Sunday, August 01, 2021

A dose of COVID reality: Only 6,587 out of 164M fully-vaxxed Americans are hospitalized or die from 'breakthrough' cases

Only a tiny percentage of fully vaccinated Americans have contracted COVID-19, according to new data released on Friday - leading to accusations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scaremongering by issuing dire warnings about the Delta variant.

The Delta variant is sweeping the United States and causing a significant surge in cases. Mask mandates have been reintroduced in areas such as Los Angeles County, and the CDC on Tuesday recommended that all people resume wear masks indoors.

Yet on Friday it emerged that the risk for fully vaccinated people was incredibly small - leading a former White House coronavirus advisor to label the CDC's communication strategy a 'disaster.'

Only 6,587 - or 0.004 per cent - of the 163 million Americans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 had suffered serious 'breakthrough' infections as of Monday.

Of that total, 6,239 people were hospitalized and 1,263 died, according to the data.

Those numbers amount to 0.0038 percent and less than 0.0008 percent, respectively.

Admiral Brett Giroir, who served on Donald Trump's COVID taskforce, told Fox News on Friday that CDC Director Rochelle Walensky made a mistake in failing to disclose the full data until Friday.

'One thing that I think was a disaster is to come out with recommendations when you had the data but didn't disclose the data,' he said.

The CDC was criticized this week by politicians and scientists alike for updating the mask guidance without detailing the science behind it.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Washington Post that the move violated scientific norms.

'You don't, when you're a public health official, want to be saying, 'Trust us, we know, we can't tell you how,' Jamieson said.

'The scientific norm suggests that when you make a statement based on science, you show the science.

'And the second mistake is they do not appear to be candid about the extent to which breakthroughs are yielding hospitalizations.'

Kevin McCarthy, the most senior Republican in the House, was vocal in his condemnation of the CDC and the Biden administration, pouring scorn over their research and describing the mask u-turn as 'total hypocrisy'.

The CDC itself, in an internal document obtained by The Washington Post, admitted that there were 'communication challenges' fueled by cases in vaccinated people, including concerns from local health departments about whether coronavirus vaccines remain effective and a 'public convinced vaccines no longer work/booster doses needed.'

Giroir reiterated that the Delta variant will mainly affect unvaccinated Americans.

'Vaccinations are highly effective against death and hospitalizations. It's less effective about preventing infections - it doesn't create a force field around you.

'That's why you need to get the vaccine,' he said.

​​'Their messaging needs a lot of help. That's why I want to help transmit that message.'

On Thursday, Giroir warned Fox News viewers that if they were not vaccinated, they were very likely to get COVID because the Delta variant was so contagious.

He reminded viewers that it was as infectious as chickenpox and Ebola.

On Friday, he said: 'If vaccines stay where they are right now, from a public-health standpoint masking indoors is gonna have to be added to control this.

​'​And if people don't mask and they don't get vaccinated, then, unfortunately, governments are going to be put into the situation of considering lockdowns, which I think would be a disaster​.​

'Until everybody can get vaccinated, if you're in a high-risk circumstance, like being in an indoor party, it's a good idea to wear a mask.

'It will protect you and it will protect others from being infected by you.'


The vindication of AstraZeneca: A vaccine trashed by Macron, politicised by Europe but quietly saving lives across the world

Last week research scotched claims the Oxford vaccine posed a blood clot risk. But the mixed messaging has caused lasting distrust

A new study of more than one million Covid-19 vaccine recipients has concluded a rare blood clotting side effect is as likely to occur from a Pfizer jab as the much-maligned AstraZeneca vaccine.

In a paper pre-released in The Lancet, researchers from the UK, Spain and the Netherlands said both jabs have a "similar" incident rate of thrombosis.

"In this study we have found the safety profiles of ChAdOx1 (AstraZeneca) and BNT162b2 (Pfizer), an mRNA-based vaccine, to be broadly similar," the paper explained.

The study of Spanish patients also found blood clots are more common in people who test positive for Covid-19 than those who have received either jab.

While the paper is not yet peer reviewed, it is an alarming development that will put into question the narrative around the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia, where confidence in the jab plummeted earlier in the year following the reporting of fatal cases of blood clotting.

While Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has repeatedly stressed the benefits of the AstraZeneca jab outweigh the risks, there has been conflicting advice from other health authorities, notably Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young.

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged under 40s to seek advice on the AstraZeneca jab last month, Dr Young said she "genuinely did not understand" why Mr Morrison would make such an announcement.

"I do not want under-40s to get AstraZeneca," she stressed, saying there was minimal death in young Australians from Covid.

As cases of blood clotting arose earlier in the year, believed to be thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advised against under 60s receiving the AstraZeneca jab.

Weighing up the heightened risk with Delta outbreaks, ATAGI has since changed its advice, telling over 18s they can seek GP advice on the AstraZeneca.

Dame Sarah Gilbert, the vaccinologist who co-developed the AstraZeneca jab, told the publication she feared people are "too worried" after receiving mixed messages.

"I think the problem is the messaging around the vaccination, because if you’re telling people at some stage, ‘oh you shouldn’t have this vaccine, it’s probably not the best thing for you’ and then you want to change that message and say ‘oh, no we’ve changed our mind, it is good’, I think that makes it difficult for people who are considering whether to get vaccinated and when to get vaccinated," she said.




Friday, July 30, 2021

For What Will We Go to War With China?

Pat Buchanan gives us a dose of realism

In his final state of the nation speech Monday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte defended his refusal to confront China over Beijing's seizure and fortification of his country's islets in the South China Sea.

"It will be a massacre if I go and fight a war now," said Duterte. "We are not yet a competent and able enemy of the other side."

Duterte is a realist. He will not challenge China to retrieve his lost territories, as his country would be crushed. But Duterte has a hole card: a U.S. guarantee to fight China, should he stumble into war with China.

Consider. Earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured Manila we would invoke the U.S.-Philippines mutual security pact in the event of Chinese military action against Philippine assets.

"We also reaffirm," said Blinken, "that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty."

Is this an American war guarantee to fight the People's Republic of China, if the Philippines engage a Chinese warship over one of a disputed half-dozen rocks and reefs in the South China Sea? So it would appear.

Why are we threatening this?

Is who controls Mischief Reef or Scarborough Shoal a matter of such vital U.S. interest as to justify war between us and China?

Tuesday, in Singapore, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reaffirmed the American commitment to go to war on behalf of the Philippines, should Manila attempt, militarily, to retrieve its stolen property.

Said Austin: "Beijing's claim to the vast majority of the South China Sea has no basis in international law. ... We remain committed to the treaty obligations that we have to Japan in the Senkaku Islands and to the Philippines in the South China Sea."

Austin went on: "Beijing's unwillingness to ... respect the rule of law isn't just occurring on the water. We have also seen aggression against India ... destabilizing military activity and other forms of coercion against the people of Taiwan ... and genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang."

The Defense secretary is publicly accusing China of crimes against its Uyghur population in Xinjiang comparable to those for which the Nazis were hanged at Nuremberg.

Austin has also informed Beijing, yet again, that the U.S. is obligated by a 70-year-old treaty to go to war to defend Japan's claims to the Senkakus, half a dozen rocks Tokyo now occupies and Beijing claims historically belong to China.

The secretary also introduced the matter of Taiwan, with which President Jimmy Carter broke relations and let lapse our mutual security treaty in 1979.

There remains, however, ambiguity on what the U.S. is prepared to do if China moves on Taiwan. Would we fight China for Taiwan's independence, an island President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger said in 1972 was "part of China"?

And if China ignores our protests of its "genocide" and "crimes against humanity" against the Uyghurs, and of its human rights violations in Tibet, and of its crushing of democracy in Hong Kong, what are we prepared to do?

Sanctions? A decoupling of our economies? Confrontation? War?

This is not an argument for threatening war, but for an avoidance of war by providing greater clarity and certitude as to what the U.S. response will be if China ignores our protests and remains on its present course.

Some of us can still recall how President Dwight Eisenhower refused to intervene when Nikita Khrushchev ordered Russian tanks into Budapest to drown the 1956 Hungarian revolution in blood. Instead, we welcomed Hungarian refugees.

When the Berlin Wall went up in 1961, President John F. Kennedy called up the reserves and went to Berlin to make a famous speech, but did nothing.

"Less profile, more courage!" was the response of Cold War hawks.

But Kennedy was saying, as Eisenhower had said by his inaction in Hungary, that America does not go to war with a great nuclear power such as the Soviet Union over the right of East Germans to flee to West Berlin.

Which brings us back to Taiwan.

In the Shanghai Communique signed by Nixon, Taiwan was conceded to be a "part of China." Are we now going to fight a war to prevent Beijing from bringing the island home to the "embrace of the motherland"?

And if we are prepared to fight, Beijing should not be left in the dark. China ought to know the risks it would be taking.

Cuba is an island, across the Florida Strait, with historic ties to the United States. Taiwan is an island 7,000 miles away, on the other side of the Pacific.

This month, Cubans rose up against the 62-year-old Communist regime fastened upon them by Fidel and Raul Castro.

By what yardstick would we threaten war for the independence of Taiwan but continue to tolerate 60 years of totalitarian repression in Cuba, 90 miles away?


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Third dose of Pfizer vaccine boosts antibodies up to 11-fold against the Indian 'Delta' variant

A third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine could offer strong protection against the Indian 'Delta' variant, data reveals, as a separate study finds protection provided by the vaccine could wane after six months.

New data released by the company on Wednesday showed antibody levels increased five-fold among people ages 18 to 55 who were given the booster shot.

The third dose was especially effecting for the elderly, with antibody levels spiking 11-fold among people aged 65 to 85 who had already received the standard two doses.

In the slides published online, the researchers wrote there there is 'estimated potential for up to 100-fold increase in Delta neutralization post-dose three compared to pre-dose three.'

The new data come at a welcome time with separate pre-print research finding that the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine falls from 96 percent to only 84 percent after six months.

The Delta variant continues to spread across the country, making up at least 83 percent of all new infections.

Pfizer produces the most commonly used vaccine in the U.S., having been administered over 190 million times, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Early adopters of the vaccine may soon has their immunity to the virus slightly diminished.

Research, which has not been peer-reviewed, led by Pfizer and Syracuse University in New York finds that the vaccine was 91 percent effective in preventing the virus for six months.

After the time-span, the efficacy slightly falls to only 84 percent.

If it continues to drop at that rate, researchers say, the vaccine could drop below 50 percent efficacy 18 months after administration.

Those who are fully vaccinated and contract COVID are still less likely to experience serious symptoms or hospitalization, though.

Pfizer's vaccine was first given emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December, and was first distributed to priority populations like the elderly and health care workers that month.

Those who received the vaccine first may have already had its efficacy drop, meaning a third dose could be required soon.

The company plans to submit its application for emergency use authorization for the third dose to the FDA as early as August, according to slides distributed before an earnings call.

Clinical studies on a Delta variant-specific vaccine may begin soon as well.

Pending regulatory approval, the company plans to kick off trials in August, and has even already produced the first batch of the vaccine to be used.

Rumbles about the potential for a third dose in the near future have been happening for months.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said in the past that he expects a third dose to be needed in the coming months.

Though, he said earlier this month that he does not expect booster shots to be needed for the fully vaccinated at this time.

Fauci said earlier this week, though, that those who are vulnerable to the virus even after vaccination still may require a third dose.

Some elderly people, and people with conditions like cancer or who have received an organ transplant, are found to have not developed the sane antibody levels as others post vaccine.

The Delta variant has also shown a rare ability to cause breakthrough cases among fully vaccinated people.

The ability to cause breakthrough cases was cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the reason for the reintroduction of masks for fully vaccinated people in some parts of the country.

If Pfizer's findings - which are not peer-reviewed - are correct, then the third dose could be a valuable tool in combatting the variant.

The company's findings also found that a third dose could be particularly effective in combating the South African Beta variant.

The variant accounts for less than 10 percent of active cases in the United States.

Pfizer also revealed on the earnings call that they are working on a flu vaccine that uses the same mRNA technology used to develop its COVID vaccine.

Moderna, who also developed an mRNA COVID vaccine, began trials of an mRNA flu vaccine at the start of the month.


Dan Crenshaw Tweets Stunning Revelation on New CDC Mask Guidelines

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced a new mask guideline for students, teachers, and staff in K-12 to wear masks regardless of vaccination status, as well as in certain indoor settings, again, also regardless of vaccination status. The move was met with swift criticism, especially and including from former President Donald Trump. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), though, takes issue with the data used to justify the new guidelines.

The “game changer” data the CDC used for the mask mandate is from a single study from India.

The study that influenced this decision? It followed healthcare workers who were vaccinated with a vaccine NOT EVEN APPROVED IN THE U.S.

That’s right. So they’re not even using a comparable case study that can be applied to vaccinated Americans.

The study was rejected in peer review. But CDC used it anyway. Remember what I said about public health officials losing our trust?

The excerpt Rep. Crenshaw references comes from Andrew Joseph's article published by STAT, "CDC Again Recommends Indoor Masking, Even for Some Vaccinated People."

The excerpt in question reads:

An administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told STAT that health experts do not have studies proving that fully vaccinated people are transmitting the virus. Rather, the official said, the updated guidance is based on studies showing that vaccinated people who contract the Delta variant have similarly high levels of virus in their airways, which suggested that they may be infectious to others. With other variants, vaccinated people had substantially lower levels of virus in their noses and throats compared to unvaccinated people.

Joseph also wrote:

The CDC says breakthrough cases still appear to be rare given how many people have been vaccinated, and the vast majority of infections are asymptomatic or mild. It’s also thought that because so many of those cases are so tame, many go undetected. However, many experts argue that breakthrough infections that cause no symptoms shouldn’t really be considered as cases. Mild or asymptomatic breakthrough infections are signs that the vaccines — whose top aim is to stave off death and severe illness — are doing their job, experts stress.

Guidelines on masks have been met with particular drama in the U.S. House of Representatives, after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reimposed a mask mandate on the House floor.

As Carson covered, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) gave a particularly impassioned floor speech about the absurdity of the mask mandate, especially while illegal immigrants testing positive continue to come to this country via the southern border.




Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Most Sailors Perceive ‘Crisis of Leadership and Culture’ in Navy, Congressional Report Says

A new congressional report on the U.S. Navy “found that a staggering 94% of sailors interviewed believe that the surface Navy suffers from a crisis of leadership and culture.”

Increased administrative burdens (750 annual reports per ship, most of them useless) and training not related to combat have eaten into the time American sailors are able to devote to honing mission-critical skills.

“The noncombat curricula consume Navy resources, clog inboxes, create administrative quagmires, and monopolize precious training time,” the report warns. The report highlights America’s glaring unpreparedness at a time when America’s primary strategic competitor, China, is beefing up its navy, threatening U.S. allies and interests around the world.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., one of the legislators who commissioned the report, said the results were “disappointing because it confirmed what I suspected.” He moved to commission a report after a string of incidents have destroyed U.S. Navy ships even under peacetime conditions.

The USS Fitzgerald and USS McCain ran into other ships, the USS Bonhomme Richard caught fire in a U.S. port, and American officers in the Persian Gulf surrendered their patrol crafts to what were little more than Iranian fishing boats.

The Navy has “lost a capital ship worth hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars on average every six months over the last several years,” said Cotton. “Those are not isolated incidents.”

According to the report, many sailors agree. “Sometimes I think we care more about whether we have enough diversity officers than if we’ll survive a fight with the Chinese navy,” said one active-duty lieutenant. “They think my only value is as a black woman. But you cut our ship open with a missile and we’ll all bleed the same color.”

Cotton said the “failures go back over multiple administrations,” but “it’s gotten worse with things like critical race theory.” Like the report, which was directed by two retired flag officers, the Navy’s problem transcends partisan politics.

The surface Navy—that is, ships on the water—is what would fight a major war. “We need a warfighting culture in our surface Navy,” Cotton said. Due to America’s long coastlines and few neighbors, a strong Navy has been our most critical security component since the founding era.

Cotton said, “A conflict with China would probably start and primarily remain a naval and aerial battle” because they lie across the vast Pacific Ocean. Yet “the surface Navy has lost its warfighting edge,” he lamented.

The bulk of a sailor’s training should be on “basic seafaring skills,” said Cotton, which is clearly lacking when our naval vessels are running into other ships. Even human trafficking training, which can be good, said Cotton, can be a distraction if it turns into half a day or more of training.

During the 1980s, marines and naval personnel practiced memorizing the Russian navy and army so that they could identify ships and tanks by their silhouette and know exactly what weapons their opponents had and how much time they had to get out of the way. Today, it’s safe to say America’s sailors spend too much time filling out paperwork and reading Ibram X. Kendi to do anything of the sort.

Cotton said Congress can take some action to solve the Navy’s unreadiness. For instance, careful oversight of naval maintenance schedules can help to reduce time spent on repairs, which is time sailors aren’t practicing maneuvers. But many of the Navy’s problems come down to leadership, said Cotton, especially after the Obama administration pushed out military leaders who refused to participate in social experimentation.

American security needs a sane administration that will promote solid officers. Leadership is sorely lacking now.


Will The Police Officer Who Flipped Woman’s SUV Face Charges?

On the evening of July 9, 2020, Janice Nicole Harper was traveling in her car on Highway 67 in Arkansas when police lights suddenly appeared in her rearview mirror.

Dashcam footage from the incident shows Harper, who was pregnant at the time, slowing her vehicle, switching on her hazard lights, and steering to the side of the road. Before she could stop or find an exit to pull over at, however, Arkansas State Trooper Rodney Dunn rammed her SUV, causing the vehicle to flip over.

Footage then shows Dunn approach the upside-down SUV and tell Harper to climb out of her passenger-side window.

“Why didn’t you stop?” he is heard asking.

“Because I didn’t feel like it was safe!” Harper cries out in obvious distress.

“Well, this is where you end up,” Dunn responds as Harper, then pregnant, struggles to exit the vehicle. “I thought it would be safe to wait until the exit.”

“No ma’am, you pull over when law enforcement stops you.”

If any ordinary citizen had intentionally rammed a pregnant woman’s vehicle, flipping it over in an attempt to stop her from speeding, they would be facing several criminal charges and a large payout to the victim. However, because Rodney Dunn is an Arkansas State Trooper, he is unlikely to do either.

Indeed, since this dangerous incident occurred, Dunn has remained on active patrol duty. No criminal charges were brought against him, despite performing an action—a maneuver known as a Pursuit Intervention Technique—that easily could have killed Harper and her unborn child. He is, however, facing civil charges.

Harper is suing Dunn and his two supervisors, Sgt. Alan Johnson, and Arkansas State Police Director Col. Bill Bryant for negligence for using the PIT maneuver on her. According to the lawsuit, Harper was driving 84 miles per hour in a 70-mile-per-hour zone. Dunn turned on his lights to signal for Harper to pull over, which she responded to by slowing her speed to 60 miles per hour, turning on her hazard lights, and moving into the right travel lane to pull off of the highway in a safe manner. Because of the pitch black darkness and the reduced shoulder on the side of the highway, Harper wanted to find a safer place to pull off. Less than three minutes had transpired from the beginning of the pursuit when Dunn performed the maneuver, ramming Harper’s vehicle and causing it to crash into the concrete median and flip over.

Although Dunn recklessly endangered Harper’s life (and her unborn child’s) with an excessive use of force, it’s unlikely he will be forced to pay restitution because of privileges afforded to law enforcement that the rest of us don’t get.

Qualified Immunity Protects Police From Consequences
In the state of Arkansas, a driver is well within their rights to use hazard lights to signal to an officer that they are going to pull off the road when they find a safe place. In fact, that’s exactly what the State Police’s “Driver License Study Guide” says drivers should do.

Under “What to do When You Are Stopped,” it says to use “emergency flashers to indicate to the officer that you are seeking a safe place to stop.” So, even if Harper was being pursued for a more serious traffic offense, she should have still been allowed to follow these rules. The fact that she was only being pulled over for speeding just adds to the absurdity of the officer’s actions. As a pregnant woman driving on the highway alone and at night, it is only common sense for Harper to have pulled into a well-lit area with a wider shoulder. (This action protects police officers as well as citizens, it should be noted.)

This case demonstrates the urgency of abolishing qualified immunity, which is a legal principle that gives government officials, like law enforcement, immunity from civil suits unless the plaintiff’s rights were violated by the official in a “clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”

If a non-officer had flipped someone’s car for simply speeding, there is little doubt they would face civil and criminal charges. But qualified immunity will most likely protect Dunn (once again) from facing the consequences of his actions. Even if Harper were to win this lawsuit, the payout would come from taxpayer money, not Dunn’s pockets.

How did we get here? The genesis of qualified immunity is nearly as suspect as the law itself. The doctrine was essentially created out of thin air by the Supreme Court in 1960, with no legal basis or mass public support. The statute includes something called the “Clearly Established Law Requirement.”

Because of the nature of this requirement, police officers are protected from consequences even if they violated someone’s civil rights if a court hasn’t previously ruled the exact actions to be unconstitutional in a prior case. Because of the fact that specifics in different cases can differ greatly, this allows for a lot of room for officers who acted unconstitutionally to get off scot-free.

Government Employees Should Not Have the Privilege to Violate Your Rights

Abolishing qualified immunity would hold officers liable for infringing on citizens’ rights, and act as an effective deterrent from these incidents occurring in the first place. If law enforcement understands that they (and not the local government) will have to pay for violations of civil rights, they would be less likely to violate those rights in the first place.

According to Clark Neilly of the Cato Institute, “Qualified immunity is a judge‐​made defense,” referencing the fact that it was made up in the Supreme Court rather than by the legislative process.

“[Qualified immunity] enables police and other government officials to escape liability for violating people’s rights…” wrote Neilly. “This has enabled cops to escape liability for everything from stealing property while executing a search warrant to savaging an unresisting suspect with a police dog.”

Because there aren’t many cases of state troopers recklessly using the PIT maneuver to flip a driver for speeding, there is a good chance that qualified immunity would apply in this case, and protect Dunn.

Qualified immunity is un-American. It flouts the philosophy on which our constitutional republic was founded, as was clearly articulated in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”

Right in the introduction of the document, our founding fathers made sure to emphasize that the sole purpose of government is to protect our rights. As agents of the government inaugurated by the Declaration of Independence, that is what cops are supposed to do. “Protect and serve,” like it sometimes says on their squad cars. Not lord it over us like we’re mere peons—like Trooper Dunn did when he damn near killed a pregnant lady and then lectured her for not respecting his badge. That’s the kind of government we fought a Revolution to get free of.

When government officers violate the rights of citizens, as Trooper Dunn did when he flipped Janice Harper’s car, they are flipping upside-down the very purpose of their job and of the American government. Then we have the tyrannical state of affairs described by Frederic Bastiat in his classic work, The Law:

“The law perverted! The law—and, in its wake, all the collective forces of the nation—the law, I say, not only diverted from its proper direction, but made to pursue one entirely contrary! The law becomes the tool of every kind of avarice, instead of being its check! The law is guilty of that very iniquity which it was its mission to punish!”

And qualified immunity makes such perversions of the law more frequent and more entrenched, because it systematically shelters officers of the law who commit them.

Abolishing qualified immunity is key to preventing police abuse. It’s also the American thing to do.




Sunday, July 25, 2021

Doctors Raise Awareness on Ivermectin Treatment for COVID-19

In an effort to help end the pandemic, an international coalition of medical experts is holding worldwide events Saturday to raise awareness about the effectiveness of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.

Organizers of the World Ivermectin Day say doctors and supporters of the inexpensive FDA-approved drug will host free online and public events in over a dozen countries.

Two nonprofits—Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance and the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD) group—who have been campaigning for the off-label use of ivermectin to prevent and treat COVID-19 say the event’s focus is to let more people know that the antiparasitic drug can treat COVID-19, possibly end the pandemic, and help eliminate fear of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“We have an incredibly positive and uplifting message to share: ivermectin treats and prevents COVID and it is the key to unlocking the never-ending cycle of pandemic peaks and personal restrictions and will help restart economies,” Dr. Tess Lawrie, cofounder of the BIRD group said in a press release.

Lawrie is also a co-author of a peer-reviewed meta-analysis study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics that found ivermectin to be effective against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus. Lawrie and her team concluded with a moderate level of confidence that ivermectin reduced the risk of death by an average of 62 percent, at a 95 percent confidence interval of 0.19-0.73, especially when prescribed early.

FLCCC Alliance also conducted their own review of 18 randomized controlled trials on COVID-19 treatment with ivermectin. They found “large, statistically significant reductions in mortality, time to clinical recovery, and time to viral clearance.” The authors also said that studies on the prevention of COVID-19 reported significantly reduced risks of the disease with regular use of the drug.

Members of the FLCCC Alliance have developed various protocols for the prevention and early treatment of COVID-19, instead of having patients wait until they develop a severe illness to receive treatment at the hospital. These treatment protocols including one for the management of long COVID are being used globally.

The current standard protocol for COVID-19 positive patients is to isolate at home, avoid dehydration, rest, and take over-the-counter medications for fever, headache, cough, and body pain.

According to updated guidance from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 and who are at high risk of disease progression, are recommended to take a monoclonal antibody if hospitalization or supplemental oxygen is not required.

Despite evidence showing ivermectin may treat all stages of COVID-19 and reduce death and hospitalization as a result of its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, the FDA has not approved its use, saying that the drug isn’t an anti-viral. The federal regulator issued a warning that people should not take ivermectin intended for horses as the larger doses may be harmful to humans.

The NIH has not changed its neutral stance on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, while the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend the use of the drug except in a clinical study. Both organizations cite insufficient data for not making a recommendation.

Unprecedented Censorship

Online discussions of ivermectin have faced an unprecedented level of suppression with doctors claiming that their videos are being taken down or their LinkedIn accounts closed.

Lawrie said she has experienced censorship with her work on ivermectin, claiming that her videos about the drug have been removed and posts censored on social media.

“I have experienced a lot of censorship ever since I started doing work on ivermectin (never before),” Lawrie told The Epoch Times via email. “I have had my post of my published peer-reviewed scientific manuscript removed from LinkedIn.”

She also said that many people have informed her that their accounts would be restricted or censored “if they post the work my company has produced on ivermectin or interviews that I have done.”

LinkedIn did not reply to a request for comment.

Dr. Mobeen Syed, chief executive officer of Drbeen Corp, an online medical education, said YouTube took down three of his videos on ivermectin within 24 hours.

“[Third] book burnt in 24 hours. @Youtube @TeamYouTube continue to burn books,” Syed said on Twitter on July 11. “This video was important to keep people safe who are using ivermectin regardless of what YouTube thinks.”

YouTube did not reply to The Epoch Times inquiry on clarification of which terms or conditions Syed’s videos had violated.

Ivermectin is not the only topic being suppressed or blocked by Big Tech firms. Social media posts about the lab leak theory that the CCP virus escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, and information that goes against the narrative about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine has also been censored.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki suggested at a White House briefing that people should be banned from all social media platforms if they post misinformation online about COVID-19 vaccines, alleging that this type of information was “leading to people not taking the vaccine.” Psaki’s suggestion has drawn widespread condemnation.

Regardless of the suppression of ivermectin around the world, people have found unique ways to get the information out. Social media posts of lawn signs have appeared in Manitoba, Canada with a simple message that reads, “Ivermectin treats COVID-19” along with the FLCCC website listed


The Pope is a Catholic after all

He has been so liberal in many ways that his new Canons are a most refreshing reaffirmation of traditional Catholic morality

Pope Francis has made the most extensive revisions to Catholic Church law in four decades, insisting that bishops take action against clerics who sexually abuse minors and vulnerable adults, commit economic fraud or ordain women.

In many ways, the changes published on Tuesday integrate piecemeal reforms that have been made over the years to address clergy sexual abuse and financial scandals that have compromised the credibility of the hierarchy in the eyes of rank-and-file faithful.

The new provisions, released on Tuesday after 14 years of study, were contained in the revised criminal law section of the Vatican's Code of Canon Law, the in-house legal system that covers the 1.3 billion-member Catholic Church and operates independently from civil laws.

What are the new provisions?

The most significant changes are contained in two articles, 1395 and 1398, which aim to address shortcomings in the church's handling of sexual abuse.

The law recognises that adults, not only children, can be victimised by priests who abuse their authority.

The revisions also say that laypeople holding church positions, such as school principals or parish economists, can be punished for abusing minors as well as adults.

The Vatican also criminalised priests "grooming" minors or vulnerable adults to compel them to engage in pornography – the update is the first time church law has officially recognised as criminal the method used by sexual predators to build relationships with victims they have targeted for sexual exploitation.

The new law, which is set to take effect on December 8, also removes much of the discretion that long allowed bishops and religious superiors to ignore or cover up abuse, making clear that those in positions of authority will be held responsible if they fail to properly investigate or sanction predator priests.

A bishop can be removed from office for "culpable negligence" or if he does not report sex crimes to church authorities, although the canon law foresees no punishment for failing to report suspected crimes to police.

While the church has historically prohibited the ordination of women and the ban has been reaffirmed by popes, the 1983 code says only in another section that priestly ordination was reserved for "a baptised male".

The revised code specifically warns that both the person who attempts to confer ordination on a woman and the woman herself incur automatic excommunication and that the cleric risks being defrocked.

Kate McElwee, executive director of the Women's Ordination Conference, said in a statement that while the position was not surprising, spelling it out in the new code was "a painful reminder of the Vatican's patriarchal machinery and its far-reaching attempts to subordinate women".

Reflecting the series of financial scandals that have hit the Church in recent decades, other new entries in the code include several on economic crimes, such as embezzlement of church funds or property or grave negligence in their administration.

What prompted the changes?

Ever since the 1983 code first was issued, lawyers and bishops have complained it was inadequate for dealing with the sexual abuse of minors since it required time-consuming trials.

Victims and their advocates, meanwhile, argued the code left too much discretion in the hands of bishops who had an interest in covering up for their priests.

The Vatican issued piecemeal changes over the years to address problems and loopholes, most significantly requiring all cases to be sent to the Holy See for review and allowing for a more streamlined administrative process to defrock a priest if the evidence against him was overwhelming.

The Vatican has long considered any sexual relations between a priest and an adult as sinful but consensual, believing that adults are able to offer or refuse consent purely by the nature of their age.

But amid the #MeToo movement and scandals of seminarians and nuns being sexually abused by their superiors, the Vatican has come to realise that adults can be victimised if there is a power imbalance in the relationship.

Monsignor Juan Ignacio Arrieta, secretary of the Vatican's legal office, said the new version would cover any rank-and-file member of the church who is a victim of a priest who abused his authority.

Pitfalls in the new code

The law does not explicitly define which adults are covered, saying only an adult who "habitually has an imperfect use of reason" or for "whom the law recognises equal protection".

Arrieta said the Vatican chose not to define precisely who is covered but noted that the Vatican previously defined vulnerable adults as those who even occasionally are unable to understand or consent because of a physical or mental deficiency or are deprived of their personal liberty.

The Reverend Davide Cito, a canon lawyer at the Pontifical Holy Cross University, said the broadness of the law "allows it to protect many people" who might not necessarily fall under the strict definition of "vulnerable" but are nevertheless deserving of protection.

In a novelty aimed at addressing sex crimes committed by laypeople who hold church offices, such as the founders of lay religious movements or even parish accountants and administrators, the new law says laypeople can be punished if they abuse their authority to engage in sexual or financial crimes.

Since these laypeople cannot be defrocked, penalties include losing their jobs, paying fines or being removed from their communities.




Friday, July 23, 2021

Israeli company is set to become first in the world to launch clinical trials of an ORAL COVID-19 vaccine

Oravax Medical, a subsidiary of Jerusalem-based Oramed Pharmaceuticals, has received a green light to begin the study from the Institutional Review Board at Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

The team is now waiting for approval from the Health Ministry, which is expected within a few weeks.

Oramed CEO Nadav Kidron told The Jerusalem Post that an oral vaccine would be faster, cheaper and easier to manufacture than vaccines that are injected.

What's more, it could be easily distributed to low-and middle-income countries. 'An oral COVID-19 vaccine would eliminate several barriers to rapid, wide-scale distribution, potentially enabling people to take the vaccine themselves at home,' he said. 

'While ease of administration is critical today to accelerate inoculation rates, an oral vaccine could become even more valuable in the case that a COVID-19 vaccine may be recommended annually like the standard flu shot.' 

The technology is the same that the company is using to develop insulin capsules for type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients Nadav Kidron told The Jerusalem Post.  Kidron explained the trials are initially being conducted as a 'proof of concept' rather than testing efficacy. 

Researchers are recruiting 24 unvaccinated volunteers  with half receiving one pill and the other half two pills.

The team will analyze safety and then take participants' blood samples to measure antibody levels.

If results prove successful, the trial will move into Phase III when the capsules will be tested against a placebo.  

'The idea here is that we want to show proof of concept: that it works for people,' Kidron told The Jerusalem Post.

'I pray and hope that we will. Imagine that we could give someone an oral vaccine and they are vaccinated. This would be a revolution for the entire world.' 

The Oravax vaccine targets three proteins on the virus rather then the single spike protein that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines target. 

Kidron says this should help the pill be much more effective against variant, which often have mutations on the spike protein.

'This vaccine should be much more resistant to COVID-19 variants,' he told The Jerusalem Post. 

'Even if the virus gets through one line, there is a second line, and if through the second line, there is a third.' 

The pill can be shipped in refrigeration cooler and even be stored at room temperature, unlike other COVID-19. 

What's more, it would not need to be administered by a health professional, making it easy to distribute in schools, offices  and other businesses.

Brigham Young University Hawaii Contradicts Student’s Doctor, Says She Must Receive Vaccine or Find Another School, Despite Her Serious Medical Condition

An incoming freshman with a neurological disorder has been told she will need to receive a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine to pursue her studies, despite her doctor warning the school of the risks due to her condition.


Olivia Sandor, who suffers from Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS), an auto-immune disease that paralyzed her from the waist down, was set to start at the this fall, when an announcement was made June 16 that all students would be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

When the school announced its new policy, BYUH’s assistant to the president said that students with religious or medical reasons can apply for an immunization exemption and that each case and circumstance would be reviewed to see if the student qualified.

Due to her unique and life-threatening circumstances, Olivia provided the university with a medical exemption in which her doctor notified the school of the risks she faced if she were to take the vaccine.

The letter read:

Olivia has been a patient of mine for many years. In January of 2019, she received an influenza vaccine and within a couple of years developed Guillain Barre Syndrome and was very ill for a couple of months.

Because of her history I believe a COVID vaccine or another influenza vaccine will endanger her health and possibly her life. I believe she should avoid those vaccines indefinitely.

After waiting three weeks, Olivia received a letter from the university informing her that her exemption had been denied.

The university’s response read:

After careful consideration of your request for a medical exemption, we reget that we cannot accommodate your request. Due to our unique location, diverse student population, and daily interaction with international tourists at the Polynesian Cultural Center, we must take extra precautions to protect our campus and community.

We recommend that you come when you can be fully vaccinated or consider attendance at one of our other church universities.

With the help of her parents, Olivia appealed again to the university, pleading with them to understand her medical circumstances.

The university responded again to Olivia, denying her request a second time, and providing two references from university doctors who had never treated her, assuring her the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would be safe for her to take.

“She should not get the J&J vaccine, but the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would be OK,” the email from the university said in contradiction to the advice of the doctor treating Olivia’s condition.

“It states that the mRNA vaccines (i.e. Moderna) haven’t shown any association with triggering GBS. She should be fine to get the Moderna vaccine.”

Olivia told Caldron Pool that attending BYUH had been her dream and that she had turned down a $200,000 scholarship to enrol at the university.

In a post on social media, Olivia detailed her experience, saying, “I’m sharing this today to shed light on how the COVID-19 vaccine is affecting me and my life and to help others not feel so alone… I may not know why this is all happening now, but I have faith that there is a reason.”

Olivia is one of a number of students who have expressed concerns about the mandatory vaccine policy adopted by BYUH.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

FDA to Add Warning About Neurological Disorder Linked to Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 12 said it will add a warning label to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine that it is linked to a rare neurological disorder known as Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), while J&J confirmed it is “in discussions” with federal agencies.

“The FDA is announcing revisions to the vaccine recipient and vaccination provider fact sheets for the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine to include information pertaining to an observed increased risk of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) following vaccination,” an FDA spokesperson told The Epoch Times on July 12.

The benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks, the agency said.

That determination was made “based on an analysis of Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting (VAERS) data” which found “there have been 100 preliminary reports following vaccination with the Janssen vaccine after approximately 12.5 million doses administered,” the spokesperson said. “Of these reports, 95 of them were serious and required hospitalization.”

As of now, the FDA noted, although available data suggest there is an association between the J&J vaccine and an increased risk of GBS, this is “insufficient to establish a causal relationship.”

The spokesperson added that the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines don’t present a similar risk.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the CDC told The Epoch Times that the federal health agency is monitoring reports of GBS.

“Every year in the United States, an estimated 3,000 to 6,000 people develop GBS,” said a CDC spokesperson, adding that “it is typically triggered by a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection. <font style="background-color:yellow; font-weight:bold;">Most people fully recover from GBS.”</font>

According to the CDC, GBS is a neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system damages nerve cells and causes muscle weakness. In some cases, the disorder can cause paralysis, says the Mayo Clinic, which noted that most people with the condition must be hospitalized.

J&J, in a statement on Monday, confirmed it has “been in discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other regulators about rare cases of the neurological disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome, that have been reported following vaccination with the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.”

“The chance of having this occur is very low,” the statement added, “and the rate of reported cases exceeds the background rate by a small degree.”

GBS has been linked as a rare side effect to various vaccines, including one that was developed to combat the swine flu in 1976, according to the UK National Health Services website.

Earlier this year, the CDC and FDA recommended halting usage of the J&J vaccine after reports of blood clots emerged among some individuals who had received it. Weeks later, the two agencies said that the vaccine could again be used, but with an FDA warning.

“This pause was essential to our ability to inform the public, inform physicians, and acquire more data for presentation and for analysis,” Dr. José Romero, chairman of the CDC’s Committee of Immunizations, said in April. The vote was 10–4 in favor of recommending the vaccine to adults who are 18 or older. There was one abstention.


Democratic Party Won’t Admit It’s Become Party of Wealth

How often during the last year of wokeness have middle- and lower-class Americans listened to multimillionaires of all races and genders lecture them on their various pathologies and oppressions?

University presidents with million-dollar salaries virtue signal on the cheap their own sort of “unearned white privilege.”

Meghan Markle and the Obamas, from their plush estates, indict Americans for their biases.

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors Brignac decries the oppressive victimization she and others have suffered—from one of her four recently acquired homes.

Do we need another performance-art sermon on America’s innate unfairness from billionaire entertainers such as Beyonce, Jay-Z, or Oprah Winfrey, or from multimillionaire Delta or Coca-Cola CEOs?

During the 1980s cultural war, the left’s mantra was “race, class, and gender.” Occasionally we still hear of that trifecta, but the class part has increasingly disappeared. The neglect of class is ironic given that a number of recent studies conclude class differences are widening as never before.

Middle-class incomes among all races have stagnated, and family net worth has declined. Far greater percentages of rising incomes go to the already rich. Student debt, mostly a phenomenon of the middle and lower classes, has hit $1.7 trillion.

States such California have bifurcated into medieval-style societies. California’s progressive coastal elites boast some of the highest incomes in the nation. But in the more conservative north and central interior, nearly a third of the population lives below the poverty line—explaining why 1 of every 3 American welfare recipients lives in California.

California’s heating, cooling, gasoline, and housing costs are the highest in the continental United States. Most of these spiraling costs are attributable to polices embraced by an upper-class elite—in Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and marquee universities—whose incomes shield them from the deleterious consequences of their utopian bromides. The poor and middle classes have no such insulation.

So why are we not talking about class?

First, we are watching historic changes in political alignment.

The two parties are switching class constituents. Some 65% of the Americans making more than $500,000 a year are Democrats, and 74% of those who earn less than $100,000 a year are Republicans, according to IRS statistics. Gone are the days of working people automatically voting Democratic, or Republicans being caricatured as a party of stockbrokers on golf courses.

By 2018, Democratic representatives were in control all 20 of the wealthiest congressional districts. In the recent presidential primaries and general election, 17 of the 20 wealthiest ZIP codes gave more money to Democratic candidates than to Republicans.

Increasingly, the Democrats are a bicoastal party of elites from corporate America, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, the media, universities, entertainment, and professional sports. All have made out like bandits from globalization.

Democrats have lost much of their support from working-class whites, especially in the interior of the country. But they are also fast forfeiting the Hispanic middle class and beginning to lose solidarity among middle-class African Americans.

The Democratic Party does not wish to admit it has become the party of wealth. All too often its stale revolutionary speechifying sounds more like penance arising from guilt than genuine advocacy for middle-class citizens of all races.

The wealthy leftist elite has mastered the rhetoric of ridicule for the lower-middle classes, especially struggling whites. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden wrote off their political opponents as supposedly crude, superstitious, and racist, smearing them as “clingers,” “deplorables,” “irredeemables,” and “chumps.”

Class is fluid; race is immutable. So by fixating on race, the left believes that it can divide America into permanent victimizers and victims—at a time when race and class are increasingly disconnecting.

The wealthy of all races are the loudest voices of the woke movement. Their frequent assumptions of  “victimhood” are absurd.

Americans who struggle to pay soaring gas, food, energy, and housing prices are berated for their “white privilege” by an array of well-paid academics, media elite, and CEOs.

Note that the woke military is the brand of admirals, generals, and retired top brass on corporate boards, not of the enlisted. It’s multimillionaire CEOs who bark at the nation for their prejudices, not saleswomen or company truck drivers.

America is a plutocracy, not a genocracy. Wealth, not race, is the factor most likely to ensure someone power, influence, and the good life.

In the pre-civil rights past, race was often fused to class, and the two terms were logically used interchangeably to cite oppression and inequality. But such a canard is fossilized. And so are those who desperately cling to it.

The more the elites scream their woke banalities, the more they seem to fear that they, not most Americans, are really the privileged, coddled, and pampered ones—and sometimes the victimizers.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Effects of Vitamin D and COVID-Related Outcomes

As early as November 2020, it was known that there were striking differences in vitamin D status among people who had asymptomatic COVID-19 and those who became severely ill and required intensive care unit (ICU) care. In one study, 32.96 percent of those with asymptomatic cases were vitamin D deficient, compared to 96.82 percent of those who were admitted to the ICU for a severe case.

COVID-19 patients who were deficient in this inexpensive and widely available vitamin had a higher inflammatory response and a greater fatality rate. The Indian study authors recommended “mass administration of vitamin D supplements to populations at risk for COVID-19,” in a study published in Scientific Reports, but this hasn’t happened, at least not in the United States.

As of April 21, the date the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) last updated its COVID-19 treatment guidelines/vitamin D page, the agency stated, “There are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of vitamin D for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.” As you’ll see in the paragraphs that follow, however, the evidence for its use is strong.

Vitamin D Therapy Reduces COVID’s Inflammatory Storm

Vitamin D has multiple actions on the immune system, including enhancing the production of antimicrobial peptides by immune cells, reducing damaging pro-inflammatory cytokines, and promoting the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are a group of proteins that your body uses to control inflammation.

If you have an infection, your body will release cytokines to help combat inflammation, but sometimes, it releases more than it should. If the cytokine release spirals out of control, the resulting “cytokine storm” becomes dangerous and is closely tied to sepsis, which may be an important contributor to the death of COVID-19 patients.

Many COVID-19 therapeutics are focused on viral elimination instead of modulating the hyperinflammation often seen in the disease. In fact, uncontrolled immune response has been suggested as a factor in disease severity, making immunomodulation “an attractive potential treatment strategy,” wrote researchers from Singapore in a study published in Nutrition.

In one study published in Scientific Reports in May, researchers investigated the effects of Pulse D therapy—daily high-dose supplementation (60,000 IUs) of vitamin D—for eight to 10 days, in addition to standard therapy, for COVID-19 patients deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D levels increased significantly in the vitamin D group—from 16 ng/ml to 89 ng/ml—while inflammatory markers significantly decreased, without any side effects.

“Vit.D acts as a smart switch to decrease the Th1 response and pro-inflammatory cytokines while enhancing the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines in cases of immune dysregulation. It is pertinent to note that SARS-CoV-2 virus activates Th1 response and suppresses Th2 response,” they wrote.

They concluded that Pulse D therapy could be safely added to COVID-19 treatment protocols for improved outcomes.

Vitamin D3 Reduces COVID-19 Deaths, ICU Admissions

Another group of researchers in Spain gave vitamin D3 (calcifediol) to patients admitted to the COVID-19 wards of Barcelona’s Hospital del Mar. About half the patients received vitamin D3 in the amount of 21,280 IU on day one plus 10,640 IU on days 3, 7, 15, and 30. Those that received vitamin D fared significantly better, with only 4.5 percent requiring ICU admission compared to 21 percent in the no-vitamin D group.

Vitamin D treatment also significantly reduced mortality, with 4.7 percent of the vitamin D group dying at admission, compared to 15.9 percent in the non-vitamin D group.

“In patients hospitalized with COVID-19, calcifediol treatment significantly reduced ICU admission and mortality,” the researchers wrote in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. In response to the findings, British MP David Davis tweeted:

“This is a very important study on vitamin D and Covid-19. Its findings are incredibly clear. An 80 percent reduction in need for ICU and a 60 percent reduction in deaths, simply by giving a very cheap and very safe therapy – calcifediol, or activated vitamin D … The findings of this large and well-conducted study should result in this therapy being administered to every COVID patient in every hospital in the temperate latitudes.”

At one point, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service was offering free vitamin D supplements to people at high risk from COVID-19, but they also state, like the U.S. NIH, “there is currently not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D to prevent or treat COVID-19.”

While their guidance does urge Britons to take a vitamin D supplement between October and March “to keep your bones and muscles healthy,” it only recommends a dose of 400 IUs a day, which is easily 20 times lower than what most people require for general health and optimal immune function.

Dose matters when it comes to COVID-19 recovery. In a randomized clinical trial in Saudi Arabia, researchers compared daily supplementation with either 5,000 IUs or 1,000 IUs oral vitamin D3 among patients with suboptimal vitamin D levels hospitalized for mild to moderate COVID-19. Those in the 5,000 IUs group had a significantly shorter time to recovery for cough and loss of the sense of taste compared to the 1,000 IUs group.

According to the researchers, “The use of 5000 IU vitamin D3 as an adjuvant therapy for COVID-19 patients with suboptimal vitamin D status, even for a short duration, is recommended.”

Hospitalized With COVID-19? Ask for Vitamin D

The evidence continues to grow that treatment with vitamin D leads to significantly better outcomes for people hospitalized with COVID-19. In another example from Spain, hospitalized COVID-19 patients who received vitamin D3 had a mortality rate of 5 percent, compared to 20 percent for those who did not. The researchers explained:

“The protective effect of calcifediol [activated vitamin D] remained significant after adjustment for multiple confounder factors related to severity disease even after selecting those subjects who were older (≥65 years) and had worse oxygen saturation levels at admission (<96 percent).”

Similarly, 76 consecutive patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at Reina Sofia University Hospital in Córdoba, Spain, were randomized to receive either standard care or standard care plus vitamin D3 to rapidly increase vitamin D levels.

Of 50 treated with vitamin D, only one person was admitted to the ICU. Of 26 who were not treated with vitamin D, 13 (50 percent) required admission to the hospital. Researchers noted, “Calcifediol seems to be able to reduce the severity of the disease.”

Further: “Of the patients treated with calcifediol, none died, and all were discharged, without complications. The 13 patients not treated with calcifediol, who were not admitted to the ICU, were discharged. Of the 13 patients admitted to the ICU, two died and the remaining 11 were discharged.”

In a previous review, the researchers explained that vitamin D has favorable effects during both the early viraemic phase of COVID-19 as well as the later hyperinflammatory phase, including for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a lung condition that’s common in severe COVID-19 cases, which causes low blood oxygen and fluid buildup in the lungs.

“Based on many preclinical studies and observational data in humans, ARDS may be aggravated by vitamin D deficiency and tapered down by activation of the vitamin D receptor,” they wrote in a study published in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology “Based on a pilot study, oral calcifediol may be the most promising approach.”

Even regular “booster” doses of vitamin D, regardless of baseline levels, appear to be effective in reducing the risk of mortality in people admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, particularly for the elderly.

“This inexpensive and widely available treatment could have positive implications for the management of COVID-19 worldwide, particularly in developing nations,” researchers from the United Kingdom noted.

Low Vitamin D Levels May Increase Death Risk

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation included 13 studies involving 2,933 COVID-19 patients. Vitamin D was a clear winner, with use in COVID-19 patients significantly associated with reduced ICU admission and mortality, along with a reduced risk of adverse outcomes, particularly when given after COVID-19 diagnosis.

When it comes to data to support the use of vitamin D for COVID-19, 87 studies have been performed by 784 scientists. The results show:

53 percent improvement in 28 treatment trials
56 percent improvement in 59 sufficiency studies
63 percent improvement in 16 treatment mortality results

A number of clinical trials are also underway, looking further into the use of vitamin D for COVID-19, including one by Harvard Medical School researchers investigating whether taking daily vitamin D reduces COVID-19 disease severity in those newly diagnosed as well as reducing the risk of infection in household contacts.

‘A Simple and Inexpensive Measure’

Some positive advances have already occurred that could make this potentially lifesaving strategy more widely used. The French National Academy of Medicine issued a statement in May 2020, referring to the use of vitamin D as a “simple and inexpensive measure that is reimbursed by the French National Health Insurance” and detailing the importance of vitamin D for COVID-19.

For COVID-19 patients over 60, they recommend vitamin D testing and if deficiency is found, a bolus dose of 50,000 to 100,000 IU. For anyone under the age of 60 who receives a positive COVID-19 test, they advise taking 800 IUs to 1,000 IUs of vitamin D per day. A vitamin D review paper published in the journal Nutrients in April 2020 recommends higher amounts, however, stating:

“To reduce the risk of infection, it is recommended that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider taking 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d.

“The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40-60 ng/mL (100-150 nmol/L). For treatment of people who become infected with COVID-19, higher vitamin D3 doses might be useful.”

The best way to know how much vitamin D you need is to have your levels tested. Data from GrassrootsHealth’s D*Action studies suggest the optimal level for health and disease prevention is between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL, while the cutoff for sufficiency appears to be around 40 ng/mL. In Europe, the measurements you’re looking for are 150 to 200 nmol/L and 100 nmol/L, respectively.


Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine ‘Significantly Less’ Effective Against Delta Variant: Israeli PM

Israel’s top officials are warning that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is “significantly less” effective at combating the “Delta” variant of the CCP virus.

“We do not know exactly to what degree the vaccine helps, but it is significantly less,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told reporters and cabinet members on July 17. He didn’t elaborate.

The Delta strain, which was first identified in India, now makes up a significant portion of the new COVID-19 cases in the United States and the United Kingdom, according to health officials.

Bennett said that in “Britain, in recent days, we have seen a jump in the number of children who are being hospitalized on a daily basis.”

“This is a development that we are aware of; we are dealing with it rationally and responsibly,” he said.

For months, Israel has relied heavily on administering Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which uses mRNA technology. Officials have said that more than 5.7 million Israelis have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Pfizer officials didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment about Bennett’s claims.

The Delta variant, meanwhile, has prompted concerns that governments around the world may reimpose strict lockdowns or face-mask requirements in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. For months, officials in the United States and elsewhere promised that mass vaccination campaigns would bring an end to the months-long lockdowns and other COVID-19-related requirements. Now with the rise of Delta infections among vaccinated individuals, it’s unclear what the next steps will be.

COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Lockdowns have been flagged as being ineffective in several recent studies. One conducted by the University of Southern California and the RAND Corp. found that shelter-in-place (SIP) orders didn’t actually save lives.

“We use an event study framework to quantify changes in the number of excess deaths after the implementation of a SIP policy. We find that following the implementation of SIP policies, excess mortality increases,” the researchers wrote in a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In the UK, researchers with several top universities said that about five times as many children died from suicide or related trauma than from COVID-19. They specifically concluded that lockdowns are far more detrimental to children’s health than the virus itself.

According to anonymously sourced reports, Israel is considering a new lockdown due to the variant.

During his remarks on July 17, Bennett said that “our goal is to allow routine life to continue with adjustments to the coronavirus,” although it’s not clear whether that includes lockdowns.

“We all hope to see a slowdown, but the facts at the moment are that there isn’t a slowdown—not here and not around the world,” he said.




Sunday, July 18, 2021

Mask Mandate for Children Is Not Backed by Science: New Jersey Senators

New Jersey senators held a hearing last week to explore whether the science supports forcing children to wear face masks in schools amid growing concerns regarding the efficacy and negative effects of these masks.

Scientists testified about the effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19, a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Health professionals and parents talked about the impact of masks on children’s health and well-being.

The participating lawmakers asserted that wearing masks by children does little to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and may harm children psychologically, emotionally, developmentally, and physically.

The requirement to wear masks in almost all public places in New Jersey was lifted by Governor Phil Murphy in May, but the mandate to wear masks for children in schools remained in place, justified by the lack of a COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12.

Mask Effectiveness for Children

There have not been any randomized clinical trials on children to assess the benefits of wearing masks, but different countries responded differently to the pandemic, said Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a biostatistician and epidemiologist.

“During the first wave [of the COVID-19 pandemic] in the spring of 2020, most large Western countries closed their schools for longer or shorter time periods, including more states in the U.S. The one exception was Sweden, which kept schools and daycare open from ages 1 to 15, for which there are 1.8 million children.”

At that time, there was no mask-wearing, no social distancing, and no COVID-19 testing for children in Sweden, Kulldorf said at the hearing, but there was more cleaning than normal in schools and daycare facilities and children who got sick were sent home.

Despite this lack of restrictions, “none of these 1.8 million children died [of COVID-19],” Kulldorf emphasized.

“COVID is primarily spread through adults. When children do get infected … they typically get it from an adult. And it’s very unusual to get transmission from children to adults.”

The risk of COVID-19 infection for teachers is the same or slightly lower than the average in other professions, Kulldorf said. “There’s no purpose of wearing masks, either for the benefit of the children or for the benefit of teachers. There’s no public health reasons to do that.”

“I think in the United States, for this whole pandemic, there have been about 350 reported COVID deaths among children. And we don’t know exactly how many of those are due to COVID versus how many are with COVID because [the] CDC hasn’t done that evaluation.”

Kulldorf said that the number of child deaths due to influenza is between 200 and 1,000 every year depending on the severity of influenza.

“Every one of these deaths is tragic,” Kulldorf said, but “for children, [mask] doesn’t particularly give them any protection from COVID.”

 Adverse Effects of Masks

“There was ample evidence for adverse effects of children wearing masks and they should not be forced to wear them,” said Maria Crisler, a clinical scientist with specialty experience in microbiology.

According to a study conducted in April, 68 percent of more than 25,000 children participating in the study “had problems wearing face coverings” and the content of carbon dioxide inhaled by them was several times higher than the acceptable norm, Crisler testified.

Due to the high intake of carbon dioxide, children sampled for the study experienced symptoms such as irritability, headache, difficulty concentrating, reluctance to go to school or kindergarten, malaise, impaired learning, drowsiness, or fatigue, Crisler said.

The issue of mask-wearing is even more critical for children than for adults because anatomical differences make a child more vulnerable than an adult to injury from oxygen deprivation and high intake of carbon dioxide, the clinical scientist explained.

“There are physiological changes within 45 seconds of wearing a mask to the brain, from the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, and the immune system.”

Moreover, microbes can concentrate on the outside of masks because microbe carrying droplets are trapped in masks and can be re-inhaled, Crisler said in her presentation. “Without a mask exhaled droplets and aerosol dry quickly. … The longer the mask is used, the more bacteria are exhaled through it.”

“The outside of surgical mask—the ones that the children are mostly wearing to school—tested in hospitals, found more concentrated microbes on the outside of the masks themselves than in the environment.”

A study performed by a lab of the University of Florida showed that several types of microbes were present on masks, Crisler noted, emphasizing that the study was non-scientific.

Crisler also mentioned that natural solutions to protect children “begin with diet and exercise,” as poor diets and lack of rest are among factors contributing to disease and immune dysfunction.

Dr. Paul Alexander, a professor of evidence-based medicine at McMaster University in Canada and a former COVID pandemic advisor at the Trump Administration, pointed out that there is no clear evidence that masks are effective but there are reports and evidence that wearing masks is potentially harmful.

“You’re accumulating carbon dioxide behind the mask, you’re not getting proper oxygen, etc. And you have reports across the world of damage,” Alexander said adding, the “WHO [World Health Organization] put out a report … stating children under six years old, should not be masked, under no condition.”

Alexander also said that cases of asymptomatic transmission of COVID-10 which drove the lockdowns and school closures as well as reinfections are very rare.

“When we look at the evidence, we can’t find clear indications, actual evidence, cases, where asymptomatic spread is a real concern or reinfections, recurrent infections is a real concern. And we can argue each case that you present as flawed interpretation.”

Jacqueline Tobacco, a member of the Board of Education in Middletown, New Jersey, testified that her son attended a school without wearing a mask since September after a long fight and a lawsuit that she had filed.

“He has successfully attended school all year—schools have been open in Middletown—and never was quarantined, never got COVID,” Tobacco sad.

She won the race for a seat on the Board of Education after campaigning on a platform against the lockdowns and against the mask mandates and became a board member in January.

Erin Pain, a school nurse, testified that wearing masks can harm children psychologically, developmentally, and physically.

She saw many children experiencing anxiety and severe fear. Pain told senators the story of a girl who came to see her because she vomited in class. That girl got really nervous when she saw people wearing masks and the thought occupied the child’s mind to the point that she felt sick in her stomach and threw up.

Another girl who Pain saw was hysterically crying because she forgot to bring her mask to school and was afraid that she would bring COVID home. “I had to spend 15 minutes with her to calm her down just to get her to go into class,” Pain said.

A child’s development may also be impacted by wearing a mask, Pain explained. “Children learn by recognizing facial cues … and [their learning] is hindered by wearing a face mask.”

When their teacher smiles at them, children know that they got the right answer or did a good job, Pain continued.

“Developmentally, these kids are suffering. They’re having a really hard time, especially the hearing impaired and the special needs children who are having a severely difficult time wearing these masks,” she said.

The nurse also saw face rashes, sore throat, canker sores related to wearing masks. Children sometimes wear the same mask for several days, touch them, and sometimes forget to wash their hands after using the bathroom, or flip them inside out, Pain said.

The CDC recommends washing cloth mask whenever it gets dirty or at least daily.

New Jersey state Sen. Michael Doherty, a Republican, said after all testimonies were given, “We heard today that masks cause harm and there’s no benefit. And there’s a lot of science to back that up. It’s causing irreparable harm to our children. And the science is very clear to me.”

“It was really important to hear the science,” said Republican New Jersey Sen. Kristin Corrado.

“We have legislation [introduced] … that would prohibit any school or school bus from mandating that children wear masks in school or on the bus. We also have legislation that would prohibit masking mandated at daycares and summer camps. Parents should be the only ones making medical decisions for their children. And let’s be clear, wearing a mask is a medical decision, that should never be made by” the government of New Jersey, Corrado said at the conclusion of the hearing.


The Democrats Tried To Trick Them, But TEXAS Did It Anyway!

The quorum needed to approve bills in Governor Greg Abbott’s special session agenda by the Republican-led House was denied by the Democrats.

According to the reports, 51 Texas Democrat House members and eight Texas Democrat Senate members fled the state to subvert democracy.  Meanwhile, The Texas Senate passed a voter integrity bill.

According to the National Review report:

“Senators voted 18-4 along party lines to approve the legislation. Eight Senate Democrats announced that they too had fled to Washington, D.C., on Monday, with a ninth expected to arrive Monday evening,” National Review reported. “However, with 22 out of 31 members present, the Senate kept a quorum and was able to pass the measure.”

“Horrible” and “misleading” and was creating a “false national debate coming out of Washington,” that’s how Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola)  described Democrats’ criticism of the voter integrity laws.

The National Review report continues:

The bill itself aims to mandate that voters write their driver’s license or other identification number on absentee ballots, bans state officials from sending out unsolicited mail-in ballots, and bans 24-hour and drive-in voting.

Initially, the bill limited early voting on Sundays before elections to begin at 1 p.m., a provision Democrats claimed was intended to curtail “souls to the polls” voting drives for black churchgoers. However, the provision was struck from the legislation last month.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott told Fox News on Monday that the Democrat lawmakers who fled the state would be arrested the moment that they step back into Texas.

“Isn’t that the most un-Texan thing you’ve ever heard? Texans running from a fight? They’re quitters,” Abbott told Fox News. “It’s like during a football game or baseball game, taking their equipment when they’re way behind and just leaving the field. That is not the way that Texas, Texans do things.”

“We have special sessions that last 30 days, and the governor calls them and I will continue calling special session after special session, because over time it’s going to continue until they step up to vote,” Abbott continued. “The thesis that they are operating under is completely false, because what the Texas law does, doesn’t hinder anybody’s ability to vote. And in fact, interestingly, what Texas is seeking to do is to add additional hours to vote. Texas has 12 days of early voting and the hours of which will be expanded. And we will ensure that hours are expanded on Election Day also. So their entire thesis is completely wrong. And compare early voting in Texas with early voting that we have in Delaware. Texas has 12 days of early voting. Delaware has zero days of early voting. Why am I picking on Delaware? Because that is where the President himself voted in the last election. And if anybody wants to talk about voter suppression, they should be talking about Delaware, not Texas.”

Abbott noted that the lawmakers were effectively “using a filibuster to flee the state of Texas to plead with the president to do away with the filibuster in Washington, D.C.,” which he noted was “hypocrisy on its face.”

“What the law is, it’s in the Constitution, and that is the house, the State House of Representatives who were here in the Capitol in Austin right now, they do have the ability to issue a call to have their fellow members who are not showing up to be arrested, but only so long as that arrest is made in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. “That’s why they have fled the state. Once they step back into the state of Texas, they will be arrested and brought to the Texas Capitol, and we will be conducting business.”

Saturday, July 17, 2021

The Ruling Class Poses the Very Authoritarian Dangers It Claimed Trump Did

President Donald Trump’s greatest sin was threatening the power and privilege of the Ruling Class.

For that, it will never stop seeking to bludgeon him, those seeking to carry his mantle, or their tens of millions of supporters—those icky, intransigent, irredeemables, judged as such because they refuse to submit.

In so doing, it has shown that it presents the very authoritarian threat it claimed he did.

The Ruling Class raved that Trump was a tyrant, madman, and traitor in part because it believed it needed to delegitimize him to neutralize a threat to the racket it has had going at the expense of the American people for too long, but also in part because he really broke them.

One need not play armchair psychiatrist to see both elements at play in the latest revelation, in an endless stream of them, of the opinion of Trump held by one of his senior-most military officials.

That the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—a man who proved the point that Wokeness has infected our national security apparatus when he recently divulged that he considered understanding “white rage” to be part of his job description—harbored fever dreams of Trump as Hitler, says far more about him, and his ilk, than it does about Trump.

Needless to say, such comments are neither made in good faith—coming from someone who had publicly opposed the president previously—nor do they seem to be rooted in any sort of rigorous, fact-based argument.

But let’s for a moment entertain them. For starters, were Trump everything his political adversaries accused him of being, he would have sought to exploit the coronavirus tragedy to usurp maximum power, ruling by fiat, controlling speech under the guise of health and public safety, seeking to manipulate 2020 election laws to maximize his odds of victory, and so on.

Instead, even as pressure mounted to act unilaterally in response to the coronavirus, Trump largely respected federalism—redounding to the benefit of the millions who lived in the few states that remained relatively free during the pendency of the crisis—and dramatically reduced regulations to enable a vaccine to get to market in record time.

It was his political adversaries in the public health bureaucracy, in Congress, across state and local governments, and in the hysteria-fomenting, hyper-politicized media, who acted like the authoritarians they accused Trump of being—all while conspiring to take him down.

This is to say nothing of course of the myriad ways Trump reduced centralized power during his Oval Office tenure, from the bevy of initiatives he undertook in defense of American life and liberty, to his related tax and de-regulatory policies, judicial appointments, and beyond.

Trump, who on many issues arguably acted in a restrained manner, and ranks among the most checked, sabotaged, and stymied presidents in American history, yet who was still able to implement such a conservative agenda, was anything but the dangerous autocrat his adversaries slandered him as.

The Woke, unhinged insubordinates, who evidently sat atop the ranks of every aspect of the federal bureaucracy, including in the armed forces, posed an infinitely greater threat to our values, principles, and institutions by flouting the consent of the governed.

Stated differently, the Ruling Class, led by a determined cadre of vitriolic and vindictive zealots in the national security, intelligence, and law enforcement apparatuses who weaponized their powers against domestic political foes and violated their fundamental rights, presented a far graver danger to America than the commander in chief they undermined.

And that danger was made most acute by the rank insubordination in the very areas of government that it cannot be tolerated: those devoted to defending American life and limb.

For this cadre, Trump’s greatest crimes were a willingness to end blood-and-treasure-sapping military boondoggles; to ask basic, commonsense questions about whether the status quo was really in America’s national interest—to look upon the conventional wisdom with skepticism; to dispense with diplomatic niceties and dubious deals driven by illusions of Utopic progressive globalism and greed, and to grapple with foreign powers as they were, not as we wished them to be.

This was simply intolerable because it would have put much of the Ruling Class out of business.

The danger presented by those who resisted Trump continues today as the executive branch mobilizes, in coordination with major corporations, to pursue the up to half the country that Trump represented in a “Woke War on Wrongthink” that could well eviscerate liberty and justice.

In working to smear, target, and criminalize up to millions of intransigent Deplorables, treating such political dissenters as dangers to society, our Ruling Class is emulating the bogeyman it warned of who never materialized over the last four years.

Is there any silver lining?

In recent weeks, with the FBI tweeting that Americans ought to report on their friends and family if they suspect signs of (ill-defined) extremist radicalization, reports that “Biden allied groups” are seeking to “work with SMS carriers to dispel misinformation about vaccines that is sent over social media and text messages”—on top of the Biden administration’s door-to-door vaccination effort—and with President Biden delivering a speech in which he called defenders of election integrity subversionists, claiming they were assaulting democracy, and comparing them to Confederates, it is hard to remain optimistic.

Yet the demagoguery, the manufactured hysteria of the Ruling Class, and the tyrannical lengths to which it believes it must go to impose its will—using civil rights-imperiling force and coercion rather than persuasion—would seem to betray weakness, or at least an admission that too many Americans are not buying what it’s selling.

When everything is insurrection, subversion, and racism, nothing is insurrection, subversion, and racism.

When everything that does not comport with the Official Regime narrative is cast as misinformation, nothing is misinformation.

The Ruling Class doth protest too much.

But unfortunately for our country, in its desperation to perpetuate and grow its power, freedom-loving Americans will bear the brunt as it lashes out in uniquely disturbing and dangerous ways.