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Gordo

Just curious, anyone have a plan, or preps for global pandemic?

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On 2/9/2021 at 11:44 AM, Sibiriak said:

Today, we are expanding our efforts to remove false claims on Facebook and Instagram about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines and vaccines in general during the pandemic. Since December, we’ve removed false claims about COVID-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts. Today, following consultations with leading health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), we are expanding the list of false claims we will remove to include additional debunked claims about the coronavirus and vaccines.

Ah, the irony! According to this policy, Facebook should have censored the tsunami of posts from the Left that:

- challenged the WHO statements (parroting the Chinese official line) that Covid-19 is not contagious and that the West should follow the Chinese lockdown policies because Covid-19 can be contained (unlike the flu). 

- Challenged the WHO, CDC and AMA statements and policies that advised against the wearing of masks by healthy people, especially outdoors, and claimed that masks may actually be detrimental in such situations.

Also, Facebook should have banned MSNBC and CNN, and the Leftist political opportunists who amplified these attacks on the medical establishment until the medical authorities caved-in and changed their positions. Facebook should have banned Kamala Harris who claimed that nobody should trust Trump's vaccines.

The point is, human knowledge is not set in stone and the very essence of science demands that there is a debate about falsifiable assertions. Facebook is the largest public forum in history, with over half of the world's population on it, and it should not be allowed to censor speech and especially political speech. Social media platforms are exempted from posted content liability for a reason, but they should not be allowed to edit or censor any speech, with strictly-defined and construed minimal exceptions for graphic violence, child porn, and felonious acts.  They must be regulated as utilities, because of their size and public forum likeness.

As it is, the liberal democracies appear to be sliding fast towards a political arrangement similar to what has emerged from the former state economies of Russia and China, where a single political ideology tolerates private property, but with tight political controls over it. It is not an oligarchy, as the oligarchs can maintain their positions only as long as they support the ruling political forces. In China, Jack Ma, perhaps the country's greatest entrepreneur, was just thrown in jail for a speech challenging (rather mildly) the CCP. It is more like socialism abandoning the command-economy and evolving into its close sibling, fascism.

In the US, the pandemic was politicized and weaponized against the Left's political opponents. Social media (and virtually all of the legacy media) actively assisted the Democrats and the Left, skewing public political discourse and suppressing virtually all debate on the pandemic.

After months of violence and absurd claims of "peaceful protests" that looted and burned major US cities, big business was forced in line, providing huge donations to BLM and installing party apparatchiks effectively in charge of most major HR departments, with the prerequisite indoctrination group Zoom calls where employees were subject to weekly reeducation sessions. Then January 6th came and it was used to usher an open purge of anyone opposed to the Left, with major social media platforms banning hundreds of journalists, former Trump Administration officials, and the former President himself. Amazon, in collusion with the other cloud providers, effectively killed Parlor to make an example and issue a warning to those who may think of alternatives. Bank of America, and likely others, scoured their customers' accounts for anyone who had traveled to DC and handed the information to the FBI.

I never liked Trump, for many reasons. But the democratic institutions of the US and the constitutional checks and balances make it difficult for populism to thrive. The new Left is much more dangerous and it is not only reshaping American society in ways unimaginable a couple of decades ago, but appears capable and willing to dismantle these very institutions. And that's scarier than any political movement or pandemic I've seen.

Edited by Ron Put

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The Lancet has published a report finding that 40% of the covid deaths were unnecessary. 

Public policy and health in the Trump era

Summary here  40% of US Covid Deaths Could Have Been Avoided

The U.S. has the world’s highest tallies of both Covid-19 cases and deaths, which according to a new study can be blamed in large part on the chaotic response to the pandemic by the Trump administration.

The authors say that the U.S. would have avoided about 40% of its 470,000 deaths so far if it had simply achieved results similar to other wealthy, industrialized nations.

[The authors fault more than] Trump’s “disdain for science and cuts to global health programmes and public health agencies,” the “elimination of the National Security Council’s global health security team,” and “a 2017 hiring freeze that left almost 700 positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unfilled”

While the Trump administration may have performed poorly, the U.S. has experienced worsening health conditions for decades, the authors say, with life expectancy actually falling starting in 2014.

The authors charge that 40 years of neoliberal policies have created a two-tier society that fails to deliver social goods to large swaths of the population, making it harder to respond to a global pandemic.

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2 hours ago, corybroo said:

The Lancet has published a report finding that 40% of the covid deaths were unnecessary. 

 

Yep, that's a great example of how politicized pseudo-science propaganda is riding on the wave of "woke-ism" sweeping the West.

Blame everything on Trump (and by extension on his non-mask-wearing supporters) and the lack of CDC bureaucrats, while obfuscating the fact that health services are largely state-run and that the Federal government provided virtually all the help requested by states like NY and CA, such as the mostly unneeded navy floating hospitals and ventilators demanded by Cuomo and Newsom.

Also forgotten is the massive federal aid to bail the "true leaders" after they locked down and crashed their state economies, plus the billions for Operation Warp Speed, which should be credited for the current vaccines. And keep chalking up every death to Covid-19 and by extension on Trump, while willfully ignoring the deaths caused by the lockdowns and the politically weaponized fear that deterred many from going to the emergency room, many of whom are now counted as Covid-19 deaths.

Here is an informative look at how death statistics can, and are, being manipulated for political gain:

Home Depot, Hogwarts & Excess Deaths at the CDC

What is the plausible range of total “excess” deaths in a relevant place over a relevant time period?

The answer depends on where you live and the measurement window. No one lives everywhere across the United States. That said, the range for the year ended September 30, 2020 for United States most likely lies between 0.17 - 0.85 (0.03 - 0.67) DPT, including (excluding) the Tri-state. For most states individually, zero excess is plausible. Yet, this highly important fact goes unmentioned in the CDC’s October 23 MMWR, which cherry-picks the Feb - Sep period and ignores deficits to produce 0.91 DPT (299,028/328 million/1,000) as the solitary point estimate for the entire country. Compare to the 1918 flu with a 6.6 DPT.

What share of excess deaths might be fairly attributed to Covid-19?

Small and getting smaller, especially in light of the WHO’s Jan 20, 2021 Notice warning that a PCR test positive should not be counted as “Covid-19” in the absence of a clinical diagnosis: “The cycle threshold (Ct) needed to detect virus is inversely proportional to the patient’s viral load. Where test results do not correspond with the clinical presentation, a new specimen should be taken and retested using the same or different NAT technology.”

The vast majority of the fatalities are either (a) very elderly and, therefore, likely to die soon anyway, or (b) saddled with major comorbidities and … likely to die soon anyway. Even the CDC admits, in print, that it does not know whether ANY of its estimated excess deaths were caused by Covid. All of this means that we should be looking beyond Covid-19 for a full explanation of the Tri-state and other anomalies like the summer 2020 serpent.

How transparently does the CDC present the range and share to readers?

Not transparently at all. They publish a big, falsely precise, nationwide number (i.e., 298,028) – cherry-picked from the “best” eight months – front and center. They fail to inform readers, “Our estimate is subject to lots of uncertainty. We don’t even know how many”excess" deaths there are and we don’t know what share of the unknown excess deaths were caused by Covid." This is all buried in the fine print. They entirely omit the upper-bound expected deaths from their dashboard, fail to share their model code and data, and say nothing about the inversely proportional relationship between PCR cycle threshold (Ct) and viral load, which calls into question the Covid-19 label on deaths reported by the states.

 

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On 2/12/2021 at 2:20 PM, corybroo said:

Although we may disagree on numbers and how to interpret them, at least we’re not like Russia

True, we are not. But with the unprecedented censorship riding on the politicized pandemic, we are getting closer and closer, and it should give us all a pause.

Who knew that even Dr. Drew would be censored:
 

 

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5 hours ago, Ron Put said:

the unprecedented censorship riding on the politicized pandemic, we are getting closer and closer...

The censorship level is indeed unprecedented ( in peacetime),  hitting insane levels previously unimaginable.  And totally unacceptable.   Hey, in Russia the internet is basically wide open.  Navalny's group posts  a video and tens of millions of Russians view it.  It's not blocked.  It's not censored.  It spreads all through the social media without the slightest impediment. (Nothing like China).  Sure there's repression.  But in terms of censorship and cancel culture, US Big Tech and the Liberal Establishment are leading the way.

What I don't entirely get is why every Republican, every conservative,  every  true liberal that understands the importance of free speech and the dangers of institutionalized censorship, especially censorship  by colossal autocratic,  undemocratic,  seemingly unaccountable corporate entities--- why aren't they totally up in arms, why  aren't they  in total rebellion against this looming totalitarianism?

 

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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I presented the below paper elsewhere on these forums, but it seems worthy of repeating, to note the huge health and health care potential costs of COVID-19 long-haulers.

 

More than 50 Long-term effects of COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Lopez-Leon S, Wegman-Ostrosky T, Perelman C, Sepulveda R, Rebolledo PA, Cuapio A, Villapol S.
medRxiv. 2021 Jan 30:2021.01.27.21250617. doi: 10.1101/2021.01.27.21250617. Preprint.
PMID: 33532785 Free PMC article.
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.01.27.21250617v2.full.pdf
Abstract
COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, can involve sequelae and other medical complications that last weeks to months after initial recovery, which has come to be called Long-COVID or COVID long-haulers. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to identify studies assessing long-term effects of COVID-19 and estimates the prevalence of each symptom, sign, or laboratory parameter of patients at a post-COVID-19 stage. LitCOVID (PubMed and Medline) and Embase were searched by two independent researchers. All articles with original data for detecting long-term COVID-19 published before 1st of January 2021 and with a minimum of 100 patients were included. For effects reported in two or more studies, meta-analyses using a random-effects model were performed using the MetaXL software to estimate the pooled prevalence with 95% CI. Heterogeneity was assessed using I2 statistics. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviewers and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) reporting guideline was followed. A total of 18,251 publications were identified, of which 15 met the inclusion criteria. The prevalence of 55 long-term effects was estimated, 21 meta-analyses were performed, and 47,910 patients were included. The follow-up time ranged from 15 to 110 days post-viral infection. The age of the study participants ranged between 17 and 87 years. It was estimated that 80% (95% CI 65-92) of the patients that were infected with SARS-CoV-2 developed one or more long-term symptoms. The five most common symptoms were fatigue (58%), headache (44%), attention disorder (27%), hair loss (25%), and dyspnea (24%). All meta-analyses showed medium (n=2) to high heterogeneity (n=13). In order to have a better understanding, future studies need to stratify by sex, age, previous comorbidities, severity of COVID-19 (ranging from asymptomatic to severe), and duration of each symptom. From the clinical perspective, multi-disciplinary teams are crucial to developing preventive measures, rehabilitation techniques, and clinical management strategies with whole-patient perspectives designed to address long COVID-19 care.

Edited by AlPater

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8 hours ago, AlPater said:

I presented the below paper elsewhere on these forums, but it seems worthy of repeating, to note the huge health and health care potential costs of COVID-19 long-haulers.

 

Thank you, Al. It's also worth repeating that such "long-haulers" are far from exclusive to Covid-19, but have been observed for at least a century in cases of infectious diseases.

Increases in heart attacks during and post-infection have been documented as far back as the American Civil War, if my memory serves me and typhoid was known to cause increased heart attack deaths in people who had had the disease.

Influenza itself has a number of lingering effects, including increased heart attacks, strokes, lung scarring (I believe I posted a study earlier, it may be as high as 40%) and neurological problems.

Here are a couple of examples:

5 Ways the Flu Can Affect Your Health Even After You Feel Better


Long-Term Neuroinflammation Induced by Influenza A Virus Infection and the Impact on Hippocampal Neuron Morphology and Function

This is not to discount the study you posted, but to make sure that we keep things in perspective, since the politicization of Covid-19 and the resulting purposeful fearmongering is unlike anything we've seen in a lifetime.

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12 hours ago, Ron Put said:

Thank you, Al. It's also worth repeating that such "long-haulers" are far from exclusive to Covid-19, but have been observed for at least a century in cases of infectious diseases.

Increases in heart attacks during and post-infection have been documented as far back as the American Civil War, if my memory serves me and typhoid was known to cause increased heart attack deaths in people who had had the disease.

Influenza itself has a number of lingering effects, including increased heart attacks, strokes, lung scarring (I believe I posted a study earlier, it may be as high as 40%) and neurological problems.

Here are a couple of examples:

5 Ways the Flu Can Affect Your Health Even After You Feel Better


Long-Term Neuroinflammation Induced by Influenza A Virus Infection and the Impact on Hippocampal Neuron Morphology and Function

This is not to discount the study you posted, but to make sure that we keep things in perspective, since the politicization of Covid-19 and the resulting purposeful fearmongering is unlike anything we've seen in a lifetime.

Well your right but consider how prevalent covid is now and that itself exacerbates the number affected and attention it’s getting. Can’t quite grasp your points wrt politicalization???

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MedicalXpress has an update on Sweden’s approach.  Sweden readying to close gyms, restaurants, hair salons

preparing to use new legislation to close gyms, restaurants and hair salons ahead of a feared third wave of virus infections, the government said Wednesday.

It has however gradually tightened measures since November, including a ban on alcohol sales after 8:00 pm and on public gatherings of more than eight people.

Sweden has also introduced limits on the number of people allowed in sports centres, swimming pools and shopping centres and a recommendation to wear face masks on public transport during rush hour.

expanding … to include all commercial and service centres, such as gyms, pools, sports centres, hair salons, cafes and restaurants.

The country of 10.3 million people has been hit much harder than its Nordic neighbours, and on Tuesday reported a total of 617,869 cases of COVID-19 and 12,487 related deaths.

Cases have been in decline since mid-December, but the fall has tapered off lately and health officials are concerned that a third wave could be just around the corner.

 

Also, The Economist looked at Ca and Tx noting how different their approaches were and how similar the results were.   America’s two largest states are fighting covid-19 differently

“People in California are frustrated because they feel like they are experiencing the worst of both worlds,”

in Texas, the economic benefits of a more libertarian approach are hard to discern. The unemployment rate in both states is higher than the national average.

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Also from MedicalXpress:  New insight into antibody-induced protective immunity to COVID-19

Basically, having antibodies from an asymptomatic or mild case *may* not be sufficient.

Antibody testing can tell who has been previously exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, a metric that is essential for tracking spread across a population.

this study found that while antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 may be a good way to measure exposure to the virus, their presence alone wasn't enough to determine if a person had long-lasting protection. Instead, antibody effector functions associated with long-lasting protection, like virus neutralization and T cell responses, were only seen if the immune response included high levels of antibodies against a part of the virus called the receptor binding domain.

This data came from a cohort of adults who had mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19

120 of their study participants had experienced mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 which had resulted in the development of COVID-19 antibodies.

individuals who had developed a larger number of antibodies, associated with stronger symptoms in case of mild COVID-19, had also developed immune functions associated with natural immune protection.

Once you hit a certain threshold of these antibodies, it's like a switch turns on and we can observe antibody effector functions

These functions were not observed in individuals with lower antibody binding titers, and the level of protection from reinfections is uncertain in these individuals.

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Coronavirus: US life expectancy falls by a year amid pandemic
Image shows nurses caring for Covid-19 patients in California
The coronavirus pandemic is believed to be a major factor behind the fall
Life expectancy in the US fell by a full year in the first half of 2020, a change experts say was fuelled by the growing coronavirus pandemic.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56110005

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On 2/13/2021 at 6:05 PM, Ron Put said:

True, we are not. But with the unprecedented censorship riding on the politicized pandemic, we are getting closer and closer, and it should give us all a pause.

Who knew that even Dr. Drew would be censored:

Yea I am alarmed by big tech censorship, they have gone too far and yet too many seem to be OK with this.  It's all good until you are the one that is censored, or the people you enjoyed interacting with disappear.  Media/social companies banning politicians, even celebrities now, that they don't like?  Seems hard to believe this is happening in America.  Good to see some countries are actually fighting for free speech.

Edited by Gordo

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Does the following chart show a problem with all opinions having the same megaphone?  There are only two countries where willingness to be vaccinated has increased.  The situation in Britain has appeared to overcome vaccination hesitancy.  I've heard it said that the pro-vaccination side has statistics and the anti side has stories.  Guess which moves people emotionally.20210213_FBC708.png  

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On 2/16/2021 at 7:30 AM, Mike41 said:

Well your right but consider how prevalent covid is now and that itself exacerbates the number affected and attention it’s getting. Can’t quite grasp your points wrt politicalization???

Mike, consider that most people who were alive in 1957 and 1969 do not even remember that there were major pandemics and that at least a comparable number of people died in the US and around the world as a portion of the population. There were no lockdowns, instead in 1969 we had the Moon landing and Woodstock. The reason everyone is living in fear now, is locked down and masks are a political statement is because the pandemic was weaponized and fear was leveraged to attack political opponents and to reshape people's perception of what is "normal," including the creeping acceptance of political and scientific censorship. Whole campaigns were refocused on weaponizing fear to attack political opponents and wholesale partisan changes in voting rules were implemented based on such fear. The fear has been used by the radical Left to gain power and to reshape the Western (mostly English-speaking) societies in ways unimaginable a decade ago. It's a very dangerous development and it seems to affirm the old adage that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.

This rant makes some valid observations about propaganda in the UK, although I think by focusing on a few exceptions by a few publications, it makes unsupported by evidence claims about the role and impartiality of the mainstream media:
 

 

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10 hours ago, Iporuru said:

Gordo, it's exactly the opposite: the Polish anti-democratic, authoritarian government wants to curb free speech by imposing unfair taxes on independent media and take them over to spread its propaganda

Iporuru, you seem to be conflating two separate legislative aims and two different issues.

One is a proposed tax on online media advertising, which is promoted as progressive and trying to set a level playing field for local media (there is reason to be wary of it, depending on how it is ultimately structured).

The other is the protection of free speech by prohibiting social media giants from censoring speech that does not contravene local laws.  Notice that it does not restrict speech based on local laws or customs (which is something China does) but it prohibits censorship of speech allowed by local laws.

Poland vows to stop social media tech giants censoring free speech in wake of Twitter's Donald Trump ban

Sadly, most major media is promoting the narrative conflating the two. Just like it was the case with Donald Trump, even a broken clock tells the right time a couple of times a day.

 

 

4 hours ago, corybroo said:

Does the following chart show a problem with all opinions having the same megaphone?

Does the fact that Democrats like VP Harris repeatedly tried to cast doubt on "Trump's vaccine" (BTW, the fact is that if it wasn't for "Operation Warp Speed" we would not have a vaccine ready today) give you a pause?

Or, that "the scientists" and "the experts" are not a uniform block, as the media and the Democrats tell us?  Because while Facebook now bans even discussion of the side effects of Covid-19 vaccines (in addition to what it terms as "hate speech" -- as defined by the far Left), I remember that Mark Zuckerberg was promoting a different (and rather ignorant) view internally while Trump was in office:
 

 

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>  the fact is that if it wasn't for "Operation Warp Speed" we would not have a vaccine ready today

I thought Pfizer’s vaccine was not developed in Operation Warp Speed.  Try googling “was the pfizer vaccine developed by warp speed” and see if there’s any confirmation.  Among the results

 Leading Covid-19 vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna decline invitations to White House ‘Vaccine Summit’

The Trump administration has openly feuded with Pfizer in recent weeks over its involvement in Operation Warp Speed and the timing of a data release showing its vaccine to be highly effective

In an interview with the New York Times, she [Kathrin Jansen, a Pfizer executive] claimed Pfizer was “never part” of Operation Warp Speed, and that the company had “never taken any money from the U.S. government.”

While the company never accepted Operation Warp Speed funding to help develop the vaccine, it did agree to a $1.95 billion purchase order with the federal government, providing the company a massive guaranteed market if the vaccine proved to be safe and effective.

Bourla [Pfizer CEO] later defended the decision to decline federal research and development funding, citing a desire to “liberate our scientists from any bureaucracy” and “keep Pfizer out of politics.”

 

It seems Pfizer accepted a challenge similar to the government incentives for the cross country railroad – paying for results like connected miles of rail.  Not a new idea but a very effective one for get quick results.

You’ve spoken before of censorship of conservatives.  However I see news like RFK Jr. sues Facebook for censoring anti-vaccine information and think that it is misinformation from any source that is being limited.  The unvaccinated provide a breeding ground for new variants; their personal decision affects other, either sickening or killing others.  There is a large public benefit to labeling misinformation as such.

Given the different views on how best to practice CR and its likely efficacy, I don’t think any of us has a problem with “the scientists” not being a uniform block.  Indeed, if you polled a large group of physicians about the wisdom of even trying CR, what do you think they’d recommend?

 

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3 hours ago, corybroo said:

I thought Pfizer’s vaccine was not developed in Operation Warp Speed.  Try googling “was the pfizer vaccine developed by warp speed” and see if there’s any confirmation.

I understand that Google skews results, but figuring it out is really not all that difficult, corybroo. Even Biden thanked and credited the Trump Administration for Operation Warp Speed, but you are having trouble with it.

Most of the $10 Billion allocated by Operation Warp Speed went to assure the vaccine developers that their production would be purchased, and that it would be purchased at a price at which they can make a (handsome) profit. Pfizer is virtue-signaling to the Biden Administration right now, but the reality is that they were among the largest beneficiaries of the guaranteed pricing and placement part of the funds spent by OWS. The main reason why Pfizer did not need OWS research funding was the fact that the German government had already given $500 million in research funding to BioNTech, Pfizer's German partner responsible for the messenger RNA tech in the Pfizer vaccine. Pfizer essentially wanted to bypass the already scaled-down reporting and review requirements of the US government, and beat the others to the finish line.

Just as importantly, when they were able to deliver only 50% of their agreed-upon US contract, Pfizer essentially blackmailed the government for a supply-chain prioritization in exchange for an additional 100 million doses contract (and another $2 Billion), forcing Trump to use his emergency powers to give them such priority.

The bottom line is that without the guaranteed prices and placement under OWS, and funding by other Western nations, it is highly unlikely that we would have much vaccine availability today. The Biden Administration and the Left will claim credit, of course, and will attempt to erase any credit the Trump Administration deserves, just like they have erased the BLM riots that destroyed our major cities over the summer, while imprinting the considerably less dramatic DC "insurrection" into our collective psyche.

Since Google searches may give some trouble, here is a summary of what Operation Warp Speed did, from Politifact:


"The U.S. government committed $1.95 billion for large-scale manufacturing and delivery of 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech. Pfizer’s vaccine would need to get emergency-use authorization or approval from the FDA.

The agreement also allows the United States to acquire up to 500 million additional doses.

The U.S. government did not fund the companies’ research and development. ...

Moderna vaccine

The federal government committed up to $955 million to Moderna for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

In April, Moderna said it was getting $483 million from the government, and that the money would be used for late-stage clinical development programs and to scale up vaccine manufacture. In July, Moderna said it got a commitment of an additional $472 million.

In the Nov. 16 announcement of the vaccine’s efficacy, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel thanked "partners at BARDA and Operation Warp Speed who have been instrumental to accelerating our progress to this point."

... Overall, HHS said the federal government is spending up to approximately $1.5 billion to help make and deliver the Moderna doses.

Investment in other vaccines

Johnson & Johnson: The U.S. awarded Johnson & Johnson $456 million for clinical trials and other vaccine development activities. Under a separate $1 billion agreement, the U.S. is expected to acquire 100 million doses of J&J’s vaccine, and can buy more doses. The doses could be used in clinical trials, or if authorized by the FDA, distributed as part of a vaccination campaign.

AstraZeneca: The U.S. is providing up to $1.6 billion for the development, manufacturing, and delivery of AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate, which is being developed with the University of Oxford. The agreement calls for 300 million doses, which would need to get FDA approval or emergency-use authorization to be used in the United States.

Novavax: The U.S. awarded $1.6 billion for late-stage clinical development of Novavax’ vaccine candidate, including a Phase 3 clinical trial, large-scale manufacturing, and the delivery of 100 million doses. HHS said the doses would be available for use in clinical trials or, if FDA grants emergency use authorization or approves the investigational vaccine, the government could distribute the doses as part of a vaccination campaign.

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline: The U.S. is providing about $2.1 billion for the development, clinical trials, manufacturing and delivery of 100 million doses of a vaccine from Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline. Under the agreement, the U.S. government can get an additional 500 million doses longer term. The doses could be used in clinical trials or if authorized by the FDA, as part of a COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

Merck and IAVI: The U.S. government awarded Merck and IAVI $38 million for vaccine research."


 

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7 hours ago, Ron Put said:

The bottom line is that without the guaranteed prices and placement under OWS, and funding by other Western nations, it is highly unlikely that we would have much vaccine availability today. The Biden Administration and the Left will claim credit, of course, and will attempt to erase any credit the Trump Administration deserves, just like they have erased the BLM riots that destroyed our major cities over the summer, while imprinting the considerably less dramatic DC "insurrection" into our collective psyche.

Yes, it is an undeniable fact that the vaccine(s) could be developed and made available so quickly only by massive public expense. And by now I've grown accustomed to the vast hypocrisy being exhibited by the leftists' currents in the USA. Of course, not all democrats are like that, but the ruling faction uncomfortably reminds me of the Communist propaganda in the era of Soviet Union.

Edited by mccoy

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On 2/19/2021 at 6:35 PM, Ron Put said:

Iporuru, you seem to be conflating two separate legislative aims and two different issues.

Sorry Ron, but it’s you who is conflating the Polish government’s crude, shameless propaganda with their true motives. We’re going OT here, but let me briefly say this: I know what I’m talking about because I live in Poland, and someone living thousands of miles away and reading only superficial news will never be aware of the real situation. The current populist, ultra-right government is like a plague – damaging the economy, democratic institutions (read about the Polish Supreme Court and Constitutional Tribunal, illegally taken over by the party apparatchiks), imposing some of the harshest anti-abortion laws in the world, curbing free speech and independent media, just like Orban did in Hungary. This government is Putin’s fifth column and Goebbels and Kim Jong-un would be proud of the state TV’s propaganda. The Daily Mail article you quoted is laughable – presenting the official line (lies) of the government. The real purpose of the “five-member freedom of speech council” (chosen exclusively by the ruling party) is to censor independent media exposing the ruling politicians’ corruption and inaptitude. AFAIK Facebook has never censored anything major that would justify such steps. The Polish PM saying “he wants EU rules to defend free speech online and warned against "political correctness" by tech giants” is like a statement from Orwell’s 1984’s Ministry of Truth. LOL

The real purpose of the tax the government wants to levy on independent media is to totally suppress free media and control all news outlets. Already now billions are spent on state TV, and recently the biggest (state-owned) oil company has taken over 120 local newspaper and a media house, thus getting access to 17.5 million readers/users. It has been calculated that due to the new tax Facebook and other big international players would pay only ca. PLN 50 million, whereas local, independent media would pay ca. PLN 700 million – apart from the normal corporate taxes they pay. So the government effectively kills free media and at the same time subsidizes (advertising + subsidies) the government-controlled media. Look at what happened in Hungary – a few days ago the last independent radio was closed: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klubrádió Poland is unfortunately going the same way.

Edited by Iporuru
punctuation

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3 hours ago, Iporuru said:

Sorry Ron, but it’s you who is conflating the Polish government’s crude, shameless propaganda with their true motives

With all due respect, you are still conflating the two issues.

In my response above, I specifically noted that on the new tax front, "there is reason to be wary of it, depending on how it is ultimately structured." I am no fan of either of the current governments of Poland and Hungary, but the "broken clock" rule is valid in the case of the Polish government's opposition to social media censorship. It may be opportunistic and self-serving, but it is nevertheless a rare voice in the post-Covid wilderness and I hope that others pick it up.

The key point is that the proposed Polish law does not seek to affirmatively limit what is posted on Facebook. It allows challenges to Facebook's own affirmative deletion, block, demonetization,  or demotion of posts that do not contravene Polish law. In other words, the only power Poland seeks to exercise is to prevent censorship, not impose it (which would be the case if they sought to force Facebook to delete posts that are in contravention of Polish law).

Here is a short summary of what is proposed:

"
The draft provides for the establishment of the “Freedom of Speech Council” which will be responsible for protecting the constitutional right to freedom of expression on social media. The Council will be headed by five members with specific expertise in law and media; the lower house of the Parliament of Poland (the Sejm) will appoint the members for a six-year term with a three-fifths majority vote.

If any social media platform blocks a user or deletes their post, even though it does not violate any Polish law, the user can submit a complaint directly to the social media platform and is entitled to receive a response to the complaint within 48 hours. If the users are unhappy with the response given by the social media platform, they can make an appeal before the Council which will consider the appeal within seven days. The Council’s decision may further be appealed before a court.

If any social media platform fails to comply with the order given by the Council or the court, the Council may impose an administrative penalty of PNL 50 thousand, up to 50 million (approximately $13.4 million). In order to decrease costs and ensure a speedy disposal, the proceedings will be held in electronic form."

To give a bit of perspective, Section 230 of the 1996 Act was meant to provide protection to online publishers from being held liable for what was posted by third parties (at the time the focus was on porn, not politics). The idea was that online platforms are just that, "platform," not traditional media entities with editorial powers. The free-marketeers at the time were leery of imposing utility company-like regulation, and the budding platforms were adamantly opposed to it, so they essentially got their cake, while slowly starting to eat it. The trend toward laxer antitrust enforcement allowed the dominance of a handful of global entities that control the bulk of our online interactions today.

The above would have been troubling on its own, but other stars were aligning, too. Back in the 1990s critical theory was a growing, but still a fringe offshoot of disheartened Marxists toiling in dispersed academia bubbles and defending free speech was still fashionable among the majority.  But just as social interactions on the web gathered speed in the 2000s, critical theorists started pushing the "identity" angle (as opposed to the "proletariat" angle) and we started hearing about "hate speech" and "systemic racism/oppression" outside of the confines of academic social sciences departments. Today we are faced with a threat unlike any other seen before in the US: The imposition of censorship and speech restrictions on a wide variety of political or politicized sectors, with large corporate interests and radical political forces aligned to promote a single ideology and openly suppress and persecute opposing views.

This is what fascism is and it's coming from the fringe Left, just as it did in the 20th century in Germany and Italy. Both Russia and China have established similar political frameworks, moving from the failed model of command economies to a more viable model where private enterprise is encouraged, but completely subjugated to a single ideology and any deviation is severely punished, as recently exemplified by the case with Alibaba's Jack Ma. What is scary is that there is only a difference of degree between China and Russia, and the "cancel" culture that is rapidly taking hold in the Anglo-Saxon liberal democracies.

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