The Bottom Line On Trust and Medicine
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More fish..... gee, where'd they come from? -- Ed
“They” are not trying to kill you.
“They” are definitely trying to kill you.
I firmly believe both these statements are true.
Many of these guest Tickers are about the war we are in. Whether any of us have picked a side, are choosing to sit this skirmish out, or are oblivious to the battle theater, the conflict rages around us. There are many aspects to this war, but two for today are: there are multiple factions and they are both human and spiritual.
The more obvious and most speculated on is the human side. One human faction has been dubbed “depopulationists.” I postulate they are motivated by the deadly sin of greed.
There are some very narcissistic people who do not care if you die. It takes a certain type of personality disorder to callously disregard suffering for a Coof Cash payment. Each person who died through hospital action knows the exact “value” of their life to the penny. That is all they are worth to the greedy.
Let me rephrase that, as the previous statement was wishy-washy. The bill survivors are handed is the exact dollar amount that the hospital administrators, doctors, and care staff who went along with “treatment” consider your loved one’s life worth.
Let me reiterate. The bill is not blood money. Blood money is paid to survivors in reparation for death of their loved one. This is the exact opposite: survivors pay the hospital for sending mom home in a box.
Your loved one was not a person to them. They were merely a budget line item. These greedy hospital pieces of shit are not trying to kill you. They are merely indifferent to death for the right price.
Greed is one of the seven deadly sins for a reason.
There are some psychopathic people who like murdering others. They get off on it. Fortunately for all of us, they are very few and far between. These people are absolutely trying to kill you.
We all have our own thoughts on whether individuals are greedy or psychopathic. I will not express mine publicly because they are irrelevant. Form your own opinions. Stand by them. It takes conviction to win a war and blindly following someone else’s opinion makes poor soldiers.
Now for the spiritual side of the war, which is all conjecture.
God doesn’t tell me His plans. I’m too short for that particular bus, plus I would spend more time rules lawyering than being useful. Yet God indulges me with a good life despite being one of His worst servants.
The ultimate adversary is of course Satan. After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that he isn’t trying to kill most of us. Once he kills one of God’s people, they are forever out of his reach and safe with our Creator. Christians refer to death as “going home to God.” Satan does want us to suffer and commit sins so he gets us when we die. I guess once he collects enough of us he can exchange our souls for…something. I don’t want to know his plans.
How do the human and spiritual sides work together?
There is no grand conspiracy outside of Satan. There are different human factions whose goals align and Satan skillfully uses them to advance his plans. This explains why both initial statements are accurate. Only a few individuals actively seek to kill you. Most simply do not give a fuck if you die.
Someone, or more likely, several someone’s in the Federal government came up with the PREP Act and threw money at the coof. It’s not some grand conspiracy. It is greedy, selfish, shortsighted, money grubbing, indifferent-to-death hospital employees choosing money over people’s lives. I don’t know if any of these people are truly Satan’s servants, or they are on his side by happenstance.
If you sit this one out, peace be with you. If you are on the fence about which side to join consider this: God rewards His servants for following His will and is light on the punishments when they fail. Satan punishes his when they fail and is light on the rewards.
Another fish -- and its a big-un with plenty of teeth -- comes over the transom courtesy of Ishmael....
There are a lot of strong feelings about the Brandon administration's recent student loan forgiveness announcement. I'm not going to get into it now, other than disgust that somebody who never went to college, as well as those who paid their loans off, are now paying for someone else’s puppet mastery degree. If money came out of University endowments, I would have cheered this on wholeheartedly. The sheer ire universities received might have snapped them out of their spending sprees.
Every state in America has universities, typically public land-grant, whose primary goal is research. Or should be. We live in clown world, so their current focus is sports ball and DIEversity. And paying a whole bunch of non teaching, non research, paper pushing administrative positions.
But where do they get the money? There are several federal government agencies who give cash to universities via grants.
Grants, student loans, and now student loan forgiveness. There is a running theme here, but I can’t put my finger on it. I really should have graduated from that state school instead of dropping out after a few semesters, perhaps I could recognize the pattern…
Here is a dirty little secret nobody will admit: research funding has become increasingly politicized in the past few years. A prime example is the subject of today’s guest Ticker.
A University of Much Research partnered with a College of Mucher Research and produced a study that TPTB will love if they ever read it. In typical fashion, the study attempts to apply SCIENCE! to something so fundamental a baby knows the answer: Do masks affect social interaction?
Of course, the answer is masks do absolutely nothing to impede social interaction. Because fuck your experience, it’s SCIENCE!
The basic design of this study involved dividing a college psychology class into two groups. One group wore masks, hats, and sunglasses. The other group did not. Each group was instructed to find another person similar to them on the other side of the room and have a conversation based on a few prescribed topics. Masks with masks, free breathers with free breathers. Demographic information, including political attitudes, was collected before the study. Test subjects' impressions were surveyed after the experiment.
We’ve already seen what they were paid to discover, let’s look under the kimono and see how they did it. (All formatting from study quotes was added.)
From the study: “One of the 14 tests was significant; posture and movement were indicated as a reason to choose a partner more for conservatives in the No Mask condition, and this reverses in the Mask condition, F(1,202) = 7.45, p < .01. We are not sure how to interpret this individual coefficient.”
Since these are PhD’s, I’ll use small words they can understand. It’s body language, dumbasses. Conservatives tend to be more reality based than liberals (although both are relative among college students). The point was to pick a similar partner, and to do that someone has to be both honest with themselves and realistic about the world. They size people up as they are, not fanciful projections. It is impossible to read facial expressions with a mask, sunglasses, and a hat!
Speaking of honesty, I have no idea how this dangerous research passed the Institutional Review Board. Afterall, according to SCIENCE! sex, race, and (made up words like) gender are all social constructs, not biological facts. Surely being confronted with honest facts would be dangerous to some snowflake participants.
More study quotes: “The liberal-conservative dimension played almost no role in response to wearing masks and interacting with masked others in 2012. But in 2020, mask-wearing was the most common difficulty for Republicans during the COVID-19 pandemic (van Kessel & Quinn, 2020). Democrats listed it ninth, and even then, a typical complaint was that others refused to wear them. This suggests that there is nothing inherent in wearing a mask that might concern conservatives—it is more likely the political meaning of mask-wearing that is being objected to (Martinelli et al., 2020).”
There are plenty of problems with masks which have been discussed at length. But the worst part is not ignorance of the statement, it’s the arrogance. This is blatant gaslighting.
They defined one group’s reaction as NORMAL and judged others based on it. Who are these ass clowns to dictate what the proper attitude towards a mask is and further explain away the reasons for disagreeing as political? This study was designed and executed by psychologists. They know exactly what gaslighting is. Fuck them and their universities.
Let’s try that again from the reality perspective (where men and women are biological, not social constructs).
Liberals are too busy minding other people’s business to function in society. This suggests wearing masks is not about safety, but control (Ishmael, 2022). There’s some SCIENCE! for you. It’s got a made up citation and everything.
But that wasn’t the worst conclusion. This is:
“Meeting a stranger and having a short, low-stakes conversation is a common task, particularly for college students, but the task is not unusual in urban or industrial societies in general. We can tell, without directly asking, if a stranger shares our attitudes; and these shared attitudes can help form the basis of friendship, romance, allyship, and cooperation (Bahns et al., 2017). For a common task of this sort, regardless of location on the political spectrum, wearing a mask, a hat, and sunglasses does not impede this fundamental skill.”
And there is the money quote. Human relationships are not formed on banal interactions. They are formed by meaningful, deep conversations. And that is the crux of the problem. These people drew conclusions that demonstrate they think banality and depth are the same. Can you imagine trying to raise a child talking about the weather? What about talking to a loved one and not being able to read their expression?
The media can quote this study to gaslight all of us. This pile of bullshit “proves” dehumanizing a person doesn’t impede relationships.
What was the real goal of this, besides a university handout? The more atomized and alone we are, the easier it is to mold us into true believers and create a mass formation.
This study justifies gaslighting people until they believe masks are normal, their objections are a personal failing, and they must do the Current Thing to be accepted. These tortured souls will do anything to belong.
And your tax dollars paid for it. University Delenda Est!
Note -- this is a guest post thus the "Other Voices" category; the author(s) have asked to remain unattributed. There have been no edits other than spacing and formatting necessary to post, and make sure the links to references display.
Many questions remain unanswered about the origin of SARS-CoV-2, and we are certainly not the only scientists that have them. There are likely benign convincing explanations to everything, but to date we have not seen them.
Some will say: why does knowing the origin matter? It matters for several reasons. First of all, it will help us plan for the future. If this indeed was a virus that arose from close contact with wildlife and humans, this contact in the future will have to be managed. Secondly, if in the unlikely event this was perhaps escape from a lab, then lab procedures will have to be evaluated, and lab experiments with infectious possibly pandemic viruses will have to be additionally regulated. Finally, if this again was an unlikely escape from a lab, then knowing the exact type of virus we are dealing with would help us manage the current pandemic.
The story starts, we believe, with a noble goal: to prevent the world from ever having the type of pandemic we are currently experiencing, through production of a vaccine effective against all coronaviruses past and future.
Coronavirus vaccines can be difficult to make. In animals, while vaccines are sometimes successful, toxicity of the vaccine as well as incomplete immunity can happen. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7284272/ .
SARS-CoV-2 (COVID19) is a lot like SARS-CoV (SARS). SARS initially hit China and East Asia in 2003, killed 774 people, infected over 8000, and scared everyone. For the past 17 years there has been an enormous effort worldwide to develop a vaccine not only against SARS but also against all coronavirus strains. As we have detailed in another post, scientists knew in 2006 that recombinant spike protein RBD vaccines to SARS didn’t protect all animals from a re-challenge from a slightly different mutated coronavirus ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7124095/pdf/978-0-387-33012-9_Chapter_101.pdf ). Young animals can gain immunity, but it can be harder to get protective immunity in older animals ( https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17194199/ ).
Killed whole coronavirus vaccines in animal models of SARS infection demonstrated that in some animals such as ferrets, killed whole virus vaccines gave a predominant Th2 response (you want Th1) and that there was an antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) of lung toxicity in mice ( https://jvi.asm.org/content/85/23/12201 ). This led to the idea of a live attenuated coronavirus vaccine ( https://www.nature.com/articles/nrmicro3143 ) ( https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.2972 ) ( https://www.nature.com/articles/nbt.1635 ), which is a vaccine that infects and reproduces in a human, results in immunity, but does not cause severe disease.
This has been an important issue since the SARS pandemic in 2003 and was reinforced by MERS epidemic in 2012. Enormous amounts of resources and human effort have been thrown at this problem, and these resources have come from just about everyone: governments, industry, NGOs, and philanthropy.
Various live virus attenuated recombinant vaccines have two issues among many. First, these vaccines have to be able to be grown in culture in great quantity for testing and for mass production. Second, the vaccines can mutate and revert back to severe pathogenicity once administered, especially in those with weaker innate immune systems. These dual problems have confronted vaccine developers.
To make a recombinant attenuated live coronavirus vaccine that you can grow in culture, it should be pretty obvious that (a) you have to have it gain function to make it more viable in culture; and (b) while at the same time make it less pathogenic and less able to recombine. These are somewhat contradictory goals and can be hard to do.
Live attenuated vaccines can be hard to make without them mutating a lot in culture in ways you do not expect, not being able to grow them in culture to make lots of virus to work with, and without them reverting back to a dangerous live virus once someone (animal or human) is vaccinated, as happened in 1998 with a live attenuated poliovirus vaccination on the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) ( https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11896235/ ).
Virologists have been making recombinant man-made coronaviruses to try to find one that is safe and will work as an attenuated vaccine for over 15 years. To do this they use “reverse genetic systems” to make the virus they want in bacteria or yeast ( https://www.pnas.org/content/100/22/12995 )( https://www.pnas.org/content/110/40/16157 ). In these reverse genetic systems, to make man-made viruses with specific functions, mutations are inserted into the DNA copies of the virus. Bacteria or yeast make lots of these DNA copies, which are added mammalian cells in culture to provide live RNA viruses in the fluid surrounding them. These fluids containing the man-made viruses can then be used to infect animals or people ( https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19036930/ ). The goals of these experiments were likely twofold: (1) to find out how viruses like SARS can jump from bats to humans, to develop countermeasures; and (2) to develop universal vaccines to protect the world in the case of a coronavirus pandemic.
Scientists have used several man-made strategies to make viruses weaker to use as possible coronavirus vaccines. These strategies included increasing the number of attenuating mutations in the virus through alteration of a necessary viral RNA proofreading enzyme called ExoN ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518599/ ), but these types of viruses were found to revert to a more aggressive phenotype with long term culture of 250 passages ( https://mbio.asm.org/content/8/6/e01503-17.abstract ). Viruses also were mutated to not recombine with each other (possibly increasing virulence through recombination) by changing a viral RNA “leader” sequence (ACGAAC to UGGUCGC) possibly responsible for this recombination ( https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-018-0175-7 ). Additionally, there has been consideration to mutate viruses in a way, called “codon de-optimization” in which the RNA of the virus is changed to make the same viral proteins, but make them slower, and thus have slower virus growth ( https://jvi.asm.org/content/89/7/3523 ). This has been done for multiple viruses including influenza ( https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20543832/ ).
As noted above, a major issue with experiments like these is that to fully examine the ways viruses jump from bats to people, and to fully develop man-made recombinant vaccines sometimes viruses are unexpectedly made that have the potential to become much more transmissible in animals and possibly in humans. These are called “gain-of-function” experiments. This appeared to happen in at least one experiment in mice published in 2015 ( https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26552008/ ). The danger of these experiments needs to be carefully weighed against the possible costs, since leaks from laboratories of viruses are not uncommon ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC416634/ ), and if a gain of function strain were to escape, we could have a pandemic similar to the one we are currently experiencing.
The US scientific community held a symposium in 2014, which led to the banning of funding of these “gain of function” experiments https://mbio.asm.org/content/5/6/e02366-14 . This ban was rescinded in 2016 https://osp.od.nih.gov/biotechnology/gain-of-function-research/ . Minutes of the meetings of the advisory body (the National Scientific Advisory Board for Biosecurity, or NSABB) to help the NIH and Secretary of Health (at the time, Sylvia Burwell) to decide to rescind the ban were heated ( https://osp.od.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/NSABB_January_2016_Meeting_Minutes.pdf ). The NSABB members asked for multiple safety “guardrails” for this research to proceed.
In 2013, six miners in Yunnan Province, 550 miles south of Wuhan, were cleaning out a copper mine of bat droppings. They all developed a severe pneumonia with symptoms very similar to SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia, and three died. During the workup of these miners it was determined that several of the miners developed antibodies to a SARS-like coronavirus ( https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6981198-Analysis-of-Six-Patients-With-Unknown-Viruses.html ).
The WIV (Wuhan Institute of Virology) became involved, and in 2013-2014 isolated viruses from fecal swabs of 276 bats in the cave and found novel SARS-like coronaviruses in 138 of them. These samples were brought to Wuhan for further study. Manuscripts describing these viruses were published in 2016, but for some reason the publication left out the deaths of the miners from the cave ( https://www.pnas.org/content/100/22/12995 ) ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7090819/ ).
Investigators then determined that about 9% of residents of villages around the Yunnan cave had developed antibodies to a SARS-like coronavirus, yet none of them appeared to have severe symptoms. All of these villagers described bats flying around, and none of them visited the cities where SARS was endemic in 2003, so they likely developed an asymptomatic infection ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6178078/ ).
This experiment of nature likely became a matter of intense interest. How could these humans around the cave be exposed to bats carrying a supposedly lethal SARS-like coronavirus yet have no or minimal symptoms? The implications of the answers to this question were obvious: (a) bat to human transmission could be probed in depth, and (b) a live attenuated vaccine to coronavirus could be developed by mimicking the natural process that led to an attenuated virus that caused antibody production to a SARS-like coronavirus without symptoms.
It is entirely possible that investigators at the WIV could have been performing such experiments in coronavirus gain-of-function manipulation, trying to obtain a live attenuated virus for an attenuated vaccine, based on coronaviruses isolated from Yunnan province or elsewhere, when there was a laboratory accident/leak of virus sometime in the fall of 2019.
Prominent virologists argued in a letter to Nature Medicine in early March ( https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9 ) that lab escape, while not being entirely ruled out, was unlikely. Yet there are a number of unusual features of SARS-CoV-2, as well as some unusual scientific behavior of Chinese and US investigators, that requires explanation. Hopefully there are simple and trivial explanations, and that SARS-CoV-2 can be explained as a natural experiment that mimicked very closely a series of laboratory experiments performed in the exact place (Wuhan) where the virus was initially found in humans.
These questions point to a manipulated virus, which may have escaped from a WIV lab. These questions can be answered by an independent audit of the WIV P4 laboratories where the novel coronaviruses were being studied, which would have been one of the first steps international authorities usually take. Such an independent audit has not taken place, which is highly unusual scientific behavior.
Hopefully there are simple and trivial explanations, and that SARS-CoV-2 can be explained as a natural experiment that mimicked very closely a series of experiments performed in the exact place (Wuhan) where the virus was initially found in humans.
These questions, in no particular order, are as follows:
There are quite possibly very simple and very benign explanations for all of these questions as well as others. They likely can be answered by a simple independent audit of the WIV P4 laboratories where the novel coronaviruses were being studied. This is one of the first steps international authorities usually take. Such an independent audit has not taken place, which is highly unusual scientific behavior.
The origin of the virus is extremely important in helping us determine what is going to happen going forward in the pandemic, as well as to suggest what possible therapies could have activity.
It is therefore critical that we determine a precisely as we can the origin of the virus.
We are not the only scientists considering this.
We do not want in any way to cast aspersions on individual scientists or countries. All we want to do, as we have done from the beginning, is ask questions of the data. We hope that there is international cooperation to put this issue to rest, hopefully with a benign conclusion. We also hope there is again widespread honest discussion about the risks and the benefits of gain of function viral research.