Aletho News


US children suffer sharp drops in test scores

Samizdat | September 1, 2022

Student test scores in US elementary schools have dropped to levels not seen in decades, marking an historic educational setback that observers have blamed largely on classroom shutdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), released on Thursday, showed that reading scores dropped the most since 1990, and math scores fell for the first time in the five-decade history of the study. The declines between 2020 and 2022 wiped out decades of progress in math and reading proficiency.

The report, also known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” marks the first national assessment comparing test results before the pandemic with current performance. It’s based on tests taken by 9-year-olds in early 2022 and early 2020 – just before most of America’s schools were shut due to Covid-19.

Children were deprived of in-person learning for more than a year in some cities. New York City schools, for instance, weren’t fully reopened until 18 months after their first Covid-19 lockdown. In Los Angeles, parents sued the teachers union and schools for “holding children hostage” to their political agenda. Among other demands, the union insisted that police be defunded and new wealth taxes be imposed before they returned to classrooms.

“Actual science didn’t support school closures,” said US Representative Guy Reschenthaler, a Pennsylvania Republican. “Democrats were too busy following political science to care. We lost decades of gains in reading and math scores as a result.”

However, the school closings weren’t the only cause of declines in test scores, said Peggy Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics. “Our own data reveal the pandemic’s toll on education in other ways, including increases in students seeking mental health services, absenteeism, school violence and disruption, cyberbullying, and nationwide teacher and staff shortages.”

Children who were already struggling with reading and math suffered the biggest setbacks in proficiency. While the average reading score fell by five points from 2020’s level, the decline was twice as severe for students at the 10th percentile, meaning those who performed worse than 90% of the class. The same trend was evident in math scores, with the overall average falling seven points and the 10th percentile dropping 12 points.

September 1, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 2 Comments

Israel bombed both Syrian airports

Samizdat | September 2, 2022

Wednesday evening’s missile attack temporarily disabled the Aleppo international airport but also caused damage to the one in Damascus, the Syrian government said on Thursday. The attack, which Syria blamed on Israel, is the first known instance of targeting both civilian airports on the same day.

Israeli F-16s launched a total of 16 projectiles from outside Syrian airspace, said Major General Oleg Egorov, deputy chief of the Russian peacemaking mission in Damascus. Syrian air defenses shot down three of the incoming missiles, but the others struck the facilities in Aleppo and Damascus, he added.

According to the Syrian transportation ministry, the Aleppo runway was damaged but repairs are ongoing and the airport is expected to reopen for traffic by noon local time on Friday. As for the Damascus airport, the damage inflicted “did not affect” operations, the ministry said.

“Syria retains its full rights to hold the Israeli occupation authorities accountable and bear all legal, moral, political and financial responsibilities for deliberately targeting the international airports of Damascus and Aleppo and for endangering civilian facilities and lives,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a letter to the UN secretary-general and the Security Council, according to the state news agency SANA.

Back in June, a series of Israeli strikes took the Damascus airport out of service for several weeks, with traffic being rerouted to Aleppo – which had only reopened in February 2020, after being damaged in the decade-long civil war. Wednesday’s strike is the first known instance of Israel attacking both of Syria’s active international airports.

The international airport in Latakia is adjacent to the Khmeimim airbase used by the Russian expeditionary force, and has so far not been a target of Israeli attacks.

Israel has repeatedly targeted Syria with missiles, usually fired from Lebanese airspace or the occupied Golan Heights, wary of air defense systems provided by Russia to Damascus. On the rare occasions Jerusalem has acknowledged the attacks, the Israeli government said it was exercising preemptive self-defense against Iran. Tehran has offered military aid to Damascus in recent years against both Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists and other radical militants.

The London-based Iran International claimed that Wednesday’s strike was aimed at preventing an Iranian cargo plane from landing, first in Aleppo and then in Damascus. The plane reportedly belongs to an airline the US has designated as affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and placed under sanctions.

September 1, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 9 Comments

How Are the Unvaccinated Doing? Survey Says: Healthy But Unjustly Treated

By Suzanne Burdick, Ph.D. | The Defender | August 30, 2022

A new study published Aug. 12 in the International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice, and Research showed evidence of potentially illegal discrimination against individuals who declined COVID-19 vaccination.

The study reported the survey results of 18,497 individuals unvaccinated against COVID-19 throughout the world who voluntarily offered personal information through the Control Group Cooperative — also known as the “Vaccine Control Group” — which is a citizen-led initiative that seeks to provide an “independent, worldwide, long-term study of the health outcomes of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-free.”

After collecting the survey results, the Control Group Cooperative invited a team of independent international medical researchers to analyze and publish the data.

The authors — including Robert Verkerk, Ph.D., from the U.K., Dr. Christof Plothe, D.O., of Germany, Naseeba Kathrada, M.B.Ch.B., of South Africa and Dr. Katarina Lindley, D.O., of the United States — said that “between 20% and nearly 50% of respondents, depending on region, reported being personal targets of hate, implying victimization, owing to their COVID-19 vaccination status.”

They added:

“Proportionately, rates of such victimization were highest in Southern Europe and South America and lowest in Western Asia and Southern Africa (although the number of respondents in the latter regions were also substantially lower).”

Moreover, the study authors noted:

“Such discrimination and restriction of liberties based on a medical choice may fall foul of relevant national anti-discrimination laws and international treaties, such as the United Nation’s International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN Office of Public Information, 1966), which includes fundamental rights to liberty and security of person, freedom of movement, privacy, religion and belief, freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly.”

Teachers and nurses ‘most intensely impacted’ by medical choice discrimination

Verkerk — who led the study team and is the scientific director for the Alliance for National Health International — told The Defender in an email that their data showed teachers and nurses were the two professions “most intensely impacted” by discrimination for their medical choice to abstain from COVID-19 vaccination.

“In many countries,” he explained, “but most especially in Australia and Canada, they required vaccination for many employees as a condition of work.”

For instance, on Aug. 24 Sky News reported that the Education Department in Queensland, Australia, issued a letter stating they will dock up to 18 weeks of pay for unvaccinated teachers as a disciplinary measure for refusing COVID-19 vaccination.

The department claimed the teachers had “acted inappropriately” by ignoring the public health advice.

Such actions were reflected in the study data, Verkerk said.

“Survey respondents reported feeling more victimized by the respective government authorities than by the non-state entities,” according to the study authors.

“Rates of perceived discrimination were greatest among respondents in Southern Europe (61%), Western Europe (59%), Australia and New Zealand (57%) and South America (57%),” they wrote.

Based on their analyses of the survey data, the study authors included a list of contributing factors that they considered to likely be “major drivers of discrimination,” Verkerk told The Defender.

The authors’ list included:

  • Widespread misunderstandings about, and overstated benefits of, COVID-19 “vaccines.”
  • False claims over societal risks posed by the unvaccinated.
  • Misleading or plainly false media or state propaganda.
  • Coercion to ensure high rates of COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Institutional mandates.
  • The desire for in-group identity as explained by social identity theory (Scheepers & Derks, 2016).

Study results show ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’ was misinformation

Verkerk told The Defender that the study data exposed the “nonsense” behind the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” narrative which claimed that COVID-19 infection rates were higher among those unvaccinated against COVID-19.

On average, one quarter (n = 4,636, 25.1%) of the survey respondents reported experiencing symptomatic COVID-19 at some stage during the survey period, the authors said.

“Most of the reported symptoms were rated as mild (14.4%),” they noted, and “8.7% were reportedly moderate and just 2% were reported as severe.”

They added that 3% (n = 556) reported experiencing an asymptomatic case of COVID-19.

Moreover, the study data showed that less than 2% of the cases required hospitalization. The authors said:

“Only 74 respondents out of the 5,196 (1.4%) who reported suspected or known SARS-CoV-2 infection also reported that they were hospitalized following infection.

“Therefore, outpatient or inpatient hospitalization was reported in just 0.4% of the full survey cohort.”

As a rough comparison, data from New York as of Aug. 22 indicates that 0.52% of vaccinated individuals over the age of 5 have been hospitalized with COVID-19.

Vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc and quercetin were used regularly by the majority of the cohort in treating COVID-19, they said.

Study a step toward comparative research between vaccinated and unvaccinated

Although the study included data only from individuals unvaccinated against COVID-19, the Control Group Cooperative’s ultimate goal is to collect large-scale health data from both those vaccinated and unvaccinated against COVID-19 and facilitate an “independent, comparative analysis to show whether the vaccine-free do, or do not have better long and short-term health outcomes.”

“Our belief,” the Control Group Cooperative said on their website, “is that without a vaccine-free control group to compare against, there is no true measure of the levels of safety and effectiveness proclaimed by governments and health organizations across the world.”

They added “science demands that every experimental treatment must have a control group in order to properly evaluate its long-term success and efficacy.”

According to the Control Group Cooperative, the COVID-19 vaccines “were rushed out” under Emergency Use Authorization, using “novel technology without any long-term testing.”

The original control group for the “experimental treatment,” they noted, was eliminated several months after the trial commenced when the placebo recipients were offered the vaccine, “which the vast majority took. Therefore, there is no longer an official control group.”

The Control Group Cooperative is now an invaluable resource that serves as an international database collecting information from unvaccinated individuals.

Suzanne Burdick, Ph.D., is a reporter and researcher for The Defender based in Fairfield, Iowa. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin (2021), and a master’s degree in communication and leadership from Gonzaga University (2015). Her scholarship has been published in Health Communication. 

This article was originally published by The Defender — Children’s Health Defense’s News & Views Website under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please consider subscribing to The Defender or donating to Children’s Health Defense.

September 1, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

It Was Birx. All Birx.


In two previous articles, I looked into the shady circumstances surrounding Deborah Birx’s appointment to the White House Coronavirus Response Task Force and the laughable lack of actual science behind the claims she used to justify her testing, masking, distancing and lockdown policies.

Considering all that, the questions arise: Who was actually in charge of Deborah Birx and whom was she working with?

But first: Who cares?

Here’s why I think it’s important: If we can show that Birx and the others who imposed totalitarian anti-scientific testing, masking, social distancing, and lockdown policies, knew from the get-go that these policies would not work against an airborne respiratory virus, and nevertheless they imposed them FOR REASONS OTHER THAN PUBLIC HEALTH, then there is no longer acceptable justification for any of those measures.

Furthermore, whatever mountains of post-facto bad science were concocted to rationalize these measures are also completely bunk. Instead of having to go through each ridiculous pseudo-study to demonstrate its scientific worthlessness, we can throw the whole steaming pile in the garbage heap of history, where it belongs, and move on with our lives.

In my admittedly somewhat naive optimism, I also hope that by exposing the non-scientific, anti-public-health origins of the Covid catastrophe, we may lower the chances of it happening again.

And now, back to Birx.

She did not work for or with Trump 

We know Birx was definitely not working with President Trump, although she was on a task force ostensibly representing the White House. Trump did not appoint her, nor did the leaders of the Task Force, as Scott Atlas recounts in his revelatory book on White House pandemic lunacy, A Plague Upon Our House. When Atlas asked Task Force members how Birx was appointed, he was surprised to find that “no one seemed to know.” (Atlas, p. 82)

Yet, somehow, Deborah Birx – a former military AIDS researcher and government AIDS ambassador with no training, experience or publications in epidemiology or public health policy –  found herself leading a White House Task Force on which she had the power to literally subvert the policy prescriptions of the President of the United States.

As she describes in The Silent Invasion, Birx was shocked when “at the halfway point of our 15 Days to Slow the Spread campaign, President Trump stated that he hoped to lift all restrictions by Easter Sunday.” (Birx, p. 142) She was even more dismayed when “mere days after the president had announced the thirty-day extension of the Slow the Spread campaign to the American public” he became enraged and told her “‘We will never shut down the country again. Never.’” (Birx, p. 152)

Clearly, Trump was not on board with the lockdowns, and every time he was forced to go along with them, he became enraged and lashed out at Birx – the person he believed was forcing him.

Birx laments that “from here on out, everything I worked toward would be harder—in some cases, impossible,” and goes on to say she would basically have to work behind the scenes against the President, having “to adapt to effectively protect the country from the virus that had already silently invaded it.” (Birx, pp. 153-4)

Which brings us back to the question: Where did Birx get the nerve and, more mysteriously, the authority to so blithely act in direct opposition to the President she was supposed to serve, on matters affecting the lives of the entire population of the United States?

Atlas regrets what he thinks was President Trump’s “massive error in judgment.” He argues that Trump acted “against his own gut feeling” and “delegated authority to medical bureaucrats, and then he failed to correct that mistake.” (Atlas, p. 308)

Although I believe massive errors in judgment were not unusual for President Trump, I disagree with Atlas on this one. In the case of the Coronavirus Response Task Force, I actually think there was something much more insidious at play.

Trump had no power over Birx or pandemic response

Dr. Paul Alexander, an epidemiologist and research methodology expert who was recruited to advise the Trump administration on pandemic policy, tells a shocking story in an interview with Jeffrey Tucker, in which bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and lawyers from the Justice Department told him to resign, despite direct orders from President Trump and the White House: “We want you to understand that President Trump has no power,” they reportedly told Alexander. “He cannot tell us what to do.”

Alexander believes these bureaucrats represented the “deep state” which, he was told repeatedly, had decided first not to hire or pay him, and then to get rid of him. Alexander also writes in an upcoming exposé that the entrenched government bureaucracy, particularly at the NIH, CDC, and WHO, used the pandemic response to doom President Trump’s chances for reelection.

Was the entire anti-scientific totalitarian pandemic response, all over the world, a political maneuver to get rid of Trump? It’s possible. I would contend, however, that the politics were only a sideshow to the main event: the engineered virus lab leak and coverup. I believe the “deep state” Alexander repeatedly butted up against was not just the entrenched bureaucracy, but something even deeper and more powerful.

Which brings us back to deep state frontwoman Deborah Birx.

After lamenting Trump’s delegation of authority to “medical bureaucrats,” Scott Atlas also hints at forces beyond Trump’s control. “The Task Force was called ‘the White House Coronavirus Task Force,’” Atlas notes, “but it was not in sync with President Trump. It was directed by Vice President Pence.” (Atlas, p. 306) Yet, whenever Atlas tried to raise questions about Birx’s policies, he was directed to speak with Pence, who then failed to ever address anything with Birx:

“Given that the VP was in charge of the Task Force, shouldn’t the bottom-line advice emanating from it comport with the policies of the administration? But he would never speak with Dr. Birx at all. In fact, (Marc) Short [Pence’s chief of staff], clearly representing the VP’s interests above all else, would do the opposite, telephoning others in the West Wing, imploring friends of mine to tell me to avoid alienating Dr. Birx.” (Atlas, p. 165-6)

Recall that Pence replaced Alex Azar as Task Force director on February 26, 2020 and Birx’s appointment as coordinator, at the instigation of Asst. National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger, came on February 27th. Subsequent to those two appointments, it was Birx who was effectively in charge of United States coronavirus policy.

What was driving that policy, once she took over? As Birx writes, it was the NSC (National Security Council) that appointed her, through Pottinger, and it was her job to “reinforce their warnings” – which, I continue to speculate, were related to the accidental release of an enhanced pandemic potential pathogen from a US-funded lab in Wuhan.

Trump was probably made aware of this, as evidenced not just by his repeated mentions, but by what Time Magazine called his uncharacteristic refusal to explain why he believed it. The magazine quotes Trump saying “I can’t tell you that,” when asked about his belief in the lab leak. And he repeats, “I’m not allowed to tell you that.”

Why in the world was the President of the United States not allowed to override AIDS researcher/diplomat Birx on lockdown policies nor explain to the public why he believed there was a lab leak?

The answer, I believe, is that Trump was uncharacteristically holding back because he was told (by Birx, Pottinger and the military/intelligence/biosecurity interests for whom they worked) that if he did not go along with their policies and proclamations, millions of Americans would die. Why? Because SARS-CoV-2 was not just another zoonotic virus. It was an engineered virus that needed to be contained at all costs.

As Dr. Atlas repeatedly notes with great dismay: “the Task Force doctors were fixated on a single-minded view that all cases of COVID must be stopped or millions of Americans would die.” (Atlas, p. 155-6) [BOLDFACE ADDED]

That was the key message, wielded with great force and success against Trump, his administration, the press, the states, and the public, to suppress any opposition to lockdown policies. Yet the message makes no sense if you believe SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that jumped from a bat to a person in a wet market, severely affecting mostly people who are old and debilitated. It only makes sense if you think, or know, that the virus was engineered to be especially contagious or deadly (even if its behavior in the population at any given moment might not justify that level of alarm).

But, again, before indulging in more speculation, let’s get back to Birx. Who else did she (and her hidden handlers) bulldoze?

She dictated policy to the entire Trump administration

In his book, Atlas observes with puzzlement and consternation that, although Pence was the nominal director of the Task Force, Deborah Birx was the person in charge: “Birx’s policies were enacted throughout the country, in almost every single state, for the entire pandemic—this cannot be denied; it cannot be deflected.” (Atlas, p. 222)

Atlas is “dumbstruck at the lack of leadership in the White House,” in which, “the president was saying one thing while the White House Task Force representative was saying something entirely different, indeed contradictory” and, as he notes, “no one ever set her [Birx] straight on her role.” (Atlas, p. 222-223)

Not only that, but no matter how much Trump, or anyone in the administration, disagreed with Birx, “the White House was held hostage to the anticipated reaction of Dr. Birx” and she “was not to be touched, period.” (Atlas, p. 223)

One explanation for her untouchableness, Atlas suggests, is that Birx and her policies became so popular with the press and public that the administration did not want to “rock the boat” by replacing her before the election. This explanation, however, as Atlas himself realizes, crumbles in the face of what we know about Trump and the media’s hostility towards him:

“They [Trump’s advisors] had convinced him to do exactly the opposite of what he would naturally do in any other circumstance—to disregard his own common sense and allow grossly incorrect policy advice to prevail. … This president, widely known for his signature ‘You’re fired!’ declaration, was misled by his closest political intimates. All for fear of what was inevitable anyway—skewering from an already hostile media.” (Atlas, p. 300-301)

I would suggest, again, the reason for the seemingly inexplicable lack of gumption on Trump’s part to get rid of Birx was not politics, but behind-the-scenes machinations of the (to coin a moniker) lab leak cabal.

Who else was part of this cabal with its hidden agendas and oversized policy influence? Our attention naturally turns to the other members of the Task Force who were presumably co-engineering lockdown policies with Birx. Surprising revelations emerge.

There was no troika. No Birx-Fauci lockdown plan. It was all Birx.

It is universally assumed, by both those in favor and those opposed to the Task Force’s policy prescriptions, that Drs. Deborah Birx, Tony Fauci (head of  NIAID at the time) and Bob Redfield (then director of the CDC) worked together to formulate those policies.

The stories told by Birx herself and Task Force infiltrator Scott Atlas suggest otherwise.

Like everyone else, at the onset of his book, Atlas asserts: “The architects of the American lockdown strategy were Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. With Dr. Robert Redfield… they were the most influential medical members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.” (Atlas, p. 22)

But as Atlas’s story unfolds, he presents a more nuanced understanding of the power dynamics on the Task Force:

“Fauci’s role surprised me the most. Most of the country, indeed the entire world, assumed that Fauci occupied a directorial role in the Trump administration’s Task Force. I had also thought that from viewing the news,” Atlas admits. However, he continues, “The public presumption of Dr. Fauci’s leadership role on the Task Force itself… could not have been more incorrect. Fauci held massive sway with the public, but he was not in charge of anything specific on the Task Force. He served mainly as a channel for updates on the trials of vaccines and drugs.” (p. 98) [BOLDFACE ADDED]

By the end of the book, Atlas fully revises his initial assessment, strongly emphasizing that, in fact, it was primarily and predominantly Birx who designed and disseminated the lockdown policies:

“Dr. Fauci held court in the public eye on a daily basis, so frequently that many misconstrue his role as being in charge. However, it was really Dr. Birx who articulated Task Force policy. All the advice from the Task Force to the states came from Dr. Birx. All written recommendations about their on-the-ground policies were from Dr. Birx. Dr. Birx conducted almost all the visits to states on behalf of the Task Force.” (Atlas, p. 309-10) [BOLDFACE ADDED]

It may sound jarring and unlikely, given the public perception of Fauci, as Atlas notes. But in Birx’s book the same unexpected picture emerges.

Methinks the lady doth protest too much

As with her bizarrely self-contradictory statements about how she got hired, and her blatantly bogus scientific claims, Birx’s story about her mind-melded closeness with Fauci and Redfield falls apart upon closer examination.

In her book, Birx repeatedly claims she trusts Redfield and Fauci “implicitly to help shape America’s response to the novel coronavirus.” (Birx, p. 31) She says she has “every confidence, based on past performance, that whatever path the virus took, the United States and the CDC would be on top of the situation.” (Birx, p. 32)

Then, almost immediately, she undermines the credibility of those she supposedly trusts, quoting Matt Pottinger as saying she “‘should take over Azar, Fauci, and Redfield’s jobs, because you’re such a better leader than they are.’” (Birx, p. 38-9)

Perhaps she was just giving herself a little pat on the back, one might innocently suggest. But wait. There’s so much more.

Birx claims that in a meeting on January 31 “everything Drs. Fauci and Redfield said about their approach made sense based on the information available to me at that point,” even though “neither of them spoke” about the two issues she was most obsessed with: “asymptomatic silent spread [and] the role testing should play in the response.” (Birx, p. 39)

Then, although she says she “didn’t read too much into this omission,” (p. 39) just two weeks later, “as early as February 13” Birx again mentions “a lack of leadership and direction in the CDC and the White House Coronavirus Task Force.” (p. 54)

So does Debi trust Tony and Bob’s leadership or does she not? The only answer is more self-contradictory obfuscation.

Birx is horrified that nobody is taking the virus as seriously as they should: “then I saw Tony and Bob repeating that the risk to Americans was low,” she reports. “On February 8, Tony said that the chances of contracting the virus were ‘minuscule.’” And, “on February 29, he said, ‘Right now, at this moment, there is no need to change anything you’re doing on a day-to-day basis.’” (Birx, p. 57)

This does not seem like the kind of leader Birx can trust. She half-heartedly tries to excuse Redfield and Fauci, saying “I now believe that Bob and Tony’s words had spoken to the limited data they had access to from the CDC,” and then, in another whiplash moment, “maybe they had data in the United States that I did not.”

Did Tony and Bob provide less dire warnings because they had insufficient data or because they had more data than Birx did? She never clarifies, but regardless, she assures us that she “trusted them” and “felt reassured every day with them on the task force.” (Birx, p. 57)

If I was worried that the virus was not being taken seriously enough, Birx’s reports on Bob and Tony would not be very reassuring, to say the least.

Apparently, Birx herself felt that way too. “I was somewhat disappointed that Bob and Tony weren’t seeing the situation as I was,” she says, when they disagreed with her alarmist assessments of asymptomatic spread. But, she adds, “at least their number supported my belief that this new disease was far more asymptomatic than the flu. I wouldn’t have to push them as far as I needed to push the CDC.” (Birx, p. 78)

Is someone who disagrees with your assessment to the point that you need to push them in your direction also someone you “implicitly trust” to lead the US through the pandemic?

Apparently, not so much.

Although she supposedly trusts Redfield and sleeps well at night knowing he’s on the Task Force, Birx has nothing but disdain and criticism for the CDC – the organization Redfield leads.

“On aggressive testing I planned to have Tom Frieden [CDC director under Obama] help bring the CDC along,” she recounts. “Like me, the CDC wanted to do everything to stop the virus, but the agency needed to align with us on aggressive testing and silent spread.” (p. 122) Which makes one wonder: If she was so closely aligned with Redfield, the head of the CDC, why did Birx need to bring in a former director – in a direct challenge to the sitting one – to “bring the CDC along?” Who is “us” if not Birx, Fauci and Redfield?

Masks were another issue of apparent contention. Birx is frustrated because the CDC, led by her “we’ve-got-each-other’s-back” bestie, Bob Redfield (Birx, p. 31), will not issue strict enough masking guidelines. In fact, she repeatedly throws Bob’s organization under the bus, basically accusing them of causing American deaths: “For many weeks and months to come,” she writes, “I fretted over how many lives could have been saved if the CDC had trusted the public to understand that …masks would do no harm and could potentially do a great deal of good.” (Birx, p. 86)

Apparently, Fauci was not on board with the masking either, as Birx says that “getting the doctors, including Tom [Frieden] and Tony, to be in complete agreement with me about asymptomatic spread was slightly less of a priority. As with masks, I knew I could return to that issue as soon as I got their buy-in on our recommendations.” (Birx, p. 123)

Who is making “our recommendations” if not Birx, Fauci and Redfield?

The myth of the troika

Whether or not she trusted them (and it’s hard to believe, based on her own accounts, that she did), it was apparently very important to Birx that she, Fauci and Redfield appear as a single entity with no disagreements whatsoever.

When Scott Atlas, an outsider not privy to whatever power plays were happening on the Task Force, came in, his presence apparently rattled Birx (Atlas, p. 83-4), and for good reason. Atlas immediately noticed strange goings-on. In his book, he repeatedly uses words like “bizarre,” “odd” and “uncanny” to describe how Fauci, Redfield and Birx behaved. Most notably, they never ever questioned or disagreed with one another in Task Force meetings. Not ever.

“They shared thought processes and views to an uncanny level,” Atlas writes, then reiterates that “there was virtually no disagreement among them.” What he saw “was an amazing consistency, as though there were an agreed-upon complicity” (Atlas, pp. 99-100). They “virtually always agreed, literally never challenging one another.” (p. 101) [BOLDFACE ADDED]

An agreed-upon complicity? Uncanny agreement? Based on all of the disagreements reported by Birx and her repeated questioning and undermining of Bob and Tony’s authority, how can this be explained?

I would contend that in order to obscure the extent to which Birx alone was in charge of Task Force policy, the other doctors were compelled to present a facade of complete agreement. Otherwise, as with any opposition to, or even discussion of, potential harms of lockdown policies, “millions of Amercans would die.”

This assessment is strengthened by Atlas’s ongoing bafflement and distress at how the Task Force – and particularly the doctors/scientists who were presumably formulating policy based on data and research – functioned:

“I never saw them act like scientists, digging into the numbers to verify the very trends that formed the basis of their reactive policy pronouncements. They did not act like researchers, using critical thinking to dissect the published science or differentiate a correlation from a cause. They certainly did not show a physician’s clinical perspective. With their single-minded focus, they did not even act like public health experts.” (Atlas, p. 176)

Atlas was surprised, indeed stunned, that “No one on the Task Force presented any data” to justify lockdowns or to contradict the evidence on lockdown harms that Atlas presented. (Atlas, p. 206) More specifically, no data or research was ever presented (except by Atlas) to contradict or question anything Birx said. “Until I arrived,” Atlas observes, “no one had challenged anything she said during her six months as the Task Force Coordinator.” (Atlas, p. 234) [BOLDFACE ADDED]

Atlas cannot explain what he’s witnessing. “That was all part of the puzzle of the Task Force doctors,” he states. “There was a lack of scientific rigor in meetings I attended. I never saw them question the data. The striking uniformity of opinion by Birx, Redfield, Fauci, and (Brett) Giroir [former Admiral and Task Force “testing czar”] was not anything like what I had seen in my career in academic medicine.” (Atlas, p. 244)

How can we explain the puzzle of this uncanny apparent complicity by the Task Force troika?

Methinks the intelligence agent also doth protest too much

An interesting hint comes from the string of anecdotes comprising Matthew Lawrence’s New Yorker article “The Plague Year.” Lawrence writes that Matt Pottinger (the NSC liaison to Birx) tried to convince Task Force members that masking could stop the virus “‘dead in its tracks’” but his views “stirred up surprisingly rigid responses from the public-health contingent.” Lawrence continues to report that “In Pottinger’s opinion, when Redfield, Fauci, Birx, and (Stephen) Hahn spoke, it could sound like groupthink,” implying that those were the members of the “public-health contingent” who did not agree with Pottinger’s masking ideas.

But wait. We just noted Birx’s frustration, indeed deep regret, that the CDC led by Redfield, as well as Fauci (and even Frieden) did not agree with her ideas on asymptomatic spread and masking. So why does Pottinger imply that she and the “public-health contingent” of the Task Force were group-thinking this issue, against him?

I would suggest that the only way to make sense of these contradictions within Birx’s narrative and between her, Atlas and Pottinger’s stories, is if we understand “align with us” and “our recommendations” to refer not to the perceived Birx-Fauci-Redfield troika, but to the Birx-Pottinger-lab leak cabal that was actually running the show.

In fact, Birx and Pottinger put so much effort into insisting on the solidarity of the troika, even when it contradicts their own statements, that the question inevitably arises: what do they have to gain from it? The benefit of insisting that Birx was allied with Fauci, Redfield and the “public-health contingent” on the Task Force, I would argue, is that this deflects attention from the Birx-Pottinger-cabal non-public-health alliance.

Her authority and policies emanated from a hidden source

The explanation of Atlas’s perceived “puzzle of the Task Force doctors” that makes the most sense to me is that Deborah Birx, in contrast and often in opposition to the other doctors on the Task Force, represented the interests of what I’m calling the lab leak cabal: those not just in the US but in the international intelligence/biosecurity community who needed to cover up a potentially devastating lab leak and who wanted to impose draconian lockdown measures such as the world had never known.

Who exactly they were and why they needed lockdowns are subjects of ongoing investigations.

In the meantime, once we separate Birx from Trump, from the rest of the administration, and from the others on the Task Force, we can see clearly that her single-minded and scientifically nonsensical emphasis on silent spread and asymptomatic testing was geared toward a single goal: to scare everyone so much that lockdowns would appear to be a sensible policy. This is the same strategy that was, uncannily in my opinion, implemented almost to the letter in nearly every other country around the world. But that’s for the next article.

I’ll close this chapter of the Birx riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, with Scott Atlas’s report of his parting conversation with President Trump:

“‘You were right about everything, all along the way,’” Trump said to Atlas. “‘And you know what? You were also right about something else. Fauci wasn’t the biggest problem of all of them. It really wasn’t him. You were right about that.’ I found myself nodding as I held the phone in my hand,” Atlas says. “I knew exactly whom he was talking about.” (Atlas, p. 300)

And now, so do we.

Debbie Lerman has a degree in English from Harvard. She is a retired science writer and a practicing artist in Philadelphia, PA.

September 1, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Polemicisation and the Formation of Ideology

How to go from two weeks to crush the curve to flu season mask mandates forever

eugyppius | August 31, 2022

Apparently, UC Berkeley will now be imposing indefinite mask mandates during flu season on everyone who has not received a flu vaccine. It’s worth asking how we got to this point, where two weeks to crush the curve have become a permanent amorphous crusade against seasonal respiratory infections in general.

The question is related to another, much broader problem I like to puzzle over: Where, exactly, do political ideologies come from? How do they acquire their specific features? It would be good to know, because somewhere in the months following March 2020, an entire containment ideology emerged before our very eyes, complete with millions of committed adherents, well-defined leadership and thinkers, and a semi-stable list of core doctrines. At the very top of this list is the unshakeable belief that wearing a face mask is morally and hygienically laudable, even necessary if you wish to be a healthy and responsible human being. That sounds crazy, but it’s what these people believe, and the adherents of containment ideology will never stop masking and demanding mask mandates and making their children mask. It is for them a deep ideological commitment.

The distribution of containment ideology provides some clues as to what’s going on here. Highly politicised university campuses, particularly in the United States, are where the most extreme devotees are to be found. And the US in general has some of the most vocal containment ideologues in the world—people like Eric Feigl-Ding and Yaneer Bar-Yam. Somehow, places which have been subject to stricter and much more uniform restrictions, like Germany, have far fewer containment ideologues running around. It’s hard to imagine that any European country, even those which imposed some of the most strictly enforced mask mandates during the pandemic, would ever enact permanent rules like those envisioned by UC Berkeley administrators.

Another thing to notice, is that most of the key containment doctrines are patently worthless and have been demonstrated, again and again, to have little or no effect on the virus. Nothing else in the pandemicist arsenal has been as thoroughly discredited as masking. I very much doubt it’s an accident, that precisely this measure, among all the other garbage we’ve tried, should have acquired such a central place in the canon.

I once suggested thinking about ideologies as systems of belief that have come to prominence, not because they are right or beneficial or predictive, but because they grant their adherents specific institutional advantages. There are many ideas and proposals about what we should do or how we should think about cultural, political, or social matters. Those ideas that benefit enough people (or the right people) in enough places (or the right places) are fused into broader, coherent ideological systems that adherents can wield for specific advantage.

That’s a selective influence—a mechanism which chooses what kinds of ideas can make it into prominent ideological systems in the first place. But there is a separate body of influencing factors that shape the content of the ideology itself, even as it is being adopted. A major force that has profoundly influenced containment ideology, is what I’d call polemicisation. By this, I mean that at an early formative stage, adherents of containment ideology engaged in open advocacy and polemic on behalf of their desired measures. They were met with counter-arguments and scepticism, and they changed their own rationalisations and ultimately their own beliefs to be less refutable and more robust to the invective of opponents. One of the main things they did to achieve this, was insist on ever lower standards of acceptable risk when it comes to viral pathogens. Another thing they did, was insist on the enormous efficacy of their proposed interventions. So, because of the Oma and the immunocompromised and Long Covid, masking is never too much to ask, and masking is super effective at preventing all kinds of bad outcomes. This indeed granted the containment ideologues some measure of rhetorical victory in the moment, but it also reframed the purpose of masking so totally, that it became hard to understand why you shouldn’t mask literally all the time, every flu season, even in a hypothetical world where SARS-2 has been eradicated. Polemicisation has profoundly influenced many other aspects of containment ideology as well, and nothing so much as the entire complex of beliefs surrounding vaccination.

So, containment ideology is most at home in those environments which have most profoundly shaped it—places like the United States, where mask mandates were never so thoroughly enforced and could become a sign of political allegiance, and a badge of the Science Followers. And the most polemicising influence has been worked precisely upon the least defensible positions, where the early ideologues fought their most fearsome rhetorical battles.

Leftist ideology also bears many signs of polmecisitation, and I think this is one of the reasons why the containment ideologues have such a leftist or leftist-adjacent feel to them. These are ideological systems formed by people who see themselves as advocates and reformers and outsiders to power, even as they preside over student life committees, where they impose unwanted pharmaceutical products on thousands of healthy twenty year-olds.

September 1, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Europe Has No Real Alternatives To Russian Gas: Ex-Aramco EVP

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | September 1, 2022

Echoing what Zoltan Pozsar said in his latest must read note, the former executive vice president at Saudi Aramco, Sadad Al-Husseini, told CNBC on Monday that there’s not enough capacity in the world to replace Russia’s gas supply to the European Union, while Moscow has plenty of markets to sell its energy to.

The US doesn’t have the LNG capacity to replace Russia’s exports to Europe,” he said, noting that power bills across the EU are set to soar this winter. He did not comment on China reselling Russian LNG to Europe although we expects others will soon.

According to Al-Husseini, the lack of freely available supply could lead to serious problems on the global energy market. “This situation is a new world, and it’s not a very good one for energy,” he warned.

In any case, there isn’t enough LNG capacity in the world to make up for the Russian exports to Europe,” the former executive said, adding that, “It will take years for the EU to find resources to replace Russian supply.”

He also said that while Russia may lose Europe as an end-market, there are “plenty of alternative markets” for Russian energy, including China, Japan, or India, that eagerly flount Western sanction, realizing that the Biden admin is increasingly toothless in punishing sanctions violators.

Meanwhile, Europe does not have alternative energy sources, he said, “while the US is maxed out already, North Africa has got problems,” and OPEC is also running out of spare capacity.

“So, it’s a global problem,” he said.

The official suggested that, while the Russian economy may suffer under Western sanctions, the rest of the world will be suffering with them.

However, he stressed that “Russia may recover a lot sooner than Europe.”

September 1, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , | 1 Comment

Government’s green energy policy is a “national disaster”

Net Zero Watch | September 1, 2022

London – Net Zero Watch has condemned the Government’s green energy policies as “a national disaster.”

This follows the announcement that a major offshore windfarm will not activate an agreement to sell power at a much lower cost to the grid.

The Times has reported that the Hornsea 2 windfarm, which had a contract to sell power at £73 per megawatt hour, will instead sell in the open market, where prices have averaged £200 per megawatt hour this year, and reached £508 last week.

Britain’s struggling energy consumers are likely to end up paying a billion pounds extra for Hornsea’s electricity over the next 12 months.

The new Prime Minister should urgently look into the legal options for cancelling or revoking these poorly written contracts, the spirit of which are being grotesquely abused to the huge disadvantage to British consumers.

By 2026, there could be more than 16GW of offshore windfarms exploiting the perverse loophole (Moray East, Hornsea 2, Triton Knoll, InchCape, Seagreen Phase 1, Neart na Gaoithe, Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B, Dogger Bank C, Sofia, Hornsea 3, Norfolk Boreas, Moray West and East Anglia Three.)

Assuming they deliver 50% of capacity each year, and the differential between market price and CfD price remains at £130/MWh, the cost to consumers will be £9billion per year, at a cost of £337 per household.

Onshore windfarms, solar, and remote island windfarms will raise that figure still higher.

Reacting to the news, Net Zero Watch Director Benny Peiser said:

In the midst of the worst energy crisis since World War II, wind companies are milking the system by using a perverse loophole.

And just a few weeks ago, Kwasi Kwarteng signed the contract for Hornsea 3, which contains the same loophole, as does the contract for every other offshore windfarm on the horizon.

The Government is putting every household on the hook for hundreds of pounds more, every year. Energy policy is lurching from one rip-off to another. It’s a national disaster.”

September 1, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | | 1 Comment

WEF AI to Decide what Industries to Liquidate to “Stop Economic Growth”

Enjoy Your Universal Income and Shut Up

By Igor Chudov | September 1, 2022

A brand new video from the World Economic Forum’s agenda article! The agenda is to stop growth and decide what industries to shut down.

Some very juicy quotes from the video (with timestamps)

4.23: Some economists think the solution is to reengineer our economies completely. They make the case that what we should really be doing is weaning ourselves from the addiction to growth and shifting to a post-growth economy (later defined as liquidation of various industries — I.C)

Instead of growing, WEF wants us to focus on what we “really need” (according to WEF)

4:46 things like renewable energy, healthcare, and public transportation. To do that, economists think that rich countries should do something like guarantee living wages.

They are talking about unearned “universal basic income” because the next cut shows a sad-looking lonely person spending a day not working. It promises that people will not be needing jobs to “earn their living or get healthcare”:

What is the goal? To scale down production of things deemed less necessary! (sic)

WEF asks if we could “do away with entire industries”, showing an anxious, sweaty man worried about his industry being shut down:

How would we decide what is unnecessary, asks the voice prompter. How would we resolve our disagreements? How to make these decisions?

The answer is, says WEF, is that we need to enlist help from AI systems, in order to answer the questions such as which industries to do away with.

WEF loves AI!

WEF’s “Global Intelligence Collecting AI” to Erase Ideas from the Internet

The WEF deciding what industries to do away with, using WEF-sponsored AI, may sound insane and stupid like a half-baked, paranoid conspiracy theory of a delusional hillbilly.

But I did not come up with any of it! I just retold the WEF article and the WEF video. I am not sure if they are serious or are just trolling us, but in the past, they were dead serious about their agenda.

September 1, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | | 1 Comment

German Foreign Minister Says Support For Ukraine Will Continue “No Matter What Voters Think”

By Paul Joseph Watson | Summit News | September 1, 2022

Despite soaring energy prices that threaten the stability of the country, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she would continue to support Ukraine “no matter what German voters think.”

Baerbock made the remarkable comments during an event in Prague yesterday organized by the NGO Forum 2000.

“If I give the promise to people in Ukraine – ‘We stand with you, as long as you need us’ – then I want to deliver. No matter what my German voters think, but I want to deliver to the people of Ukraine,” she said.

The German official said that such an approach would not change even if large numbers of people were out in the streets protesting against crippling energy bills.

“We are facing now wintertime, when we will be challenged as democratic politicians. People will go in the street and say ‘We cannot pay our energy prices’. And I will say ‘Yes I know, so we help you with social measures.’ But I don’t want to say ‘Ok then we stop the sanctions against Russia.’ We will stand with Ukraine, and this means the sanctions will stay also in wintertime, even if it gets really tough for politicians,” said Baerbock.

The comment is a fairly stunning admission that world leaders are intent on prolonging the war for as long as possible, no matter how much it harms the countries they are supposed to represent.

Germans face one of the worst cost of living crises in Europe, with governments arranging ‘warm up spaces’ in major cities where people who can’t pay their bills will go to avoid freezing to death, with blackouts expected.

Citizens have already exhausted supplies of electric heaters, firewood and stoves in many areas as they prepare for energy rationing this winter, while inflation in Germany just hit its highest level in almost 50 years.

Those planning to protest against the situation have also been demonized as domestic extremists by the authorities.

As we reported last month, the interior minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Herbert Reul (CDU), outrageously suggested Germans who may be planning to protest against energy blackouts were “enemies of the state” who want to overthrow the government.

September 1, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

Finnish Prime Minister Declares Transition to ‘War Economy’ Amid Energy Crunch

By Ilya Tsukanov – Samizdat – 01.09.2022

Finland has joined its European Union allies in shooting itself in the foot economically by unilaterally slashing energy purchases from Russia. Helsinki added to its troubles by restricting visas for Russians – who ordinarily make up a big chunk of the country’s income from tourism.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has compared the exceptional energy crisis being faced by her country to a “war economy.”

“We seem to be living in a war economy. This is not a normal economic situation,” Marin said, adding that the current crunch is the third calamity faced by her government since she came into office in 2019.

Marin laid the blame for the crisis at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s feet.

“The first [crisis] was the pandemic, the second was the tide of war coming in Europe, and the third is the energy crisis, which both Finland and all other European countries in the grip of, due to the war and the fact that Putin is using energy as a weapon against Europe,” Marin said.

The Finnish prime minister did not elaborate on how the Russian president, who has repeatedly said that Moscow remains ready to sign new long-term gas contracts with European countries, is responsible for the energy crunch pummeling the Nordic nation.

Economists expect the Finnish economy to slide into a recession in 2023 amid a downturn caused in part by a spike in energy prices and the country’s rejection of low-priced and reliable Russian supplies after refusing to pay in rubles.

Before the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis, Finland depended on Russia for nearly 70 percent of its natural gas and 35 percent of its oil, as well as 14 percent of its electricity. Along with the halt in imports of Russian gas, Helsinki joined its EU partners in banning Russian oil.

Tourism Losses

Helsinki poured salt on its economic wounds by placing restrictions on Russian tourists by cutting visa applications in half from an average of 1,000 per day to 500 per day starting September 1, and setting quotas on tourism visas to about 100, with the rest reserved for family ties, work and study.

Finnish authorities sounded the alarm about the potential implications of the loss of Russian tourists at the beginning of the summer. Russians typically make up about 20 percent of the country’s tourism earnings and its 15 billion euros-a-year in revenue. Earlier this year, Travel/Visit Finland director Kristiina Hietasaari estimated that the sector could lose over 600 million euros without Russian travelers.

In addition to curbing Russian energy purchases and cutting access to Russian tourists, Finland has applied for NATO membership, and is expected to become a formal member of the bloc together with Sweden if and when all 30 of the alliance’s current members ratify the Nordic nations’ bids for entry. Russian officials have emphasized that Moscow has no qualms with either Finland or Sweden when it comes to security matters, but warned that if NATO infrastructure was deployed near Russia, Moscow would respond in kind to “create the same threats in the territories from which they threaten us.”

September 1, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Russia warns G7 about oil supplies

Samizdat – September 1, 2022

Russia will embargo countries that support the Washington-proposed price cap on its oil, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday.

“In my opinion, this is a complete absurdity… To those companies or countries that will impose restrictions, we will not supply our oil and oil products, because we are not going to work under non-market conditions,” he told reporters, commenting on a plan to limit prices on Russian oil currently being discussed by the Group of Seven (G7) countries.

Establishing a price ceiling on Russian oil is conceived as a means of slashing Moscow’s revenues from exporting the commodity while avoiding shutting the country’s crude out of the market. The proposal is due to be discussed at a meeting of G7 finance ministers on Friday.

According to Novak, such a plan would jeopardize the market mechanisms of “such an important industry as oil,” and could only lead to the destabilization of both the industry and the oil market.

“And European and American consumers will be the first to pay for it, while they are already paying high prices today because of the destabilizing measures [their governments] are implementing. In particular, the sanctions restrictions,” Novak said.

The official added that Russia is currently pumping as much oil as it has the ability to produce and sell at the moment, but if global market conditions stabilize and Russian producers could be confident in finding buyers, output could be raised. He noted that Russian oil producers are preparing for the upcoming EU oil embargo due to take effect in December, but they plan to maintain current levels of production regardless.

September 1, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , | 1 Comment