Wednesday, June 02, 2021

With Trump Out of White House, Media Suddenly Finds ‘Lab Leak Theory’ Plausible

Former President Donald Trump is known for a lot of things, but one of his special powers is his ability to make the entire corporate media act in concert to bring embarrassment upon themselves.

For nearly a year, almost every major news outlet declared that it was a debunked, fringe conspiracy theory to even discuss the idea that the coronavirus pandemic began as a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

It so happened that Trump was the most visible person pressing the case of the “lab leak theory,” which meant that the media felt compelled to push back extra hard. Now, a year later, the very same news organizations are allowing that the lab leak hypothesis is indeed plausible.

So, what changed?

Practically and factually, the only real difference today, versus a year ago, is that Trump is no longer in the White House, so journalists are safe to entertain competing ideas again.

This is as stark a reversal of reporting on a story of worldwide interest as there has been in decades. And it is clearly attributable to the innate need of many in the media to oppose everything Trump did or said, their practice of following each other’s narratives, and their unwillingness to be the one who breaks away from the pack.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza, who once infamously tweeted that journalists don’t choose sides, gave away the game with a piece titled “Anthony Fauci Just Crushed Donald Trump’s Theory on the Origins of the Coronavirus.”

In that May 5, 2020, piece, Cillizza wrote that “Fauci’s view on the origins of the disease matters a whole lot more than Trump’s opinion about where it came from.” And he quoted Fauci from a National Geographic interview in which Fauci threw cold water on the lab leak theory and endorsed the belief that the virus evolved in nature and then jumped to humans.

Case closed, right? The rest of the media certainly thought so.

In an earlier March 2020 story, which was edited more than a year later to make it less strident, Vox wrote that the lab leak theory was “a dangerous conspiracy theory” that “won’t die.” Why exactly it was dangerous to discuss how the pandemic began remains unclear.

Vanity Fair chipped in with an item that included the headline “The Discussion is Basically Over,” regarding the virus origin. This venerable publication ascribed advancement of the lab leak theory to Trump’s “cold war” with China and his desire to implicate the communist government.

None other than The New York Times, in February 2020, blistered Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., for daring to “ask the question to see what the evidence says.” The Times accused Cotton of repeating a “fringe theory” put forward by “those who see China as a threat.” That would, presumably, include Trump.

On that same day, The Washington Post piled on Cotton for “repeating a coronavirus conspiracy theory,” even though he said, truthfully, that “we don’t know where it originated.” The Post suggested it was unnecessary to ask China about the virus’ origin because the lab leak hypothesis had been “repeatedly debunked by experts.”

So, a year later, let’s check in with those “experts” and our friends in the media.

Earlier this month, Fauci was asked if he still believed the virus developed naturally.

“I am not convinced about that,” he said. “I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China.”

Also this month, The New York Times related the position of a group of scientists calling for “further inquiry” into the origin of the virus, since the lab leak theory is one of the explanations that is still “viable.” Again, this is the same newspaper that called such talk by a U.S. senator a “fringe theory” a little more than a year ago.

At CNN, they are now acknowledging that a lab leak is a “possibility” and the theory “reasonable,” while noting a new Wall Street Journal report that several researchers in Wuhan fell ill mysteriously in November 2019. CNN is also now suddenly disturbed that the communist Chinese are curiously uncooperative with investigative efforts.

What about Cillizza, who previously celebrated that Fauci had “crushed” the lab leak theory? Well, now he says, “The origins of the virus remain not fully known.”

And finally, just this week, The Washington Post weighed in with a timeline titled “How the Wuhan Lab-Leak Theory Suddenly Became Credible.” But naturally, it was all Trump’s fault again because his “administration’s messaging was often accompanied by anti-Chinese rhetoric that made it easier for skeptics to ignore its claims.”

The Wall Street Journal story about the sick Wuhan researchers came after most of the radical shift in media perspective had occurred. So what had happened earlier to change everyone’s thinking? 

According to the media’s favorite statistician, Nate Silver, not a whole lot. “[T]he evidence seems murky and inscrutable either way and I’m not sure it has *changed* that much,” he tweeted.

So it doesn’t take much scrutiny to realize that these media figures are admitting their biases in plain view. It didn’t matter what was being said last year as much as who was saying it.

If Trump or another Republican promoted the lab leak theory, it had to be wrong. But now that their villain is no longer in the White House, the media are free to consider all possibilities.

And—what do you know? —today all their stories are pretty much identical to each other again, even if their new pack narrative directly contradicts their groupthink of a year ago.


Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Antibody from common cold can neutralise COVID-19 and could lead to vaccine that protects against all coronaviruses, new study suggests

An antibody that develops after people have the common cold can neutralize the virus that causes COVID-19, a new study suggests.

Both the common cold and SARS-CoV-2 fall under a family known as coronaviruses, which cause upper-respiratory tract illnesses.

However, it was believed that antibodies that react to ordinary coronaviruses didn't work against the virus that leads to COVID. 

But in blood samples of COVID survivors, researchers found high levels of immune cells generated during the common cold that 'remember' diseases and are called back into action if the threat returns.

The team, from the Scripps Research Institute, in La Jolla, California, says the findings could help scientists develop a vaccine or antibody treatment that protects against all coronaviruses. 

The team found the antibody is produced by a type of immune system cell known as a memory B cell. Memory B cells lock onto the surface of invading pathogens and mark them for destruction by other immune cells. 

They also can circulate in the bloodstream for years - even decades - and the immune system can call up on them if there is another infection. 

For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, the team looked at blood samples from participants pre-pandemic and during the pandemic. 

'By examining blood samples collected before the pandemic and comparing those with samples from people who had been sick with COVID-19, we were able to pinpoint antibody types that cross reacted with benign coronaviruses as well as SARS-CoV-2,' senior author Dr Raiees Andrabi, an investigator at Scripps' Department of Immunology and Microbiology, told News Medical.

Results showed that levels of memory B cell antibodies were higher in blood samples of people who had been infected with COVID-19 than those who never had been.

The team says this suggests that exposure to a non-serious coronavirus can spur the production of antibodies when infected with a more serious coronavirus.

Tests showed that the antibody also neutralized SARS-CoV-1, the coronavirus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and a cousin of COVID-19.

'We were able to determine that this type of cross-reactive antibody is likely produced by a memory B cell that's initially exposed to a coronavirus that causes the common cold, and is then recalled during a COVID-19 infection,' Andrabi told News Medical.

Next, researchers examined how the antibody was able to neutralize several different types of coronaviruses. 

They found that the antibody binds to the base of the spike protein (S protein) on coronaviruses, which they use to enter and infect cells.

Co-author Dr Dennis Burton, Chair of Scripps' Department of Immunology and Microbiology, said the discovery is important for understanding how to protect against future coronaviruses.

'Another deadly coronavirus will likely emerge again in the future--and when it does, we want to be better prepared,' Burton told News Medical. 

'Our identification of a cross-reactive antibody against SARS-CoV-2 and the more common coronaviruses is a promising development on the way to a broad-acting vaccine or therapy.'

Monday, May 31, 2021

Americans Remain Patriotic

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

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

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

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

Consider the following survey results.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Vietnam Finds Dangerous New Virus Variant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 30, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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