on, Fauci had clearly said that there was no reason to get tested if you had no symptoms. Later, that common-sense outlook was thrown out the window and replaced with an agenda to test as many people as possible regardless of risk and regardless of symptoms. The resulting data enabled Fauci/Birx to keep everyone in a constant state of alarm. More test positivity to them implied only one thing: more lockdowns. Businesses needed to close harder, we all needed to mask harder, schools needed to stay closed longer, and travel needed to be ever more restricted. That assumption became so entrenched that not even the president’s own wishes (which had changed from Spring to Summer) made any difference.

Atlas’s first job, then, was to challenge this whole indiscriminate testing agenda. To his mind, testing needed to be about more than accumulating endless amounts of data, much of it without meaning; instead, testing should be directed toward a public-health goal. The people who needed tests were the vulnerable populations, particularly those in nursing homes, with the goal of saving lives among those who were actually threatened with severe outcomes. This push to test, contact trace, and quarantine anyone and everyone regardless of known risk was a huge distraction, and also caused huge disruption in schooling and enterprise.

Much more HERE

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Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Monday, November 29, 2021


Why we SHOULDN'T be worried about Omicron – as top doctor says it could be a GOOD thing if the variant spreads through the community

In my post yesterday I foresaw that Omicron could be a sort of natural vaccine, doing us minimal harm while protecting us for more dangerous strains of Covid. I am pleased to see that others have now drawn similar conclusions

One of Australia's top doctors says the country may actually want the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 to spread as he warns the nation not to panic.

Dr Nick Coatsworth said early reports from southern Africa suggested the new strain may spread communities faster, but the symptoms were far milder in vaccinated patients.

'If this is milder than Delta you actually want it to spread within your community,' the former deputy chief medical officer told Nine's Today show on Monday.

'You want it to out compete Delta and become the predominant circulating virus. So, that shows you how much more we have learn about this

'It could be that we want Omicron to spread around the world as quickly as possible.'

Genomic testing has confirmed two overseas travellers who arrived in Sydney from southern Africa have been infected.

Both passengers arrived on Saturday night and are in isolation in the Special Health Accommodation. Both are fully vaccinated.

Dr Coatsworth - who was the initial face of the country's vaccine rollout - hailed the swift action. 'The Australian government's taken some judicious but measured responses in terms of closure of international flights from southern Africa,' he said.

'There's a lot we need to find out and I don't think there's any strong evidence at the moment - apart from the fact that it's got 30 mutations - that those mutations are going to have the sort of negative effect.'

He said the information available so far had left him 'probably a little less worried'. He added: 'I definitely don't think we should be waking up to any sort of panic. This thing is only 72- hours old. There's too few cases at the moment.

'There's three elements to a variant of concern. It can transmit more quickly, it can be more deadly or it can evade the vaccine.

'It's the first one. The speed at which it's spreading in South Africa is what makes it a variant of concern.

'The South African ministry of health said most cases have been mild.'

Dr Coatsworth said at this stage there was no need to rush forward the vaccine booster program until more was known about the new strain.

'Definitely not at this point,' he said. 'We don't know enough. Premature calls for action like that when we know so little are a little bit counter-productive.

'Based on the information we have at the moment, we shouldn't really change our plans.

'The only thing we should change is mild restrictions on the number of people coming into the country from certain other countries but at the moment everything else can go on as planned.

'We will learn a lot more from the laboratories, from the World Health Organization, over the coming days.'

Dr Coatsworth spoke out as fears Christmas holiday plans could be thrown into chaos as international and state border closures begin to domino and panic spreads about the emergence of the 'super-mutant' Covid variant Omicron.

Scientists are in a race against time to answer three vital questions about the variant that doctors said caused 'unusual' symptoms, as Scott Morrison and Australia's business leaders call for calm.

The three things scientists must know about Omicron
1. How transmissible the new variant is compared to other Covid strains?

2. Will Omicron cause more severe illness than other than variants like Delta?

3. Is the super-mutant strain resistant to vaccines?

First discovered in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique, the variant has since spread to several other nations across the globe.

The doctor who first raised the alarm on Omicron said patients are presenting with 'unusual' symptoms.

Dr Angelique Coetzee, who runs a private practice in the South African capital of Pretoria, said she first noticed earlier this month that Covid patients were presenting with odd symptoms.

The doctor, who has practiced for over 30 years and chairs the South African Medical Association, said none of the Omicron patients suffered a loss of taste of smell typically associated with Covid.

Instead they presented with unusual markers like intense fatigue and a rapid pulse.

'Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,' Dr Coetzee told The Telegraph.

She was compelled to inform South Africa's vaccine advisory board on November 18 when she treated a family of four, all of whom were suffering with intense fatigue after testing positive for Covid-19.

Australian virus expert Professor Tony Blakely it will take weeks before more is known about the strain and if it's resistant to vaccines.

'It's quite likely that this will precipitate new branches of vaccine development, there's just so many mutations on this virus it would seem most likely we will need new vaccines,' he told the Herald Sun.

That bleak possibility could send much of the globe back into lockdown but he said there could be one upside.

If Omicron is more infectious but less deadly and results in less hospitalisations, it could displace Delta as the most common form of Covid but lower the global death toll.

On the other hand: 'the worst-case scenario is it's more infectious, it's more virulent, and it's resistant to current vaccines,' Professor Blakely said.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox worried an overreaction to the new variant could be almost as bad as the virus for businesses that were already struggling in the wake of Delta lockdowns.

'While some caution is understandable, the response to any new and inevitable variant needs to be targeted, proportionate and take into account the nearly 90 per cent of us are vaccinated and tired of lockdowns and border closures,' she told The Australian.

Professor Sutton said he was 'very confident' vaccines would provide some level of 'cross protection' for the new variant, even if Omicron differs significantly in terms of 'how our immune system recognises it'. 'This is not back to the beginning,' he said.

Professor Sutton said 'not really enough' is known about Omicron but it seemed likely it would become the new dominant variant of Covid.

'It certainly seems to have spread very quickly in southern Africa, and in the republic of South Africa in particular across many, many provinces and numbers have increased very significantly over a short period of time,' he said.

Professor Cunningham said he believed the vaccines would still remain partially effective against Omicron but the duration of immunity could be shortened, with studies underway to determine how the strain interacts with those antibodies.

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COVID-19: New vaccines 'ready in 100 days' if Omicron variant is resistant to current jabs, Pfizer says

Novavax added it has already started creating a COVID-19 vaccine based on the known genetic sequence of B.1.1.529 "and will have it ready to begin testing and manufacturing within the next few weeks".

Vaccine manufacturers have expressed confidence that they will be able to rapidly adapt their jabs if the Omicron variant spreads.

The new strain - previously known as B.1.1.529 - features some "concerning" mutations, and early evidence suggests it brings an increased risk of reinfection.

There are also fears that the variant could be more resistant to the vaccines that have now been rolled out to billions of people around the world.

If this is the case, Pfizer and BioNTech expects "to be able to develop and produce a tailor-made vaccine against that variant in approximately 100 days, subject to regulatory approval".

Moderna said it has advanced a "comprehensive strategy to anticipate new variants of concern" since early 2021 - including three levels of response if the immunity offered by its jabs wanes.

Novavax added it has already started creating a COVID-19 vaccine based on the known genetic sequence of B.1.1.529 "and will have it ready to begin testing and manufacturing within the next few weeks".

Yesterday, the World Health Organisation designated B.1.1.529 as a "variant of concern", meaning it has now officially been given the name Omicron, a letter from the Greek alphabet.

The strain was first detected in South Africa, and a number of countries - including the UK, Australia and the US - are now temporarily restricting travel to a number of European countries.

Although no infections linked to the Omicron variant have been detected in the UK or the US so far, there has been a case in Belgium involving an unvaccinated person who had travelled abroad.

Salim Abdool Karim, one of South Africa's top epidemiologists, told Sky News he "would expect it to be in the UK" by now.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has warned that there is a "possibility it might have a different impact on individuals" who get coronavirus.

However, he stressed the UK remains in a "strong position" due to the high vaccination take-up - adding that Omicron's presence means getting a booster jab is even more important now.

British scientists first became aware of the new strain on 23 November after samples were uploaded on to a COVID variant tracking website from South Africa, Hong Kong and then Botswana. A total of 59 samples have been uploaded so far.

England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has said his "greatest worry" is whether the public would accept fresh restrictions if they were required.

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Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Sunday, November 28, 2021



Good news: South African doctor who raised Omicron alarm says symptoms are ‘unusual but mild’

Mutations do tend to make an organism less robust so this may in fact be the end of Covid. The new virus could in fact immunize us against Delta

Dr Angelique Coetzee said she was first alerted to the possibility of a new variant when patients in her busy private practice in the capital Pretoria started to come in earlier this month with COVID-19 symptoms that didn’t make immediate sense.

They included young people of different backgrounds and ethnicities with intense fatigue and a six-year-old child with a very high pulse rate, she said. None suffered from a loss of taste or smell.

“Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” said Coetzee, a GP for 33 years who chairs South Africa’s Medical Association alongside running her practice.

On November 18, when four family members all tested positive for COVID-19 with complete exhaustion, she informed the country’s vaccine advisory committee.

She said, in total, about two dozen of her patients have tested positive for COVID-19 with symptoms of the new variant. They were mostly healthy men who turned up “feeling so tired”. About half of them were unvaccinated.

“We had one very interesting case, a kid, about six-years-old, with a temperature and a very high pulse rate, and I wondered if I should admit her, but when I followed up two days later she was so much better,” Coetzee says.

Coetzee, who was briefing other African medical associations on Saturday, made clear her patients were all healthy and she was worried the new variant could still hit older people - with co-morbidities like diabetes or heart disease - much harder.

“What we have to worry about now is that when older, unvaccinated people are infected with the new variant, and if they are not vaccinated, we are going to see many people with a severe [form of the] disease,” she said.

In South Africa only about six per cent of the population are over the age of 65. This means that older individuals who are more vulnerable to the virus may take some time to present.

The B.1.1.529 variant, now called “Omicron”, was first identified in Botswana on November 11. It has now been detected in the UK as well as South Africa, Israel, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Belgium.

It is the most mutated form of COVID-19 discovered thus far, with 32 mutations to the spike protein. Scientists are concerned the mutations may allow it to evade existing vaccines and spread quickly.

Two cases of Omicron have now been found in the UK. Two people in Essex and Nottinghamshire have tested positive for the new variant.

UK officials are busy scouring testing databases for any further sign of the Omicron variant, not least because there were many South Africans in the Twickenham area of south-west London for the England and South Africa match last Saturday.

South African scientists say Omicron is behind an explosion of cases in the country’s Gauteng Province which is home to the country’s commercial capital Johannesburg and Pretoria. Cases have rocketed up from about 550 a day last week to almost 4000 a day currently.

The UK, US, the EU and Israel have all suspended travel to and from South Africa and the five surrounding countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. The UK government added Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia to the travel red list on Sunday.

The Western travel ban has provoked anger among South Africans, with many claiming that they are being punished for having outstanding research institutions and being transparent about their findings.

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Losing Confidence in the Pillars of Our Civilization

Victor Davis Hanson

Millions of citizens long ago concluded that professional sports, academia, and entertainment were no longer disinterested institutions, but far left and deliberately hostile to Middle America.

Yet American conservatives still adamantly supported the nation’s traditional investigatory, intelligence, and military agencies—especially when they came under budgetary or cultural attacks.

Not so much anymore.

For the first time in memory, conservatives now connect the FBI hierarchy with bureaucratic bloat, political bias, and even illegality.

In the last five years, the FBI was mostly in the news for the checkered careers of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Robert Mueller, Lisa Page, and Peter Strzok. Add in the criminality of convicted FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith.

The colossal FBI-driven “Russian collusion” hoax was marked by the leaking of confidential FBI memos, forged documents, improper surveillance, and serial disinformation.

Prior heads of the CIA and FBI, as well as the director of national intelligence, have at times either not told the truth under oath or claimed amnesia, without legal repercussions.

Mention the military to conservative Americans these days, and they unfortunately associate its leadership with the disastrous flight from Afghanistan. Few, if any, high-ranking officers have yet taken responsibility—much less resigned—for the worst military fiasco of the last half-century.

Instead, President Joe Biden and the top generals traded charges that the other was responsible for the calamity. Or both insisted the abject flight was a logistical masterpiece.

Never in U.S. history have so many retired four-star admirals and generals disparaged their president with charges of being either a traitor, a liar, a fascist, or a virtual Nazi, as occurred during the last administration.

Never has the proper advisory role of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff been so brazenly usurped and contorted.

Never has the secretary of defense promised he would ferret out alleged “white supremacists,” without providing any evidence whatsoever of their supposedly ubiquitous presence and dangerous conspiracies.

Conservatives have always been amused by the liberal biases of the old network news and big-city print media. But they grudgingly admitted that many liberal journalists of the last century were mostly professionals. News divisions mostly reported the news rather than simply made it up.

Not so now with Big Tech and 21st-century “woke” journalism. Few reporters have yet offered apologies for helping hatch and spread the Russian collusion hoax that paralyzed the country for three years.

Few have admitted culpability for reporting as fact the various fantasies surrounding the Duke Lacrosse team’s prosecution or the Covington Catholic kids deception.

Many in the media ran uncritically with the Jussie Smollett concoction and the “hands-up-don’t shoot” Ferguson distortions. Journalists promulgated misinformation about the “white Hispanic” George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin encounter, and doctored photos and edited tapes.

They invented the myth of the supposedly brilliant—but now utterly disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo—as well as the “Russian disinformation” yarn that allegedly accounted for the missing Hunter Biden laptop.

Most recently, reporters spread serial untruths surrounding the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

For much of 2020 to even suggest that the Wuhan Institute of Virology may have played a role in the birth and spread of the COVID-19 earned media derision.

Few reporters suggested that federal health agencies such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases might be disseminating contradictory or even inaccurate information about the pandemic. To believe this was happening instead earned condemnation in the media as if one were some conspiracy theorist or nut.

Rarely have communication industries—veritable utilities in the public domain—so asymmetrically censored speech and applied such one-sided standards of suppressing free expression.

Conservatives used to oppose regulating larger corporations. Now, ironically, most are calling for regulating and breaking up multibillion-dollar social media monopolies and conglomerates that suppress as much as transmit private communications.

The American criminal justice system also used to earn the respect of conservatives. Prosecuting attorneys, police chiefs, and big-city mayors were seen as custodians of the public order. They were entrusted to keep the peace, to prevent and investigate crime, and to arrest and prosecute criminals.

Again, not so much now.

After 120 days of mostly unchecked riot, arson, looting, and violent protests during the summer of 2020, the public lost confidence in their public safety agencies.

District attorneys in several major cities—Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and St. Louis—have often predicated prosecuting crimes on the basis of ideology, race, and careerism.

In the current crime wave, brazen lawbreakers enjoy de facto immunity. Mass looting goes unpunished. Indictments are often aimed as much against those who defend themselves as against criminals who attack the innocent.

Conservatives now have lost their former traditional confidence in the administration of justice, in the intelligence and investigatory agencies, in the nation’s military leadership, in the media, and the criminal justice system.

No one yet knows what the effect will be of half the country losing faith in the very pillars of American civilization.

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Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Friday, November 26, 2021


New Covid variant circulating in South Africa has one particularly concerning feature

The emergence of a concerning new Covid variant in South Africa has many scientists worried — in particular for its mutations in one specific area.

Deakin University epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett said the B. 1.1.529 variant spreading rapidly in South Africa was a standout for the sheer number of mutations it contains but also for where many of these were located.

“Usually a new variant only has a handful of important mutations,” she told news.com.au.

While there may be other minor changes, the major ones generally change things like the virus’ transmissibility for example.

In comparison to the handful of major mutations in other variants, the latest version had more than 50 mutations and Prof Bennett said this is “unusual”. “More than 30 are in the spike region alone,” she said.

Mutations in the spike region are particularly significant because this is where the virus attaches to human cells, it’s also that part of the virus that vaccines focus on.

If the variant is different enough from other previous versions of the virus, our body’s immune system may fail to recognise it or remember how to fight it off, even if the person has been vaccinated or has had Covid before.

The World Health Organisation said in this variant there were at least 10 mutations linked to the receptor-binding domain on the protein spike. This compared to two for Delta or three for Beta.

“The concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can have an impact on how the virus behaves,” WHO technical lead on Covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, said at a virtual press briefing. “It will take a few weeks for us to understand what impact this variant has on any potential vaccines.”

Prof Bennett said the variant was so new, the WHO is yet to give it a name, although it is scheduled to do this on Friday, with many expecting it will be called “Nu” if the organisation continues to follow its Greek alphabet pattern.

WHO will also consider whether to declare it a variant of “interest” or “concern”, which pose an increased risk to global public health and should be monitored.

Prof Bennett said in determining whether B. 1.1.529 was a variant of concern, authorities would consider how transmissible it is, whether it causes more severe illness and whether it is vaccine resistant.

She said it was important for people not to get too alarmed whenever there was a new variant because others that looks concerning had later been “flushed out by Delta”. “It’s going to take a lot for another variant to replace Delta,” she said.

The other good news is that B. 1.1.529 also a “strange signature” that makes it possible to detect using normal PCR testing.

This means the variant can be identified in anyone who gets tested for Covid, including returning travellers, and they can be asked to isolate in order to stop it from spreading in Australia.

Why is B. 1.1.529 so different?

One of the theories around why the new variant has so many mutations is it may have developed in someone who was immunocompromised.

“This shows you that a mutation can take off in one person, and that’s the problem, it’s always a risk,” Prof Bennett said.

But she said it was still unclear whether this was the case and it could still have developed in the community and built up mutations as it was spread from one person to the next.

Prof Bennett said in general the more the virus spread the more likely it was that mutations would develop as they generally happen while the virus is replicating itself.

“There is a misreading of the RNA and it ends up with the virus being a bit different,” she said.

Mutations are not always bad, with some believing that Japan’s Covid outbreak may have died out because the virus mutated itself to an evolutionary dead end.

“We don’t know how things will play out,” Prof Bennett said. “We are learning all the time about the level of mutation a virus can tolerate before it becomes less competitive or less fit.”

Globally she said it was important for people to be vaccinated and not leave pockets of people who could be infected and then develop these mutations. “The more infections you have, the more viral replication there is and mutations happen,” she said.

No surprise it developed in South Africa

Only 24 per cent of South Africa’s population is fully vaccinated and the World Health Organisation also expressed concern recently about the low rate of vaccinations among health workers in the region.

Just 27 per cent of health workers in Africa are protected, leaving the bulk of the workforce susceptible.

Prof Bennett said South Africa had recently beaten its biggest wave of infections yet, bringing this under control in September.

But on Wednesday, the number of daily infections hit 1200, up from 106 earlier in the month.

So far the new variant seems to have become dominant mainly in one province so it was unclear whether it would overtake Delta, which had previously been driving infections in the country.

Prof Bennett said the virus could be more widespread in Africa than the figures show, with the possibility that many had also not been diagnosed or treated. The country also has a high number of people living with HIV, which compromises people’s immune systems.

“I wouldn’t be surprised that is where we see variants arise, like we saw in India too,” she said.

A new era of surveillance

As new variants like B. 1.1.529 emerge, the way the world manages Covid could change once again.

“This is moving into a new era, which is all about surveillance,” Prof Bennett said.

The United Kingdom has already closed its border to people travelling there from South Africa but Prof Bennett said there were other options.

She said Australia could screen people as they entered the country for variants and then ask them to quarantine if they tested positive or were on a plane with someone who was infected.

If outbreaks of these variants were detected in the country, health authorities could prioritise the management of these including through contact tracing.

“I think that’s what we’ll see,” she said. “Not jumping at every single case but focusing on variants of concern at the borders and internally to make sure it doesn’t have a chance to take off”

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The forgotten Covid jab that might have no side effects in kids: Novavax vaccine set to become fourth approved shot

The Novavax Covid vaccine, which may be just days away from approval in the UK, could be safer for children than the UK's current jabs, experts say.

It is hoped that the US shot — which uses tried and true vaccine technology and is manufactured in Teeside — could reduce hesitancy and boost uptake in children.

The UK Government already has 60million doses of Novavax on order and trials show it is 96 per cent effective in adults.

But crucially it was shown to cause less side effects compared to those triggered by Pfizer, Moderna or even AstraZeneca's vaccines.

The vaccine, known scientifically as NVX-CoV2373, would be the first protein-based jab approved in the UK, if given the green light.

Protein-based jabs are already given to children to protect against the flu, meningitis and hepatitis.

Experts told MailOnline approval of the vaccine could pave the way for the jab being rolled out to children, as well as encouraging the vaccine-hesitant to come forward.

Final study data was submitted to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) last month and approval is expected in days.

Other injections against Covid already approved in the UK are either viral vector vaccines that are made from a common cold virus (AstraZeneca), or an mRNA vaccine made from enzymes (Pfizer and Moderna).

Novavax's contains proteins that mimic the spikes on the coronavirus, causing the body to produce antibodies to fight the infection.

If the body encounters coronavirus in the future, the body is primed to fend it off.

The injection is administered in two doses 21 days apart. Unlike the other jabs that need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, Novavax can be kept in a normal fridge for up to three months.

How does the vaccine work?

The Novavax vaccine works like other vaccines by teaching the immune system to make antibodies to the coronavirus spike protein.

Researchers inserted a modified gene into a virus, called a baculovirus, and allowed it to infect insect cells.

Spike proteins from these cells were then assembled into nanoparticles which, while they look like coronavirus, cannot replicate or cause Covid-19. These nanoparticles are then injected into the body via the vaccine where the immune system mounts an antibody response.

If the body encounters coronavirus in the future, the body is primed to fend it off. The vaccine is given as two doses.

Are there advantages of the Novavax vaccine?

Yes. While the jabs from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna need to be kept at ultra-low temperatures, the Novavax jab is stable for up to three months in a normal fridge.

How effective is the vaccine?

According to results of phase III trials, the jab offers 100 percent protection against severe disease, including all hospital admission and death.

It is 86 percent effective against the Alpha (Kent) variant and 100 percent effective in preventing cases caused by the original strain of the coronavirus.

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Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Thursday, November 25, 2021




Trump-Haters May Have Revived Trump’s Presidential Hopes

The American political establishment appears to be sleepwalking toward the still almost unbelievable likelihood of the return to the presidency of Donald Trump.

One of the most implacably anti-Trump journalists in Washington, RealClearPolitics’ A.B. Stoddard, wrote in RCP on Nov. 22 that the Democrats were likely to “blow up,” be badly defeated in the mid-terms, and were underdogs in 2024, where their most likely opponent is President Trump.

She didn’t connect the last two dots, but someone so antagonistic to Trump cannot be contemplating the future she envisioned without a sense of revulsion, if not terror.

What seems to be happening is one of the great political ironies of living memory. Trump, the unlikeliest major-party presidential candidate in history, was practically the only notable person who saw the depths of the unhappiness of half of America in 2016.

He astounded almost everyone by being nominated and elected, and was the subject of an unprecedented sand-bag job from the national political media, the D.C. governmental establishment, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, the academy, major league sports, and was falsely accused of being a Kremlin agent by former intelligence directors, dragged through the muck of the Trump-Russia collusion nonsense for most of his term, and subjected to two spurious impeachments, one after he had left office.

His reelection was opposed by 95 percent of the media, he was de-platformed by the oligarchic social media cartel, and outspent two to one. Ultimately, a great deal of creative (and constitutionally questionable but never judicially judged) changes in voting and vote-counting in swing states, supposedly to accommodate the COVID pandemic was deployed against him, and with over 40 million harvested votes, he would still have won if only about 55,000 votes had flipped in Pennsylvania and any two of Arizona, Georgia, or Wisconsin.

Despite the close and questionable election result, it was almost universally assumed by his more fervent detractors like Ms. Stoddard that he was a dreadful aberration who had gone and would not be back. The astounding irony is that, after six years of this colossal political donnybrook, Trump is the likely early favorite for the next election and the winner of this great single warrior combat.

The context for the Trump phenomenon is that after the halcyon Reagan-Bush Sr. years of great prosperity and the victorious and bloodless end of the Cold War, official contentment was so general that for only the second time in history, (after Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, 1801-1825), there were three consecutive two-term presidents.

The White House and Congress changed hands at intervals, but the political class was the same and overwhelmingly liberal, and drifting steadily to the left. In the twenty years from early-Clinton to late-Obama, official policy moved roughly half way from the political center toward what was the far left in 1993 when Bill Clinton was inaugurated.

Only Donald Trump, the flamboyant land developer, golf club owner, and reality television star, who polled constantly, changed parties seven times in 13 years, and invented the technique of massively promoting his name as a celebrity brand and then translating it into the world’s highest elective office, detected a seismic erosion of public support for what had effectively become a bipartisan national unity government of gradual leftward policy movement.

Only he saw that tens of millions of working and lower middle class families considered that their jobs were being shipped overseas to cheap labor while the profits that accrued from that labor was not being repatriated to the United States.

Trump’s candidacy was treated with immense mirth by the complacent political establishment of both parties when it was announced in June 2015. As all will recall, the political establishment was struck dumb by his election: it was inconceivable that Trump could be legitimately elected and so the vast effort supported by almost all of the national political media was immediately launched to challenge the election result.

Trump weathered the relentless wall-to-wall assault on him by being a rather successful president: illegal immigration and unemployment were almost eliminated, oil imports ended, and for the first time in any serious jurisdiction, the lower twenty percent of income-earners were gaining income in percentage terms more quickly than the top ten percent.

Trump had identified the challenge posed by China and had begun the imposition of a general Western response to China. This departed from the confidence of previous American administrations that if concessions and preferments were merely heaped upon China, it would voluntarily become a compliant member of the rules-based international community.

In fact, China was emboldened by that pre-Trump approach to ever more provoking behavior, culminating in facilitating the spread of the coronavirus from China to the world while unconscionably delaying appropriately serious warnings of the gravity of this illness. Democratic candidate Joe Biden assured his followers: “The Chinese aren’t our enemies…They won’t eat our lunch.”

It was only COVID and the alteration of the electoral system in several key states that enabled Trump’s removal from office. After adhering for approximately one week to a bipartisan policy of fighting the coronavirus, the Democrats seized their opportunity to terrify the country with visions of a Black Plague and with demands that Trump “follow the science” (which was far from unanimous), and lock down the country in order to ensure an economic depression that the Democrats could exploit.

The Democrats declined to criticize the extreme factions of Black Lives Matter and other entities that rioted all summer in 2020 across the country, supposedly in response to the horrifying death of African-American George Floyd when detained by white Minneapolis police, recorded by cell phone cameras. The whole chaotic summer was represented as inevitable in Donald Trump’s America.

The judiciary at all levels conveniently declined to hear any of the challenges to the integrity of the electoral system that had been changed in the swing states, but not by the state legislatures as the Constitution requires.

Presumably, the judiciary did not wish to incur the immense controversy of potentially reversing the result of a presidential election. From this dubious and hair’s-breadth victory, the unrepentant but severely frightened bipartisan political establishment torqued themselves up to blind faith that Trump would not be seen again and briefly resumed their former complacency.

The new administration has been unprecedentedly incompetent even to those of us who feared the worst—millions of illegal migrants, sky-rocketing crime, inflation, and deficits, a very unresponsive president reduced to insipid pleadings to China and OPEC, a completely unfeasible vice president, a shambles in COVID policy, and in Afghanistan the worst and most humiliating fiasco in the history of the U.S. armed forces since General Hull surrendered Detroit to the Canadians and British in 1812.

Sophisticated military hardware worth $85 billion was abandoned to the incoming Taliban terrorist-tainted government. The response of the Democrats and their media allies to this shambles is to construe every disagreement as racist, as in their disgraceful misrepresentation, from Biden down, to acquitted Wisconsin murder defendant Kyle Rittenhouse as a white supremacist vigilante.

In over-reacting to Trump, a successful president, the Trump-haters largely delivered the great Democratic Party to a riffraff of socialists and are tied to a ludicrously inept regime that has little chance of avoiding Donald Trump’s electoral revenge: himself back again or a candidate he supports.

The long era of complacent bipartisanship that Trump assailed in 2016 now seems likely to perish in 2024. We are in the midst of a unique interlude in American history as the Trump-haters await the consequences of their actions with mounting consternation.

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For Democrats, the Word Is 'Transform'

They are addicted to change -- to dislike of everything in America

Remember when Joe Biden ran for president in what commentators called the "centrist" lane of the Democratic primaries? The idea was that a "moderate" like Biden, unlike rival Bernie Sanders, would not push radical plans to completely change American society. That would reassure non-progressive Democrats, and independents, too, that Biden would be a safe choice for president. They didn't want to remake the world. They just wanted things to get better.

You could see the difference in the Democratic debates. To take one example, at a debate in November 2019, Sanders urged people to join him "if you want to be part of a movement that is not only going to beat Trump but transform America." Biden's pitch was much more modest; beating Trump and going back to the old ways were enough. "Let's take back this country," Biden said, "and lead the world again."

Now Biden is president and pushing vast, multi-trillion-dollar spending projects, the latest of which is the Build Back Better Act, a $2.2 trillion behemoth passed last week by Democrats (and Democrats alone) in the House of Representatives. And the old Biden centrist act is nowhere to be found. Now, the word the White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill have chosen to describe the president's agenda is "transform" -- just like Bernie used to say.

The White House frequently sends out emails headlined "What They Are Saying," which collect quotes from Democratic politicians and interest group leaders praising Biden's actions. Now, they are praising the Build Back Better Act. The praise has a certain similarity.

A "What They Are Saying" email listing statements from "LGBTQI+ Leaders" calls Build Back Better a "transformational bill" that will make a "transformative investment" to "transform the lives of millions of Americans."

An email with the comments of "Women and Family Advocates" says the bill has "transformational initiatives" that will make "transformative investments" to effect a "historic transformation" that will "transform the lives of children and families."

An email from "Black Leaders" says the "transformational bill" will make a "transformative investment" that will "transform our nation for decades to come."

An email from "Young Leaders" calls BBB a "transformative bill," while "Gun Violence Prevention Leaders" hail Biden's "transformational" agenda.

You get the idea. But no one is more on board for the Biden transformation than Democrats in the House, where party members seem to disagree only on whether the bill should be called "transformational" or "transformative." Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls it "transformative." Rep. John Yarmouth calls it "transformational." Rep. Raul Grijalva chooses "transformative." Rep. Mark Takano, "transformational." Rep. Jerry Nadler, "transformational." Rep. Adam Smith, "transformational." Rep. Judy Chu, "transformational." Rep. Pramila Jayapal, "transformative." Rep. Brenda Lawrence, "transformational." Rep. Louis Frankel, "transformational." Rep. Barbara Lee, "transformational." Rep. Mike Quigley, "transformative." Rep. Joe Neguse, "transformational." Rep. Ayanna Pressley, "transformational." Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, "transformational." Finally, Rep. Richard Neal, choosing not to take a side in that debate, says simply that BBB will "transform our country."

When Sanders pledged to "transform" the United States, he envisioned mind-boggling expenditures -- say, $10 trillion -- that would touch every aspect of American life. He didn't win the White House, but he won the argument. During Biden's presidency, Congress has passed a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill (that had little to do with COVID relief) and a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, and now the House has passed the $2.2 trillion Build Back Better Act. In the end, Biden is likely to win about $5 trillion in extra spending just this year -- about half of what Sanders wanted, but still mind-boggling. And it will touch every aspect of American life.

Finally, when it comes to rhetoric, there's no doubt Sanders has won a smashing victory. The Biden White House sounds like Bernie Sanders. The Democratic leadership sounds like Bernie Sanders. The party's interest groups sound like Bernie Sanders. You could say that the old socialist senator, once an outsider and lone voice, has managed to, yes, transform his party.

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Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021


CDC data confirm disturbing stats about covid vax and children

Recently, the CDC opened the door for children under the age of 12 to be vaccinated.

However, reports are surfacing about serious risks to children from what is an unnecessary medicine. Children are poor transmitters of COVID and are at minimal risk of serious illness when they do get it. The science proves that they do not need to be vaccinated.

New data speaks to an ugly truth. Data from the CDC and Big Pharma say more children will die from getting the COVID vaccine than the shot will save. Despite children being virtually unaffected, medical bureaucrats are still saying they must be vaccinated.

The entire scientific community has either gone completely insane or totally corrupt. We’re leaning towards the latter. Again, nothing should be lost on the billions of dollars at stake from just the volume of vaccine doses required for children alone.

They are playing with the lives of our children. The corrupt mainstream media have no interest in covering these alarming stories. They kowtow to the wishes of the liberal left. The liberals want citizens to conform; the fake news puppets chime along, singing the narrative.

One step towards total societal conformity is to hand over your personal health decisions to the government. That is a key motivating factor behind mandates. The crooked mainstream media are all on board with these unconstitutional orders.

The data released within the CDC’s Guidance document defines 21 things that a health economics study addressing vaccines must do. The final FDA risk-benefit analysis for vaccinating children between 5 and 11 years of age violated over half of the risk benefit models.

Despite an overwhelming amount of evidence against giving children the shot, the CDC is still promoting the policy. There is an astounding wealth of scientific proof these shots are not necessary.

Again, individuals who may be immune-compromised, especially the very elderly, may warrant a COVID shot.

Furthermore, there is even stronger proof that the CDC and Big Pharma are manipulating the narrative to force kids to get vaccinated. There is a vaccine research-grade known as the Number Needed to Vaccinate (NNTV).

NNTV is something that Big Pharma will not discuss. It undermines their profits. When talking about the NNTV for the COVID vaccine, the truth is obvious. Data from the Pfizer clinical trials shows for every single life saved, the COVID vaccine killed four people from heart attacks.

The statistics for children are even more startling. The CDC’s own data indicate 170 children have died from COVID-related illnesses since the pandemic started. The estimates for deaths caused by the COVID vaccine in kids could reach as high as 5,000.

When we review the NNTV numbers for children and the COVID vaccination, the results are the worst in the history of vaccinations. There is absolutely zero evidence that children need a COVID shot.

Kids are being coerced into getting “the jab”. The CDC is tricking kids, and their parents, into compliance. It has nothing to do with protecting their health. It is about exercising power and control over the public. Unfortunately, it’s also about money, big money.

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AstraZeneca jab 'may be shielding UK from Europe's coronavirus crisis'

The UK could be weathering the spike in coronavirus cases better than Europe because of T-cell protection stimulated by the AstraZeneca vaccine, the pharmaceutical giant's boss has suggested.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, told the BBC that T-cell responses stimulated by the jab were effective in protecting elderly people from COVID-19.

"T-cells do matter, particularly as it relates to the durability of the response, especially in older people," Mr Soirot said.

"This vaccine has been shown to stimulate T-cells to a higher degree in older people. "So we have not seen many hospitalisations in the UK, a lot of infections for sure. "But what matters is are you severely ill or not, are you hospitalised or not."

Mr Soirot claimed this could be because the AstraZeneca vaccine, jointly developed with Oxford University, was rolled out to the older population in the UK, while other jabs were used in many European countries.

He said that COVID-19 vaccines stimulate an antibody response and a T-cell reaction. While antibodies decline over time, T-cells are more resistant and last longer, Mr Soirot said.

Britain recorded a higher number of cases than most EU countries during the northern summer and they have remained high, with 44,917 announced on Monday.

The death rate, within 28 days of patients testing positive for coronavirus, is 132 a day in the UK, according to UK government data.

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An Australian state gives hope of beating the virus

Victoria has emerged as the real-world example of living with Covid with a drop in hospitalisations despite high case numbers.

Just one fifth of Covid patients in the state’s hospitals are vaccinated, with more than 80 per cent requiring treatment unvaccinated.

Hospitalisation rates for Covid-19 in Victoria have more than halved in a month, despite the state dropping almost all lockdown restrictions.

There were 851 people in hospital with Covid in Victoria on October 18 and on Tuesday it was just 303.

Of those 97 in intensive care, including those who have recovered from Covid-19 but still need ongoing treatment.

That’s an overall drop of more than 64 per cent, as the state hits a sweet spot of high vaccination, strong immunity and warmer weather which has reduced cases across the globe.

Of those in hospital in Victoria on Tuesday, 77 per cent were not fully vaccinated – and 80 per cent of those in intensive care were not vaccinated.

Victorians aged 12 and over are 89.3 per cent fully vaccinated, with more than 93.5 per cent having one dose.

The state has continued to record the most Covid cases in the country with 827 in the community yesterday and on October 18 there were 1903 new local cases.

Leading epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely said Australia has no choice but to live with COVID-19, as Victoria becomes the testing ground of how to reopen with high case numbers.

Victoria had its “freedom day” last week even though it recorded 1,160 coronavirus cases on the same day.

During Melbourne’s lockdown the case numbers were a daily marker of the mood – with case numbers of more than 10 flattening the mood of the city.

But Premier Daniel Andrews, who had enforced the world’s longest lockdown on Melbourne, dropped his ambition for zero Covid-19 cases as vaccination rates improved.

Professor Blakely, of the University of Melbourne, said Victoria was in a sweet spot of high vaccination rates and immunity, but that was likely to wane as winter approached next year.

There were 827 cases in Victoria on Tuesday, and sadly, 19 people died with the illness. Of those who died, only two were fully vaccinated.

The cases in Victoria are now overwhelmingly among younger, unvaccinated people, who generally do not need hospital treatment.

Britain’s Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health had “made clear” that “the overwhelming majority of children and young people still have no symptoms or very mild illness only.”

Australian Federal Health Department figures provided to the Courier Mail show that only 2.5 per cent of children who contracted Covid-19 attended hospital.

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Where Biden’s Federal Vaccine Mandate Stands

Yesterday was the deadline for all federal employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID.

Joe Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate issued earlier this year was actually a three-pronged approach at strong-arming Americans into getting the jab. Biden’s mandate set three different compliance deadlines, with the first one affecting all federal workers having just past yesterday, November 22.

The next full compliance deadline that applies to all medical and healthcare workers that engage with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as all federal contractors, is January 4.

And the third group, also with a compliance deadline of January 4, are workers in private companies with 100 or more employees via a new rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Individuals from all three targeted groups have been joined by at least 27 states in raising lawsuits against the Biden administration. Of these suits, the ones raised against Biden’s OSHA mandate targeting private companies appear to have the best chance at succeeding.

As we recently noted, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals was chosen by lottery to hear all the cases affecting some 84 million Americans, and that court maintained a stay issued by the Fifth Circuit Court against the OSHA mandate on private employers until a final ruling is delivered.

The Sixth Circuit’s stay, however, does not cover federal employees, healthcare workers, or federal contractors. These workers are still under Biden’s mandate and will be required to comply or face possible termination. The White House says more than 90% of federal workers “have had at least one shot.”

Republican-run states have led the way against Biden’s abuse of power, contending that his vaccine mandate — especially in targeting private businesses — is an infringement of the Tenth Amendment. Bolstering this argument is the fact that several states, the most recent example being Florida, have passed laws barring business from mandating that their employees receive or their patrons provide proof of COVID vaccination.

“The Biden Administration has repeatedly expressed its disdain for Americans who choose not to get a vaccine, and it has committed repeated and abusive federal overreach to force upon Americans something they do not want,” asserts Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “The federal government does not have the ability to strip individuals of their choice to get a vaccine or not. If the President thinks his patience is wearing thin, he is clearly underestimating the lack of patience from Texans whose rights he is infringing.”

Of course, the Biden administration doesn’t see it that way, and today it once again petitioned the Sixth Circuit to lift its stay on the OSHA mandate. The White House dubiously contends that “Congress charged OSHA with addressing grave dangers in the workplace, without any carve-out for viruses or dangers that also happen to exist outside the workplace.” Lack of defined parameters does not equate to permission to exceed congressionally instituted limits.

Preserving Americans’ freedoms should always take precedent over loudly voiced political concerns for “safety.” The true spirit of America is not found in “safety first” diktats, but rather in the indelible words of Patrick Henry: “Give me Liberty, or give me death.”

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Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021


New research suggests Delta strain ‘drove itself to extinction’ in Japan

Incredible new data out of Japan has left experts convinced the nation of 125 million has successfully eradicated the Delta variant of Covid-19.

New research out of Japan’s National Institute of Genetics suggests the strain drove itself towards a “natural extinction” there after several mutations led to it being unable to make copies of itself.

The tightly-packed Japanese population has been on high alert since the beginning of the pandemic, especially after the highly-transmissible Delta variant broke through its borders in 2021.

During the peak of its fifth wave, Japan was recording around 26,000 cases per day as countries around the globe, including Australia, reintroduced strong lockdowns to squash the Delta curve.

But in November, the nation has seen an amazing recovery, recording under 200 cases in recent weeks and on Friday registered its first day without a Covid death in 15 months.

The nation’s capital Tokyo, the world’s largest city home to 40 million people, recorded just 6 new cases on Monday.

According to a “potentially revolutionary” theory put forward by Professor Ituro Inoue, a genetics expert, the Delta variant simply accumulated too many mutations to the virus’s error-correcting protein called nsp14.

Prof Inoue says the virus struggled to repair the errors in time and ultimately caused its own “self-destruction”.

When the Delta variant first emerged, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention declared it to be more than twice as contagious as previous variants, warning it could cause more severe illness in unvaccinated people.

The general assumption was the Delta strain would have a far more vibrant genetic diversity than the original Alpha that took the world by storm in 2020.

However, according to Prof Inoue’s research, the opposite was found to be true.

“We were literally shocked to see the findings,” Inoue told The Japan Times.

“The Delta variant in Japan was highly transmissible and keeping other variants out. But as the mutations piled up, we believe it eventually became a faulty virus and it was unable to make copies of itself. Considering that the cases haven’t been increasing, we think that at some point during such mutations it headed straight toward its natural extinction.”

While some experts have attributed the downturn in cases to the country’s 76.2 per cent vaccination rate and strong adherence to mask wearing, Prof Inoue believes new infections would still be on the up if the Delta strain were still “alive and well”.

“If the virus were alive and well, cases for sure would increase, as masking and vaccination do not prevent breakthrough infections in some cases,” he said.

Professor Takeshi Urano, a researcher at Shimane University’s Faculty of Medicine, weighed in on Prof Inoue’s findings, claiming the breakthrough discovery could be used in “promising” new medical treatments.

“Studies have shown that a virus with a crippled nsp14 has a significantly reduced ability to replicate, so this can be one factor behind the rapid decline in new cases. The nsp14 is virus-derived, and the chemical agent to curb this protein could become a promising medicine, with development already underway.”

Japan declared its state of emergency over in early October, reopening society after a period of heavy restrictions. It now boasts one of the lowest infection rates of any developed nation for, but Prof Inoue warns it is not immune to potential new strains.

“There’s clearly a threat,” he said.

“We have been all right because there was a Delta variant. Other variants snuck in little by little but Japan’s Delta was keeping them away. But because there’s nothing now to keep them at bay, there’s room for new ones to enter as the vaccines alone would not solve the problem.

“In that sense, I think the quarantine measures for immigration control are very important because we never know what comes in from foreign countries.”

Prof Inoue’s research could also shine a light on the similar disappearance of SARS in Japan in 2003.

Conducting an in vitro experiment, researchers caused mutations in nsp14 in the virus that causes SARS, eventually finding the virus could not replicate itself after it completed several mutations. However, Prof Inoue says it’s still just a hypothesis, as no genome data exists.

“No genome data exists, so it’s just a hypothesis, but because it has disappeared, it will never see the light of day again,” he said.

At the moment, the Japanese expert says it’s still too optimistic to believe the Covid-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus will experience a similar decline globally.

“The chances are not zero, but that seems too optimistic for now as we’re unable to get hold of any such evidence, though we have looked at various data of other countries,” he said.

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Sweden used to be a sanctuary for refugees. No longer

The once-reviled Sweden Democrats are no longer alone in criticizing Muslim immigration. The whole political spectrum has swung their way

Earlier this month, Swedish Minister of Finance Magdalena Andersson delivered her maiden speech as head of the Swedish Social Democratic Party and thus, the presumptive successor to longtime Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. Andersson began, predictably enough, by celebrating the triumph of the Swedish welfare state over the neoliberalism of the “grinning bankers on Wall Street”. Then, in a turn that shocked some loyal party members, Andersson directly addressed the country’s 2 million-odd refugees and migrants.

“If you are young,” she said, “you must obtain a high school diploma and go on to get a job or higher education.” If you receive financial aid from the state, “you must learn Swedish and work a certain number of hours a week.” What’s more, “here in Sweden, both men and women work and contribute to welfare.” Swedish gender equality applies “no matter what fathers, mothers, spouses, or brothers think and feel.”

In 2015, Swedes took immense pride in the country’s decision to accept 163,000 refugees, most from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. “My Europe takes in refugees,” Lofven said at the time. “My Europe doesn’t build walls.” That was the heroic rhetoric of an all-but-vanished Sweden. The Social Democrats now deploy the harsh language only far-right nativists of the Sweden Democrats party used in 2015. Indeed, a social democratic organ recently noted with satisfaction that since “all major parties today stand for a restrictive migration policy with a strong focus on law and order”, the refugee issue is no longer a political liability.

Five years ago, I wrote a long article about the tide of refugees arriving in Sweden with the inflammatory title (which I was not consulted on) “The Death of the Most Generous Nation on Earth”. Sweden plainly hasn’t died since then, and last week, I contacted many of the people I spoke to then with the expectation of issuing a mea culpa and acknowledging that social democracies have more resilience than I was prepared to acknowledge.

I was, it turned out, wrong about being wrong.

Sweden had opened itself to the desperate people fleeing Middle Eastern civil wars and tyranny not because, like Germany, it had a terrible sin to expiate but rather out of a sense of universal moral obligation. Their Europe did not build walls. But, of course, the actual Europe of 2015 did just that, leaving very few countries — above all, Germany and Sweden — to bear the burden of what I then called “unshared idealism.”

Nevertheless, Sweden’s leaders, like Germany’s, were prepared to shoulder that burden. Loyal social democrats, I found, were confident, almost complacent, about Sweden’s ability to integrate vast numbers of barely literate Afghan children and deeply pious and conservative Syrians, just as they had with cosmopolitan Bosnians and Iranians in past years. “A strong state can take care of many things,” the head of Sweden’s Left Party reassured me.

Swedes have learned since 2015 that even the most benevolent state has its limits. In recent years, the country has suffered from soaring crime rates. According to a report by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, over the last 20 years, Sweden has gone from having one of the lowest to one of the highest levels of gun violence in Europe — worse than Italy or eastern Europe. “The increase in gun homicide in Sweden is closely linked to criminal milieux in socially disadvantaged areas,” the report said.

Gangs — whose members are second-generation immigrants, many from Somalia, Eritrea, Morocco, and elsewhere in North Africa — specialize in drug trafficking and the use of explosives. Crime has become the number one issue in Sweden; before she said a word about migration, Andersson boasted that her party added 7000 new police officers, built more prisons, and drafted laws creating 30 new crimes. She decried “those who claim that it is certain cultures, certain languages, certain religions that make people more likely to commit crimes” — yet her own government has substantiated those claims.

It’s hardly surprising that newcomers lag behind Swedes on every index of well-being, but the gap is very large. In a recent book, Mass Challenge: The Socioeconomic Impact of Migration to a Scandinavian Welfare State, Tino Sanandaji, an economist of Kurdish origin who has become a leading critic of Sweden’s migration policies, writes “foreign-born represent 53% of individuals with long prison sentences, 58% of the unemployed, and receive 65% of social welfare expenditures; 77% of Sweden’s child poverty is present in households with a foreign background, while 90% of suspects in public shootings have immigrant backgrounds.” Figures like these have become widely known; the number of Swedes who favor increased migration has dropped from 58% in 2015 to 40% today.

Sweden is no longer a welcoming country and does not wish to be seen as one. In June 2016, the country revised its longstanding policy to deny refugees permanent asylum; those admitted were given temporary permits of either three months or three years, figures dictated by the minimum permissible under European Union rules. The law was meant to be a temporary response to the crisis of the previous fall, when the country literally ran out of places to put asylum-seekers; it has since been renewed.

Last year, the country accepted only 13,000 refugees, the lowest number in 30 years. A recent study written by a senior Swedish migration official concludes that Norway and Denmark, both notoriously inhospitable to refugees, are “increasingly seen as positive examples of how to deal with refugees and international migration”.

Social Democrats are hardly alone in their shift to the right. The center-right Moderate Party now works with the Sweden Democrats on migration issues, though they are not formally affiliated. Diana Janse, a diplomat and former government official who is running for Parliament as a moderate, complains the ruling party has kept the Sweden Democrats at the margins of Swedish politics by what she calls “brown-smearing — labeling party members as fascists or ‘Brownshirts.’” Janse held a much less sympathetic view of the right-wing party when we spoke six years ago. The Sweden Democrats have held steady at around 20 percent in polls and in Parliament; the number almost certainly would have grown had many factions in the center of the spectrum not adopt the party’s rhetoric on migration. “What was extreme in 2015 is mainstream today,” Janse put it.

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Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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