Saturday, February 13, 2021

Russia's Sputnik coronavirus vaccine is a shot in the arm for the Kremlin

It has been a long time since the Kremlin could claim a true soft-power victory: but in the development of its coronavirus vaccine, it appears to have finally found one.

The Sputnik V, which was last week revealed to be 92 per cent effective by the latest trial data, was named after the satellite that Moscow sent into orbit in a world-first in 1957.

The vaccine’s rushed registration last August was met with deep scepticism. But now the cheap, easy-to-transport jab is drawing envious glances from around the world, winning new friends in poorer countries and breaking ice with geopolitical rivals.

Even after Moscow began a rollout to its citizens last year, there was widespread doubt about the value of the Sputnik V. Full trial data had not been released, many Russians noted, while the Kremlin’s announcement that it was slightly more effective than the Moderna and Pfizer jabs was taken in the West as mere propaganda.

That changed with the release of Sputnik V’s late-stage trial data, showing in a publication in the highly respected Lancet that the vaccine did indeed rival the efforts of Western science.

The Gamaleya Institute in Moscow has a proud scientific history dating back to the 19th century and in recent years developed clinically approved vaccines for Ebola and MERS, but the institute’s statement early last year that its staff self-administered the Sputnik V vaccine before the official start of clinical trials drew strong criticism in the scientific community.

The Sputnik V's first takers were found in developing nations that struggled to get their hands on Western vaccines had so plumped for Russia’s $10-a-jab offering - and that trickle has become a rush with the emergence of verified positive results.

By Friday, 26 countries including the United Arab Emirates, Hungary and Pakistan have approved Russia’s vaccine, with new countries signing on almost daily.

Iran, which has seen the worst outbreak in the Middle East, earlier this week launched its inoculation campaign with the Russian jab by putting the son of the country’s health minister on live TV to receive the first dose.

On the other side of the world, Argentina, which has now recorded two million confirmed cases of Covid-19, led the way in Latin America by inoculating thousands of healthcare workers with Sputnik V at the end of December.

“The reputational baggage of this country is so bad that no one was expecting anything good from the vaccine,” Alexander Gabuev, senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Centre told the Telegraph.

Initially focusing on getting the vaccine out to poor countries was sensible, he added, as they came to resent the vaccine-hogging of Western powers.

“It’s a very clever move from the point of view of diplomacy targeting the countries that are struggling to get the vaccines from richer nations,” Mr Gabuev said.

“(The Kremlin) is counting on strengthening Russia’s image in developing countries, and it’s also about business: Russia has been selling the vaccine, and it is hoping to convert this into business deals including oil and gas further down the line.”

The big prize, of course, would be securing approval from the EU - even as the bloc issues almost daily condemnations of the Kremlin over the poisoning and imprisonment of Alexei Navalny. And victory appears within reach.

The European Medicines Agency said on Wednesday that it was in talks with the Gamaleya Institute to map out the next steps after it applied for approval.

Hungary will on Friday become the first EU nation to start using Sputnik V, the country's chief medical officer said.

Hungary broke ranks with the EU last month by becoming the first bloc member to approve the Russian jab, ordering two million doses to be delivered over three months, enough to vaccinate one million people.

"Today we are beginning to vaccinate with the Sputnik V vaccine, this is taking place in the designated vaccination stations," Cecilia Muller told a press briefing on Friday.

Family doctors in Budapest could choose five persons each to send for the jab at four hospitals in the capital, Ms Muller said, as part of an initial round of inoculations using the first batch of 2,800 doses sent from Russia.

Andrej Babis, the Czech prime minister, last week said that Prague would consider using Sputnik V even without the European regulatory approval.

He said on Wednesday that the Czech Republic, which has been badly hit by the pandemic, could buy the vaccine and have it ready in storage as soon as the EU approves it.

Saddled with growing anger over a slow rollout in the home country of the Pfizer jab, German authorities have offered support and possible production sites for Sputnik V.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor who was one of President Putin’s staunchest critics over the poisoning of Mr Navalny who was convalescing in a Berlin hospital, has reached out to the Russian president to talk about possible cooperation, saying that “every vaccine is welcome” in the EU.

The Sputnik V’s developers hope that an upcoming trial in Azerbaijan of using their vaccine alongside the AstraZeneca jab could lead to potential registration in Britain.

Already, the Kremlin has seized proudly on the news that the EU has given its diplomats the green light to take it themselves.


Moral Narcissism and the Show Trial of Donald Trump

Discussing the Democrats’ impeachment trial in legal terms is a ludicrous waste of time. Anyone literate in the English language can see that the concept of impeaching a former president is entirely absent from the U.S. Constitution.

Removing someone from office who is no longer in office in the first place is a serio-comic oxymoron straight out of the Theater of the Absurd.

What is actually going on is Trump Derangement Syndrome taken from a neurosis to some kind of bizarre psychosis with overtones of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The level at which this “trial” is worth examining, therefore, has a psychoanalytic, not a legal, tilt. It raises, once again, the question of why the Democrats and their media cohorts despise former President Donald Trump so much.

Yes, I know they fear his political comeback above all things and wish to extinguish it, but what is it, on a deeper level, that makes them believe this man to be such a monster that they are going full Stalinist in conducting what Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) aptly called a “show trial”?

Allow me to be a tad self-referential because I think, at least to some degree, the answer can be found in my 2016 book—actually written before Trump won the nomination and with few specific references to him—“I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic If It Hasn’t Already.”

The narcissism I was referring to was not the traditional kind based on the Greek youth Narcissus’s fascination with his own image, but a narcissism of ideas, of “moral” self-description.

I explained it this way: What you proclaim, what you say you believe, is what makes you good, what makes you important—not the actual results of those beliefs, which are irrelevant.

Biden’s recent cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline could be described as a purely morally narcissistic act—proclaimed as something significant for the environment when, in reality, all it does is put people out of work and give comfort to our enemies as America becomes more energy-dependent. (Ironically, it also has negative environmental repercussions, forcing the oil to be transported by more risky means, such as by rail.)

John Kerry, the White House climate czar, is a moral narcissist par excellence, jetting around endlessly in his carbon-belching private plane to save us all from climate change.

Moral narcissism fits today’s liberals and progressives to a “T,” living millionaire and billionaire lives that make hypocrisy the understatement of all time while disdaining the working class, as well as their needs and values to a degree that would embarrass Marie Antoinette.

Trump undermined all that. He makes and made plenty of proclamations and certainly loves his private plane(s), but he’s all about results.

In fact, he makes a point of delivering on his promises, the exact antithesis of standard operating procedure in Washington, where politicians send us endless emails and texts (almost always asking for money) about what they say they believe or are planning, but almost never about what they have accomplished, as if we don’t and shouldn’t care about that.

It’s the way the game has been played in D.C. for ages, quite comfortable and insular when you think about it, and self-replicating. No wonder Trump is loathed.

(He also made things such as improving the economy seem remarkably easy and quick—just remove excessive regulations and lower taxes—actually common sense, when it was supposed to be so complicated and arcane that only wise politicians and economists could do it over years.)

Although nearly pervasive in the Democratic Party, moral narcissism isn’t exclusive to it. A number of Republicans fit the description as well and you can almost be certain they will be among those voting to convict Trump in the show trial.

These politicians (both sides) and the media are particularly angry because, as narcissists, moral or otherwise, they have a great need of fans—people to admire them constantly and make them feel alive.

Trump ruined that to a great extent by unmasking them as phonies. Rage and vengeance were and are the natural responses.

In a less-overtly psychological realm, it’s not inconsequential that he made his money before coming to Washington; they usually make theirs during and after.

Trump even had the temerity actually to lose half his fortune while serving, at the same time donating his salary to various federal agencies.

How “off-message” is that! Imagine if that became pro forma for our public servants.

So, it’s a “twofer” … or even a “threefer” … or is it a quinella when it comes to hating Trump? ?



Impeachment managers hype emotion with unseen footage of Capitol rioters (National Review)

Team Biden erects tent city in Texas to handle massive influx of illegal immigrants welcomed by his policies (Fox News)

Gun control advocates 'confident' on executive action from Biden after White House meeting (Washington Times)

Americans reporting vote fraud say claims repeatedly dismissed by FBI (Washington Times)

COVID spending spree has deficit at $736 billion in first third of year (The Hill)

House Democrats propose multibillion-dollar COVID-19 relief health package (The Hill)

Biden Justice Department asks Supreme Court to save ObamaCare (Washington Free Beacon)

Dozens of math-challenged former Republican officials in talks to form anti-Trump third party (Reuters)

Why stop with two? CDC recommends double masks to help protect against COVID (CBS)

Pharmacies say they could handle a massive ramp-up in COVID-19 vaccination distribution but lack supply (Washington Examiner)

CDC: Fully vaccinated people don't need to quarantine if exposed to COVID (NBC)

Hope 'n' change is busted: Biden's new target for reopened schools is behind where U.S. is now (Fox News)

Biden brings up China's human rights abuses, "unfair" economic practices in first call with Xi Jinping (Forbes)

Fed Chair Powell says rates will stay low for a while, citing bleak jobs picture (CNBC)

NBA says all teams must play national anthem after Dallas Mavericks stop playing it (NBC)

YouTube completely bans LifeSiteNews, removes all videos (Blaze)

Facebook says new algorithm will "reduce political content" on news feeds (Just the News)

Policy: Texas governor warns $15 minimum wage would "put a boot on the neck" of small businesses (FEE)




Friday, February 12, 2021

The Decline of Intelligence in the West

The article below by Canadian essayist David Solway is a dazzling display of cultural awareness but lacks sober consideration of any of the issues he addresses. So let me fill in some of the gaps.

Why the decline in average IQ? There does seem to be such a decline but it is no mystery. For around 50 years, effective contraception has enabled women to enjoy sex and male company generally without childbirth resulting. So many women have opted out of childbearing. And, sadly, highly intelligent women are more likely to do that. And that means that they do not pass on their genes for intelligence. So present-day mothers have a lower average IQ. And that can only mean a population with a lower average IQ.

So what are the implications of a population with a lower IQ? We do of course already have some such populations: Africans and Arabs, for instance. And both those have created societies where it is not inviting to live. But such societies have many differences from ours so the dysfunction could be due to other factors than IQ.

A much more hopeful observation is that all societies are only superficially democratic. It is the smart fraction that rules the roost. So Israel is run by the Ashkenazim, Brazil and Mexico are run by whites and the 7% of Britons who get a private school education run almost everything in that country. And such elites trend to be self-perpetuating. Private school boys tend to marry the sisters of their classmates and black/white marriages are rather rare. And Sephardi/Ashkenazi marriages are the exception rather than the rule.

So what will happen is that as long as the smart fraction intermarry, their societies will tend to be run much as before. A large dumb majority will not matter much

But one needs to be cautious in attributing everything to IQ. There are other influences which have produced the dumb behaviour that Solway documents. An obvious one is the decline in American education. American education is now decisively in the hands of the Left and producing well-informed citizens does not seem to be one of their priorities. They want to produce "woke" people above all. And being woke is rather inimical to real knowledge.

And woke attitudes are now society-wide, with few on the Left being immune to them. Most conservatives have no time for wokery but they too sometimes make obeisances to it for the sake of peace. So the deterioration in the national discourse can largely be traced to the ideological needs of the Left

Recent studies have reported a worrisome decline in IQ scores in Western nations over the last decades, a reversal of the once-hopeful Flynn Effect (named after the late philosopher and psychologist James R. Flynn) which posited a growth in cognitive abilities for much of the 20th Century. Now the Flynn Effect seems to have reversed, leading to predictions of a general dumbing down of selective populations. Other studies report that IQ erosion is not confined to this century but that IQ has dropped by an average of 14.1 percent over the last century. As Evan Horowitz writes for NBC News, “A range of studies using a variety of well-established IQ tests and metrics have found declining scores across Scandinavia, Britain, Germany, France and Australia.”

Horowitz argues that the plummet in cognitive abilities “could not only mean 15 more seasons of the Kardashians, but also… fewer scientific breakthroughs, stagnant economies and a general dimming of our collective future.” Flynn himself, who did the original research on the eponymous effect, has stated that “The IQ gains of the 20th century have faltered.” Flynn’s more optimistic Are We Getting Smarter: Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century was published in 2012; his subsequent findings led in an opposite direction.*

The brainchild of French psychologist Alfred Binet, the IQ construct is a controversial issue with many different interpretations and applications. Charles Spearman proposed the variable notion of a g factor, or general intelligence measure, responsible for overall performance on various mental ability tests such as memory retention, spatial processing, and quantitative reasoning. The g factor has been compared to general athletic ability which allows a person to excel in different fields and activities. There has been vigorous debate over the strict equivalency between IQ scores and intelligence, but there is broad agreement on a general waning of intelligence or, from a clinical perspective, an ebbing of IQ scores. Of course, smart people can sometimes do poorly on IQ tests and obtuse people can sometimes rank high on aspectual tiers of these tests. But the consensus appears to be that the correlation approximately holds while allowing for scalene anomalies. In effect, the g factor is eroding.

One recalls MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, who referred to “the stupidity of the American voter” as helping him to pass the controversial law. One wonders if Gruber ever heard of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget’s test results purporting to show that “the rot starts at the top.” This would implicate Gruber and his cohort in the experience of what Piaget calls horizontal décalage, which stymies the application of cognitive functions and logical operations to extended tasks. In other words, Gruber et al. are also stupid, gradually destroying the very society that enabled them to flourish. But the rot can also start at the bottom, as a combination of generalized mental vacancy and low-to-no-information voters furthers cultural and social degeneration. As Morris Berman remarks in The Twilight of American Culture, “A society cannot function if nearly everyone in it is stupid.”

Why should we be surprised that an American president should pronounce “corpsman” as “corpseman”? Or that a Canadian prime minister says “peoplekind” in lieu of “mankind”? Or that a Washington, D.C., mayor and his staff should have objected to a perfectly good word like “niggardly”? Or that a Methodist pastor and Congressman should follow the exclamation “Amen” with “a-woman,” when an ordained minister should surely know that “Amen” is an acronym for the Hebrew אֵל מֶלֶךְ נֶאֱמָן (El melech neeman: “Lord and faithful King”)—or, as some scholars think, a calque for the Aramaic “so be it”? One can multiply these gaffes, misnomers, and malapropisms indefinitely among those who should know better—and that is merely scratching the surface. The dumbing down phenomenon is virtually encyclopedic in heft and extent.

One sees the same intelligence deficit in the names chosen for some of our major social media networks. “YouTube” is cringe-worthy—just say it dispassionately to yourself. “Facebook” is a ridiculous moniker, as well as a dubious platform: as Niall Ferguson quips in The Great Degeneration, Facebook is “a vast tool enabling like-minded people to exchange like-minded opinions about, well, what they like.” Then there’s “Twitter.” A conversation between human beings is compared to birds twittering on a digital branch—the implicit message is that communicants are bird-brained. (Contrast to such infelicity a beleaguered platform like “Parler” with its French connotation of real speech and an analogy to a living room where people gather to converse amicably and share ideas.) The Apple logo—an apple with a bite taken out of it—is the fruit of pure bathos and corporate stupidity, inadvertently reminding us of the primal sin in the Garden of Eden and warning us about the perilous quest for knowledge that tantalizes on another digital tree. “Think different” is thus contra-indicated, an original sin. Apple, seriously?

Top or bottom doesn’t seem to matter. In his spy thriller Early Warning, Michael Walsh comments about government officials who, presumably “the best minds of the Republic,” are merely a “collection of hacks, time-servers, and affirmative-action appointees” whose advancement depends heavily on nepotism. “It was really pathetic, when you thought about it: that more than two centuries of American history had come to this.” Believe it. An American congressman fears the island of Guam will capsize. So-called “ambush journalist” Jesse Watters in Watters World interviews young university students; the level of ignorance, functional illiteracy, and smug self-esteem he uncovers is enough to turn the specter of our cultural practices, general knowledge, and university system into a cosmic joke.

And so it goes. A London community activist, asked about removing a Churchill statue during the summer of BLM love, admits she hasn’t “personally met” Winston Churchill. A swarm of Twitter users condemns Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady as “racist” for defeating half-black Kansas City Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes on Super Bowl LV during Black History Month—the fact that the great majority of Brady’s teammates are black and are clearly Brady enthusiasts seems to have escaped their attention. Major economic and energy policies seem planned not by cerebral giants but by weed-addled pubescents. Bill Gates, for example, wants to pepper the sky with aerosols to reflect sunlight out of the atmosphere and initiate global cooling—the risks are incommensurable and likely irreversible. Gates has what we might call “sector-intelligence” and might do well on segments of the Stanford-Binet IQ test, but I wouldn’t bet on his g score. The travesty of intelligence, prudence, and wisdom is beyond calculation, and it is only getting worse as IQ continues to slip down the great chain of thinking. This is the world that the classic film Idiocracy extravagantly punctures.

Why this should be is anybody’s guess. No one really knows. Various theories have been proposed to account for accelerating neural descent, ranging from the Dewey-inspired “progressive education” agenda working its leveling passage from the turn of the 20th century to the decrepit public schools and failed universities of the present day; to the softening effect of prolonged affluence and ease on a culture; to the debilitating influence of “smart” technology that performs our cognitive functions for us; to the assumption that women of higher intelligence are having fewer children, implying that women of lower intelligence are driving population growth; to the effects of increased media exposure and the consequent lessening of reading; to the emergence of the vices of envy and resentment owing to radical egalitarianism and the rancor of the under-performing against the skilled, hard-working, and successful, a dynamic cogently analyzed by Dinesh D’Souza in Stealing America; or to the merely inescapable fact of decay: as Robert Frost wrote, “Nothing gold can stay.” One thinks, too, of poet Gerard Manley Hopkins’ remark in his Journal: “From much, much more; from little, not much; and from nothing, nothing.” Whatever the cause or causes may be, intellectual deterioration seems to be the case.

What, then, is to be done? We need to go to literature to contemplate possibilities for restoration. The problem, says Barry Lopez in Arctic Dreams, is that “The good minds still do not find each other often enough.” In his reflections on culture In Bluebeard’s Castle, George Steiner imagined a future of small, eremitic clusters of intellectual light dotting an arid landscape, recycling Max Weber’s notion of frail enclaves of enlightenment as the last resort of a civilization sinking into darkness. Walter M. Miller Jr.’s classic A Canticle for Leibowitz portrayed an obscure abbey in the Utah desert where historical knowledge is kept alive and preserved from the “Simpletons,” even if it’s only a sacred shopping list or a mysterious blueprint for circuit design. “Let us change the icons,” wrote Will Durant in The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time, “and light the candles.”

Berman calls this the “monastic option,” but he does not regard it as an assembly of cenobites residing in a physical plant somewhere in the outback. Instead, it consists of a disparate collection of individuals, “cultural nomads,” who may not know one another but are dedicated to a life of private decency, “the disinterested pursuit of truth, the cultivation of art [and] the commitment to critical thinking.” The “new monks” derive from and support “traditions of craftsmanship, care, and integrity, preservation of canons of scholarship, critical thinking, individual achievements and independent thought.” Their purpose is “to transmit a memory trace of what a culture can be about.”

It’s a daunting task. The number of people incapable of lucid argument and civil debate, whether Internet trolls, social media vulgarians, angry progressivists, media ignoramuses and intellectually challenged political leaders, is legion. It is therefore by no means astonishing that the greatest civilization the world has ever known, the Judeo-Christian West, is subsiding into a state of cognitive expiry, prone to fantasies and delusions, unable to confront and parse the reality of the world, oblivious to the symbiosis of man, history and nature, distracted by pseudo-scientific baubles, bereft of spiritual substance, and foreign to the very idea of truth.

In Social and Cultural Dynamics, Pitirim Sorokin, one of the great thinkers of our time, distinguished between “ideational” cultures, which are knowledge-and-spiritually focused, and “sensate” cultures, which are primarily informational and materialistic, the latter eventually devolving into a condition in which coercion, fraud, debasement of the creative impulse, family breakdown, and the encroachment of “untruth” into the human conscience (read: political correctness, fake news, electoral debauchery) are paramount. The latter is our present cultural home, lacking reflective capacity and experiencing a downtrend in clarity of thought and general percipience, shaving off IQ points as clarity and percipience drop. The concept of intelligence is complex and multifactorial, but if by “intelligence” we mean something like the ability to see the world as it is, to understand context, and to act in ways proven to be beneficial over time, then, according to Sorokin, intelligence is likely to decline in the latter stages of a “sensate” age.

The decline of intelligence—moral rectitude and creative exuberance are collateral casualties—is now in full throttle. The exceptions to the debacle—monks, nomads, people of integrity, people capable of common sense, the classically educated—represent the only viable hope for a new “ideational” age to arise out of the rubble of a “sensate” disaster. It may take another century to bring about what Sorokin called “the turn,” the slow ascent up the IQ ladder, which is cold comfort indeed. But I suspect it’s the only real comfort we have


Sens. Grassley and Tillis Unload on Biden Order Allowing Violent, Criminal Illegals to Go Free

In the opening days of the Biden presidency, the administration issued an array of executive actions, including a 100-day moratorium on deportations for illegal aliens.

Led by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), Republican lawmakers took note of the order, which holds no exception for violent criminals who are also in the country illegally. The pair wrote to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Tae Johnson, pointing out that the memorandum “constitutes a wholescale abandonment of law enforcement,” as well as the “will of Congress.” They note that during his confirmation, Mayorkas vowed to respect the rule of law, but this moratorium does not.

“With respect to the 100-day deportation moratorium, we noted with alarm that there is no general exception to the moratorium for criminal aliens. Under the terms of the memorandum, unless the ICE Director determines that the law requires a specific criminal alien be removed, most criminal aliens with final removal orders will be untouchable as long as the deportation moratorium is in place. Given that 92% of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations’ (ERO) interior removals from the United States in FY2020 had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges,1the failure to exempt all criminal aliens from the deportation moratorium seems particularly egregious,” Grassley and Tillis wrote on Wednesday. “This deportation moratorium constitutes a wholescale abandonment of law enforcement and a frustration of the will of Congress, written into the law, that aliens with final removal orders actually be removed from the country. It also does not signal the sort of respect for the rule of law that Secretary Mayorkas professed repeatedly at his confirmation hearing on January 19."

The letter was also signed by GOP Sens. John Cornyn (TX), Ron Johnson (WI), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Mike Lee (UT), Josh Hawley (MO), Joni Ernst (IA), Ted Cruz (TX), Tom Cotton (AR), James Lankford (OK), and Ben Sasse (NE). The GOP lawmakers warned the Biden administration officials that the moratorium as written not only sidesteps the rule of law, but also has potential to establish an influx of "sanctuary cities."

"The Department’s January 21 memorandum creates, in our view, an unacceptable threat to public safety; constitutes a disregard for the rule of law and the will of Congress; and undercuts the integrity of the immigration enforcement regime. While some local jurisdictions have in recent years taken steps to establish themselves as 'sanctuary cities,' at grave peril to their residents, the interim enforcement priorities and the deportation moratorium described in the January 21 memorandum are a big step towards converting the entire United States into a sanctuary nation. This is illogical and unacceptable."

While promising “unity” and a return to normalcy, the moratorium issued by the Biden administration would allow violent criminals, who are illegally present in the first place, to return to the streets.




Thursday, February 11, 2021

Australian expert claims coronavirus likely started in China following WHO investigation

An Australian virus expert who recently travelled to China to investigate the coronavirus pandemic is convinced it originated there.

NSW Health infectious diseases expert Professor Dominic Dwyer was part of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 14-strong virus investigation team which visited Wuhan for two weeks to study the outbreak’s source.

While the investigation did not definitively declare China as the source, Prof Dwyer, who is now in quarantine following his return to Australia, told Nine he believed COVID-19 “started in China”.

“I think the evidence for it starting elsewhere in the world is actually very limited. There is some evidence but it’s not really very good,” he said.

The WHO team visited a number of placed linked to the initial outbreak, including the Huanan Seafood Market, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Hubei Province Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Hubei Provincial Hospital.

Prof Dwyer also added bats were the “most likely” source of the virus but that it had been active in the community for “weeks’ before the outbreak connected to the wet market in late 2019.


The Left's 'Insurrection' Hypocrisy

They demand that rioters and inciters be held accountable. Unless they're on the Left.

It’s telling, isn’t it, how Democrats supported a summer’s worth of deadly and costly rioting all across our nation’s inner cities and yet squealed like stuck pigs when a single short-lived eruption came too close for their Capitol Hill comfort.

In an all-too-predictable display of liberal privilege, they trotted out endless encouragement of and justification for the former, and nonstop denunciations of the latter; a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for the former, and a presidential impeachment for the latter.

“They’re not going to stop. They’re not going to stop,” said then-presidential candidate Kamala Harris. “This is a movement, I’m telling you. They’re not gonna stop. And everyone beware because they’re not gonna stop. They’re not gonna stop before Election Day and they’re not going to stop after Election Day. And everyone should take note of that. They’re not gonna let up and they should not.”

And they should not.

How is such overt sanctioning of mob violence not a disqualifying act? After uttering those remarks, Harris shouldn’t have been able to run for dog catcher, much less vice president of the United States. But she’s a leftist, so she’s immune from accountability.

“To the media,” as Pat Buchanan writes, “the long hot summer of rioting, looting and arson that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis was driven by ‘racial justice’ protests against a ‘systemic racism’ that permeates society. … Joe Biden and his party have responded by setting as a goal the replacement of ‘equality of rights’ with ‘equity,’ an equality of results, where gaps in test scores, incarcerations, incomes and wealth between white and black are to be closed by government action.”

Ah, equity — that sweet-sounding word with the sourest of meanings. As we wrote last month, “Equality and equity aren’t the same things. Not even close. The root of the former word is one of the self-evident truths embedded in our Declaration of Independence. It refers to the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. The latter word, however, refers to systems and institutions that are ‘fair’ and ‘just.’”

Consider, for example, the hard-left and wholly disreputable money-grubbers at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which recently decided to give certain racists a pass based on the color of their skin. “In the name of equity,” writes Daniel Greenfield at FrontPageMag, “the SPLC announced that it’s shutting down its black nationalist hate groups category like the Nation of Islam. After ‘doing the internal work of anti-racism,’ the SPLC will no longer list black racist hate groups because ‘the hate is not equal.’”

When is “hate” not really hate? When it comes from the Left.

Or consider the Bellingham insurrection. What’s that? You haven’t heard about the Bellingham, Washington insurrection two weeks ago — the one in which antifa tangled with police, stormed city hall, and forced the city’s mayor to be evacuated? Imagine that. “It is impossible to describe how evil these Antifa terrorists are,” writes Power Line’s John Hinderaker. “You really have to watch videos of them in action — this is just one of thousands — to get the picture. Which is why, I suppose, such videos are absent from the nightly news: Democrats want to protect their shock troops.”

Indeed, it’s almost as if Big Media only denounced certain kinds of political violence and insurrection. As for the January 6 riot at the Capitol, “That was an act of insurrection,” writes Buchanan of leftist opinion, “a treasonous attempt to overturn a democratic election and overthrow a democratic government. Of all the riots in 2020 and 2021, that was the unforgivable one. The proper response to that riot is not to heed its angry voices but to impeach the president on whose behalf they acted, to strip him of any right to serve again in public office, and to write new laws to deal with the horrific ‘domestic terrorism’ we witnessed at the Capitol.”

If it weren’t for double standards, the Left wouldn’t have any at all.


The oligarchy’s chosen method of “reopening” after the pandemic shows that it intends to attempt to validate the harm it did over the previous year. Will it work?

Riding fear of COVID-19, our oligarchs persuaded millions of Americans to join in masked pantomime, to deliver themselves to something like house arrest, and to blame Donald Trump for their troubles. But as much as the oligarchs enjoyed COVID powers and dreamt of segueing them into a “new normal,” they knew that America could not be locked down forever.

They especially knew, were they to unseat Trump and become responsible for the country, their charges that he had failed to stop the pandemic would come back to haunt them. “Why can’t you stop it?” would be the natural question they would have to face as the virus did what airborne viruses do: spread. Hence, after January 20, dismounting the COVID tiger, albeit gingerly, became the order of the day.

And so it happened, on January 22, Joe Biden spoke the truth: nothing that anyone could do can alter the trajectory of the virus’ spread.

A few grumbles notwithstanding, there was silence from very same media and “experts” who had accused Trump of responsibility for hundreds of thousands of deaths because he had not implemented a nationwide test-trace-and-quarantine system. The futility of such measures in preventing an infectious disease from running its course once it has entered a population was as obvious in 2020 as in 2021. But then, denying it served the oligarchy’s prosecution. Affirming it now serves its defense.

Already on January 16, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that his state could not wait to reopen until herd immunity had been reached naturally or through a vaccine, because “If we wait, there will be nothing left to open.”

Across the country, some of the Democratic mayors and governors who had most vigorously imposed COVID-19 restrictions hastened to remove them, even though the number of “cases” is higher than it was in April. By the third week of January, California Governor Gavin Newsom revoked his December stay-at-home order along with a 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew he had imposed in the face of rising case numbers. One reason for Newsom’s move may be the fact that just over 1 million Californians have signed a petition to force a recall election.

But there is a larger reason why the ruling class seems intent on distancing itself from responsibility for the COVID restrictions. The oligarchs and their press agents had argued the COVID troubles were 100 percent Trump’s fault, and defeating him would alleviate them. Preserving the lockdowns is unsustainable politically. But lifting the restrictions in the apparent face of rising cases risks uncovering the fact that COVID was less a plague than a political ploy. To repeat President Biden’s true statement of how little government can do with regard to COVID is an indictment of the entire oligarchy’s conduct since March. It exposes that conduct as political predation with deadly consequences for millions. Hence, dismounting the COVID tiger in a way that preserves the powers it gained for the oligarchy requires some prestidigitation.

Fortunately for the oligarchy, there is a way of making sure that each lightening of restrictions dovetails nicely with a drop in the number of “cases.” How is that? Because vaccines notwithstanding, the “softness,” the very plasticity of the number by which the oligarchy scared the hell out of America in 2020, makes it possible, presto magico, gradually to ease the fear.

In April, I explained in these pages how changing definitions of the term “case” made it possible to substitute the oligarchy’s agenda for COVID’s reality in the minds of Americans. The same dishonest process can be used in reverse.

The reality is that we do not know how many people have been infected with COVID-19, and the standard PRC test only muddies the waters. On Inauguration Day, the World Health Organization, after consultation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, issued a two-part directive intended to reduce the number of what it calls “false positive” COVID cases that clarifies only the corrupt political nature of everything surrounding the pandemic.

Throughout 2020, doctors and hospitals had been encouraged—if not pressured—to label as COVID any set of symptoms that looked remotely like it (explaining why cases of influenza almost disappeared from the United States last year). Now the WHO asked them to make sure that in order for a case to be labeled COVID, symptoms must also match positive results of the standard PCR test.

Simultaneously, the WHO strongly suggested that those who administer the PCR test reduce the number of cycles through which samples are processed. Through 2020, most jurisdictions in America had run samples through 40 cycles. Running that many cycles radically increases the chances of a positive result. This not only inflated the number of “cases,” but it also attributed hospitalizations to COVID-19 rather than to other causes. It led to patients being treated as if they had COVID rather than for what really ailed them, and attributing deaths to COVID that in fact were not.

The new guidance guarantees that, in the coming months, the number of “cases” will drop. The oligarchy will credit the reduction to its wise management. Loosening its grip gradually, it will claim benevolence and prudence. By thus dismounting the COVID tiger, it will try to validate the harm it did over the previous year.

There being nothing especially artful about this stratagem, and most Americans not being utterly stupid, its success depends exclusively on the media’s near-unanimous complicity in it. That unanimity, however, may be getting harder to maintain. Not only is the binding objective—getting rid of Trump—no longer there, documents are surfacing that show the material complicity between Anthony Fauci, the oligarchy’s fountain of authority in all matters COVID-19, and the development of the virus itself. Covering for that level of professional incompetence and corruption may be a bridge too far, even for today’s media.



Biden has now signed 52 executive orders and actions in first 20 days (Daily Wire)

U.S. sees a steady and significant drop in coronavirus cases, but media drumbeat continues (NBC)

Cuomo asks court to overturn his own COVID restrictions on houses of worship (National Review)

CVS, Walgreens to begin delivering COVID-19 vaccines Friday (USA Today)

Americans are saving more during the pandemic (NBC)

U.S. consumer prices up 0.3% in January, led by energy spike ... caused by Biden's bad executive orders (AP)

TikTok sale to Oracle, Walmart shelved as Biden reviews security (Fox Business)

Woke NFL's Super Bowl LV attracts 96.4M viewers, fewest since 2007 (Disrn)

Woke NBA's Dallas Mavericks won't play national anthem at home games (The Hill)

Woke syrup: The brand formerly known as Aunt Jemima to be called Pearl Milling Company (NBC)

Policy: Biden's weak case for returning to the UN Human Rights Council (National Review)

Policy: Africans plead with Joe Biden to stop paying their countries to kill children (The Federalist)

U.S. to reengage with the farcical UN Human Rights Council (

Senator Richard Shelby is fourth Republican to not seek reelection in 2022 (

Minimum wage increase would kill 1.4 million jobs, CBO finds (Daily Caller)

Biden press secretary says illegal immigrants convicted of crimes will not be prioritized for deportation (Post Millennial)

Biden administration considers COVID tests for domestic flights (Roll Call)

Hacker attempted to poison water supply in Florida city near Super Bowl in Tampa (Examiner)

Tom Brady called "racist" on social media for winning Super Bowl during Black History Month (PJ Media)




Wednesday, February 10, 2021

AstraZeneca vaccine: why Australia is forging ahead as South Africa tackles Covid variant

Medical experts say the jab is effective against severe infection, as researchers work to adapt vaccines against variants and experiment with mixing inoculations

Australian health authorities have moved to calm concerns about
the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine, after a small-scale study suggested its efficacy against mild to moderate infections from the the South African variant of the virus could be as low as 10%.

AstraZeneca is going through the Therapeutic Goods Administration approval process now and is slated to be rolled out from April. This is what experts are saying.

You should still get the AstraZeneca vaccine

That’s the advice of Australia’s chief medical officer, Prof Paul Kelly. He has urged people not to put too much stock in the results of the South African study, which he stressed was both limited in scope and had not yet been peer-reviewed.

Kelly told reporters on Tuesday that people should be wary of “taking small amounts of information quickly, without looking at it carefully, and making conclusions”.

“At the moment, I can absolutely say – and this may change in future, and we will be nimble in the way we look at that information and putting that into our planning – but at the moment, there’s no evidence anywhere in the world that AstraZeneca effectiveness against severe infection is affected by any of these variants of concern. And that is the fact.”

His comments were echoed by Prof Mary-Louise McLaws, an Australian epidemiologist and advisor to the World Health Organisation on Covid-19.

“I commend your readers to get any vaccine that is offered to them, because it will reduce severity,” McLaws told Guardian Australia. “Any vaccine is better than no vaccine. If you do get the virus it will improve your outcomes, your response, and you may not get severe Covid.”

There is also evidence from another unpublished study in Israel on the Pfizer vaccine, which suggested that people who are not protected by the vaccine nevertheless had a reduced viral load. So even if a vaccine had a reduced efficacy, there is evidence to suggest it will reduce the extent to which a person spreads the disease, McLaws said.

AstraZeneca, unsurprisingly, also played down the study on the South African variant, saying it was a small phase one or two trial, which showed limited efficacy against mild disease from the variant.

“While we have not been able to properly ascertain its effect against severe disease and hospitalisation given that subjects were predominantly young, healthy adults, we do believe our vaccine will still protect against severe disease for the B1351 variant, particularly when the dosing interval is optimised to 8-12 weeks,” AstraZeneca said.

What the South African study actually showed

The study was a small-scale trial of 2,000 people aged 31 which showed the AstraZeneca vaccine had as little as 10% efficacy in preventing mild to moderate infection against the South African variant of Covid-19, B1351. However the researchers expressed hope the vaccine would still offer significant protection against more serious infection, which is the goal of the global vaccine program.

The study is yet to be peer-reviewed or published. The South African government has paused its planned rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine in response.

It is not the only vaccine to show reduced efficacy against the South African variant. Trials of the Novavax vaccine also showed 60% efficacy against the South African variant, compared with an 89% efficacy overall – 95.6% against the original coronavirus and 85.6% against the UK variant.

Kelly said Australian authorities will be looking very closely at all information which comes out about the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but said there was to date no information to suggest it did not protect against severe infections from the South African variant.

He said Australian authorities will be talking closely with the UK, where AstraZeneca has already been widely distributed.

“This is a very good vaccine, very safe, and once it goes through those processes, of safety, quality and efficacy, we will be able to look to roll out that vaccine as well – as always, subject to the TGA advice,” he said.

Yes, but it will take time. AstraZeneca said it has already started adapting its vaccine against the South African variant, “and will advance rapidly through clinical development so that it is ready should it be needed”.

Novavax responded to the lower results in South Africa by saying it would immediately start developing a new vaccine aimed specifically at the South African variant.

AstraZeneca is a viral vector vaccine, which relies on the use of an RNA molecule – the same part of the virus as used in the mRNA Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Novavax is a more traditional protein-based vaccine, and they take longer to modify.

Kelly said mRNA and viral vector vaccines can be adapted more quickly than protein vaccines, but even if they are able to be adapted,” it is another issue to make nine billion of them”.

“If we’re going to vaccinate the whole world, it’s going to take time,” he said.

Why don’t we just all take the Pfizer vaccine?

That would be a great option, says McLaws. Except we don’t have enough, and there is significant pressure on the global supply. Australia recently secured an additional 10m doses of the Pfizer vaccine, taking the total contracted amount to 20m doses by the end of the year.

That’s enough to administer the required two doses to 10 million people, or just under 40% of Australia’s population. The first 80,000 doses of the Pfizer are still on track to arrive in Australia by the end of February, Kelly says, and authorities are hoping for weekly deliveries thereafter. People in the highest-risk cohort – frontline medical staff, hotel quarantine workers, aged and disability care home residents and staff – will get that vaccine.

The balance of the population is likely to receive either AstraZeneca, which is manufacturing 50m doses in Melbourne that are expected to be administered from March, pending TGA approval, or the Novavax vaccine, which is several months away.

What are the other options?

Well, we could mix vaccines. That concept is being trialled in the UK – they called for volunteers just last week – and will involve giving 820 unvaccinated people over the age of 50 a first dose of either the AstraZeneca or the Pfizer vaccine. Half the group will have their vaccine switched for the second dose, and the other half will get the same again.

It is an option worth considering, McLaws said. Without it, the risk is that people vaccinated with AstraZeneca – largely the 20- to 39-year-old cohort – may not be fully protected against Covid-19. That’s a problem because that age group, while not at highest risk of serious disease or death, made up half of all people who contracted Covid-19 in Australia last year. They are highly mobile and more likely to be underemployed and working multiple part-time jobs, which increases their risk of exposure.

Even without considering new variants, AstraZeneca has a lower reported efficacy than Pfizer and Novavax, the other options in Australia’s stable. It sought regulatory approval in the UK on the basis that it has about 70% efficacy.

“The risk is that if our 20- to 39-year-olds are vaccinated with AstraZeneca, we have at least a 30% risk of them not eliciting an immune response without the additional problem of a variant,” McLaws said. “This is an opportunity to look at how we protect the unknown 30-odd percent. And that may be to mix up the second dose with something that doesn’t have such low efficacy for the South African strain and the Brazilian strain.”

What does this mean for borders and other restrictions?

To date there have been no reported cases of the South African variant in the Australian community.

But the risk remains. Since Friday there have been 87 samples of B117, the UK variant, detected in hotel quarantine in Australia and 18 of B1351, the South African variant.

But the vaccine results solidify what epidemiologists have warned for some time: that life will not instantly go back to normal once the majority of the population has been vaccinated

Big business is not your friend

Sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement, cities across the United States went up in flames last year, beset with looters, agitators, and killers. As leaves, and ashes, fell softly last autumn, homicide rates began to soar nationwide as $1 billion-plus in claims registered on the insurance industry’s books, making these riots the most destructive in American history. 

Even so, last week, Norwegian Member of Parliament Petter Eide nominated Black Lives Matter for the Nobel peace prize. 

The most peculiar thing about the mayhem last summer was not the media coverage, the bipartisan kowtowing to the demands of agitators, or even the magnitude of the destruction. Instead, it was the universal embrace of the movement behind the madness by the managers of industry. 

A week after a gunman shot and killed federal officer Patrick Underwood while a Black Lives Matter protest roared on nearby, as riots were gaining momentum across the country, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey encouraged his followers to “Download Signal,” an encrypted messaging app. Signal served as an organizing tool for BLM activists to conspire away from prying eyes. 

Three days after Dorsey tweeted that thoughtful tip, looters killed a retired African American police captain named David Dorn as he tried to protect a friend’s pawn shop in St. Louis, Missouri.

A Not-So-Free Market

Dorsey is not alone. The number of corporations that backed the cause—and continue to support it—is dizzying. IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, T-Mobile, Uber, Facebook, Apple, Intel, the list goes on and on. PayPal announced it would earmark $530 million to “provide immediate financial relief, sustained support and long-term investment to expand economic opportunity for Black and underrepresented minority businesses and communities.” Citigroup published a study that put the “cost of black inequality” in the United States at $16 trillion.

Many of these same corporations have aligned themselves against right-wing populism specifically and Middle Americans in general. A single, solitary riot on January 6 by Trump supporters provoked their purge from the internet, the financial strangulation of allied lawmakers, the denial of services to both, the shuttering of bank accounts, and more. All, ironically, under the pretense of combating extremism—a justification the industry managers most recently used to quell an online populist revolt. 

Retail traders using the Robinhood broker-dealer app managed to kneecap Wall Street hedge funds that attempted to short sell GameStop, a brick-and-mortar video game retailer. So far, populist short squeezers have cost Wall Street short-sellers $20 billion. Corporations and their allies in the media reacted by reminding Americans that the free market isn’t free at all. 

Discord and Facebook moved to restrict groups used by retail traders to communicate and organize, both under the pretense of terms of service violations unrelated to trading. Robinhood itself has alternated between imposing bans and restrictions on trading, enraging users who accused the company of caving to pressure from Wall Street. 

Laura Unger, the former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, compared retail traders’ actions to the riot Trump supporters staged on January 6 at the Capitol. While the events at the Capitol caused “personal, bodily harm,” retail traders did “financial harm,” she told CNBC. The media has drawn connections between these traders and Trump voters, which is true insofar as both revolted against the elites—but the implicit and more critical point she wishes to make is that these people are unwashed, backward, and probably racist. 

The Best Activism Corporate Money Can Buy

While the scale of all this is unprecedented, the fundamentals are not new. Corporations support and court social upheavals because that is a far more effective way than force to neutralize them. Agitators and their movements, as Canadian philosopher George Grant wrote in a critique of the Left, “are taken into the system and trivialized. They are made to serve the interest of the system they are supposed to be attacking, by showing that free speech is allowed.” 

If so many leftists did not hate everyday Americans more than they hated that system, they would not be so often and easily appeased. Black Lives Matter ultimately strengthened the hand of the system tenfold, allowing it to rehabilitate its image while increasing its power and reach. 

Virtually every issue that reduces American life to scrapping over spoils follows this pattern. 

The “dirty secret of affirmative action politics,” Richard Kahlenberg noted in 1996, “is that corporate America actually supports affirmative action,” whether it is based on race or sex or nationality. A culture of affirmative action, in reality, has little to do with merit and equality or justice, and more with an ever-expanding base of consumers and producers who keep wages down and demand high. Many conservatives who spend their days decrying the march of the Left have internalized this scheme. 

“Despite the third-wave feminist tendency to conflate the ephemeral patriarchy with capitalism, the two couldn’t be more incompatible,” writes conservative journalist Tiana Lowe in “Capitalism Crushed the Patriarchy.” Free markets, she concludes, “have revolutionized the quality of human life for everyone, but perhaps for none more than women.” In other words, she unwittingly agrees with Karl Marx that capitalism, not socialism, dissolved the bonds of tradition, of the family, and encouraged women to abandon the crib for the cubicle—it’s just that she insists this is a reason to celebrate. 

“Differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity for the working class,” Marx wrote in 1848 on the corrosive consequences of capitalism. “All are instruments of labour, more or less expensive to use, according to their age and sex.” Contemporary conservatives make the same observations just as approvingly as Marx, they just aren’t honest or smart enough to realize that fact.

More to the point, corporations support affirmative action for the same reason they support the politics of mass immigration and are willing to pay off agitators: profit and power and an expanded consumer base that is essentially a morally unmoored, deracinated proletariat enslaved to debt. In other words, people who cannot govern themselves will do, and buy, what they are told.

More Easily Managed People

This system praises diversity, but its end is homogeneity. Just a handful of billionaires own America’s newspapers, for example, while six corporations control virtually all media outlets. When ordinary conservatives decry socialism, what they are really railing against is centralized planning in the hands of a few—but this is already a fact of American life. The American economy is defined by consolidated corporate power that effectively does just that. 

“Crony capitalism” is, therefore, a misnomer because it suggests what we are witnessing is an exception to an otherwise good rule when it is the rule itself—managerialism—that fuses industry and government. The active heads of government bureaus, wrote James Burnham, “are the managers-in-government, the same, or nearly the same, in training functions, skills, habits of thought as the managers-in-industry.” 

None of this can be said aloud, so a cosmopolitan myth of universalism is woven, with liberty, equality, and opportunity as its tenets. All the claims of particularism, such as family, sex, religion, human nature, and nation-state become artificial at best; oppressive if white, heterosexual, male, Christian, and Western. 

The traditions, symbols, and heroes of historic America naturally come under attack because they are representations of differentiation; thus, barriers to creating a homogenized mass society fit for mass consumption and production. Indeed, corporations have spearheaded the deconstruction of American civilization and the creation of a new, more easily “managed” one.

Thus, the myth of democratic capitalism, in reality, is an expression of the personal and group interests of an oligarchy that casts itself and its actions as serving the public interest. But the mask slips every time not-so-thinly veiled force or fraud is employed to protect and consolidate its power, interests, and ideology—whether openly engaging in market manipulation to protect Wall Street or removing entire social media networks from the web to silence dissent.

The truth is that the political economy of the United States is no longer capitalism but managerialism, which slit capitalism’s throat sometime in the 20th century following the Great Depression and two world wars, replacing the bourgeois elite of yesteryear with managers presiding over a system that separates ownership and control.

Whatever its theoretical merits, to defend what people are pleased to call “American capitalism” today is to garland the ideological chains of a ruling class that is hostile to private property, genuine small business, and traditional institutions because all these are impediments to the growth and control of the managerial class.

The movement that emerges from the ashes of the present must disabuse itself of a myth that serves no purpose other than to deceive Americans into docility for fear of disturbing the not-so-invisible hand around their throats deluding them into believing that the apogee of human experience is the other side of materialism. There is nothing to lose but the chains.




Tuesday, February 09, 2021

AstraZeneca is working on Covid vaccine booster 'that will be ready by autumn' to beat South African strain after research showed its current version had 'minimal' effect on stopping it

Yesterday South Africa said it was suspending use of the AstraZeneca vaccine while scientists advise on the best way to proceed.

Professor Sarah Gilbert, lead researcher in the Oxford team, said current vaccines 'have a reduction in efficacy against some of the variant viruses'.

But she added: 'What that is looking like is that we may not be reducing the total number of cases but there's still protection in that case against deaths, hospitalisations and severe disease.

'That's really important for healthcare systems, even if we are having mild and asymptomatic infections, to prevent people going into hospital with Covid would have a major effect.'

However, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi says the vaccines being used in Britain 'work well against the Covid-19 variants currently dominant in the UK'.

Writing in the Telegraph, he said 'we can take confidence from the current roll out and the protection it will provide all of us against this terrible disease'.

He added: 'We need to be aware that even where a vaccine has reduced efficacy in preventing infection there may still be good efficacy against severe disease, hospitalisation, and death. This is vitally important for protecting the healthcare system.'

Professor Gilbert earlier told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that her team currently has 'a version with the South African spike sequence in the works' with hopes it will be ready to administer by the autumn.

'It's not quite ready to vaccinate people with yet, but, as all of the developers are using platform technologies, these are ways of making a vaccine that are very quick to adapt,' she added.

The study that found the Oxford jab had a 'minimal effect' in protecting against mild disease caused by the variant involved 2,000 volunteers, most of whom were young and healthy with an average age of 31.

The study also appeared to show that the South African mutations will allow for ongoing transmission of the virus in vaccinated populations.

Out of 865 people vaccinated with two doses of the Oxford vaccine, 19 contracted the new variant, and out of 884 in the group given a placebo, 23 contracted the disease. Two thirds of the cases were of mild illness, and one third moderate. There were no severe cases.

The researchers also found that previous infection with 'original' coronavirus did not protect against contracting the South African variant.

Oxford University said the study did not assess levels of protection against moderate to severe disease, hospital admission or death because the target population was at such low risk.

A spokesman for AstraZeneca said: 'We do believe our vaccine will still protect against severe disease, as neutralising antibody activity is equivalent to other Covid-19 vaccines that have demonstrated activity against more severe disease, particularly when the dosing interval is optimised to eight to 12 weeks.'

The spokesman added that other immune responses, such as T-cell responses, may have a role in protecting against disease, and initial data suggests these may stay the same with the variant.

Professor Robin Shattock, who is leading Covid-19 vaccine research at Imperial College London, urged caution about the study's findings.

'It's a very small study with just over 2,000 people,' he told BBC Breakfast. 'But it is concerning to some extent that we're seeing that it's not effective against mild or moderate disease.'

Professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator on the Oxford trial, said: 'This study confirms that the coronavirus will find ways to continue to spread in vaccinated populations, as expected.

'But, taken with the promising results from other studies in South Africa, vaccines may continue to ease the toll on healthcare systems by preventing severe disease.'

On Saturday, AstraZeneca said its vaccine provided good protection against the variant first discovered in Kent, which is now dominant in the UK. Early results suggest the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine protects against the new variants.

Early results from Moderna suggest its vaccine is still effective against the South Africa variant.


Another war-mongering Democrat

President Joe Biden is deploying four Air Force B-1 bombers to Norway to express to Russia's Vladimir Putin that the U.S. will defend allies if Russia shows aggression in the Arctic.

CNN reported the move Monday, saying that bombers and approximately 200 Americans stationed at Dyess Air Force base in Texas will be deployed to Orland Air Base in Norway.

Within three weeks, missions will begin in the Arctic Circle and in international airspace off of Russia's northwest coast, the network said.

Previously, American military missions over the Arctic originated from the United Kingdom. The move to Norway signals the U.S. is more prepared to tackle Russian aggression in the area.

Bomber missions take weeks to plan, CNN reported, so the Norway deployment has been in the works for awhile.

Biden has made it clear he plans to take a much harder stand against Russia than his predecessor, President Donald Trump.

He spoke with Putin six days into his presidency. And while he agreed to extend the START treaty between the U.S. and Russia for five years, Biden said in a speech Thursday at the State Department that he wasn't so agreeable with Putin in other areas.

'At the same time, I made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia's aggressive actions interfering with our elections, cyber attacks, poisoning its citizens, are over,' Biden said.

The new president said he would not hesitate to 'raise the cost on Russia' if need be.

CNN reported that the Defense Department has been concerned about Russia's moves in the Arctic, as the country could try to shut off access to maritime passageways and natural resources, with 25 per cent of Russia's gross domestic product tied to hydrocarbons found north of the Arctic Circle.

Almost entitrely on Russian territory!


The Great Reset — to Global Totalitarianism

Global elites, including the Biden administration, are exploiting coronavirus for massive upheaval.

As of this writing, more than 104 million people have contracted coronavirus worldwide, and nearly 2.5 million have died. In the United States, more than 450,000 deaths have been attributed to the Wuhan Flu. In a better world, the Chinese communist thugs who lied about both the origins and the severity of the pandemic would be treated as the international pariahs they have proven themselves to be. In this one, an equally contemptible bunch of multinational corporatist thugs with oligarchic ambitions will not only continue doing business as usual with China but will rely on Beijing as an ally in their pursuit of what they call The Great Reset. In short, never let a crisis — or a worldwide, society-altering catastrophe — go to waste.

“To achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions,” insists World Economic Forum (WEF) CEO Klaus Schwab, a German octogenarian orchestrating this elitist power grab. “Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism.”

Capitalism? A WEF-created video posted on Facebook reveals Schwab is a bald-faced liar. Of the eight “predictions” the globalists wish to impose on the world by 2030, the very first one gives the entire game away. It shows the smiling face of a young man with the following caption underneath:

“You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy.”

People who own nothing can be many things. A capitalist in control of one’s own destiny isn’t any of them. And in case the message still isn’t clear, the second “prediction” is equally telling:

“Whatever you want you’ll rent. And it will be delivered by drone.”

Rent? From whom, if nobody owns anything? The answer is simple. While millions of people have been locked down, and while their jobs and futures have been eviscerated, America’s billionaire class increased its own wealth by a staggering $434 billion since the stock market began its recovery in March. While ordinary Americans stood in food banks and waited desperately for stimulus checks, the stock market soared. And when, for the briefest of moments, the bounties of that stock market accrued to the interests of smaller traders at the expense of those billionaires, the rules of the game were altered by those for whom the Rule of Law no longer applies.

Lawlessness — of the in-your-face variety — is the essence of The Great Reset. And capitalism has nothing to do with any of it. “When Americans went to buy cars, or even light bulbs and shower nozzles, they found their choices limited by deals between government, industry, and insurance companies,” explains columnist Angelo Codevilla. “These entities regarded each other as ‘stakeholders’ in an oligarchic system. But they had ever less need to take account of mere citizens in what was becoming a republic in name only. As the 20th century was drawing to a close, wherever citizens looked, they saw a government and government-empowered entities over which they had ever less say, which ruled ever more unaccountably, and whose attitude toward them was ever less friendly.”

The 21st century has seen an exponential increase in that dynamic. For all intents and purposes, there is no separation between the Ruling Class elites in both political parties and their allies in Big Tech, academia, Hollywood, and virtue-signaling corporations, all of whom have made it clear that any dissent from their agenda will inevitably lead to one being “un-personed,” in all its Orwellian permutations. Continued resistance may earn one a designation as a “domestic terrorist,” even as the elites’ corporate mouthpiece, more familiarly known as the mainstream media, has tirelessly endeavored to tie the entire bloc of 74 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump to the handful of people who rioted at the Capitol.

The elites’ targets include sitting Republican senators who dared to question the integrity of the 2020 election. Senators who will now be judged by what amounts to a Star Chamber of secret deliberations, conducted by the Senate Ethics Committee.

In the meantime, the same Democrats who called President Trump a “dictator” when he issued a handful of executive orders and actions are completely sanguine with a President Joe Biden issuing 40 of them in his first 10 days in office. When and if they actually legislate, Democrats will attempt to use the power of the purse to effectively — and unconstitutionally — nationalize elections to ensure the permanence of their power.

And while coronavirus has kept Americans distracted, the real transition to global governance with be engendered by climate change. “It might be a good idea for President Biden to call a climate emergency,” contends Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who apparently has no problem making the legislative branch of government increasingly irrelevant in pursuit of unassailable power. He is joined by Climate Czar John Kerry who, despite his own predilection for private jets, insists, “[The Great Reset] will happen with greater speed and with greater intensity than a lot of people might imagine. In effect, the citizens of the United States have just done a Great Reset. We’ve done a Great Reset. And it was a record level of voting.”

One suspects a duplicitous hack like John Kerry knows full well Americans didn’t vote for serfdom. But if he and his party’s ambitions are realized, voting will become a largely symbolic exercise whose chief purpose will be to maintain the illusion that people have choices — and that the nation-state he and his fellow globalists so clearly despise still exists.

And despite Schwab’s assertions, those who attended the WEF virtual Davos Agenda summit made it clear that the primary impediment to their agenda is capitalism. “We will get out of this pandemic only with an economy that thinks more about fighting inequalities,” asserted French President Emmanuel Macron. German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted the coronavirus shows “how much we are interlinked, how globally interdependent” the world is, and that “trying to isolate yourself fails.”

The dead giveaway behind the utter hollowness of such “high-minded” assertions? Despite the worldwide havoc engendered by his regime, the honor of being the summit’s keynote speaker was bestowed upon Chinese President Xi Jinping, who urged the G-20 nations and the European Union to serve as the “main forum for global economic governance.”

In China, that economic governance includes the use of forced labor by Uyghurs, who produce goods for many of the same multinational corporations that promote their “wokeness” with regard to human rights.

It’s hardly different in America. “As the elite has grown ever richer and less and less attached to the idea of the United States as an independent nation-state its goals and ambitions have become less and less attached to the welfare of the average man or woman,” warns columnist Charles Faddis. “Increasingly, what the elite wants is in direct opposition to what the average American wants.”

Kerry characterizes that increasingly orchestrated disconnect as “the the dawn of an extremely exciting time.” Totalitarianism — on steroids — is more like it.




Monday, February 08, 2021

Experimental cancer drug could help hospitalised coronavirus patients recover within five days, Israeli trial claims

Israeli academics today claimed 29 of 30 patients with moderate to severe case of Covid treated with EXO-CD24 made a full recovery within five days.

Further human trials are now needed to prove that the inhaled drug - designed as a medication to fight ovarian cancer - actually works.

The study did not compare the drug to a placebo, meaning scientists cannot say for certain that the medicine was behind the patients' speedy recovery.

However, data shows the average coronavirus patient needing hospital treatment spends up to three weeks in a bed.

Scientists gave 30 patients with serious or moderate Covid infections a dose of the drug.

It is not clear how old the patients were but data shows younger patients are much less likely to die from coronavirus and recover quicker.

Twenty-nine showed significant improvement within three to five days. It is not clear whether the patients were also receiving other drugs or treatment.

EXO-CD24 is an experimental cancer drug initially developed to treat ovarian cancer. It is breathed in as a gas and performs locally on the lungs.

The drug uses tiny carrier sacs called exosomes that shuttle materials between cells to deliver a protein called CD24. This protein helps regulate the body's immune response, reducing the number of cytokines released.

Cytokines are produced by the body to fight off infection, but too many can result in deadly hyperinflammation, which occurs in the worst cases of coronavirus.

Professor Nadir Arber of Ichilov's Integrated Cancer Prevention Center told the Times of Israel: 'The preparation is inhaled once a day for a few minutes, for five days.

'The preparation is directed straight to the heart of the storm — the lungs — so unlike other formulas… which selectively restrain a certain cytokine, or operate widely but cause many serious side effects, EXO-CD24 is administered locally, works broadly and without side effects.'

The thirtieth patient's symptoms also got better but outside of the five-day window, Israeli media claimed.

The trial's sample size was also too low to draw any note-worthy conclusions about the drug's efficacy. The data was not published in a journal.

Professor Nadir Arber, of Ichilov's Integrated Cancer Prevention Center, spent years developing the drug for ovarian cancer before trialling it on coronavirus patients.

EXO-CD24 is taken once every five days and is relatively inexpensive, according to Professor Arber, but he did not reveal exactly how much it costs.

It works by reducing the immune system's overreaction to the virus.

Coronavirus can trigger a brutal immune response that shuts down the body's main organs known as a cytokine storm.

Researcher Shiran Shapira told the Times of Israel: 'This protein is located on the surface of cells and has a well known and important role in regulating the immune system.'

Professor Arber told Israeli news site Arutz Sheva: 'Even if the vaccines do their job, and even if there aren't any new mutations, one way or another, the coronavirus will be staying with us.

'That's why we developed this special medication: EXO-CD24. This is unprecedented. 'It's been about half a year from the time the idea was hatched and the technologies created, to the first human trials conducted and phase one of testing completed.'

The researchers are planning to carry out studies of the drug on hundreds of patients and compare the results to a placebo.

Israel announced today it will ease lockdown measures but keep its international airport and land borders closed following a slight fall in the spread of coronavirus cases.

'The government has accepted a proposal from the prime minister and the health minister to ease lockdown measures from 7am on Sunday,' their offices said in a joint statement.

Despite what has been termed the world's fastest vaccination campaign per capita, Israel has still been registering a daily average of 6,500 new Covid-19 cases, down from around 7,000 last week, official figures show.

A strict nationwide lockdown in force since December 27 has been extended four times to combat the infection rate, but January was the deadliest month with more than 1,000 Covid fatalities.

According to latest figures from the health ministry, Israel has registered a total of more than 675,000 cases of Covid-19, including 5,019 deaths.


American Elites Seek to Rig the Game

In the aftermath of the disgraceful Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, the American ruling class has flexed its muscles like never before.

Big Tech oligarchs moved in unison to kneecap upstart Parler, a would-be Twitter competitor, and ban former President Donald Trump and scores of other conservatives. Simon & Schuster, one of the nation's most reputable book publishers, canceled a book deal that it had commissioned with the conservative Sen. Josh Hawley. President Joe Biden, in direct defiance of his campaign-season vows to unify the country, oversaw a deeply divisive and ideological first week in office. And just this week, popular retail brokerage Robinhood took severe measures to restrict trading of GameStop's stock after a populist Reddit-induced stock-buying frenzy dramatically spiked the firm's share price and wreaked havoc for short-selling hedge funds.

One harkens back to that most paradigmatic of progressive mantras, once uttered by former Obama White House Chief of Staff and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

Emanuel's rank opportunism is highly revealing. But the American ruling class seeks more than mere political opportunism. Instead, the ruling class seeks uniform control over defining the contours of permissible opinion and tolerable belief, and it is willing to wield all available levers at its disposal in order to do so.

But in order to achieve this goal, the ruling class -- which, in the United States in the year 2021, is effectively coterminous with elected political left and left-adjacent, quasi-"private" appendages such as "woke capital" corporatists -- needs some extra assistance. The ruling class needs more tools in its arsenal than simple gatekeeping based on requisite diplomas and proper partisan affiliation.

The ruling class's tool of choice is to rig the game. Across all of American society, the left increasingly plays the game by one set of rules, and the "deplorable" right plays by a different set of rules. While such discriminatory tactics were, for a while, devised in subtler fashion, promulgated behind closed doors and concealed beneath euphemistic public-facing language, this concerted effort increasingly plays out before our eyes in broad daylight.

Consider how, in every presidential election since 2000 won by a Republican, Democratic congressmen and/or senators objected to at least some portion of the Electoral College result. Yet in 2020, when some Republicans in both the House and Senate did much the same, following a midpandemic election that saw the unprecedented proliferation of inherently destabilizing mail-in balloting and myriad mid-election season changes to states' election laws, those involved are tarred as "insurrectionists" and "seditionists" because of the unrelated lawless actions of an impassioned mob. And those same Republicans lose donors, book deals and even event-space availability for fundraisers, to boot.

Consider also how, for four years during the Trump presidency, Democrats endlessly bleated and promoted the wholly implausible "Russiagate" narrative, wherein Vladimir Putin and vague "Russian bots" somehow colluded to steal the presidency for Trump. Hillary Clinton has still, to this day, never fully reconciled herself to her defeat -- nor, for that matter, has Stacey Abrams ever formally conceded the 2018 gubernatorial race. But for continuing to raise questions about an election decided by a smaller margin of voters than the previous one -- roughly 43,000 votes spread out across three states in 2020, compared with roughly 79,000 votes spread out across three states in 2016 -- Silicon Valley oligarchs banned from social media everyone from the leader of the free world, Trump himself, to the founder and CEO of MyPillow.

Finally, consider how stock exchanges and trading brokerages this week halted trading -- and, as appears to be the case, sometimes induced forcible stock selling against retail investors' will -- of GameStop's stock in a barely concealed attempt to protect favored short-selling hedge funds and undercut mom-and-pop investors spurred on by the "WallStreetBets" subreddit. As everyone from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Sen. Ted Cruz pointed out, such actions reek of cronyism and illicit market manipulation. It is difficult to recall the last time the stock market has been so clearly revealed as a pawn of the ruling class, under which high-frequency traders and individual 401(k) savers so clearly play by different sets of rules.

The great irony of our current politics is that the very populism so decried by the ruling class is only buttressed by that very ruling class's censoriousness and attempts to rig the game in its own favor. It is not yet too late for elites to look in the mirror, take some deep breaths and stop before it is too late.


Equality vs Equity: Unraveling the allure of socialism

Placing equity over equality when it comes to our economy will not ensure that everyone ends up a millionaire, only that nobody will get the opportunity to rise through the ranks and achieve that success in the future.

By Brett Kimball

Equality and equity are two concepts which are often mistaken for one another; however they could not be more different. Equality of opportunity is essential in order for any free society to thrive; it ensures that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed. Radical left socialist democrats have posited the theory that all inequalities of outcome in society can be attributed to a rigged system which discriminates based on secondary characteristics such as race, sex, gender, etc. Therefore, we must strive to create a more “equitable” system in order to ensure that those inequalities of outcome which can be observed are eliminated. This idea is patently un-American and unfair to its core.

A system based on the principles of equality is one which provides each individual with the same level of opportunity to attain success. A system built on the principles of equity is one which attempts to ensure an equal outcome for each individual. The former being an inherently moral system and the latter being an inherently immoral system.

This distinction often becomes lost in the fray of debate however, becoming overshadowed by the alluring concept of “free stuff,” whether it’s college, healthcare, etc. It’s important to remember that we all as Americans share the same privilege of having been born in the freest society in the world, one which does provide endless potential for upward mobility. To sacrifice this freedom in the pursuit of a more rigid economic structure meant to ensure some socialistic utopian concept of equality of outcome over opportunity would be reckless and dangerous.

Why do so many young people fall victim to the unrealistic and damaging proposals put forth by the radical left? The simplest answer is this, these promises sound good on paper. Upon even the slightest bit of further review however, they start to fall apart.

For example, a fifteen dollar minimum wage sounds great, but those who advocate for this are missing a few key factors. For starters, a minimum wage that high would force businesses, especially smaller and family-owned establishments, into mass layoffs of thousands of entry-level employees. This would be a problem under normal circumstances but would certainly be exacerbated by the toll the Covid lockdowns have already taken on struggling businesses. Businesses simply cannot afford to pay entry-level employees that type of money, when their jobs could just as easily be cut or replaced by technology. McDonald’s implementation of touchscreen kiosks for in-store ordering is one clear example of where we are headed if a higher minimum wage becomes mainstream.

A recent study by the Congressional Budget Office found that while the plan for a fifteen-dollar minimum wage would predictably increase wages for around 17 million workers who would otherwise be earning less, such benefits would be offset by the nearly 1.3 million jobs which would be lost due to the increased cost of labor. This fluctuation would be more than enough to put many under the poverty line.

The increased wages of those able to keep their jobs would also inevitably lead to an increase in the cost of goods provided by those businesses to account for the higher wages businesses would be forced to pay their remaining employees.

Another socialist pipe-dream worth dissecting is the idea of “free college for all.” This one has gained momentum and popularity over the last few years, and could perhaps be the most damaging of all. The word “free” as it’s used by democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Ilhan Omar has lost all meaning. What they really mean when they say “free college tuition” is “government funded” and thereby “taxpayer funded.” All it means is that you won’t be footing the bill for your degree, everyone else will.

Considering the rampant fiscal irresponsibility on display regularly by our elected officials in the House and Senate, the only way to accomplish such a feat would be to raise taxes on all Americans, but with a “progressive” tax plan which would bleed the 1% dry. Many young people who get drawn in by the idea of socialism and the concept of an oppressive billionaire ruling class tend to forget how free-market capitalism actually works. The category known as the 1% is not a static, fixed group of people hoarding the county’s wealth for themselves. In actuality it’s fluid and ever changing, with people drifting in and out of the top tax bracket constantly. The 1%, in most cases, employs the “99%” as well. They create and run the businesses and corporations which employ millions of people all over the country. Hitting them with ridiculous tax rates out of a false sense of fairness or equity, would hurt workers across the economic spectrum and severely stunt any ability for growth in an economic system originally designed to provide such opportunities.

When people like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren suggest that “billionaires should not exist,” they may think they are advocating for the downfall of today’s billionaires who they deem greedy and oppressive. What they don’t realize is that they are also advocating for the downfall of the billionaires of tomorrow; those who will rise up through the system with ingenuity and entrepreneurship to usher in the new era of innovation on the horizon in our country.

Placing equity over equality when it comes to our economy will not ensure that everyone ends up a millionaire, only that nobody will get the opportunity to rise through the ranks and achieve that success in the future.

Preserving our ability to thrive and protecting our core values as a country are of paramount importance for the next generation of great entrepreneurs. Equity is a perversion of justice which will only greatly undermine the next generation’s ability to succeed.