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In setback for Biden’s mandate policy, Florida appeals court allows governor to ban obligatory masks in schools

RT | September 10, 2021

A Florida appeals court has overruled a district judge who sought to block Governor Ron DeSantis from banning mask mandates in public schools, even as President Joe Biden vowed federal support for administrators who do so.

On Friday, the First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee overruled Leon County Judge John Cooper’s decision to block the enforcement of the mandate ban, meaning schools that try to force children to wear masks can be punished by the governor.

“Upon our review of the trial’s court’s final judgment and the operative pleadings, we have serious doubts about standing, jurisdiction, and other threshold matters,” said the appeals court order, casting doubt on the case the mandate advocates made through a group of parents.

DeSantis is a Republican governor opposed to lockdowns and mask mandates, who has opted for encouraging vaccinations and antibody treatments for Covid-19 instead. He has argued that masking up ought to be voluntary, and that school mask mandates violate the rights of parents and children. Under the rules enacted by DeSantis last month, school administrators who impose mask mandates can be docked pay. Judge Cooper tried to block their enforcement.

Of the 67 school districts in Florida, 13 have adopted strict mask mandates in violation of the state order. So far, DeSantis has withheld the monthly salary of school board members in two counties, Broward and Alachua, while investigating others for non-compliance.

On Thursday, Biden said the federal government would reimburse anyone who defies the mask mandate ban, as part of his push to force some 80 million Americans to get vaccinated or submit to weekly tests under the threat of losing their jobs or paying massive fines. Biden blamed the “unvaccinated” for the surge in Covid-19 cases and said the vaccinated must be protected from them.

“This is not about freedom, or personal choice,” Biden said in a televised speech, later adding, “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us.”

Biden also said state governors should require vaccinations of all school teachers and staff, imposed a vaccination requirement on 300,000 teachers in the federal Head Start program, and vowed to go after any governors “undermining” his measures.

“If these governors won’t help, I will use my powers as president and get them out of the way,” he said.

Last month, DeSantis vowed to “stand in the way” of Covid-19 mandates, lockdowns, and other restrictions, saying the US can “either have a free society or we can have a biomedical security state.”

September 10, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | 1 Comment

World Health Organization Enters Damage Control Mode

This article was previously published on April 9, 2021, and has been updated with new information.

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | September 10, 2021

While the mainstream media has, by and large, dismissed the theory that SARS-CoV-2 was created and leaked from a high-security biocontainment lab in Wuhan, China, a number of high-ranking U.S. officials are sticking to it, and there’s probably good reason for this.

On the whole, if the virus was actually a natural occurrence, a series of improbable coincidences would have had to transpire. Meanwhile, a series of highly probable “coincidences” point to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) being the most likely source, and to dismiss them as a whole simply doesn’t make sense.

Media Struggle to Prop Up Unproven Zoonotic Theory

I first mentioned that the outbreak had the hallmarks of a laboratory escape in an article we posted February 4, 2020. On the upside, some members of the media are now finally starting to inch toward more honest reporting on this — probably because U.S. officials keep leaning that way.

That doesn’t mean some aren’t still trying to defend the official narrative. Take The New York Times, for example. The original headline of its March 26, 2021, article about Dr. Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, read: “Ex-CDC Director Favors Debunked Covid-19 Origin Theory.”1

Three days later, that headline was toned down to: “The CDC’s Ex-Director Offers No Evidence in Favoring Speculation That the Coronavirus Originated in a Lab,”2 with a correction notice noting that the earlier headline “referred incorrectly to a theory on the origins of the coronavirus. The theory is unproven, not debunked.”

Well, the truth is, all other theories are equally unproven — and are riddled with far more holes. The theory that the virus arose through natural mutation, for example, looks like Swiss cheese in comparison to the lab-leak theory.

In a February 16, 2021, article3 in Independent Science News, molecular biologist and virologist Jonathan Latham, Ph.D., and Allison Wilson, Ph.D., a molecular biologist, reviewed the evidence for a laboratory origin and the reasons why a zoonotic origin “will never be found.” I also summarized their review in March 2021 article, which explains that:

  • The chance of a person from Wuhan being patient zero is approximately 1 in 630, based on calculations that take into account the population size of Wuhan, the global population and the fact that coronavirus-carrying animals are found virtually all over the world
  • Taking into account that there are 28 Alpha- and Beta-coronavirus species with members that affect humans, the chance of Wuhan hosting a SARS-related coronavirus outbreak is 17,640 to 1
  • No credible theory for natural zoonotic spillover has been presented, to date
  • There are at least four distinct lab origin theories, including the serial passage theory (which proposes the virus was created by serial passaging through an animal host or cell culture). There’s also a variety of evidence for genetic manipulation
  • A third theory is that SARS-CoV-2 is the result of vaccine development, and the fourth is the Mojiang miners passage theory, which proposes a precursor to SARS-CoV-2 sickened the miners, and once inside these patients, it mutated into SARS-CoV-2

No matter which way you look at it, the half-baked idea brought forth by the World Health Organization’s investigative team, that the virus somehow naturally evolved in some unknown part of the world and then piggy-backed into Wuhan on top of frozen food, is held together by even fewer facts.

Among the more compelling “coincidences” that hint at lab-origin are the facts that the WIV has admitted storing and working with bat coronaviruses collected significant distances away from the lab, and that it’s the only biosafety lab in China that studies human coronaviruses. These viruses include RaTG13,4 the closest known ancestor to SARS-CoV-2, obtained from miners who fell ill with severe respiratory illness after working in a Mojiang mine in 2012.

WHO COVID Report ‘Totally Flawed’

In a March 30, 2021, opinion piece in The Washington Post,5 Josh Rogin accurately points out that the WHO’s report6 on the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is so flawed, “a real investigation has yet to take place.” We simply cannot count that report as the result of a true investigative effort.

“Determining the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus should have nothing to do with politics,” he writes.7 “It is a forensic question, one that requires thorough investigation of all possible theories, and one that should encompass both the scenario that the virus jumped from animals to humans in nature as well as one related to human error in a Wuhan lab.

But a fatally flawed investigation by the World Health Organization and Chinese officials and experts only muddies the waters, and it places the WHO further at odds with the U.S. government and the Biden administration.”

As noted by Rogin and many others, the investigation was far from independent and transparent, as China was allowed to select its members, who then relied on their Chinese counterparts when it came to data collection. It’s no surprise then that this team decided the natural origin theory is the most credible, while the lab-accident theory is summarily dismissed as unworthy of further consideration and study.

In a March 25, 2021, CNN interview,8 Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated, “We’ve got real concerns about the methodology and the process that went into that report, including the fact that the government in Beijing apparently helped to write it.” Rogin adds:9

“Specifically, declassified U.S. intelligence, confirmed by Blinken’s own State Department,10 alleges that the WIV was conducting undisclosed research on bat coronaviruses, had secret research projects with the Chinese military, and failed to disclose that several lab workers got sick with COVID-like symptoms in autumn 2019.”

Someone’s Not Telling the Truth

According to the WHO report, the labs “were well-managed, with a staff health monitoring program with no reporting of COVID-19 compatible respiratory illness during the weeks/months prior to December 2019.” “In other words, the WHO is saying the U.S. intelligence is wrong,” Rogin writes.11

Not a word is mentioned in the report about U.S. government claims that the WIV engaged in the very research required to create a novel coronavirus with the specific affinity to infect human cells.

Recently, Shi Zhengli, who heads bat coronavirus research at the WIV, spoke at a Rutgers University seminar, calling the WIV’s research “open” and “transparent.” Former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger disagrees. In an interview with Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes,” he said:12

“There was a direct order from Beijing to destroy all viral samples — and they didn’t volunteer to share the genetic sequences. There is a body of research that’s been taking place, conducted by the Chinese military in collaboration with the WIV, which has not been acknowledged by the Chinese government.

We’ve seen the data. I’ve personally seen the data. We don’t know [why the military were in that lab]. It is a major lead that needs to be pursued by the press, certainly by the WHO.”

As noted by Pottinger, Shi published studies showing how bat coronaviruses were manipulated to render them more infectious to humans, and the U.S. government has in the past received reports of safety concerns due to lax standards at the WIV.

“They were doing research specifically on coronaviruses that attach to the ACE2 receptors in human lungs just like the COVID-19 virus,” Pottinger told Stahl.13 “It’s circumstantial evidence. But it’s a pretty potent bullet point when you consider that the place where this pandemic emerged was a few kilometers away from the WIV.”

US State Department Suspects Lab Leak

In a March 21, 2021, interview with Sky News Australia,14 David Asher, former lead investigator for the U.S. State Department’s task force that looked into the origins of COVID-19, also stated that the data they collected “made us feel the Wuhan Institute was highly probably the source of the COVID pandemic.”

According to Asher, three workers at the WIV who worked with the RatG13 coronavirus — the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2 identified to date — appear to have actually been the first cluster of cases of COVID-19. They fell ill with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 as early as October 2019. At least one of the workers required hospitalization.

He also pointed out there is evidence in the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 suggesting it’s been synthetically altered. It has the backbone of a bat coronavirus, combined with a pangolin receptor and “some sort of humanized mice transceptor.” “These things don’t naturally make sense,” Asher said, adding that experts around the world agree that the odds of this configuration occurring naturally are “very low.”

Another troubling indicator that something was amiss at the WIV was the Chinese government’s taking down of a WIV database in September 2019. According to the Chinese, this was done because of “thousands of hacking attempts.”

However, Asher pointed out many other databases were taken offline around the same time as well.15 The Chinese even tried to remove data posted in a European database containing viral sequencing from patients exhibiting COVID-19-related symptoms. Interestingly, those sequences included adenovirus, which is a vaccine vector. This, Asher said, could indicate that SARS-CoV-2 is part of a vaccine developed in response to a biological weapon.

In an earlier article16 by The Sun, Asher is quoted saying the WIV “was operating a secret, classified program,” and that “In my view … it was a biological weapons program.” He stops short of accusing China of intentional release, however, which also would not make sense from a bioweapon point of view. Instead, he said he believes it was a weapon vector that, during development, “somehow leaked.”17

A March 27, 2020, assessment report by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency also concluded SARS-CoV-2 was likely an accidental release from an infectious diseases laboratory, but stops short of calling it a biological weapon.18 Asher also told Sky News19 he’s never seen a more systematic cover-up, and The Sun 20 quotes him as saying that “Motive, cover-up, conspiracy, all the hallmarks of guilt are associated with this.”

Former FDA Commissioner Weighs in on Lab Origin

March 28, 2021, former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, now a board member of Pfizer (producer of one of the COVID vaccines), weighed in on the origin of the pandemic in a “Face the Nation” interview, saying:21

“It looks like the WHO report was an attempt to try to support the Chinese narrative … You know, the lab leak theory doesn’t seem like a plausible theory unless you aggregate the biggest collection of coronaviruses and put them in a lab, a minimum-security lab in the middle of a densely-populated center and experiment on animals, which is exactly what the Wuhan Institute of Virology did.

They were using these viruses in a BSL-2 lab and, we now know, infecting animals. So that creates the opportunity for a lab leak. It might not be the most likely scenario on how this virus got out, but it has to remain a scenario. And I think at the end of the day, we’re never going to fully discharge that possibility. What we’re going to have here is a battle of competing narratives.”

WHO Enters Damage Control Mode

In response to growing critiques, WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and 13 other world leaders have joined the U.S. government in expressing “frustration with the level of access China granted an international mission to Wuhan.” As reported by The Washington Post, March 30, 2021:22

“Ghebreyesus said in a briefing to member states … that he expected ‘future collaborative studies to include more timely and comprehensive data sharing’ — the most pointed comments to date from an agency that has been solicitous toward China through most of the pandemic.

He said there is a particular need for a ‘full analysis’ of the role of animal markets in Wuhan and that the report did not conduct an ‘extensive enough’ assessment of the possibility the virus was introduced to humans through a laboratory incident …

The United States, Britain, South Korea, Israel, Japan and others issued a joint statement23 … expressing concern. ‘Together, we support a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence,’ it reads …

Tedros said24 … that mission team members raised concerns to him about access to raw data needed for the report … ‘The team reports that the first detected case had symptom onset on the 8th of December 2019. But to understand the earliest cases, scientists would benefit from full access to data, including biological samples from at least September 2019,’ he said.”

WHO Investigation Team Accused of Spreading Disinformation

In a March 2020 interview with Independent Science News,25 molecular biologist Richard Ebright, Ph.D., laboratory director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology and member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee of Rutgers University and the Working Group on Pathogen Security of the state of New Jersey, called out the members of the WHO-instigated investigative team as “participants in disinformation.”

Ebright was one of 26 scientists who signed an open letter26 demanding a full and unrestricted forensic investigation into the origins of the pandemic, published in the Wall Street Journal and French Le Monde, March 4, 2021. When asked to describe the shortcomings of the WHO-China team’s investigation, he responded:

“A credible investigation would have had Terms of Reference that: 1) Acknowledged the possibility of laboratory origin, 2) Ensured access of investigators to records, samples, personnel, and facilities at the Wuhan laboratories that handle bat SARS-related coronaviruses,

3) Enabled collection of evidence, not mere meet-and-greet photo-ops, 4) Authorized an investigation of months, not mere days, and 5) A credible investigation also would have had conflict-of-interest-free investigators, not persons who were subjects of the research and/or closely associated with subjects of the investigation …

It is crucial that any team reviewing the issues include not only research scientists, but also biosafety, biosecurity, and science policy specialists.”

Ebright, who has repeatedly called the WHO mission “a charade,” stated that “its members were willing — and, in at least one case, enthusiastic — participants in disinformation.” Importantly, the terms of reference for the investigation were prenegotiated, and did not include even the possibility of a laboratory origin. He’s also highly critical of the inclusion of Peter Daszak, whose conflicts of interest alone are enough to invalidate the investigation.

“Daszak was the contractor who funded the laboratory at WIV that potentially was the source of the virus (with subcontracts from $200 million from the US Department of State and $7 million from the US National Institutes of Health), and he was a collaborator and co-author on research projects at the laboratory,” Ebright noted.

What Do We Know?

While another signer of the open letter, Dr. Steven Quay, claims to have calculated27 the lab-origin hypothesis as having a 99.8% probability of being correct, Ebright is unwilling to assign relative probabilities to either theory. Rather, he insists a truly thorough forensic investigation and analysis is what is required, as there is biological evidence going in both directions. He explains:

“The genome sequence of the outbreak virus indicates that its progenitor was either the horseshoe-bat coronavirus RaTG13, or a closely related bat coronavirus.

RaTG13 was collected by Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2013 from a horseshoe-bat colony in a mine in Yunnan province, where miners had died from a SARS-like pneumonia in 2012, was partly sequenced by WIV in 2013-2016, was fully sequenced by WIV in 2018-2019, and was published by WIV in 2020.

Bat coronaviruses are present in nature in multiple parts of China. Therefore, the first human infection could have occurred as a natural accident, with a virus passing from a bat to a human, possibly through another animal. There is clear precedent for this. The first entry of the SARS virus into the human population occurred as a natural accident in a rural part of Guangdong province in 2002.

But bat coronaviruses are also collected and studied by laboratories in multiple parts of China, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Therefore, the first human infection also could have occurred as a laboratory accident, with a virus accidentally infecting a field collection staffer, a field survey staffer, or a laboratory staffer, followed by transmission from the staffer to the public.

There also is clear precedent for this. The second, third, fourth and fifth entries of the SARS virus into human populations occurred as a laboratory accident in Singapore in 2003, a laboratory accident in Taipei in 2003, and two separate laboratory accidents in Beijing in 2004.

At this point in time, there is no secure basis to assign relative probabilities to the natural-accident hypothesis and the laboratory-accident hypothesis. Nevertheless, there are three lines of circumstantial evidence that are worth noting.

1. First, the outbreak occurred in Wuhan, a city of 11 million persons that does not contain horseshoe-bat colonies; that is tens of kilometers from, and that is outside the flight range of, the nearest known horseshoe-bat colonies. Furthermore, the outbreak occurred at a time of year when horseshoe bats are in hibernation and do not leave colonies.

2. Second, the outbreak occurred in Wuhan, on the doorstep of the laboratory that conducts the world’s largest research project on horseshoe bat viruses, that has the world’s largest collection of horseshoe-bat viruses, and that possessed and worked with the world’s closest sequenced relative of the outbreak virus …

3. Third, the bat-SARS-related-coronavirus projects at the Wuhan Institute of Virology used personal protective equipment (usually just gloves; sometimes not even gloves) and biosafety standards (usually just biosafety level 2) that would pose very high risk of infection of field-collection, field-survey, or laboratory staff upon contact with a virus having the transmission properties of SARS-CoV-2.”

Who’s Qualified to Opine on Viral Origin?

When asked “What would you say to the scientists who declined to comment on the open letter because it does not come from virologists?” Ebright responded:28

“The claim is unsound. There were virologists among the signers of the Open Letter. There even were coronavirologists among the signers of the Open Letter. More important, COVID-19 affects every person on the planet. Not just virologists …

Microbiologists and molecular biologists are as qualified as virologists to assess the relevant science and science policies. Virology is a subset, not a superset, of microbiology and molecular biology. The sequencing, sequence analysis, cell culture, animal-infection studies and other laboratory procedures used by virologists are not materially different from the procedures used by other microbiologists and molecular biologists.”

Is Gain-of-Function Research Ever Justifiable?

Clearly, getting to the bottom of the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is crucial if we are to prevent a similar pandemic from erupting in the future. If gain-of-function research was in fact involved, we need to know, so that steps can either be taken to prevent another leak (which is not likely possible) or to dismantle and ban such research altogether for the common good.

As long as we are creating the risk, the benefit will be secondary. Any scientific or medical gains made from this kind of research pales in comparison to the incredible risks involved if weaponized pathogens are released, and it doesn’t matter if it’s by accident or on purpose. This sentiment has been echoed by others in a variety of scientific publications.29,30,31,32

Considering the potential for a massively lethal pandemic, I believe it’s safe to say that BSL 3 and 4 laboratories pose a very real and serious existential threat to humanity.

Historical facts tell us accidental exposures and releases have already happened, and we only have our lucky stars to thank that none have turned into pandemics taking the lives of tens of millions, as was predicted at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seeing how scientists have already figured out a way to mutate SARS-CoV-2 such that it evades human antibodies, having a frank, open discussion about the scientific merits of this kind of work is more pertinent than ever before.

If SARS-CoV-2 really was the result of zoonotic spillover, the easiest and most effective way to quash “conspiracy theories” about a lab origin would be to present compelling evidence for a plausible theory. So far, that hasn’t happened, and as noted by Latham and Wilson, the most likely reason for that is because the virus does not have a natural zoonotic origin, and you cannot find that which does not exist.

Summary

Ideally, we need to reevaluate the usefulness of the WHO. Strong evidence indicates it is heavily influenced, if not outright controlled by Bill Gates. On the whole, it seems it would be far wiser to decentralize pandemic planning from the global and federal levels to the state and local levels. Both medicine and government work best when individualized and locally applied.

Sadly, even though this is clearly the best strategy for successfully addressing any truly serious infectious threat, the likelihood of this happening is very close to zero.

This is largely due to decades of careful planning by the technocrats that have carefully placed their surrogates in virtually every arena of global government, finances and media, which allows them to easily dictate their propaganda campaigns and censor or deplatform virtually anyone who disagrees and seeks to provide a balanced counter-narrative.

Sources and References

September 10, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 3 Comments

Adam Schiff demands more data on Amazon’s policing of “misinformation” in books

By Dan Frieth | Reclaim The Net | September 10, 2021

Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat, has written to Amazon and Facebook, requesting more information on their efforts to combat the spread of “misinformation” on their platforms. The Democratic party has intensified its criticism of online platforms for their failure to address what they say is misinformation, which they blame for the stalling of the vaccination program.

“Despite some concrete and positive steps previously taken, these companies owe both the public and the Congress additional answers about the exponential and dangerous proliferation of misinformation,” said Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, in a statement.

In recent weeks more Democrats, including White House officials, have spoken out against online platforms for their failure to address health misinformation, blamed for the increased vaccine hesitancy in the country. Biden singled out Facebook, saying the company was killing people for allowing the spread of vaccine-skeptic content.

In a statement to Reuters, Facebook said that, since the beginning of the pandemic, it had “removed over 20 million pieces of COVID misinformation, labeled more than 190 million pieces of COVID content rated by our fact-checking partners, and connected over 2 billion people with reliable information through tools like our COVID information center.”

It added it had “removed over 3,000 accounts, pages, and groups for repeatedly violating our COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation policies and will continue to enforce our policies and offer tools and reminders for people who use our platform to get vaccinated.”

A spokesperson for Amazon said that it has been “constantly evaluating the books we list to ensure they comply with our content guidelines, and as an additional service to customers, at the top of relevant search results pages we link to the CDC advice on COVID and protection measures.”

September 10, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Leave a comment

Texas governor branded hypocrite after signing free speech bill, having cracked down on Israel critics

RT | September 10, 2021

Republican Governor Greg Abbott has been slammed as a hypocrite after he signed an anti-Big Tech censorship bill on Thursday, with critics pointing out that he’s cracked down on Texans who’ve protested against Israel’s actions.

In a video on Thursday, Abbott claimed “freedom of speech is under attack in Texas,” before revealing he would be signing a law that “prevents social media companies from banning users based upon the user’s political viewpoints.” He said it would allow Texans to file lawsuits against “dangerous” Big Tech platforms that wrongfully suspend their right to post.

“In Texas, we will always fight for your freedom of speech,” Abbott concluded, as he signed the bill.

Though many US conservatives praised Abbott online for signing the bill, journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out that the same governor had previously used his power to crack down on pro-Palestine activists who protested against Israel.

“I’m happy seeing anyone take a stand against Big Tech censorship, but I also feel compelled to note that [Abbott] himself is one of the country’s most repressive censors,” Greenwald tweeted on Friday, noting that the governor had championed a law that “punishes American citizens who refuse to take an oath about Israel.”

“I can’t overstate how repressive is the censorship supported by Abbott and other mostly but not all red-state governors that punish citizens who advocate a boycott of Israel. Thankfully, the courts are declaring them unconstitutional, but Abbott is a fraud.”

In 2017, Abbott’s office announced that the governor had “proudly” signed a new law that “prohibits all state agencies from contracting with, and certain public funds from investing in, companies that boycott Israel.”

At the signing of the bill, Abbott declared that “any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy” and “any boycott of Israel is considered to be un-Texan,” ultimately disregarding citizens whose views on the matter didn’t align with his own.

“We will not tolerate such actions against an important ally,” he warned.

A Muslim speech pathologist at an elementary school in Austin, Texas was subsequently ousted from her job after she refused to take an oath swearing she would not engage in a boycott of Israeli products or other such anti-Israel actions.

In 2019, a federal court in Texas ruled Abbott’s bill to be an unconstitutional violation of citizens’ First Amendment rights.

In March, Abbott also took aim at the social network Gab, calling it an “anti-Semitic platform” and declaring, in a video in which he sat in front of an Israeli flag, that it had “no place in Texas.”

Abbott received heavy criticism from Republicans for his anti-Gab stance, including from several Jewish conservatives who served in President Donald Trump’s administration.

The governor’s statement was branded “despicable and false” by Gab CEO Andrew Torba, who pointed out that nearly 800,000 Texans had visited the network in the previous 24 hours and that even the Texas Republican Party had a verified account on the site.

September 10, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

The Paradox of Turnkey Totalitarianism

By Max Borders | AIER | September 10, 2021

Somewhere a brilliant but troubled biotech engineer is doing CRISPR in his garage. He has all he needs: a computer, a fridge, a centrifuge, some animal cages, and an assortment of microorganisms in tubes, which he has labeled and stored until he’s ready. Today he will use a gene-editing technique to make a deadly, fast-spreading bacterium. Oh, and he plans to unleash it upon the world tomorrow. He just needs to make a few finishing touches.

Why is he doing this?

Maybe he’s gone mad. Maybe he’s lonely and wants to get revenge on the world. Maybe he read Ted Kaczynski’s manifesto and thinks humans are a plague. In some sense, it doesn’t matter. Out of a thousand other brilliant gene researchers, he has broken bad. And nobody really knows what he’s working on in that garage. He is as invisible to his neighbors as he is to the girls he likes.

  • What on earth are we going to do about this young man?
  • How do we stop people like him from unleashing mass death?
  • And if we are going to stop him, who is the “we?”

Today, more and more people have access to technological means to wreak havoc on the world. As more people have access to exponential technologies, some subset of them could be out there in the dark working on the next existential threat.

So what are we going to do?

Reasonable Regulations

For most people, the answer is linear, even logical: regulation. It’s plausible enough. Certain kinds of activities are riskier than others, so ordinary people are going to have to trust and empower authorities to provide regulatory oversight. Sounds simple. Advocates of this kind of regulation are not arguing that risky research should be banned. As we stipulated in our own scenario, 999 out of 1,000 are not monsters at all but up to good things. Some of their work will be welcome medical breakthroughs.

So maybe some people should be allowed to engage in activities that create existential risks. Otherwise, such activities should be tightly controlled by regulators in licensed, transparent environments. And, of course, government ought to supply that regulatory oversight; or so goes that rationale.

Turnkey Totalitarianism

A handful of people have begun to study existential threats like the ones described above. One such individual is philosopher Nick Bostrom who in the policy summary of his “The Vulnerable World Hypothesis”, writes:

“In order for civilization to have a general capacity to deal with “black ball” inventions of this type, it would need a system of ubiquitous real-time worldwide surveillance. In some scenarios, such a system would need to be in place before the technology is invented.”

After a unipolar surveillance regime is put in place, Bostrom thinks that dangerous materials that could go to the development of existential threats would have to be supplied by a “small number of closely monitored providers.”

So, we get ubiquitous surveillance plus tight regulation, which some such as privacy policy analyst Julian Sanchez have referred to as “turnkey totalitarianism.” The question before us then, is, would it work?

Regulating the Regulators

In a separate article titled “Fawning Over Fauci,” I suggested the media better investigate a situation that is not very different from the one I imagined in the opening vignette. However, the major difference is that there wasn’t some kid in a garage in this real-world scenario. There were government-sanctioned scientists in a research center — The Wuhan Institute of Virology — who used largesse dispensed by our own government.

Indeed, one of the best ways to provide oversight in various research endeavors is to control the funding sources for such research. I have suggested that it is plausible that the infectious diseases branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH/NIAID), run by none other than Anthony Fauci, was responsible for funding research into zoonotic viruses of the sort that includes Covid-19.

In other words, without Fauci and his agency’s regulatory failure, there might have been no pandemic.

Let’s assume that Anthony Fauci and the functionaries at the NIAID presided over the funding of dangerous research, which was to be tightly controlled and regulated (if not outright banned). Let’s stipulate that such research did lead to a pandemic that has already killed millions of people. And as the virus mutates, it evades not only vaccines, but all manner of bureaucratic mandates. It could soon be endemic.

In this scenario, though, all of the criteria for reasonable regulation ought to have been satisfied. Yet we still got mass death. In other words, there was neither a mad scientist nor a monstrous incel, at least not as far as we know. It could have been as simple as bureaucratic incompetence combined with negligence at one of the labs serving at the NIH’s behest.

For now, I’ll leave aside questions about whether or to what extent the Chinese government knew about the research and could have co-opted it for nefarious purposes. Despite the Communist Party’s sorry track record, the most likely explanation is that this was a terrible accident. We simply can’t say. Nor are we ever likely to find anything but lies coming out of Beijing (or Washington for that matter).

But one thing is clear: there is currently no way to regulate the regulators. Instead, we have no choice but to live with them. Otherwise, they are entirely unaccountable. They alone hold power to take such enormous risks, presumably in the name of science.

The Problem of Power

When it comes to the idea of government, most people suffer from both a great blind spot and a failure of imagination.

The blind spot is a refusal to believe the state is itself the greatest of all existential threats to humanity. Whether in Hollywood’s depiction of corporate baddies or general concerns about gigantism, most people can’t or won’t appreciate the fact that nation-states hold all the records for mass killing. Compare individuals and corporations to that record. It ain’t even close. Yet most people want desperately to believe the state’s job is to protect us. Unicorn governance. Again, the state is the greatest source of violence in human history.

The failure of imagination lies in a widespread inability to see how it might be possible for humanity to mitigate existential threats without the linear model of state control. Whether we’re talking about “reasonable regulation” or “turnkey totalitarianism,” the linear model originates in Hobbes’s Leviathan rationale, which holds most people in its thrall. Simply put, the Leviathan rationale prompts us to entrust a powerful monopoly to protect us and work in our interests.

But then, somehow, we have to oblige that powerful monopoly to stay in its place. The problem is, it rarely does. As Edmund Burke wrote:

In vain you tell me that [government] is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! The Thing itself is the abuse! Observe, my Lord, I pray you, that grand Error upon which all artificial legislative Power is founded. It was observed, that Men had ungovernable Passions, which made it necessary to guard against the Violence they might offer to each other. They appointed Governors over them for this Reason; but a worse and more perplexing Difficulty arises, how to be defended against the Governors?

Checks and balances last for a while. But as soon as they fail, the proxies of that powerful monopoly seize yet more power. Any remaining checks and balances are crushed under Leviathan’s weight, well, unless Leviathan can no longer swim in an ocean of red ink. By then, it might be too late.

The Nihilism of the Vulnerable World

Thinkers such as Nick Bostrom aren’t wrong about the world’s vulnerability to exponential technologies in the hands of bad actors. What they too often forget is that politics selects for arrogance and sociopathy. Politicians and technocrats are no angels, despite how badly we might wish them to be. Even if we find the occasional wise leader to hold the ring, the ring invariably gets passed along. There is always a sociopath waiting. And that’s why the upshot of Turnkey Totalitarianism is deeply problematic, even though there are evil geniuses among the citizenry. Acknowledging all this threatens to leave us in nihilism. After all, wasn’t it very likely a small group of government technocrats and regulators who unleashed the Covid-19 pandemic?

My friend and mentor, entrepreneur Chris Rufer reminds us that the best defense against violence isn’t a panopticon or a global superstate.

“The best defense against violence is to minimize the number of people in the world who are willing to use it,” Rufer said. And I think he’s right.

I suspect it can’t hurt to have more people of basic morality checking up on each other, too. I admit, though, that preemptive morality can only reduce the number of black balls in the existential threat bucket. But that’s something. So we must start to think of morality not as a set of abstract rules but rather as an active, continuous practice to be set alight in everyone.

And we must practice morality even as we admit to ourselves that the risks of our extinction will never be zero.

Max Borders is author of After Collapse: The End of America and the Rebirth of Her Ideals and The Social Singularity: A Decentralist Manifesto.

Max is also co-founder of the event experience Future Frontiers and founder of Social Evolution, an organization dedicated to liberating humanity and solving social problems through innovation.

September 10, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Covid-19 – Fun With Figures, Food For Thought

By William Walter Kay BA JD | Principia Scientific | September 9, 2021

Contrast Covid’s impact on four East Asian countries (Taiwan, Singapore, Japan and South Korea) with its impact on four US Northeastern states (New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut).

All eight jurisdictions host high-tech societies with market-orientated economies and democratic constitutions.

All boast ultra-modern hospitals, medical colleges and public health programs.

Two differences: a) compared to the US Northeast, the East Asian countries engage in more trade and travel with Covid’s epicentre, China; and, b) Covid toured East Asia before debuting in the US Northeast.

New York state’s population (19.5 million) is slightly smaller than Taiwan’s (23.8 million). Covid has killed 837 Taiwanese, and 54,895 New Yorkers.

Massachusetts’ population (6.9 million) is comparable to Singapore’s (5.9 million). Covid fatalities in Massachusetts – 18,272. Covid fatalities in Singapore – 55.

The combined population of our four Northeastern states (38.7 million) is well below South Korea’s (51.3 million). Covid’s death toll in our Northeastern states is 108,480. Only 2,303 South Koreans have died from Covid.

Our four East Asian countries (207 million) register a total of 19,308 Covid deaths. New Jersey  (8.9 million) claims 26,919 Covid deaths.

Per capita, Covid has proven 341 times deadlier to New Jersians than Singaporeans!

Regarding Covid testing rates, Singapore is East Asia’s outlier. By conducting 17.8 million tests Singaporeans have achieved 3 tests per citizen. This still falls short of New York’s 3.3 tests per citizen and Massachusetts’ 3.8 tests per citizen. (You’ve read correctly. Certain people get tested again and again.)

Most East Asian countries, following Japan’s lead, test only patients exhibiting pneumonia-like symptoms. Japan tests 174,000 per 1 million inhabitants. Our four East Asian countries cumulatively have conducted 58 million tests. New York has conducted 66 million.

Massachusettsans test for Covid at 22 times Japan’s rate!

Medical tyranny boosters attribute East Asia’s “success” to harsh public health regimes; but Northeastern states imposed notorious lockdowns, often more Draconian than those deployed in East Asia.

Testing strategies are key. Testing only symptomatic patients is sounder than mass testing.

Asymptomatic Sars-CoV-2 carriers are extremely unlikely to be contagious.

Most people who contract Sars-CoV-2 become neither sick nor contagious.

PCR tests detect: a) miniscule infections that will not take hold; b) dead viruses from infections defeated by natural immune responses; and c) random genetic flotsam resembling Sars-CoV-2.

Mass testing yields positive results from persons who are neither sick nor contagious, and who are unlikely to become so.

By inflating case counts, mass testing makes Covid appear worse than it is.

Likewise, declaring all those who die after testing positive to be “Covid fatalities” – co-morbidities be damned – inflates death tallies; again, making Covid appear worse than it is.

Testing-based legerdemain doesn’t fully explain the whopping discrepancy between Covid’s impact in East Asia and the US Northeast.

This discrepancy also arises from the fact that the US Northeast was one of several areas following Milan’s lead i.e., during the pandemic’s early months health authorities allowed the contagion to rage unchecked through long-term care facilities.

Senior’s homes became Sars-CoV-2 incubators.

Milan, Montreal, the US Northeast et al became continental super-spreaders evidenced by supersized body counts.

Covid-19 is one matter; government response to Covid-19 is quite another.

Sources

Covid fatality and testing stats were extracted from Worldmeter’s Covid database on September 2, 2021.

September 10, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

LAPD officers are collecting social media information from citizens they stop

By Ken Macon | Reclaim The Net | September 10, 2021

LAPD officers have been told to collect the social media information of all civilians they stop, whether or not they have been arrested or even accused of a crime. Critics have noted the social media information collected could be used for illegal surveillance.

A report on The Guardian revealed that the “field interview cards” LAPD officers use when interviewing civilians include a line for the collection of information on social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

A leaked internal memo revealed that Police Chief Michael Moore told officers that collecting the social media information was important for “investigations, arrests, and prosecutions.”

The police boss also warned that the cards would be reviewed to ensure that the social media information was collected. The collection of social media information started in 2015.

The Brennan Center for Justice, the civil rights non-profit that obtained the documents, warned that the collection of social media information by law enforcement agencies could be used for unjustified mass surveillance of civilians in the future.

“There are real dangers about police having all of this social media identifying information at their fingertips,” said Rachel Levinson-Waldman, a deputy director at the Brennan Center.

The organization reviewed another 40 police departments in the country but did not find evidence of the gathering of social media information.

The LAPD’s field interview cards have been the center of controversy in the past. Three officers were criminally charged for falsely accusing civilians of being gang members by checking a “gang member” box on the interview cards.

“The fact that a department under scrutiny for racial profiling was also engaged in broad scale social media account collection is troubling,” said Levinson-Waldman, speaking to The Guardian.

Hamid Khan, of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, noted that the data collected by the LAPD is shared with federal agencies, which have previously been accused of using “predictive policing” based on data provided by police.

Khan described the social media information collection as “stop and frisk,” warning that the department was doing it “with the clear goal of surveillance.”

September 10, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

The Bots That Are Not

By Mike Hearn | The Daily Sceptic | September 10, 2021

Since 2016 automated Twitter accounts have been blamed for Donald Trump and Brexit (many times), Brazilian politicsVenezuelan politicsskepticism of climatologycannabis misinformationanti-immigration sentimentvaping, and, inevitably, distrust of COVID vaccines. News articles about bots are backed by a surprisingly large amount of academic research. Google Scholar alone indexes nearly 10,000 papers on the topic. Some of these papers received widespread coverage:

Unfortunately there’s a problem with this narrative: it is itself misinformation. Bizarrely and ironically, universities are propagating an untrue conspiracy theory while simultaneously claiming to be defending the world from the very same.

The visualization above comes from “The Rise and Fall of Social Bot Research” (also available in talk form). It was quietly uploaded to a preprint server in March by Gallwitz & Kreil, two German investigators, and has received little attention since. Yet their work completely destroys the academic field of bot research to such an extreme extent that it’s possible there are no true scientific papers on the topic at all.

The authors identify a simple problem that crops up in every study they looked at. Unable to directly detect bots because they don’t work for Twitter, academics come up with proxy signals that are asserted to imply automation but which actually don’t. For example, Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Project – responsible for the first paper in the diagram above – defined a bot as any account that tweets more than 50 times per day. That’s a lot of tweeting but easily achieved by heavy users, like the famous journalist Glenn Greenwald, the slightly less famous member of German Parliament Johannes Kahrs – who has in the past managed to rack up an astounding 300 tweets per day – or indeed Donald Trump, who exceeded this threshold on six different days during 2020. Bot papers typically don’t provide examples of the bot accounts they claimed to identify, but in this case four were presented. Of those, three were trivially identifiable as (legitimate) bots because they actually said they were bots in their account metadata, and one was an apparently human account claimed to be a bot with no evidence. On this basis the authors generated 27 news stories and 323 citations, although the paper was never peer reviewed.

In 2017 I investigated the Berkley/Swansea paper and found that it was doing something very similar, but using an even laxer definition. Any account that regularly tweeted more than five times after midnight from a smartphone was classed as a bot. Obviously, this is not a valid way to detect automation. Despite being built on nonsensical premises, invalid modelling, mis-characterisations of its own data and once again not being peer reviewed, the authors were able to successfully influence the British Parliament. Damian Collins, the Tory MP who chaired the DCMS Select Committee at the time, said: “This is the most significant evidence yet of interference by Russian-backed social media accounts around the Brexit referendum. The content published and promoted by these accounts is clearly designed to increase tensions throughout the country and undermine our democratic process. I fear that this may well be just the tip of the iceberg.”

But since 2019 the vast majority of papers about social bots rely on a machine learning model called ‘Botometer’. The Botometer is available online and claims to measure the probability of any Twitter account being a bot. Created by a pair of academics in the USA, it has been cited nearly 700 times and generates a continual stream of news stories. The model is frequently described as a “state of the art bot detection method” with “95% accuracy”.

That claim is false. The Botometer’s false positive rate is so high it is practically a random number generator. A simple demonstration of the problem was the distribution of scores given to verified members of U.S. Congress:

In experiments run by Gallwitz & Kreil, nearly half of Congress were classified as more likely to be bots than human, along with 12% of Nobel Prize laureates, 17% of Reuters journalists, 21.9% of the staff members of UN Women and – inevitably – U.S. President Joe Biden.

But detecting the false positive problem did not require compiling lists of verified humans. One study that claimed to identify around 190,000 bots included the following accounts in its set:

Taken from a dataset shared by Dunn et al.

The developers of the Botometer know it doesn’t work. After the embarrassing U.S. Congress data was published, an appropriate response would have been retraction of their paper. But that would have implied that all the papers that relied upon it should also be retracted. Instead they hard-coded the model to know that Congress are human and then went on the attack, describing their critics as “academic trolls”:

Root cause analysis

This story is a specific instance of a general problem that crops up frequently in bad science. Academics decide a question is important and needs to be investigated, but they don’t have sufficiently good data to draw accurate conclusions. Because there are no incentives to recognize that and abandon the line of inquiry, they proceed regardless and make claims that end up being drastically wrong. Anyone from outside the field who points out what’s happening is simply ignored, or attacked as “not an expert” and thus inherently illegitimate.

Although no actual expertise is required to spot the problems in this case, I can nonetheless criticize their work with confidence because I actually am an expert in fighting bots. As a senior software engineer at Google I initiated and designed one of their most successful bot detection platforms. Today it checks over a million actions per second for malicious automation across the Google network. A version of it was eventually made available to all websites for free as part of the ReCAPTCHA system, providing an alternative to the distorted word puzzles you may remember from the earlier days of the internet. Those often frustrating puzzles were slowly replaced in recent years by simply clicking a box that says “I’m not a bot”. The latest versions go even further and can detect bots whilst remaining entirely invisible.

Exactly how this platform works is a Google trade secret, but when spammers discuss ideas for beating it they are well aware that it doesn’t use the sort of techniques academics do. Despite the frequent claim that Botometer is “state of the art”, in reality it is primitive. Genuinely state-of-the-art bot detectors use a correct definition of bot based on how actions are being performed. Spammers are forced to execute polymorphic encrypted programs that detect signs of automation at the protocol and API level. It’s a battle between programmers, and how it works wouldn’t be easily explainable to social scientists.

Spam fighters at Twitter have an equally low opinion of this research. They noted in 2020 that tools like Botometer use “an extremely limited approach” and “do not account for common Twitter use cases”. “Binary judgments of who’s a “bot or not” have real potential to poison our public discourse – particularly when they are pushed out through the media …. the narrative on what’s actually going on is increasingly behind the curve.”

Many fields cannot benefit from academic research because academics cannot obain sufficiently good data with which to draw conclusions. Unfortunately, they sometimes have difficulty accepting that. When I ended my 2017 investigation of the Berkeley/Swansea paper by observing that social scientists can’t usefully contribute to fighting bots, an academic posted a comment calling it “a Trumpian statement” and argued that tech firms should release everyone’s private account data to academics, due to their capacity for “more altruistic” insights. Yet their self-proclaimed insights are usually far from altruistic. The ugly truth is that social bot research is primarily a work of ideological propaganda. Many bot papers use the supposed prevalence of non-existent bots to argue for censorship and control of the internet. Too many people disagree with common academic beliefs. If only social media were edited by the most altruistic and insightful members of society, they reason, nobody would ever disagree with them again.

September 10, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment

Red Cross issues warning to stop blood plasma donations from vaccinated people

Natural News | September 2, 2021

If you took a Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19) “vaccine,” the American Red Cross will not accept blood plasma donations from you due to the inherent toxicity issues caused by the injection.

As it turns out, convalescent plasma should only be collected from the unvaccinated who still have clean blood that has not been contaminated with deadly spike proteins and other chemicals that threaten to kill those who receive blood transfusions.

Thanks to “Operation Warp Speed,” there is now a massive shortage of pure blood in the United States that has not been tainted with genetic modifications and other damage. Mass vaccination, in other words, is effectively killing people who desperately need unvaccinated blood but cannot find it.

now-archived document from the American Red Cross explains that anyone who takes “any type of COVID vaccine” is “not eligible to donate convalescent plasma” because of the serious risks involved.

“One of the Red Cross requirements for plasma from routine blood and platelet donations that test positive for high-levels of antibodies to be used as convalescent plasma is that it must be from a donor that has not received a COVID-19 vaccine,” the document explains.

Scientifically speaking, it is critical for those receiving donor blood to have sufficient antibodies directly related to their own immune systems. Tainted blood from vaccinated people does not qualify.

“This is to ensure that antibodies collected from donors have sufficient antibodies directly related to their immune response to a COVID-19 infection and not just the vaccine, as antibodies from an infection and antibodies from a vaccine are not the same.”

Red Cross discontinues convalescent plasma donation program entirely after FDA rule change

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) apparently thinks differently about vaccinated blood.

new document on the Red Cross website now explains that because the FDA “allows people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine to donate dedicated COVID-19 convalescent plasma,” the Red Cross has decided to discontinue its convalescent plasma donation program entirely.

“The FDA allows people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine to donate dedicated COVID-19 convalescent plasma within six months of their infection of the virus, based on data that antibodies from natural infection can decline after six months however, the Red Cross has discontinued our convalescent plasma collection program,” the new document explains.

In other words, it would appear as though the Red Cross is not comfortable continuing to collect and administer convalescent plasma from people who took the jab, even though the FDA claims that doing so is completely safe.

This type of thing is par for the course for the FDA, which rarely promotes policies that benefit actual human beings. The agency really is nothing more than an extension of Big Pharma that does whatever is necessary to keep the profits flowing – even at the expense of human life.

“The antibodies naturally produced by covid infection actually work,” wrote one commenter at Citizen Free Press.

“The antibodies artificially produced by covid vaccines do not work as well, and actually wipe out the natural covid antibodies. This is why vaccinated people are increasingly becoming significantly ill with covid.”

Another commenter wrote that the Red Cross is denying that it does not accept convalescent plasma from vaccinated people, even though the document on its website claims otherwise.

“The FDA says that you can donate convalescent plasma within six months of infection, even if you’ve been vaccinated,” this person wrote, calling it a “legal lie.”

“But the Red Cross guidelines prohibit them from using convalescent plasma if the individual has been vaccinated.”

The latest news about the how Chinese Virus injections contaminate a person’s blood can be found at ChemicalViolence.com.

Sources for this article include:

CitizenFreePress.com

Archive.org

RedCrossBlood.org

September 10, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

FROM VACCINATED TO UNVACCINATED: HOW PEOPLE CAN WAKE UP

Computing Forever | August 26, 2021

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September 10, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment