Paul Gauguin Road in Tahiti 1891
Lab leak is getting closer.
By now the reader will have heard of “gain of function” research and the hazards it poses. A large number of scientists came together in July 2014 as the Cambridge Working Group to urge that “Experiments involving the creation of potential pandemic pathogens should be curtailed until there has been a quantitative, objective and credible assessment of the risks, potential benefits, and opportunities for risk mitigation, as well as comparison against safer experimental approaches.” Later in 2014, the Obama administration issued a moratorium on this type of research, partly in response to some “bio-safety incidents” that occurred at federal research facilities.
But before the ban went into effect, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) funded some gain-of-function research which, through an intermediary nonprofit and subcontracting arrangement, came to be conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The moratorium was lifted during the Trump administration, apparently at the urging of Anthony Fauci, and a 2019 renewal of the 2014 research grant did include gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses. SARS-CoV-2 exhibits biological signatures consistent with the plan of research laid out in the grant. Doing such research requires extreme safety precautions, and these make it very cumbersome to do the work. You have to wear what is essentially a space suit, and every task is burdened with procedures that slow the work down dramatically. Meanwhile, scientists are competing with one another to publish first.
As Wade notes, researchers have an incentive to carry the work out under less restrictive safety standards, and therefore to downplay the risks when applying for grants. And indeed the work at Wuhan was not conducted at the highest safety standard. In this, there may have been a subtle form of collusion. There is no need to posit a conspiracy, one need only take note of the shared incentives. It is other members of the guild who conduct the review process that decides the allocation of research funds; they are unlikely to insist upon more stringent safety standards — which would have to apply to themselves as well. Research communities have internal competition, but also collective interests.
Wade points out that the “consensus” that Covid must have an entirely natural origin was established by two early pronouncements, one in The Lancet in February 2020 and the other in Nature Medicine in March 2020. These were op-eds, not scientific papers. Both spoke with certainty about matters which it was impossible to be certain about. Wade writes: “It later turned out that the Lancet letter had been organized and drafted by Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance of New York. Dr Daszak’s organisation funded coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. If the SARS2 virus had indeed escaped from research he funded, Dr. Daszak would be potentially culpable. This acute conflict of interest was not declared to the Lancet’s readers. To the contrary, the letter concluded, “We declare no competing interests.”
In other words, the guy who was orchestrating research on bat coronaviruses at the lab in Wuhan corralled other scientists, with similar professional interests, into making a declaration to the effect that anyone who mentions the (obvious) possibility that the pandemic (which started in Wuhan) might have a connection to this research could only be doing so with bad intentions. This seems a bit thuggish. The yawning gap between the actual state of knowledge at the time and the confidence displayed in the two letters should have been obvious to anyone in the field of virology. And indeed, there were scientists from outside the guild, but in fields adjacent enough to speak competently, who said as much. The Lancet and Nature Medicine letters were in fact anti-scientific in spirit and intent. Yet the pronouncements had the effect of shutting down inquiry that was not only legitimate, but urgently needed.
And closer still.
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee led by Devin Nunes (R-CA) say there is “significant circumstantial evidence” that COVID-19 originated from a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to a Wednesday report released obtained by Fox News. According to the report, the federal government needs to put “more pressure on China” to allow a “full, credible investigation” into the source of the pandemic, adding that it’s “crucial for health experts and the U.S. government to understand how the COVID-19 virus originated” to prevent “or quickly mitigate future pandemics.” Hell has a greater chance of freezing over, but we digress.
“International efforts to discover the true source of the virus, however, have been stymied by a lack of cooperation from the People’s Republic of China,” wrote the Republicans. “Nevertheless, significant circumstantial evidence raises serious concerns that the COVID-19 outbreak may have been a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” Republicans pointed to China’s “history of research lab leaks resulting in infections,” and warnings from U.S. diplomats in China as early as 2017 that the Wuhan lab was conducting “dangerous research” on coronaviruses without following “necessary safety protocols, risking the accidental outbreak of a pandemic.”
Republicans also pointed to public reports that “several researchers in the Wuhan lab were sickened with COVID-19-like symptoms” in Fall 2019, and the Chinese military’s “involvement in the Wuhan Lab.” “By contrast, little circumstantial evidence has emerged to support the PRC’s claim that COVID-19 was a natural occurrence, having jumped from some other species to human,” they wrote, saying Chinese authorities “have failed to identify the original species that allegedly spread the virus to humans, which is critical to their zoonotic transfer theory.” -Fox News. Fauci has some explaining to do.
“THERE ARE MORE SECRETS HIDDEN IN THE VIRUS!”
“And once the NHS App becomes your ticket to freedom on Monday, they will finally have means to weed out and punish dissidence while rewarding blind faith in authority..”
The government is pressing ahead with its Vaccine Passport and plans for a two-tier society are afoot. The effrontery of those leading the charge beggar’s belief. When they said ‘there were no plans for ‘discriminatory’ Covid vaccine passports’, they were quietly funding at least eight different vaccine passport schemes since last year. And that’s just the half of it. We are midway through a Europe-wide feasibility study for the development of a common vaccine passport, launched by the European Commission in 2018. They would have you believe – they were caught with their trousers down, their policies are proportionate to the emergency as it unfolds, and at all times they operate according to a system of informed consent. But hang on a minute. Since the onset of SARS-CoV-2, they have played the most astonishing game of deception and manipulation.
Cooking the books and fiddling the tills. They have deliberately plunged society into two camps – skeptics and adherents, compliant and non-conformists. Last year established the mood for pettifogging anyone questioning the narrative, while those refusing to comply were branded narcissists and psychopaths or denounced as ‘Covid deniers’ – the modern-day equivalent of a Holocaust denier. This government has polarised the nation on a scale never before attempted, legitimising a particular brand of prejudice and enmity not seen in Europe since the days of the Third Reich. And once the NHS App becomes your ticket to freedom on Monday, they will finally have means to weed out and punish dissidence while rewarding blind faith in authority. No matter how injurious their compliance is to society at large, the silent majority have lost their moral compass.
But it must be understood – this principle of divide and rule is as old as the hills. It was not so long ago that signs hung in the windows of establishments in Britain that read: ‘No dogs, No Irish, No blacks’. The difference today is that it won’t be the colour of your skin, your class, gender or sexual orientation that will condemn you, it will be something far more virulent – your ideology. That this crucial point has been entirely missed by the chattering classes is astonishing. And despite the most flagrant attempts to marginalise large segments of society, identitarians, the woke brigade and other erstwhile defenders of the most marginalised remain largely unphased. Unless it is to flap their arms in the air over higher rates of vaccine hesitancy amongst ethnic minorities. But the rest of us can go to hell.
“..individual natural rights, protected from government interference by the Ninth Amendment, trump the unconstitutional words of government officials and invalidate their efforts to enforce compliance.”
Last week, the media in New Jersey began to ask Gov. Phil Murphy when he would surrender his emergency powers. He claimed emergency powers in March 2020, and he also claimed that those powers are not limited by the Constitution when he said on Fox that the Bill of Rights is above his pay grade. His reply to the media inquiries was that he will surrender them when he surrenders them! I am using the example of Murphy in order to address the concept of emergency powers, but there is no hyperbole here. Murphy quite literally issued executive orders barring folks from doing what the Constitution guarantees them the right to do, and he imposed criminal penalties for violating his orders, and he had folks who defied him arrested and prosecuted. Stated differently, he assumed the powers of the state legislature — which is to write the laws — and he violated his oath to uphold the Constitution.
He claimed that somehow he can interfere with the exercise of basic human freedoms — like going to church, going to work, shopping for food, operating a business, assembling and traveling — because he declared a state of emergency. If the government declares an emergency, can it thereby acquire the lawful power to interfere with constitutionally guaranteed freedoms? In a word: No. [..] no matter the exigency — war, floods, pandemic, fear, myth — individual natural rights, protected from government interference by the Ninth Amendment, trump the unconstitutional words of government officials and invalidate their efforts to enforce compliance. Murphy’s orders contain empty words because they do not have the force of law since they were not legislatively created and they directly contradict the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s most definitive interpretations of it.
When Murphy became the governor of New Jersey, he took an oath to enforce the Constitution. Whatever personal ignorance or mental reservations he may have had, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and every public official, federal and state, is bound by it. If government officials could declare an emergency whenever they wished and thereby be relieved of the obligation to defend the Constitution — and the rights it guarantees — then no liberty is safe.
“At some point we have to live our lives. That time is now.”
COVID cases are collapsing in front of our eyes. Daily cases are now one-tenth the number of daily flu cases in the middle of a mild flu season, with a now-identical case fatality rate. That’s because the few Americans testing positive are often young, feel fine, and underwent testing as a screening requirement for playing sports or attending gatherings. The US positive rate is now at a record low, below 3%. Projections for the coming weeks and months are even more favorable. That’s because roughly 80% to 85% of adults are now immune — more than 6 in 10 adults are now vaccinated and more than half of unvaccinated adults have natural immunity from prior infection. In public health, when a virus has trouble jumping around because more than 8 in 10 adults in a community are blocking its transmission, we call that herd immunity.
Yet some people want the pandemic to stretch out longer, insisting on a futile goal of absolute risk eradication. Posturing to be on the side of science, they ignore the science on the effectiveness of vaccinated and natural immunity and dangle variant fears. They wear masks after being fully vaccinated even though there has never been a documented cases of a fully vaccinated person who is asymptomatic transmitting the virus. They’ve paralyzed the nation with fear. Some point to the Yankees as an example of the risk of a breakthrough infection. Indeed, one player of the 50 vaccinated players tested had COVID symptoms, representing the rare instance of a breakthrough infection. But his immune system worked. It resulted in the infection being very mild. Vaccines are highly efficacious in preventing the infection, and nearly perfect in preventing COVID death.
Of the other seven players who likely tested positive, none had symptoms. Their immune systems worked to ward off the virus when it landed on the mucosal membrane of their noses. Just because a PCR test, which can detect as few as 10 molecules of virus particles, reveals evidence of a remnant virus does not mean there is any health concern. Our battle is not against positive tests, it’s in preventing serious illness and death. San Francisco General Hospital now has zero COVID patients in the hospital and the city reported 2 new positive COVID tests Wednesday. Is San Francisco still in a state of emergency? If so, it may never end. Seasonal flu would trigger the same health emergency criteria in perpetuity. Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City will “fully reopen” on July 1 — but why wait until summer is half over? At some point we have to live our lives. That time is now.
“..the data is that if you’ve had the disease the shots are much more dangerous..”
It’s a year later. The mask mandates — and all the abuse heaped on the employees and the public did nothing. The places with them had the same epidemic curves as those that did not. The CDC is still lying and so are a whole bunch of other people, but the attitude has changed and people have figured it out. Oh sure, there are still plenty people very scared of Covid, but they’re not everyone and what’s worse is that those who are still scared are, to a large degree, now psychotic about it which means they’re the very last people who are going to be pleasant on the customer side of the counter whether employees are masked or not. People try to claim this divide is political, and maybe some of it is. But whether it is or not doesn’t really matter; do you want to******off not only half your customers but half your employees too?
Now you have companies claiming “take the shot or keep the masks on.” That’s stupid, and anyone with half a brain knows it. Not even the manufacturers claim that the shots keep you from getting or spreading Covid; there is simply no science on that. Their entire claim under the EUAs was that they stop you from going to the hospital and dying. That’s it. What’s that got to do with anyone else? Nothing! Never mind all the people who had Covid — there is exactly zero scientific reason for them to take the shots; they already have as good of immunity as they’re going to get and the data is that if you’ve had the disease the shots are much more dangerous. So why are employers telling those who don’t want the shot — even those who had Covid — to wear a mask? Punishment.
But wait — was that part of your negotiation when you took the job? I don’t think so. What if some governor or mayor mandates it? So what — is he or she paying you? And what about the dude who’s been tossing beer cans out his window next door for the entire the last year and the pile is now 6′ high, smoke still rolls out the window at 5:00 AM in the summer months too, while you had to go to work the entire time? I am hearing repeated reports from all over about people just saying “**** it” and not showing up to work, or quitting. I heard it again just recently at Kroger; the employee monitoring the self check-outs (all that was open, and only half of them) was asked directly by a customer why the other half and none of the manned checkouts were open. The answer: People just didn’t show up to work today, we don’t have the staff. There’s a Help Wanted sign on the door, like so many other places.
Oh wait — not like “so many” other places, like damn near everywhere I go!
“The federal budget assumes the government will recover 96 cents of every dollar borrowers default on,” Mitchell wrote. This banker, Jeff Courtney, put that figure closer to just 51 to 63 cents.”
Last week, The Wall Street Journal ran a story by reporter Josh Mitchell, with a headline asking an alarming question: “Is the U.S. Student Loan Program Facing a $500 Billion Hole? One Banker Thinks So.” That’s a large and worrisome number. Surely a hole that large is exactly the sort of thing we don’t want our government to be facing, and if a banker is concerned it must be very serious indeed. The banker in question, a former JPMorgan executive brought in by Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, had examined the federal student loan program and determined that the government was making overly rosy assumptions about future repayment.
He found “a growing gap between what the books said and what the loans were actually worth, requiring cash infusions from the Treasury to the Education Department long after budgets had been approved and fiscal years had ended,” and warned that the department faced “potentially hundreds of billions in losses.” “The federal budget assumes the government will recover 96 cents of every dollar borrowers default on,” Mitchell wrote. This banker, Jeff Courtney, put that figure closer to just 51 to 63 cents. Now, for a private lender, like a bank, this projected shortfall would indeed be a ticking time bomb. The bank might be in danger of insolvency (unless, of course, it was rescued by a federal government that could give the bank an emergency cash infusion and take those bad loans off its hands).
But there’s no real danger of a federal Cabinet-level department becoming insolvent. The Treasury Department is already in the habit of making up the Education Department’s budgetary shortfalls. So what is the problem again? Typically for a news outlet like the Journal, the story describes this potential shortfall as what “taxpayers” would be “on the hook for,” but obviously, we all know that that is not how federal budgeting works. Taxes could rise for certain people for certain reasons, but no one will receive an itemized bill for this uncollected debt. And as for that large, catastrophic number ($500 billion!) that might never be paid back, it amounts to less than one year of a national defense budget that “taxpayers” are similarly “on the hook for.”
“..the U.S. can really only afford to invest in necessary infrastructure — not spend trillions “building out the state.”
As problems for President Biden multiply at home and abroad, Bidenomics — the massive public spending that drives the president’s economic and domestic agenda — suddenly faces especially strong headwinds, as bad reports on jobs and inflation have raised giant yellow caution flags. The month of April produced an unexpectedly disappointing jobs report, followed by a sharp rise in inflation — at the grocery store and the gas pump — that is being felt alike in homes across the nation and in the financial markets, which were sent into a frenzy by the numbers. And Americans continue to line up for (expensive) gas all along the East Coast ahead of Memorial Day.
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell has counseled Americans not to worry overly about inflation, arguing that some increase was always an inevitable byproduct of economic recovery after the pandemic. It will subside, he says. Cecilia Rouse, the chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, says the most recent jobs doesn’t account for several factors, including seasonal adjustments, holiday weekends, and the gap between receiving a vaccine and becoming fully immune. The White House is working to calm nerves surrounding the bad economic reports as it continues to push forward twin legislative packages that would amount to another $4 trillion in spending.
The U.S. can afford about one quarter of the spending that is currently being proposed by the administration, warns conservative economist Peter Morici. “We can afford a trillion-dollar program to improve infrastructure to make the semiconductor industry more competitive with the Chinese, to harden the supply chain and bring some industry back,” Morici told “Just the News AM” this week. “But we cannot afford massive increases in social services.” “[U]nless we want to have a lot of inflation, or tax companies to the point that they leave the country,” he warned, the U.S. can really only afford to invest in necessary infrastructure — not spend trillions “building out the state.”
The worst thing about the Trump years was that he enabled his adversaries to get away with turning bad faith into the greatest virtue of all. That’s what you got in the connivance of the anti-Trump Deep Staters and The News bringing you three years of RussiaGate, Robert Mueller’s coverup operation for RussiaGate, and Rep. Adam Schiff lying his ass off without any penalty. And now you’re getting more of it courtesy of Attorney General Merrick Garland allowing political adventurers like Deputy AG Lisa Monaco to go fishing for charges against Rudy Giuliani for the express purpose of burying him in “the process” and leaving him bankrupt. The Justice Department is a broken institution now, and there isn’t enough good will or good faith around these days to put it back together.
The Woke hysteria, on the other hand, is lately revealed to be a patent hustle, and is finally inviting pushback in the schools as parents begin to loudly object to “white privilege” struggle sessions for eight-year-olds and workshopping sexual confusion with children who are not ready for any version of sex, real or fake. The Great Reset’s connection to Wokery can be seen in the efforts of George Soros to finance the elections of district attorneys around the country, and that game is unwinding as their blatant incompetence is revealed. Kim Gardner, installed in St. Louis, now faces losing her law license for the malicious prosecution of former Governor Eric Greitens. The Missouri Supreme Court is conducting the investigation.
A recall effort is underway to recall Soros-backed LA DA George Gascon, who doesn’t believe in prosecuting criminals. And the DA-equivalent, State’s Attorney, in Chicago (Cook County), Kim Foxx, another Soros installation, is on the rocks not just for covering up the Jussie Smollett hoax, but for allowing the county to become a free fire zone. What was Mr. Soros thinking?
Great movie script.
Amid all the sleepless hours that Todd Leetham spent hunting ghosts inside his company’s network in early 2011, the experience that sticks with him most vividly all these years later is the moment he caught up with them. Or almost did. It was a spring evening, he says, three days—maybe four, time had become a blur—after he had first begun tracking the hackers who were rummaging through the computer systems of RSA, the corporate security giant where he worked. Leetham—a bald, bearded, and curmudgeonly analyst one coworker described to me as a “carbon-based hacker-finding machine”—had been glued to his laptop along with the rest of the company’s incident response team, assembled around the company’s glass-encased operations center in a nonstop, 24-hours-a-day hunt.
And with a growing sense of dread, Leetham had finally traced the intruders’ footprints to their final targets: the secret keys known as “seeds,” a collection of numbers that represented a foundational layer of the security promises RSA made to its customers, including tens of millions of users in government and military agencies, defense contractors, banks, and countless corporations around the world. RSA kept those seeds on a single, well-protected server, which the company called the “seed warehouse.” They served as a crucial ingredient in one of RSA’s core products: SecurID tokens—little fobs you carried in a pocket and pulled out to prove your identity by entering the six-digit codes that were constantly updated on the fob’s screen.
If someone could steal the seed values stored in that warehouse, they could potentially clone those SecurID tokens and silently break the two-factor authentication they offered, allowing hackers to instantly bypass that security system anywhere in the world, accessing anything from bank accounts to national security secrets. Now, staring at the network logs on his screen, it looked to Leetham like these keys to RSA’s global kingdom had already been stolen. Leetham saw with dismay that the hackers had spent nine hours methodically siphoning the seeds out of the warehouse server and sending them via file-transfer protocol to a hacked server hosted by Rackspace, a cloud-hosting provider. But then he spotted something that gave him a flash of hope: The logs included the stolen username and password for that hacked server. The thieves had left their hiding place wide open, in plain sight. Leetham connected to the faraway Rackspace machine and typed in the stolen credentials.
And there it was: The server’s directory still contained the entire pilfered seed collection as a compressed .rar file. Using hacked credentials to log into a server that belongs to another company and mess with the data stored there is, Leetham admits, an unorthodox move at best—and a violation of US hacking laws at worst. But looking at RSA’s stolen holiest of holies on that Rackspace server, he didn’t hesitate. “I was going to take the heat,” he says. “Either way, I’m saving our shit.” He typed in the command to delete the file and hit enter. Moments later, his computer’s command line came back with a response: “File not found.” He examined the Rackspace server’s contents again. It was empty. Leetham’s heart fell through the floor: The hackers had pulled the seed database off the server seconds before he was able to delete it.
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"Economists have made-up their own numbers on climate change" based on a "crazy-bad assumption" says Australian economist @ProfSteveKeen
And if they are wrong, "we are screwed."
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