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Messages - Neven

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Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: August 05, 2020, 11:56:00 PM »
Herman Daly is an absolute legend, still living. I've learned so much from that man.

1) This content is already on the forum. Look at all the stuff that has been written about Russiagate, which was a prime example of a conspiracy/collusion myth. There's the Solar Roads thread, and lots of other stuff, like crazy solutions to Arctic sea ice loss.

2) Why would you want more of it on this Forum, when all of the Internet is already full of that s**t? It takes huge amounts of time and energy, and usually leads nowhere. Wikipedia, unfortunately, cannot be the arbiter, as it has become heavily compromised over the years.

3) Nevertheless, I voted 'yes'

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 02, 2020, 12:41:28 AM »
Neven, I gave you this example of blatant disinformation, presenting as medical fact something which is clearly the opposite of a fact.

Yes, but you obviously have trouble reading it correctly because of bias.

You said: 'Why would anyone think or claim there is no transmission in children?'

Whereas it clearly says in the text you quoted: 'the risk of disease and transmission in children is extremely low'.

The reason someone would claim the risk of transmission in children is extremely low, is because there are scientific studies showing this (such as this one). Of course, you can brush this aside with more anecdotal evidence from Israel (no links), and if you'd make more of an effort, you'd find scientific studies that show the opposite. That's because it's far from clear.

My problem with your argument is that you latch onto something, call it an 'example of blatant disinformation', and then simply brush everything aside. That's just too easy, and shows you have already decided what reality is, simply based on media narratives that people have been bombarded with for more than 100 days straight.

And then you arrogantly state that you 'shudder to think this is someone's primary source'. Well, show me a perfect primary source then! You can't, because it doesn't exist. The easiest thing to do in the world, is to find one sentence, declare it 'blatant disinformation' (true or not) and dismiss the whole thing.

The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: August 01, 2020, 06:22:44 PM »


You are obviously not following mainstream media, or read what 80% of Vox Mundi's links in the COVID thread are about. Never has a disease received so much attention, with so little context or perspective. Not even Al Qaeda has had so much terror associated with it as this 'silent, invisible serial killer'.

If I'm agitating against that, and people automatically infer that I believe vulnerable people deserve to die, it just shows how succesful the relentless brainwashing has been.

The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: August 01, 2020, 05:26:25 PM »
Feels really strange, but I had to put Neven on my ignore list after the really really bad comment about Herman Cain and his cancer. I had cancer myself two years ago and according to Neven it is OK if I die in case I get Covid 19 - as I will die with Covid and not of Covid.
Somehow I have a different opinion.

This is entirely your (mis)interpretation of what I wrote, as I just quoted some parts from a news site.

My point was that old people with pre-conditions die from COVID-19, as they do from many other diseases, because people simply die. This kind of context is structurally lacking from most news reporting (for more than 100 days now), because the only way one is allowed to view SARS-CoV-2 is as some alien zombie virus that causes a Hollywood blockbuster-level plague.

Of course, you are entirely free to put me on your ignore list. Just don't slander me.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 01, 2020, 04:00:00 PM »
This is something very important that gets zero attention and/or traction in the media:

Pre-existing immunity against the new coronavirus

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was assumed that no immunity against the new coronavirus existed in the population. This was one of the main reasons behind the initial strategy of “flattening the curve” by introducing stay-at-home orders.

From March and April onwards, however, the first studies showed that a considerable part of the population already had a certain immunity to the new virus, acquired through contact with earlier coronaviruses (common cold viruses).

Further important studies on this topic were published in July:

  • A new study from Germany came to the conclusion that up to 81% of people who have not yet had contact with the new coronavirus already have cross-reactive T-cells and thus a certain background immunity. This confirms earlier studies on T-cell immunity.
  • In addition, a British study found that up to 60% of children and adolescents and about 6% of adults already have cross-reactive antibodies against the new coronavirus, which were created by contact with previous coronaviruses. This is probably another important aspect in explaining the very low rate of disease in children and adolescents.
  • In the case of Singapore, a study published in the scientific journal Nature concluded that people who contracted SARS-1 in 2002/2003 still had T-cells that were reactive against the new SARS-2 coronavirus 17 years later. In addition, the researchers found cross-reactive T-cells, which were produced by contact with other, partly unknown coronaviruses, in about half of the people who had neither contracted SARS-1 nor SARS-2. The researchers suspect that the different distribution of such coronaviruses and T-cells may help explain why some countries are less affected than others by the new corona virus, regardless of the political and medical measures taken.
  • Analysts have previously pointed out that many Pacific countries, and especially China’s neighbouring countries, have so far had very low Covid death rates, regardless of their population structure (young or old) and the measures taken (with or without lockdown, mass tests, masks, etc.). A possible explanation for this could be the spread of earlier coronaviruses.
  • Harvard immunologist Michael Mina explained that the “drop in antibody concentration” after Covid disease, dramatized by some media, was “perfectly normal” and “textbook”. The body ensures long-term immunity through T-cells and memory cells in the bone marrow, which can quickly produce new antibodies when needed.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 01, 2020, 01:44:12 PM »
And now for the quotes that offer context and perspective, as an antidote to the dismal, manipulative and fear-mongering reporting by mainstream media (links can be found on the page itself):

1. According to the latest immunological studies, the overall lethality of Covid-19 (IFR) is about 0.1% to 0.3% and thus in the range of a severe influenza (flu).

5. Up to 80% of all test-positive persons remain symptom-free. Even among 70-79 year olds, about 60% remain symptom-free. About 95% of all people develop at most moderate symptoms.

6. Up to 60% of all persons may already have a certain cellular background immunity to the new coronavirus due to contact with previous coronaviruses (i.e. cold viruses). The initial assumption that there was no immunity against the new coronavirus was not correct.

7. The median age of the deceased in most countries (including Italy) is over 80 years (e.g. 86 years in Sweden) and only about 4% of the deceased had no serious preconditions. The age and risk profile of deaths thus essentially corresponds to normal mortality.

8. In many countries, up to two thirds of all extra deaths occurred in nursing homes, which do not benefit from a general lockdown. Moreover, in many cases it is not clear whether these people really died from Covid-19 or from weeks of extreme stress and isolation.

9. Up to 30% of all additional deaths may have been caused not by Covid-19, but by the effects of the lockdown, panic and fear. For example, the treatment of heart attacks and strokes decreased by up to 60% because many patients no longer dared to go to hospital.

10. Even in so-called “Covid-19 deaths” it is often not clear whether they died from or with coronavirus (i.e. from underlying diseases) or if they were counted as “presumed cases” and not tested at all. However, official figures usually do not reflect this distinction.

14. In countries such as Italy and Spain, and to some extent the UK and the US, hospital overloads due to strong flu waves are not unusual. Moreover, this year up to 15% of health care workers were put into quarantine, even if they developed no symptoms.

15. The often shown exponential curves of “corona cases” are misleading, as the number of tests also increased exponentially. In most countries, the ratio of positive tests to tests overall (i.e. the positivity rate) remained constant at 5% to 20% or increased only slightly. In many countries, the peak of the spread was already reached well before the lockdown.

16. Countries without lockdowns, such as Japan, South Korea, Belarus and Sweden, have not experienced a more negative course of events than many other countries. Sweden was even praised by the WHO and now benefits from higher immunity compared to lockdown countries. 75% of Swedish deaths happened in nursing facilities that weren’t protected fast enough.

17. The fear of a shortage of ventilators was unjustified. According to lung specialists, the invasive ventilation (intubation) of Covid-19 patients, which is partly done out of fear of spreading the virus, is in fact often counterproductive and damaging to the lungs.

19. There is still little to no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of cloth face masks in healthy and asymptomatic individuals. Experts warn that such masks may interfere with normal breathing and may become “germ carriers” if used repeatedly.

24. At no time was there a medical reason for the closure of schools, as the risk of disease and transmission in children is extremely low. There is also no medical reason for small classes, masks or ‘social distancing’ rules in schools.

28. The number of people suffering from unemployment, depression and domestic violence as a result of the measures has reached historic record levels. Several experts predict that the measures will claim far more lives than the virus itself. According to the UN 1.6 billion people around the world are at immediate risk of losing their livelihood.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 01, 2020, 01:37:17 PM »
For more context and perspective - that I certainly will not get watching or reading mainstream media - I follow the Swiss Policy Research website on COVID-19. I know that this information has already been labeled m/disinformation by 'fact-checkers', so here are a few quotes to show how wacky and conspiratorial the site is:

For people at high risk or high exposure (including health care workers), early or prophylactic treatment is essential to prevent progression of the disease.


On the other hand, Professor Karin Mölling, the former head of the Department of Virology at the University of Zurich and one of the earliest critical voices on corona measures, has now partly changed her opinion: Due to the sometimes serious lung damage, the virus should not be underestimated and containment measures are important.


The lower-than-expected lethality of Covid-19 should not hide the fact that the new coronavirus, due to its efficient use of the human ACE2 cell receptor, in some cases can lead to severe disease with complications in the lung, the vascular and nervous systems and other organs, some of which can persist for months.

While it is true that most of these symptoms can also occur in severe influenza (including thrombosis the temporary loss of the sense of smell), they are indeed more frequent and more pronounced in the novel Covid-19 disease.


In addition, even apparently “mild” disease (without hospitalization) can in some cases lead to protracted complications with breathing problems, fatigue or other symptoms. The US CDC came to the conclusion that after one month, about one third of the “mild” cases still showed such symptoms. Even in the 18 to 34-year-olds without preconditions, about 20% still had after-effects.

On the positive side, researchers at a German clinic recently reported good chances of recovery: “We can see that the lungs can heal well, even in patients who have had three weeks of intensive care”. After three months, 20% of the intensive care patients had healthy lungs again, and in the remaining patients a clear regeneration was visible.

Nevertheless, the primary goal should be to avoid a progression of the disease.


Note: Patients are asked to consult a doctor.


Some particularly skeptical observers still seem to perceive Covid predominantly as a “test epidemic”. However, this position has been untenable for months already.

The best known “test epidemic” is the so-called swine flu of 2009/2010, a rather mild influenza virus that only caused worldwide anxiety due to mass testing and media panic. A commission of the Council of Europe later called the swine flu a “fake pandemic” and a “big pharma fraud”.

What was noteworthy at the time was that a few months earlier, the WHO changed its pandemic guidelines and removed the criterion of increased lethality. In addition, pharmaceutical companies signed secret contracts worth billions with governments for a vaccine that later led to sometimes serious neurological damage and had to be disposed of for the most part.

Finally, researchers discovered that the swine flu virus itself probably originated from vaccine research and was released through a leak (or worse).

On the other hand, due to its special characteristics – in particular the very efficient use of the ACE2 cell receptor – the new coronavirus is a dangerous and easily transmissible SARS virus which can cause severe damage to the lungs, blood vessels and other organs. The good fortune is that many people already have a certain immunity to the new virus or at least are able to neutralize it on the mucosal membrane.

Covid-19 is therefore a real and serious pandemic and comparable to the flu pandemics of 1957 (Asian flu) and 1968 to 1970 (Hong Kong flu). The comparison with the swine flu of 2009 is only possible because the deaths caused by swine flu were greatly exaggerated (and still are today).

(On the other hand, it should be remembered that during the 1968/1970 flu pandemic – or rather in the summer between the two main waves – the famous Woodstock festival was held and social life mostly went on as usual).

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 01, 2020, 01:22:35 PM »
Obesity is above average compared to the world, general health is good, diabetes is normal for a first world city. We are healthier than the average person from the USA but not as healthy as Europeans, on average.

The deaths to date are mostly over 50 with some in their 40s (he was a healthy police officer who caught it while on duty). In the last week the demongraphic of people catching it is getting younger and the people going severe is getting younger as are those going to ICU.

Am I right to surmise that those younger people are mostly obese or have other medical issues?

At the moment, young people are getting through it without death but (I cant find the article right now) there are signs CV19 is causing issues with lungs etc in young people.

CV19 is weird, it doesn't seem to harm most people much, but if it hits you hard it seems to go really hard.

Yes, that's what diseases do, and it sucks. But it's not something new or extraordinary. It just seems that way because COVID-19 gets an inordinate amount of attention (for various reasons), and almost no context is offered to put things in perspective.

Take for instance those handful of studies on long-term effects of COVID-19 that get extremely wide circulation in a very short time (just the other day they had the ORF science editor on the Austrian news saying how this research showed that COVID-19 was a 'serial killer', all the while using a host of similar fear-inducing terms to keep those pesky young people obedient). But almost all diseases have nasty long-term effects for some people. Take, for instance the flu (that was always considered to be 'just the flu' and hardly received any extra news coverage, even when hospitals got overwhelmed regionally and hundreds of thousands of people were killed annually):

The flu isn’t just a health risk for the seven days or so that you’re physically sick with the virus—it can also have some lasting effects that could affect your health for weeks, months, or even permanently. Here are some of the ways the flu can be a risk factor for health issues, even after you’re feeling better.

Heart attack and stroke risk
A number of studies have linked influenza to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, and scientists have theorized that the inflammatory response triggered by the flu can fuel the development of atherosclerosis, a contributor to heart and artery disease. In a study published this year in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Canadian researchers found that the risk of having a heart attack was six times higher during the week after being diagnosed with the flu, compared to the year before or after a flu infection.

Other research has suggested that this association persists past those initial seven days of infection: A 2004 NEJM study found that while the increased risks of heart attack and stroke were both highest in the first three days after diagnosis, the dangers only “gradually fell during the following weeks.” And in 2008, researchers reported in the European Heart Journal that the risk of stroke after a flu diagnosis remained elevated up to three months.

“Most people who have studied this agree that two to four weeks, and maybe even into that second month, there is an increased risk of heart attack and stroke,” says William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University. But the message hasn’t yet reached the general public, he adds, or even a lot of physicians. “When I mention this to doctors during continuing education classes, they sit up in their chairs; they’ve never heard this before.”

Secondary infections
The flu can also do a number on the immune system, which can leave people vulnerable to other illnesses and infections—like pneumonia, for example. And while pneumonia is often referred to as a complication of the flu, it’s also not unusual for a person to come down with it once their initial flu symptoms have passed.

“It happens quite often,” says Sharon Nachman, MD, chief of the division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook University School of Medicine. “People feel poorly, then they start to feel better, and all of a sudden they feel poorly again and they wonder why they’re not getting better. And actually it’s because you don’t still have the flu; you have a new, secondary infection.”

Those infections are sometimes bacterial, says Dr. Nachman, which means that antibiotics are likely needed to treat them. It can be normal to feel like you’re not at 100% following a bad case of the flu, says Dr. Schaffner—but if you don’t feel better after a few weeks, talk to your doctor to rule out something more serious.

Out-of-whack test results
The body has to work hard to fight the flu virus, and it can take time to recover to its pre-flu state. So it shouldn’t be surprising that a recent case of influenza can affect the results of blood tests and medical screenings, says Dr. Nachman.

“After most viral illnesses, your white blood cell count is going to be low,” she says. Other measurements, like cholesterol levels, could also be outside of their normal ranges. If you’re scheduled for any routine testing after a bout with the flu, be sure to mention it to your doctor so he or she knows that it could be a factor in your results.

A slide into disability
For elderly patients, getting the flu could be the first step in a continual downward spiral when it comes to their health and their ability to take care of themselves. Not only do older adults face a higher risk of serious complications and death while they have the flu, but they’re also at greater risk of a reduced quality of life afterward, says Dr. Schaffner.

Studies have shown that a significant percentage of nursing home residents experience major physical decline following flu-like illnesses, and that heart disease patients hospitalized for the flu required more follow-up care after they were discharged. “When we talk to geriatricians, they all nod their heads and say they’ve known this for years,” says Dr. Schaffner.

“When an infection like the flu puts you in a bed, it’s remarkable how much muscle tone you lose every day,” he adds. “And if you’re already on the edge of frailty, it can send you on the downhill slide, and it’s very difficult to get your strength and your confidence back completely.”

For this reason, he says, doctors and loved ones should pay close attention to elderly patients after a flu diagnosis. “Make sure they’re getting the help they need to get back to their normal routine,” he says. “In some cases, they may even need some physical therapy to help them do that.”

And so on...

Because the flu was 'just the flu', it was never really hyped up much. But now there's this novel respiratory disease that can be milked for all kinds of reasons by all kinds of people, and with social media around, mass delusions are easily created. In this case, a blockbuster reality is created in which a zombie alien 'serial killer' virus is causing a global plague (whereas epidemiologically speaking, it is very similar to a bad influenza season). The consequences of this delusion will be much larger than the damage caused by the disease itself. But of course, that will be ascribed to the disease as well.

The politics / Re: US intervention in foreign lands
« on: July 31, 2020, 01:06:28 AM »
Yet another excellent overview by Aaron Maté of the fake gas attack in Douma, The Nation:

Did Trump Bomb Syria on False Grounds?

The American media is ignoring leaks from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that suggest a whitewash.

A series of leaked documents from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) raise the possibility that the Trump administration bombed Syria on false grounds and pressured officials at the world’s top chemical weapons watchdog to cover it up. Two OPCW officials, highly regarded scientists with more than 25 years of combined experience at the organization, challenged the whitewash from inside. Yet unlike many whistle-blowers of the Trump era, they have found no champion, or even an audience, within establishment circles in the United States.

The Trump administration’s April 13, 2018, bombing of Syria came days after it accused Syrian forces of killing nearly 50 people in a chemical weapons attack on Douma, a Damascus suburb. Widely circulated video footage showed scores of dead bodies inside an apartment complex and another group of alleged gas attack victims treated at a hospital. Although the White House did not provide evidence for its allegations against Syria, the harrowing images convinced Congress and the media to cheer on military strikes (as they did under similar circumstances the year prior).

Yet there were early grounds for skepticism. The Syrian government was on the verge of retaking the last Douma holdouts of Jaysh-al-Islam, a Saudi-backed militia that was relentlessly shelling the Syrian capital. To suddenly deploy chemical weapons would mean that Syrian forces knowingly crossed the “red line” that would trigger US military intervention. Subsequent reporting from British journalists Robert Fisk of The Independent, BBC producer Riam Dalati, and James Harkin’s investigation for The Intercept found evidence that the civilians filmed in the hospital were not exposed to toxic gas.

The US government narrative received a boost in March 2019 when the OPCW issued a long-awaited final report. It concluded that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that a chemical weapons attack occurred in Douma and that “the toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.”

The report, however, was not the OPCW’s last word. Since May 2019, internal OPCW documents, including a trove published by WikiLeaks, reveal that the Douma investigators’ initial report reached different conclusions than their organization’s published version. They were overruled by senior officials who kept evidence from the public.

The leaks’ key revelations include:

- Senior OPCW officials reedited the Douma investigators’ initial report to produce a version that sharply deviated from the original. Key facts were removed or misrepresented and conclusions were rewritten to support the allegation that a chlorine gas attack had occurred in Douma. Yet the team’s initial report did not conclude that a chemical attack occurred, and left open the possibility that victims were killed in a “non-chemical related” incident.
- Four experts from a OPCW and NATO-member state conducted a toxicology review at the OPCW team’s request. They concluded that observed symptoms of the civilians in Douma, particularly the rapid onset of excessive frothing, as well as the concentration of victims filmed in the apartment building so close to fresh air, “were inconsistent with exposure to chlorine, and no other obvious candidate chemical causing the symptoms could be identified.”
- Chemical tests of the samples collected in Douma showed that chlorine compounds were, in most cases, detected at what amounted to trace quantities in the parts-per-billion range. Yet this finding was not disclosed publicly. Furthermore, it later emerged that the chemicals themselves did not stand out as unique: According to the author of the initial report, the OPCW’s top expert in chemical weapons chemistry, they could have resulted from contact with household products such as bleach or come from chlorinated water or wood preservatives.
- The author of the initial report protested the revisions in an e-mail expressing his “gravest concern.” The altered version “misrepresents the facts,” he wrote, thereby “undermining its credibility.”
- Following the e-mail of protest over the manipulation of the team’s findings, the OPCW published a watered-down interim report in July 2018. Around that time, OPCW executives decreed that the probe would be handled by a so-called “core team,” which excluded all of the Douma investigators who had traveled to Syria, except for one paramedic. It was this core team—not the inspectors who had been deployed to Douma and signed off on the original document—that produced the final report of March 2019.
- After the e-mail of protest, and just days before the interim report was published on July 6, a US government delegation met with members of the investigation team to try to convince them that the Syrian government had committed a chemical attack with chlorine. According to veteran reporter Jonathan Steele, who interviewed one of the whistle-blowers, the Douma team saw the meeting as “unacceptable pressure and a violation of the OPCW’s declared principles of independence and impartiality.” Interference by state parties is explicitly prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention.
- The inference drawn from the OPCW’s final report—widely disseminated, including by the Trump administration—was that gas cylinders found in Douma likely came from Syrian military aircraft. An unpublished engineering study reached the opposite conclusion. The study evaluated competing hypotheses: Either the cylinders were dropped from the sky or they were manually placed. There is “a higher probability,” it concluded, “that both cylinders were manually placed…rather than being delivered from aircraft.” At “Location 4,” where a cylinder was found on a bed, the study determined that the cylinder was too large to have penetrated the hole in the roof above; at the other site, “Location 2,” the observed damage to the cylinder and to the roof it allegedly penetrated were incompatible with an aircraft bombing. Ballistics experts also said it was more likely that the crater had been made by an explosion, probably from an artillery round, a rocket, or a mortar. With both cylinders, the study concluded, “the alternative hypothesis”—that the cylinders were manually placed and that the craters were caused by other means—”produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.”

The OPCW leadership has yet to offer a substantive explanation for why they excluded critical findings and radically altered the original report. Instead, it has denigrated the two members of the Douma fact-finding mission team who challenged the manipulation of their investigation.

The first dissenting inspector is known only as Inspector B (his identity is publicly unconfirmed). B was the Douma mission’s scientific coordinator, the primary author of the draft report, and subsequent author of the e-mail of protest about the unwelcome editing.

The second inspector, described by the OPCW as Inspector A, is Ian Henderson, a chemical engineering and ballistics expert who authored the study that concluded that the cylinders were likely manually placed. Henderson went to Douma and took detailed measurements at one of the cylinder locations.

In public comments, OPCW Director General Fernando Arias has claimed that the pair committed “deliberate and premeditated breaches of confidentiality,” but has not accused them of leaking the OPCW material. Arias maintains that Inspector B’s “concerns were taken seriously,” without meaningfully accounting for why findings in B’s original report were left out of the final version. He has also dismissed the pair as minor players who refused to accept that their conclusions were “erroneous, uninformed, and wrong.”

Yet the two inspectors are unlikely candidates to go rogue. Henderson and Inspector B had served with the OPCW for 11 and 16 years, respectively. Internal OPCW appraisals of their job performance offer effusive praise. In 2005, a senior OPCW official wrote that Henderson has consistently received “the highest rating possible.… I consider [him] one of the best of our Inspection Team Leaders.” Inspector B, an OPCW superior wrote in 2018, “has contributed the most to the knowledge and understanding of CW [Chemical Weapons] chemistry applied to inspections.” In a different evaluation, another manager described B as “one of the most well regarded” team leaders, whose “experience of the organisation, its verification regime, and judgment are unmatched.”

The internal praise for the inspectors contrasts with what the OPCW leadership now says about them in public. This includes making untrue statements. Arias has said that Henderson “was not a member of the FFM [fact-finding mission]” in Douma, but leaks that I obtained show that claim to be false. Contemporaneous OPCW documents describe Henderson as an FFM member and list him among the “Mission Personnel” and the group of inspectors on the Douma mission.

The two inspectors are also not the only ones to raise concerns. Earlier this year, another OPCW official told me, on the condition of anonymity, that they were “horrified” by the “abhorrent…mistreatment” of the pair. “I fully support their endeavours,” the official wrote. “They are in fact trying to protect the integrity of the organisation which has been hijacked and brought into shameful disrepute.”

The treatment of the whistle-blowers by Western media is also due for criticism. Despite the story’s explosive nature, it has elicited a collective yawn. Whereas previous WikiLeaks disclosures fueled entire news cycles, no major US media outlets have reported on the organization’s Douma archive. CNN and MSNBC, which both supported Trump’s decision to bomb Syria, have ignored the OPCW story. The only time a New York Times reporter has mentioned the Douma scandal was in passing. The Times downgraded the extensive OPCW leaks into a mere “email from an investigator.” (It also deferred to assurances of Syria’s culpability from Bellingcat, an open source investigative outlet, without mentioning its Western government funding, including from the United States via the National Endowment for Democracy.) Even progressive, adversarial outlets that have traditionally defended whistle-blowers and challenged US wars have shunned this story. The Guardian described the whistle-blowers’ claims as “a Russia-led campaign,” rather than as an effort by two veteran inspectors to defend their investigation.

What explains the prevailing silence? It is certainly true that the Syrian government and its Russian ally have vigorously denied allegations of chemical weapons use, including in Douma. But just as was the case when Iraq was falsely accused of possessing weapons of mass destruction, skepticism of Western claims should not be equated with support for the targeted regime. If anything, the Iraq case reminds us that such allegations should not be politicized and are worthy of scrutiny, especially if used to justify military action and other aggressive measures, including crippling sanctions.

The possibility that the United States may have bombed Syria based on falsehoods—and pressured a global investigative body to grant that intervention legitimacy after the fact—should break the media blockade. So too should the fact that it was exposed by whistle-blowers who face risk for speaking out.

The US government’s own recent past with the OPCW offers a stark reminder. In 2002, the Bush administration forced out the organization’s first director general, José Bustani. The veteran Brazilian diplomat was negotiating weapons inspections with Baghdad that potentially impeded the Bush administration’s drive to launch a war. Bustani has since revealed that John Bolton, then serving as an undersecretary of state, personally threatened him and his family to force him to resign.

Bustani once again finds himself on Bolton’s opposing side. In his new memoir about his tenure as Trump’s national security adviser, Bolton recounts that he oversaw the US strikes on Syria over the Douma allegations, lamenting only that Trump did not authorize a larger attack. Bustani, meanwhile, took part in an October 2019 panel that heard an extensive presentation from one of the Douma whistle-blowers.

“The convincing evidence of irregular behaviour in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already had,” Bustani wrote. “The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing.” His hope, he added, is that the outcry over the Douma leaks “will catalyse a process by which the [OPCW] can be resurrected to become the independent and non-discriminatory body it used to be.”

Bustani is among the prominent signatories of a letter urging the OPCW to let the Douma inspectors discuss their investigation freely. Henderson delivered a statement at a UN session in January, but the United States has thwarted other attempts. (According to Russia’s envoy to the OPCW, a US representative objected on the grounds that a Douma hearing “would encourage the Russian [side] to replicate Stalinist trials, with cross-examinations and intimidations of witnesses.”)

The inspectors just want to be heard. In statements this year to Arias, both whistle-blowers requested an opportunity to air the Douma evidence in a transparent, scientific manner. “Our sole duty is to be true to the facts and the science, and once that has been achieved, we will gladly accept the proven and agreed scientific outcomes,” Henderson wrote.

“Something had gone wrong inside the OPCW sir,” B told Arias. “And we wanted you to know. It’s that simple.”

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: July 31, 2020, 12:05:15 AM »
I started with mentioning that extra ice in Atlantic last year looked roughly equivalent to extra ice in Beaufort this year and then decided to go for simplicity and deleted that part.

And then you decided to go for even more simplicity and not mention the weather.  ::)

But of course, it's always possible that 2020 still comes in third. It's just going to take exceptionally cold and windless weather.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 25, 2020, 11:26:15 PM »
Another good Unherd interview:

I noticed Wip updated this graph, showing JAXA thickness (unreliable, but still interesting):

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 18, 2020, 11:11:34 PM »
With coronavirus antibodies fading fast, vaccine hopes fade, too
Disturbing new revelations that permanent immunity to the coronavirus may not be possible have jeopardized vaccine development and reinforced a decision by scientists at UCSF and affiliated laboratories to focus exclusively on treatments.

Several recent studies conducted around the world indicate that the human body does not retain the antibodies that build up during infections, meaning there may be no lasting immunity to COVID-19 after people recover.

I believe the reverse is true: If there was medium- to long-lasting immunity against COVID-19, this would actually be bad for vaccine development. Now there's an argument for mandatory vaccinations, for everybody, every three months!

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: July 15, 2020, 01:08:24 PM »
David Schröder sent me the following:

Just submitted our prediciton based on June data: 4.3 (3.8-4.8 ) mill. km2.
This is just on the observed September trend line and larger than our May prediction (3.3-4.3 mill km2).
In spite of strong melt at the sea ice edge (current sea ice extent is lowest on record for this time of the year), pond formation slowed down during first half of June with air temperature not much above average in comparison to last 15 years.

Note: The accucary of our predictions based on May data has been higher then that based on June data over last 8 years.

Our prediction based on May data (3.8 ) was third lowest:

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: July 14, 2020, 06:20:20 PM »
We're entering uncharted waters.

Uncharted and free of ice...

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 13, 2020, 06:26:46 PM »
I will respect everyone's wishes here and stop posting things that go against the established facts. I'm going to lay low and wait for more information.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 13, 2020, 05:47:53 PM »
The consensus is not "IFR at least 1%", it is 0.5%-1%.

Say it to El Cid.  ;D

About the 1 in 5 or 1 in 2 thing, do you realize there was no research that showed that? Only a piece of misinformation twisted by SPR? The actual research they cited did not give such numbers and did not make such claims.

Yes, it did. The lead author said that exact thing in an interview. I posted the quote here.

The science may be wrong, but you're dismissing it out of hand. Everything that doesn't fall in line with the official narrative, is dismissed out of hand. On the other hand, if it's bad and scary, it is immediately accepted as almost certainly true, even if only anecdotal.

In the past two days, I've posted a video and an article from The Conversation about T cell immunity. No reaction.

Everything is set in stone. IFR simply cannot be lower than 0.5%. That's as far as we're willing to go.

If such science comes along I will happily accept it.

I hope so. I hope you don't wait until peer pressure subsides.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 13, 2020, 04:20:00 PM »
Neven help us understand your point. What should Florida do right now?

Florida has a record number of new cases with the number of deaths climbing, a positivity rate of 19%, and not reporting hospitalization levels since it hit almost 100%.

C'mon Neven stop concern trolling, misinforming and cherry-picking, and take a stand.

I don't know what Florida should do. I don't think there's enough time to reduce obesity and diabetes. There's no time to change demographics and reduce the high concentration of elderly people, most of whom are probably overmedicated. It's too late to introduce Medicare4All and reduce cost- and corner-cutting in the health sector.

Florida, as well as many other places in the western world (especially the US of A, which is sick beyond belief), pays the price for decades of neoliberal globalist policies, for rising inequality, for the hollowing out of culture and society, for turning people into stressed, unhappy consumption addicts.

One can either accept this and take it like a (wo)man who knows that in life everything has its price. Or one can be a pouting child and whine about how unfair it is that the cake can't be had and eaten too.

If you are honest, allow us to understand you, because right now you are coming across as a dishonest troll.

And you're coming across as an emotional little authoritarian who only knows how to shame and shout down people, because his lack of any real vision, based on years of study and life experience, makes him react out of his conditioned gut only.

Can you handle this, or can you only dish out? Because if it's the latter I'll be more soft on you and let your insults wash off my back.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 12, 2020, 07:25:08 PM »
This is unfair.

How could doctors have known how to treat a new disease? They responded with standard treatment to symptoms.

I don't know whether it's unfair or not, nor what I should think about it, because this is one of these things that aren't allowed to be discussed. Context is not wanted.

The only thing one is allowed to do, is endlessly repeat how horrible and terrifiyingly dangerous this virus is, watch the news all day, and pray for the advent of a vaccine. As soon as one crosses one of these narrow limits, one is immediately castigated.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 12, 2020, 07:16:26 PM »
So the population of NYC is so unhealthy as to have a 5-14 higher death rate than the average/typical population? I guess the same applies to all the locations where total death rates were 0.3%?
Very convenient, but personally I find that hard to believe.

Perhaps in New York, for some reason or other, it's not 1 in 5 people who actually get infected (ie the virus isn't fended off by antibodies in the mucous membrane), but 1 in 3, or 1 in 2. The rest might be explained by things like obesity, air pollution, demographics (age, race) and huge logistical mistakes.

But if you find it more convenient, we can just keep it simple and say it's due to an invisible mass murdering virus that jumped out of a Chinese bowl of bat soup, and it will cause tens of millions of deaths unless we listen to mainstream media and do X (fill in whatever is good for wealth concentration).

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 12, 2020, 05:24:30 PM »

Thanks, this is interesting.

Oren, the bald guy in this video explains that a lot of people needlessly died in NYC because Cuomo signed some order that sent infected people back to nursing homes so that hospitals would be empty in face of the approaching tsunami of death (same was done in Bergamo and the UK). That tsunami came all right, but not necessarily in the hospitals.

Huge mistakes were made because of unpreparedness (because of cost-cutting to increase concentrated wealth), but a vaccine will make everything all right. Stand together, everyone.

And what greylib said about intubations and the panic-based outcry for more ventilators. That also caused a lot of unnecessary deaths. But all doctors are perfect and all they care about is helping people, so let's not go into that. Unity, everyone. Don't listen to the loons.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 12, 2020, 12:35:11 PM »
This part of the Swiss Policy Research COVID-19 page is more conspiratorial, but I don't see why it shouldn't be discussed:

On the origin of the new coronavirus

In the June update it was shown that renowned virologists consider a laboratory origin of the new coronavirus to be “at least as plausible” as a natural origin. This is due to some genetic peculiarities of the virus in the area of receptor binding, which lead to particularly high transmissibility and infectivity in humans.

In the meantime, further evidence for this hypothesis has emerged. It was already known that the virus most closely related to SARS-CoV-2 was found in 2013 in southwest China. This bat corona virus was discovered by researchers from the Wuhan Virological Institute and is known as RaTG13.

However, researchers with access to Chinese papers have since found out that the Wuhan scientists did not reveal the whole story. In fact, RaTG13 was found in a former copper mine with a lot of bat feces after six miners fell ill with pneumonia during clean-up work. Three of the miners died.

According to the original Chinese papers, the medical assessment at the time was that these pneumonia cases were caused by a SARS-like virus. But the head of the Wuhan Laboratory strangely said in an interview with the Scientific American in April 2020 that the cause was allegedly a fungus. The institute didn’t disclose that RaTG13 came from that fateful mine, either.

The head of the US “Eco Health Alliance”, which worked together with the Wuhan Institute on virological “gain of function” research (which produces potentially pandemic viruses), claimed that RaTG13 was partially sequenced at the time and then put in a freezer and “not used again until 2020” (when it was compared to SARS-CoV-2).

However, virological database entries found in the meantime show that this is not true either: the virus – then known under the internal code 4991 – was already used for research purposes in the Wuhan laboratory in 2017 and 2018. Moreover, various Chinese virus databases have since been strangely deleted.

Virologists agree that SARS-CoV-2 cannot be a direct, natural successor to RaTG13 – the necessary mutations would take several decades at least, despite a 96 percent genetic match. However, it is theoretically possible that SARS-CoV-2 was generated, based on RaTG13, by virological “gain of function” research in a laboratory, or was itself present in the 2013 mine.

In this sense, it would be conceivable that SARS-CoV-2 could have escaped from the laboratory in Wuhan in September or October 2019 – during a laboratory inspection at that time or during preparations for it. Such laboratory accidents are unfortunately nothing unusual and have already occurred in the past in China, the US, Russia and other countries.

(Spanish researchers reported a single positive PCR wastewater sample from March 2019, but this is likely to be a false positive result or contamination).

Read more: Seven year coronavirus trail from bat cave via Wuhan lab (Times, July 4, 2020)

Besides the Chinese aspect there is, however, also an American aspect.

It has long been known that US researchers at the University of North Carolina are world leaders in the analysis and synthesis of SARS-like, potentially pandemic viruses. Due to a temporary moratorium in the US, this research was partially transferred to China (i.e. Wuhan) a few years ago.

In April, the Bulgarian investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva published information and documents that show that the US Department of Defense, together with the US health authority CDC, was also conducting research on potentially pandemic SARS-like corona viruses.

This corona virus research was carried out in a Pentagon biological laboratory in Georgia (near Russia), among other places, and was also coordinated by the above-mentioned US “Eco Health Alliance”, which cooperated with the Institute of Virology in Wuhan, too. In this respect, the “Eco Health Alliance” may be seen as a military research service provider or contractor.

Thus, apart from its own SARS corona virus research, the US military must have been very familiar with Chinese research in Wuhan, due to its partnership with “Eco Health Alliance”.

Read more: Pentagon biolab discovered MERS and SARS-like coronaviruses in bats (DG)

US investigative journalist Whitney Webb already pointed out that the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security – which organized the well-known coronavirus pandemic exercise “Event 201” in October 2019 together with the Gates Foundation and the WEF Davos – had also organized the anthrax exercise “Dark Winter” in 2001.

This exercise took place a few months before the actual anthrax attacks in September 2001, whose origin could later be traced back to a Pentagon laboratory. Some of the participants of “Dark Winter” are also involved in the current management of the Corona pandemic.

Developments since the beginning of 2020 show that the new corona virus cannot be seen as a “bioweapon” in the strict sense of the term, as it is not deadly enough and not targeted enough. However, it may well – similar to “terrorists” and amplified by the media – cause fear and terror among the global population and be exploited politically.

In this context, it is noteworthy that vaccine investor and Event 201 cosponsor Bill Gates repeatedly spoke of seeing the current corona virus as “pandemic one”, while “pandemic two” would be a genuine bioterrorist attack for which one must be prepared against.

Nevertheless, besides a potential lab origin, a natural origin continues to be a realistic possibility, even though the “Wuhan wet market” hypothesis and more recently the pangolin hypothesis have already been ruled out by experts.

Regardless of how much is true, I believe that any research and facility that could lead to the production of bioweapons (to increase concentrated wealth) should be shut down.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 12, 2020, 11:36:23 AM »
I looked up  "Swiss Policy Research"   in google and google classifies the group as:

Types of site: Propaganda, Conspiracy theory

Even then, I wanted to trust the source so I clicked deeper.

I stop clicking soon after.

First of all, Google itself is propaganda and part of large-scale conspiracies. Second, you're lying when you say you wanted to trust. You don't want to trust because the story has been fixly set in your mind from day 1, and so you look for one or two things you disagree with, as this allows you to say: Conspiracy theories, I'm out of here, back to CNN.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 12, 2020, 10:32:55 AM »
On the lethality of Covid-19

Most antibody studies have shown a population-based Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of 0.1% to 0.3%. The US health authority CDC published in May a still cautious “best estimate” of 0.26% (based on 35% asymptomatic cases).

At the end of May, however, an immunological study by the University of Zurich was published, which for the first time showed that the usual antibody tests that measure antibodies in the blood (IgG and IgM) can detect at most about one fifth of all coronavirus infections.

The reason for this is that in most people the new coronavirus is already neutralised by antibodies on the mucous membrane (IgA) or by cellular immunity (T cells) and no symptoms or only mild symptoms develop.

This means that the new coronavirus is probably much more widespread than previously assumed and the lethality per infection is around five times lower than previously estimated. The real lethality could therefore be significantly below 0.1% and thus in the range of influenza.

At the same time, the Swiss study may explain why children usually develop no symptoms  (due to frequent contact with previous corona cold viruses), and why even hotspots such as New York City found an antibody prevalence (IgG/IgM) of at most 20% – as this already corresponds to herd immunity.

The Swiss study has in the meantime been confirmed by several more studies:

A Swedish study showed that people with mild or asymptomatic disease often neutralized the virus with T-cells without the need to produce antibodies. Overall, T-cell immunity was about twice as common as antibody immunity.
A large Spanish antibody study published in Lancet showed that less than 20% of symptomatic people and about 2% of asymptomatic people had IgG antibodies.
A German study (preprint) showed that 81% of the people who had not yet had contact with the new corona virus already had cross-reactive T-cells and thus a certain background immunity (due to contact with previous corona cold viruses).
A Chinese study in the journal Nature showed that in 40% of asymptomatic persons and in 12.9% of symptomatic persons no IgG antibodies are detectable after the recovery phase.
Another Chinese study with almost 25,000 clinic employees in Wuhan showed that at most one fifth of the presumably infected employees had IgG antibodies (press article).
A small French study (preprint) showed that six of eight infected family members of Covid patients developed a temporary T-cell immunity without antibodies.
Video interview: Swedish Doctor: T-cell immunity and the truth about Covid-19 in Sweden

In this context, a US study in the journal Science Translational Medicine, using various indicators, concluded that the lethality of Covid-19 was much lower than originally assumed, but that its spread in some hotspots was up to 80 times faster than suspected, which would explain the rapid but short-duration increase in patients.

A study in the Austrian ski resort of Ischgl, one of the first European “corona hotspots”, found antibodies in 42% of the population. 85% of the infections went “unnoticed” (i.e. very mild), about 50% of the infections went completely without (noticeable) symptoms.

The high antibody value of 42% in Ischgl was due to the fact that Ischgl also tested for IgA antibodies in the blood (instead of only IgM/IgG). Additional tests for mucosal IgA and for T-cells would undoubtedly have shown even higher immunity levels close to herd immunity.

With only two deaths (both of them men over 80 years of age with preconditions), the population-based covid lethality (IFR) in the “hotspot” Ischgl is significantly below 0.1%.

Due to its rather low lethality, Covid-19 falls at most into level 2 of the five-level pandemic plan developed by US health authorities. For this level, only the “voluntary isolation of sick people” is to be applied, while further measures such as face masks, school closings, distance rules, contact tracing, vaccinations and lockdowns of entire societies are not recommended.

The new immunological results also mean that “immunity passports” and mass vaccinations are unlikely to work and are therefore not a useful strategy.

Some media continue to speak of allegedly much higher Covid lethality levels. However, these media refer to outdated simulation models, confuse mortality and lethality, or CFR and IFR, or “raw IFR” and population-based IFR. More about these errors here.

In July, an antibody prevalence of allegedly up to 70% was reported in some New York City districts. However, this is not a population-based figure, but rather antibodies in people who had visited an urgent care center.

The following graph shows the actual development of corona deaths in Sweden (no lockdown, no face mask obligation) compared to the forecasts of Imperial College London (orange: no measures; grey: moderate measures). Swedish annual all-cause mortality actually is in the range of a medium flu wave and 3.6% lower than in previous years.

Again, there are many links in the text that aren't reproduced here.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 11, 2020, 12:31:22 PM »
I don't like analogies with AGW, because both phenomenons are so vastly different. I have seen COVID-19 denial on social media that is similar to climate risk denial, but there is also criticism and relativizing perspectives from a vast range of very serious people with expert knowledge in some form of other. Part of the propaganda is to categorize any criticism under the nomer of 'conspiracy nutter misinformation', and then so-called 'cancel culture' does the rest by putting pressure on people to conform.

For some reason, many people want an official narrative to become collectively accepted as reality, because then it will be reality. This inherent human desire for a simple and understandable world is easily manipulated and abused.

So, if you don't mind, I'm going to quote from that Swiss Policy Research website later today, because it's the only thing on the Internet that provides a thorough overview of all the criticism on the official SARS-CoV-2 narrative.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 11, 2020, 11:31:48 AM »
Neven, I get the feeling the "OMG" post above is said jokingly. However, I think you did say terrible things, and I cringed reading that post. Among other things, you implied Sam was "a paranoid, germophobe, OCD hypochondriac" and this did not fall within forum decorum, IMHO. It's your forum and you can do as you please in it, but I feel the need to voice my position on the matter anyway.

I would like to state a couple of things:

First, the ASIF is not mine, I'm not even paying for it, and my time has been somewhat compensated by donations (that I don't accept any longer, as I'm not doing anything of value wrt Arctic sea ice). I am also not the reason this forum has become what it is, it's entirely the doing of the community, of each and every member contributing their small share. The only thing I can take credit for, is for being a type of person who likes to create conditions for things to have a chance to grow and become successful.

I'd advise anyone to not project themselves onto anyone on the Internet, or onto any human being, period. Because all human beings are flawed. If you create this image of me that I'm some great guy doing great AGW communications work, etc, you will wind up disappointed when you see me argue about COVID-19. That's not my fault, I'm imperfect to begin with, but rather it's because of your projections on me.

So, don't let those projections or your respect for me as the founder of the ASIF get in the way. If I'm out of line, push back, correct me, modify my posts if needs be, heck, I might even put myself on moderation if you ask me to.  ;)

What I reacted to in Sam's post was his assumed superiority that allows him to call vast swathes of people stupid and dumb. Everybody's stupid. Sam's stupid, I'm stupid, blumenkraft is stupid, oren is stupid, everyone is stupid, period.

And what Sam's 'superior intelligence' inevitably leads to, is de facto paranoia, germophobia, hypochondria and many a pointing of fingers towards the stupid trumpvoting covidiots who should be forced to do the right thing through shaming and fear. Another thing politicially correct and civil 'smartness' may lead to, is societal collapse.

Now, I'm no big fan of consumerism and the way societies are increasingly being enslaved to increase concentrated wealth, but to push lockdowns and germophobic measures will cause the whole house of cards to collapse (as the main thing holding it up is trust and confidence in the system). Go ahead and try to solve AGW and other global problems when that happens.

As someone (greylib?) already pointed out: As soon as Sam received some pushback, he immediately clutched his pearls and walked out in indignation. That says enough about how big his ego is, and the opinions of people with big egos should always be taken with a grain of salt. He pushed extreme scenarios, even when couched in careful, verbose language, and those scenarios have shown not to hold up. COVID-19 isn't the alien killer virus it has been (and still is) presented to be.

It's a nasty disease for those who get it, but there are many nasty diseases, and none have ever received the extreme amount of overhyped sensationalist attention that this has. The reason it does, is that a crisis can be used to speed up developments that would otherwise take much longer, and profits need to be maximized wherever they can. That's what is happening, because of the system that is dominating societies around the world. That system needs to change or be replaced (and not through collapse).

Later today, I will quote the Swiss Policy Research website as it has been updated, and it's full of evidence that shows the official narrative is wrong and has been wrong from the start (because it's propaganda).

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 10, 2020, 11:40:26 PM »
I just spent an hour reviewing Sams post.

What a great loss for ASIF.

Sam's estimates of the CFR were spot on. Remember, CFR is not IFR.

The IFR matters to politicians and epidemiologists and it is somewhere between 0.5%-1% and dropping.

The CFR is still 4.46%, hovering well inside the range given by Sam since February.

That's interesting, I just went through the first 11 pages of this thread as well. Sam:

Take the 8,650 count of confirmed infected persons today and move it back in time 6 days by dividing by 1.42^6 = 1,055 people in the cohort those who died came from. Now divide 170 by 1,055. The result = 16.1% of the cohort dying. Take that with a huge grain of salt. We know from SARS that it's death rate averaged about 10%. MERS averaged about 40%. So 16% is not unreasonable. But this is a really tentative calculation based on lots of assumptions using exponential growth data. It would likely be safe to assume that the actual death rate is somewhere in the range of 10-20% based on these parameters.

The latest paper suggests that the appropriate delay (admission to death) is a little over 5 days indicating a ~12% case fatality rate.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 10, 2020, 11:26:52 PM »
OMG, I'm taking back all those terrible things I said. Sam, please come back, I beg you!

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 10, 2020, 02:55:12 PM »
The virus is real, the reaction to it is a hype, partly due to a hoax (the biggest wealth transfer in the history of the world). Bill Gates' wealth actually wants to enslave people very much, as it's the most efficient way to grow and further concentrate itself. The WHO is a hotbed of conflicts of interest. And the SARS-CoV-2 hype is undoubtedly used as a cover for a rapid advance in mass surveillance.

So, your former friends may be conspiracy nutters now, but there actually is some truth to what they're saying, and there is a conspiracy (or GloboCap as my favourite author on the subject calls it).

Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: July 10, 2020, 02:37:15 PM »
I don't see, how wealth redistribution is going to change that.

Wealth redistribution isn't a goal in itself. It's about eliminating the demands that endless growth and concentration of wealth put on society (and by extension on the environment).

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 10, 2020, 02:06:43 PM »
Much of the public has no understanding at all about masks, mask use, effectiveness, types, how masks fail, and more.

That's probably because much of the public isn't a paranoid, germophobe, OCD hypochondriac who simply cannot accept death as being a part of a life, or that everything in life has its price and that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Instead of reflecting on how it has come to this and what structural changes are needed to prevent threats to societal stability, all the attention is funneled towards death-fear-vaccines-death-fear-vaccines-death-fear-vaccines. Pandemic porn, nothing more, nothing less.

Lastly, we suffer from a lot of stupidity in society, even among very otherwise bright people, substituting memes and thumb-rules for knowledge.

Are you referring to the idiots who call for lockdowns and other 1984-esque measures that will either push societies to collapse or totalitarianism?

I can't remember what insane IFR numbers you pushed back when not enough was known, but it has now become clear that in a reasonably healthy population the IFR for SARS-CoV-2 is 0.2% at most. If it is higher than that it is because of demographics, environmental conditions and general population health (which is very low in most parts of the world), and these factors are heavily influenced by the global neoliberal system of endless growth.

Epidemiologically speaking, this virus is very similar to influenza. In fact, influenza would be way more deadly if it were novel, and kill many more young people. This virus was presented as some alien zombie killer virus and all kinds of stupid, cowardly decisions were made because of it. And now, people are so deeply invested in this narrative that it is impossible to get out of. The media is a sensationalist propaganda machine as never witnessed before.

Meanwhile, everybody is getting robbed blind, while much more serious things are going in the world that get almost zero attention (take a look for instance at the melting season thead, or think about the cancer epidemic, or the spread of microplastics, or deforestation, or top soil erosion, and so on).

Or, to quote my favourite author on the subject:

The genius of pathologized totalitarianism is like that old joke about the Devil … his greatest trick was convincing us that he doesn’t exist. Pathologized totalitarianism appears to emanate from nowhere, and everywhere, simultaneously; thus, technically, it does not exist. It cannot exist, because no one is responsible for it, because everyone is. Mass hysteria is its lifeblood. It feeds on existential fear. “Science” is its rallying cry. Not actual science, not provable facts, but “Science” as a kind of deity whose Name is invoked to silence heretics, or to ease the discomfort of the cognitive dissonance that results from desperately trying to believe the absurdities of the official narrative.

The other genius of it (from a GloboCap viewpoint) is that it is inexhaustible, endlessly recyclable. Unlike other official enemies, the “deadly virus” could be any virus, any pathogen whatsoever. All they have to do from now on is “discover” some “novel” micro-organism that is highly contagious (or that mimics some other micro-organism that we already have), and wave it in front of people’s faces. Then they can crank up the Fear Machine, and start projecting hundreds of millions of deaths if everyone doesn’t do exactly as they’re told. They can run this schtick … well, pretty much forever, anytime the working classes get restless, or an unauthorized president gets elected, or just for the sheer sadistic fun of it.

Look, I don’t mean to be depressing, but seriously, spend an hour on the Internet, or talk to one of your hysterical friends that wants to make mask-wearing mandatory, permanently. This is the mentality of the Brave New Normal … irrationally paranoid and authoritarian. So, no, the future isn’t looking very bright for anyone not prepared to behave as if the world were one big infectious disease ward.

I’ve interacted with a number of extremely paranoid corona-totalitarians recently (just as a kind of social experiment). They behave exactly like members of a cult. When challenged with facts and basic logic, first, they flood you with media propaganda and hysterical speculation from “medical experts.” Then, after you debunk that nonsense, they attempt to emotionally manipulate you by sharing their heartbreaking personal accounts of the people their therapists’ brother-in-laws’ doctors had to helplessly watch as they “died in agony” when their lungs and hearts mysteriously exploded. Then, after you don’t bite down on that, they start hysterically shrieking paranoia at you (“JUST WAIT UNTIL THEY INTUBATE YOU!” … “KEEP YOUR SPITTLE AWAY FROM ME!”) and barking orders and slogans at you (“JUST WEAR THE GODDAMN MASK, YOU BABY!” … “NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO MASK, NO SERVICE!”)

Which … OK, that would be kind of funny (or terribly sad), if these paranoid people were not just mouthpieces echoing the voice of the official power (i.e., GloboCap) that is transforming what is left of society into a paranoid, pathologized, totalitarian nightmare right before our eyes. They’re kind of like the “woman in red” in The Matrix. When you are talking to them, you’re not talking to them. You’re talking to the agents. You’re talking to the machines. Try it sometime. You’ll see what I mean. It’s like talking to a single algorithm that is running in millions of people’s brains.

I can’t lie to you. I’m not very hopeful. No one who understands the attraction (i.e., the seduction) of totalitarianism is. Much as we may not like to admit it, it is exhilarating, and liberating, being part of the mob, surrendering the burden of personal autonomy and individual responsibility, fusing with a fanatical “movement” that is ushering in a new “reality” backed by the sheer brute force of the state … or the transnational global capitalist empire.

It is irresistible, that attraction, to most of us. The chance to be a part of something like that, and to unleash one’s hatred on those who refuse to go along with the new religion … to publicly ridicule them, to humiliate them, to segregate them from normal society, to hunt them down and get them fired from their jobs, to cheer as police abuse and arrest them, to diagnose them as “abnormal” and “inferior,” these social deviants, these subhuman “others,” who dare to challenge the authority of the Party, or the Church, or the State, or the Reich, or Science.

Plus, in the eyes of GloboCap (and its millions of fanatical, slogan-chanting followers), such non-mask-wearing deviants are dangerous. They are like a disease … an infestation. A sickness in the social body. If they refuse to conform, they will have to be dealt with, quarantined, or something like that.

Or they can just surrender to the Brave New Normal, and stop acting like babies, and wear a goddamn mask.

After all, it’s just a harmless piece of cloth.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2020 Sea ice area and extent data
« on: July 09, 2020, 09:56:50 AM »
Drop of 179k.  370k ahead of 2012.

That was yesterday. No new data as of yet.

Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: July 09, 2020, 09:48:06 AM »
If you ban inheritance, won't rich people just find ways to transfer their wealth to offspring before they die? And how about poorer people? Can't they leave behind something to their children who are already at a disadvantage?

The reason this won't work, is that providing for children and securing their future is a very strong incentive for people, as it gives their life some modicum of meaning (one illusion among many).

I think there is nothing wrong with inheritance, provided there's a cap on how much one person can own. The goal that must be achieved is deconcentration of wealth, because only that breaks through the dynamic of wealth wanting to become ever larger and more concentrated. I'm not sure this is achieved through abolition of inheritance. In fact, I think one can argue that it is legal theft by the state, which is in itself comparable to large corporations. It would leave to massive corruption and wasting of resources through bureaucracy.

Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: July 06, 2020, 09:56:40 PM »
Your comment wasn't on topic either, never mind the fact that nobody here has suggested communism as an alternative to capitalism. Like bluice says: Anti-capitalist does not equal communist.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 27, 2020, 10:22:35 PM »
Crazy thought, but is this virus making people stupid? Is being a covidiot a symptom of the illness?

All people are stupid. The only difference between people is that some know this and others don't.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 27, 2020, 03:37:54 PM »
Already in December someone in Svärdsjö in the province of Dalarna in Sweden got sick. The symptoms were not recognized then. But they looked at the lung x-rays again and the covid anti-body test was positive.

This was a person who had not traveled, in a somewhat remote corner of the country.

Yes, thanks for repeating this. I wanted to quote it before.

This is highly interesting, and there are many more such anecdotes.

The origins of the virus are irrelevant to fight it.

I'm not referring to the origin, but to chronology. If the virus was around for many months before November 2019, and in several places around the world, this makes a significant difference to modelling and policy. In the interview with professor Sunetra Gupta I posted a few weeks ago, this aspect of timing/chronology was one of the themes discussed.

From The Guardian three weeks ago:

The worst case, adopted by government, was that left unchecked, the virus was so dangerous the epidemic could claim 500,000 lives. The best case, set out by Gupta, is not currently borne out by scientific data – but she insists it is an important consideration and counterbalance.

Gupta’s model showed that if the virus had arrived in Britain a month earlier than thought – in December rather than January – it might have spread far wider than anyone appreciated, and infected half the population. If that was the case, the risk of dying would be a fraction of the 1% it is generally believed to be, and infections would soon wane through “herd immunity” – achieved when more than two-thirds have acquired immunity to the virus.

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: June 27, 2020, 12:28:22 PM »
You should take this season as your baseline, and then make it your goal to do a little bit better next year.

And if you can find a better place to continue, perhaps the backyard of someone you know, that would eliminate the social problems you're experiencing.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 27, 2020, 09:54:00 AM »
The official narrative rests on many assumptions, but the biggest assumption of all is that SARS-CoV-2 suddenly popped up in November 2019 on a wet market in Wuhan. Many anecdotes counter this narrative, and now science is catching up. Here's another crap story:

Coronavirus traces found in March 2019 sewage sample, Spanish study shows

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish virologists have found traces of the novel coronavirus in a sample of Barcelona waste water collected in March 2019, nine months before the COVID-19 disease was identified in China, the University of Barcelona said on Friday.

The discovery of virus genome presence so early in Spain, if confirmed, would imply the disease may have appeared much earlier than the scientific community thought.

The University of Barcelona team, who had been testing waste water since mid-April this year to identify potential new outbreaks, decided to also run tests on older samples.

They first found the virus was present in Barcelona on Jan. 15, 2020, 41 days before the first case was officially reported there.

Then they ran tests on samples taken between January 2018 and December 2019 and found the presence of the virus genome in one of them, collected on March 12, 2019.

“The levels of SARS-CoV-2 were low but were positive,” research leader Albert Bosch was quoted as saying by the university.

The research has been submitted for a peer review.

Read rest here.

Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: June 27, 2020, 09:07:15 AM »
And what should be done with the “excess” they are not allowed to keep?

This is also open to discussion. It should be used on things that society agrees upon, which IMO opinion should be based on what constitutes a 'good life' that doesn't inflict damage on future generations. Things like UBI, affordable housing, regenerative agriculture, the dismantling of unhealthy, destructive industries...

How to do this, I don't know. Via referenda?

Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: June 27, 2020, 09:02:37 AM »
What cap do you propose, Neven?

I don't know, it's open for discussion. 10 million, 100 million, something that's not easy to reach and high enough so people can still feel filthy rich. It's important that there's inequality to spur creativity and innovation. But that inequality should be fixed and not be able to grow larger. Hence the cap. It doesn't really matter how high it is, as long as it's there.

This would still be capitalism, but the capital would be in many more hands and thus less likely to dominate, monopolize and concentrate to further its own growth.

Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: June 26, 2020, 10:43:42 PM »
You put a cap on how much capital an individual can own.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 26, 2020, 10:28:56 AM »
This one will probably fly under Vox Mundi's radar, or maybe it will be all over the news tomorrow.  ::)

From Der Standard (Google translation):
42.4 percent of the residents of Ischgl have antibodies against coronavirus
At the end of April, almost 1,500 people were tested in the Tyrolean winter sports resort. Now we have the results

June 25, 2020, 9:17 pm

42.4 percent of Ischglers have antibodies against Sars-CoV-2.

Innsbruck - 42.4 percent of the residents of the Tyrolean winter sports resort Ischgl have already developed antibodies against Sars-CoV-2. This is the result of an investigation by the Institute of Virology at the Medical University of Innsbruck, which was presented on Thursday. The proportion of people who tested positive for antibodies is thus about six times higher than the number of people who tested positive by means of a PCR test, explained study director Dorothee van Laer. That was the highest value that has been measured so far, it said at the presentation of the study.

Virologist Dorothee van Laer provides information about the study design and the Sars-CoV-2 antibody tests in the Tyrolean community of Ischgl, which were carried out at the end of April.
Medical University Innsbruck
At the end of April, 1,473 people, i.e. 79 percent of the entire Ischgl population, were tested on a voluntary basis for the study. 214 people were children. According to the results, only 27 percent of those under the age of 18 have antibodies.

So, Ischgl is where allegedly a lot of the virus was picked up by tourists and spread all over Europe.

Maybe you can help with the following calculation, cause I must be doing something wrong: 1473 people were tested, which is 79% of the Ischgl population. This means that total population is 1865. It is said that 42.4% of the population has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, which translates to 791 persons. In total two persons are said to have died of COVID-19. According to my calculation, this means that the IFR for Ischgl is 0.0025%. Is that correct? (nope, see edit4).

Strangely enough, none of this was discussed on the Austrian TV news this evening. They did open with it, but where normally a report is followed by a short interview with an editor or expert, for further explanation and context, there was none this evening. Of course, there was no archival footage either of Austrian soldiers digging mass graves, or some such, either.

In all the online articles I have read so far no mention has been made of the Ischgl IFR either. The numbers are reported, and also that 85% of infected didn't have any symptoms, and that a lower percentage of children had antibodies. But what is stressed most of all, is that this doesn't mean there is herd immunity, and that it isn't known yet whether people can get reinfected.

I find this very strange, but then again, I am convinced that SARS-CoV-2 is comparable to influenza (epidemiologically speaking), and that the reaction to this crisis has been manufactured and manipulated to further all kinds of anti-democratic interests.


edit: I wrote this yesterday evening, but it didn't get posted. It's being picked up in the international media now, but so far, no one is delving into what the numbers may actually mean (and how that rhymes with the official narrative that hasn't changed much since day 1), except perhaps for this excerpt on Bloomberg: "Only nine adults in the entire sample received hospital treatment." Nothing about how many people allegeldy died from COVID-19 in Ischgl.

edit2: Maybe the reason IFR is so low in this subset is because of demographics, local conditions, general population health, even though we are not supposed to look at those things. But still, the difference is really huge large. Of course, the 85% asymptomatic number and fewer children infected are interesting as well.

edit3: My calculation must be wrong somehow.

edit4: God, I'm stupid. IFR is not 0.0025%, but 0.25%.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 19, 2020, 08:20:50 PM »
OMG, i'm stupid. ;D

I thought it was aimed at the quality of the article.

I thought so too. What a shitty thing to say.  ;)

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 19, 2020, 12:37:30 AM »
"What we're looking at is the reality that we're going to have rolling outbreaks," Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Thursday. "There's going to be parts of the country that get hot where there's a lot of infection."

Gottlieb said "more complacency" in Southern and Southwestern states not initially hit hard by the virus has led to "full-blown outbreaks."

Ah, Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner, now on the board of directors of Pfizer. And resident fellow at the American Entreprise Institute, that bastion of climate science. With free-market loving global warming deniers on board, the war on COVID-19 will definitely be won. Are the Koch Brother(s) in on it yet? And when will those pesky, germs-spreading protesters finally get locked down?

Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: June 18, 2020, 05:39:47 PM »
Hearsay, your honor!  ;)

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 17, 2020, 01:46:07 PM »
The European Commission has proposed to temporarily relax rules on trials of drugs involving genetically engineered organisms as an emergency measure to speed the development of a vaccine against the new coronavirus.

Yes! Wonderful! Things are speeding up nicely, aren't they? Nothing like a crisis to get rid of pesky regulation.

The politics / Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« on: June 17, 2020, 08:50:35 AM »
It seems the BBC has produced a nice piece of propaganda on one of 2018's hypes: the Skripal poisoning.

Craig Murray shreds the first two episodes to pieces:

Putin's gonna get me

The miracle of Salisbury

This is such an amazing story full of lies and implausibility. I wonder if we will ever hear the truth.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 15, 2020, 09:12:02 AM »
Neven, I think the word "observe" has a wider context than you assume.

My point is that R is not a temperature measurement or some other physical process that can be observed. It relies on highly imperfect, incomplete data, and is thus very sensitive to error and manipulation.

edit: I'm not saying R is useless, but one should be careful building arguments on it. Or on the assumption that everyone gets infected.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 15, 2020, 09:07:06 AM »
If you encounter a very low number of viruses it's possible the default immune system eradicates them on a local level. The body's immune system will never know, antibodies will never be built. Only if you have a higher number of replicating viruses, the 'artillery' is called so to say.

OK, so here's the 5 trillion dollar question:

If the second wave hits (that's an if, but let's assume it does), will another lockdown have to be instituted, or is enough known now that with hygienic measures, targeted protection for risk groups, large gatherings cancelled, etc, hospitals will not become overburdened?

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