Friday, April 15, 2022

20 Federal ‘Assets’ Embedded at Capitol on Jan. 6, Court Filing Says

At least 20 FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives “assets” were embedded around the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a defense attorney wrote in a court filing on April 12.

The disclosure was made in a motion seeking to dismiss seditious conspiracy and obstruction charges against 10 Oath Keepers defendants in one of the most prominent Jan. 6 criminal cases.

David W. Fischer, attorney for Thomas E. Caldwell of Berryville, Virginia, filed a 41-page motion to dismiss four counts on behalf of all Oath Keepers case defendants before U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta in Washington, D.C.

Caldwell is charged in the indictment, but is not a member of the Oath Keepers, he told The Epoch Times in March.

“At least 20 FBI and ATF assets were embedded around the Capitol on J6,” read a footnote on Page 6 of the motion. No other details were provided in the document.

The footnote said defense attorneys “combed through a mountain of discovery,” including FBI form 302 summaries of interviews conducted by FBI agents.

In addition to the information about law-enforcement assets on the ground at the Capitol, the footnote says, the Oath Keepers “were being monitored and recorded prior to J6.”

Poring over evidence turned over in discovery by prosecutors in two major Oath Keepers cases has “not found one iota of proof” that defendants “had any plan, intention, design, or scheme to specifically enter the Capitol Building on J6,” the motion said.

Fischer told The Epoch Times he could not comment on the motion or provide more details on the footnote.

Since the first arrests of Jan. 6 defendants in early 2021, there has been extensive speculation and questions from attorneys, defendants, case observers, and members of Congress about the role law enforcement played that day.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Jan. 11, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) grilled top FBI officials on the subject.

“How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of Jan. 6?” Cruz asked Jill Sanborn, executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch.

“Sir, I’m sure you can appreciate that I can’t go into the specifics of sources and methods,” Sanborn said.

Cruz replied, “Did any FBI agents or confidential informants actively participate in the events of Jan. 6, yes or no?”

“Sir, I can’t answer that,” Sanborn said.

“Did any FBI agents or confidential informants commit crimes of violence on Jan. 6?” Cruz asked.

“I can’t answer that, sir,” Sanborn replied.

Jeremy M. Brown, an Oath Keepers member from Florida who was charged with two Jan. 6-related counts but is not part of either major Oath Keepers conspiracy case, told The Epoch Times earlier this year that the FBI unsuccessfully tried to recruit him in 2020 to spy on the group.

Brown said the same agents who later arrested him for alleged Jan. 6 crimes tried to recruit him on Dec. 11, 2020, to become a confidential informant. He refused. He was arrested on Sept. 30, 2021, when dozens of federal agents swarmed his Florida property.

“When asked by me and my girlfriend to produce the warrants at the time of arrest, they refused to produce them,” Brown said. “One agent was even recorded stating, ‘We don’t know what we are looking for yet.’ They should look for a copy of the Constitution and read it.”

No Crime Stated?

The Oath Keepers, including founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, are charged with conspiring to enter the Capitol on Jan. 6 to prevent the certification of the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election. Protests and rioting on Jan. 6 interrupted a joint session of Congress for about six hours.

“The Rhodes defendants seek dismissal of Counts 1-4 on the grounds that the indictment fails to state an offense as to each count,” Fischer wrote in his motion.

The four counts covered in the motion to dismiss all refer to obstructing a proceeding or preventing an officer from discharging duties.

Under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, the seditious conspiracy charge “requires proof that the purpose of the defendants’ seditious conspiracy was to forcibly obstruct a person authorized to execute a law, while that person was attempting to execute the particular law opposed by the defendants,” Fischer wrote.

“Per binding precedent, however, Members of Congress are constitutionally prohibited from ‘executing any law of the United States,’ ” the motion said. “Additionally, per binding precedent, the Electoral College certification process did not constitute the ‘execution of any law of the United States.’ ”

Counts 2 and 3 of the indictment are brought under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c), but that law only applies to obstructive acts related to the destruction of evidence, the motion said.

This argument was cited in March by U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols, who dismissed the same obstruction charge in two other Jan. 6 cases.

Count 4 accuses the defendants of conspiring to prevent an officer from discharging any duties.

Under binding legal precedent, the motion argues, the terms “office,” “officer” and “officer of the United States” take their meaning from the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Members of Congress are not “officers” under the Appointments Clause, Fischer wrote.

The motion described the indictment as “an obscenely one-sided, selectively edited, and inaccurate representation of [Oath Keepers’] actions and statements.”

The Oath Keepers “Quick Reaction Forces” (QRFs) described in the criminal complaint as being ready to assist in the attack on the Capitol with men and armaments were actually standing by in Virginia in case Oath Keepers in DC were attacked or threatened by Antifa, the motion said.

“… Every scrap of evidence reviewed confirms that the ‘QRFs,’ which were utilized on numerous prior dates, were intended as rescue forces in the event that the Oath Keepers were attacked by Antifa or a similar contingency, and not to attack the Capitol Building,” the filing said.

In a companion motion filed on behalf of defendant Kelly Meggs, attorney Jonathon Moseley described the notion of opposing the lawful transfer of presidential power as a “thought crime,” and the charge in the indictment as “devoid of supporting factual allegations.”

“The Constitution makes clear that it is a Constitutional impossibility to ‘oppose the transfer of presidential power.’ Not only could such a goal not be accomplished, but beyond that, it is an irrational concept lacking in any basis, in fact, law, or common sense,” Moseley wrote.

“This is not a case in which conspirators might attempt to do something they are unable to successfully achieve,” Moseley’s filing said. “It is an irrational concept like dividing by zero. There can be no such thing in law or fact.”


Bidenflation is going to get worse- government report

The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released the March Producer Price Index (PPI) report and the numbers are ugly.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning responded with the following statement:

“If you think inflation is bad now at 8.5 percent, hold onto your hat. The producer price index went up 1.4 percent in March alone. If that rate were to continue for an entire year, it would be a 16.8 percent increase on the cost of providing goods and services before profit and other costs are included. The Biden Presidency is leaving a mark on every American’s pocketbook unlike any president since Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s.

Unfortunately, the only answer offered by this failed administration is to blame Putin. What Joe Biden doesn’t seem to understand is that when you set the inflation house on fire and keep pouring gasoline on it through federal spending schemes, anti-energy policies and failed foreign policies, you don’t get to blame the guy down the street for fanning those flames you allowed to consume most of the house.”


Remembering Obamacare

Last Tuesday, in his first White House appearance in five years, former President Obama referred to Joe Biden as “Vice President Biden.” That was supposedly “a joke,” but Biden wasn’t laughing. Literally, nobody wanted to talk to the Delaware Democrat. For his part, the former president touted the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. That invites a review.

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explained, this was the measure that had to pass before Americans could “find out what’s in it.” Under Obamacare, you don’t get the health care you want, only the health care the government wants you to have. Contrary to what the president repeatedly claimed, you couldn’t keep your doctor or your plan, and the rates would skyrocket.

Covered California, Obamacare’s wholly-owned subsidiary, caused “widespread consumer misery.” Health journalist Emily Bazar noted that Covered California wasted millions on promotion, handed out lucrative deals to cronies, and its $454 million computer system was dysfunctional. With premiums skyrocketing, Covered California dropped 2,000 pregnant women from coverage, causing them to lose their doctors and miss key prenatal appointments.

The state’s vaunted health exchange sent incorrect tax information to the health plans, which led to “higher premiums than consumers initially anticipated,” People also owed more out of pocket than they initially thought. Obamacare hiked premiums by 13.2 percent and canceled policies when people reported changes in income. As a result, many Californians did not get the tax credits they sought. And so on.

The ACA was a disaster from the start. Still, its demolition of choice gave the president’s designated successor, Hillary Clinton, grounds to push for “single-payer,” a euphemism for government monopoly health care. Clinton lost to Donald Trump, but the Republicans failed to repeal the ACA and replace it with a plan that empowers individuals to purchase the plan that best suits their needs.

If Obamacare prevails under “Vice President Biden,” Americans won’t get the health care that best meets their needs. They will get only the care the government wants them to have. Based on the experience of California, widespread consumer misery is sure to follow.




Thursday, April 14, 2022

New Drug Slashed Deaths Among Patients With Severe Covid, Maker Claims

An experimental drug halved the death rate among critically ill Covid patients who were receiving supplemental oxygen and were at high risk for serious lung disease and death, the drug’s developer announced on Monday.

There is a pressing need for new treatments for critically ill patients. Drugs like Paxlovid, made by Pfizer, are aimed primarily at patients who have mild or moderate disease. Other treatments administered to hospitalized patients in serious condition have shown limited effectiveness.

The new drug, sabizabulin, reduced deaths among hospitalized Covid-19 patients so drastically in a clinical trial that independent safety monitors recommended stopping it early, officials at Veru Inc., the drug’s maker, said. The trial was halted on Friday.

The results of that trial have not been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal. Veru announced the findings at an early-morning news conference. The company’s stock soared in trading Monday following the announcement.

About half of the 52 trial participants given a placebo or dummy pill along with regular care died within 60 days, an indicator of how very sick they were. But the death rate was 20 percent among the 98 participants who received sabizabulin, who were just as ill. The drug was given once a day for up to 21 days.

“Sabizabulin is the first drug to demonstrate a clinically and statistically meaningful reduction in deaths in hospitalized patients,” Dr. Mitchell Steiner, chief executive of Veru, said. “This represents a big step forward.”

Coronavirus Drug and Treatment Tracker

Most Covid restrictions have been lifted in the United States after declining case numbers, but cases, hospitalizations and deaths around the world continue to be high, Dr. Steiner added. New variants are bound to emerge, and surges will follow.

Close to a million Americans have died of Covid, and there are still 570 fatalities every day on average.

The drug was granted so-called fast-track status by the Food and Drug Administration in January, Dr. Steiner said. The designation is intended to prompt faster development and review of new treatments that address unmet medical needs and target serious or life-threatening conditions.

Dr. Steiner said the company plans to meet with the agency later this month and will be applying for emergency-use authorization for sabizabulin. An F.D.A. spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the agency did not confirm, deny or comment on pending applications.

No safety concerns related to the drug were identified in the course of the clinical trial, company officials said.

“Despite it being two and a half years into the battle, we are still working hard to get highly effective drugs into the mix to treat this specific population of patients, and this is a fairly dramatic improvement in 60-day mortality,” said Dr. Michael Gordon, one of the trial investigators and chief medical officer at HonorHealth Research and Innovation Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz.

But Dr. Gordon leavened his optimism with caution, saying he was eager to see more detailed analyses. Additional data were still being analyzed on Monday, including the proportion of treated patients without respiratory failure, the number of days they spent in intensive care, the length of their hospital stay and how long they were on mechanical ventilation.

“No drug works for everybody,” Dr. Gordon said. “The benefit that was seen is mortality — who is living and who is dying — not who is getting off oxygen, though I anticipate we will see improvement in other parameters, too.”

Patients on both arms of the multicenter trial received all standard care and treatment. The participants were in the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Bulgaria, and they had been infected with both the Delta and Omicron variants. The drug is effective regardless of the variant type, Dr. Gordon and company officials said.


When will Fauci and liberal leaders apologize for the millions of lives damaged with pointless COVID restrictions?

Fauci finally admitted to the nation this weekend what has been obvious to everyone, except the most hysteria-prone slice of the population, since last summer: that the pandemic is now endemic. That means it’s here to stay, no matter what we do, so let’s learn to live with it. There is no point to the insane restrictions people insist on like latter-day Puritans denouncing each other for failing to carry out the prescribed rites to ward off the Devil.

“This is not going to be eradicated, and it’s not going to be eliminated,” Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And what’s going to happen is that we’re going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take.”

Great! But what has changed? This is exactly the message Fauci needed to deliver to the people . . . approximately a year ago.

Let’s talk next steps. What’s he going to do to make up for all of the needless misery he caused? I’m not asking him to think like his fellow Italian Marc Antony and fall on his sword, so let’s turn our minds to the moderate and reasonable options. How many days is Fauci volunteering to place himself in stocks set up on the National Mall so that we can all pelt him with rotten eggs? One day for every completely wrong thing he ever said would be fair, but then he’d be there all summer. So let’s be charitable and just make it a long holiday weekend.

The nation’s 4-year-olds should be allowed to get to the front of the line, if any of them can squeeze in some time between appointments with all of the speech pathologists and psychotherapists they need because of Fauci’s insane policies.

Over the years, Fauci was very adamant about his findings and is sharing a complete different perspective now.

“We’re at that point where, in many respects, that we’re going to have to live with some degree of virus in the community,” Fauci also said Sunday.

COVID doves such as Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of San Francisco, saw all of this coming: wearing a rag over your face wasn’t going to stop an incredibly transmissible virus.

“We’re going to get it,” she predicted last September. “Unless you just sit in your room, you’re going to get it in your nose. But at least in this country, it will be manageable.”

“The emergency phase of the disease is over,” Stanford professor and health economist Jay Bhattacharya said last summer. “Now, we need to work very hard to undo the sense of emergency . . . panicking over case numbers is a recipe for continuing unwarranted panic,” because the vaccines provide superb protection against death or hospitalization.

Yet as recently as November, Fauci said, preposterously, that he was going to put off calling the virus endemic until we got the thing cornered: “We want control and I think the confusion is at what level of control are you going to accept it in its endemicity.”

Huh? Asserting “control” has nothing to do with “accepting its endemicity.” When you do the latter, you’re acknowledging the former isn’t possible. COVID is not subtle: ever since we learned in the middle of last year that even vaccinated people can catch it and spread it, it has been flashing a message as unmissable as the American Eagle signage in Times Square: “You can’t control me, bro. I’m coming for everybody. Get vaccinated and you’ll live.”

You may have missed it, but Fauci said something even stupider than “We gotta control this thing before we admit it’s endemic” in the November interview: that we shouldn’t get too excited about the distinction between such COVID outcomes as “getting killed” and “missing a day of work.”

Why did he say something so absurd? Because he’s Larry Lockdown and loves to create confusion and panic. Like another blustering egomaniac, the guy he used to work for, he can’t handle the idea of an America in which everyone isn’t talking about him all the time. In post-COVID America, guess who doesn’t get invited on Colbert and Kimmel and Meet the Press every week?

“I think we better be careful to not make too sharp a distinction between protecting against infection that’s symptomatic versus protection against hospitalization and deaths,” Fauci said in November. “I don’t know of any other vaccine that we only worry about keeping people out of the hospital. I think an important thing is to prevent people from getting symptomatic disease.”

By that reasoning, a head cold and stage-four lymphoma are the same thing. Ladies, and gentlemen, America’s doctor!

Fauci couldn’t grasp that the virus is two different animals depending on whether you’re vaccinated: A jab turns a venomous 100-foot dragon into an ill-tempered dog. For vaccinated and boosted Americans, you are at much higher risk of dying in a car accident than from the virus, yet people choose not to fear the Corolla the way they fear the Corona.

“Get vaccinated, then get on with your life,” should have been Fauci’s message from the start, except for small children, who were never at great risk in the first place and should therefore never have had to deal with idiotic restrictions such as mask mandates.

Vaccinated children are as well protected as vaccinated adults, and yet we continue to torture little kids by making them wear masks in day care, in schools, and on mass transit.


The replication crisis has spread through science – can it be fixed?

It started in psychology, but now findings in many scientific fields are proving impossible to replicate. Here's what researchers are doing to restore science's reputation

I HAVE a confession to make: some of the articles that have appeared in New Scientist, including ones I have written, are wrong. Not because we deliberately misled you. No, our reports were based on research by respected scientists at top universities, published in peer-reviewed journals. Yet, despite meeting all the normal standards of credibility, some findings turned out to be false.

Science is in the throes of what is sometimes called the replication crisis, so named because a big hint that a scientific study is wrong is when other teams try to repeat it and get a different result. While some fields, such as psychology, initially seemed more liable than others to generate such “fake news”, almost every area of science has since come under suspicion. An entire field of genetics has even turned out to be nothing but a mirage. Of course, we should expect testing to overturn some findings. The replication crisis, though, stems from wholesale flaws baked into the systems and institutions that support scientific research, which not only permit bad scientific practices, but actually encourage them. And, if anything, things have been getting worse over the past few decades.

Yet as awareness of the problem has grown, so have efforts to tackle it. So, how are these opposing forces faring? Will the efforts to combat fake science succeed? And how can you know if the research you read about in New Scientist and elsewhere will ever make it out of the lab and start working in the real world?




Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Ivermectin as Treatment for COVID-19 May Become More Accessible in Tennessee

If you read the research reports that purport to discredit Ivermectin, you find that NONE of them observed the stipulation that it must be administered as soon as possible after onset of the illness -- e.g. here. A typical interval in the studies concerned is 5 days. It can work after that time but usually does not

Tennessee may make ivermectin accessible without a prescription for treatment against COVID-19 if legislation that was approved in the Senate on April 6 is signed by Gov. Bill Lee.

One of the sponsors of Senate Bill 2188 (pdf), state Sen. Frank Niceley, a Republican, told The Epoch Times, “It’s one of the most important bills we’ve passed this year.”

“The bill would put it behind the counter with a consultation, which means you would explain your symptoms to the pharmacist, fill out a sheet listing your preexisting conditions and what other medication you’re on in order for the pharmacist to determine the right dosage,” Niceley said.

“Ivermectin is one of the many therapeutic options, like vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and anti-virals, that have proven to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19,” Republican state Sen. Rusty Crowe, a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “This bill will provide for a safe and effective way for patients to quickly access ivermectin over the counter, and under the supervision of their pharmacists and the physician with whom the pharmacists have their collaborative agreement.”

Ivermectin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an anti-parasitic drug but isn’t authorized for treatment of COVID-19.

In 2021, ivermectin joined hydroxychloroquine as one of the controversial early treatments for COVID-19. Many medical professionals were threatened with losing or lost their medical licenses for prescribing both drugs to treat COVID-19, based on the allegation of misinformation.

“Ivermectin clearly works,” Niceley said. “We’ve had doctors in the Senate who prescribe it all the time. You’ve got to take it early. As with any disease, early treatment is better than late,” he said, adding that he took ivermectin when he tested positive for COVID-19.

Niceley said one of the reasons for the bill is to make ivermectin safer so that people aren’t getting the wrong dose, as many have resorted to purchasing the farm-grade veterinary horse de-wormer. Though some have reported positive results even from using the veterinary version of the drug, media reports focused on allegations of people overdosing and crowding emergency rooms, leading to a false report that gunshot victims were being prevented from receiving care.

“Ivermectin is safer than Tylenol,” Niceley said. “There’s no reason to not try it.”

Because the efficacy of ivermectin depends on early treatment, the bill will facilitate a person’s ability to get the drug in the early stages.

“If you have to make an appointment with a doctor and wait two weeks to get in, it’s too late for early treatment,” Niceley said.

In a March Senate Health and Welfare Committee hearing, Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance co-founder Dr. Paul Marik, who has advocated for the use of ivermectin, spoke in support of the bill.

“It’s probably one of the safest medications ever made,” Marik said. “Over 3.7 billion people have been given ivermectin for the treatment of parasitic diseases in Africa, Asia, and South America.”

More people have died from Tylenol, which is also referred to as Panadol in some parts of the world, than from ivermectin, Marik said.

“One couldn’t have asked for nature to give us a more perfect drug because it kills the virus, via a number of mechanisms, and it also has potent anti-inflammatory properties. So it really is the perfect drug for the treatment of COVID-19,” Marik said.

There has been a propaganda campaign to dismiss the drug as a toxic horse de-wormer, he said, though “it’s probably the most effective drug against SARs-CoV-2.”

“It’s an outrage that there’s been such a profound propaganda to limit its use to silence doctors who prescribe it and to limit pharmacists from dispensing it,” he said. “If we had utilized our protocol, which we had published in March 2020, it’s my belief we could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives because the key to COVID is early treatment.”

Dr. Denise Sibley, a Johnson City, Tennessee, physician who said she had adopted Marik’s and the Front Line protocols using ivermectin in treating “almost 4,400 folks,” including members of the Tennessee House and Senate, said she’s used ivermectin not only for COVID-19 symptoms in her patients but also for vaccine injuries. Unfortunately, it became difficult to obtain after “a certain letter went out” in September 2021, she said.

The Misinformation Inquisition

In July 2021, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), a non-profit organization, issued a statement warning that physicians “who generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation are risking disciplinary action by state medical boards, including the suspension or revocation of their medical license.”

Medical boards such as the American Medical Association and the American Pharmacists Association followed suit.

In September 2021, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners (TBME) adopted the FSMB’s statement.

Throughout this time, the safety and efficacy of the vaccine has also come into question, with more reports of people contracting COVID-19 after getting the jab, as well as people experiencing sometimes fatal side effects.

After the TBME issued its own warning, Tennessee state Rep. John Ragan said the board didn’t have the authority to create a new disciplinary offense without lawmakers’ approval.

The board pulled the statement from its website, but the question remained as to whether the board would continue to investigate and charge physicians. To date, there isn’t a precedent for the board upholding a policy that was not published on its website.

Ragan had told The Epoch Times that the adopted policy moved out of “the guardrails of the law” and gives the board arbitrary judgment on what misinformation is.

“I explained that if they are going to have a policy on this sometime in the future, they need to define what misinformation and disinformation are because otherwise what you have is the Inquisition,” Ragan said. “It then becomes a situation of, ‘Heresy is what I say it is, and I’ll know it when I see it kind of thing.’”

In October 2021, the Tennessee legislature passed a bill that emphasized the legislature’s role in drafting laws that establish disciplinary offenses regarding dispensing and prescribing medication for COVID-19.

Still, the stigma around the drug continued, and physicians such as Sibley reported the drug close to impossible to find.

“I’ve had patients drive four hours on a Sunday to a pharmacy that had ivermectin, so it’s very difficult to obtain,” she said. “Any increased access to ivermectin would help save lives.”

A Placebo?

In an April 6 Senate floor discussion on the bill, Republican Sen. Richard Briggs said Marik and other “experts that we had testifying on this may be spreading more misinformation than actual information on it,” and said that, based on his research, he believes ivermectin has a placebo effect.

However, he went on to say that ivermectin must be administered within the first 48 hours “or it doesn’t work.”

Briggs’s concern, he said, is that by making ivermectin more accessible, it would show to the public that ivermectin is as effective as other drugs such as Remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies.

“We’re going to have patients on a scientifically proven ineffective drug rather than getting the treatment they need for COVID,” Briggs said.

Others who spoke in opposition to the bill, such as Democrat Sen. Jeff Yarbro, echoed Briggs’s argument, pointing to research that he said proved ivermectin is ineffective, and that what he called misinformation surrounding ivermectin had led to overdoses.


Proof that blue states DID fail their people during pandemic: Harsh lockdowns caused huge deaths rates, ruined kids' education and destroyed business, bombshell research FINALLY shows

States that imposed the harshest lockdowns had the most devastating impact on the public, the most wide-ranging study into Covid restrictions in the US to date has found.

New York, California, New Jersey and Illinois were panned for their pandemic performance after bringing in draconian measures to shut their citizens in their homes.

Those states' Democrat Governors' policies caused high death rates, ruined children's education and destroyed businesses due to the severe curbs on freedom, researchers found as they slapped them with an F-grade.

Nine out of the ten worst responses to the pandemic were in blue states, the report said, with only Republican-run Maryland bucking that trend and coming seventh last.

Meanwhile places that allowed their residents more freedom as coronavirus swept across the country appeared to fair better over the last two years.

Florida fared sixth, with its Governor Ron DeSantis condemned in the early days of the pandemic for what critics claimed was a reckless desire to reopen too quickly.

Utah, Nebraska, Vermont, Montana and South Dakota were also praised by analysts for their pandemic response which did not cause more Covid deaths. Maine was the only Democrat-run state in the top nine best responses, and came eighth.

The Republican-led areas - which dominated nine out of the top ten places in the study - have seen their economies remain strong and unemployment figures stay steady due to fewer restrictions.

The report, by the National Bureau of Economic Research and Committee to Unleash Prosperity, said shutting down during the pandemic was 'by far the biggest mistake governors and state officials made'.

It judged states on their economy, education and mortality and compiled a comprehensive list showing how they now stand as coronavirus dies down.

The bombshell study comes amid fears coronavirus restrictions may be phased back in as cases of the virus creep up, with Philadelphia bringing back its indoor mask mandate only a month after lifting it.

Co-founder Steve Moore told Fox: 'Shutting down their economies and schools was by far the biggest mistake governors and state officials made during Covid, particularly in blue states.

'We hope the results of this study will persuade governors not to close schools and businesses the next time we have a new virus variant.'

New York, California, New Jersey and Illinois were joined in the bottom ten for overall performance by New Mexico, Maryland, Nevada, Connecticut and Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

New Jersey, District of Columbia, New York, New Mexico, California, and Illinois were all branded with an F grade for their responses to the pandemic - with New Jersey slapped with a score of zero out of a possible 100.




Tuesday, April 12, 2022

A vaccine crash coming?

One who says so is Edward Dowd, a Wall Street hedge fund consultant who worked with BlackRock for a decade from 2002 to 2012 and managed a $14 billion equity portfolio. He says the world is on course for a global vaccine crisis as bad as the global financial crisis.

Dowd points to data which shows that in the US the millennial generation, aged 25-44, suffered its worst-ever excess mortality starting last autumn, when vaccine mandates were imposed, and booster shots approved. This cohort are not at risk from Covid, yet after vaccines were rolled out their all-cause mortality peaked at 80 per cent in September and is rising again to almost 60 per cent at present.

Dowd sheets home the blame to vaccines, pointing to the Pfizer clinical trial data which showed higher all-cause mortality in the vaccine group than in the placebo group. He also points to the Food and Drug Administration which fought in a court this year not to reveal the Pfizer clinical trial data for 75 years. What are they hiding, he asks? Meanwhile, insurance companies are reporting skyrocketing death claims and will seek to show that vaccines are the cause which will limit their liability. This would trigger financial collapse in the value of the Covid vaccine manufacturers, says Dowd.

At the heart of the crisis is regulatory capture, says Dowd, just as it was during the GFC, when credit agencies gave triple-A ratings to mortgage-backed securities worthy of junk bond status. This time around, the captured agencies are the FDA in the US and the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia which receive much of their funding from pharmaceutical companies.

While the release of its clinical trial data is putting the spotlight on Pfizer, Moderna is also under scrutiny. In February, scientists published a paper showing that a sequence of the Sars-CoV-2 spike protein which enhances the infectiousness of the virus was patented by Moderna in 2016. The first name listed on the patent is none other than St├ęphane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna.

When Bancel was asked about the discovery by Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business he said, ‘My scientists are looking into those data to see how accurate they are or not’.Really? Does Bancel expect us to believe that his scientists turned the Covid spike protein into a vaccine without noticing that it contained the gene sequence he’d patented three years earlier?

The implications of the discovery are dramatic. To patent a sequence, a scientist must be able to show that it does not occur naturally so how did it turn up in a virus that evolved in a bat cave or a wet market? It appears to be unmistakeable evidence of human intervention. The question is by whom and to achieve what?

The patented sequence is part of a human DNA repair gene called MSH3 but instead of repairing gene damage it causes a mismatch leading to several diseases including cancer and to an increased susceptibility to viral infection. Its appearance in the Covid virus appears to be prima facie evidence that the virus was bioengineered through gain-of-function research.

That’s what Bancel suggests to Bartiromo saying, ‘As I’ve said before, the hypothesis of an escape from a lab by an accident is possible… It is possible that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China was working on virus enhancement or gene modification and then there’s an accident where somebody was infected in a lab — and then infected family and friends.’

If anyone else suggested this, they would be branded a conspiracy theorist and banned on social media but as we now know, despite Dr Fauci’s repeated denials, gain-of-function research on coronaviruses, which was banned in the US because it was considered too dangerous, was funded at the WIV by the US National Institutes of Health through grants it provided to the New York headquartered EcoHealth Alliance.

As it turns out, the president of the EcoHealth Alliance, Dr Peter Daszak, wasn’t too worried about a lab leak. Indeed, in a talk in March 2015 he said, ‘An infectious disease crisis’ could be useful in driving funding for a ‘pan-coronavirus vaccine’ and explained that ‘a key driver is the media… We need to use that hype to our advantage… Investors will respond if they see profit at the end of (the) process.’

Bancel was more than ready when the crisis arrived. Documents published by online investigative media outlet the show that Moderna and Dr Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) agreed to transfer ‘mRNA coronavirus vaccine candidates developed and jointly owned by NIAID and Moderna’ to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in December 2019 where virologist Ralph Baric worked, a long-time collaborator with Shi Zhengli of the WIV.

Baric and the NIAID technology transfer specialist signed the agreement on 12 December 2019, 19 days before the World Health Organisation even announced, ‘a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause.’ It gave Moderna a handy head start. Two years later, the company, which had never turned a profit in its history, posted $13 billion in pre-tax profits in 2021. If there is a vax crash coming, Bancel will be alright; he earnt $18 million last year and has a golden parachute of $926 million.


Dr Fauci discovers the individual

Dr Fauci FINALLY concedes that it's up to Americans to decide themselves how much 'risk they want to take' because Covid isn't going away

White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci conceded on Sunday that Americans now must use their own best instincts when it comes to dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fauci, speaking to Jonathan Karl on ABC's This Week, was asked about an op-ed in the Washington Post by former public health official Dr. Lena Wen who said that we will likely have to accept at some point that Covid infections will keep occurring.

Karl asked Fauci if we've reached the point where we 'accept there is going to be a risk' and get back to a new normal.

'There will be - and we've said this many times even in our own discussions between you and I, that there will be a level of infection,' Fauci said.

'This is not going to be eradicated and it's not going to be eliminated. And what's going to happen is that we're going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take in going to indoor dinners and in going to functions.'

Fauci insisted that people still should consider their age, status and if they live with anyone potentially vulnerable to the virus when they attend events like the Gridiron Dinner, were several public figures were infected last week, but said that overall Wen was correct.

The United States is averaging just over 28,000 cases a day, according to the CDC, a slight uptick in recent weeks. The nation's averaging about 516 deaths per day and hospitalizations continue to decrease, while 82 percent of Americans have taken at least one dose of a Covid vaccination.

'We're going to have to live with some degree of virus in the community. The best way to mitigate that, Jon, is to get vaccinated. If you're not, to get boosted if you're eligible to be boosted.'

He also urged Congress to pass another pandemic aid package. The White House has been sending out increasingly dire warnings about the federal government's dwindling ability to help Americans through the pandemic, including running out of supplies of monoclonal antibody treatments, COVID pills and the capacity to manufacture tests.

A $10 billion funding package that was meant to pass last week died in the Senate after Republicans demanded that an amendment be added stopping Biden from lifting Trump-era migrant expulsion policy Title 42.

Meanwhile the Omicron subvariant known as BA.2 is spreading like wildfire through the country after wreaking havoc in Asian and Europe.

'I hope the Congress comes through and gives us the resources, so that as we get into what might be another surge, that we're prepared with all of the tools that we need to address it,' Fauci said.

Fauci noted that he's concerned about the uptick in cases with the BA.2 subvariant, it was to be expected giving the loosening of Covid restrictions.

'It was said that if we do start seeing an uptick, particularly of hospitalizations, we may need to revert back to being more careful and having more utilizations of masks indoors,' Fauci said. 'But right now, we're watching it very, very carefully, and there is concern that it's going up, but hopefully we're not going to see increased severity.'


Omicron symptoms last HALF as long as the common cold for those who are triple jabbed: 'Boosters are worth it'

Omicron symptoms disappear in half the time of the common cold, provided the sufferer has had a Covid booster shot, a new study has shown.

Scientists at King’s College London studied 62,000 vaccinated people during the Omicron outbreak in the UK and found remarkable differences in recovery times depending on how many doses they had received.

Those who were triple jabbed reported symptoms that lasted an average of 4.4 days, compared to 8.3 days for those who had received two vaccinations.

That was about half the time of symptoms from the common cold, which lingers for seven to ten days.

For those with a booster, Omicron infection was 3.3 days shorter than a Delta infection, which lasts for 7.7 with a third dose or 9.6 days for the doubled-jabbed.

The findings indicated both that the Covid virus was evolving to be less virulent over time, and also that getting a booster drastically reduces the symptomatic period.

'Every time you boost immunity, even if it is not enough to stop infection, it helps you get over symptoms faster,' Professor Catherine Bennett, the chair in epidemiology at Deakin University in Melbourne, told Daily Mail Australia.

'But it also makes sense that it would clear the infection faster which means if you get vaccinated you won't have to put up with it for the same time.'

Professor Bennett said research shows the risk of catching Covid is also halved after having a booster shot.

However, while vaccination reduces the duration of illness, each person's experience is based on a number of factors.

'It also depends on the strength of your immune system, how long it has been since you had the booster, and the initial infecting dose,' she said.

'If you come across someone who is very infectious and get a big viral load in one hit, you may feel the impact more. 'But if it is a smaller viral load, it might be easier for your body to fight it off.'

Professor Bennett said the UK has been leading many studies into Covid-19 through out the pandemic as they have strong systems in place to conduct population based research.

While infection and immunity rates - through vaccination or catching the virus- previously varied significantly between countries, the worldwide spread of the more contagious but less virulent Omicron has made medical findings relatable across the globe.

'Now that we have had Omicron in every state and territory, we start to look more like the UK, and it makes their immunity information comparable to Australia.

'This research shows that booster are worth it. Even if you aren't likely to have a serious infection, Covid isn't pleasant to get.

'But if you have a booster, you halve the infection risk, are less infectious, have shorter symptoms, and your symptoms are more mild.'




Monday, April 11, 2022

Corrupt Federal Statistics Mask Government Cons

Federal agencies don’t count what politicians don’t want to know. President Joe Biden and other Democrats perennially invoke “science and data” to sanctify all their COVID-19 mandates and policies. But the same shenanigans and willful omissions that have characterized COVID data have perennially permeated other federal programs.

The rule of experts?

During his update on his Winter COVID Campaign in December, President Biden declared, “Almost everyone who has died from COVID-19 in the past many months has been unvaccinated.” This was true from the start of the pandemic in early 2020 until the vaccines’ efficacy began failing badly in recent months. Oregon officially classifies roughly a quarter of its COVID fatalities since August as “vaccine breakthrough deaths.” In Illinois, roughly 30 percent of COVID fatalities have occurred among fully vaccinated individuals. According to the Vermont Department of Health, “Half of the [COVID] deaths in August were breakthrough cases. Almost three-quarters of them in September were,” as Burlington, Vermont, TV station WCAX summarized.

The Biden administration guaranteed that the vast majority of “breakthrough” infections would not be counted when the Centers for Disease Control in May ceased keeping track of “breakthrough” infections unless they resulted in hospitalization or death. Ignoring that data permitted Biden to go on CNN in July and make the ludicrously false assertion: “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.” But federal data on fully vaxxed COVID fatalities is far flimsier and less reliable than the numbers compiled by some states. Biden’s attempt to define vaccine failure out of existence collapsed spectacularly with the arrival of the omicron variant in December, producing record numbers of COVID cases.

The same policymakers who claim to be guided by data have little or no idea how many Americans have been hit by COVID. According to CDC, there had been 51,115,304 COVID cases in America through mid-December. But a different CDC web page estimates that there had been 146.6 million COVID infections in the United States as of October 2, 2021. That CDC analysis estimated that only one in four COVID infections have been reported, which would mean that, based on the latest official case numbers, more than 200 million Americans have contracted COVID. For Biden policymakers, a potential error of 150 million COVID infections is “close enough for government work.” Relying on the lower number is convenient for policymakers who want to continue ignoring the natural immunity acquired by 199 million Americans who survived COVID infections.

Deceptive federal COVID data is not an anomaly. The same charades permeate the official data guiding both domestic and foreign policies.


America's lurch to the Left

Victor Davis Hanson

The last 14 months have offered one of the rare occasions in recent American history when the hard Left has operated all the levers of federal government. The presidency, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the permanent bureaucratic state are all in progressive hands. And the result is a disaster that is uniting Americans in their revulsion of elitists whose crazy ideas are tearing apart the fabric of the country.

For understandable reasons, socialists and leftists are usually kept out of the inner circles of the Democratic Party, and especially kept away from control of the country. A now resuscitated Bernie Sanders for most of his political career was an inert outlier. The brief flirtations with old-style hardcore liberals such as George McGovern in 1972 and Mike Dukakis in 1988 imploded the Democratic Party. Their crash-and-burn campaigns were followed by corrective nominees who actually won the presidency: Southern governors Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Such was the nation’s innate distrust of the Left, and in particular the East Coast elite liberal. For nearly half a century between the elections of John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama, it was assumed that no Democratic presidential candidate could win the popular vote unless he had a reassuring Southern accent.

How did the extreme Left manage its rare takeover of the country between 2018 and 2020? Certainly, Obama’s election helped accelerate the woke movement and energized identity politics. One could also argue over the political opportunities in 2020 following the devastation of COVID-19.

In the long term, the medicine of lockdowns and quarantines probably proved more calamitous than the disease, and this crisis mode made doable what had once been unimaginable.

State governors such as Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer, and Andrew Cuomo did not let the pandemic crisis go to waste. It was a rare occasion to leverage agendas that otherwise had no public support in ordinary times.

In the chaos of 2020, both laws and customs were altered or scrapped—changing the very way we vote.

Over 102 million ballots were either mailed in or cast during so-called “early voting”—strangely resulting in far lower rejection rates in most states than in past “normal” years of predominantly in-person voting on Election Day. Indeed, in just one year, Election Day went from an American institution to an afterthought.

The hatred of Donald Trump prompted an influx of hundreds of millions of dark dollars from Silicon Valley to supplant the responsibilities of registrars in key precincts with armies of paid activists.

A non compos mentis, basement-bound Joe Biden was cynically given an “Ol’ Joe from Scranton” moderate veneer to pursue a calibrated hard-Left agenda.

So Americans ended up with a neo-socialist government.

It is proving as disastrous as it is bitterly instructive—reminding this generation of Americans what the Left does when it grasps power. As all restraints came off, the hard and now unbridled Left went to work to turn America into something like a looney, one-party California. A wide-open border followed. We may see 3 million illegal aliens cross at the southern border during the first 18 months of the Biden Administration. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been allotted to reward those illegally entering America, who can expect free legal support from the U.S. government to ensure they are not subject to the laws of the United States.

In a sane world, Biden would have been impeached for deliberately destroying the very federal laws he swore to uphold. On the prompt of his hard Left controllers, he was eager to alter the electoral demography of the nation rather than ensure immigrants came in reasonable numbers, legally, with audit and background checks, and safely in a time of a pandemic. The former illegal arrivals were seen as needed constituents, the latter legal immigrants too politically unpredictable.

The Left in about a year has negated American gas and oil independence. Biden, who promised to end America’s use of fossil fuels on his watch, cast adrift millions of his fellow citizens to choose between driving and eating. Much of what the Left had traditionally demonized and wanted gone from American life—from gasoline to beefsteak to new pickup trucks—became so inflated in price as to be nearly unattainable.

The electrician now pays five times more for his wire, the carpenter eight times more for his plywood, the plumber six times more for his pipe—as all three have to pay off-the-books cash for rare workers who prefer to get checks from the Biden Administration. The Biden printing press has destroyed both the idea that all citizens will work if there are just good-paying jobs, and that affordable necessities for life—food, fuel, and shelter—form the basis for a middle-class life.

If the Left did all that in 14 months, imagine what it can still do before losing the Congress in 2022.

The Biden Administration’s profligate multitrillion-dollar budget, inflation of the currency, de facto zero interest rates, destructive subsidies that undermined labor participation, and incompetence at addressing the supply-chain and clogged port crises will all by midyear likely achieve a 10 percent annualized inflation rate. Carter-era stagflation is on the near horizon.

When an American president predicts a food shortage in what used to be the breadbasket of the world, then we see the wages of socialism in all their unapologetic cruelty. When the Left can scarcely hide its glee that diesel fuel hit $7 a gallon in California, the public is finally seeing that the Bidens, Newsoms, and AOCs of the world care nothing for the real-life consequences of their elite utopian green fantasies. How did America ever stoop to begging communist Venezuela, theocratic Iran, and dictatorial Russia to pump oil for us that we have in abundance but will not produce? Which insane person thought up the idea of using Vladimir Putin’s Russia as our mediator to restart the Iran Deal?


COVID-19 drug to ‘reduce hospitalisations’ now subsdized in Australia

Australians at risk of severe COVID-19 will soon be able to access two drugs that can lessen the disease’s impact through their GP after the federal government listed a second anti-viral treatment on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme.

Health Minister Greg Hunt will announce the PBS listing of Paxlovid, a combination of the drugs nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, on Saturday, as state governments prepare to scrap close contact rules once the Omicron BA.2 wave of infections has subsided.

Eligible adults who test positive to COVID-19 through a PCR or rapid antigen test will be able to get Paxlovid, which can prevent severe disease if taken within five days of onset, from their local pharmacy with a GP prescription from next month.

“This medicine will help reduce the need for hospital admission,” Mr Hunt said.

Lagevrio, the trade name for molnupiravir – another anti-viral used to treat COVID-19 – was listed on the PBS on March 1 and has since been used to treat about 5000 patients. Both listings followed the recommendation of the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

State and territory governments have agreed to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee’s recommendation that close contact isolation rules be scrapped when it is safe to do so.

Paxlovid will be available on the PBS from May 1 to people aged 65 or older, with two other risk factors for severe disease, or one factor for those aged 75 and over. It will also be subsidised for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander patients aged 50 or over with two other risk factors and patients who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

Patients will pay a maximum of $42.50 a script and $6.80 with a concession card.

Mr Hunt said it was important that patients “continue to follow local health guidance to isolate if they test positive for COVID-19”.

“It’s recommended they use telehealth to consult their doctor and ask their pharmacy to arrange for Paxlovid to be delivered to their home, if necessary,” he said.

The federal government has access to 1 million courses of Paxlovid, with 500,000 arriving last year and a further 500,000 secured for delivery throughout 2022 for supply through both state and territory health departments and the PBS. More can be procured if needed.

Paxlovid is already available to COVID-19 patients through state health hospitals, which can access it through the national medical stockpile, and patients ineligible under the PBS can still be treated with the drug through this pathway, which has been used 42,867 times.




Sunday, April 10, 2022

The FDA's Own Experts Have No Idea Why It Approved Another COVID Booster Dose

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bypassed many of its own protocols to speed through the authorization of Pfizer’s second booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week.

Multiple medical experts, including some who sit on the FDA’s top vaccine advisory committee, said they had no idea why the agency skipped over its normal approval process to authorize the fourth vaccine dose for Americans aged 50 and older. The authorization was even broader than the drug company requested, which was that it be greenlit for those aged 65 and older.

That FDA vaccine panel, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), is meeting Wednesday, and part of the agenda will be to discuss the fourth vaccine dose and the Israeli studies which are being used to exhibit its effectiveness. Typically, the vaccine authorization process would involve a meeting and vote by VRBPAC on whether to recommend authorization, followed by the FDA head granting that authorization. Then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine committee would vote on how to recommend the vaccine, which would then be determined by the CDC director.

Dr. Paul Offit, a co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine and member of VRBPAC, said he couldn’t explain why the FDA didn’t present its data to the committee first before moving ahead with authorization: “The way it’s working here is that the government basically just declares that this is what they’re going to do.”

In an interview with the Daily Caller, Offit expressed concern that the data used to authorize the second booster could be flawed. The Israeli studies examine the outcomes of individuals who got a 4th shot versus those who declined one. Offit explained that this is lacking compared to a randomized, controlled clinical trial.

“That assumes that someone who chooses to get a fourth dose is just like someone who doesn’t. But you could argue that someone who chooses to get another dose is more attentive to their health, more likely to exercise, less likely to smoke,” he said.

Dr. Cody Meissner is a childhood vaccination expert at Tufts University who also sits on VRBPAC. He similarly couldn’t explain why his insight, along with the other committee members, wasn’t sought out before authorizing Pfizer’s fourth dose. (RELATED: Co-Inventor Of Rotavirus Vaccine, Two Former FDA Officials Take Stand Against Booster Mandates, Support Natural Immunity)

“I haven’t seen that data, they haven’t brought it to the committee… but this decision has been made, and certainly will not be reversed,” he told the Daily Caller. “You’d have to ask the FDA why they decided to go ahead and make this particular decision… because again, I have not seen the data.”

Like Offit, Meissner shared some skepticism about the Israeli data and the overall lack of studies about the fourth dose. “What all of the facts were, that were presented to the FDA, all the data, I don’t know. From what’s been available in the press that everyone has had a chance to see, the numbers are pretty small,” he said.

Some experts who spoke with the Daily Caller said that even though the authorization for the fourth shot was rushed and abnormal, it was still a reasonable decision to go ahead with greenlighting it. That isn’t a universal opinion. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Drs. Philip Krause and Luciana Borio lay out a case for why most Americans don’t need a fourth shot.

Krause and Borio would be authorities on the subject. The former was the deputy director of vaccines research and review at the FDA before resigning last year amid political pressure from the Biden administration after more than a decade at the agency. The latter was formerly the acting chief scientist at the FDA.

Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at the University of California San Francisco who does not sit on the FDA vaccine committee, said it was rare for the FDA to ram through an authorization in this way: “I am concerned about the FDA making decisions on booster shots without input from the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. This is rare for the FDA not to consult with advisory committees before making approvals that affect millions of Americans, especially without a randomized trial or better data on the need for younger populations like 50 and over.”

It’s also incredibly rare for the agency to grant an applicant a broader authorization than it asked for, such as authorizing Pfizer’s fourth dose for Americans aged 50 and older when the pharmaceutical giant only asked for approval for ages 65 and older. Offit said the decision to do so “completely shocked” him.

There’s always a possibility to have too much of a good thing. The rush to get fourth doses could have downsides, experts told the Daily Caller. Both Offit and Gandhi independently raised the issue of original antigenic sin — a phenomenon in which the immune system continually produces an immune response targeted at the first encounter with a pathogen, rather than updated strains or variants. It’s possible that this process could render variant-specific vaccine doses or boosters ineffective, because the body bases its immune response on the original vaccine dose.

Offit added that there are other possible drawbacks, from run-of-the-mill side effects from the shots like fatigue and pain to immune system exhaustion. There are diminishing returns to each booster dose, he explained. “The other thing that it’s created here, which I think is concerning, is the notion that there’s just no downside to this, that you can just get booster after booster after booster and there’s no downside – and I don’t think that’s true.”

Gandhi echoed that sentiment, saying simply pumping in booster after booster may be a result of a failure to understand how the immune system actually deals with the coronavirus: “Without a knowledge of the immune system, this discussion of antibodies alone will lead us to want to boost every 4 months, which is not logistically feasible and is unprecedented.” (RELATED: Man Investigated After Allegedly Getting 90 COVID-19 Vaccine Shots To Sell Vaccination Cards In Germany)

For his two cents, Meissner said it wasn’t entirely clear that there was even widespread need for further boosting, even if the fourth dose is safe and effective: “We aren’t seeing a lot of breakthrough disease in people who are appropriately immunized, so I’m not quite sure what motivated the FDA… why at this time?”

Ultimately, all of these concerns, tradeoffs and questions of necessity are the kinds of topics which would be debated at the VRBPAC meeting that would precede authorization. That didn’t happen, and nobody who spoke with the Daily Caller could guess why.

“I can’t really answer the question. The question’s a good one, but I cannot explain it,” Meissner said.

“I don’t know. Ask the FDA. Ask the Biden administration. Ask David Kessler (the chief science officer of the White House COVID-19 response team),” said Offit.


Ukraine war pushes world food prices to record high

Russia and Ukraine account for a huge share of the globe's exports in several major commodities, including wheat, vegetable oil and corn.

World food prices hit an all-time high in March following Russia’s invasion of agricultural powerhouse Ukraine, a UN agency said on Friday, adding to concerns about the risk of hunger around the world.

The disruption in export flows resulting from the Feb 24 invasion and international sanctions against Russia has spurred fears of a global hunger crisis, especially across the Middle East and Africa, where the knock-on effects are already playing out.

Russia and Ukraine, whose vast grain-growing regions are among the world’s main breadbaskets, account for a huge share of the globe’s exports in several major commodities, including wheat, vegetable oil and corn.

Ukrainian ports have been blocked by a Russian blockade and there is concern about this year’s harvest as the war rages on during the spring sowing season.

“World food commodity prices made a significant leap in March to reach their highest levels ever, as war in the Black Sea region spread shocks through markets for staple grains and vegetable oils,” the Food and Agriculture Organization said in a statement.

The FAO’s food price index, which had already reported a record in February, surged by 12.6% last month, “making a giant leap to a new highest level since its inception in 1990”, the UN agency said.

The index, a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, averaged 159.3 points in March.

The jump includes new all-time highs for vegetable oils, cereals and meats, the FAO said, adding that prices of sugar and dairy products “also rose significantly”.

Famine fears

Russia and Ukraine together accounted for around 30% and 20% of global wheat and maize exports respectively, over the past three years, the FAO said.

Wheat prices rose by almost 20%, with the problem exacerbated by concerns over crop conditions in the US, the organisation said.

The FAO’s vegetable oil price index surged by 23.2%, driven by higher quotations for sunflower seed oil, of which Ukraine is the world’s leading exporter.

Spanish supermarkets have rationed the sale of sunflower oil to stop customers stockpiling over shortage fears due to the war.

The US has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of creating “this global food crisis”.

France has warned that the war has increased the risk of famine around the world.

Ukraine on Thursday called on the European Union to provide aid to its farmers. The European Commission has been asked to coordinate the delivery of fuel, seeds, fertilisers and agricultural machines to the country.

For his part, Putin warned on Tuesday that, against the backdrop of global food shortages, Russia would “have to be prudent with supplies abroad and carefully monitor such exports to countries that are clearly hostile towards us”.

The conflict has also sent oil and gas prices through the roof, causing inflation to rise further across the world and raising concerns that it could derail global economic growth.