Saturday, January 23, 2021


Biden Promises Pain

America’s new placeholder president speaks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He’s right.

Words are not enough.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Biden will never get that.

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

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IN BRIEF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

http://john-ray.blogspot.com (FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC) Saturdays only

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)

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Friday, January 22, 2021



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Allergies to vaccine rare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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IN BRIEF

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

CIA Director Gina Haspel announces resignation (Forbes)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

http://john-ray.blogspot.com (FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC) Saturdays only

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)

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Thursday, January 21, 2021



A careful look at the Swedish death statistics

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

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

Let me quote his final conclusions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Real Threats to Democracy Still Come From the Left

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

http://john-ray.blogspot.com (FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC) Saturdays only

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021



Is Novavax the dark horse of COVID-19 vaccines?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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IN BRIEF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portland City Council demands reparations from Congress (The Federalist)

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

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

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

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

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

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://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

http://john-ray.blogspot.com (FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC) Saturdays only

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)

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Tuesday, January 19, 2021


More Trumped-up hypocrisy from inflammatory left

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

http://john-ray.blogspot.com (FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC) Saturdays only

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)

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Monday, January 18, 2021



UK: In defence of a lockdown critic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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IN BRIEF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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http://john-ray.blogspot.com (FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC) Saturdays only

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)

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Sunday, January 17, 2021



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Lincoln Project was created by former John McCain staffers Steve Schmidt and Weaver for the express purpose of defeating Donald Trump for re-election. It began as a nominally Republican, “NeverTrump” group and has since become just another Democratic PAC.

Washington Free Beacon:

Weaver admitted to making the young men “uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations,” which included at least one instance in which Weaver allegedly emailed an unsolicited photo of his penis. However, he appeared to suggest the men accusing him of grooming them, or offering favors in exchange for sex, are lying, perhaps for nefarious reasons.

“While I am taking full responsibility for the inappropriate messages and conversations,” Weaver wrote in the statement, “I want to state clearly that the other smears being leveled at me … are categorically false and outrageous.” The emergence of the allegations, Weaver suggested, was facilitated by political critics of the Lincoln Project.

So the young men were “uncomfortable” but the conversations were “consensual”? Sounds like wishful thinking on Weaver’s part.

The organization issued a statement saying simply that “John’s statement speaks for itself.” As the Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles points out, that sort of statement had a familiar ring to it.

It is precisely the sort of curt, deflective statement the Lincoln Project bros would attack Republican politicians for making in regard to Trump. Perhaps one day Weaver’s colleagues will be forced to confront their own complicity in enabling his behavior.

This story is not being widely reported on, although the sexual angle is quite juicy. A man with money and power approaches young men — we assume all were of the age of consent — and flatters them with sexy talk and hints of intimacy. Weaver claims the “grooming” part of the narrative is false, although it’s hard to believe Weaver would resist the temptation to use his position for sex. He certainly wasn’t shy about talking up his potential partners.

In case you missed it, Schmidt and another Lincoln project advisor appeared on MSNBC on Thursday and had wide ranging discussion about the riots and impeachment.

It’s funny that Joe Scarborough or any other MSNBC host never brought up the sexual misconduct allegations against the group’s founder.

Daily Caller:

Joe Scarborough of “Morning Joe” discussed riots and reconciliation with Schmidt during the television hit but did not bring up allegations of sexual misconduct which have been levied against Weaver, who formerly worked for former presidential candidate John McCain’s campaigns and on former Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s presidential campaign.

MSNBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter. Lincoln Project Senior Advisor Kurt Bardella also appeared on the network Thursday without being questioned on the allegations against Weaver.

It can get tiresome pointing out media double standards and hypocrisy. But given how Weaver and Schmidt were lionized by the liberal press as having such incredible “courage” for going against Trump, you’d think that since the media made both men rich and influential, they might enjoy bringing them down a peg or two.

No such luck.

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More doubts about the benefit of lockdowns

A peer-reviewed international study found lockdowns in the early months of the pandemic provided no significant benefit in slowing the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus when compared to voluntary measures like social distancing and travel reduction. The study, published in the Wiley Online Library, comes after several months of brutal lockdowns upended life and caused severe economic damage in the United States.

Given the harmful consequences of lockdowns, a group of Stanford researchers set out to assess the effects of lockdowns compared to less restrictive measures. The researchers compared data from 10 different countries, two of which did not implement lockdowns -- South Korea and Sweden -- and found "no clear, significant beneficial effect of [stay-at-home orders and business closures] on case growth in any country." The countries analyzed in the study include the U.S., England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

While the lockdowns had "no clear, significant" benefit on case growth, lockdowns do have clear and significant consequences. Suicides and drug overdoses are up, birth rates are down, and millions are out of work.

In October, Dr. David Nabarro, the World Health Organization's special envoy on Covid-19 said, "Lockdowns have one consequence that you must never ever belittle and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer."

That same month, thousands of doctors and scientists signed the Great Barrington Declaration, calling on leaders to abandon lockdowns given the "physical and mental health impacts" accompanying such measures.

"The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice," the experts declared.

Still, Democrats defended the lockdowns and accused critics of being "anti-science." In return, some on the right accused Democrats of continuing the lockdowns in order to damage the economy and give Democrats an edge in the November elections. Some are now questioning the timing of Democrats who are suddenly calling for the lockdowns to end with just days to go before Joe Biden's inauguration.

New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reversed course and is now calling for businesses to reopen, as has Chicago Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Hopefully, history will properly remember which party clamored for more lockdowns and ignored all the warnings about the consequences. But libs control the history departments, so don't count on it.

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http://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

http://john-ray.blogspot.com (FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC) Saturdays only

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