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Friday, February 03, 2023

Links - 3rd February 2023 (2)

Pompeii Ruins Show That the Romans Invented Recycling - "We found that part of the city was built out of trash. The piles outside the walls weren’t material that’s been dumped to get rid of it. They’re outside the walls being collected and sorted to be resold inside the walls."

Meme - *Aunt cass by aerith franklin cosplay*

Scary animals : a new classification [study] - "Scary animals, a new study reveals, can be separated into five distinct clusters :      “(1) non‐slimy invertebrates; (2) snakes; (3) mice, rats, and bats; (4) human endo‐ and exoparasites (intestinal helminths and louse); and (5) farm/pet animals. However, only snakes, spiders, and parasites evoke intense fear and disgust in the non‐clinical population.”  The diagram below shows the ‘mean disgust rating’ plotted against ‘mean fear rating’ for a selection of creatures...       “Having been bitten by a dog [also] decreased the mean disgust rating and the more serious the injury, the lower the rating was.”"

Describing the Relationship between Cat Bites and Human Depression Using Data from an Electronic Health Record - "Data mining approaches have been increasingly applied to the electronic health record and have led to the discovery of numerous clinical associations. Recent data mining studies have suggested a potential association between cat bites and human depression. To explore this possible association in more detail we first used administrative diagnosis codes to identify patients with either depression or bites, drawn from a population of 1.3 million patients. We then conducted a manual chart review in the electronic health record of all patients with a code for a bite to accurately determine which were from cats or dogs. Overall there were 750 patients with cat bites, 1,108 with dog bites, and approximately 117,000 patients with depression. Depression was found in 41.3% of patients with cat bites and 28.7% of those with dog bites. Furthermore, 85.5% of those with both cat bites and depression were women, compared to 64.5% of those with dog bites and depression. The probability of a woman being diagnosed with depression at some point in her life if she presented to our health system with a cat bite was 47.0%, compared to 24.2% of men presenting with a similar bite. The high proportion of depression in patients who had cat bites, especially among women, suggests that screening for depression could be appropriate in patients who present to a clinical provider with a cat bite. Additionally, while no causative link is known to explain this association, there is growing evidence to suggest that the relationship between cats and human mental illness, such as depression, warrants further investigation."

Decreased level of psychobiological factor novelty seeking and lower intelligence in men latently infected with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii Dopamine, a missing link between schizophrenia and toxoplasmosis? - "Toxoplasma gondii, a parasitic protozoan, infects about 30–60% of people worldwide. The latent toxoplasmosis, i.e. life-long presence of cysts in the brain and muscular tissues, has no effect on human health. However, infected subjects score worse in psychomotor performance tests and have different personality profiles than Toxoplasma-negative subjects. The mechanism of this effect is unknown; however, it is supposed that presence of parasites’ cysts in the brain induces an increase of the concentration of dopamine. Here we search for the existence of differences in personality profile between Toxoplasma-positive and Toxoplasma-negative subjects by testing 857 military conscripts using a modern psychobiological questionnaire, namely with Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). ANCOVA showed that Toxoplasma-positive subjects had lower Novelty seeking (NS) scores (P=0.035) and lower scores for three of its four subscales, namely Impulsiveness (P=0.049), Extravagance (P=0.056) and Disorderliness (P=0.006) than the Toxoplasma-negative subjects. Differences between Toxoplasma-negative and positive subjects in NS was inversely correlated with duration of toxoplasmosis estimated on the basis of concentration anti-Toxoplasma antibodies (P=0.031). Unexpectedly, the infected subjects had also lower IQ (P2=0.003) and lower probability of achieving a higher education (P2<0.0000). Decrease of NS suggests that the increase of dopamine in brain of infected subjects can represent a missing link between toxoplasmosis and schizophrenia."

Changes in the personality profile of young women with latent toxoplasmosis - "Latent toxoplasmosis is the most widespread parasite infection in developed and developing countries. The prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection varies mostly between 20 to 80% in different territories. This form of toxoplasmosis is generally considered to be asymptomatic. Recently published results, however, suggest that the personality profiles of infected subjects differ from those of uninfected controls. These results, however, were obtained on non-standard populations (biologists or former acute toxoplasmosis patients). Here we studied the personality profiles of 191 young women tested for anti-Toxoplasma immunity during gravidity. The results showed that the differences between Toxoplasma-negative and Toxoplasma-positive subjects exits also in this sample of healthy women. The subjects with latent toxoplasmosis had higher intelligence, lower guilt proneness, and possibly also higher ergic tension. The difference in several other factors (desurgency/surgency, alaxia/protension, naiveté/shrewdness, and self- sentiment integration) concerned changes in the variances, rather than the mean values of the factors."

The FCPA & Facilitating Payments - Whistleblower Justice Network - "In a number of our articles on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), we have touched on several exemptions and “affirmative defenses” in the law. (An affirmative defense is a defense where the defendant proves a set facts that mitigate or excuse otherwise unlawful behavior.) The two affirmative defenses permitted by the FCPA are very straightforward, but the major exemption- “facilitating payments”- warrants its own article.  The first affirmative defense is the “local law defense”, which essentially makes a bribe legal if it is expressly permitted by local laws. In practice, however, this defense is rarely used because few countries have written laws legalizing bribery of public officials. In one of the rare instances a defendant attempted to use this defense, the US vs. Kozeny, a federal court ruled that the defendant could not use the local law defense- even though Azerbaijan’s laws forgive those who bribe officials if they report the bribe, the US court ruled this is not tantamount to legalizing bribes... Facilitating payments are an exemption to the FCPA, NOT an affirmative defense. This means that the accused company can claim an alleged bribe was a facilitating payment and the burden of proof is on the government to prove otherwise. But, as the DOJ’s Guide to the FCPA helpfully points out, “Labeling a bribe as a ‘facilitating payment’ in a company’s books and records does not make it one.”  The DOJ calls facilitating payments a “narrow exception” that “applies only when a payment is made to further ‘routine governmental action’ that involves non-discretionary acts.”  Furthermore, one should note that while the FCPA permits these payments, they may be illegal under local law- and the OECD has urged member countries to prohibit their government officials from accepting facilitating payments. OK, but what actually is and is not a facilitating payment? Let’s tackle the latter half of the provision first- “non-discretionary acts”. A non-discretionary act means that the government official does not have any decision-making authority over the act. For example, the clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles does not have any discretion in deciding if you can renew your car’s registration. If you meet all the requirements laid out by law and/or agency policy, the clerk must renew your registration- he or she has no discretion in the matter. But maybe the clerk works very slowly and it takes days or months for your registration renewal to be approved… unless you pay him or her a small fee to “grease the wheels”. While this would blatantly be misconduct if it occurred in the US, in many foreign countries it is an accepted practice. Such a payment might be considered a facilitating payment and therefore legal under the FCPA. At the least, it clearly meets the standard of “non-discretionary” acts."

Hippos Can’t Swim—So How Do They Move Through Water? - The Atlantic - "“Depending on water level they walk or they swim,” said Dagmar Andres-Bruemmer of the Frankfurt Zoological Society. Except the swimming isn’t really swimming per se, she said. Rather, it’s a kind of gallop. “For all intents and purposes the hippo does not swim,” said Douglas McCauley, an assistant professor in the department of ecology, evolution, and marine biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It almost always maintains some contact with the bottom and walks or bounces off the bottom using these bottom contact points as a source of propulsion.”"

Nintendo Switch game promises players can feel boobs that feel like pudding, water balloons - "Senran Kagura follows a group of busty ninja schoolgirls, as they battle each other for honor, revenge, or other excuses to get their clothing alluringly torn in hand-to-hand combat. Sometimes they also cook or have water gun fights. Really, the activity options are wide-open, as long as there are boobs bouncing about."
Senran Kagura producer: Small boobs need to be moved by hand - "“I think that characters like Ryoubi or Mirai are the hardest to deal with because they have small breasts,” he said. “Since the whole game is based on larger breast sizes, and that’s what the [physics engine] is built around, we actually have to customize the movement on [small breasted characters] to make it work.”"

Burger King now serves bacon in South Africa – but dropped ‘ham’ from the names of burgers ‘to be more respectful’ of halaal clients - "Burger King in South Africa is dropping the word "ham" from its menu, after adding bacon at some of its stores, in order to be respectful of Muslim customers.  On Friday the chain confirmed it has changed the names of three of its products. What was previously known as a "Double Spicy Hamburger" will now just be a "Double Spicy Burger"; the "Triple Hamburger with Cheese" becomes the "Triple Burger with Cheese", and a "Hamburger King Jr" on the kids menu will now be just a "Kids Burger"... The word "ham" has featured on the Burger King menu since the chain opened its first store in South Africa in 2013. Up to September, all of its stores were fully halaal... The chain has had some queries from Muslim customers in the past on the "ham" part of the name, Klopper said, by way of Majlisush Shura Al Islami, the non-profit that certifies Burger King's remaining halaal outlets as being in compliance with Shari'ah law... 44 Burger Kings in South Africa are no longer halaal certified after the chain decided to introduce the line of bacon items that are popular for the brand in many other parts of the world."
From 2019. And their Muslim population is only 1.6%

Making a Static Website, 1995 vs. 2022

Facebook - "PSA: don’t ask Jewish people when Hanukkah is  It’s triggering and offensive.  Because we have no idea, either."

Late Power Ranger’s Wife Reveals What Happened In Final Moments Before The Star Took His Own Life - "Tammie Frank, widow of the late “Power Rangers” actor Jason David Frank, revealed in a recent statement what really happened in the hours leading up to him taking his own life in a Texas hotel room."

Twitter users solve baffling mystery of why an ant colony piled its dead members all over Trix cereal - "Twitter user OctopusCaveman presented a bizarre mystery to the social media platform late last month after noticing unusual behavior from the ants in his son's ant farm. In a thread that's now been liked more than 233,000 times and retweeted nearly 19,000 times, the artist revealed how his 5-year-old son decided to throw a handful of Trix cereal into his pets' habitat as a treat but was surprised by their reaction to his special offering. According to OctopusCaveman, instead of feasting on the sugary cereal, the ants enacted a bizarre ant funeral that left the family perplexed."
On the Death Rituals of Ants - "To the naked eye, ants deal with their dead much like humans.  When a member of the colony dies, the carcass will lie where it fell for a period of roughly two days.  In the fashion of a wake, this time period presumably gives the other ants time to pay their respects to their fallen comrade.  After two days, the living ants take the dead ant to an ant graveyard in a respectful procession, honoring the good work it performed for the colony... the dead ant must lay there for two days because the other ants simply don’t realize it is dead. Two days after death, the tiny ant corpse begins emitting a chemical called oleic acid.  To an ant, the smell of oleic acid equals death.  The experience of death is not a sense of loss, not a dead body, not an ascent to ant afterlife- it is simply oleic acid.  As soon as the living ants smell the oleic acid smell, they spring into action, carrying the tiny decaying intruder out of their midst and dumping it into the pile.  Even more interesting, Wilson discovered that if you give a live ant a bath in oleic acid, it is as good as dead to the other ants.  The still alive (but oleic acid covered) ant is carried off to the dead ant pile, trying to clean itself, flailing around, perhaps screaming “um, hey guys, I’m fine,” to no avail.   If you smell like a corpse, sorry little buddy, you’re a corpse.  Into the pile with you."

Man Sentenced To Death Over Disagreement With Customer Who Refused To Pay Bill - "Ashfaq Masih, 34, was arrested in 2017 in Pakistan for saying he believed in Jesus Christ, with a court deciding that he had ‘disrespected’ the Prophet Muhammad.  The statement was made when the bike mechanic got into a verbal disagreement with a Muslim customer who refused to pay the full amount for a repair job at Masih’s shop in Lahore.   Requesting the bill be reduced, the customer said he was a ‘religious devotee’ and that Masih should honour him... the mechanic refused the request, stating that Christians believe Jesus is the prophet. As they entered an argument, a crowd gathered before police were called to the scene to arrest Masih, with a court deciding he had committed an act of blasphemy... “The judges are aware that such cases are made to punish and settle personal grudges with the opponents, especially against the Christians.  “Because of pressure from the Islamic groups, lower courts' judges are always hesitant to free the victims but make popular decisions to save their skin and shift their burden to the high court."

King Charles II Died a Horrible, Unfortunate Death - "By 1387, 54-year-old Charles was seriously ill and infirm and confined to his palace at Pamplona -worn out by his wicked life or so his critics claimed. Doctors were summoned, and the bedridden King was prescribed a ‘body wrap’ of linen soaked in brandy or aqua vita. The king was to be sewn into this alcoholic shroud at bedtime so that the supposed curative properties of the alcohol could work their magic. When she had finished her task, the maid charged with stitching the King into his wrappings looked for something to cut the thread. No scissors were at hand. So the woman used a candle flame instead.  Unsurprisingly, the alcohol soaked cloth was immediately set ablaze. The maid, terrified by events as well as her own stupidity fled, leaving Charles the Bad to burn alive in his own bed."

Microsoft reveals Janet Jackson song had the power to crash laptops - even if it wasn't playing on them - "The music video for Janet Jackson's 1989 hit Rhythm Nation was a sensation in terms of its choreography and direction... the dystopian pop video had something else going for it too - the power to crash laptops according to Microsoft, and not just those that it was playing on... "It turns out that the song contained one of the natural resonant frequencies for the model of 5400 rpm laptop hard drives that they and other manufacturers used," explained Mr Chen. Advertisement  The issue was similar to an opera singer being able to shatter a glass by singing a particular tone... Thankfully laptops today won't suffer from the same issue - Microsoft says the manufacturer added "a custom filter in the audio pipeline that detected and removed the offending frequencies during audio playback"."

Meme - No Context Brits @NoContextBrits: "Let's take a minute to appreciate 'cappuccino' in Welsh.
Coffi / Americano...
Ffrothi Coffi / Cappuccino"

Singapore’s powerhouses neglect local intellectual life | THE Features - "the NUS and NTU suffer from stunted development. Even as they rise in global rankings, their contribution to the country’s intellectual life is relatively modest. Particularly in the humanities and the social sciences, they are largely absent precisely when their expertise is most needed – when complex and controversial issues call for the clarity, context and research-based insight that we academics claim to be able to provide. This retreat from the public sphere has been so complete and enduring that it is no longer noticed. It doesn’t occur to most Singaporeans that our universities could be playing a much broader social role.... At the very least, universities should be able to serve as honest brokers, convening discussions on challenging topics. After all, they are the only institutions in our society that give their employees the time and resources – largely taxpayer-funded – to think differently. They are not pressed to arrive at policy positions. They are not required to be popular or profitable. They can examine problems deeply, challenge conventional wisdom, clarify issues, offer insights that are counter-intuitive and keep contrarian viewpoints bubbling on the back burner for future reference. One might even say that they have a moral responsibility to do all this... Consider, for example, the government’s move to amend the Constitution to reserve presidential elections periodically for candidates from Singapore’s racial minority groups. There were individual academics interested enough to make submissions to 2016’s Constitutional Commission, but the activity fell far short of what would be considered normal elsewhere, perhaps for want of a critical mass of such scholars. In a different setting, universities would have been falling over themselves to convene public events to discuss such a major move before the parliamentary vote. Legal scholars and political scientists would explore constitutional implications and issues concerning political representation. Sociologists might want to showcase their research into ethnic identity and politics. For anthropologists, this could be an opportunity to share their research on the construction of race. In a normal developed country, local universities might run a series of public seminars on such subjects. Not in Singapore... Just as our national orchestras give free concerts at the Botanic Gardens to help cultivate an appreciation for music, research universities need to be out there showing the public that their intellectual work is worth supporting. Furthermore, schooling that’s confined to textbooks and classroom learning, by professors who show no interest in the real world passing by their window, wouldn’t amount to much of an education... The most disappointing case of going regional and global at the expense of the local must be political science at the NUS. I’ve followed public forums on local politics for decades. In recent years, one thing that has become practically guaranteed is that none of the speakers on Singapore politics will come from the NUS department of political science. To understand why, visit the department’s website and study the faculty profiles. At the time of writing, of 29 full-time faculty members, only one – a veteran now in his sixties – claims Singapore’s domestic politics as a research interest. In contrast, 22 colleagues – including all seven assistant professors – do not have “Singapore” anywhere on their research profiles or publication lists. Just five of the department’s scholars list at least one published work with “Singapore” in the title, and only two of these publications are more recent than 2013. You have to go back to Chan Heng Chee in the 1980s to find an NUS political science don who has made a seminal contribution to our understanding of Singapore politics. It’s a situation that would be unthinkable in virtually all developed countries.  Political science is an extreme but not unique case. If you scanned the research interests and backgrounds of faculty in NUS economics, for instance, you’d have a hard time guessing which country or even region the department belonged to. You might think it was based in Greater China, or perhaps in a US university with an Asia-Pacific focus...  There are two fairly obvious reasons for our universities’ C-minus performance in Singapore studies: the lack of academic freedom and the absence of a Singaporean core in many departments. Political restrictions date back to the first decade and a half of independence from Malaysia, in the 1960s and 1970s, when the government cracked down on activism in what were then the University of Singapore and Nanyang University. From the ashes, the new NUS and NTU rose like phoenixes – with a permanent phobia of the fires of politics. In many fields, academics are also thwarted by a lack of access to government data. For this reason, one can hardly blame economists for choosing not to specialise in Singapore. Historians have a different problem. They know too much. Declassified British records in London offer a rich vein of evidence concerning Singapore’s pre-independence history – but mining this lode puts historians on a collision course with the government’s official narrative. Sadly, this has meant that young academic historians of Singapore are able to find work more easily outside the country. It would be simplistic, however, to blame only the government. The universities’ problems are partly own goals scored by administrators obsessed by the research productivity game. This rewards those who churn out papers in so-called top-tier journals, ignoring the fact that these journals are published in, by and for the West... The US and its concerns lie at the core of most disciplines; the rest of the world is peripheral. It is a frustration familiar not only to scholars of Singapore, but also to academics in Australia, the UK, Hong Kong and elsewhere. In these other societies, however, universities put up stiffer resistance to the imposition of key performance indicators that would undermine their core mission to study their own locales"

Whatever happened to John Thompson, the ND farm kid who had his arms ripped off in a 1992 farm accident? - "Thompson blacked out and awoke to his dog licking his face and the realization that his arms were gone... No one else was home, so he walked 100 yards to the house to call for help — turning the doorknob with his mouth to get inside and using a pencil to dial the phone. Then he sat in the bathtub to prevent blood from getting on his mom’s new carpet... “I was bleeding out,” he said. “By the time I got to the hospital, they said ‘You shouldn't be alive because there's no blood in you.’”...  Thompson and his arms were eventually loaded onto a plane for Minneapolis where the arms would be reattached... After getting his arms reattached by surgeon Dr. Allen Van Beek (a 1966 University of North Dakota graduate) at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale, Minn., he was put into a coma for four weeks so he could heal. Thompson nearly died of a blood infection and endured more surgery and intensive rehabilitation... Thompson says he had to take people to small claims court and was even threatened by someone who was offended that Thompson wouldn’t shake his hand. His reattached hands are unable to fully open."


Government surpluses and foreign reserves in Singapore - "Many Singaporeans think that the government can engage in massive, even “generous”, deficit spending to rescue citizens, businesses and the economy from the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating economic aftermath, because of its past “prudence” in accumulating large foreign reserves that can be tapped in this emergency. If we delve more deeply, however, it becomes clear that the issue is far more complex. Indeed a strong case can be made that a slower pace of accumulating fiscal surpluses would actually deliver far better outcomes for the Singapore economy... given that—unlike in other countries and contrary to international transparency norms—the size of Singapore’s reserves is a state secret, it is difficult for investors to gauge how much they should figure into credit risk assessments. Disclosure of the reserves would remove this uncertainty, making borrowing even easier and cheaper, in addition to other benefits discussed below.   Both reserve accumulation and borrowing involve inter-temporal, inter-generational transfers of financial resources, but their distributive consequences differ. Reserve accumulation is inherently regressive: it transfers resources from poorer earlier generations to today’s or tomorrow’s richer generations when reserves are eventually expended. Borrowing, on the other hand, must be repaid by future generations, who, given an expectation of positive economic growth, will be richer than today’s generation, so better able to afford repaying the debt. Only those with extraordinarily little faith in Singapore’s fundamentals and leadership would project a future of absolute economic decline, making debt repayment an issue more serious than that faced by most of the world’s troubled economies... The roughly 45 percent wage (labor income) share of GDP is also very low, and the nearly 50 percent share of profits (returns to capital) extremely high, by historical and international standards.  Savings have been high (between 35 percent and 50 percent of GDP every year since 1981) because of mandatory CPF contributions, a weak social safety net (necessitating high precautionary savings), demographics (low dependency ratio or number of dependents to working-age population), and high income inequality (since the rich save more of their income than the poor)... the size and longevity of Singapore’s annual budget surpluses would be historically unprecedented worldwide in the post-feudal capitalist era. Budget surpluses feed into current account surpluses, the excess of Exports (X) over Imports (M), which in Singapore have averaged well above 10 percent of GDP every year since 1991, and over 20 percent since 2005.  Such persistently large external surpluses make us vulnerable to international accusations of “mercantilism” and “currency manipulation”...   Government budget surpluses (public sector savings) mean that Singapore wage-earners, consumers and private businesses have had less to spend on consumption and investment (both of which spur economic growth and create employment) than they otherwise would have. Consumer welfare and living standards have been lower than necessary for three decades. This is the (opportunity) cost of reserves...   Don’t Singaporeans benefit from the investment income generated from these reserves? Yes, the reserves provide a “net investment returns contribution” or NIRC to the budget, accounting in fiscal year 2017 for close to 20 percent of total government expenditure. But the NIRC figure given in each budget is not the actual investment income earned each year; rather it is very conservatively defined as up to 50 percent of the long-term expected real returns (including capital gains) of the relevant assets. There is no particular rationale for the 50 percent figure, which is simply an arbitrary rule of thumb, while the term “relevant assets” suggests that not all assets are included...   Even before the current pandemic, Singapore economists have argued for more government expenditure to fund an expanded social safety net. This is eminently affordable for a rich country that spends a lot less on social goods than others at the same income level. For example, Yeoh Lam Keong, former GIC chief economist, estimates that it will take just 0.5 to 1 percent of GDP to eliminate absolute poverty by bringing Singapore’s poor and elderly up to a basic income level. Notably, the latter group especially contributed to the build-up of reserves through their decades of high savings and low consumption... For thirty years, Singapore’s economic development strategy has relied heavily on supply-side policies of infrastructure provision, corporate subsidies (“investment incentives”), wage controls or subsidies, education and skills upgrading to attract foreign investment. Yet in the recent period topline GDP growth has inexorably slowed, the share of indigenous GDP in total GDP has been falling, and there has not been evolution of a self-sustaining indigenous productive capacity, let alone a cadre of domestic multinationals that can lead private sector growth. The economic challenge for Singapore then has been to find new sources of demand, made much more urgent with COVID-19 and likely future pandemics which devastate highly globalized sectors... In Norway, a small rich country with potentially hostile large neighbors, whose sovereign wealth funds are the world leaders in size, performance and governance, such long-term forecasts, including the size and growth of reserves, are public information."

The Disappearing Pride Flag / Swinwear for Real Women / Autogynephilia Comic

3 trans memes blokced by ifunny:

"Love how the rainbow is slowly disappearing lmao *Pride flag with Trans, black, brown & Ukraine stripes"
UnwokeLefty @LeftyUnwoke: "With every "upgrade" it gets closer to this *Trans Pacman eating up coloured dots*"

"NAD Competition Swimwear for Real Women *no trans logo*
Crotch: 'Not a dude'"

Girl: 'I'm busting' *runs to women's toilet*
Trans: 'Hi. It's my 2nd day of girlhood'
Girl: 'Sir! This is a woman's restroom!'
Trans: 'Reeeeeh!!!!!! Muh Pronounz!'
Girl: 'Hello? Police? There's a man......'
Trans: 'Help! I'm being genocided'

Links - 3rd February 2023 (1 - Covid-19)

Facebook - "As the third wave of the pandemic devastates the US, some dangerous ideas are being floated: Do the unvaccinated deserve an ICU bed? A very slippery slope. Then should we treat an accident victim who was not wearing a seatbelt? Or any victim of own careless behaviour? Meanwhile, the number of cases & deaths in the US continue to rise with 1932 deaths & 210816 cases in last 24 hours. Given that Israel is also seeing such a spike, perhaps we need an honest debate on longer-term effectiveness of mRNA vaccines"
From 2021

Rebekah Scanlan on Twitter - "I’m really mad. Lockdown extended another 4 weeks. This is a joke. We’re being robbed of our lives, time we will never get back. As a 35yo single woman who would like to have a family one day, these months dictate whether or not that can happen for me. Mad is an understatement"
From 2021

Meme - Amy Siskind @Amy_Siskind: "Let it rain vaccine mandates..."
Amy Siskind @Amy_SIskmd: "LIBERTY! (except for women controlling their own bodies). GOP, America's Taliban. #YallQaeda"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Answering children's questions about the Covid jab - "‘Why are some people will quite against getting the vaccine for children?’
‘There are some people that don't trust science. And there are some people that don't trust authority. And I think they live in fear of some science, partly because they don't understand it. But sometimes, because in the past, doctors and scientists have got things wrong. Some people take up a very firm view, and it's difficult for them to change their mind… But when these people deliberately spread misinformation, that is wrong and false, and that then causes other people to to make the same bad mistake, bad decision, but based on the wrong information that then can cause harm, and then I find that very objectionable.'"
Given that scientists aren't of one mind about kids getting covid vaccines, especially given the ridiculously low risk to them, and that so much of what we were told about covid was wrong, this is rich.

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Covid: Easing restrictions - "‘What does it mean to you on the, on that question about how many deaths per day would be acceptable? What would be the number that would be acceptable?’
‘I don't think any avoidable deaths are acceptable’
‘So you are, you’d go for a zero, zero COVID strategy’
‘No, no, no, no, no, no, I don't think any avoidable deaths are acceptable. That's why I would always want to put in place mitigating precautions to try and save people's ,lives like we do with other viruses and diseases. The government suggests that we need to live in for this, like we live with flu. We don't just accept flu in society, we put in place mitigations to avoid flu, we vaccinate children, for example. We encourage everybody to take up their flu vaccine. We have a huge public health campaign’
‘We don’t vaccinate all children against flu… We don't vaccinate the entire population do we against flu? And we don't have legal restrictions on movement and behavior in workplaces to protect against flu.’
‘No, we don't. But we put in place mitigations. We don't just accept flu, we don't just let it rip.’"
From 2021. Incoherent nonsense from Labour. Presumably they'd have locked England down for even longer to prevent "avoidable" deaths, whatever that means (he could not convey an appreciation of understanding tradeoffs)

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Omicron infections increasing 'quite dramatically' - "‘We know for example, vaccine passports, there's no evidence they make any difference at all'...
'Why do you think you know better than the people who run the health service and give him medical and scientific advice? What could possibly lead you to believe that you know better than them?’
‘Two things, first of all, the decisions that ministers have to take, and indeed, members of parliament isn't just based on scientific and medical advice, we have to judge that against the impact on the economy, on people's lives and livelihoods, on this, on the social impact, and indeed, on the things the NHS is doing that are not to do with COVID. We mustn't turn it into the national COVID service'"
From 2021

Best of Today: Will there be further Covid restrictions? (Dec 20 2021)
‘David Frost has resigned because he simply can't go along with what is being recommended. They’re listening to those who question the decisions of the modelers, the scientists who try and work out the direction of travel for this disease. Amongst those is Professor Cole Hennigan. He is a doctor, is an epidemiologist. He's also a GP and he's director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine in Oxford. I asked him, didn't we have to prepare for the worst, rather than simply hope for the best?’
‘Well, I think first is you have to have a balanced proportion when you get models. It's becoming clear at all that ministers see now is the worst case scenario. But actually, those models start to break down very rapidly, and they're already breaking down now with the numbers. What you're seeing is the people testing positive has gone up by about 50% in a week, that's not doubling every days. But if you take the cases aside, and you focus on the data that matters, the number of patients that has admitted, hardly changed over a week, up about 8%. In fact, yesterday, death went down, 45 daily deaths. So if you focus on the information that matters, you come up with a very different scenario.’…
‘What Professor Whitty would say to you… There is always a delay often around two weeks, if not longer. I think 17 days is what they usually say, between someone being infected and God help him, ending up in hospital. Therefore you can't yet know’
‘No, it's not that long Nick, unfortunately. Be nice if it was 17 days, it's a much shorter duration. Remember, many people are catching this proportion in hospital, the numbers of people in hospital are not clear how many are actually got infection, and they're turning up without the actual disease. So that's important. Without even understanding the data, how many people are recovered and waiting to be discharged, there were over 10,000 people waiting to be discharged into care homes and social care packages at the beginning of this year. You can reflect the data, you can watch it very carefully. This time last year, there were over 2000 people being admitted. So we're in a very different place with the presence of vaccines, the presence of the boosters, antivirals on board and you have to reflect that information. We're in deep, deep trouble here of potentially talking ourselves into annual winter lockdowns. Because what happens is, this is as good as it gets, when you consider the predictable rise in winter pathogens at this time of year... We also forget countries like Sweden where they reported one death yesterday, where throughout the whole pandemic, two years, they've said the same message and trusted the population, informed them about their risks. And if cases rise, people will moderate their behavior accordingly. And that's what we need, to trust people to do going forward because that's the only sustainable policy we'll get that will get us through this.’...
‘To be very clear Professor Hannigan. You are not saying I'm pretty sure that Omicron is nothing to worry about. But you are saying give us the facts, and we'll deal with it.’
‘So yeah, this is an incredibly important point, Nick, it's about risk. And it's about the people around you. And I think this is important. So if you've got an elderly grandmother, I've got an elderly and you really need to think about your behavior… I know some elderly people who were desperate to meet with their family this Christmas, and are prepared to take the risk.’"

Portugal says UK dropping it from green list is ‘unfathomable’ - "Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, said the country was in a far better place than it had been a few months ago, adding that a balance needed to be struck and that “health fundamentalism” ought to be avoided."
From mid-2021

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Portugal travel list and the Delta variant - "‘There is also in Portugal, growing evidence of a further mutation, what's become known as the Nepal variant. And while we don't yet know whether that's going to be a problem, it's wise to take a ultra cautious approach, whilst our scientists review the evidence, see what the nature of that is. And above all, whether or not our vaccines are effective against it’"
From mid-2021. Since there're always new variants we must always be cautious and life can never go back to normal

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Russia's Vaccine Paradoxes - "‘As the number of Coronavirus cases has shot up Moscow City Government has begun restricting restaurants to those who've been vaccinated or recently recovered from the virus and have the QR code to prove it. And even in a country with three COVID vaccines of its own, that's still just a small minority. Sputnik V, the main Russian jab was extolled by Vladimir Putin himself way back in August as the first in the world to be registered. The President revealed then that his own daughter had taken part in the clinical trials. The published data later showed Sputnik to be highly effective. Russia was in a hurry to be first when it came to launching mass vaccinations too, it got started just before the UK, but months on, with the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID now sweeping Russia’s cities, only 12% of the population here has been fully vaccinated. Many of my own friends have no intention of getting the job even now. The younger ones think they're low risk. Others worry about hidden side effects. And lots still don't think COVID is a big deal. Most of them see me as the strange one, to have been vaccinated with Sputnik months ago voluntarily. I do understand where they're coming from. Officials here have played down this pandemic from the very start. In the days when I'd watched relentlessly grim news bulletins from the UK, reporting the daily toll of COVID deaths, programs here never mentioned Russian fatalities. The coverage focused on horror stories from Europe and not problems at home. That went on for so long that many Russians don't see the point in getting vaccinated. They just don't fear COVID. There’s also the huge hype over Sputnik here. Everything from it's supposedly world beating results, to claims that not a single person has died of adverse side effects. By contrast, officials up to and including Vladimir Putin, constantly underline the supposed dangers of Western vaccines. Only that makes people wary of all COVID jobs, including Sputnik as something unknown and potentially dangerous... The case for vaccination wasn't helped by the fact that Russia's president only got his own job a few months ago, and behind closed doors. Mr. Putin isn't known for being camera shy, so plenty here doubt he actually got the vaccine, and definitely not the one they're being offered. Fundamentally, many Russians don't trust the authorities... many regions have begun obliging people to get vaccinated. Here in Moscow, the hospitals are admitting just shy of 2000 COVID patients every day. So workers from shop staff to teachers now have to get a jab or lose their jobs’"
From 2021
Weird how the BBC doesn't know that it's not compulsion unless you're threatened with prison (but of course, this is only for covid)

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Should England's roadmap be delayed on 21 June? - "‘New variants are coming out everywhere. And this summer, we need to protect our vaccination program. There's no particular reason to take this as the last variant that's gonna become dominant in the UK.’
‘But as you say, if new variants are coming up, everyone, you're right, that's always not only a risk, but a reality. I mean, we would, that I mean, it will be very demoralizing wouldn't, wouldn't it, I mean, not to mention terrible for so many businesses if we remain as we are now?’
‘I think what's demoralizing is having a third wave, if we can just delay international travel, delay step four of the roadmap until we have a much higher proportion of people vaccinated with two doses, we're in a much, much better position, we're only two months away from that. You know, it's not long to wait, where we were actually a much, much lower risk of having to then put in new restrictions, what I don't want is for us to have new restrictions.’"
From mid-2021. Of course, there're always new variants so it's always too soon to open up. It started off as "two weeks to flatten the curve", after all

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Government urged to make decision on more coronavirus restrictions - "Many, many countries in Africa, it's not just Africa across Asia, and Central and South America have not been able to access vaccines, because contracts have been signed, sealed. And countries have been hoarding those vaccines. So if we don't change that, we will not just stop at Omicron.. This virus remains very plastic, it will continue to evolve. And we will see that coming back to all of our countries, including here in the UK if we don't address that.’"
From end-2021
Vaxholes claim that it's justified to discriminate against the unvaccinated because the virus mutates faster due to unvaccinated people, so they are harming others (I still got called a plague rat by some vaxhole for denouncing his hatred even a few days from 2023, so these hateful people are still around). Even if we pretend that the vaccines were sterilising and that is true, their obsession with boosters means the Third World can't get vaccinated, so by their logic they are worsening the pandemic

Fredric Morenius on Twitter - Germany's health minister: "A lot of things I enjoy doing, I cannot do at the moment because it's a public health threat... I think we need certain restrictions to contain climate change. That means less travel is part of it as well. I cannot even rule out that during the climate crisis, we could end up in a situation where we would have to prohibit certain things"
Host: "But this is exactly what critics are afraid of, that the current corona measures are being used as a blueprint to introduce climate dictatorship"
Health minister: "Oh, but those are conspiracy theories"
Host: "How? You just said that the corona measures should be an example for the even bigger climate catastrope"

Martin Kulldorff on Twitter - "Trust in medicine is broken. The culprits? A vocal minority of MDs who got the pandemic wrong: promoting school closures and other lockdowns, not protecting high-risk elderly, denying natural immunity, pushing mask and vaccine mandates, and censoring/slandering oponents."

'Where Are Vaccines for Little Kids?' and the Latest on Long COVID - Scientific American - "Fischman: Advanced age actually doesn’t seem to be a big risk factor, Tanya. In fact, people aged 39-50 are most likely to be diagnosed with post-COVID conditions. That comes from a huge analysis of private health insurance claims, done on more than 78,000 people, collected by a nonprofit group called FAIR Health.
Lewis: They did find that women were more likely than men to have long-lasting problems, didn’t they? About 60 percent compared with about 40 percent?
Fischman: Yes, they did. One other big finding was that severe disease wasn’t a risk factor. Three-quarters of these people hadn’t been hospitalized. So you can have a mild case and still suffer months later.
Lewis:  One of the problems long COVID patients have is that this isn’t an easy condition to diagnose. Is there any new info on that?
Fischman: The study confirmed that difficulty. The NIH team put people in their study through blood tests, lung tests, heart tests, and a lot more, and they didn’t find a lot of abnormalities.
That means the condition is real, but the tests aren’t good enough. It’s a warning to doctors not to dismiss patients, not to say “it’s in your head” or anything like that. Physicians need to work hard to find treatments, because this population is growing as the pandemic continues, and they need help."
People are still pretending that long covid isn't mostly/entirely covid hysteria. If half of long covid sufferers never having had covid was not telling enough...
Obsessing about masks and general covid hysteria just makes long covid worse and more prevalent, since it seems to have a functional explanation

Long Covid may actually be onset of menopause for women, say experts - "Women may think they have long Covid when they are actually going through the menopause and may need hormone replacement therapy (HRT), experts believe.  In a recent survey of long Covid users, led by the University of Southampton, the average age of people replying was 46.5 while 82.5 per cent were women.  Symptoms of the condition are vague and overlap considerably with those experienced by women during perimenopause and menopause, such as fatigue, muscle aches, brain fog and difficult sleeping.   Dr Louise Newson, the founder of Newson Health Research and Education, said: “There is no diagnostic test for long Covid and the symptoms are often very similar to menopause, brain fogs, reduce stamina, tiredness and joint pains... According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), about 2.1 million people are suffering symptoms of long Covid in Britain – roughly 3.3 per cent of the population.  Symptoms included in the ONS surveys are fever, headache, muscle ache, weakness/tiredness, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste and loss of smell. They must be present at least four weeks after a Covid infection.  However, the ONS pointed out that such conditions are experienced regularly within the general population. It found that the prevalence of self-reported long Covid was greatest in females, and people aged 35 to 69... The largest global study to date on long Covid – by Johnson & Johnson, which analysed research on 1.3 million people – found that women are 22 per cent more likely than men to report ongoing symptoms, with the chance increasing with age.   As well as long Covid symptoms being linked to menopause, Dr Newson believed that the Covid infection could also have tipped women into menopause early.  Other infections, such as mumps, tuberculosis and malaria are known to trigger premature menopause. Many women also experienced reporting changes to their periods following a coronavirus infection or vaccination"
And, covid vaccination also disrupts women's periods

Singapore Real Income Growth Still Below Pre-Covid Era on Prices - "Singaporeans are seeing faster growth in their real income this year but the pace hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels even after robust adjustments in pay, dragged by inflation near a 14-year high."
We need more lockdowns and covid restrictions

People who refuse Covid vaccine are selfish, says Lord Lloyd Webber - "The composer Lord Lloyd Webber has said those who refuse to have a coronavirus vaccination are "selfish", as government fears emerged that social cohesion could be undermined if those reluctant to get jabs are scapegoated.  Government figures are working on ways to further improve take-up of the jabs among ethnic minority communities whose vaccination rate lags behind the nationwide average, with a push to get families to have vaccines together being looked at...   Lord Lloyd Webber, the acclaimed composer of musicals, criticised those who declined to take up the vaccine as he stressed that the June 21 reopening date was "absolutely critical" for the theatre industry... others cautioned against being too critical. Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, said those who do not want a vaccine should not be "stigmatised" by the rest of society. Number 10 distanced itself from an unnamed government minister who told Politico: "The risk is that a small number of idiots ruin it for everyone else.""
From 2021. Is it racist to call minorities selfish?
"Look what you made them do?!"
"Stigma" is only a bad thing when liberals disapprove of it

How many lives has bioethics cost? - "On the day they released the statement, about 70,000 new cases of Covid were confirmed in the United States, and about 1,000 people died of it. Is it “cautious” to stop using a vaccine which would almost certainly reduce those numbers, because of an uncertain chance that it might have negative effects in a tiny cohort? But caution, in this sense, has been rife during the pandemic. The governments of various European countries stopped the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over similar concerns...   Over the last two years, again and again, the fears of some possible risk caused by something we might do have outweighed the fears of a thoroughly real, utterly obvious risk which was killing people at the time. And it has, I think, been a failure of the field, or at least the practice, of bioethics... As a starting point, as a reasonable first draft, “Do the thing that kills fewer people” is hard to beat.  In bioethics, though, we’ve overcomplicated things. For instance, early in the pandemic, people were campaigning for “human challenge trials” into Covid vaccines. In normal vaccine trials, people are given the vaccine (or a placebo or other control), and then the researchers observe how many people get the disease naturally. If it’s significantly fewer in the vaccine group, then we say that the vaccine works.  But it can take months for enough people to catch the disease naturally. When I was on the AstraZeneca trial in summer 2020, prevalence was low – there was real concern that it would take many months to get enough data.   With human challenge trials, participants agree not only to be given the vaccine but also the disease. It lets you use far fewer participants, and get your results far quicker, than a traditional vaccine trial. A promising vaccine candidate, the Moderna mRNA vaccine, was ready in a lab in January 2020. The hundred or so doses that would have been required to get very solid evidence of effectiveness could have been made at lab scale in a few days. We could have known by February, or March at the latest, whether the vaccines worked...   Philosophy fans might think that this is a classic utilitarianism problem: is it OK to sacrifice one to save many; can I torture the terrorist in order to find the bomb? But as Chappell notes, in fact it is not. There are willing volunteers offering a (small but real) sacrifice for the greater good. It is an act of altruism, or even heroism, not coercion. “In what other context would the default assumption be to ban heroic acts of immense social value?”, asks Chappell.   There have been other failures. Recently, the drug Paxlovid was shown to be highly effective against severe disease. So effective, in fact, that the trial was stopped midway, because it was deemed unethical to give half of the participants a placebo when it was clear the real drug worked.  But the drug is still not approved in the US. So as Zvi Mowshowitz points out, “It is illegal to give this drug to any patients, because it hasn’t been proven safe and effective,” but also, “It is illegal to continue a trial to study the drug, because it has been proven so safe and effective that it isn’t ethical to not give the drug to half the patients.”... it’s amazing, with hindsight, to read this approving piece from October last year about how a doctor prevented Donald Trump from forcing through early approval of a Covid vaccine."
From 2021.

Health officials gain guardianship of baby whose parents refused ‘vaccinated blood’ transfusion | New Zealand
Ironically, a lot of the people upset about this are almost certainly very keen on "protecting children" in other contexts

Study: Unvaccinated drivers are more likely to crash - "The researchers extrapolated that those who hadn’t been vaccinated had a 72 per cent increased relative risk versus those who had been. That’s about equal to the traffic risks of people who suffer from sleep apnea
Covid hystericists will demand that the unvaccinated be charged more for their insurance. Good luck if you point out that other variables like race surely have a correlation with actuarial risk. The cope will be that people can't control their race. But people can't control their age or sex either, and insurance rates are affected by those

Public Distrust of Health Officials Is Anthony Fauci’s Legacy - WSJ - "Start with his dissembling on masks. When the virus began to spread in the U.S., he advised that “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.” He later reversed himself and acknowledged his earlier guidance was based on worries that there wouldn’t be enough masks for healthcare workers. In other words, he told an expedient lie.  Weeks later he endorsed universal masking even though studies showed cloth masks don’t protect against other respiratory viruses and there was little evidence they would do so against Covid. Over time it became clear that Covid was spreading through aerosols, tiny particles that cloth and surgical masks do a poor job of filtering out. So Dr. Fauci recommended double masking, for which there was scant evidence. “If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on—it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective,” he told NBC News’s TODAY.  Yet common sense also suggested lockdowns wouldn’t work. When China locked down its Wuhan region in January 2020, Dr. Fauci expressed doubts in an interview with CNN: “Historically, when you shut things down, it doesn’t have a major effect.”  Here, too, Dr. Fauci swiftly reversed his position. The initial call by Trump public-health officials for “15 days to slow the spread” in March 2020 stretched into two years as Dr. Fauci invoked one virus flare-up after another to argue for keeping public restrictions.   Some scientists in fall 2020 offered an alternative strategy of “focused protection” for the elderly and high-risk patients in a document called the Great Barrington Declaration. “Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19,” it read. “Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal.”  Dr. Fauci worked with then-National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins to “take down” the declaration. “This proposal from the three fringe epidemiologists . . . seems to be getting a lot of attention—and even a co-signature from Nobel Prize winner Mike Leavitt at Stanford,” Dr. Collins wrote to Dr. Fauci in an email. “There needs to be a quick and devastating published take down of its premises,” he continued. The two subsequently did multiple media interviews denouncing the strategy in an effort to chill debate. “It’s nonsense,” Dr. Fauci told ABC.  Dr. Fauci also dismissed the hypothesis that the virus leaked from a lab, perhaps to protect his agency, which helped fund gain-of-function virus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Researchers who have studied the virus’s genetic sequence say it most likely leaked from the lab, but without assistance from China this may be impossible to prove.  Yet in an interview with Wired magazine this month, Dr. Fauci implied that those who disagree are ignorant or malicious... How dare anyone question Dr. Fauci’s expertise and judgment? If you don’t agree with him, you don’t believe in science. “It’s easy to criticize, but they’re really criticizing science because I represent science. That’s dangerous,” Dr. Fauci asserted last November. But open debate and inquiry is the essence of the scientific method.  Like all of us, Dr. Fauci is a mere mortal who has character flaws, hubris most of all. He presented himself as infallible. Many liberals all but worshiped him. His high-handedness and lack of candor with the public sowed distrust in health officials and vaccines. No matter how much he pleads to the contrary, that will be his legacy."

The whistleblower who could blow open the Covid lab leak theory in 2023 - "If you haven’t heard of the whistleblowing scientist Dr Alina Chan, then you almost certainly will in 2023.   The gene therapy and cell engineering specialist at The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard was one of the first experts to question whether Covid leaked from a lab in Wuhan, and has doggedly pursued an investigation into the origins of the pandemic.  In the coming year, it is possible that evidence will finally emerge proving that experiments to soup-up coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) led to the accidental release of Covid... She first suspected a leak in March 2020 after realising nobody had found any infected animals at the Wuhan market where China claims the pandemic began. At that time it was impossible to get most scientists to even consider a non-natural origin, with many suggesting that it was racist to even ask the question. Dr Chan wrote an analysis arguing it was strange that the virus was already ‘pre-adapted’ to humans, and suggested it could have evolved in experiments in humanised mice infected with bat viruses. In 2021 she co-authored Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19 alongside science writer Matt Ridley, a book The Wall Street Journal called ‘perhaps the most comprehensive case for the lab-leak theory currently available’.   But ever since she first spoke out in 2020, Dr Chan has been met with harsh critical reaction – not just from other scientists, but Chinese state media too. Her stance has not made her popular and she has been branded a ‘race traitor’ because of her part-Chinese heritage, with one Chinese news outlet calling her behaviour ‘filthy’. At one time she was even considering changing her name because the abuse got so bad. Although she fully accepts that an animal spillover is possible, she points out that despite years of looking, no culprit has been found. WIV also mysteriously removed a database of viruses shortly before the pandemic began.   Since then hackers have dug up evidence showing that researchers at WIV were indeed collecting bats and carrying out gain-of-function experiments that could have created Covid. And they were doing so at alarming biosecurity levels."

Consider homeworking to combat ‘Kraken’ variant, EU countries told - "European countries should consider a return to homeworking and the use of face masks to combat the spread of a new Covid variant nicknamed ‘Kraken,’ EU health officials have said.  This is despite concluding that the strain, which is taking off in the US and other nations, including the UK, poses a “low” risk to the general population of Europe.  In a briefing published on Friday, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said there are “currently no signals” that the Omicron sub-variant, officially named XBB.1.5, is any more severe than other strains in circulation."
The pandemic will only be over once there is the political will to declare it over

Meme - Jeannie Kim @jeanniekim: "My new love language is being invited to parties where everyone is asked to rapid test beforehand"
December 31, 2022. If there's any doubt that covid hystericists are still around

Men are less likely to wear masks – another sign that toxic masculinity kills | Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian
If women are hesitant about the vaccine, it's because the health industry hasn't earned their trust | Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian
Men bad. Women good
These are by the same writer too

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Links - 2nd February 2023 (2 - Biden-Harris)

National Archives' defense of Obama-era records rings hollow in wake of Biden documents scandal - "The National Archives repeatedly defended itself over its handling of records from the Obama administration — but these statements now appear to ring hollow as the classified documents saga engulfs President Joe Biden.  The National Archives released four separate press releases last year, which seemed to cast doubt on the idea that any records from the Obama years were missing or had been mishandled. The agency set up an entire section on its website, “Press Statements in Response to Media Queries About Presidential Records,” in early 2022 dedicated to its numerous press statements on the Trump Mar-a-Lago classified documents saga, but the National Archives has yet to issue one press release when it comes to Biden...   The Republican-led Committee on Oversight and Accountability told the National Archives earlier this month it was investigating whether there was “political bias” at the agency... If Westerners understand viscerally what has happened – that the old liberal order is hanging by a thread and another template, rooted more in strategic resilience, military prowess and staunch commitment to Western values, must take its place – the question remains about whether we are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to truly achieve this.  Such a pivot will cost money at a time when the West is haemorrhaging cash for its health services. And yet the British are loath to even countenance trimming other parts of the welfare state. Meanwhile, the French will not contemplate a world with a retirement age beyond 62. Nor are we willing to ramp up our energy self-sufficiency with nuclear or fracking – perhaps because, with net-zero policies, we are increasingly devoted not to making sacrifices for Western civilisation, but sacrificing Western civilisation for a more primitive greater good. Here we see a disturbing difference between the West and its enemy. Russia, despite its economic and demographic decay, views itself as belonging to a culture yet to fulfil its destiny. The West is increasingly resigned to its own decline and weary of its own values – not least freedom. This is why Russia’s ability to upend the world should not be taken for granted; and why, as it stands, the West is far from defeating Putin and all he stands for."

The Vacation Presidency | GOP
Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts | Facebook - "Assuming the Republican Party is reporting this accurately, I’ll repeat what I’ve said for previous presidencies… The President is rarely “off work”, they are receiving daily briefings, attending meetings, and taking calls. What is worth noting is that the press it’s once again exhibiting different reporting standards between presidents. They reported the running total on Trump’s days spent golfing, but not Biden’s days out of the office. Just as they maintained an ongoing “lie counter” for Trump but dropped the prescribe when Biden took office. This distorts the voters perceptions of presidents."

Derek H. Burney: Joe Biden's barely passing grade - "Biden is dogged by allegations in the non-mainstream media about his son Hunter. The younger Biden lied on a gun purchase application, which is a felony, but no legal action has been taken. Photos from when Biden was vice-president show Hunter and his father meeting Mexican and Ukrainian partners, which belies the president’s solemn assurance that he knew nothing about his son’s business activities. And the sale of art by Hunter to anonymous buyers for enormous sums has raised many eyebrows, including those of president Barack Obama’s former ethics adviser, but to no avail... The U.S. State Department’s decision to invite the disreputable UN Human Rights Commission to investigate racism in America has only exacerbated the political divide in the United States...   President Biden rationalized the haphazard departure from Afghanistan by saying America had achieved its objective of “getting Osama bin Laden,” ironically action that, as vice-president, he had opposed... if I had to grade him today, it would be a “gentleman’s C.” Unfortunately, even his initially strong COVID performance — his singular achievement — is now moving backwards.  And he merits no pluses on foreign policy that I can see."
From 2021

Meme - Jason Linkins @dceiver: "I wrote about hunting politicians down in public spaces, shouting at them, making them extremely upset, because they stole all of your political power and left you no other choice, which is true no matter what their clapped-out simps in the media tell you"
"Is Criticizing Joe Biden a Danger to Democracy? As concerns mount over the future of free and fair elections, a debate has broken out about whether the media must protect Biden to save the republic.
Jason Linkins"

Why Joe Biden's classified documents scandal worse Donald Trump's - "In some respects Joe Biden's apparent mishandling of classified documents may be worse even than Donald Trump's.  The situation is extremely serious for both men, each of whom could feasibly have committed crimes under the Presidential Records Act, and the Espionage Act if they acted with "gross negligence".  Mr Trump was found to be in possession of hundreds of classified documents while Mr Biden, so far, appears to have had about a tenth of that amount.  However, the Trump documents were kept in a storage room, and in his office, at Mar-a-Lago, where he continued to live and work after leaving the White House.  In Mr Biden's case, the first batch of classified material was found in a cupboard at a Washington think tank, where he kept a private office.  Mr Biden stopped using that office when he launched his presidential campaign in April 2019.  Yet the documents were still there over three years later, and found on Nov 2, 2022.  It left open the question of who had access to them during those three years.  In addition, the think tank - the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement - was not founded until 2018.  No one, apart from perhaps Mr Biden, knows where the documents were between him ceasing to be vice president in Jan 2017, and the think tank office opening...   Republicans are having a field day mocking Mr Biden.  Did he not notice the boxes marked "Top Secret" in the garage next to his beloved 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, they wonder.  And who else had access to the garage? For example, his son Hunter, who was involved in various foreign business dealings.  Mr Biden addressed the media, reading from a piece of paper, presumably drafted by his lawyers. He stumbled as he vowed to "fully cooperate" with the Justice Department investigation. It was not a good look for a president.  To his advisers' chagrin he then went off script, trying to argue that his garage was kept locked, due to his Corvette being in there.  As one eminent law professor pointed out, the "Corvette standard " does not feature in government protocols on handling classified material.  Mockery aside, a special counsel is now investigating Mr Biden, as is already the case for Mr Trump. They are in the same boat, and taking on water...   Mr Trump has argued that he declassified the Mar-a-Lago documents before he ceased to be president.  As vice president Mr Biden would have had the same power to declassify the documents that later turned up in his office and garage.  However, Mr Biden has not argued that he did so, instead suggesting that he was unaware the documents were there.  His defence is ignorance, but that is not necessarily a defence under the law."

Charlie Savage on Twitter - "BREAKING: 5 more pages of Obama-era classified docs were found Thurs evening stored in a room adjacent to Biden's garage, the White House disclosed on Sat. The files came to light when DOJ went to pick up a page Biden's lawyers had found Wed night"

‘You don’t need to be contentious with me here, Ed’: Karine Jean-Pierre, CBS reporter clash over Biden docs - "White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had a heated exchange with CBS News correspondent Ed O'Keefe over President Biden's mishandling of classified documents."

Regina M on Twitter - "Let me be clear @SouthwestAir we need a firing right now of the pilot who thought he was going to disrespect the @potus while being paid by you. Figure it out. #BoycottSWAirlines"
Glenn Greenwald on Twitter - "Seems notable how much of liberal discourse is devoted to demanding that their political adversaries be fired, banned from the internet, or imprisoned. Such repressive measures are presumably necessary to prevent the US from becoming authoritarian or fascist."
Ironically, the person who wants the pilot fired boasts that it "Speaks truth to power" in its bio. Presumably you can speak truth to power only if it's "respectful"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, A change of pace in the White House - "Mr. Biden, who earned the reputation over the years as being prone to verbal miscues has been careful in his public appearances. Sheltered his critics might say. Trump, on the other hand, seem to enjoy the sometimes raucous adlib exchanges with journalists until the last few months of his presidency when everything went into lockdown… He was regularly accessible to reporters in the White House press pool, probably more directly accessible than any modern president, even if the answers he gave to questions weren't always forthcoming or even factual. It's different with Biden. We can go days weeks without getting the president to answer a question. So far I've been in the Oval Office and aboard Air Force One for presidential travel at public speeches and in virtual meetings with foreign leaders. I can count on one hand the number of times the President has responded to our questions. On most days at the White House, a lid, an end to public events for the day is announced by mid afternoon. The pace is decidedly slower now. Talk to Biden administration staffers and that's just how they like it."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, America's Border Camps for Children - "We drove around the camp and found a spot where you could just catch a glimpse of the children's quarters. The vast white tents, at least 12 of them shimmered in the heat and the distance and a military security man drove up to us on the other side of the fence and stopped watching us closely. He made a call. We decided to leave. The trip was starting to feel like a trip to an authoritarian country, complete with a propaganda department to lead us astray. I'd requested access to the camp. The Department of Health and Human Services which runs it replied, reminding me how dedicated they were to openness and transparency, followed by a line saying no, access was not possible, not now. I'd been in touch with employees inside the camp. They’d told me that hundreds of children had had COVID and other illnesses including scabies, the flu, strep throat. An entire tent full of around 800 girls, I was told, had to be locked down because of lice. I knew it was bad in there. The problem was how to tell the story. A female employee texted me from inside the camp. She said she could come out and meet me at her lunch break. She followed our car to a spot in the desert where we wouldn't be seen and got into my car. Nervous she insisted that we didn't show her face, her t-shirt or even her shoes in any filming. Staff have been told not to talk to anyone about the camp. This is Biden's America and it felt absurd having to sneak around just to tell a story about children in distress. As if this was Zimbabwe or Sudan's Darfur. Several members of staff I was in touch with had of their own accord began to secretly take pictures in the camp and record audio of staff meetings and training sessions. They offered me the material. I was told where to go in town to pick up a memory stick. On it was the world's first look inside the tents… These were teenagers lined up in their hundreds to be marched to meals, each wearing a wristband that gets checked every time they leave their tent… I heard one employee talking about a child who was coughing up blood and was unable to get medical attention for hours. A 15 year old I spoke to who'd been in Fort Bliss and also preferred to remain anonymous, broke down sobbing after a few minutes of recalling his time there. He said he thought he'd never seen his family again and began to despair. He began to think of killing himself. Other children spoke of going to bed scared and feeling alone. Some lie listlessly on their beds all day. A staff member told me he had come across many children who had started to self harm... I was told of siblings being separated into different tents of children being put on a bus and told they were going home, and then taken off it again and told it was a mistake. One day staff say a contractor stole into a tent and raped a girl. The girls were given pregnancy tests. The guards read the results out in front of everyone. The government did not respond to our specific findings, but told us that the children in Fort Bliss were being properly cared for, and said that they had dramatically reduced the number of children in the camp. Fort Bliss sounds every bit as bad to me, as some of the sites children were held in under President Trump. But there's a great silence in America on the subject of these camps. It goes against the narrative of the Biden presidency, that Biden's agenda is to save democracy in our times. But what kind of country is it where children cut themselves out of despair in camps in the desert, and where the government tries to hide it?"
Damn Trump!

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, ‘This was perhaps the most consequential speech of his presidency...and I think his tone was perfect pitch’ - "I watched the Democratic Convention, for example. And what I was struck with was, it was light on policy and heavy on rhetoric. And, and I felt like that at times, I was almost watching a chameleon change colors on a strobe light. One minute, I thought, is Biden a moderate? Or is he a progressive? Is he a Trojan horse for the radical left wing of the party, or as even today, he pivoted because he never mentioned the looting going on in the United States. And he talked about peaceful protesting, which is the American right. But today, he actually addressed the looting going on in America, but still, he didn't praise law enforcement"
From 2020
Plus Biden amazingly but predictably blamed the "far right" for the looting

Joe Biden on Twitter - "Just months ago, Donald Trump was planning to allow oil and gas drilling off the coast of Florida. Now, with 56 days until the election, he conveniently says that he changed his mind. Unbelievable. You don't have to guess where I stand: I oppose new offshore drilling."
Biden Administration to Auction Off Gulf of Mexico for Offshore Drilling - "The Biden administration is preparing to auction off more than 80 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling companies less than a week after the United Nations COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, where global negotiations over plans to reduce fossil fuel emissions faced an official deadline on Friday.  The annual Gulf of Mexico lease sale planned for November 17 in New Orleans is the largest federal offshore drilling auction in United States history"

WNBA star Brittney Griner released as part of prisoner swap with Russia - The Globe and Mail - "Russia freed WNBA star Brittney Griner on Thursday in a high-profile prisoner exchange, as the U.S. released notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout but failed to win freedom for another American, Paul Whelan, who has been jailed for nearly four years... Her status as an openly gay Black woman, locked up in a country where authorities have been hostile to the LBGTQ community, injected racial, gender and social dynamics into her legal saga and brought unprecedented attention to the population of wrongful detainees."
Great swap. An arms dealer for someone who did something that's also illegal in her home country and is being feted because of her race, sex and sexual orientation, while others who did the same languish (Marc Fogel). When you need to pander to your base...

Townhall.com on Twitter - ""You said the United States would stay vigilant. It sounds like the administration still sees [Viktor Bout] as a security threat, no?"
KJP: "We are always going to stay vigilant."
"So you still have security concerns?"
KJP: "I'm not the intelligence committee here.""

Meme - "Dog we got raw dawged
TheOne&Only17 @Only17Theone: "Viktor avgraged every month, 2500 torpedos, 75,000 AK 47s, 1700 assault rifles, 2500 grenades transfers per month the last two years
Brittany Griner averaged 14 pts and 8 Rb's per a basketball game

BIDEN ADMITS PLAGIARIZING IN LAW SCHOOL - The Washington Post - "He also dismissed as "much ado about nothing" charges that in his stump speeches this year, he has used -- word for word and without attribution -- passages from other politicians."
Campaign Press Release - Copy That – Joe Biden's Long Record Of Plagiarism?
From 1987 and 2020

'There's a new sheriff in town': Biden says government has ignored US-made products for too long - "Biden vowed to increase accountability for federal agencies to buy products that have a 60 per cent or higher threshold of components made in America... The president finished the event with a 'Freudian slip' where he said he was vice president under President Donald Trump in 2009."
America first is only bad when Trump does it

Meme - Lindy Li: "This is OUR CITY. Good things happen in Philadelphia. Am I right?! "F- Donald Trump!" #Biden2020 #ElectionResults2020"
Lindy Li: "The Oregon dad who had the nerve to say Let's go Brandon to Pres Biden & First Lady Jill Biden is now saying it was "in jest". He calls himself a "free-thinking American and follower of Jesus Christ". Ever notice how it's always the Trump evangelicals who are the most hateful?"

Biden confronts a host of problems he can't do much to solve | CNN Politics
From April. Convenient

White House deletes tweet after Twitter adds 'context' note - "The White House deleted a Twitter post on Wednesday touting an increase in Social Security benefits for seniors after the social media platform added a “context” note pointing out that the increase was tied to a 1972 law requiring automatic increases based on cost of living changes.  “Seniors are getting the biggest increase in their Social Security checks in 10 years through President Biden’s leadership,” read the tweet, which was posted to the official White House account at 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 1. On Wednesday, the tweet no longer appeared on the White House’s feed."

Biden says inflation caused by war in Iraq, says he misspoke because that's where 'my son died' - "President Joe Biden misstated during a speech on Tuesday that inflation was caused by the war in Iraq, before correcting himself to say the war in Ukraine. Biden said he misspoke because his son, Beau Biden, died in Iraq... Biden had said in a 2019 speech, "[Because] of exposure to burn pits, in my view — I can’t prove it yet — he came back with stage four glioblastoma. Eighteen months he lived, knowing he was going to die.""
He didn't even die in Iraq. So this is double dementia?

Meme - USA TODAY Politics @usatodayDC: "President Joe Biden said Wednesday the 2022 midterm elections could "easily be illegitimate" if Congress does not pass voting rights legislation." USA TODAY Politics @usatodayDC: "Biden will 'address the threat of election deniers' in a speech at 7 p.m. Wednesday from Washington's Union Station."

Joe Biden's 'extremely radical' billionaire tax plan is doomed to failure - "Chris Krueger, policy analyst at Cowen, says this will be an attempt to salvage Biden’s fiscal policy “in a great rebrand of Build Back Better into an inflation-fighting, supply-chain-fixing, deficit-reducing panacea”... About 12 European countries had a wealth tax in the 1990s but just three remain with France ditching its version in 2018 following an exodus of millionaires.   The OECD concluded in one study that there were limited arguments for a wealth tax in addition to capital gains and inheritance taxes, warning they tend to be distortive."

Billionaire Tax Faces Likely Constitutional Challenge - WSJ - "Democrats’ fast-moving plan to tax billionaires’ unsold assets each year as they gain in value faces a potentially significant obstacle: the U.S. Constitution.  If enacted, the tax would almost certainly face a legal challenge, given the clear incentive for a taxpayer to spend millions in legal fees to save billions on taxes.  The likely argument: Taxing capital gains that haven’t been realized yet falls outside the income taxes allowed by the 16th Amendment that don’t have to be apportioned based on state population. Under current law, individuals pay capital-gains taxes only when the gain is realized, typically when they sell an asset, such as a stock, closely held business or painting."

In Powerful Call For Nation To Calm Down, Biden Falls Asleep | Babylon Bee

Biden snaps at reporter over Putin question: 'You're in the wrong business' - "President Biden snapped at a reporter at the end of his press conference Wednesday in Geneva after she asked why he was "confident" Russian President Vladimir Putin would change his previously malign behavior... Biden's angry response didn't sit well with some reporters.  "If you’re the most powerful person in the world and you can’t field questions from the media without losing your temper, maybe you’re in the wrong business," New York Magazine's Olivia Nuzzi tweeted afterward. The rare unscripted moment came as Biden once again called on a pre-selected list of journalists before answering some shouted ones at the end"

Meme - Kamala Harris @KamalaHarris: "Say it loud, say it clear, everyone is welcome here. #NoBanNoWall"
"Kamala Harris to Guatemala migrants: "Do not come!""
We're still told that no one supports open borders

Biden DOJ Wins Lawsuit to Seize 260-Year-Old Texas Ranch Along Border - "In August 2020, then-candidate Joe Biden told reporters he would end all lawsuits seeking control of land along the Mexican border to be used to build border walls"

The Biden administration has a nepotism problem, says former Obama-era ethics czar - "President Biden, seemingly dead set on departing from the nepotistic tendencies of his predecessor, promised that he would not bring any member of his family into the administration. Biden has held true to this promise for his part – but over the last several months, his top aides have blatantly flouted it...   Walter Shaub, a senior ethics fellow at the Project on Government Oversight and the former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, called the hirings a "f**k you" to government ethics.  "I'm sorry, I know some folks don't like hearing any criticism of him," he tweeted on Friday. "But this royally sucks. I'm disgusted. A lot of us worked hard to tee him up to restore ethics to government and believed the promises." He added: "The White House's defense that they had the minimum qualifications is total BS. The issue isn't whether they were qualified (some weren't). It's that a WH that promised diversity is giving these privileged white kids with connected mommies and daddies prime jobs over others!""

Biden May Buy Oil Just Below $80; Democrats Stymied Trump at $24 - Bloomberg - "The Biden administration is considering replenishing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve when oil dips below $80 a barrel, just two years after Democrats blocked former President Donald Trump from filling the reserve at a fraction of that price... Trump in March of 2020 was looking to stabilize the oil industry after Covid-19 hit in 2020 and crushed global petroleum demand. With oil at the time priced at about $24 a barrel, Republicans proposed spending $3 billion to fill up the reserve. But the idea became a political football in larger negotiations on trillions in coronavirus relief, with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer proclaiming that his party had blocked a “bailout for big oil.” That decision effectively cost the US billions in potential profits and meant Biden had tens of millions of fewer barrels at his disposal with which to counter price surges. It also will take more oil to fill the reserve than two years ago. In March 2020, the reserve had 634 million barrels stored out of a capacity of 727 million barrels. After a record drawdown last week, the reserve is down to 442 million barrels, its lowest level since 1984."

Venezuelan migrants in shock and limbo after new US immigration plan - "“The news hit me like a bucket of cold water,” says Alejaidys Morey, a 30-year-old Venezuelan woman, who until this week was planning to start traveling towards the United States.  On Wednesday, the US announced that it is expanding Title 42 — a pandemic-era provision that allows migration officials to expel illegal migrants to Mexico on public health grounds — and unveiled a new program to allow some Venezuelan migrants to apply to arrive at US ports of entry by air with a cap of 24,000.  Both plans are designed to dissuade Venezuelans like Morey from attempting to enter illegally and dangerously overland through the US-Mexico border.

President Biden's Supreme Court commission offers no solutions for the court's legitimacy crisis
Basically court legitimacy doesn't matter and liberals should just use the courts to push through their agenda

Extremists Launch Attack Against Saudi Oil Facilities. Biden Removed Them From Terrorist List. - "A group of Iranian-backed extremists, which Democrat President Joe Biden removed from the official Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list, claimed credit on Friday for an attack on Saudi energy facilities.  “At (1725), Saudi Aramco’s Bulk Plant in Jeddah was targeted with an act of aggression, the early indications of which suggest that it was targeted by the terrorist, Iran-backed Houthi militia”... The Trump administration designated the Houthis, also known as Ansarallah, as an FTO and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under the leadership of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The Biden administration quickly reversed the terrorist designation after taking over in early 2021."

LeGhoul Killer Moth on Twitter - Joe Biden: "Second: I’m calling on governors to pardon simple state marijuana possession offenses. Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely for possessing marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either."
"kinda fucked up that he would just erase Kamala’s life work like that"

Biden Delaware visitors shrouded in mystery by Secret Service - "The Secret Service says it checked again and still can’t find any records that identify visitors to President Biden’s Delaware residences — where he has spent roughly one-fourth of his presidency... Transparency advocates of varying political stripes have fought in court for decades to identify presidential influencers, saying it’s important for the public to know who shapes government policy. Biden’s detractors, meanwhile, note that he made a habit of meeting with his family’s influence-seeking international business partners before he took office and question whether that remains the case...   “If the Secret Service is doing its job, there has to be visitor records,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “If there aren’t any records, the scandal is much bigger than just a lack of transparency.”   Biden took office last year vowing to uphold “the highest standards of transparency” and the White House congratulated itself shortly after he took office for resuming the partial release of West Wing visitor logs, which then-President Donald Trump discontinued in 2017...   In a win for transparency advocates, the liberal group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) successfully sued to obtain records pertaining to a Japanese delegation visit in 2017 to then-President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, ultimately acquiring a list with 22 names...   Although the White House says Biden stands by his 2019 claim that he’d “never spoken” with his son Hunter about “his overseas business dealings,” there’s a growing list of evidence to the contrary as federal prosecutors weigh tax fraud, money laundering and unregistered foreign lobbying charges against the first son, who recently paid the IRS about $2 million in back taxes.   While vice president, Joe Biden attended with his son a 2015 DC dinner whose guest list included Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina and her husband, former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, according to records from a laptop that formerly belonged to Hunter Biden.  Baturina, one of a dwindling number of Russian oligarchs yet to face US sanctions over Russia’s seven-month-old invasion of Ukraine, paid $3.5 million in 2014 to a Hunter Biden-linked firm... At the same 2015 dinner, a document indicates Joe Biden met with an executive from the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which paid Hunter Biden up to $1 million per year to serve on its board despite no relevant industry experience as his VP father led the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy... In 2016, Hunter Biden emailed one of his Mexican associates, apparently while aboard Air Force Two for an official visit to Mexico, complaining that he hadn’t received reciprocal business favors after “I have brought every single person you have ever asked me to bring to the F’ing White House and the Vice President’s house and the inauguration.”   Hunter Biden’s business partner Eric Schwerin visited the White House and vice president’s residence at least 19 times while Joe Biden was vice president, visitor logs show, casting further doubt on Joe Biden’s claims to have been unaware of his son’s business ventures.   At his 2020 impeachment trial for pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, then-President Trump’s defense team cited visitor logs that showed Joe Biden met with his son’s partner Devon Archer in 2014 around the time both Hunter Biden and Archer joined the Burisma board."

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