All things political. Coronavirus Edition. (1 Viewer)

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    Maxp

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    I fear we are really going to be in a bad place due to the obvious cuts to the federal agencies that deal with infectious disease, but also the negative effect the Affordable Care act has had on non urban hospitals. Our front line defenses are ineffectual and our ability to treat the populous is probably at an all time low. Factor in the cost of healthcare and I can see our system crashing. What do you think about the politics of this virus?
     
    It's obvious you never consider the source or follow the money when you make wild claims
    and tweet dump.


    In Mr. Ruskin's case, it might as well be the equivalent of a journal called Obama Birther Flat Earthers 9/11 Truthers Against Vaccines For UFOs. That's how the science community looks at an article quote-mining one email exchange that appears in the social science journal Critical Public Health.
    You should have read the comments from the article you posted. If you had, you would have seen that the editor of paper said the article wasn't accurate.

    1000004323.jpg
     
    SFL: her assertions above are six years old. It isn’t the same as she said now. It is definitely pay-to-play now.

     
    RENTON, N.J. (AP) — A federal appeals court shot down claims Monday that New Jersey residents' refusal to wear face masks at school board meetings during the COVID-19 outbreak constituted protected speech under the First Amendment.

    The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in two related cases stemming from lawsuits against officials in Freehold and Cranford, New Jersey.

    The suits revolved around claims that the plaintiffs were retaliated against by school boards because they refused to wear masks during public meetings. In one of the suits, the court sent the case back to a lower court for consideration. In the other, it said the plaintiff failed to show she was retaliated against.

    Still, the court found that refusing to wear a mask during a public health emergency didn't amount to free speech protected by the Constitution.

    “A question shadowing suits such as these is whether there is a First Amendment right to refuse to wear a protective mask as required by valid health and safety orders put in place during a recognized public health emergency. Like all courts to address this issue, we conclude there is not,” the court said.

    The court added: “Skeptics are free to — and did — voice their opposition through multiple means, but disobeying a masking requirement is not one of them. One could not, for example, refuse to pay taxes to express the belief that ‘taxes are theft.’ Nor could one refuse to wear a motorcycle helmet as a symbolic protest against a state law requiring them.”..........

     
    SFL: her assertions above are six years old. It isn’t the same as she said now. It is definitely pay-to-play now.

    So? What does that have to do with Ruskin? Nothing. It doesn't change the fact the it was most likely a lab leak as recent information shows.
     
    So? What does that have to do with Ruskin? Nothing. It doesn't change the fact the it was most likely a lab leak as recent information shows.
    You posted that this journal is a legitimate scientific journal and not one that will post anything as long as you can pay their fees. And you posted a 6 year old statement from the editor attempting to prove it. Except that editor (and all the other editors) resigned in mass protest because the publisher has turned that journal into a “pay for play” journal.

    The paper you are relying on is published in a journal which no longer has any scientific standards.
     
    Responding to an expert’s statement that “about 3.2 million” American lives have been saved by vaccines against Covid, with “over 14 million lives” saved globally, the far-right Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene said: “I’m not a doctor, but I have a PhD in recognising bullshirt when I hear it.”

    On Capitol Hill on Thursday, Greene attended a hearing staged by the House oversight select subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic.

    The expert Greene responded to, Dr Peter Marks, the director of biologics evaluation and research at the Food and Drug Administration, also describedhow at the height of the pandemic in the US, “about 3,300 [people], about a World Trade Center disaster a day”, were dying of Covid-19, contributing to a death toll of more than 1.1m.

    Marks later apologised to viewers, after Greene claimed children should not be given Covid vaccines…….
    Speaking after Marks answered questions from the Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin, Greene first dismissed the doctor’s comments as “bullshirt”.

    Then she used her allotted five minutes to deliver rambling remarks about “all kinds of injuries, miscarriages, heart attacks, myocarditis, permanent disability, neurological problems” that she said had arisen from “people being forced to take vaccines”.

    “There’s been thousands of peer-reviewed medical studies, thousands of them studying vaccine injuries,” Greene said. “They are real. People are dying.


    “People are having heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and many other countries are dropping the Covid-19 vaccine and saying we shouldn’t give them to children. It’s time to be honest about the vaccine-injured and we need to stop allowing these Covid-19 vaccines to be given out to children.”

    The next speaker, the California Democrat Robert Garcia, said: “I’m sorry you all had to go through that. That was a lot of conspiracy theories and wild accusations, which we know have been debunked by medical science. We should be clear that vaccines work and have saved lives, and have saved millions of lives in this country.”

    Garcia displayed blow-ups of tweets and comments in which Greene has spread conspiracy theories and misinformation including comparing pandemic public health rules to the Holocaust, encouraging parents to deny Covid vaccines to children and claiming vaccines contribute to an increase in “turbo cancers”.

    As Greene indicated her displeasure, Garcia asked Dr Marks to “clarify once again for the American people, do the Covid vaccines cause ‘turbo cancers’?”

    “I’m a haematologist and oncologist that’s board certified,” Marks said. “I don’t know what a ‘turbo cancer’ is. It was a term that was used first in a paper on mouse experiments, describing an inflammatory response. We have not detected any increase in cancers with the Covid-19 vaccines.”…….
     
    interesting take (that I don't agree with at all)
    ============

    Why did Pfizer spend millions of dollars on a Super Bowl ad? And why are they paying Travis Kelce $20 million to act as their vaccine spokesperson?

    Because their reputation — and the reputation of America’s medical authorities — needs serious rehabilitation. A Gallup survey conducted last fall found only 18 percent of Americans have a very or somewhat positive view of the pharmaceutical industry, down from 25 percent in 2022. That’s a worse rating than any other industry group but retail.

    This is one of the most damaging leftovers of the Biden presidency.

    Joe Biden’s authoritarian approach to managing the COVID-19 outbreak, forcing all workplaces of 100 or more people to require the vaccine or regularly test their employees and the censorship of opposing views on vaccine side effects and on treatments, not only trampled on Americans’ rights — it may have led to preventable deaths.

    Nothing could have highlighted Americans’ distrust of the pharmaceutical industry more starkly than the Pfizer ad, which aimed to rebuild not only its brand but general attitudes toward medicine. It’s hard to imagine a world where a leading drug-maker feels the need to remind people that science has led to life-saving breakthroughs like the invention of penicillin and treatments for cancer, yet here we are.

    The ad, wedged between promotions for beer and donuts and other more conventional fare, combined a jazzy upbeat tune with pictures of the founders of Pfizer, seeming to place them in the same scientific galaxy as Sir Isaac Newton and Copernicus, who came alive in their portraits long enough to join in the fun. It was memorable, mainly because it seemed so out of place.

    Pfizer’s problem is, first, that sales of its COVID-19 vaccines and therapies have cratered as the disease has faded. But more important, Pfizer is dealing with backlash against Biden’s heavy-handed dictates about vaccines.

    Americans got their backs up about being forced to take the COVID-19 jab, and were angry that the inoculation (along with others) turned out not to be as effective as the government promised it would be. When President Biden reassured the nation, “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die,” as he did in a town hall in June 2021, he was not telling the truth.

    The vaccines that were quickly developed under former President Trump appear to have helped people survive infection, but did not stop the spread. As many students of viruses predicted early on, the bug mutated continually, bringing new variants of the disease, but also becoming weaker over time. The death rate dropped, and people moved on.

    But overpromising on the vaccine was not the Biden administration’s worst crime; it was their effort to shut down all discourse about COVID-19, including exploration of possible treatments and therapies to combat the virus, that did irreparable damage. Pressuring Facebook and Twitter to “demote” (i.e., render invisible) criticism of the vaccines — including the emergence of possible side effects — was heinous, as was banning discussion of its likely origin in Wuhan.

    Amazon was also in on the suppression game, according to internal emails, after being asked by the Biden White House in early 2021 to censor books critical of COVID vaccines that supposedly contained “propaganda” and “misinformation.”..............

     
    posted on EE also

    "The answer to all your questions is always money"
    ====================================

    Four major nonprofits that rose to prominence during the coronavirus pandemic by capitalizing on the spread of medical misinformation collectively gained more than $118 million between 2020 and 2022, enabling the organizations to deepen their influence in statehouses, courtrooms and communities across the country, a Washington Post analysis of tax records shows.

    Children’s Health Defense, an anti-vaccine group founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., received $23.5 million in contributions, grants and other revenue in 2022 alone — eight times what it collected the year before the pandemic began — allowing it to expand its state-based lobbying operations to cover half the country. Another influential anti-vaccine group, Informed Consent Action Network, nearly quadrupled its revenue during that time to about $13.4 million in 2022, giving it the resources to finance lawsuits seeking to roll back vaccine requirements as Americans’ faith in vaccines drops.

    Two other groups, Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance and America’s Frontline Doctors, went from receiving $1 million combined when they formed in 2020 to collecting more than $21 million combined in 2022, according to the latest tax filings available for the groups.

    The four groups routinely buck scientific consensus. Children’s Health Defense and Informed Consent Action Network raise doubts about the safety of vaccines despite assurances from federal regulators. “Vaccines have never been safer than they are today,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its webpage outlining vaccine safety.

    Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance and America’s Frontline Doctors promote anti-parasitic or anti-malarial drugs as treatments for covid, long after regulators and clinical trials found the medications to be ineffective or potentially harmful. Leaders of these groups say they disagree with medical consensus and argue that their promotion of alternative treatments for covid and other conditions is safe.

    Arthur Caplan, head of the division of medical ethics at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, said that in his view, the four groups endanger lives with their spread of misinformation.

    These groups gave jet fuel to misinformation at a crucial time in the pandemic,” Caplan said. “The richer they get, the worse off the public is because, indisputably, they’re spouting dangerous nonsense that kills people.”

    The influx of pandemic cash sent executive compensation soaring, boosted public outreach, and seeded the ability to wage legislative and legal battles to weaken vaccine requirements and defend physicians accused of spreading misinformation.

    Some doctors following guidance by Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance or America’s Frontline Doctors have been sanctioned or face the possibility of discipline from state medical boards alleging substandard medical care. In cases involving two doctors alleged to have followed Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance guidance, three patients died. Public health experts, including Caplan, worry that the well-funded anti-science movement could lead to devastating long-term public health consequences if childhood diseases once vanquished by vaccines come roaring back.

    Many of the contributors are not publicly known. In addition to the tax forms filed by the four groups, The Post reviewed more than 330 filings by nonprofits that donated to the groups during the pandemic. Half of those gifts over $100,000 were made through a tax vehicle popular among the ultrawealthy known as “donor-advised funds,” which allow individuals to obscure their identities. The Post identified two funds dedicated to advancing biblical, libertarian or conservative values that each had given at least $1 million in total to at least three of the groups since 2020.................



     
    Very long and very interesting article
    ==========================

    ……The physical and psychological effects of these different versions of Covid – the short and the long – are oddly parallel to its political consequences. The disease turns out to be its own metaphor. We are all suffering from political long Covid now. The early drama is over. A series of lingering misfortunes has replaced it.

    As with long Covid, different countries are suffering in different ways, trapped in their own private miseries. The shock of the new has gone, to be replaced by an enduring sense of fatigue.

    When the pandemic hit, its effects on politics were intensely felt and hard to predict. In some ways, it seemed like the ultimate stress test. Different political systems – and leaders – were exposed in different ways. Those with longstanding vulnerabilities seemed destined to fail.

    At the same time, the advent of Covid appeared to open up the prospect of new kinds of political solidarity. We were in this together. Covid’s global impact was a reminder of what it is that we all have in common. An acute awareness of our shared vulnerability might create the conditions for a renewed sense of purpose in tackling global problems, including the climate emergency.

    Maybe a pandemic was just what we needed to remember what was at stake, and to remind some of us how lucky we are.

    Four years on, the picture looks very different. The immediate experience of the pandemic feels more and more remote, even though public inquiries are now under way, trying to establish just what really happened and who was to blame for what went wrong.

    Part of the reason for the remoteness is that much of what once looked like high-stakes decision-making has come out in the wash: many outcomes were similar, regardless of the political choices that were made. Maybe it was in the lap of the gods after all.

    At the same time, the more pernicious but harder to recognise political consequences of Covid are all around us. The immediacy of the threat has passed, but the lingering signs of the damage it did to the body politic are everywhere.

    The pandemic and its consequences – lockdowns, economic dislocation, inflation, growing frustration with political elites – have found out pre-existing weaknesses in our politics and made them worse. It has given what ails us extra teeth.

    The early days of Covid gave reason to hope that the massive disruption it entailed might also shift the direction of travel of global politics. That hope turned out to be illusory. In the first phase of the pandemic, it looked to have exposed populist grandstanding for what it was: bleach, it turned out, was no sort of viral disinfectant.

    But populism remains on the rise around the world, feeding off the many discontents of the lockdown years, and of the years that preceded them.

    Likewise, Covid did not start any major wars – 2020 and 2021 were two of the most peaceful years for international conflict on record. But a post-Covid world is now as militarily dangerous as at any time since the cold war.

    Covid did not exacerbate climate breakdown: for a short while, carbon emissions fell as economies shut down. But the world is still getting warmer and the hope that tackling the virus would provide a model for more urgent climate action turns out to have been a pipe dream.

    The pandemic wormed its way into the weak spots in our political life, just as long Covid finds weaknesses in the human body. It no longer galvanises us, nor is it capable of destroying us.

    Instead, its symptoms are erratic and hard to fathom, appearing in surprising and seemingly unrelated places. Political long Covid is neither the great divider nor the great equaliser. It’s the great destabiliser……..
    During 2020, when the pandemic forced governments around the world to improvise their responses at breakneck speed, it looked as though it would expose some basic truths about the strengths and weaknesses of different political systems.

    The biggest and most immediate contrast was between autocratic China and the democratic west. Ruthlessness and decisiveness – which the Chinese political system appeared to possess in abundance – were the order of the day. The democracies struggled to keep up.

    In March of that year, after Italy became the first European country to grapple with the question of how to keep its population from infecting one another, the Chinese sent a group of health officials to help advise. The Italians were concerned by the fact that, despite putting draconian lockdowns in place, the virus was still spreading.

    The Chinese explained the problem. These weren’t actually lockdowns as they understood them. People could still leave their homes for emergencies, enforcement was sporadic, and punishment was relatively light.

    Meanwhile, in Wuhan, the very centre of the Covid outbreak, armed guards stood outside apartment blocks, curfews were brutally enforced and those with the virus could be barricaded inside their homes. Within a matter of weeks, Italy’s death toll was more than double that of China’s.

    The biggest contrast with China was the US, where a federal system of executive decision-making, a widespread suspicion of government mandates and an incompetent president meant that Covid soon killed far more people than anywhere else. If the US was the flagship for democracy, then it looked like democracy was failing to answer the call.

    However, it quickly became clear that the global picture was more complicated than any hastily assembled political morality tale might suggest.

    New Zealand – democratic, liberal and with a robustly independent population – for a long time kept the virus almost completely at bay. The country had the advantage of being an island state that was able to shut its borders.

    But Britain is also an island, and that made no difference to the government’s ability – or inability – to act. Vietnam, which is not an island, did almost as well as New Zealand. Russia did almost as badly as the US. Some of the worst death tolls were in the countries of eastern Europe, such as Bulgaria and Serbia, which had a mixed legacy of authoritarianism and democracy. Dividing the world up by regime types proved little………

     
    Good decisions is not the phrase I would have chosen, nor would I have chosen to brag about a win in the first minute of the pandemic. He’s just not a sane person.

     
    Good decisions is not the phrase I would have chosen, nor would I have chosen to brag about a win in the first minute of the pandemic. He’s just not a sane person.


    It's cowardice to such an extreme it turns into full blown delusion.

    Narcissistic personality disorder (which is what Trump is. He's hardly human anymore) can't cope with objective failure. It can't cope with things outside of its control, things that can't be bullied, derided, bought or destroyed.

    This might be the most disqualifying thing about Cheato. (Pure incompetence running a close second)
    We've had racist Presidents, jerks, power hungry Machiavellis and survived, but such sniveling cowardice was the undoing of a million Americans. It's something a President simply can't be. Yet it's a trait that *defines* Trump.
     
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