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How a Psychic Healer Blog Convinced the Government to Fund “Long Covid” Research

By Phillip W. Magness | AIER | July 27, 2021

The National Institutes for Health (NIH) is exceptionally keen on the study of “Long Covid.” The federal agency recently allocated over $1 billion in funding for this purpose, and NIH Director Francis Collins has made the claimed ailment a recurring subject of his press commentary over the last year. The Department of Health and Human Services similarly signaled that it intends to classify “Long Covid” as a recognized disability for government funding and classification purposes.

So what is Long Covid, and why is it drawing so much attention and funding out of the federal government? As with any respiratory illness, Covid-19 does appear to have long-term sufferers who do not follow the normal recovery pattern and continue to demonstrate symptoms for weeks or months after an infection. At the same time however, the push to make “Long Covid” a distinctive medical classification unto itself appears to be a political phenomenon, wrapped up in clear signs of pseudoscience and linked back to a fringe “alternative wellness” blog that originally coined the term in March 2020.

A recent study published in the Lancet-owned journal EClinicalMedicine purported to document over 200 symptoms of Long Covid, ranging from fairly common Covid-19 ailments such as fatigue, cough, or long-term loss of smell to an eclectic assortment of problems such as hallucination, brain fog, tearfulness, insomnia, and mood anxiety. Media reports breathlessly repeated these findings to press the urgency of funding for Long Covid research, while also hyping the syndrome as a further justification for alarmism in justifying lockdowns and similar measures. After all, if Long Covid afflicts a sizable subset of Covid patients – as some claim – and can strike young people who are at a much lower mortality risk from the virus itself, then perhaps more restrictive measures are warranted on the general population – or so the argument goes.

Many lockdown advocates have seized onto the Long Covid narrative, incorporating it into their defenses of the draconian non-pharmaceutical interventions they have advocated over the last year and a half. The CovidFAQ website – a UK-based project set up by “neoliberal” activist Sam Bowman and British MP Neil O’Brien – invokes the threat of Long Covid in its attacks the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD), arguing that the hypothesized syndrome undermines evidence that the virus is substantially less-severe among younger demographics. Several pro-lockdown scientists and epidemiologists issued coordinated statements attacking the GBD in October 2020 for “ignor[ing] the emerging burdens of long COVID.” These statements are usually offered as declarative assessments, treating Long Covid as an established medical fact.

With billion-dollar budgets and the prospect of additional sweeping policy measures at stake, it only makes sense to ask if the science behind Long Covid is sound. There is no doubt that some Covid-19 victims have symptoms that linger for weeks or months beyond the typical recovery, although that is true of many diseases. Whether it has 200 plus symptoms is another story – and a closer look reveals an alarming amount of outright quackery is currently shaping the scientific and media discourse around Long Covid.

The problem arises from the amorphous definition of the phrase “Long Covid” itself. Far from a careful clinical diagnosis, Long Covid has become a catch-all term for any extended medical ailment, real or imagined, attributed to the effects of the Covid-19 virus. An alarming amount of alleged data about the phenomenon traces back to a single source called the “Body Politic Wellness Collective” – an alternative medicine blog with dubious scientific credentials. To quote one recent study of the term’s origins, “the emergence and recognition of Long COVID as a potentially major public health problem is largely due to advocacy groups such as the Body Politic COVID-19 Support Group, and Patient Led Research For COVID-19” – the latter an affiliated survey administrator that, according to its own website, was “born out of the Body Politic Slack support group.”

The same Body Politic group frequently appears in an already large and growing literature on “Long Covid” in other scientific journals. In September 2020, NIH Director Collins devoted his personal column on the agency’s website to touting the group. He later credited their work when launching the aforementioned $1 billion research initiative. In July 2021, Body Politic reappeared at the center of the aforementioned EClinicalMedicine study along with a spinoff organization called the Patient-Led Research Collaborative. The two groups administered the survey behind the claim that Long Covid carries over 200 symptoms.

Before we get into the survey itself, it’s useful to take a closer look at the Body Politic group. TheWall Street Journal recently ran a lengthy expose of the organization by Jeremy Devine, an Ontario-based psychiatrist. Devine found that the group’s initiatives sprang to life at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020. They first coined the Long Covid moniker around this time, promoting it in a flurry of media appearances. In early April, the New York Times ran an op-Ed by Body Politic’s co-founder calling attention to the syndrome and recounting her own experience as a “long hauler” (which, at the time, consisted of experiencing symptoms for about three weeks after testing positive).

As Devine documented in the WSJ, the Body Politic group’s approach to scientific survey design appeared highly unorthodox. It frequently relied on self-reported descriptions of Long Covid symptoms, instead of independent medical verification. It also had a habit of diagnosing people with Long Covid even after they tested negative for Covid-19 itself. A March 2021 report by Adam Gaffney for StatNews called attention to similar problems with Body Politic’s research design. “[A]t least some people who identify themselves as having long Covid appear never to have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” Gaffney noted. They were nonetheless touted by the media as case studies in the alleged syndrome.

A closer look at the Body Politic group itself raises several red flags about their scientific qualifications. The group’s executive board boasts few, if any, actual medical practitioners or scientific experts. Instead we find an eclectic assortment of political activists, musicians, poets, and journalists, many of whom share common interests in “alternative medicine.” Body Politic’s Treasurer and principle support group organizer describes herself as a “practicing Spiritual Medium” who specializes in detecting “invisible illness.” The website’s Vice President is a “social & racial justice activist,” and its Secretary is an “aspiring sex coach.” Other affiliates include a self-described “socialist poet,” multiple “social justice activists,” and people who describe their careers as operating at the intersection between art and natural wellness. The group’s website and social media accounts frequently invoke political terminology from the critical theory literature. They describe themselves as “a queer feminist wellness collective and a space for inclusivity, accessibility, and crucial discussions about the very real connection between wellness, politics, and personal identity.” Their values statement espouses “patient-led” research to “democratize” medicine – descriptions that appear to forgo traditional scientific methods of testing and verification in favor of placing heavier reliance on patient testimonials and personal experience.

While the group’s activism alone does not disqualify their commentary, the unconventional qualifications of its leadership should raise suspicion about their claimed expertise on Long Covid. When NIH Director Collins personally promotes Body Politic’s work, he is creating a false sense of scientific credibility around their work. Few who read Collins’s statements are aware that the group he praises as “citizen scientists” might be better characterized as an odd assortment of psychic healers, magic crystal gurus, and alternative medicine activists. As a leading public health official, Collins’s many endorsements of this quackery border on irresponsible.

Turning to Body Politic’s survey projects, we quickly find that skepticism of their credibility is warranted. The group’s survey design specifically eschews requiring a positive Covid-19 test or antibody test to confirm that their respondents actually had the disease. “[W]e do not believe people’s experiences with COVID-19 symptoms should be discounted because they did not receive a positive test result,” states one justification for this unconventional data collection procedure. To qualify as a sufferer of Long Covid, it seems, a person needs only to claim that he or she suffers from Long Covid. Lived experience of the disease trumps any requirement of scientific verification.

The prevalence of unverified and untested Covid claimants being classified nonetheless as Long Covid sufferers is stunning. In the WSJ, Devine reports the numbers from the group’s first survey, administered through their website in 2020: “Nearly half (47.8%)” of Body Politic’s survey respondents “never had testing and 27.5% tested negative for Covid-19. Body Politic publicized the results of a larger, second survey in December 2020. Of the 3,762 respondents, a mere 600, or 15.9%, had tested positive for the virus at any time.” As Gaffney notes in StatNews, this practice raises the distinct possibility that survey respondents are misattributing other chronic symptoms to the virus.

Their new study in the Lancet’s journal EClinical Medicine does not offer much hope that Body Politic has improved its survey design. Its authors state that “We analyzed responses from 3762 participants with confirmed (diagnostic/antibody positive; 1020) or suspected (diagnostic/antibody negative or untested; 2742) COVID-19, from 56 countries.” Unconfirmed Covid patients with self-reported Long Covid symptoms outnumber confirmed Covid patients by almost 2.7 to 1. To their credit, the group discloses the lack of PCR or antibody testing confirmation among the majority of their respondents. The extremely high rates of unconfirmed cases, however, are more than sufficient to cast doubt upon their claims to have identified over 200 separate Long Covid symptoms.

The survey’s design also appears to self-select for people who are inclined to claim Long Covid symptoms, whether valid or not. According to the paper, the survey consisted of 257 questions, took almost 70 minutes on average to complete, allowed participants to revisit their answers for up to 30 days, and was primarily marketed to readers of the Body Politic group’s various blogs and Slack channels. This design practically ensures that the majority of the people who received and completed the survey were drawn from a readership that already gravitates towards the group’s political messaging and medical eccentricities.

Imagine if a survey on diet products collected its sample entirely from the mailing list of Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Goop” store. And imagine if the CDC decided to use that survey as a basis for a billion dollar program to revise its food nutrition guidelines, claiming that it is a representative study of the average American’s diet. Because that’s essentially what NIH Director Francis Collins has done with Body Politic’s surveys when justifying his current research initiative into Long Covid before the public.

With most Long Covid research at the moment, self-diagnosis by amateur groups appears to have supplanted scientific rigor in driving the NIH’s research priorities. Even minimal scrutiny should cast doubt upon the Body Politic group’s deficit of scientific credentials and surplus of outright “alternative medicine” quackery. Yet in January 2021 the New York Times heavily leaned on testimonials from Body Politic’s resident psychics and alternative wellness healers in a feature story on so-called Long Covid, aiming to demonstrate the scientific validity of the diagnosis.

So did an August 2020 piece in the Atlantic that is widely credited with popularizing the concept. Indeed, the New York Times has turned its opinion page over to Body Politic writers on multiple occasions over the last year, giving them free rein to promote unscientific claims about the concept. Simply scanning over mainstream media coverage of “Long Covid” in the last year reveals that Body Politic-affiliated activists with dubious scientific credentials have become go-to “experts” on the subject. Here they are being interviewed in Vox, in the Guardian, in the Washington Poston NPR, in Buzzfeed, and on MSNBC.

In calling attention to Body Politic’s influence over shaping the Long Covid narrative, I do not question the possibility that some of the organization’s activists may exhibit genuine long-term Covid-related symptoms, even if they are not a distinct classification unto itself. But scientific assessment of their claims remains woefully inadequate relative to the authority that the media has bestowed upon them. In this sense, much of the Long Covid literature bears striking resemblance to other claimed chronic illnesses that have less-than-robust scientific grounding (for example, consider the difference between Celiac disease – a rare but severe dietary illness involving gluten – and the mid-2010s “gluten sensitivity” craze, which mixed together real and imagined but also self-diagnosed symptoms, fad dietary practices, and dubious scientific attestation)

Despite their scientific shortcomings, Body Politic’s own surveys have found a welcome audience among many academics who should know better. Even leading medical journals now regularly tout Body Politic’s dubious survey results as if they are scientific fact.

Last fall, the BMJ published an article on “Long Covid” from a team of scientists led by Oxford’s Trisha Greenhalgh, an outspoken pro-lockdown regular on the BBC and other UK media circuits. Greenhalgh’s team estimated that perhaps as many as 10% of people infected with Covid develop “Long Covid” symptoms – a number that has since become a standard estimate for Long Covid risks.

Their empirical “evidence” for Greenhalgh’s claim, in turn, derives primarily from Body Politic’s “patient-led survey” of alleged Long Covid sufferers – the same survey where half or more of respondents never even had a confirmed Covid diagnosis. This was no accidental reliance on a substandard source, deriving from insufficient scrutiny of the survey’s methods. Greenhalgh credited the Body Politic group by name on Twitter for inspiring their paper, endorsing the “lived experience” of their “patient-led research.” Echoing the Body Politic survey, Greenhalgh and her co-authors further embrace the proposition “that a positive test for covid-19 is not a prerequisite for diagnosis” for Long Covid. It’s apparently sufficient to simply believe that you had a prior bout with Covid, and attribute your claimed long-term symptoms to the same.

Not surprisingly, Long Covid has become a favored fallback argument among lockdowner epidemiologists to argue for prolonged restrictions. Duke University’s Gavin Yamey has made a name for himself by credulously circulating conspiracy theories about the Great Barrington Declaration by blogger Nafeez Ahmed. Sure enough, he’s also a Long Covid activist, promoting Greenhalgh’s study as well as an assortment of news articles that blur the lines between legitimate reporting of long-term symptoms and quackery.

Although Body Politic is far from the only group advocating for Long Covid research funding, their high-profile promotion by the NIH, by leading news outlets, and by medical journals suggests a similar phenomenon to the pattern seen among other lockdown advocates in allegedly-mainstream epidemiology. We’re witnessing a full-scale breakdown of the screening mechanisms that normally steer scientific discourse away from fringe and conspiracist viewpoints – provided that those viewpoints may be used to advance the alarmist ideologies that have emerged around Covid policy over the last year. The doors have, sadly, been thrown wide open to psychic healing and alternative wellness gibberish. Lockdowner scientists have, in turn, given these suspect claims and defective survey designs a welcome home in the most prestigious institutions of journalism, government, and the ivory tower.

Phillip W. Magness is a Senior Research Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. He holds a PhD and MPP from George Mason University’s School of Public Policy, and a BA from the University of St. Thomas (Houston).

Prior to joining AIER, Dr. Magness spent over a decade teaching public policy, economics, and international trade at institutions including American University, George Mason University, and Berry College.

July 27, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

Controversial ivermectin researcher failed to report massive conflict of interest

By Peter Yim | Trial Site News | July 26, 2021

Susanna Naggie is leading a nation-wide study of ivermectin, ACTIV-6. She is also a member of the NIH panel that provided the current recommendation on the use of ivermectin in COVID-19 that is at odds with the view of leading physicians and experts in evidence-based medicine:

“There are insufficient data for the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel (the Panel) to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19. Results from adequately powered, well-designed, and well-conducted clinical trials are needed to provide more specific, evidence-based guidance on the role of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19.”

These two positions are in conflict because a recommendation to use ivermectin in COVID-19 is implicitly a recommendation to end the ACTIV-6 trial.

Naggie published “Developing Treatment Guidelines During a Pandemic Health Crisis: Lessons Learned From COVID-19” in Annals of Internal Medicine on June 19, 2021. Like most scientific journals, Annals requires the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest. The disclosure did not include a statement from Naggie. I posted the following comment to the Annals article on July 22:

“62 authors of this article are listed but only 60 of the authors provided disclosures of interests. Disclosures are missing for Brenna L. Hughes and Susanna Naggie. I urge Annals to strictly enforce their disclosure policy with respect to this article and request disclosures from those authors.

“Regardless, the following surely constitutes a conflict of interest. Both authors are employed by Duke University who received a $155 million award from the National Institutes of Health for the study of repurposed drugs in COVID-19 ( https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-TR-21-024.html ). Naggie is the principal investigator on that trial. The conflict of interest arises because a recommendation from the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines for the use of one of the study drugs in COVID-19 would effectively end the trial.

“Readers should be aware that the Guidelines recommendation on ivermectin, for example, could very well be influenced by this conflict of interest.”

The journal did not publish the comment. However, the disclosure was updated on July 24. The updated disclosure did include a statement from Naggie but did not mention that Naggie had received ACTIV-6 grant from the NIH. I told Naggie, by email, that her disclosure was incorrect and asked if she had approved it. Her response was:

“no this is not my correct disclosure. I had to submit several times due to some glitch with the form so I will have to resend the correct form.”

Naggie’s conflict of interest is extraordinarily concerning. The concern is only compounded by her difficulties disclosing the conflict of interest.

There are 49 members of the Panel but only a small group of Panel members provided the recommendation on ivermectin, in all likelihood. The NIH has avoided confirming that explicitly even under the pressure of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. In any case, it is possible that Naggie was responsible for the NIH recommendation on ivermectin that enabled the massive grant to her institution.

July 27, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Telegraph Exposes Massive Covid Hospital Fraud

By Richie Allen – July 27, 2021

In an exclusive in today’s Telegraph, journalists Laura Donnelly and Harry Yorke claim that more than half of covid hospitalisations are patients who tested positive AFTER they were admitted to hospital with something else.

This means that vast numbers of people are being labelled as hospitalised by covid when in reality they were admitted to hospital for something else and covid was only picked up during routine testing.

This is fraud. The government has always known this, yet it claimed that the NHS was under enormous pressure from covid-19 cases and imposed draconian and devastating lockdowns.

According to The Telegraph :

Experts said it meant the national statistics, published daily on the government website and frequently referred to by ministers, may far overstate the levels of pressures on the NHS.

The leaked data – covering all NHS trusts in England – show that, as of last Thursday, just 44 per cent of patients classed as being hospitalised with Covid had tested positive by the time they were admitted.

The majority of cases were not detected until patients underwent standard Covid tests, carried out on everyone admitted to hospital for any reason.

Overall, 56 per cent of Covid hospitalisations fell into this category, the data, seen by The Telegraph, show.

The Telegraph article goes on to make a crucial point. At no time was there any attempt to distinguish between those admitted with severe illness, later found to be caused by covid and those in hospital for different reasons who might otherwise never have known that they had picked it up.

Simply stated, when someone came in with heart palpitations or symptoms of stroke, they were given a PCR test. The test has been thoroughly discredited as it returns a high rate of false positives.

When the stroke or heart attack patient then tested positive for covid they were listed as a covid hospitalisation. This is breathtakingly corrupt. This wasn’t bad policy or mismanagement. They knew what they were doing. They’re still doing it.

Greg Clark, the chairman of the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee said that he would be writing to the Health Secretary, asking him to publish the breakdown on a regular basis following The Telegraph’s article. Clark said:

“If hospitalisations from Covid are a key determinant of how concerned we should be, and how quickly restrictions should be lifted, it’s important that the data is not presented in a way that could lead to the wrong conclusions being drawn.

While some of these people may be being admitted due to Covid, we currently do not know how many. And for those who are not, there is a big distinction between people who are admitted because of Covid and those who are in for something else but have Covid in such a mild form that it was not the cause of their hospitalisation.”

For 16 months, this government has been telling us that the NHS was overwhelmed by covid-19. They were lying. We knew they were lying. Now there is irrefutable proof.

The lies were used to justify tyrannical lockdowns that have done immeasurable damage to people’s health and wellbeing. What happens next? I don’t know. This is an example of outstanding journalism by Donnelly and Yorke.

It’s now over to SKY, BBC, ITV and Channel 4. It’s in their hands. It is their duty to put The Telegraph’s findings to government ministers and SAGE scientists and relentlessly pursue the truth.

July 27, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , | 1 Comment

The New Normal: “Covert Moral Enhancement” for “coronavirus defectors”

Academic article suggests putting psycho-active drugs in the water supply to make people “co-operative”

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | August 14, 2020

Four days ago the Conversation – an “independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community” – published an article headlined:

‘Morality pills’ may be the US’s best shot at ending the coronavirus pandemic, according to one ethicist

The article’s author is Parker Crutchfield, an Associate Professor of Medical Ethics, Humanities and Law at Western Michigan University, and his argument can be broken down into four key points:

  1. Wearing masks and social distancing are good for public health
  2. People who refuse to follow these rules are “defectors” who need to be “morally enhanced”
  3. This moral enhancement can be achieved with medication to make people more “empathetic” and “co-operative”
  4. This medication should be compulsory and/or administered secretly via the water supply.

I swear I’m not exaggerating. Not even a little bit. To absorb the full horror I suggest you read it for yourself (and then read the comment section as well, it will make you feel better) but, if you’re not so inclined, here are some choice quotes:

like receiving a vaccine to beef up your immune system, people could take a substance to boost their cooperative, pro-social behavior.

Moral enhancement is the use of substances to make you more moral. The psychoactive substances act on your ability to reason about what the right thing to do is, or your ability to be empathetic or altruistic or cooperative.

These substances interact directly with the psychological underpinnings of moral behavior […] Then, perhaps, the people who choose to go maskless or flout social distancing guidelines would better understand that everyone, including them, is better off when they contribute, and rationalize that the best thing to do is cooperate.

Another challenge is that the defectors who need moral enhancement are also the least likely to sign up for it […] a solution would be to make moral enhancement compulsory or administer it secretly, perhaps via the water supply.

This isn’t just a panicked response to an unforeseen emergency, Crutchfield’s area of bioethics research focuses on “questions like how to induce those who are noncooperative to get on board with doing what’s best for the public good”, and a look through his articles reveals that this is an agenda which pre-dates our current “pandemic”.

There’s The epistemology of moral bioenhancement from 2016 and then Compulsory moral bioenhancement should be covert from just last year.

This isn’t just about masks, if it were implemented it would be a lot more far-reaching. From masks to vaccines to anything else, beyond even the “pandemic”. The author admits as much himself [our emphasis]:

But a strategy like this one could be a way out of this pandemic, a future outbreak or the suffering associated with climate change.

Happy Pills in our water to make us proper cooperative citizens? “Covert moral enhancement” to produce “superior post-persons”?

That is literally “Soma” from Huxley’s Brave New World. It can’t be satirized or exaggerated. It is the very zenith of dystopian horror. And it is being seriously suggested by research scientists in apparently respectable publications.

This may be just one article in a comparatively small (and murkily funded) magazine, but that’s how it starts.

Of course, it also further feeds into the stream of propaganda which seeks to dehumanise those who express dissent.

We’ve already been told that “defectors” are more likely to be narcissists or psychopaths, and seen them subject to police brutality with total impunity.

New Zealand are setting up “quarantine centres” where you will have to stay “indefinitely” if you refuse a to be tested.

And now it’s being seriously posited that those who refuse to comply should be subject to covert medication to render them more malleable to the “public good”.

It’s not hard to see where this is going. Show this article to everyone you know. People have to be told what their world is being turned into, while we still have the brainpower to stop it.

July 27, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , | 3 Comments

Ineffective Coronavirus Vaccine

By Adam Dick | Ron Paul Institute | July 26, 2021

On Thursday, United States President Joe Biden was hyping the supposed effectiveness of experimental coronavirus vaccine shots. He claimed in a CNN event that people who take the shots will not “get covid,” “be hospitalized,” “be in an ICU unit,” or “die.” It turns out Biden’s assurance is wrong.

The experimental coronavirus vaccines, some of which are not even vaccines under the normal meaning of the term, are not miracle drugs. Indeed, recent information from Israel, where shots were given very widely and early, indicates that whatever effectiveness the shots may have in countering coronavirus appears to wear off mighty quickly.

Nathan Jeffay provided in a Sunday Times of Israel article some of the details from experience in Israel, where Pfizer-BioNTech provides the “vaccine” of choice. Jeffay relates a new report from health care provider Leumit indicating that “[p]eople vaccinated before late February are twice as likely to catch the coronavirus than other inoculated Israelis.” Further, notes Jeffay, the Israel government’s Health Ministry released data on Thursday suggesting “that people vaccinated in January were said to have just 16% protection against infection now, while in those vaccinated in April the effectiveness was at 75%.”

So what’s the solution to the problem of the experimental coronavirus vaccines not being effective in countering coronavirus? Many people looking at the situation would conclude that it is wise for people to consider forgetting about taking the shots altogether, thereby forgoing subjecting themselves to the known and unknown risks that come with the less advantageous than advertised shots. People could pursue alternative actions to protect themselves, including taking certain vitamins and long-available drugs such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. They need not just wait to seek hospital admission if symptoms become severe, even if that is what government health “experts” tend to suggest.

Considering such an alternative approach makes sense. But, politicians and big money media seem to be on a tireless quest to promote people taking the experimental coronavirus vaccine shots no matter what.

Sadly, in the Times of Israel article, the only solution offered is to keep pumping more doses of experimental coronavirus vaccines into people’s arms: the shots did not work well the first time, so give everyone another dose after a few months. Oh yeah, and keep ignoring the continually piling up reports of deaths and major sickness after shots.


Copyright © 2021 by RonPaul Institute

July 26, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Daily COVID Deaths in Sweden Hit Zero, as Other Nations Brace for More Lockdowns

Sweden isn’t in the news much these days. There’s a reason for that.

By Jon Miltimore | FEE | July 22, 2021

More than 100,000 people flooded streets in France over the weekend and multiple COVID vaccination centers were vandalized as opposition grew to the government’s most recent pandemic strategy. In President Emmanuel Macron’s latest incarnation of lockdowns, government officials have decreed that unvaccinated individuals will no longer be allowed to enter cafes, restaurants, theaters, public transportation and more.

Needless to say, people were not happy.

France’s approach is unique, but it’s just one of many countries around the world imposing new restrictions as fears grow over a new variant of COVID-19. Australia’s recent restrictions have placed half the country under strict lockdown—even though a record 82,000 tests had identified just 111 new coronavirus cases—while restaurants in Portugal are struggling to survive amid newly imposed restrictions.

One country not making much news is Sweden.

Sweden, of course, was maligned in 2020 for foregoing a strict lockdown. The Guardian called its approach “a catastrophe” in the making, while CBS News said Sweden had become “an example of how not to handle COVID-19.”

Despite these criticisms, Sweden’s laissez-faire approach to the pandemic continues today. In contrast to its European neighbors, Sweden is welcoming tourists. Businesses and schools are open with almost no restrictions. And as far as masks are concerned, not only is there no mandate in place, Swedish health officials are not even recommending them.

What are the results of Sweden’s much-derided laissez-faire policy? Data show the 7-day rolling average for COVID deaths yesterday was zero (see below). As in nada. And it’s been at zero for about a week now.

Even a year ago, it was clear the hyperbolic claims about “the Swedish catastrophe” were false; just ask Elon Musk (also see: herehere, and here). But a year later the evidence is overwhelming that Sweden got the pandemic mostly right. Sweden’s overall mortality rate in 2020 was lower than most of Europe and its economy suffered far less. Meanwhile, today Sweden is freer and healthier than virtually any other country in Europe.

As much of the world remains gripped in fear and nations devise new restrictions to curtail basic freedoms, Sweden remains a vital and shining reminder that there is a better way.

July 26, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Disillusioned journalists form alliance against censorship of alternative coronavirus viewpoints

By Christina Maas | Reclaim The Net | July 26, 2021

A group of 26 journalists has come together to object to the COVID-19 “fearmongering” and the censorship of alternative views by mainstream media and Big Tech platforms since the beginning of the pandemic.
According to the group, the result of the fearmongering and censorship has been the public receiving a “distorted view of the truth.”

The group calls itself “Holding the Line: Journalists Against COVID Censorship.”

It comprises mostly UK-based journalists working at newspapers, broadcasters, and PR companies as staffers or freelancers.

The members were interviewed by Press Gazette, with most preferring to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from their employers.

However, some were more than happy to be named, including Sonia Elijah and Karen Harradine, investigative journalists for The Conservative Woman, former BBC journalist Tony Gosling, and Laura Berril, a PR and tech journalist.

The group’s mission is to promote a “prejudice-free” environment where journalists can air their concerns and raise awareness on lesser-covered issues.

To them, the media is doing “incredible work.” But there are some failures, especially surrounding COVID reporting, such as “a lack of context for statistics, due coverage for alternative treatments, scrutiny of PCR testing, attention to adverse vaccine reactions, or balanced examinations of the costs of lockdown.”

The group accused the UK media of often publishing “fear-inducing and sometimes inaccurate” reports, which in turn create hostility towards those who would prefer not to get the vaccines.

“It’s been unprecedented the way COVID-19 has been reported in the UK but not just in the UK, worldwide,” said Sonia Elijah, one of the members of the group who allowed Press Gazette to mention her name.

“There’s only been one official narrative played out in the mainstream media and that has not changed over time.

“There’s only been one ‘scientific truth’ allowed to be discussed: the one endorsed by worldwide governmental regulatory bodies, even that has been very selective. This has given the public a distorted view of the truth which has been highly damaging.”

Elijah expressed her concern about censorship of information that contradicts the narrative provided by the Trusted News Initiative.

“For a long time, we’ve been in this dark era of censorship that’s been embodied by the Trusted News Initiative which cuts across big tech and all mainstream media,” she said.

“It’s been packaged around this war on disinformation or misinformation- where anything that’s gone against the official narrative has not just been ‘fact checked’ but has been suppressed or removed.”

According to Gosling, the group is championing for balanced debate.

Gosling said: “Our main concern is that there’s a very powerful lobby behind many of these COVID measures, including treatment, lack of treatment and vaccines, obviously, but there isn’t much of a lobby in the other direction. And I think most of us feel that our employers of various sorts have not been representing both sides.”

Gosling had two of his interviews featuring doctors advocating for early treatment post-diagnosis, the effectiveness of ivermectin, and the dangers of the “experimental” vaccines removed by YouTube.

As an example of the “sometimes inaccurate” coverage, he pointed to a BBC report where the contributor claims the Pfizer jab was “100% safe” for kids between the ages of 12 and 15. It was only after his complaint that the BBC removed the “shocking” and “disgusting” claim and provided a correction.

Gosling added: “My own aim is to provide balance, that’s it basically. And also to point out to the public that the journalists don’t always get to choose what gets published.

“It’s the owners and the editors that have the final say, so we are all of the same mind that we would like to see more journalists being editors and having their own newspapers, having their own TV/radio stations but that’s very, very rare. So there’s always an editor somewhere just saying no, I don’t want this, and particularly through this pandemic that’s the way it’s been, people have found it difficult to get stories in, and it’s been frustrating.”

July 26, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 3 Comments

Big Tech and the Pandemic

Trial Site News | July 26, 2021

Some people were surprised when YouTube removed doctors’ videos on Ivermectin treatment, LinkedIn suspended a top mRNA researcher, and Twitter suspended @cov19treatments. Big Tech has been doing these things and worse since the beginning of the pandemic.

Here, Big Tech means five companies: Google (especially Search, YouTube, and Google App Store), Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft (more specifically, LinkedIn and Bing), and Apple. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft have been openly coordinating which information to allow on their platforms since 2018. At the beginning of the pandemic, Google and Apple restricted COVID-19-related apps in their respective app stores to only those provided by entities they chose, such as governments, select NGOs, “companies deeply credentialed in health issues” (aka Big Pharma), and Big Education. Doctors need not bother. Patient’s, doctors, medical researchers, and even government officials became completely dependent on this coordinated monopoly of COVID-19-related information without recognizing it.

Today, most of the Big Tech workforce is employed in censorship or political surveillance of its users. While pretending to be private companies, Big Tech acts on behalf of governments as state actors.

Big Tech has developed internal structures to censor information and manipulate its users, while pretending to be neutral and only restrict hate speech and content falling under Section 230(c)(2). It also pretended that the content it shows is received from third parties under Section 230(c)(1). Big Tech employs and finances a so-called fact-checking network, which is organized as a monopoly under the Poynter Institute (Twitter does not formally participate, and Facebook utilizes some media organizations outside of this network). Unnecessary to say, these fact-checkers have no scientific or medical knowledge and are very political.

Big Tech uses these fact-checkers to determine the Truth or pretends to do so. Big Tech frequently accepts direct input from foreign governments and individuals associated with the major US political party. Knowing the Truth, Big Tech determines what misinformation and other thought crimes are. Then engineers program computers to detect and delete or hide content with the thought crimes. When necessary, low-level employees supplement the software. Thus, the thought crime content is removed automatically or semi-automatically. Sometimes, it is replaced or labeled with defamatory messages. Top managers do not know or pretend not to know the details.

No organization, managed by humans, would have blocked pandemic treatments or doctors. But Big Tech acts as a machine. These companies started as providers of content-agnostic software and computer or communications networks.

Users, as authors and viewers, have no knowledge of downranking or restricting the content they share or view. Suspensions or bans are usually the only ways in which they are notified. Even then, they have no recourse. It required high-level media coverage to restore LinkedIn’s account of Dr. Malone. Even Nobel Prize winners have less authority in Big Tech companies than their semi-literate or outright-lying fact-checkers.

If one gets through to a mid-level manager or even an attorney of a Big Tech company, the answer is short and proud: Yes, we have banned your message in accordance with our content policy. You see, there is a pandemic, so we ban information about medicines used to treat the pandemic disease.

From my real experience with Google AdWords, “We found the following policy violations in the content of the landing page … Reference to COVID 19 restricted terms” (including Ivermectin). At the same time, Google ran Gilead’s ads promoting poisonous and ineffective Remdesivir.

The situation is not without precedents. The low-ranking employees just follow orders. The executives first did not know and then pretended that they do not know. Efficient organization and technology do the rest.

Early on, Big Tech elevated the World Health Organization (WHO) as the top medical authority on the pandemic. Even in the best times, the WHO was just an intermediary. All of its knowledge is derived from the knowledge of the member countries. Now it is headed by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ph.D., known for committing genocide against ethnic minorities, as a minister in the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) government in Ethiopia. TPLF used to be classified as a domestic terrorist organization. But Big Tech was so possessed with Trump Derangement Syndrome that it allied itself with Mr. Tedros to oppose the President of the United States in the time of a pandemic.

Based on the WHO’s input, further distorted by “fact-checkers,” Big Tech declared that there are no countermeasures for COVID-19, except for “Do the Five”, like coughing into one’s elbow and staying three feet from each other. They started banning any content with useful information, including on vitamin C.

Then, Big Tech declared a ban on information about any treatment and prophylaxis for COVID-19, not approved by the WHO. Of course, the WHO does not create treatments. It receives it from the US and other Western countries, where it is developed by treating physicians and researchers. Thus, Big Tech waited on the WHO, the WHO waited on the Western doctors and scientists, while their attempts to communicate the discovered treatments were being paralyzed by Big Tech because they had not been approved by the WHO.

Big Tech endorsed the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel, assembled ad hoc by Dr. Fauci, from individuals who are mostly incompetent and conflicted by their ties to Gilead. Since April 22, 2020, this panel has objected to all pharmaceutical prophylaxis and early treatment of COVID-19, except for Gilead’s Remdesivir. The early outcry about the Panel’s disclosed and undisclosed ties to Gilead went nowhere. Shielded from scrutiny, it has been operating in shadows, occasionally changing its guidelines to kick down another effective treatment coming to the forefront — HCQ, HCQ with Azithromycin, plasma, and finally Ivermectin. The opinion of this obscure and conflicted panel has no scientific value or formal power. But after Big Tech and the dependent media endorsed this Panel, its guidelines paralyzed doctors and hospitals with doubts and fears of lawsuits. I cannot imagine how human beings can do what the Panel has been doing. Now, Peter Yim tries to FOIA their documents related to the negative change in stance toward Ivermectin. He appears pro se, and probably needs help from lawyers specializing in FOIA litigation. Also, somebody needs to demand all documents from this panel, from the moment it was convened until now.

Last, but not least: Big Tech has enormously benefited from the pandemic. Its power grew as more activities shifted online, and the revenues followed. Google’s healthcare company Verily, providing tests and testing solutions for COVID-19, has nicely wetted its beak in the testing hysteria created by Google.

These five companies more than doubled their total market capitalization over the pandemic, gaining $3.7 Trillion (12/30/2019 to 07/23/2021). Big Tech has enthusiastically promoted social distancing, including lockdowns and face masks, and has de-platformed their critics. On this subject, it split from the WHO. No doubt, that if pandemic interfered with its business, Big Tech would have promoted treatments and opposed unnecessary social distancing.

Big Tech has multiple levers of influence on medical publications and research. Google alone can build up or destroy any publication by promoting or downranking it in Google Search. They can influence biotech companies with investing decisions. They can influence medical research, even at top universities, with grants and grant withdrawal decisions.

Twitter de-platformed @cov19treatments, the account of physicians treating COVID-19, on July 22. Almost certainly, Twitter did this in connection with an ignorant hit piece in the LA Times, which called Ivermectin a bogus treatment. Interesting to note is the coordination among Big Tech in promoting that article. Microsoft Network syndicated it, and Google Search displayed it prominently as a Top Story in the search results for Ivermectin.

YouTube prohibits content recommending the use of Ivermectin for both prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19. Facebook has a similar policy. Until recently, Facebook prohibited information about successful treatment for COVID-19, and even put the word cure in quotes. All Big Tech companies coordinate with each other on this front. In my opinion, they commit mass murder. More practical charges and claims might be the unlicensed practice of medicine, unfair competition against physicians, violation of free speech by state actors, monopoly abuse, fraud, and violation of states’ false claims acts.

July 26, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Does covid cause brain damage?

By Sebastian Rushworth, M.D. | July 26, 2021

The latest in the long succession of attempts at maximizing people’s fear of covid is the claim that it causes brain damage. And not just in those who have spent time in the ICU, in everyone, even if all they had was a mild cold. The claim is currently doing the rounds on social media (apparently alarmist propaganda only counts as misinformation if it’s going against the dominant narrative). The assertion comes from a paper that’s recently been published in EClinicalMedicine (a daughter journal of The Lancet ). The paper is actually quite illuminating about the current state of medical research, so I thought it would be interesting to go through it in some detail.

81,337 individuals residing in the UK completed an on-line test of their cognitive function. They also provided information on their covid status (whether or not they thought they’d had it, and how sick they were), as well as a bunch of other demographic information. The data was collected from January to December 2020.

12,689 (16%) of the 81,337 participants indicated that they thought they had had covid-19. They were sorted by the researchers into five categories based on the severity of disease, from “ill without respiratory symptoms” to “hospitalised and on a ventilator”. The results from these five categories were then compared with the results from the 68,648 people that didn’t think they’d had covid.

The reason the study is causing such a stir is because of the results. All five of the “I think I’ve had covid” categories performed worse on the cognitive function test than the “I don’t think I’ve had covid” category did. The reduction in performance was correlated with the severity of disease, with the people who had been on a ventilator performing worst – according to the researchers their results were equivalent to a seven point reduction on an IQ test. If we assume that the non-covid group have an IQ of 100, this would mean that the group that had been on a ventilator have an IQ of 93.

Ok, open and shut, right? Having covid makes you more stupid, and the more severe disease you have, the more stupid you become. Well, not quite.

The first thing that needs to be pointed out is that this was an observational study. Observational studies cannot usually say anything about cause and effect, because the participants haven’t been randomly assigned to the different groups (as they would have been in a randomized controlled trial). The inability to draw any conclusions about cause and effect is especially true when the difference between the groups is small, as it is in this study. There could well be major underlying differences between the groups that explain the differences in performance on the cognitive function test.

When we go through the demographic data, we see that this is actually the case, in particular when it comes to chronic conditions. Chronic liver disease (such as for example liver cirrhosis) was more common in those who thought they had had covid, and the relative rate increased the more severely sick people had been with covid. Chronic lung disease (such as COPD) and chronic kidney disease also co-varied with severity of covid. These underlying illnesses could on their own confound the results enough to explain the differences in cognitive performance seen in the study. People with underlying chronic diseases have worse cognitive function, and they’re also more likely to become severely ill if they get covid. Just because you see a correlation doesn’t mean there’s a cause and effect relationship!

The groups also varied in terms of the proportion in each category that had ADHD. The people who didn’t think they’d had covid were less likely to have ADHD than the people who thought they’d had covid. Oddly, severity of disease correlated quite closely with the probability of having ADHD. This matters, because it’s likely that people with ADHD will underperform on many parts of a cognitive function test. If the researchers wanted to, they could have interpreted this as showing that covid causes ADHD. But they didn’t, because that would be silly. Yet the exact same logic (correlation between two variables in observational data) was used to claim that covid causes brain damage.

It’s worth noting that for all the possible confounding factors that the authors of the study have asked the participants about and tried to account for, there are many more that they haven’t asked about, and that could also explain the results seen in the study. Confounding isn’t something that should be taken lightly, which is why conclusions about cause and effect shouldn’t be drawn from purely associational data.

The second thing that needs to be pointed out is that this study was cross-sectional. In other words, participants only had their cognitive function tested at one time. That in itself makes it impossible to say anything about whether the participants performance decreased after having had covid, because we have no idea what their performance was before they got covid. If you want to know if something has changed over time you need to do a longitudinal study, where you test people multiple times.

The fact that the study was observational and cross-sectional, and that there were big underlying differences between the groups, is on its own enough to disqualify any claims about this study being able to show that covid causes brain damage. But it gets worse. A lot worse.

A major problem with the study is that 97%(!) of the people who thought they’d had covid lacked testing to confirm the diagnosis. Of the 12,689 that thought they’d had covid, only 386 actually had a confirmed diagnosis. The only group in which the majority actually had a positive test confirming that they had had covid was the group that had been on a ventilator in an intensive care unit! If you can’t even be sure that 97% of participants actually had the disease you’re trying to draw conclusions about, then you really don’t have a leg to stand on.

I think it’s worth remembering that, even during the covid peak, only around 20% of covid tests were coming back positive. In other words, even when covid was spreading at its most rampant, most people who had a respiratory infection did not have covid. They had something else. It is therefore reasonable to think that at least 80% of the 97% (i.e. at least 78% of participants) that think they had covid, did not in fact have it. What that means is that the study is rubbish, and cannot make any claims about covid whatsoever. Yet it does. And it’s been published in a peer reviewed journal.

To me, the main lesson here is that we currently live in a world where junk science goes unquestioned and gets published in peer-reviewed journals as long as it feeds in to the dominant narrative. If this study had been claiming, say, that face masks didn’t work, then it would remain stuck at the pre-print stage forever, or, if it ever did get published, it would immediately have been retracted. It has become blatantly obvious over the past year and a half that it is not primarily the quality of studies that determines where and whether they get published, but rather their acceptability to the powers that be.

July 26, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Tory MP: “Tyranny Is Government Controlling Everything You Do!”

By Richie Allen | July 26, 2021

Speaking to Talk Radio’s Julia Hartley-Brewer this morning, Conservative MP Steve Baker asked, “What do people think that tyranny is? It’s this total control over what you do!”

He went on to say that people should write to their MP’s to tell them that they should vote against the introduction of vaccine passports. Baker is the deputy chair of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group. He told Brewer this morning:

“…. you really do need to ask what’s going on. I’m pretty clear in my own mind that what it is is the government choosing effectively to coerce young people to get vaccinated.

I would have thought that we could do better surely than threatening vaccine passports. I do think it’s a proper slippery slope this one. We’re now looking at digital ID’s, we’re looking at a social credit system being trialled to get people to deal with obesity.

A central bank digital currency will enable the state to enormously intervene in our lives. And reasonably you can sit back and say wow what is going on with the change in the relationship between the individual and the state? I can see why some people are quite frightened.”

Sadly though, Baker went on to tell Hartley-Brewer that officials mean well. According to Baker, there is no wider agenda and there is no great conspiracy. He believes that the problem lies with good people making bad decisions. Does he know better? I can’t say. I don’t know him.

But this is why people like Baker refuse to come on The Richie Allen Show. I will go further. I will ask the hard questions. Talk Radio is mainstream light. When Brewer asked Baker to tell people what they can do to stop this madness, he said that they should write to their MP’s.

 

July 26, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | 2 Comments

Freedom? We must seize it for ourselves

By Simon Dolan | The Conservative Woman | July 26, 2021

LAST Monday’s long-awaited ‘Freedom Day’ brought with it a theoretical end to most restrictions on social contact. In reality, ‘Freedom Day’ was nothing of the sort.

How free are we really, when ‘freedom’ means being forced to wear masks and use Covid passports for travelling, attending events and even going to the pub? As things stand, I fear we will be trapped in a vicious cycle of restrictions being slightly scaled down only to be ramped back up again. If masks and Covid passes are still to be mandatory, it won’t take much to initiate new lockdowns, and so it continues.

What’s more, the ‘pingdemic’ is wreaking havoc across the country. How ironic that in the week England was finally meant to be free, 750,000 children were sent home from school after coming into contact with a Covid case and another 620,000 members of the public were ‘pinged’ by the NHS app and so forced to isolate at home.

This is devastating, and not only for the individuals affected. With so many people stuck at home, hundreds of businesses have warned of crippling staff shortages, some even having to close owing to employees being forced to isolate.

Train services have been delayed or cancelled, bank branches have closed their doors and there’s talk of food shortages after factories were forced to shut.

For 18 months the public have had their liberties stripped away, so for us to move forward from the pandemic we must be granted some element of personal responsibility and freedom of choice. As usual, the Government is promising one thing, then doing quite the opposite. ‘Freedom Day’ is actually our leaders mandating businesses and organisations to push their agenda of fear instead.

With talks of additional lockdowns already gaining momentum, we cannot give up and must continue to fight for our freedoms. At Keep Britain Free, we will not rest until our rightful liberties are restored.

July 25, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

Vaccine Lawsuit Filed: Insider Blows Whistle on Coverup

Exclusive Attorney Interview

By Spiro SkourasActivist Post | July 22, 2021

In this exclusive interview, Spiro is joined by Attorney Ana Garner who is a member of the legal team that recently filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The lawsuit is focused on the experimental Covid vaccine, the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and includes sworn testimony from a whistleblower alleging the government reporting systems for adverse reactions to the Covid vaccine is under-reporting deaths by at least five times and projects the real numbers are closer to 45,000 people who died after receiving the vaccine.

Watch on Bitchute:

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/k1YYsLBT7HIF/

View and download lawsuit PDF

New Mexico Stands Up

Previous Interview With Ana Garner

Or watch on YouTube:

July 25, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 4 Comments