The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

China is “Totalitarian,” We Couldn’t Do Zero-Covid


Here’s a report on how New Zealand handled their latest outbreak. Their contract tracers contacted 13,000 people and stopped 110 chains of transmission (in a week.) They tested ten percent of Auckland’s population in a week.

The outbreak has been going on for only ten days, which means they caught it early and jumped on it. They tested wastewater and found infections only in two cities; those two cities get a 14 day lockdown (because that’s the virus cycle) and the rest of the country ten days, which is long enough for anyone who has it to show symptoms.

There is some opposition, but overall support is very high. Communications are clear and not constantly changing and, most importantly, are backed by success: The government says what it will do, does it, and it works.

New Zealand is not yet high-vaccination. The doctor whose account I am summarizing notes that Taiwan has also done very well against Delta.

So, we now have accounts of three countries that have done well: China (yesterday’s post), New Zealand, and Taiwan. All used the same essential playbook: Jump hard on the first reports of infection, lockdown, and quarantine. China’s lockdown was more local than New Zealand’s but China is a much larger country.

China is totalitarian, and Taiwan and New Zealand are democracies, but they are all following essentially the same playbook, because it is the playbook that has been proven to work.

As with much of what is wrong in the world, Covid is a problem because we refuse to do the right things that we know work, and, in this case, that are proven to work.

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Herd Immunity & Multiple Covid Waves Is a Monstrous Policy


The Beautiful Stupidity of Ukraine’s Massive Sell-off


  1. Plague Species

    New Zealand is not yet high vaccination.

    So, imagine the New Zealand approach with vaccination and roll that out globally.

    You say it yourself, New Zealand has some opposition but mostly the government’s approached is welcomed and supported.

    That won’t work in America considering the political polarization and the politicization of the pandemic. Voluntary compliance will be, and is, nothing like New Zealand. Both sides have the wrong approach. The right approach is New Zealand’s approach PLUS vaccination. The Dems only want to do the vaccination part and the others don’t want to do anything at all and Let It Rip instead with a nod to approved or unapproved therapeutics.

  2. Jason

    China has done countless hard lockdowns for a year and a half now, yet the virus keeps reappearing.

    In New Zealand, as in China, a single case of covid is justification for a complete lockdown.

  3. Jason

    Is a “zero-covid” policy akin to playing whack-a-mole with ourselves as vectors for a ceaseless coronavirus?

  4. anon

    I wonder how different things would be had Trump and Fauci came out with clear messaging at the start of the pandemic. Their denial that masks don’t work at the very start and Trump making lockdowns into a political issue have fueled the conspiracy theories and misinformation. I don’t expect anything less from my fellow Americans who believe in QAnon and get their news from the corporate media, but there would likely be hundreds of thousands of fewer dead and more acceptance of mask wearing and lockdowns had our leaders not lied to us from the get-go. At this point, American politicians won’t put their careers on the line by enforcing masks and lockdowns. My governor won’t even enforce a mask mandate in schools. The only way Americans will handle the pandemic is if more employers require vaccination.

  5. bruce wilder

    because we refuse to do the right things that we know work

    A zen meditation on what values of “we” make this statement an accurate account seems in order.

    Because I don’t refuse.

  6. Hugh

    Covid is a virus and curiously doesn’t care about quibbles over the meaning of “we.”

  7. Willy

    Observing what other nations do and even what elites do for their own best health, then taking note of what’s worked best and what hasn’t worked best, sure seems to beat the strategy of a playing the pompous know-it-all. Or maybe it’s just me, and I’ve been seeing too many videos of dying pompous know-it-alls crying about how wrong they’d been.

  8. js

    “I wonder how different things would be had Trump and Fauci came out with clear messaging at the start of the pandemic. Their denial that masks don’t work at the very start and Trump making lockdowns into a political issue have fueled the conspiracy theories and misinformation.”

    I think the Trump part is far more significant, but a lot of people for political reasons (apologize for the right) jump on the mask part. The Fauci stuff was wrong and sowed distrust (might be why 1 million + people got an unauthorized 3rd vax). However, it never reads like it’s the REAL reason anyone objects to masks, it always seems only ever used as a rationalization for not wanting to wear masks. And the mask reversal from opposition to support of masks, came very early on. Hold the government to account for it’s inability to produce better masks faster yes, and yes that was the Trump government at the time.

    After Trump started fighting lockdowns then almost immediately you saw more people out and about. The lockdowns in the U.S. depended solely on good will and once that became political, it was all over. I wouldn’t have thought a pandemic could become political either, but I am never ever cynical enough.

  9. Plague Species

    I wouldn’t have thought a pandemic could become political either, but I am never ever cynical enough.

    Imagine a nuclear war. Everything, no matter what, is political now. Even, and especially, the end.

    The wealthy elite will try to game that too and cash in on it via Disaster Capitalism all the while stoking the rubes to deny the fallout, or bask in it, and call melting epidermis merely let-it-rip herd immunity flesh wounds.

  10. Astrid

    ” Totalitarian” is so overused that it just means the user hates the adjectival target and want to sound more serious than scream Nazi or Fascist at an opponent. The characterization may or may not relate to the dictionary definition and historical use, but that’s not the point. What the Chinese allegedly do to its populace is always “totalitarian”. What India does to its Muslim minority or Columbia doors against its protesters is “unfortunate”.

    It’s just a broad spectrum dogwhistle that has basically nothing to do with reality, even if the broken clock occasionally jump to the dictionarily appropriate word for the situation.

  11. Hugh

    Yes, totalitarian seems a bit harsh to describe the happy-go-lucky, freedom-loving Chinese government. I mean just because they are erecting the most pervasive surveillance state on the planet, they get so misunderstood.

  12. Jason

    It would be absolutely frightening if mass lockdowns of a population did not in fact “become political.”

    Of course this is going to “be political.”

  13. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Is New Zealand totalitarian? Well, yes … or if not, then they are sliding there fast.

    I can’t speak for New Zealand as much as Australia. In Australia, citizens cannot leave the country without special permission from the regime. They are imprisoned in their own country, just like in the old USSR. And not just in their country, but now within a very narrow range of their residence — you can be stopped on the street by the police and asked to present your papers. I doubt if I need to enumerate all the other tyrannical and arbitrary powers the state has claimed for itself.

    It is evident that this virus tyranny is operating under certain constraints, since they have to at least pretend to justify their actions with reference to “containing the virus”. But if this regime goes unchecked, then they will surely find their way out of those constraints sooner rather than later. If you can strip citizens of basic rights because you claim there’s a virus, then you can do it for other reasons too, real or fake.

    Currently we are still in a phase where people are pretending that the “vaccines” are real, even as the regime itself admits they don’t work. That was supposed to the the exit point of the “temporary” government by decree. If they don’t work, then “Covid” is endemic, and the regime tyranny is indefinite. So what happens next?

  14. Jason

    Lockdowns will be a “political” issue anywhere, under any system, at all times.

    Entire populations, or even significant majorities, will not agree to repeated lockdowns and massive restrictions on their movements, for extended periods.

    This fact in and of itself makes it “political,” whether people like it or not.

  15. Hugh

    “If you can strip citizens of basic rights because you claim there’s a virus, then you can do it for other reasons too, real or fake.”

    And as BlizzardofOzzz shows, the most basic of those rights is the right to be stupid. He has no social duties or responsibilities. It is all about him and his freedom to do whatever he wants no matter the cost to others. 630,000 dead in the US from covid is not enough for him.

  16. Astrid

    Quarantines and restrictions to travel are part of the policing toolkit of every functional state. Whether it is used appropriately or reasonably varies from state to state, situation to situation. But if a total quarantine is what’s necessary to bring a life and economy threatening pandemic under control, I would say most people even these days would say that’s a reasonable application of policing powers.

    Before I get called nasty names by the usual suspects, this is my last comment on this thread, so abuse away. I guess that self righteous indignation against the”other” is all that’s left on your pathetic, nihilistic lives. Enjoy!

  17. The reason there has not been a mRNA or coronavirus vaccine approved for humans before the rushed emergency approvals is because in animal studies these vaccines increased mortality.

    Worldwide in countries the experimental Covid injections correlate with a higher all cause mortality rate. Deaths increased after the introduction of the injections and countries with higher rates of Covid vaccination have had overall higher mortality following the injections.

    According to the Pfizer study the vaccine group had a 7% higher mortality rate compared to the placebo group.

    When people respond to the data and science with ad hominem, appeal to authority, emotional appeals, and other fallacies it is obvious that they are flailing to distract from the vapidity of their position. Someone who thinks yelling “Pfizer says drug good. People are dying! Science!” is a logical evidence based argument is someone who shares the same critical thinking skills portrayed by Donald Trump.

  18. Jason

    But if a total quarantine is what’s necessary to bring a life and economy threatening pandemic under control, I would say most people even these days would say that’s a reasonable application of policing powers.

    If in fact most people, these days, agree that that’s a reasonable application of policing powers, then it wouldn’t be the issue that is.

    It’s not a matter of an angry, vocal minority of “dumb bubbas” messing everything up for all the reasonable people who readily, unquestioningly accept these measures.

    It’s a bit more nuanced than that.

  19. BlizzardOfOzzz

    If you’re talking about banning political protest rallies and religious gatherings — no, the state absolutely does not have that right. I’m not sure why you would think that. But then, liberals were always the biggest apologists for the USSR, and to this day they can’t quite bring themselves to speak badly of it.

    You’re also living in a fake reality where the authorities haven’t given the game away. Remember when they allowed commie rallies “because racism is a public health issue”? The game is political repression under a very flimsy veneer of public health. There is a bring line that should never have been crossed. Anyone that cannot see it now is either willfully blind, or a collaborator.

    The old American aphorism is being proven true: what the government give you, it can take away. The first step is government giving you free health care; the next step is destroying private health care; the final step is denying you health care. Now you’re a slave. As the communists used to say: those who don’t work don’t eat. (unspoken: those who don’t toe the party line will not be allowed to work)

  20. ibaien

    i’ve been 100% avoiding any discussion of covid here because our gracious host, who seemed so intrinsically opposed to the creation of a global security state panopticon, has been so vociferously cheerleading the creation of a global public health panopticon. covid zero is an absurd goal on its face, and the useless repetition of (however many deaths we’re at) never mentions that those are a mere drop in the absolute torrent of humanity currently drowning our poor planet. this has been 100% an overblown clickbait plague, and until a critical mass of constituents vote out the hysterics we’ll be stuck with it. unfortunately, all the creeping surveillance and control won’t go away quite so quietly. you’re still taking off your shoes and going through the nude-o-vision at the airport “for your safety” twenty years after the fact.

  21. Hugh

    Blizzard is hallucinating and scaring the pets. Astrid has thrown her usual pro-China hissy. And Oakchair’s 7% difference in mortality comes down to one person. Take out the one person who died of Stage IV lung cancer and even that disappears, and let us continue to ignore that people died in both the vaccinated and placebo groups and no death was associated with the vaccine.

  22. BlizzardOfOzzz

    I guess Howard Hugh’s take is that the unjabbed deaths were due to Covid, and the jabbed ones dropped dead in equal numbers by pure coincidence. The real point is that the sample size is not big enough to draw any conclusions. There was a bigger sample originally in the trial. Will Howard Hugh be so kind as to tell us what happened to that one, if he knows? I heard a rumor that Pfizer invalidated the trial by jabbing the entire control group the instant their experimental gene therapy got authorized. But we know that can’t be true, because Pfizer is an honorable corporation.

  23. Hugh

    In the Pfizer study, there were 22,030 participants in both the vaccinated and placebo groups for a total of 44,060.

  24. Jason

    It’s not too hard to find all the drugs Pfizer has had to answer in court for, due to their egregious side effects. These cases are usually settled whereby Pfizer pays out a sum without admitting anything. The suits often enrich the lawyers and little gets to the people who were actually harmed. But they were harmed.

    The legal decisions are different in each case, but a larger issue is the increasing use of “deferred prosecution” and “non-prosecution” agreements that effectively amount to providing no remedy to the harmed.

    In saner times, these mediations were entered into solely on behalf of individual citizens who were accused of wrongdoing and harm to the larger society. They weren’t intended for corporate use, obviously.

    The Washington Post did a decent article on them a few years ago. Pfizer specifically is mentioned in the article as one of the biggest beneficiaries of these “agreements.”

    Note the corporations’ lawyers inane pushback attempts:

    “The difference is largely symbolic, Bourtin said. ‘With a guilty plea the company is branded a felon and has to deal with regulatory consequences that can be very damaging,’ he said.”

    Poor company, branded a felon and all. The dreaded poor image, and emotional trauma to boot. A corporation’s feelings aside, the obvious issue for the poor fellow, I mean corporation, is having to deal with “regulatory consequences that can be very damaging.”


    “Deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements are already onerous and often come with high penalties, corporate defense attorneys say. Companies may be required to make governance changes, enhance compliance systems or hire a court-approved monitor.”


    “If they violate the terms of the agreements, the government could move to prosecute for the criminal conduct it has already acknowledged as part of the agreement, defense attorneys say.”

    The government could. The government could.

  25. Ché Pasa

    There was opposition and some resistance to quarantine/lockdown in China. It’s not as if everyone meekly went along with directives from Beijing. As totalitarian as China may be ,ymmv, things don’t happen there on the whims of Xi (as they did sometimes under Mao). There is a process, it can be cumbersome, it requires substantial buy in by the masses, and by gawd, nothing is perfect.

    The public health protocols they’ve used are similar to those of New Zealand and they were considered standard/routine during public health crises in most of the world until recently when individual freedom became the paradigm, and government doing little or nothing — or worse, the wrong thing — about whatever public health crisis arose became the standard. Millions are dead around the world because of it, and many millions more will die. Guaranteed. That appears to be the desired outcome in much of the developed and not-so-developed world. Some of the commentariat here is pleased, just like our ruling class.

    Oh well!

  26. Jason

    David Franklin is a microbiologist who became a whistleblower against Parke-Davis for their promotion* of off-label uses for Neurontin, uses that the corporation knew did not work. Pfizer acquired Parke-Davis and, rather than settle, took the case to the Supreme Court, which denied their appeal.

    And while this seemed to be a welcome reprieve from corporate pharmaceutical business-as-usual, things have gotten worse since then. Much worse.

    *Doctors may use drugs off-label, with good reason. Pharmaceutical companies, back in the day, were not allowed to promote off-label uses for their drugs, with good reason. In fact, they shouldn’t be allowed to advertise their drugs at all.

    With covid, doctors are now pariahs for practicing the art of medicine.

    Pfizer will lie and pour money and resources into promoting off-label uses that don’t work, if it helps their profits.

    Pfizer will lie and pour money and resources into preventing off-label uses that do work, if it helps their profits.

    Doctors and scientists are being shamed for not towing the line. They are being threatened with the removal of professional credentials necessary to practice in their respective fields. This is abhorrent.

  27. Ronald

    Reuters is reporting the “U.S. plans COVID-19 booster shots at six months instead of eight.”

    “Vaccines” every six months! And I thought I got a lot of vaccines back in my days in the army.

  28. Let’s go through Hugh’s comment and see what intellectual level he is operating at.

    “Blizzard is hallucinating and scaring the pets.”

    This is an ad hominem logical fallacy.

    ” Astrid has thrown her usual pro-China hissy.”

    Another ad hominem logical fallacy.

    “And Oakchair’s 7% difference in mortality comes down to one person.”

    This statement accompanied with you’re constant emotional appeal of “600,000 people died!” is an example of cognitive dissonance. If you really cared about saving lives you wouldn’t shrug off a drug that according to the data from the corporation on net kills people.
    I also noticed that you didn’t address the fact that animal studies show mRNA and coronavirus vaccines increase morality and that the real world data shows the vaccines are correlated with increased deaths. That is called a strawman fallacy.

    ” Take out the one person who died of Stage IV lung cancer and even that disappears, ”

    That would be called a cherry picking logical fallacy.

    “and let us continue to ignore that people died in both the vaccinated and placebo groups and no death was associated with the vaccine.”

    This is an example of a circular reasoning fallacy. You presume an experimental drug can’t have negative effects and then claim all negative data is to be ignored based on your fact free assumption.

    Hugh how about in your next post you try adhering to critical thinking because your last post was 100% logical fallacies.

  29. Hugh

    As I was saying, anti-science anti-vaxxers like Oakchair misread the data to the point of making it up. When he gets called on it, he just doubles down. Apparently true believers can’t be wrong. We used to point out the illogic of their arguments. Now they just turn around and go, Oh yeah, you too times twenty. The problem is that with covid their idiot non-think gets people killed. It doesn’t matter that they take no responsibility for this or do their by now expectable turnaround, No, no, it’s the rest of us who are killing people, not them. The point is that if you are interested in solving any of the many problems that face us, these people are a dead end and they absolutely don’t care.

  30. Jason

    Companies may be required to make governance changes, enhance compliance systems or hire a court-approved monitor.

    A few tweaks and a hall monitor to watch the kids.

    Absolutely never any regulation. They won’t allow it.

    The process completely circumvents the usual remedies, while leaving the underlying problem (the corporate malfeasance) in place, where it will only grow more lethal, because it has captured the societal mechanism in place to stop it, and is now writing its own rules. And it has captured virtually all the people in the society in the positions to stop it.

    This is patterned on the larger trade agreements, like NATO. TPP was the ultimate attempt to circumvent every nation-state’s legal mechanisms with a corporate-appointed court whose decisions supercede all local, regional, and national autonomy.

    This all dovetails seamlessly with some of the larger elite plans that people such as Zbigniew Brzezinski have written about.

  31. I don’t think this will work, long term, even if ‘perfectly’ executed in some countries. If exposure to the viruses is too low, the population’s immune systems will not get educated. The sexy vaccines are insufficiently tested, and extremely risky, long-term, according to many.

    I propose, instead, “punctuated prophy-maxus“.

    What’s that, you say? I rhymes with prophylaxis, but WTH?

    That’s my brand new theory for how to deal with covid and it’s many variants, at least during local waves of infection.

    Basically, you give therapeutic levels of low cost, effective drugs (for the viral stage, not the inflammatory stage) every 2 1/2 weeks (to pull a plausible sounding figure out of thin air). You do this for X days, where X is Y – 2, and where Y is the average length of treatment, according to FLCCC (or other pro-early-intervention doctors). Things like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

    Why not simply prophylax your whole population?

    A number of reasons:
    1) people can develop allergies (e.g., a cousin optometrist learns from his Nigeian patients that many are allergic to hydroxychloroquine, who took it for non-covid reasons)
    2) constant prophylaxing may exert evolutionary selective pressure on the virus to evolve variants
    3) probably because of the Medical Mafia, drugs that should be cheap are actually fairly pricy (ivermectin, e.g.)
    4) I recall, somewhat vaguely, a research result showing not a lot more benefit from ivermectin prophylaxis over ivermectin early treatment

    I believe these treatment periods should be staggered, between cohorts of equal size. So, in this particular scenario, 20% of students in a school, e.g., would be getting the drug treatments, at a time. If we assume they will average 0 viral shedding for double their treatment time, then the overall viral load in the school will drop by 40%.

    However, people who have weak immune systems would be encouraged to do a normal prophylaxis (e.g., as recommended by FLCCC); perhaps front-line medical workers, also. Or, maybe these 2 groups should do the normal prophylaxis when waves are passing through, then drop down to punctuated prophy-maxus after the wave subsides.

    Because of risk of ADE, vaccines should be prohibited, except to people with bad immune systems. I mean the sexy mRNA and adenovirus vector vaccines, of course.

    Everybody can take zinc every day, get their Vit D tested every month, and corrected, if low, with daily or weekly supplements.

    Basically, this strategy amounts to attenuated exposure to the virus, while simultaneously building up the public’s immune systems. IOW, it’s kind of like a low-tech, revolving vaccination program plus wellness program.

    Obviously, you’d want to take good data, and adjust the program, accordingly. After recent reading at nakedcapitalism, school may well be hellish, this year.

  32. Jason

    The larger trade agreements like NAFTA were preceded by smaller trade agreements which eliminated tariffs and national controls.

    The first “free trade agreement” ever entered into by the U.S. was the bilateral Israel-U.S. Free Trade Agreement in 1985, though the 1988 Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement is the one that usually gets mentioned.

    NAFTA superseded the Canada-U.S. bilateral agreement, but not the Israel-U.S. agreement.

    The Israel-U.S. Free Trade Agreement was opposed by the vast majority of United States industry. And for good reason. The “agreement” has been a one-way funnel to Israel, just as it was designed to be.

    The Israel-U.S. agreement never mentions intellectual property rights, which are the essence of all other U.S. trade agreements.

    The agreement was authored by members of the Israel Lobby and supported by groups like the Heritage Foundation.

    Grant Smith of IRMEP was recently on C-SPAN to bring this to the attention of Heritage’s mouthpiece, and the people of the United States:

  33. Candy

    NEW YORK, NY—Following the popular trend of providing consumers constant access to products or services they think they need, Pfizer has announced a subscription service that will provide monthly COVID-19 vaccines to all members, called Pfizer+.

    – Pfizer+ offers the following additional benefits:
    – Monthly vaccine booster
    – Access to some of Pfizer’s other popular drugs
    – Gold badge for social media virtue signals
    – Video library of the mainstream media shaming unvaccinated

    Pfizer+ will also launch with a Super Premium Plus tier for the consumer who just can’t get enough of giant pharmaceutical companies with shady pasts. Benefits include:

    – An autographed photo of Dr. Fauci
    – A mobile app that alerts you when an unvaccinated person is nearby
    – Monthly shipment of masks

    Monthly fees for the service will be $5.99 per month, and Pfizer has partnered with the IRS to extract the monthly fee from all taxpayers for the foreseeable future.

    On launch day, the pharmaceutical giant announced Pfizer+ subscriptions had generated enough profits to pay for the billions of dollars in criminal and civil lawsuits stemming from decades of false advertising, data manipulation, bribing foreign government officials, and lying to doctors.

  34. Jason

    Through 2018, the so-called agreement had resulted in a cumulative, inflation-adjusted 182 billion dollar trade deficit, the biggest trade deficit of any bilateral. It was built on providing Israel open access to the U.S. and it totally override Monsanto, labor unions, and California agriculture, among many other United States constituencies, institutions, and interests.

    The agreement was sold as a job creator (sounds familiar), but it’s only genuine support was the Israel Lobby (Israel’s people operating on behalf of Israel in the U.S.) and groups like The Heritage Foundation. And much of the media. U.S. Industry knew it was a disaster for the United States and its workers.

    In order to make the agreement maintain at least a semblance of balance, the U.S. counts the reexport of diamonds coming into the U.S. market from Israel as exports. Israel’s blood diamonds.

  35. Lex

    It is the playbook. Emergency response is not a subjective matter. There rules and ways of doing things, developed because they work. But the number one rule of ER is that there is an incident commander. There’s no going off on your own because you disagree. There can be disagreement at the high level meetings (there often is) but they are worked out there and then the decision is clear and followed. Think of it as a Roman tyrant. Covid is complicated by it being a worldwide crisis. New Zealand will fail in the long run because others have failed. The fundamental lesson of Covid for a decadent west is that it doesn’t matter if you do the right thing, you’ll still get fucked because others won’t. Nowhere in the US has done a real lock down or quarantine. Yet everyone’s bitching about like we’ve been forced indoors and into isolation for 18 months.

  36. Jason

    “The initiative for a bilateral trade deal came at the insistence of Israel and its U.S. lobby AIPAC. Along with favored economist Stanley Fischer, the group viewed unfettered Israeli exports to the U.S. as a means to stave off the results of severe Israeli economic mismanagement and isolation from the country’s neighbors.

    U.S. industry, upon first learning about a proposed Israel free trade deal in the Federal Register in 1984, correctly saw the deal as a political give-away orchestrated by Israel that would open the way for other politically motivated and distorting trade deals.

    The International Trade Commission held hearings in Washington in 1984 and encouraged U.S. industries to testify and privately submit sensitive business information, including proprietary market data and industry processes, detailing why they opposed the U.S. Israel Free Trade Area. Their data was compiled into a 300-page report the ITC classified and vowed to protect. Industry representatives were livid over the data theft and demanded a criminal investigation.

    The FBI launched an espionage and theft of government property investigation in June of 1984. The investigation uncovered three AIPAC officials reproducing and circulating the stolen report, and traced the theft back to Israeli Minister of Economics Dan Halpern.

    Seeing momentum building against the deal, Halpern, who worked out of the Israeli embassy in Washington, obtained a stolen copy of the classified ITC report and passed it on to both Israel and AIPAC. AIPAC used the proprietary information to counter key industry concerns in its public relations, trade and lobbying strategy, turbocharged by AIPAC’s vast coordinated campaign contribution network.

    At the time AIPAC secretly directed campaign contributions from an armada of “stealth PACs” to AIPAC-favored politicians. This is the name of pro-Israel political action committees with benign and misleading names with a mission to advance Israel.

    The lopsided deal passed in 1985. The FBI investigation ended in early 1987 after the FBI predicted that Halpern would simply claim diplomatic immunity. The AIPAC officials continued their careers with no adverse consequences.

  37. Trinity

    Good one, Candy.

    “This statement accompanied with you’re constant emotional appeal of ‘600,000 people died!’ is an example of cognitive dissonance.”

    I believe this is gaslighting. Cognitive dissonance is the result of gaslighting, which I always think of the example (from the movie from which the term derived) where the devious, lying, nasty husband tries to convince his wife that she’s crazy. The point of gaslighting is to convince the target that a lie is truth. Cognitive dissonance occurs when trying to reconcile what you see (reality) versus what you’ve been told (lies). In the movie the husband physically moves things around so she will think she is losing her mind, and then lying about his actions.

    And yes, I’ve also noticed the unnecessary repetition of a bad (actually, unknown) statistic on covid deaths, and repetition is a key part of gaslighting technique.

    And we know this because we are constantly and repetitively lied to by many media outlets for this very reason.

    “we refuse to do the right things that we know work”

    Like Bruce, I don’t like the use of the royal “we” very much, but the statement itself is true. The problem is that the people who have the power to do the right thing don’t. And I no longer feel like I’m a member of the nation where I was born and currently live for that reason. It’s unsettling (in a literal sense).

    But I think you meant it in terms of “we” as in “we western nations”.

  38. Jason

    The International Trade Commission held hearings in Washington in 1984 and encouraged U.S. industries to testify and privately submit sensitive business information, including proprietary market data and industry processes, detailing why they opposed the U.S. Israel Free Trade Area.

    Paula Stern was the head of the ITC when this took place. Stern immediately took an activist role in an agency that was theretofore an independent fact-finder and referee of trade disputes. She assailed all the Reagan administration’s policies as well as those of the Federal Reserve.

    Paula Stern began her career as an International Affairs Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations in 1977.

    Today, Paula Stern runs The Stern Group, International Advisors, where they “help our clients navigate the ever-changing global, economic, political, technological and media environments in which they operate. Providing them with highly personalized service, informed strategic counsel and intellectual integrity, we shape their message in Washington, DC and beyond to assure their voice is heard.”

    One of the many glowing client testimonials on Paula Stern’s company’s website was written by the Executive Director of the U.S. Council of the Mexico-U.S. Business Committee. It reads,

    “We have distributed over 1200 copies of The Stern Group’s study of the North American Free Trade Agreement to our members, Congress, the media and the public since August and have just had it reprinted. It has served as the basis for our testimony before House Ways and Means and the ITC as well as for our thirty-one state studies. The U.S. Chamber and the U.S. Alliance for NAFTA are also using it extensively.”

    Stern’s advice (“expertise”) can be found in the Annual Report of the Multi-lateral Trade Negotiations Coalition:

    “The Stern Group’s studies produced an easily understandable set of numbers which have been used repeatedly by the media and in other fora….As a result, the Coalition has been sought out by the private sector, government officials and the media as a leading group in the United States to discuss general private sector views and technical issues as they relate to the GATT negotiations.

  39. Hugh

    Cognitive dissonance is when you deny facts and statistics because they undercut your whacko views.

  40. Hugh how about you try making a post that isn’t 100% logical fallacies, projection and insults? You’ve yet to do that. What you’re doing is making Trump level posts in order to waste other people’s time and distract from the vapidity of your position. Make a post with substance or go troll elsewhere.

  41. Systems Crash Go

    I know this is akin to crystal ball gazing, but what would your advice be to someone sitting in a big populated urban city in India? Cases are down from the peak, but there are two camps – one that are predicting a third wave while some are talking about herd immunity. People have given up all covid precautions, stopped the masks, everything has opened up.

  42. @ Systems Crash Go

    I looked at recent videos of Lucknow, in Uttar Pradesh, and it looked like 60% were wearing masks. This was based on a cursory viewing of about 4 videos.

  43. Ché Pasa

    Data point: Items ordered from India July 20. Fabrication expected to take 10 days. Delayed due to Quality Control. Fabrication and Quality Control completed August 3. Items shipped August 4. Sat at New Delhi FedEx facility till August 8. “Operational Delay”. Arrived my home August 11.

    Data point: In stock item ordered from New Jersey August 13. Shipped via FedEx August 17. Currently in Kansas in transit. Delivery date: “Pending.”

    As I’ve said before, I can get items — even custom made ones — ordered from India often faster than I can get in stock items ordered and shipped in the US.

    We know that India is still being ravaged by Covid while the United States, in most of the country, is not. Of course there are other factors that enter into the equation, and we can spend a day or more criticizing and arguing about FedEx, but…

    The point is that in the United States even simple things have become far more complicated, difficult, and delayed than they ought to be. Package delivery difficulties and delays are just symptoms of overall systems breakdown. There are many others.

    Most of us don’t pretend that everything’s all right or getting better because we know they’re not. But as conditions deteriorate and simple things become more and more difficult, we must ponder where this is going.

    The earlier Covid pandemic effects were mostly on the old, the poor, the infirm, the black, the brown, the essential-non-essentials. The newer strains seem to be afflicting the previously modestly afflicted or non-afflicted, the younger, stronger, whiter, more bourgeois cohorts who thought they were bulletproof. Well, surprise.

    We can wrangle over “horse-paste” or Israeli perfidy as much as we want. The virus doesn’t care. Climate change doesn’t care. The fires in California, the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia and Siberia will keep right on burning, mirrors of the fires in the Amazon. They don’t care. Rising sea levels don’t care.

    Our Rulers don’t care.

  44. Hugh

    Oakchair the troll bemoans trolls. Good one. You lie and make up about the data which are supposed to be the foundation of your argument and get all accusatory when you are called on it. How completely typical of you.

  45. Jason

    The point is that in the United States even simple things have become far more complicated, difficult, and delayed than they ought to be.


    Che, the rest of the world isn’t exactly running smoothly, and your personal examples don’t begin to make a case that things are better in India or elsewhere.

    In fact, your anecdote doesn’t tell us anything about the broader situation at all, other than how it affected you. And the issue seems to be largely around how quickly you can get things.

  46. Soredemos


    Yes, totalitarian can be a nigh-meaningless snarl world. But it can also be a meaningful descriptor.

    China is actually a totalitarian state. Or is endeavouring to be one (no state ever achieves the total control no matter how much it tries). East Germany is probably the closest comparison, where the Stazi kept extensive files on literally every citizen.

    I mean, for fucks sake, mainland China is literally sectioned off behind its own highly censored internet. The ideal of the CCP is total information control. I have a degree of indirect experience with their Great Internet Wall, because I once had to help a friend staying in China set up a VPN tunnel via Singapore to get around the wall.

    And yes, something similar is clearly the endgame of many western elites. And it’s loathsome here as well. At least here we have the protections of various speech laws and ideals, however tattered they may be at this point. At least our elites have to contrive to first outsource the communications before shrugging and going “hey, private company; they can do what they want”.

  47. Ché Pasa

    Yes, Jason, that’s why I called those examples “data points.” And yes, these anecdotes are meant entirely to report on how the systems breakdowns (multiple, multiple, ongoing, endless) affect me, a citizen of the United States. If they’re affecting me, out here in the wilderness, they’ll affect others, how or when and where or even if they’ll be noticed by people Out There is an open question, but they will happen.

    I’ve reported on price increases on practically everything people ordinarily buy, shortages of items big and small (how’d you do trying to buy a new or used car or truck or van lately? What was the wait time for any major appliance? What’s missing from your grocery store shelves? Have you tried to buy surgical or really any kind of mask lately? How’d that go?), delivery difficulties that affect not only me but many merchants as well, ERs full and basically not functioning even without the Covid, difficulty in getting Covid tests and vaccines — due to lack of supply in at least one case — and doctors’ ambivalence toward the vaccines for people like me with a compromised immune system,

    These are anecdotes, data points, definitive of nothing by themselves. Cumulatively, though, they and other data points show wheezing, decrepit systems that can’t be relied on and that may collapse at any time.

    As Ian says, make your preparations now. You won’t have a chance in the end.

  48. Synoptocon

    “,,, a drug that according to the data from the corporation on net kills people.”

    I guess my question would be what is this evidence?

  49. Astrid


    Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what China is doing. China is not telling the US how to run its internet and surveillance, the US is trying to dictate that to China and the rest of the world. Let the Chinese living inside the great fire wall, most of whom can easily get VPN if they wanted to, decide for themselves.

    As for evils. Increasingly, I am looking at orderly *maybe* evil in China, versus kleptocratic chaotic *definite* evil in the US. And I wonder if I made a bad decision staying in the US, rather than move to China, with its terrible weather, terrible air quality, terrible manners, no privacy, intrusive government at all levels, really terrible tv and movies, etc., 20 years ago. Now I am tied down to a spouse who has zero interest in China and refuse to leave North America, so I’m stuck here for the foreseeable future, barring a possible Portuguese golden visa escape route that probably won’t materialize in time. Ironically, if I worked in China and bought any ole Shanghai flat. I could retire to Portugal or Taiwan now on the sales proceeds.

  50. Synoptocon

    I’ll point out for posterity that the Pfizer study cites is approximately 280 times too small to draw the conclusion that the death rate was truly 7% higher.

  51. @ Synoptocon

    The total number of severe Covid cases was 7% higher than the total number of deaths. I’ll go with those goal posts. The corporate studies do not have the data to show that the vaccines reduce severe Covid cases or increase deaths. According to Pfizer their vaccine has the benefit of reducing the sniffles in 3-4 out of every 100 people injected.

    However the animal studies for mRNA and Coronaviruses meet the standard P values for these types of vaccines increasing deaths by over 7%. The real world data shows the vaccines correlate with increased mortality higher than 7%.

    Which sounds more plausible for the reason Pfizer picked test subjects with low predicted death rates and ended their trial early 1) they believe it is unethical to know the effects of the drugs they sell 2) they didn’t want the current evidence for increased deaths to be collaborated. Keep in mind Pfizer has been fined billions of dollars for lying about their drugs.

  52. Synoptocon

    So what are these “animal studies”? Which is the one demonstrating the reduction in symptoms? The one supporting the assertion that severe cases were 7% higher? You have this habit of alluding to data to buttress your interpretation, but not actually presenting it for evaluation. One of the key differences between assertion and fact is the audit trail.

    You want people to assess the plausibility of your principal causal driver (Pfizer deceit), you need to show the receipts. You’ve already made assertions that outstrip what the data will support by two orders of magnitude. The natural response of any professional is to want to see the raw data.

  53. Hugh

    There was apparently a 2012 study from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston on mice entitled “‘Immunization with SARS Coronavirus Vaccines Leads to Pulmonary Immunopathology on Challenge with the SARS Virus” that became the source of this conspiracy theory. My comments get thrown into mod if I try to use links so I will just indicate how you can google them. As here, google the title.

    You can see the conspiracy taken apart by googling “fullfact covid vaccine animal testing” It was the second link given when I googled it. It links also to a Reuters article entitled “Fact check: A 2012 study did not use mRNA vaccines or result in animals dying from disease.” They talked to the study’s main author.

    What happened in this study was that mice were tested with 4 vaccines made up of various components, none of which was mRNA, and exposed to a SARS-coronavirus (which was not Covid-19). Many of the mice had an eosinophilic reaction to the vaccines and got sick from them. None of them died because of the vaccine. And they did develop strong antibody responses to the SARS virus.

    So how did they die? Some were euthanized during the study and dissected in order to examine their lung tissue . And the rest, as is usual, at the end of the study were euthanized.

  54. Synoptocon

    I’d really rather see Oakchair unambiguously cite his sources and evaluate them myself.

  55. Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor, or co-inventor, of mRNA vaccine technology, has outed himself – AS A BIDEN DONATOR From his twitter feed:

    Robert W Malone, MD
    To those that think I am posting due to my political bias. News 4 you – it is because of my upbringing. I was taught to not lie. And I got fed up with the lies, misrepresentations, obfuscation, censorship, and imbicilic factchecking. I actually donated to the Biden campaign.
    10:28 AM · Aug 28, 2021·Twitter Web App

    Malone also outed himself as a covid vaccine taker, though a regretful one:

    Robert W Malone, MD
    Replying to
    And I am not the only one that made a mistake that I regret in this case. I am confident that there are many others. We all make mistakes, including myself. I should not have taken Moderna after having been infected in late Feb 2020. That was also a mistake.

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