Saturday, July 31, 2021

Friday, July 30, 2021

Federal Government Gives Millions To ‘Justice Reform Change Agent’ That Supports Defunding The Police | The Daily Caller

Gain of Function

"You take an animal virus and you increase its transmissibility to humans, you're saying that's not gain-of-function?" he asked.

But George Mason University's Gregory Koblentz, an expert in biodefense and dual use research, pointed out that WIV1 wasn't an animal virus enhanced to infect humans through gain-of-function research, because it was already shown to pose a danger to humans.  

"Sen. Paul is wrong when he says that the coronaviruses that were the subject of this research only infect animals and not humans and that this research was 'gain-of-function' because it enabled an animal virus to infect humans," Koblentz said. "The WIV1 strain was already known to be able to infect humans."

Even before the virus was edited in the lab, researchers found WIV1 was "poised for human emergence," writing it could infect human airway cells "with no significant adaptation required."

Fauci said the grant proposal "was judged by qualified people up and down the chain" in the federal government not to comprise gain-of-function research.

Experiments in synthetic biology that create engineered, or "chimeric," viruses that are "reasonably anticipated" to gain properties that make them more dangerous are supposed to get extra scrutiny by the government. At the time of the 2017 study, the government had implemented a pause on these experiments altogether.  

Changing the virus

The researchers in Wuhan spliced the WIV1 virus with other novel coronaviruses expressing spike proteins and grew them in the lab. The scientists tested whether the new engineered viruses could infect human-like cells with the ACE2 receptors that spike proteins bind to. They could.

Among the coauthors credited are Shi Zhengli, a Wuhan Institute virologist, and Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth, a nonprofit that served as a private intermediary between Wuhan and the NIH. The research received funding from NIH and USAID.

A key question is whether adding different spike proteins to a virus already known to infect human cells made that virus even more infectious or virulent.

Richard Ebright, a Rutgers microbiologist and biosecurity expert whom Paul cited at the hearing, says yes.

"The research was, unequivocally, gain-of-function research," he said. "There can be no serious doubt that Fauci knows this."

Others dispute whether it was, or say it's hard to know, but that the experiment was potentially dangerous. Not a lot is known about the novel coronaviruses that the Wuhan researchers edited into WIV1.

"A certain set of experiments that have been published by the Wuhan Institute … I view as particularly risky," said Relman of Stanford, calling attention to the WIV1 research.

"I'm not saying they led to this outbreak or pandemic by any means," he said, referring to COVID-19.

University of North Carolina researcher and Wuhan Institute of Virology collaborator Ralph Baric had already studied the WIV1 bat coronavirus and found it "to be a virus 'poised for human emergence,'" Relman said.

Relman described the experiment: The spike proteins of other novel coronaviruses found in samples taken from bats, whose virulence and transmissibility were unknown, were added to the WIV1 virus. Then those new viruses were grown in the lab.

Virologists argue this sort of research is important to learn about how viruses evolve in nature and where new outbreaks could emerge, while critics like Relman are not convinced.

"Their approach for studying novel sequences that they found in other samples was to take a piece of the genome, a piece of that sequence, and swap it into this WIV1 virus. They then resurrected this virus and grew them in the laboratory," Relman continued. "Now we're talking about a chimeric virus with properties we don't know and can't predict well."

Defense of the research

Virologists are less concerned about the WIV1 study.

Stephen Goldstein, a researcher of dangerous pathogens at a high-security lab in Utah and skeptic of the so-called "lab leak" theory, noted the paper showed some of the edited viruses were less infectious than the original WIV1.  

Georgetown University virologist Angela Rasmussen, another critic of the lab leak theory, acknowledged that the viruses were infectious to human-like cells, but said studying a cell line in a lab, as the Wuhan researchers did, isn't a good predictor of the virus' ability to infect real people.

"The definition [of gain-of-function research] refers to increased transmissibility and pathogenicity in humans, and you can't determine either of those things in a cell line," she said in an email. "That can test infectivity in an artificial system but is not remotely analogous to showing the virus is 'transmissible,' because there's a lot more to transmission in the real world than just receptor binding and entry."

Rasmussen said attempts by Paul to link WIV1 to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are a "politically motivated smear," echoing Fauci's argument that it's "molecularly impossible" they are related. Fauci was "right to call Sen. Paul a liar," she said.

The assurances of virologists have not alleviated the concerns of other researchers.

"What I would apply here is a little common sense. And if what you are doing is creating recombinants of a dangerous human virus that you know to have potential to be more infectious or more lethal, then I think that by any reasonable understanding of the term, you are engaged in gain-of-function," said Edward Hammond, a biosafety researcher and activist.

The rationale behind the NIH's approval of the grant is mysterious, because its reviews of gain-of-function research are confidential and there is relatively little public information about NIH's process.

Rasmussen acknowledged more discussion is needed about how the government reviews this sort of work.

Koblentz said the disagreement between Fauci and Paul shows how little is known about what the government views as gain-of-function research and what it doesn't.

"How 'enhanced' would a virus have to be to count as an enhanced potential pandemic pathogen?" said Koblentz. "It would be really useful for NIH to document these reviews and explain their reasoning and assessment."



--
Best wishes,

John Coffey

http://www.entertainmentjourney.com

“The war has changed”: CDC document warns Delta variant appears to spread as easily as chickenpox - CNN Politics

FYI

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Albert 

If this information is true about the Delta variant of COVID-19, you may want to reconsider your position regarding playing OTB chess games.

According to this article, the CDC has an unpublished briefing stating the Delta variant is as contagious as measles, chickenpox, etc. It's a top tier infectious virus able to infect vaccinated and unvaccinated people equally.

This article didn't mention the Columbian variant now infecting people.

"The war has changed": CDC document warns Delta variant appears to spread as easily as chickenpox - CNN Politics


https://apple.news/Ap2qhbhlXQ7OeqNhlYGJyPA


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Who Gets To Decide the Truth? – Reason.com

But an objective observer would probably not have said that the Europe of the late medieval period was better organized or more advanced than the Europe of the Roman Empire at its height. In the year 1500, alien visitors might reasonably have pegged Homo sapiens as a stuck species. "Come back in another 100,000 years," they might have concluded, "and maybe these goofballs will be interesting."


People, Smith argued, come into the world equipped with what he called sympathy, or fellow-feeling; empathy is the word we might use today. We have a natural inclination to imagine how others see and feel, and to align our own perspectives and dispositions with theirs. Also, people come equipped with a desire to be trusted and respected by others. Through our desire for mutual esteem based on our empathetic intuitions, we can align our interests and form social bonds on a basis other than force or domination. True, human beings are also greedy and ambitious. Yet—here is Smith's most famous insight—a well-structured social order can harness those very traits to promote activity which benefits ourselves by benefiting others. If we get the rules right, millions of people of every imaginable skill and temperament and nationality can cooperate to build a fantastically complex device like a Prius or iPhone, all without the oversight or instruction of any central planner. If we get the rules right.

Smith's proposition seemed ridiculous, given that human history through his time was soaked in blood and oppression. His claim was redeemed only by the fact that it proved to be true. Although Smith did not invent markets, he notated the code which enabled a tribal primate, wired for personal relationships in small, usually related groups, to cooperate impersonally across unbounded networks of strangers, and to do so without any central authority organizing markets and issuing commands. Economic liberalism—market cooperation—is a species-transforming piece of social software, one which enables us to function far above our designed capacity.




The first is the idea of natural rights: fundamental rules that apply to all persons from birth to death—rules that all other persons and also sovereigns and governments are bound to respect, and which are to be respected impersonally and reciprocally. Because they are natural, these rights inhere in human nature and are present in the state of nature. They provide a built-in limiting principle to the war of all against all. For Locke, the fundamental rights are life, liberty, and property (meaning not just material property but authority over one's own body and conscience). Because rights are inborn rather than earned by merit or conferred by social position, they inhere equally. Individuals are always equal in their fundamental rights, even as they differ in countless other ways.

A second foundational principle is rule by consent. Governments are not instituted by divine authority to rule the people; they are instituted by the people to enforce natural rights. If governments exceed their authority or use it to violate the people's rights, Locke argued, they lose their claim to govern and may rightly be replaced. Government is sovereign within its grant of power, but the ultimate sovereignty belongs to the governed.

Third, toleration. Religious differences had torn Europe apart, in good measure because the combatants assumed that if one religion is true, then others must be false. 

https://reason.com/2021/07/24/who-gets-to-decide-the-truth/?itm_source=parsely-api

Monday, July 26, 2021

China's demands

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: John 
To: Larry

Ironic, since I think that it is we who should be thrusting a long list of demands on China.  We should demand honesty on COVID, an end to genocide, a less aggressive policy toward Taiwan, and respect for human rights.  I have no desire to trade with murderous thugs.  I would slowly increase tariffs on Chinese goods giving our industry time to adapt, but keep increasing those tariffs until they either bend or suffer economic collapse.  

This is more like a preemptive strike on their part.

On Mon, Jul 26, 2021 at 11:16 PM Larry wrote:
They also presented Sherman with two lists of action — the lists included revoking sanctions on Communist Party officials, lifting visa bans for students, making life easier for state-affiliated journalists and reopening the door for Confucius Institutes — in the hope that Washington, D.C., will follow through.

"The U.S. side is in no position to lecture China on democracy and human rights," Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng told Sherman, adding that the U.S. was once "engaged in genocide against Native Americans."

China has not yet released details of Wang's meeting with Sherman, which took place in a hotel compound modeled on millenia-old Chinese architecture in Tianjin, a coastal city not far from Beijing.

U.S. attempts to separate climate change cooperation from economic competition or human rights criticisms wouldn't work, according to Chinese officials.

"Chinese people look at things with eyes wide open. They see the competitive, collaborative and adversarial rhetoric as a thinly veiled attempt to contain and suppress China," Xie said. "They feel that the real emphasis is on the adversarial aspect."

"U.S. policy seems to be demanding cooperation when it wants something from China; decoupling, cutting off supplies, blockading or sanctioning China when it believes it has an advantage; and resorting to conflict and confrontation at all costs," Xie said.

The strong response came despite Sherman's attempt to reassure her Chinese interlocutors that the U.S. was trying to prevent confrontation.



Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Coming Coup? - The American Mind

'The second part of the plan is either to produce enough harvested ballots—lawfully or not—to tip close states, or else dispute the results in close states and insist, no matter what the tally says, that Biden won them. The worst-case scenario (for the country, but not for the ruling class) would result in a handful of states that are so ambiguous and hotly disputed that no one can rightly say who won. Of course, that will not stop the Democrats from insisting that they won.

The public preparation for that has also already begun: streams of stories and social media posts "explaining" how, while on election night it might look as if Trump won, close states will tip to Biden as all the mail-in ballots are "counted."

The third piece is to get the vast and loud Dem-Left propaganda machine ready for war. That leaked report exhorted Democrats to identify "key influencers in the media and among local activists who can affect political perceptions and mobilize political action…[who could] establish pre-commitments to playing a constructive role in event of a contested election." I.e., in blaring from every rooftop that "Trump lost."

Remember that phrase from the Dem war game: "street fight." In other words, a repeat of this summer, only much, much bigger. Crank the propaganda to ear-drum shattering decibels and fill the streets of every major city with "protesters." Shut down the country and allow only one message to be heard: "Trump must go."

I.e., what's come to be known as a "color revolution," the exact same playbook the American deep state runs in other countries whose leadership they don't like and is currently running in Belarus. Oust a leader—even an elected one—through agitation and call it "democracy."

The events of the last few months may be interpreted as an attempted color revolution that failed to gain enough steam, or as a trial run for the fall.

Once the ruling class gives word that the narrative is "Trump lost," all the president's social media accounts will be suspended. The T.V. channels, with the likely exception of Fox News, will refuse to cover anything he says. Count on it.'

https://americanmind.org/salvo/the-coming-coup/

I'm not taking a position one way or another about the fairness of the election.  There were most definitely some irregularities and cases where states ignored their own laws.  I don't have enough information to say that it made a difference.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Is Anthony Fauci Lying About NIH Funding of Wuhan Lab Research? Or Is Rand Paul? – Reason.com

Those Chinese researchers took the known WIV1 coronavirus, the spike proteins of which already give it the ability to infect human cells using the ACE2 receptor, and then replaced it with spike proteins from newly discovered bat coronaviruses. The goal was to see if the spike proteins from the novel coronaviruses would be sufficient to replace the function of the WIV1 spike protein. The researchers found that two versions of the WIV1 virus modified with the novel spike proteins could still use the ACE2 receptor to infect and replicate in human cells in culture.

In May, the NIH, in response to a query from the Washington Post's Fact Checker, issued a statement declaring that the agency "has never approved any grant to support 'gain-of-function' research on coronaviruses that would have increased their transmissibility or lethality for humans. The research proposed in the EcoHealth Alliance, Inc., grant
application sought to understand how bat coronaviruses evolve naturally in the environment to become transmissible to the human population."

Robert Garry, a Tulane University virologist pointed out to Newsweek that the Wuhan experiments were done to study whether the bat coronaviruses could infect humans. What they didn't do, he argued, was make the viruses "any better" at infecting people, which would be necessary for gain-of-function research. In other words, Garry does not think that the WIV research increased the virulence or transmissibility of the modified viruses.

On Twitter, King's College London virologist Stuart Neil observed that "the EcoHealth grant [from the NIH] was judged by the vetting committee to not involve GoF [gain of function] because the investigators were REPLACING a function in a virus that ALREADY HAD human tropism rather than giving a function to one that could not infect humans." Neil does acknowledge that "understandably this is a grey area." He goes on to argue, "But whether I or anyone thinks in retrospect that this is or is not GoF, the NIH did not, so in that respect, Fauci is NOT lying."

Friday, July 23, 2021

DC police chief Robert Contee 'mad as hell' over shooting outside restaurant

Most People Don't Know Why Freedom Is Important...Do You?

I think that the point here is good.

The audio quality is a bit frustrating.


I have not been happy with objectivists because they tend to be too dogmatic.  From my point of view, any political system involves compromises with practical considerations.  There is no such thing as pure freedom, just different degrees.



The Contradictions of Battery Operated Vehicles | Graham Conway


He has more faith in renewable energy than I do.

Died because someone wanted to sell his twitter handle

From Larry:

Tennessee man, targeted for his Twitter handle, dies after 'swatting' call sends police to his home

Mark Herring, 60, suffered a massive heart attack, his family said. An 18-year-old was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison



What's Wrong with Wind and Solar?

From: Albert

Interesting video on renewable energy (solar and wind) deficiencies.



Thursday, July 22, 2021

They’re Going To Tell You To Mask Again

Re: Hannity: Fauci, NIH 'may have played a role' in development of COVID-19

---------- Forwarded message ---------

On Jul 21, 2021, at 9:47 PM, Albert wrote:

When President Trump was in office the Wuflu lab leak which has killed 4+ million people worldwide was considered outrageous conjecture. Democrats were happy to call it another Trump composed conspiracy theory.

Now the mainstream media is on board with the Wuhan Lab Leak theory. After all, they have to sell stories even those which fail to support Democratic talking points.

Dr. Fauci is now on a never ending quest to keep out of the "murky waters" of Wuflu's origin. Several things are clear: 1. COVID-19 did not develop naturally (No amount of bat-eating Chinese people can be blamed for this outbreak) 2. The NIH funded gain of function research at the Wuhan Lab 3. Dr. Fauci was fully aware of this funding 4. Dr. Fauci did his best to cover the NIH's tracks in regards to this funding 5. No amount of word symantecs will relief Dr. Fauci of his involvement with the Wuhan Lab.

Btw, I know Dr. Fauci has tough job and his position requires tough decisions. Unfortunately, for Dr. Fauci when it's time for heads to roll, it's always the general's (person in charge) head and not his horse's head which gets chopped off. When you are the head of an organization, you're responsible for everything it does or fails to do.

Hannity: Fauci, NIH 'may have played a role' in development of COVID-19 - Fox News


On Wed, Jul 21, 2021 at 11:21 PM John wrote:
My previous emails quoted articles stating that the Eco Alliance grant to the Wuhan lab had nothing to do with gain of function research. 

Based on the info that I could find, #2 is completely wrong. That makes #3, #4 and #5 wrong too.  


Best wishes,

John Coffey


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

A great exchange that depends on the definition of gain of function...

The NIH funded research in dispute...

Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system2, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone. The results indicate that group 2b viruses encoding the SHC014 spike in a wild-type backbone can efficiently use multiple orthologs of the SARS receptor human angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2), replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV. Additionally, in vivo experiments demonstrate replication of the chimeric virus in mouse lung with notable pathogenesis. Evaluation of available SARS-based immune-therapeutic and prophylactic modalities revealed poor efficacy; both monoclonal antibody and vaccine approaches failed to neutralize and protect from infection with CoVs using the novel spike protein. On the basis of these findings, we synthetically re-derived an infectious full-length SHC014 recombinant virus and demonstrate robust viral replication both in vitro and in vivo.



On Thu, Jul 22, 2021 at 10:00 AM John wrote:
From what I can tell, the grant was for cataloging natural viruses.  It is still possible that the Wuhan lab did do gain of function research, but that is not what the grant was for.

EcoHealth and the NIH and NIAID say no. "EcoHealth Alliance has not nor does it plan to engage in gain-of-function research," EcoHealth spokesman Robert Kessler told us in an email. Nor did the grant get an exception from the pause, as some have speculated, he said. "No dispensation was needed as no gain-of-function research was being conducted."

The NIAID told the Wall Street Journal: "The research by EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. that NIH funded was for a project that aimed to characterize at the molecular level the function of newly discovered bat spike proteins and naturally occurring pathogens. Molecular characterization examines functions of an organism at the molecular level, in this case a virus and a spike protein, without affecting the environment or development or physiological state of the organism. At no time did NIAID fund gain-of-function research to be conducted at WIV."

And in a May 19 statement, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said that "neither NIH nor NIAID have ever approved any grant that would have supported 'gain-of-function' research on coronaviruses that would have increased their transmissibility or lethality for humans."

Richard Ebright, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University and a critic of gain-of-function research, told the Washington Post that the EcoHealth/Wuhan lab research "was — unequivocally — gain-of-function research." He said it "met the definition for gain-of-function research of concern under the 2014 Pause." That definition, as we said, pertained to "projects that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility in mammals via the respiratory route."

Alina Chan, a molecular biologist and postdoctoral researcher at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, said in a lengthy Twitter thread that the Wuhan subgrant wouldn't fall under the gain-of-function moratorium because the definition didn't include testing on naturally occurring viruses "unless the tests are reasonably anticipated to increase transmissibility and/or pathogenicity." She said the moratorium had "no teeth." But the EcoHealth/Wuhan grant "was testing naturally occurring SARS viruses, without a reasonable expectation that the tests would increase transmissibility or pathogenicity. Therefore, it is reasonable that they would have been excluded from the moratorium."

Chan, who has published research about the possibility of an accidental lab leak of the virus, also said: "But we need to separate this fight about whether a particular project is GOF vs whether it has risk of lab accident + causing an outbreak."

The University of Iowa's Perlman told us the EcoHealth research is trying to see if these viruses can infect human cells and what about the spike protein on the virus determines that. (The spike protein is what the coronavirus uses to enter cells.) The NIH, he said, wouldn't give money to anybody to do gain-of-function research "per se … especially in China," and he didn't think there was anything in the EcoHealth grant description that would be gain of function. But he said there's a lot of nuance to this discussion.

"This was not intentional gain of function," Perlman said, adding that in this type of research "these viruses are almost always attenuated," meaning weakened. The gain of function would be what comes out of the research "unintentionally," but the initial goal of the project is what you would want to look at: can these viruses infect people, how likely would they be to mutate in order to do that, and "let's get a catalog of these viruses out there."'

https://www.factcheck.org/2021/05/the-wuhan-lab-and-the-gain-of-function-disagreement/




On Thu, Jul 22, 2021 at 1:02 PM Larry wrote:
Read this again and tell me if you think this is creating a new hybrid covid virus, which adds the spike protein from bats, finding it can replicate in human airways,similar to an epidemic strain, and is replicable in test tubes and living animals.

Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system2, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone. The results indicate that group 2b viruses encoding the SHC014 spike in a wild-type backbone can efficiently use multiple orthologs of the SARS receptor human angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2), replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV. Additionally, in vivo experiments demonstrate replication of the chimeric virus in mouse lung with notable pathogenesis. Evaluation of available SARS-based immune-therapeutic and prophylactic modalities revealed poor efficacy; both monoclonal antibody and vaccine approaches failed to neutralize and protect from infection with CoVs using the novel spike protein. On the basis of these findings, we synthetically re-derived an infectious full-length SHC014 recombinant virus and demonstrate robust viral replication both in vitro and in vivo.


 
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: John Coffey 

The accusations are not supported here.  Was this research done at the Wuhan lab and did it have anything to do with the Eco Alliance grant to the Wuhan lab?  So far I don't see that.  The primary people on this paper are from North Carolina, Florida snd the rest of the Americas.

What has been reported, right or wrong, is that the Wuhan lab wasn't doing this and the grant to the Wuhan lab was not funding them to do this.  What was reported was that Gain of Function research was happening in the United States.

There is some chance that the Wuhan lab was doing research not reported.

It is a pretty thin connection to say that Fauci was funding gain of function research at the Wuhan lab and then covering it up.  Although possibly true, I'm not seeing evidence of it yet.  It is a bigger stretch to say that this caused the COVID-19 pandemic. There is not even good evidence that COVID-19 emerged from the lab, although I consider it possible because China is acting like they are covering up something.

It seems to me that people are using Fauci as a punching bag for political purposes.  I see a ton of speculation by commentators who don't seem to know what they are talking about but instead are promoting conspiracy theories.

I'm pretty uncomfortable with the way Rand Paul and Ted Cruz berate witnesses and grandstand instead of just trying to ask questions and get answers.  Many times they don't even let the witnesses answer the question.  I think that Ted Cruz is particularly bad about this.

--
Best wishes,

John Coffey




A friend has COVID.

My former coworker and good friend in Utah, who happens to not believe in vaccines, and his wife both now have the delta variant of COVID-19. He has a persistent headache that he can't get rid of, and his wife feels worse with terrible fatigue. He is 10 years older than me. We spent much time working together.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Deluded Republicans and Smug Democrats Offer Little Hope for People Who Want To Be Left Alone – Reason.com

Unfortunately, Biden and Democrats pretend that protecting democracy requires concentrating power and muzzling dissent.

"As you all know, information travels quite quickly on social media platforms; sometimes it's not accurate," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki huffed on July 15 as she pressured private companies to delete controversial vaccine messages. "And Facebook needs to move more quickly to remove harmful, violative posts — posts that will be within their policies for removal often remain up for days. That's too long."

Much of the information tagged as misinformation by Psaki is, in fact, bullshit—but so is a lot of what the government itself says. It's not always possible to separate truth from falsity right out of the gate, as demonstrated by officialdom's about-face on speculation that COVID-19 leaked from a Wuhan lab. Once a forbidden conspiracy theory, it's now a credible possibility. Disagreement, it seems, is pretty valuable.

Can the Chinese Communist Party Endure?

But most Chinese dislike the Party, ridicule its leaders, and grumble against the corruption that rules the nomenklatura from top to bottom.

Can Communism in Chinese colors endure? Of all possible futures, the status quo strikes me as the most probable. The main factor of instability is the current president: Xi has broken the rule, imposed by Deng, of stepping down after ruling ten years. Xi is not leaving but organizing a personality cult and inventing from scratch a bellicose nationalism foreign to Chinese civilization. This kind of talk could lead to factional struggles inside the party, or even to international conflicts. In this case Xi, instead of fulfilling his ambition of creating a third Communist Party, could be sounding the death knell of Chinese Communism. As we have seen in the USSR and in Cuba, Communism always dies from the inside.

Will Rogers - Bacon, Beans, and Limousines

This is interesting from a historical context.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyfvamwM4Yo&t=282s

I liked Will Rogers as a comedian.  

Monday, July 19, 2021

Taxpayer-funded NPR targets the Daily Wire for destruction

Dr Ben Carson's article on CRT

From: Larry 



From the comments section

  • Critical Race Theory…
    • believes racism is present in every aspect of life, every relationship, and every interaction and therefore has its advocates look for it everywhere
    • relies upon "interest convergence" (white people only give black people opportunities and freedoms when it is also in their own interests) and therefore doesn't trust any attempt to make racism better
    • is against free societies and wants to dismantle them and replace them with something its advocates control
    • only treats race issues as "socially constructed groups," so there are no individuals in Critical Race Theory
    • believes science, reason, and evidence are a "white" way of knowing and that storytelling and lived experience are a "black" alternative, which hurts everyone, especially black people
    • rejects all potential alternatives, like colorblindness, as forms of racism, making itself the only allowable game in town (which is totalitarian)
    • acts like anyone who disagrees with it must do so for racist and white supremacist reasons, even if those people are black (which is also totalitarian)
    • cannot be satisfied, so it becomes a kind of activist black hole that threatens to destroy everything it is introduced into

  • 4 minutes ago
    I guess the 640,000 people who died to end slavery accomplished nothing. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. didn't mean it and died for nothing. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 means nothing. The end of segregation didn't happen. Those fair housing, equal employment opportunity, fairness and truth in lending laws, and the list goes on and on, were all for nothing. CRT demands that we ignore the massive steps we have taken forward and place a permanent division between the races. Real history records that republicans had to actually fight democrats to the death to take their slaves away and make them free. Today, democrats try to keep people of color in the chains of welfare and social programs. EVERY democrat-run city in America represents the ACTUAL racial divide in this country. Think Chicago, Detroit, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles. All democrat strongholds where for decades, they have done NOTHING to lift up people of color. Yet for some unknown reason, democrats continue to get the vote of the very people they oppress.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Pfizer Shot Much Less Effective Against Delta, Israel Study Shows — Here’s What You Need To Know About Variants And Vaccines

Carl Sagan Predicted The Mess 2021 Would Be 25 years Ago

Good video.  Carl Sagan also liked to smoke marijuana.  

Star Wars starts out like a fairy tale, "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away...".  It should not be taken literally.

On Sun, Jul 18, 2021 at 3:55 PM Al wrote:
You may have seen this before. The first 2m15s show Carl Sagan criticizing Star Wars for it's white-centric view of space in the future. He explained, although there are many non-white (alien) creatures in Star Wars, the white skinned people rule the universe. He also jokes that the Wookiee received no medal in the end even though he contributed in the fighting, etc.

At 2:15m a quote from his last book (1995) is shown. It hits the nail on the head. He describes what will happen in America 25 years before it happened.




Friday, July 16, 2021

Biden administration will not take in Cuban refugees.

“You’re All Nazis, So We’re Going To Be Authoritarians”

How Worship of the Individual Widens the Economic Gap

This is an interesting discussion about how people perceive successful individuals versus successful groups.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsEVi_Z584k

In an ideal world, it would not be a concern that some people are mega-successful.  I'm not sure that the government should be involved in trying to correct wealth inequality.  The only place that this becomes relevant is in what constitutes a fair tax policy.

There is a widespread perception that some people got wealthy by taking from everybody else.  In a free market, this doesn't represent reality.  Tim Cook doesn't force you to buy his products.  If Apple is rich, it is because people chose to make it rich.  However, when the government hands out favors to those who know how to exploit the government's power, then it becomes more complicated.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

To The Left, Conservative Authoritarians, Not Communist Dictators, Are The Problem

Listened to this on iHeart Radio.  Ben Shapiro does a good job here.



CRT illegal

According to critical race theorists, virtually all of society's problems should be viewed within the context of alleged systemic racism, which all people have a solemn duty to root out at any cost — including by promoting other forms of racism.

Ibram X. Kendi, a leading advocate of critical race theory, summarized this troubling idea in his popular book How to Be an Antiracist.

"The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination," Kendi wrote. "The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination."

...

Although there are many reasons schools should avoid critical race theory, as well as various other "critical" theories that promote similar ideas, perhaps the most important is that many forms of critical race theory teaching are likely in violation of federal or state law.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, a national law, mandates, "No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Because public schools receive federal financial assistance, they are banned from subjecting students to "discrimination under any program or activity," including in the classroom.

Although not all forms of critical race theory can properly be understood as "discrimination," many can. Requiring white students to complete assignments in a manner that differs from black students, for example, is a kind of discrimination that is commonly associated with critical race theory curricula.

Teaching students that they are guilty of implicit racism because of the color of their skin is another form of discrimination often included in critical race theory teaching materials.

The argument that critical race theory is often linked to illegal, racist actions was bolstered in a recent ruling by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen.

Teaching critical race theory isn't just wrong. It might be illegal | Washington Examiner


Sunday, July 11, 2021

What is known about the claims that the Wuhan Institute of Virology conducted research to bioengineer bat coronaviruses?

Grant for research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology didn't fall under the NIH's definition of gain-of-function research

While funding for gain-of-function research was paused, the EcoHealth Alliance project that was carried out with the Wuhan Institute of Virology was reviewed by the NIH, according to a statement by the NIH to the Washington Post from 19 May 2021. It was determined that this work did not involve gain-of-function research. In this statement, the NIH also said that:

"NIH has never approved any grant to support 'gain-of-function' research on coronaviruses that would have increased their transmissibility or lethality for humans."

The NIH told the Wall Street Journal what work the specific studies carried out by EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan Institute of Virology involved.

"The research by EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. that NIH funded was for a project that aimed to characterize at the molecular level the function of newly discovered bat spike proteins and naturally occurring pathogens. Molecular characterization examines functions of an organism at the molecular level, in this case a virus and a spike protein, without affecting the environment or development or physiological state of the organism. At no time did NIAID fund gain-of-function research to be conducted at WIV."

As Alina Chan, a molecular biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, explained, the EcoHealth Alliance/Wuhan Institute of Virology research did not fall under the moratorium because it was using natural viruses and it could be reasonably argued that these were not likely to be highly transmissible and highly virulent in humans.

Stanley Perlman, a microbiologist at the University of Iowa, told FactCheck.org that EcoHealth's research was about "trying to see if these viruses can infect human cells and what about the spike protein on the virus determines that." According to FactCheck.org, Perlman did not think there was anything in the EcoHealth grant description that would be gain-of-function research.

As shown above, the definition of gain-of-function research is difficult to pin down. But in relation to the NIH's definition of gain-of-function research, the research described in EcoHealth's grant application didn't fall under the NIH's definition from 2014.

No evidence that coronaviruses were engineered to be more dangerous for humans

A 2017 study published by researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, listing the NIH as a funding body, appears related to this grant[4]. The researchers wanted to test whether the spike protein of new wild coronaviruses, which they isolated in bats, would allow the coronaviruses to enter human cells.

The problem with studying coronaviruses is that they are hard to culture in the lab[5]. To carry out their study, the researchers used the genetic sequence of a coronavirus (WIV1) that does replicate in vitro (in the lab) and inserted the spike proteins of the newly isolated viruses. In this way, they could test whether the newly isolated viruses could replicate in human cells in a lab dish.

Data included in the publication[4] showed that these experiments did not enhance the viruses' infectivity. The experiments therefore did not make viruses more dangerous to humans or more transmissible.

All parties involved in the NIH grant to EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan Institute of Virology stated that this work did not involve gain-of-function research, according to a fact check by PolitiFact. The NIH told PolitiFact that:

"The research supported under the grant to EcoHealth Alliance Inc. characterized the function of newly discovered bat spike proteins and naturally occurring pathogens and did not involve the enhancement of the pathogenicity or transmissibility of the viruses studied."

However, Richard Ebright, professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University and a critic of gain-of-function research, told the Washington Post that "the research was—unequivocally—gain-of-function research. The research met the definition for gain-of-function research of concern under the 2014 Pause."

And Kevin Esvelt, a biologist at the MIT Media Lab, stated in a fact-check by PolitiFact that "certain techniques that the researchers used seemed to meet the definition of gain-of-function research".

On the other hand, Joel Wertheim, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California San Diego, told PolitiFact that the experiments carried out in the 2017 study, despite using recombinant RNA technology, don't meet the criteria for gain-of-function research in virology.

This is because the researchers didn't allow the created viruses to keep on replicating in human cells, which would enable them to adapt and enhance the viruses' transmissibility or pathogenicity. According to Wertheimer, similar approaches as employed in the 2017 study – inserting virus surface proteins into the backbone of other viruses – are also used in other instances, such as making vaccines, which do not qualify as gain-of-function research.

"The work ultimately was not aimed at creating viruses that were more infectious. It was taking parts of natural viruses and studying them in well-characterized virus genome backbones," Chan wrote about the EcoHealth/Wuhan Institute of Virology research.

Esvelt also emphasized that the research involved in this 2017 study couldn't have led to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2. According to Esvelt's statement to PolitiFact, the work reported in the Wuhan Institute of Virology's 2017 study[4] didn't lead to the creation of SARS-CoV-2, because the genetic sequences of the virus studied in the paper and SARS-CoV-2 differ too much.

The closest known relative to SARS-CoV-2 is yet another bat coronavirus, called RaTG13, which was discovered after miners in the Yunnan Province of China developed pneumonia[6]. The group of researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology collected and sequenced RaTG13. The genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 is 96% similar to that of RaTG13[6]. As a Health Feedback review from March 2021 pointed out, this genetic gap between RaTG13 and SARS-CoV-2 is too wide to be bridged by engineering.

In the same review, Robert Garry, a professor of microbiology at the University of Tulane, concurred: "While 96% sounds close, in evolutionary terms, it is quite distant, and it would take decades of evolution for the genome of RaTG13 to resemble that of SARS-CoV-2. The difference is about 1,200 bases or 400 amino acids. Gain-of-function research cannot close that gap." He added, "This would require a virus much closer than RaTG13, at least 99% similar or more likely 99.9% similar."

Conclusion

The NIH indirectly funded research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a sub-contractor to a grant awarded to EcoHealth Alliance. This grant was reviewed during the NIH's funding pause on gain-of-function research, and was determined to not fall under the definition of gain-of-function research used by the NIH for the funding pause.

There is controversy among scientists whether a study from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, carried out with NIH funding, used gain-of-function techniques. However, this study did not work on making the virus more infectious for humans. The research involved in this study couldn't have led to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, as the two viruses are too different.

https://healthfeedback.org/what-is-known-about-the-claims-that-the-wuhan-institute-of-virology-conducted-research-to-bioengineer-bat-coronaviruses/

Face to Face With Dr. Fauci | The Truth Is…”It’s Almost Over”


As far as I can tell, every single conservative pundit has tried to use Fauci as a punching bag. Almost all of them have said that he has lied, but I see little evidence that he lied.  He has changed his position as the evidence has changed.   

Much of the public distrusts Fauci.  Senators attack him.  Given all the attacks on him, I'm surprised that he has held up under all this pressure.   He is 80 years old.  Given all this, he appears to be a heroic figure.

The only area I question Fauci is in his response about whether we have funded gain of function research in the Wuhan lab.  


'So, did the NIH's grant to EcoHealth fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab? There are differing opinions on that. As noted above, whether research is "likely" or "reasonably anticipated" to enhance transmissibility can be subjective.

EcoHealth and the NIH and NIAID say no. "EcoHealth Alliance has not nor does it plan to engage in gain-of-function research," EcoHealth spokesman Robert Kessler told us in an email. Nor did the grant get an exception from the pause, as some have speculated, he said. "No dispensation was needed as no gain-of-function research was being conducted."

The NIAID told the Wall Street Journal: "The research by EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. that NIH funded was for a project that aimed to characterize at the molecular level the function of newly discovered bat spike proteins and naturally occurring pathogens. Molecular characterization examines functions of an organism at the molecular level, in this case a virus and a spike protein, without affecting the environment or development or physiological state of the organism. At no time did NIAID fund gain-of-function research to be conducted at WIV."

And in a May 19 statement, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said that "neither NIH nor NIAID have ever approved any grant that would have supported 'gain-of-function' research on coronaviruses that would have increased their transmissibility or lethality for humans."

Richard Ebright, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University and a critic of gain-of-function research, told the Washington Post that the EcoHealth/Wuhan lab research "was — unequivocally — gain-of-function research." He said it "met the definition for gain-of-function research of concern under the 2014 Pause." That definition, as we said, pertained to "projects that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility in mammals via the respiratory route."

Alina Chan, a molecular biologist and postdoctoral researcher at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, said in a lengthy Twitter thread that the Wuhan subgrant wouldn't fall under the gain-of-function moratorium because the definition didn't include testing on naturally occurring viruses "unless the tests are reasonably anticipated to increase transmissibility and/or pathogenicity." She said the moratorium had "no teeth." But the EcoHealth/Wuhan grant "was testing naturally occurring SARS viruses, without a reasonable expectation that the tests would increase transmissibility or pathogenicity. Therefore, it is reasonable that they would have been excluded from the moratorium."

Chan, who has published research about the possibility of an accidental lab leak of the virus, also said: "But we need to separate this fight about whether a particular project is GOF vs whether it has risk of lab accident + causing an outbreak."

The University of Iowa's Perlman told us the EcoHealth research is trying to see if these viruses can infect human cells and what about the spike protein on the virus determines that. (The spike protein is what the coronavirus uses to enter cells.) The NIH, he said, wouldn't give money to anybody to do gain-of-function research "per se … especially in China," and he didn't think there was anything in the EcoHealth grant description that would be gain of function. But he said there's a lot of nuance to this discussion.

"This was not intentional gain of function," Perlman said, adding that in this type of research "these viruses are almost always attenuated," meaning weakened. The gain of function would be what comes out of the research "unintentionally," but the initial goal of the project is what you would want to look at: can these viruses infect people, how likely would they be to mutate in order to do that, and "let's get a catalog of these viruses out there."'

https://www.factcheck.org/2021/05/the-wuhan-lab-and-the-gain-of-function-disagreement/