Tuesday, September 28, 2021

From Facebook 1 year ago

John Coffey shared a memory.

From David Khong:
It's been difficult to come up with the words to help me rationalize how we're in the situation we're in without it just being pure anger. How is it we are so callous and selfish that wearing a mask is something that is political?
I've thought of arguments of how we wear seat belts to mitigate risks of injury. The chances of accidents are thankfully low but yet we buckle up. We place our kids in car seats to do the same. We are leveraging things we can do to decrease risk. It's even a law, yet we didn't make it a political statement that we must wear seat belts.

I tried to think of how we can listen and take advice from medical professionals to remain healthy, to cure ailments, but somehow we draw a line at masks.
I tried to think to myself how to counter the comments that this mainly impacts the older population. Yet, Benjamin Franklin was 70 when he signed the Declaration to help found this country, or Gandhi was 60 when he made his Salt March in pursuit of India's independence. What makes an older person more expendable than a younger person.
The last argument I tried to make is maybe if we use numbers, over 400 Utah deaths, 200k US deaths, would possibly be enough to make an argument that we should be able to bare a minor inconvenience and wear a mask. None of that has mattered it seems.
In the end, the only number that actually matters is 1. All it takes that one person close to you. Imagine one of those 400, one of those 200k, is one person close to you. My wife, several of my family members, their friends, their colleagues are all medical professionals trying to do their jobs to help those that seek medical help. People not wearing masks endangers their health. It is this anger that I can't fully work through. Risking the health of my wife now also endangers my daughters, and this brings me beyond boiling. When people say stay home if you're afraid, what if all health professionals stay home because they are afraid for their health and the health of their families. You can try to justify all you want with the numbers, that it's less than however much the fatality rate can be to give you warm fuzzies. I can guarantee you, each one of those 400, those 200k, had someone that knew how important that one person was to them, regardless of the 'low' percentage of risk.

Sen. Rick Scott rips Dems push to ‘suspend’ debt ceiling: ‘Bankrupting this country, it’s disgusting’

FBI says murder rate increased nearly 30% in 2020

Fwd: China from reverses from requiring abortions to restricting them

China has a demographic problem due to its former one-child policy.  The high ratio of old people to productive workers is going to be a big problem.  Other countries like the United States also have this problem, but not as bad.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Larry 

Monday, the Chinese State Council issued new guidelines governing non-medical abortions to try to slow down an increase in procedures to terminate pregnancies—effectively forcing women to keep unwanted pregnancies except under certain circumstances.

Between 2014 and 2018, Chinese doctors performed an average of 9.7 million abortions a year, according to the country's National Health Commission. That's an increase of 51 percent over the previous five years before the relaxation of China's one-child rule governing family size in 2015.



Angle: The great American sell-out | Fox News Video

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6274529585001#sp=show-clips

I think that what she says is essentially correct, but it comes off as "spin".  She frames the Biden administration in the worst possible light, attacking their motivations, but it is at least a half-truth.

Some would see her position as discriminatory against people who want to immigrate here illegally, but we should ask ourselves what kind of immigration policy do we want and are we going to enforce the law?   In the last couple of days, I have heard the argument that we should help the would-be immigrants who are in need, but there is a whole planet in need, and taking in an unlimited number of people has consequences for the people living here.  

It has always been my position that population increase makes resources, like land and water, more scarce and more expensive.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

COVID-19 variant R.1 spreads quickly at Kentucky nursing home

A new variant of the COVID-19 virus has been identified at a Kentucky nursing home, where it infected 45 residents and workers, many of whom were vaccinated.

The R.1 variant originated in Japan, and contains dangerous mutations that can improve "transmission, replication, and immune suppression," a scientist wrote in Forbes Monday.

There are already more than 10,000 entries of the R.1 variant in a database used by researchers to track genomic material, infectious disease expert Dr. William Haseltine said.

The variant shares the highly infectious D614G mutation that is present in other variants fueling new surges of the coronavirus, according to the doctor.

"R.1 is a variant to watch. It has established a foothold in both Japan and the United States," Haseltine wrote.

https://nypost.com/2021/09/21/covid-19-variant-r-1-spreads-quickly-at-kentucky-nursing-home/

Remdesivir reduces Covid hospitalizations when given early, study shows

Saturday, September 18, 2021

What I Learned From My 'Mild' Breakthrough Case of COVID | KQED

https://www.kqed.org/science/1976780/what-i-learned-from-my-mild-breakthrough-case-of-covid

Fwd: It Might Be Time For A National Divorce

FYI.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: John Coffey
To: S

It is a delusion to think that there is no difference between the political right and the left.  The left is currently dominated by extremists who claim to want to get rid of capitalism.  They promote violence and intolerance.  They have become so extreme that there is no reconciliation with them.  The best hope for the Republic is that people move away from this extreme or there is a backlash against it.  However, it appears that at least half of the country is becoming more socialist all the time and that this trend isn't going to stop.  The tide has turned against us, and I don't see how we can preserve any resemblance of freedom.  We don't have anything in common with these people and I find their tyranny intolerable.

A country without the far left would divide between more libertarian and less libertarian factions.  Libertarians would have much more influence, even if they were a minority.


---------- Forwarded message ---------
I like and agree with what Matt Walsh says about a National Divorce...


Shorter version...


The Boys Who Cried Wolf

Between 1 July and 1 October 2012, we received 13 serum samples collected from 4 patients (one of whom was deceased) who showed severe respiratory disease. These patients had visited a mine cave at Tongguan town, Mojiang County, Yunnan Province, China, to clean bat feces in order to mine copper before being admitted to the First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University on 26–27 April 2012.

It also stated that:

We suspected that the patients had been infected by an unknown virus. Therefore, we and other groups sampled animals including bats, rats, and musk shrews in or around the cave, and found some alphacoronaviruses1 and paramyxoviruses2. Between 2012 and 2015, our group sampled bats once or twice a year in this cave and collected a total of 1,322 samples.

During these expeditions, the WIV sampled the closest-known bat coronavirus relatives of SARS-CoV-2 including RaTG13, which is 96.2% similar to SARS-CoV-2. To be clear, the RaTG13 and the SARS-CoV-2 viruses diverged more than a decade ago (2003-13 95% HBD limit). This distance in evolution is short enough to indicate that the more proximal ancestors of SARS-CoV-2 likely come from the same geographical region in Yunnan province and the surrounding area where the RaTG13 virus was collected...

We know now from Shi Zhengli's interview with Science that the WIV team sequenced the whole genome in 2018. This reveals interest in SARS-CoV-2-like bat coronaviruses shortly before the pandemic. However, we don't know if they indeed encountered SARS-CoV-2 itself or a closer progenitor than RaTG13 during their expeditions. There is also evidence of Wuhan lab scientists admitting to being bitten by bats and evidence of scientists at the Wuhan CDC not wearing protective equipment or taking proper safety measures during similar expeditions to bat caves. Given what we know about the research at the WIV and the Wuhan CDC and the interest in SARS-CoV-2 like bat coronaviruses shortly before the pandemic, and as SARS-CoV-2 easily loses furin cleavage site when cultured, the most likely route for a lab leak is, therefore, infection of a lab worker during field activity.

So what is the significance of a lab-related leak caused by negligent field workers? It is important to note that although humans outside of laboratories come into contact with animals more frequently than scientists overall, researchers are interested in viruses with human infection potential—and therefore they are much more likely than the average person interacting with animals to come across a bat coronavirus with human infection capabilities. The miners' story provides context that explains why Wuhan scientists were interested in SARS-CoV-2-like bat coronaviruses, and may well have accidentally brought it to a population-dense city and started a global pandemic. If it is confirmed that the pandemic emerged as a result of accidental infection of a lab worker during an expedition, that would raise the question of whether it is a good idea to construct major virology labs in a population-dense city with thousands of people traveling in and out every day.

The U.S. Department of State published a fact sheet in 2020 noting that the U.S. government had reason to believe that workers at the WIV fell sick with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 in the autumn of 2019. Later, it was more specifically revealed that U.S. intelligence identified three lab workers that fell ill in November 2019 and sought hospital treatment.

https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/science/articles/lab-leak-media-khaled-talaat

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Shelbyville hospital boss urges skeptics to get vaccinated

In addition to Major Hospital being at capacity, he said the Indianapolis hospitals are at the breaking point.

Explaining the Pandemic to my Past Self

Re: V'ger

There is a saying in science that it is never aliens... until it is. A great many natural phenomena can generate electromagnetic radiation.

On Wed, Sep 8, 2021 at 7:01 PM Larry wrote:

I am enjoying a great sci fi book called Omega from Jack MxDevitt, which has bad things coming from the galactic center...but here is something new in reality...

Astronomers have detected a strange, repeating radio signal near the center of the Milky Way, and it's unlike any other energy signature ever studied.

According to a new paper accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal and posted on the preprint server arXiv, the energy source is extremely finicky, appearing bright in the radio spectrum for weeks at a time and then completely vanishing within a day. This behavior doesn't quite fit the profile of any known type of celestial body, the researchers wrote in their study, and thus may represent "a new class of objects being discovered through radio imaging."

The radio source — known as ASKAP J173608.2−321635 — was detected with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope, situated in the remote Australian outback. In an ASKAP survey taken between April 2019 and August 2020, the strange signal appeared 13 times, never lasting in the sky for more than a few weeks, the researchers wrote. This radio source is highly variable, appearing and disappearing with no predictable schedule, and doesn't seem to appear in any other radio telescope data prior to the ASKAP survey.

When the researchers tried to match the energy source with observations from other telescopes — including the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, as well as the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy in Chile, which can pick up near-infrared wavelengths — the signal disappeared entirely. With no apparent emissions in any other part of the electromagnetic spectrum, ASKAP J173608.2−321635 is a radio ghost that seems to defy explanation.

Prior surveys have detected low-mass stars that periodically flare up with radio energy, but those flaring stars typically have X-ray counterparts, the researchers wrote. That makes a stellar source unlikely here




Monday, September 6, 2021

Sunday, September 5, 2021

school board fight

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Larry
Date: Sat, Sep 4, 2021 at 11:30 AM

Cline was elected in November in the first partisan school board elections in the state. She won with overwhelming support, beating out an unaffiliated candidate by a margin of 38 percentage points to represent District 11, which includes pieces of both Salt Lake County — primarily Sandy, South Jordan and Herriman — as well as part of western Utah County.

"I will not give them any ground," she wrote. "I have nothing to apologize for. This is a free country. We can have different beliefs and have a God given right to express those beliefs in the public square. That's okay. What is not okay is trying to destroy other people simply because they believe differently and express those beliefs.

"Let them know that parents want neutral academics taught in class, not social engineering and indoctrination. Let them know that because there is so very much controversy in society surrounding these very issues that that is all the more reason to leave the teaching of values, beliefs, and dispositions to the parents — not teachers,"

Board Rules and State Law parents should know in order to protect your children:

Educators are required to "comply with all federal, state, and local laws" (R277-217-3) which includes the following prohibited conduct (R277-217-2-23) "exclude a student from participating in any program, deny or grant any benefit to a student, or encourage a student to develop a prejudice on the basis of: (a) race; (b) color; (c) creed; (d) sex; (e) national origin; (f) marital status; (g) political or religious belief; (h) physical or mental condition; (i) family, social, or cultural background; (j) sexual orientation; or (k) gender identification;" LEA's are required to report violations to the UPPAC (R277-217-5).

(6) Except as provided in Section 53G-10-202, political, atheistic, sectarian, religious, or
denominational doctrine may not be taught in the public schools. 53-10-402


In them, she alleges that a ninth grade teacher in Riverton taught students about how communism is the best form of government and had them read The 1619 Project. That ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine is about the beginning of American slavery and how it drove this country's founders.

"The unit they are in right now is Social Justice. They have discussed gender issues, prejudice in law enforcement, privilege and marginalization, the plight of 'undocumented citizens' and many other volatile issues. She had never taught an alternative point of view other than left-leaning material. This is unacceptable and full-blown indoctrination."


In one post, Cline includes photos that she said she was sent of a Provo classroom where the teacher has colorful art pinned to the walls. One is a rainbow illustration of the Statue of Liberty. Another says, "A woman's place is in the revolution."

Cline describes it as "propaganda everywhere." She encourages parents to get involved in what is taught in the classroom. And what she says doesn't belong: discussion on culture, ethnicity and race theory.

Jan5
Accusing people of having "conscious or unconscious biases" insinuates that their thoughts are "wrong" simply because they are different than the accuser's own thoughts or "biases". This can be very destructive causing individuals to not be able to trust others or themselves. They begin to live in fear...afraid that these "wrong" thoughts might somehow be detected by others or accidentally spoken causing them to be unjustly condemned or unfairly labeled or categorized as racism.

In one of the Facebook posts they point to, Natalie Cline calls LGBTQ students "gender-confused." In another, she says educators were learning how to "indoctrinate your children" at a conference this month at the Utah Pride Center about accepting all identities in the classroom.

She also referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as "indoctrination." And she suggests that schools are teaching race theory that tells white students they are all biased and always "wrong." In a comment on Jan. 4, Cline added, "We cannot let it in. Not an inch."





Saturday, September 4, 2021

Fwd: meritocracy

FYI.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: John 
Date: Sat, Sep 4, 2021 at 6:07 PM

Kevin,

Although I feel like I loosely addressed some of your concerns, I think that I should be more specific:

There are a great many statements thrown around about the wealthy that are at best half-truths.  These seem like stereotypes.  

Wealth tends to not be multigenerational.  This is probably due to human failings.  You can find exceptions where you have some dynasty families, but when you get more than like 3 generations then wealth tends to get diluted or lost.

People move in and out of financial classes all the time.  It is one of the advantages of a free market is that people have financial mobility.

If you were to look at political power, that seems to rest with corporations.  When it comes to wealthy people, there are a ton of leftists billionaires who donate to left-wing causes.   https://conservapedia.com/List_of_Liberal_Billionaires   Mark Zuckerberg gave 350 million dollars to local election boards with strings attached usually requiring that they alter their rules.  https://www.npr.org/2020/12/08/943242106/how-private-money-from-facebooks-ceo-saved-the-2020-election

Corporations are not the same as rich people.  Many people own stock, myself included.  A few decades ago, the largest investor in Exxon was the Chicago Teacher's retirement fund.  Because of the development of the 401K, the majority of corporate ownership has been in retirement funds.

The great myth promoted by the left is that the rich don't pay their fair share in taxes.  Tax law is complicated, and much depends upon what type of taxes you are talking about.  In terms of income taxes, the system is very progressive.  https://taxfoundation.org/publications/latest-federal-income-tax-data/  Actually, the bottom half pays almost nothing.  When you compare taxes paid minus government benefits received, the system looks more progressive, with many people in the bottom half getting a net gain.

What is often misunderstood is capital gains.  If I get a dividend from a company, that company has already paid corporate taxes on their income.  Until recently we had the highest corporate taxes in the world, and I have heard that Biden is going to return us to that.  Capital gains on investments are usually lower than the top income tax rates for that reason.

We buy products based on merit.  For every successful song, there are about a thousand unsuccessful ones, mainly because they are not as good.  We should be grateful that merit determines success because it provides incentives to do well.   

--

Meritocracy

On Sat, Sep 4, 2021 at 3:04 AM Kevin wrote:

I have taken an interest in understanding meritocracy as a power structure concept.  Only the super rich can  afford to send their children to prestigious educational institutions  and therefore garner a huge competitive advantage over lower income strata individuals for jobs that pay the highest salaries. This becomes an instrument for the wealthy to pass on their wealth to their offspring.  In addition individuals with wealth and high levels of education can afford to engage the political system in a way that benefits them in terms of tax laws, as one example, they can employ tax attorneys, lobby law makers to make laws that benefit individuals of high wealth.  Essentially the wealthy get to control the rules of the game that benefit them.  I think that people with left wing political views support this philosophy more than the right because they can justify this view by saying that inequality of our society is not based on race, gender, sexual preference or the other traditional ways of differentiating people. It is very righteous in their view to say that people with superior abilities deserve their wealth and get to be in command. The problem with this concept is that it compromises our system of democracy.  It creates an a system where the rich are in charge of our political system.  It also prevents individuals who may have been born with inherent talents and abilities from excelling because they cannot access the same institutions that give them the credentials to high paying jobs. At the same time I think the right wing political side of this equation has mishandled this situation.  I think the "right" has made attempts to inflame the lower classes to respond to this situation in a way that encourages dysfunctional behavior as exemplified by the riot at the capital, I say this because I think that the driving force for the demonstrations are disinfrationized people who feel  their situation is at a "dead end" .  I think a significant portion of our population is in a desperate situation and if we do not respond in a rational, empathetic, strategic and non polarized way of thinking and response, we may loose everything we have aspired to be.



---------- message ---------
From: John 
To: Kevin
Date: Sat, Sep 4, 2021 at 3:48 PM


Kevin,

I understand your viewpoint and have at times expressed concern over a concentration of power affecting freedom.  I expressed my concern over not wanting to become a "Banana Republic."





No society has ever been free from disparity.  If anything, free societies have the least poverty, sometimes at the cost of some people getting extremely wealthy.  More often than not, free societies have the least disparity.  There is more opportunity to move up.   Having a free society is the driver behind economic growth. 

Steve Jobs, and even more so Apple, got incredibly wealthy because people chose to make them wealthy.  People wanted their products and felt enriched by their products.  We can argue the rationality of buying Apple products, but it is better to have the free choice to buy Apple products than not to have free choice.

The way that you prevent the "rich" from exploiting the political system is to have less power in government.  In the last 20 years or so, the way to become wealthier is to be in league with the government.  



There are problems with any kind of society.  However, the political left seeks government power more than the political right.  Recently they have taken this to more extreme levels.  This expansion of government power is not normally tenable and the left knows this.  At least half or maybe a slight majority of Americans don't want that.   So to advance their agenda, it appears to me that the political left exploits half-truths, exaggerating them as much as they can to make people feel like victims.  This is a terrible thing because it convinces people that someone else is responsible for their fate.  This makes people feel helpless and worthless, which is the goal.  It makes people feel that their only recourse is political. 

Before COVID, we had the lowest Black unemployment, the highest wages, and the lowest minority poverty in our history.  The average person saw their quality of life go up.  There also has been a significant increase in our economic well-being in my lifetime.

The United States has been the most accepting and diverse country on planet Earth.  We elected a Black president.  Try going to South Korea, Japan, or China and see how accepting they are.  However, after making tremendous strides in race relations to the point where there was very little racial discrimination, some people have exploited this issue and tried to stir the pot.  This started with Obama.  They have taken relatively rare events, like police shootings, and turned these into riots that killed dozens of people and did 2 billion dollars in damage. In 2019, only 14 unarmed Black people were shot by police, and in most cases, they were a threat to the police officers.

However, polls show that the average person on the left thinks that the police are killing a thousand unarmed black men per year.  They use terms like "genocide" and make obviously bogus claims that the police are actively searching the streets for black men to kill.



The organization "Black Lives Matter" was founded by people who proudly declare themselves Marxist.  After governments and private industry gave them hundreds of millions of dollars, the founders used the money to buy multimillion-dollar homes in rich neighborhoods.  


So even though I believe that all lives matter, I can't support the organization "Black Lives Matter."

The Tea Party, which was a movement founded over economic issues, was often accused of being racist.  The left absolutely does this to everyone they don't like.  However, the Tea Party's favorite candidate, and mine, was Herman Cain.  It was the Republican Party that wanted Condolezza Rice and Collin Powell to run for President.  It was the Democrat party that was the party of slavery and Jim Crow.

BTW, I don't think that "race" is a real thing.  The concept is totally arbitrary, and it is something that we just made up to divide us.  There aren't precise definitions of race.  There are minor physical differences, but you can find that in any two groups of people of different national origin.   It is like saying someone is a redhead.

Every single time the political left has brought up an issue that they claimed was absolutely critical, eventually, that issue would be revealed to be exaggerated or completely false.  This is how I feel about Climate Alarmism.  Someone admitted that the issue was not so much about the climate as it was about completely changing the economic system and getting rid of capitalism.  I can almost guarantee that Climate Alarmism is exaggerated because the political left is behind it.  My point is that the left is exploiting every issue they can to get people to vote against their own self-interests.

Things said about the political right in terms of their attitude toward the poor and minorities have been completely exaggerated.  The capital rioters don't represent the vast majority of conservatives who are non-violent and very accepting of others. They are a fringe lunatic group.  They don't represent the people watching Trump's speech, whom he told to protest peacefully.  Many of the rioters assembled before Trump's speech and plans were being made weeks in advance through social media.  Just before January 6th, Donald Trump offered to send National Guard to protect the Capital Building for extra security, because there was a perceived threat, but Nancy Pelosi refused this.

If anything, Donald Trump was the poor man's president.  He stood up for issues that affect poor people, like bringing jobs home.  He was a populist president and changed the Republican party possibly forever because that party can no longer be just a group of intellectual conservatives sticking to their principles at all cost.  Policies have to be judged in terms of if they are good for the American people.

I agree with Ben Shapiro who says that if people are suffering, then the government has a role in alleviating that suffering, but otherwise, government should leave people alone.

--



Thursday, September 2, 2021

‘Doomsday’ COVID variant worse than Delta



As if we didn't have enough problems.

Natural Immunity Is Real, And Here's What That Means | A Doctor Explains

China draws three bottom line on bilateral relations with U.S.

The U.S. must not challenge, slander or even attempt to subvert the path and system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, Wang said, stating the first of the three demands. Chosen by history and the Chinese people, China's path and system are matters of Chinese people's welfare and Chinese nation's future as well as core interests that China must firmly uphold, he added.

Secondly, the U.S. must not attempt to obstruct or interrupt China's development process, Wang said. The Chinese people have the right to live better lives and China has the right to modernize, as modernization is not an exclusive right of the U.S., he said, urging the U.S. to remove all unilateral sanctions, high tariffs, long-arm jurisdiction and technology blockade it has imposed on China as soon as possible.

China's third demand is that the U.S. must not infringe upon China's state sovereignty or damage China's territorial integrity, Wang said, referring to issues surrounding China's Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan. These issues have never been about "human rights" or "democracy," but concerning "Xinjiang independence," "Tibet independence" and "Hong Kong independence." No country will allow its national sovereignty and security to be compromised, he reiterated.

As for the Taiwan issue, Wang said it's even more important. He said the fact that both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to one and the same China and Taiwan is part of China has never changed and will never change. If "Taiwan independence" forces dare to provoke, China has the right to take any necessary measure to stop it, Wang said, urging the U.S. side to honor its commitment on Taiwan issue and act prudently.


https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-07-26/Wang-Yi-meets-with-U-S-deputy-secretary-of-state-in-N-China-s-Tianjin-12dDOwrF9io/index.html


List of Wrong doings:

Wolf warrior" foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian explained the "wrongdoings" include U.S. visa restrictions on Communist Party members, increased supervision of Chinese students, sanctions on Chinese companies, and the U.S. extradition request targeting Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

First off, and without any apparent sense of irony, China is saying the only way Washington and Beijing can improve relations is if Beijing can make Washington's China policy. However, when we consider the issues China has raised, it becomes clear why that might be difficult.

Consider that increased U.S. scrutiny of Chinese student visa applications is necessary because many students are official or casual intelligence officers and agents.

COVID-19 origin tracing matters because there is a substantial possibility a devastating global pandemic originated in a Chinese government laboratory.

U.S. action over Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang matters because of grotesque human rights abuses and China's betrayal of its treaty obligations. U.S. efforts to uphold free passage in the South China Sea matter because China intends to leverage access to those waters at the price of nations kneeling to its political demands.

Considering the South China Sea accounts for more than $3.5 trillion in international trade flows, this is no small concern.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/decoding-chinas-new-list-of-demands-to-the-us



Also on the list of "wrongdoings," was the suppression of Chinese companies, "harassing" of Chinese students overseas and attacks on the Confucius Institute. Beijing also wants America to not extradite Meng Wanzhou, a Chinese business executive who served as Huawei's chief financial officer.

Meng was detained and arrested at a Canadian airport in 2018 on a U.S. extradition request alleging fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. The Department of Justice accused Meng of conducting "millions of dollars" in transactions that violated sanctions the U.S. had against Iran.

"For years, Chinese firms have broken our export laws and undermined sanctions, often using U.S. financial systems to facilitate their illegal activities," former Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement. "This will end."

https://www.newsweek.com/china-issues-list-wrongdoings-us-demand-behaviors-must-stop-1613074

Copy of my email about COVID vaccinations.

This is a copy of an email I sent to a friend regarding COVID vaccinations.
-------------------
My close friend,

I think that this issue is incredibly important.  What we do not only affects ourselves, but it affects other people.

It seems to me to be unfair to frame the argument in terms of people's motives.  Terms like "Big Pharma" imply something sinister.  "Big Pharma" might be a good thing.  It depends upon the net effect of their actions, and even if some of it is negative, it doesn't mean that the vaccines are unsafe or bad.  Likewise, calling people liars and claiming that they have motivations for pushing vaccines.  Their motivations could be good.   Even if some motivations are bad, which I think is rare in this case, there are more important questions to ask.

Once someone frames the argument in these terms, it is nearly impossible to have a rational discussion.

In regard to the safety of the vaccines, there are only a few questions that matter...

1.  Do the vaccines have adverse reactions?  If so, how frequent and how bad?
2.  Is the risk of catching COVID and having severe illness greater than the risk from the vaccines?

The answers to these questions are ...

1.  Yes.  Minor reactions are common.  Severe reactions are rare.  Death is even more rare, like 1 out of 50 million.  (Even if this figure were low by a factor of 10, it wouldn't change the equation much.)  Not all reactions are directly attributable to the vaccine.  Some people could have been too late and gotten COVID or had other underlying health issues, which is common.

2.  Yes, by orders of magnitude.  The situation that we are currently in makes it likely that the vast majority of unvaccinated people are going to catch the Delta variant.  So people should weigh the risk of disease and the many severe complications that can result from it against the risk of the vaccines. 

There is a third question here that you brought up which is the most relevant to your situation.  Should recovered patients get vaccinated?   Based on the information that I have already shared, there is some evidence that they should.  According to one source, prior infection is only about 80% effective in preventing reinfection.  Another source says that you are relatively safe for about a year.  However, you might want to reevaluate your situation a few months from now.

We are all trying to make the best decisions we can based on the information available to us.  Fear is a powerful motivator that can distort people's judgment.  I go to great effort to depend on reliable sources and to verify the information available to me.  I also try to stay up to date as new information comes out.  If we were to find out that the mRNA vaccines are inherently unsafe, I would jump on that bandwagon.  If that happened, I would hope for new treatments or better vaccines.  However, right now the best information we have is that the cumulative risk of the disease is far worse than the cumulative risk of the vaccines.  

--
Best wishes,

John Coffey

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

How long does covid-19 immunity last? | The BMJ

How does natural immunity compare with vaccine induced immunity?

Various studies have shown that an immune response involving memory T and B cells emerges after covid-19 infection.11 But people's immune systems tend to respond in very different ways to natural infection,12 notes Eleanor Riley, professor of immunology and infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh. "The immune response after vaccination is much more homogenous," she says, adding that most people generally have a really good response after vaccination. Data from the clinical trials of the leading vaccine candidates have found T and B cell reactivity.13

Does vaccination make a difference to those who have already had covid-19?

There is some evidence that vaccination can sharpen immunity in people who have previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and recovered. A letter published in the Lancet in March discussed an experiment in which 51 healthcare workers in London were given a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Half of the healthcare workers had previously recovered from covid-19 and it was they who experienced the greatest boost in antibodies—more than 140-fold from peak pre-vaccine levels—against the virus's spike protein.14