Friday, August 05, 2022

‘Resist, Wake Up, Stop Obeying’: Holocaust Survivor Draws Parallels in Current Society to Nazi Germany

Vera Sharav was only 3 years old when her world collapsed. She and her family were chased out of Romania and herded into a concentration camp in Ukraine during World War II, where they were left to wait, and starve.

“The cloud of death was always there,” Sharav told The Epoch Times. Weekly, a list determined who would be sent where; whether it be a death or slave labor camp, she said.

While at the camp, she said her father died of typhus when she was 5, which had been widespread throughout the camps because of the cold and malnutrition.

After three years at the camp, she was rescued in 1944, she said. “My mother got wind that a few orphans would be transported out of the camp, so she lied and said I was an orphan to save my life, and that’s how I wound up leaving,” Sharav said.

This began what she called her odyssey as a child without parents, left to her own intuition and keen critical assessment of others’ intentions. “I had to assess who I could trust to take care of me,” she said.

While on a train to the Port of Constanta, Romania, where there were three boats awaiting to take groups of people to Palestine, she befriended a family. However, upon arrival, she found herself assigned a boat with other orphan children that would separate her from the family with whom she felt she could trust. So she rebelled.  “No matter what, I could not be convinced to get on that boat,” she said. “Miraculously, in the end, they gave in to me.”

Seasick, she fell asleep that night, only to wake up to find that the boat with the orphans had been torpedoed by who she said she found out decades later to have been the Russians.

Though she carried guilt for having survived, she was grateful she resisted because that resistance kept her alive, she said.

“I do not obey authority, and it saved my life.”

Weaponized Medicine

These memories returned in 2020 during the web of COVID-19 restrictions that spun out of control with the help of media propaganda, she said.

“So now, when people are obeying authority mindlessly, giving up their rights to make decisions about their own lives and what goes into their own bodies, I think back to that time,” she said.

Today, Sharav is a medical activist and founder of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, a network of lay people and professionals who work to uphold humanitarian values and ethical standards established in the Hippocratic Oath, the Nuremberg Code, and the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights.

Both Sharav and Schara discussed with The Epoch Times what they saw as parallels between the National Socialist regime in Germany and the current medical directives being carried out in the United States through government funding.

Since the death of his 19-year-old daughter Grace in a hospital in 2021, after having been injected with a combination of drugs that he found out later was part of a federal hospital protocol, Schara called what was happening “genocide.” He has been crusading to tell his daughter’s story and network with others who have had a similar experience while bringing attention to the protocols that he believes amounted to the murder of his daughter, who had Down syndrome.

Under the Nazi regime, Sharav said, medicine was weaponized, as it has been today.

Though the Jews were the primary target, she said, the first medically murdered victims were disabled German infants and children under the age of 3. This later expanded the operation—titled T4 for the street address of the program’s central office in Berlin—to the disabled of all ages, including the mentally ill and senior citizens, Sharav said.

“The Nazis called them worthless eaters,” she said. “T4 was a concerted effort to be rid of what their propaganda called the ‘economic burden.’”

“Thirty-nine percent of that federal budget goes to those two groups right now, which is $2.2 trillion a year,” Schara said.

“The sooner solutions are enacted, the more flexible and gradual they can be,” the report states.

For Schara, the implication, while not overtly stated, suggests a call for eugenics that was supported by academic elites early in U.S. history, and later adopted by Nazi Germany.

Ten years after he took power, Adolph Hitler launched his genocide program that had been introduced in incremental steps with the help of propaganda portraying the regime as heroes, Sharav said.

“What happened to Grace, and what happened to many disabled and elderly in Western Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States in March and April of 2020 was medical murder,” Sharav said.

‘Built on a Lie’

Genocide isn’t new to the United States, Sharav said, as it was Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Oliver Wendell Holmes who voted in favor of the 8-1 majority opinion in the 1921 case Buck v. Bell, which upheld the Virginia Sterilization Act of 1924 and the forced sterilization of Carrie Buck, who was alleged to be mentally defective.

Holmes said it would be better to prevent the mentally disabled from being born than to allow them to “sap the strength of the state” or “let them starve for their imbecility.”

“The principle that sustains compulsory vaccinations is broad enough to cover cutting Fallopian tubes,” the justice wrote in his opinion. “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

Carrie Buck, however, was never actually mentally disabled, Sharav said.

“Arguments for eugenics are always built on a lie,” Sharav said. “But it’s an ideology that continues to poison public health policies.” And he blames this type of thinking for the medical decisions that ultimately contributed to Grace’s death.

‘The Banality of Evil’

As he continues to try to wrap his mind around what happened to his daughter, Schara says he gained some insight from the writings of Holocaust survivor Hannah Arendt and her concept of the “banality of evil.” “It opened up a whole different view of the world for me,” Schara said.

Sharav’s experience made her familiar with the concept. The banality of evil is the normalization of mass murder by making it a bureaucratic routine that is handed down as orders through the chain of command to the person who pulls the switch, gives the injection, or turns on the gas, she said.

“No one called it murder,” Sharav said. “The Nazis were very adept at propaganda and language. The Jews were called ‘spreaders of disease,’ not unlike the epithets thrown at those who didn’t take the jab.”

Throughout 2021, the spread of COVID-19 was blamed on “the pandemic of the unvaccinated,” a phrase that was used by President Joe Biden and governors such as North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. “The whole language of it is dehumanizing,” Sharav said.

‘A Slippery Slope’

Schara applies the concept to the fact that 67 percent of Down syndrome children are aborted in the United States, he said.

“Doctors encourage the mother to get an amnio (amniocentesis) test, and if the test shows Down syndrome or another disability that would complicate the parent’s life, he encourages an abortion,” Schara said.

What Sharav said she’s seen in an unholy union when medicine gets into bed with the government. “The Hippocratic Oath goes out the window,” she said.

The pledge to “do no harm” got replaced with allegiance to “the greater good,” Sharav said.

The question then remains, who has the authority to decide what’s best for the greater good, Sharav challenged.

What supports the greater good is having respect for the individual, Sharav said, and to pursue policies that advocate for the many over the individual is to open the door to medical practices that will cause harm.

“Look at what Big Pharma is doing now to children, aggressively pursuing them to be jabbed when they aren’t at risk at all from COVID-19,” she said.

It’s a slippery slope that—with the help of advanced technology—society is sliding down rapidly compared to the snail’s pace that it took for Hitler to implement his “Final Solution,” Schara said.

“We’re headed there exceptionally fast,” Schara said. “Today, the ‘Final Solution’ is the reduction of the entire human population under the ‘Sustainable Agenda’ of Agenda 2030.”

Unlike the physical camps that required ink tattoos for identification and guards to manage the prisoners, the new prisons are digital, Sharav said, managed remotely by surveillance through smartphones and cities. “With smart technology, you can manage billions all at once,” she said. “It’s chilling.”

It’s hard for many to fathom that an elite few would conspire to cause widespread harm, Sharav said.

“People will say, ‘They made a mistake; it was an accident.’ But no, the elite, just like the Nazis, have this arrogance in which they believe they are superior and therefore entitled to rule the rest of us because they think we are inferior,” Sharav said.

 Control vs. Faith

Schara said his concern is with an elite ruling class that is godless, believing only in what is measurable and controllable.

He emphasizes his faith in God as a powerful weapon to combat the dark agendas that have escalated beyond the comprehension of the average person, working 60 hours a week just to make ends meet.

“We should not fall trap to the false light that Satan will eventually ride in on to steal more souls. God’s true light protects those who believe,” he said.

“We the People” can reclaim sovereignty by learning to trust in intuition, experience, and the ability to assess lies from truth, Sharav said.

“Stop watching mainstream media,” Sharav said. “They’re all reading from the same script. They have bombarded people with fearmongering, which is exactly the same thing that the Nazis did. That’s how they controlled the population: through fear.”

For Sharav, the mission that has been laid at the feet of people throughout the world is the same as it was for her as a child: “Resist. Wake up. Stop obeying.”


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

<a href=""></a> (EDUCATION WATCH)

<a href=""></a> (GREENIE WATCH)


<a href=""></a> (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

<a href=""></a> (TONGUE-TIED)

<a href=""></a> <b>(IMMIGRATION WATCH)</b>

<a href=""></a> (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)


Thursday, August 04, 2022

Freedom of speech for the medical profession is under threat in Australia

No one wants to believe that they have been misled by people in positions of trust.

This is especially true when politicians, health bureaucrats, and regulatory bodies have forced compliance to medical mandates rather than leaving risk as a matter of personal choice. There is growing evidence from around the world that information has been withheld from public view and that doctors have been pressured out of questioning policy and data related to the pandemic.

In 1633, the authorities tried and condemned Galileo Galilei to house arrest, until his death in 1642, for publishing evidence that the planets revolved around the sun. They tried to silence open scientific debate. Ultimately, it didn’t work but did create a lot of suffering and misery for a few brave scientists in the meantime.

This kind of behaviour by powerful bodies is not confined to the past.

The newly formed Australian Medical Professionals Society (AMPS), operating as an alternative to the Australian Medical Association (AMA), is standing up for medical transparency, to protect our patients, and ensure open scientific debate.

Our AMPS members are refusing to be silent, even under threats to our registrations. We are fighting for law reform to provide our patients with evidence-based care rather than uncritical politically driven health practice.

Does the Australian public know that the government regulator, AHPRA, has warned health professionals, including doctors and nurses, not to publicly question government public health directives, including those related to Covid – effectively gagging them? This is done by threatening their registration.

Many have been disciplined or suspended for challenging the public health messaging even if they believed that they had scientific evidence to support their professional view.

The directive states:

‘Any promotion of anti-vaccination statements or health advice which contradicts the best available scientific evidence or seeks to actively undermine the national immunisation campaign (including via social media) is not supported by National Boards and may be in breach of the codes of conduct and subject to investigation and possible regulatory action.’

Brett Simmonds, Pharmacy Board Chair and co-chair of the Forum of NRAS Chairs, said of Covid vaccination programs:

‘National Boards support the vaccination program and encourage all registered health practitioners to get vaccinated unless medically contraindicated.

‘The codes of conduct for each of the registered health professions explain the public health obligations of registered health practitioners, including participating in efforts to promote the health of the community and meeting obligations on disease prevention.

‘There is no place for anti-vaccination messages in professional health practice, and any promotion of anti-vaccination claims including on social media, and advertising may be subject to regulatory action.

‘If you’re a registered health practitioner or student, the best thing to do is to read our joint statement. It explains the National Boards’ expectations of registered health practitioners about receiving, administering, and sharing information about Covid vaccination. It’s important you understand these expectations so that patients and communities are best protected against the novel coronavirus that causes Covid.’

AHPRA chief Martin Fletcher rejected the claim, saying:

‘In essence, AHPRA and National Boards expect health practitioners to use their professional judgment and the best available evidence in practice. This includes when providing information to the public about public health issues such as Covid and vaccination.

‘Any promotion of anti-vaccination statements or health advice that contradicts the best available scientific evidence or seeks to actively undermine the national immunisation campaign (including via social media) is not supported by National Boards.

‘It may be in breach of the codes of conduct and subject to investigation and possible regulatory action.’

It is a statement that appears to confirm, not deny, the complaints of medical professionals.

Never before have government bodies demanded compliance with domestic law that we believe breaches our codes and oaths to ‘first, do no harm’ and ‘I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat’.

Is it widely known among practitioners and the public that the government changed laws to give manufacturers 6 years to provide comprehensive clinical data on safety and efficacy for provisionally approved Covid treatments?

The comparative lack of vital long-term data (present for other vaccines and medical treatments) is lacking in Covid vaccines – making it difficult to justify statements such as proven safe and effective. ‘Assumed to the best of our knowledge’ would be more accurate.

This problem is highlighted by changing promises related to Covid vaccines, which began as ‘you won’t get sick and it will stop transmission’ but now manufacturers and medical bodies have had to admit, due to overwhelming physical evidence in patients, that Covid vaccines do not stop transmission and many people still get sick and die. These revelations call into question the validity of extraordinary measures placed on people for over two years.

In Australia, we have a serious problem. Government excesses of power created through emergency legislation have been allowed to violate our freedoms and liberties. They were justified by largely unscientific and refutable claims. Fear was wrongly employed by political leaders, who also took steps to keep health advice secret from the public by the re-classifying of National Cabinet after Freedom of Information requests were approved by the court.

Public Health Laws gave Chief Health Officers (CHO) unprecedented powers to do almost anything they thought was reasonable during a pandemic – which can be declared on opinion, not evidence – without having to justify their decisions. They are no better than the authorities in Galileo’s time.

Queensland Doctors are taking the Qld CHO to court to gain access to the scientific evidence used to justify mandates that contradict historical experience and scientific consensus. Public confidence should never be coerced through government-mandated compliance to political directives.

We believe our code of conduct requirements demand we exercise our right to political communication to respectfully debate scientific evidence, risk/benefit analysis of therapeutics, and provide informed consent. But to do so we risk losing everything.

If we are forbidden by the government to adhere to our codes and make our patients our primary concern, then this is the end of medicine and the death of science.

AMPS cannot allow such government intrusion to stand. We are fighting back against new laws recommended by the Queensland government that allow public naming and shaming of doctors under investigation.

‘New legislation introduced in Queensland, the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022, will greatly enhance the government regulator’s powers for censoring doctors in Queensland,’ said Steven Andrews MP for Marani QLD.

Even the AMA described these new laws as ‘incoherent zealotry’. The cost for patient advocacy will be public humiliation and potentially career-ending reputational damage. With this unchecked power of AHPRA, fear-based compliance to public health directives will become the primary concern of practitioners.

AMPS has been calling for a Royal Commission into the government response to Covid, while advocating strongly for law reform needed now to allow practitioners to advocate for their patients as their primary concern. Click here for more information. We cannot stay silent while adherence to public health messaging becomes the new accepted standard of good medical practice. Our patients, not politicians, are who we serve, no matter the personal cost.

Galileo said, ‘Two truths cannot contradict one another.’ The pressure on medical professionals to hide their true opinions should be rescinded and doctors allowed to openly debate all Covid measures and be able to have all tools at their disposal to treat patients.


Inflation Reduction Act? Drug-price controls make Dems’ bill the Lifespan Reduction Act

By Betsy McCaughey

Across the pond, Brits are demanding their next prime minister do something to reduce the United Kingdom’s notorious cancer death rates. But here in the United States, Democrats are doing the opposite.

They’re pushing for European-style price controls on drugs, which will slow cancer cures and lead to more deaths. Americans enjoy the highest cancer-survival rates in the world. But maybe not for long.

Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin call their legislation the Inflation Reduction Act. Don’t let the title fool you. The bill cripples the ability of drug companies to develop new cures. It should be called the Lifespan Reduction Act.

The bill empowers the federal government to impose price controls on top-selling brand-name drugs starting in 2026. Virtually all health experts agree these price controls will discourage innovation.

The only disagreement is how grave the impact will be. The Congressional Budget Office lowballs the number of new drugs that will never be developed and declines to predict the “effects of forgone innovation on public health.” But the Office of Health Economics, a think tank, foresees “significant losses in biopharmaceutical innovation and hence health for the U.S. and global populations over the coming decades.”

The Global Colon Cancer Association, which helps patients battling cancer, warned Tuesday that the bill will backfire, “leading to less of the medical innovation we need to finally defeat cancer.”

Amazing that Congress is ignoring these warnings. Democrats are bragging about reducing prescription-drug prices but not admitting you could be paying for that discount down the road with your life.

Democrats claim the government will “negotiate” with drug companies to reach a fair price. Untrue. The bill says government will dictate the price. Any company that refuses that price will get hit with a tax as high as 95% of revenue. That’s a gun to the head, not a negotiation. Democrats are playing word games with “negotiate,” just as with “recession.”

Medical investors look at the expected future revenue from a drug to decide how much to invest. Even non-American companies rely on selling in the US market for their profits. But the proposed price controls tell investors to put their money in some other industry, not medical innovation.

European drug developers led the world until price controls shut down innovation. Now drug development in Europe attracts only 3% of the investment capital available in the United States. It’s a warning.

Countries that promote drug development have better cancer survival rates, reports Columbia University economist Frank Lichtenberg, who compared rates in 36 countries.

The United States proves the point. Cancer death rates here have plunged in the last two decades. Research in the Journal of Medical Economics shows that from 2000 to 2016, more than 1.3 million patients were saved by new treatments for 15 different types of cancer.

Don’t expect that to continue under price controls. The University of Chicago’s Tomas Philipson and Troy Durie calculate that hundreds of potential cures will go undeveloped over the next decade, leading to a loss of life greater than what we’ve experienced from COVID. These are lives that would be saved if the current pace of innovation continued instead of being blocked by the Manchin-Schumer deal.

Is their price-control scheme even constitutional? The Congressional Research Service says forcing drug manufacturers to lower prices for all customers, not just government, might violate the “takings” clause of the Fifth Amendment. Certainly a 95% tax on revenues of companies that refuse could be considered “excessive” punishment under the Eighth Amendment.

Even so, Democrats are rushing to pass their 725-page bill, with its many varied provisions and cockeyed priorities. The bill pours hundreds of billions of public dollars into companies that install solar panels and build electric vehicles in the name of saving the planet.

But the same bill strips biotech and drug companies of the ability to attract billions in research and development funds and produce the next generation of cures. As if saving the planet is all-important and saving lives no longer matters.




Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Scientists see COVID’s origin in Wuhan market

Since the emergence of COVID-19, a question has obsessed many: where did it come from?

That question – and the fact the virus was first detected in the city of Wuhan, home of the Wuhan Institute of Virology – has sparked geopolitical convulsions and a fracturing of faith in science, not to mention a thousand anonymous Twitter-sleuth accounts.

Meanwhile, a group of scientists has been working on their own parallel investigative effort. With a pair of articles published in Science last week (you can read them here and here), they say they are at the end of their search.

The virus almost-certainly jumped from wildlife into humans in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, the papers argue. The authors have even found the most likely section of the market. They have old photos of caged raccoon dogs – known carriers of COVID-19 – being sold there.

“The siren has definitely sounded on the lab leak theory,” says Professor Edward Holmes, a world-leading viral evolution expert based at the University of Sydney and co-author on both the papers. “In terms of what we can reasonably do, with the available science and the science we’ll get in the foreseeable future, I think we’re at the end of the road frankly. There’s not a lot more to mine.”

Professor Dominic Dwyer, director of public health pathology in NSW and a member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) team that travelled to Wuhan last year to investigate the origins of the virus, agrees.

“That’s what we thought originally back when we did the first report. This is yet another brick added to the wall of information around zoonotic infection.”

Twin strains

When COVID-19 first emerged in Wuhan, two distinct viral lineages were spotted, separated by two small changes in genetic code. They were detected a week apart in late December 2019.

The team behind the Science papers used computers to simulate the most likely sequence of events that would produce two viruses circulating at the same time.

They found it is exceedingly unlikely that a single virus would jump into humans and quickly split into two distinct variants.

Far more likely, was that the virus had been circulating in animals for long enough to split into multiple variants, two of which then jumped separately into humans. Multi-virus jumps have been seen when COVID-19 jumped from minks on Dutch farms to humans, and when SARS and MERS also jumped into humans.

If the COVID-19 virus originated in a lab, as some conspiracy theories suggest, you’d expect a single introduction into humans – rather than two distinct viral lineages. And both strains were found in samples taken from Huanan market. “That, I think, is pretty good evidence,” says Dwyer.

Lab-leak advocates argue that Huanan is a perfect super-spreader site. Maybe a scientist from the Wuhan Institute of Virology shopped there and spread the bug?

The Science papers show that 155 COVID cases in December 2019 were strongly clustered in the suburbs around the market – including cases with no known link to the market.

If the virus emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, wouldn’t early cases cluster around there? Wouldn’t an infected scientist have passed on the virus while walking to work? “You wouldn’t expect to find the virus around a not-very-well-visited animal market in a different part of the city,” says Holmes.

And the papers show Huanan is hardly the perfect superspreader site that some suggest.

It turns out the market is a small and relatively obscure shopping spot. By reviewing social media check-in data, the team deduced that 70 other markets in Wuhan had more visitors than Huanan. Of 430 identified possible super-spreader sites in Wuhan, such as shopping malls, supermarkets and schools, the Huanan market was among the least visited.

“It’s like going to Coles in Bendigo on a wet Wednesday afternoon. It’s not a thriving mass of humanity,” says Holmes.

Further evidence: no COVID-19 has been detected among tens of thousands of blood donations made in Wuhan between September and December 2019, nor in thousands of samples taken from people hospitalised between October and December with influenza-like illnesses.

“What are the odds that two lineages escape from the lab and both make their way into the market and both cause superspreader events? It’s ridiculous. There is no way that can happen,” says Holmes.

We know now that COVID-19 moves easily among many species of animals, including raccoon dogs – but also badgers, hares, rats and foxes, all observed being sold live at the market in 2019.

Raccoon dogs were supplied to the market by a network of farms in western Hubei province, the Science papers note. Western Hubei is known for its extensive network of caves filled with Rhinolophus bats, which carry coronaviruses similar to the one that causes COVID-19.

“Raccoon dogs are a suspect,” says Holmes, but not the only one. “I think, strongly, there are a whole bunch of animals out there who have viruses like this that we have not sampled yet.”

Compare the theories

Theory one: Two closely related versions of a virus emerge at the same time in people who live near or work in a small market selling wildlife. The market sells animals known to both carry the virus and to be farmed near bats that carry similar viruses. We detect those viruses on cages in the market’s wildlife section.

We know from past experience viruses can jump from animals to humans at wildlife markets. And we don’t have any evidence of the virus spreading anywhere else in Wuhan before it was in the market.

Compare this to the lab-leak theory. No one has ever been able to prove COVID-19 – let alone a twin strain – was ever at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. There’s no epidemiological evidence that the virus was spreading near the institute.

“There’s no emails. There’s no evidence in any of the science. There’s absolutely nothing,” says Holmes.

Lab-leak proponents have now turned to trying to find malfeasance in the articles’ peer review process, of all places. Holmes doubts the conspiracy theorists will ever be convinced. “Even if the Chinese do let us in the lab, people would say ‘aha, but they’re covering it up’,” he says.


Sun key to vitamin D as pills prove worthless

The biggest study in the world into vitamin D supplements has found the pills do not prevent bone fractures and are unlikely to provide the same benefits as obtaining the vitamin from the sun.

About one-third of Australians are vitamin D-deficient, and many have been advised by their doctor to supplement with vitamin D pills, the biggest-selling supplement in the country.

A US study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests it would be far better to expose the skin to some sunlight every day instead.

The large study known as Vital, which involved 26,000 mid-life men and women, found vitamin D pills provide little benefit to most people. The headline finding was that vitamin D supplements do not prevent osteoporosis and were found not to prevent bone fractures even in people who already had bone thinning.

Vitamin D in the body plays a role in helping the gut absorb calcium, which strengthens bones.

Researchers on the study also found that vitamin D supplements did not provide the benefits of vitamin D obtained from sunlight, which include the prevention of cancer, prevention of heart disease, improvements in brain function and protection of the joints and eyes.

The NEJM published an editorial along with the study findings recommending people stop taking vitamin D supplements.

The author of the editorial was Steven Cummings, who is a research scientist at the California Pacific Medical Centre Research Institute.

“Providers should stop screening for 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels or recommending vitamin D supplements and people should stop taking vitamin D supplements in order to prevent major diseases or extend life,” Dr Cummings said.

“The trials show they have no benefit, even in people with vitamin D deficiency.

“With very few exceptions, such as those in nursing homes deprived from sun and ordinary diets, everyone gets enough vitamin D to maintain the functions and balance they need.”

You can also obtain vitamin D from foods including oily fish, eggs and red meat.

University of South Australia professor Elina Hypponen, who has extensively studied Vitamin D, said the US study did not include people who were truly vitamin D-deficient, and that such people would be likely still to obtain benefit from taking the ­supplements.

“If you can get vitamin D naturally and safely from the sun without risk of sunburn, then you don’t need to think about supplements,” Professor Hypponen said.

“But in situations where people are seriously vitamin D-deficient, then vitamin D supplements are sometimes necessary.”

The Vital study was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and began after an expert group examined the health effects of vitamin D supplements and found little evidence.

The Vital study reinforces a ­series of other research projects that have cast doubt on the efficacy of vitamin D supplements.




Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Is red meat bad for you

Below is the abstract of a journal article that has been bruited about in the popular press. The journal article appeared yesterday. It is one of a long series of attempts to discredit meat eating.

And the present article is no more conclusive than any of its many predecessors. I have been blogging on the subject for many years so I know where the skeletons are. I used to teach research methods and statistics at a major university so I know what to look for

And the present article follows a familiar methodology. I am going to put it bluntly: When there is no overall connection between the variables you are studying, you do comparisons of extremes -- as in tertiles, quartiles or quintiles. You can sometimes "save" your research that way if the extremes differ.

The present article resorts to extreme quintiles so they really had to stretch it to produce a reportable finding. The important thing to know, however, is that such anayses throw away the majority of your data so really tell you nothing. But the resort to extremes does of itself imply that there was NO overall relationship in the data. It's a common analysis but totally discreditable scientifically

The real result of the research therefore is that eating red meat had NO EFFECT on anything

Dietary Meat, Trimethylamine N-Oxide-Related Metabolites, and Incident Cardiovascular Disease Among Older Adults: The Cardiovascular Health Study

Meng Wang et al.


Effects of animal source foods (ASF) on atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and underlying mechanisms remain controversial. We investigated prospective associations of different ASF with incident ASCVD and potential mediation by gut microbiota-generated trimethylamine N-oxide, its L-carnitine-derived intermediates ╬│-butyrobetaine and crotonobetaine, and traditional ASCVD risk pathways.


Among 3931 participants from a community-based US cohort aged 65+ years, ASF intakes and trimethylamine N-oxide-related metabolites were measured serially over time. Incident ASCVD (myocardial infarction, fatal coronary heart disease, stroke, other atherosclerotic death) was adjudicated over 12.5 years median follow-up. Cox proportional hazards models with time-varying exposures and covariates examined ASF-ASCVD associations; and additive hazard models, mediation proportions by different risk pathways.


After multivariable-adjustment, higher intakes of unprocessed red meat, total meat, and total ASF associated with higher ASCVD risk, with hazard ratios (95% CI) per interquintile range of 1.15 (1.01–1.30), 1.22 (1.07–1.39), and 1.18 (1.03–1.34), respectively. Trimethylamine N-oxide-related metabolites together significantly mediated these associations, with mediation proportions (95% CI) of 10.6% (1.0–114.5), 7.8% (1.0–32.7), and 9.2% (2.2–44.5), respectively. Processed meat intake associated with a nonsignificant trend toward higher ASCVD (1.11 [0.98–1.25]); intakes of fish, poultry, and eggs were not significantly associated. Among other risk pathways, blood glucose, insulin, and C-reactive protein, but not blood pressure or blood cholesterol, each significantly mediated the total meat-ASCVD association.


In this large, community-based cohort, higher meat intake associated with incident ASCVD, partly mediated by microbiota-derived metabolites of L-carnitine, abundant in red meat. These novel findings support biochemical links between dietary meat, gut microbiome pathways, and ASCVD.


Living with COVID: how treating masks like umbrellas could help us weather future pandemic threats

Thankfully, the UK now looks to be past the peak of both the recent heatwave and the latest COVID wave. But there will be more of both – and in future, we might think about how we protect ourselves from COVID in the same way we protect ourselves from the weather.

An umbrella is a useful analogy. If we look out the window or check the weather forecast and see rain, we would probably take an umbrella out with us. Similarly, if COVID cases are starting to rise or if a new wave is forecast, we might consider grabbing a face mask, for example.

But just as there’s no need to carry an umbrella with us when it’s sunny, we needn’t be expected to wear masks all the time. Of course, some people may choose to wear masks more consistently in certain settings, while others may forgo wearing them altogether. This is the nature of the current phase of the pandemic we’re in, a big part of which is based on personal choice and responsibility.

Thanks largely to the impact of vaccines, we no longer need the kind of rules-based approach to risk management we saw earlier in the pandemic. But the umbrella analogy can guide our behaviour and choices in a variety of areas of our response moving forward. Beyond masks, these include testing, ventilation and social distancing.

The idea is that we can pick up or step up precautions when we most need them (when COVID cases are on the rise), before relaxing them, if we want to, when infection rates and risk are lower.

What might this look like in practice?

Let’s say we start to see COVID cases rising again come autumn. This is a distinct possibility.

It then becomes even more important to take a test if we have any symptoms that might be COVID-related. This will help inform our decision of whether, and to what extent, to minimise contact with others.

Isolation is no longer a legal requirement, and I think this should remain the case. However, if possible, staying at home while we’re unwell is a sensible and considerate thing to do, particularly when COVID rates are high.

Distancing should also remain a choice. But during a wave of infections, people might wish to maintain more distance between themselves and others in shops, or may choose to avoid crowded venues.

Back on masks, when cases begin to rise, the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID also rises, so masks become a more useful and reasonable precaution. They can be particularly valuable in certain circumstances – for example, if someone is unwell but can’t isolate, when visiting people who are vulnerable, or in crowded indoor spaces.

Opening windows even a little can increase fresh air indoors and also help reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus.

Finally, the number of people in the UK who have had a COVID booster vaccine is considerably lower than the number who received their first and second doses. We know immunity from vaccines wanes, and boosters restore vaccine effectiveness. So if we start to see rising cases, or looking ahead to future waves, it would make good sense for people who are behind on their vaccines to get up-to-date.

It’s been a year since England’s “freedom day”, when most legal COVID measures were removed. But the pandemic is far from over. Along with high numbers of daily infections, long COVID is very common, and the pressure on the NHS is still unsustainable.

In a recent article in the British Medical Journal, Professor Susan Michie and I reflected on some of the lessons we’ve learned over the past year.

Among these, the pandemic has shown us that behaviour is not purely down to an individual’s choice or motivation. People’s actions are also shaped by the opportunities and supports they’re given – or not given. For example, while some people might want to stay home if they have symptoms, they may not if neither their employer or the government provides financial support.

People should be encouraged and supported as much as possible to stay home when they’re sick, particularly when cases are high. Amidst a winter COVID wave, Australia has re-instated its pandemic leave disaster payments to enable those with COVID and without proper sick pay to stay home and not lose out financially.

Further, governments could ensure that free at-home tests are available during times when infections are likely to, or starting to, rise.

And it’s important that, to mitigate the impacts of future waves, vaccination coverage is as high as possible. Public health campaigns should target both the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated, as well as encouraging people (particularly the most vulnerable) to take up booster offers.

We also need more action to ensure adequate ventilation. In the US, billions of dollars are being made available for improving air quality in schools and other public buildings.




Monday, August 01, 2022

The WHO’s Reckless Disregard for Truth

Public health relies on trust. Advertising relies on twisting the truth, even deceiving people, to persuade them to buy a product they may not need. Trust is maintained by telling the truth, giving others accurate information and sound advice. If inclined, you can change direction, trading on trust that you have built in order to deceive more effectively.

This works until the audience starts to understand that you have started lying. It is the worst sort of deceit. The World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted this latter course, using its former status to deceive the public in order to increase global uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.

Two weeks ago the WHO’s media office issued a press release summarizing an update to its global COVID-19 vaccination strategy. This strategy requires the highest annual budget of any single program in the WHO’s history; $10.1 billion was budgeted for 2021, about three times the previous total annual expenditure of the entire organization.

With $3 billion accrued, the WHO is seeking the shortfall and wants to expand this through 2022. This bill is mainly footed by taxpayers in the ailing economies of the West. COVID-19 remains a minor health burden in the countries on the receiving end, while malnutrition and other infectious diseases are rising. The strategy is therefore important to both sides, as it will harm both.

The Fallacy of Need

The strategy outlined in the press release calls for vaccination of 70 percent of people in low and middle income countries, “to achieve durable, broadly protective immunity.” This only makes sense if the populations on the receiving end are not already immune. To claim this, WHO must ignore its own work showing high rates of post-infection immunity in low-income countries.

A study by WHO personnel estimated a large majority of Africans had antibodies against COVID-19 by September 2021, which means actual immunity, mediated mainly by T-cells, will be much higher. This study was performed before the highly transmissible Omicron variant added to this number. India data is similar.

Post-infection (‘natural’) immunity produces clinical protection to COVID-19 at least as broad and more sustained than that produced through vaccination (Ref, Ref, Ref, Ref, Ref). The WHO is also aware that vaccination added to natural immunity adds minimal clinical benefit (well demonstrated in the CDC chart below). When the WHO states that only “28 percent of old people and 37 percent of health workers” in low-income countries have received COVID-19 vaccines, and fewer in the general population, they know that nearly all the unvaccinated also have effective immunity. The WHO wishes to spend this unprecedented budget on mass vaccination of an immune population.

False Claims on Impact

The press release claims that “In the first year of rollouts, COVID-19 vaccines are estimated to have saved 19.8 million lives.” This number makes no sense. The WHO previously published that only 14.9 million excess deaths occurred across 2 years of the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020–2021. These include deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and those due to lockdowns and other response measures. COVID-19 was endemic across all continents by the end of 2020, in the absence of vaccination. Ignoring its own data, WHO derives its ‘19.8 million saved’ from flawed Imperial College London modeling.

Lockdowns killed hundreds of thousands, probably millions of people. UNICEF estimated nearly a quarter million excess child deaths due to lockdown (not COVID-19) across just 6 South Asian countries in 2020 alone. To start to understand how many people COVID-19 really killed pre-vaccination, these excess non-COVID-19 deaths within the 14.9 million must be extrapolated to Africa, and include rising deaths from diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and malnutrition.

Many pre-vaccination deaths were therefore likely related to the response, not the disease. The WHO wants us to believe that the vaccine saved several-fold more lives in 2021 than could possibly have died from COVID-19 when immunity was at its lowest throughout 2020. We must believe this despite most Asian and African countries only establishing significant vaccination rates in mid to late 2021, by which time most people had already been infected.

Stating implausible modeling outputs as fact when they are contradicted by the WHO’s own data is not a nuance. It constitutes deliberate misrepresentation of the program’s potential impact. It is an attempt to mislead public health authorities, the public, and the media. The WHO should explain why.

A Baseless Strategy

“Vaccinating all those most at risk is the single best way to save lives, protect health systems and keep societies and economies open.” The WHO media department states this as the basis for mass vaccination, whilst admitting that COVID-19 vaccines “have not substantially reduced transmission.”

Indeed, countries with the current highest transmission rates, such as New Zealand, are among the most vaccinated. If a vaccine does not reduce transmission, and severe COVID-19 is concentrated in a small segment of the sick and elderly (it is), then mass vaccination of already-immune people cannot have an influence on ‘keeping society open.’ This is achieved by not closing it.

In its strategy update, WHO justifies its entire mass vaccination program through its ability “… to achieve durable, broadly protective immunity, and reduce transmission.” By its own data, lasting durable protective immunity is already present, and the product it is pushing does not stop transmission. This resembles false advertising of a commodity that an advertising agency is paid to promote, rather than a reasoned explanation of a public health strategy.

Honesty Matters in Public Health
Significant WHO funders will be enriched by this program through the procurement of billions of vaccine doses, so not everyone loses. The target ‘under-vaccinated’ populations in Africa and Asia record less, not more, deaths from COVID-19. They are younger, less obese, and therefore less susceptible. They die of other diseases, and currently face collapsing food supplies and growing poverty due in large part to the lockdown policies that the WHO continues to support. The WHO needs to explain why health equity has become less important than achieving equal injection rates of the pharmaceuticals that major WHO sponsors have invested in.


Health Care Workers Who Sued Over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Win $10 Million Settlement

A group of health care workers who sued their hospital over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate are slated to receive $10 million, according to a settlement agreement filed on July 29.

About a dozen workers at the NorthShore University HealthSystem in Illinois lodged the suit in October 2021, arguing that the facility was illegally not granting religious exemptions to the mandate.

After eight months of negotiations, the workers and NorthShore “have agreed to settle this case,” according to a memorandum filed in federal court.

Under the settlement’s terms, NorthShore will pay $10,337,500 into a settlement fund for workers affected by its mandate—specifically, workers who between July 1, 2021, and Jan. 1, 2022, asked for a religious accommodation and were denied and either received a vaccine to avoid termination or were fired or resigned. About 473 workers fit under that category.

NorthShore will also adjust its vaccine mandate “to enhance its accommodation procedures for individuals with approved exemptions for sincerely held religious belief.”

Workers fired because they refused to get vaccinated due to their religious beliefs are eligible to apply for re-employment.

U.S. District Judge John Kness, the Trump appointee overseeing the case, was asked to approve the proposed settlement.

Liberty Counsel, the legal group representing the platiniffs, described the settlement as a first-of-its-kind for an action against a private employer who denied hundreds of requests for religious exemptions to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“The drastic policy change and substantial monetary relief required by the settlement will bring a strong measure of justice to NorthShore’s employees who were callously forced to choose between their conscience and their jobs,” Horatio Mihet, vice president of legal affairs at the group, said in a statement.

“This settlement should also serve as a strong warning to employers across the nation that they cannot refuse to accommodate those with sincere religious objections to forced vaccination mandates,” he added.


If the agreement is approved, affected workers could apply for money from the $10 million fund.

Each worker who eventually got a vaccine despite raising religious objections would be eligible for approximately $3,000 while those who were fired or resigned could get up to about $25,000, according to estimates.

The final amounts will depend on how many workers apply for money, among other factors.

In addition, the agreement sets aside $260,000 for the named plaintiffs in the case. Each would be slated to receive about $20,000, on top of the other funds.

Liberty Counsel is also asking for $2 million in attorneys fees, or about 20 percent of the total settlement.




Sunday, July 31, 2022

Federal Judge Blocks COVID Vaccine Mandate for Air Force, Air National Guard

A federal judge in Ohio on Wednesday blocked the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate nationwide for Air Force, Space Force and Air National Guard service members who requested religious exemptions.

In his 4-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Matthew McFarland said the government failed to “raise any persuasive arguments for why the Court should not extend the Preliminary Injunction issued on March 31, 2022, to cover the Class Members.”

Wednesday’s ruling replaces McFarland’s 14-day temporary restraining order, issued July 14. The temporary order was issued to allow the military time to make its case for why the preliminary injunction shouldn’t last longer and be expanded to apply to 10,000 or more service members seeking an exemption.

Earlier this month, government lawyers argued that preventing the military from punishing unvaccinated members “would interfere with ongoing legal proceedings and would otherwise be improper, particularly in light of significant new developments.”

Defendants pointed to the recent Emergency Use Authorization of Novavax — which is not yet fully licensed — and claimed unlike the other three shots available in the U.S., Novavax does not use fetal cells in its development, manufacturing or production.

“Those class members whose religious objections were based on mRNA technology or the use of fetal-derived cell lines are no longer substantially burdened by the COVID-19 vaccine requirement because this option is now available,” lawyers said.

“Moreover, religious beliefs of service members who object to vaccination based on mRNA technology are not substantially burdened by Novavax or the Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which do not use mRNA technology.”

Included in the government’s filing as an exhibit was a declaration from Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider, director of staff for the Air Force headquarters.

Schneider claimed unvaccinated members “are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and substantially more likely to develop severe symptoms resulting in hospitalization or death” and that exempting a large number of airmen “would pose a significant and unprecedented risk to military readiness and our ability to defend the nation.”

“As of March 14, 2022, a total of 91,984 Department of the Air Force Service members had contracted COVID-19 during the pandemic, resulting in 229 hospitalizations, of which 14 died,” Schneider said. “Of those who died, 12 (86%) were completely unvaccinated.”

Schneider did not provide the number of servicemen injured or hospitalized as a result of having to receive a COVID-19 vaccine under the military’s vaccine mandate.

McFarland wasn’t convinced. He instead modified the class to include all active-duty, active reserve, reserve, national guard, inductees and appointees of the U.S. Air Force and Space Force, including but not limited to Air Force Academy Cadets, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadets, members of the Air Force Reserve Command and any airman who has sworn or affirmed the U.S. Uniformed Services Oath of Office or Enlistment and is currently under command and could be deployed.

Under the new order, the Air Force can’t take disciplinary action against, or attempt to kick out members who requested a religious exemption on or after Sept. 1, 2021, those confirmed as having a sincerely held religious belief by chaplains and those who either had their request denied or whose request has not yet been acted on.

“Obviously, we are thrilled for our clients who we were facing career-ending consequences for the exercise of their sincerely held beliefs,” Chris Wiest, an attorney for plaintiffs, said Wednesday.

“This case will now proceed into the discovery phase in which we look forward to placing government decision-makers under oath and questioning them about their discriminatory decision-making.”

Of the Air Force’s 497,000 members, 97% have received a primary COVID-19 vaccination series.

Of the 1,400 exemptions granted, only 104 are religious exemptions — and those were granted only to service members at the end of their term of service.

Currently, 2,847 requests are pending and 6,803 were rejected.

The small number of religious accommodations granted is “farcical,” McFarland said earlier this year. The Air Force “‘has effectively stacked the deck’ against service members seeking religious exemptions.”

The U.S. Secretary of Defense on Aug. 24, 2021, directed military branch secretaries to immediately begin full vaccination of all members of the armed forces, service members on active duty and those in the reserves, and National Guard, unless exempted.

The Secretary of Defense claimed that “to defend the nation, we need a healthy and ready force” and “after careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President … vaccination against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people.”

Military’s Recruiting Crisis Deepens Under Vaccine Mandate
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are putting pressure on the Pentagon to fix the military’s recruitment crisis in what has been deemed the worst recruiting environment since the end of the Vietnam War, Politico reported this week.

Recent briefing slides obtained by Politico show senior Pentagon leaders are alarmed by poor enlistment numbers and the military “currently faces the most challenging recruiting market since the advent of the All-Volunteer Force, with multiple Services and Components at risk for missing mission in FY 2022.”

“Arduous market conditions are expected to persist into the future as the market is not likely to self-correct,” according to the slides.

While the military said it acknowledges the problem, the desire of young Americans to join the military has “fallen off the statistical cliff,” according to Politico.

The Army only reached 66% of its goal for the fiscal year ending in September, while the Navy is at 89%, according to data compiled from October 2021 to May 2022.

Although the rates for the Marine Corps, Air Force and Space Force are at 100%, that leaves the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) with a total rate of just 85%.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who chairs the Military Personnel Subcommittee, wants to hold a joint hearing with her panel and the Readiness Subcommittee on recruiting issues.

“I would say we have to do a deep dive into why the numbers are shrinking,” Speier told Politico. “I think we have to have a hearing to kind of explore that.”

The DOD says the drop in entry-level troops can be traced to concerns about the physical and psychological risks of service and other career interests, the possibility of interference with a college education, dislike of the military lifestyle and the military’s high standard for recruits.

The Army last week announced it is launching multiple initiatives to address the problem including providing $35,000 bonuses for new recruits ready to ship out to basic training within 45 days and lowering the service’s physical and academic standards.

Some DOD Officials and Experts Blame COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
Former and current DOD officials and experts criticized the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate as a contributing factor — and claimed the “department leadership knows it.”

According to Military News, the Army recently cut more than 60,000 National Guard and Reserve soldiers who refused to be vaccinated from military pay and benefits and is preventing them from participating in military duties.

Mackenzie Eaglen, an expert with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, argued the military’s vaccine mandate has “indisputably negative” impacts on recruiting.

“The math and logic simply doesn’t add up to let troops go involuntarily over the vaccine while announcing at the same time historically high bonuses for new recruits (which the U.S. Army did this winter),” Eaglen said.

“It is far more time-consuming and expensive to fire those with experience versus bringing in new, untrained personnel.”

“If you are sitting in the state of Georgia or Texas and you see they are putting 40,000 members out, you are going to scratch your head a bit and say, ‘why would I join up?’” a former senior DOD official told Politico. “And if you don’t want to get vaccinated, you are certainly not going to join.”

Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.), the top Republican on the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, former Green Beret and current member of the National Guard, joined with 49 other republican lawmakers on Tuesday to send a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin requesting the Pentagon reconsider its COVID-19 vaccine mandate in response to the recruiting crisis.

“At a time when the department is struggling to recruit qualified young men and women fit for duty to fill the ranks, and while China is embarking on a massive military buildup which threatens American interests around the world, we should not be hindering our own readiness and capabilities by punishing and forcing out experienced and dedicated Guardsmen and Reservists,” the letter stated.


Inflation: Erdogan is a new Canute

While much of the world anxiously waits to see if central banks will keep raising interest rates to combat a post-pandemic surge in inflation, Turkey is bucking the global trend.

The nation's central bank has left rates unchanged at 14 per cent for a seventh month in a row as part of an unorthodox experiment.

Most economists around the world believe that the best way to bring inflation under control is to raise interest rates.

By making the cost of borrowing money higher, central banks are trying to force you to buy less.

While this can trigger slower economic growth and higher unemployment, it can also drive down the costs of goods and services because there's simply less demand to buy them.

But Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes this is a myth.

He has fired three central bank governors in four years for attempting to raise interest rates, and described anyone who draws a link between rates and inflation as "illiterates and traitors".

"Don't pay attention to the ramblings of those whose only quality is in viewing the world from London or New York," he said in May.

But as the world grapples with inflation driven by Russia's war in Ukraine and rising energy costs, Turkey has suffered worse than most.

Officially its inflation rate reached nearly 80 per cent in June, its highest in 24 years.

But independent research by the country's ENAG group of economists found prices had jumped 175 per cent in June compared with the year before.

"The inflation rate in Turkey is anyone's guess at the moment," Turkish economist Ozan ┼×akar said.