From the Brownstone Institute
What if the coronavirus pandemic was not a once-in-a-century event but the beginning of a new era of regular deadly respiratory viral pandemics? The Biden administration is already planning for this future. Last year, it unveiled a national strategy to develop pharmaceutical firms’ capacity to create vaccines within 130 days of a pandemic emergency declaration.
The Biden plan enshrines former president Donald Trump‘s Operation Warp Speed as the model response for the next century of pandemics. Left unsaid is that, for the new pandemic plan to work as envisioned, it will require us to conduct dangerous gain-of-function research. It will also require cutting corners in the evaluation of the safety and efficacy of novel vaccines. And while the studies are underway, politicians will face tremendous pressure to impose draconian lockdowns to keep the population “safe.”
In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, it took about a year for governments to deploy the jab at scale after scientists sequenced the virus. Scientists identified a vaccine target—fragments of the spike protein that the virus uses to access cells—by early January 2020, even before the WHO declared a worldwide pandemic.
This rapid response was only possible because some scientists already knew much about the novel virus. Despite heavy regulations limiting the work, the US National Institutes of Health had funded collaborations between the EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. They collected bat viruses from the wild, enhanced their function to study their potential, and designed vaccines before the viruses infected humans.
While there is controversy over whether this gain-of-function work is responsible for the COVID pandemic, there is no question this research is potentially dangerous. Even cautious scientists sometimes accidentally leak hazardous, highly infectious viruses into the surrounding community. In December 2021, for instance, the virus that causes COVID-19 accidentally leaked out of a laboratory in Taiwan, where scientists were researching the virus.
A promising vaccine target would be needed immediately after a disease outbreak for the Biden pandemic plan to work. For that to be possible, there will need to be permanent support for research enhancing the capacity of viruses to infect and kill humans. The possibility of a deadly laboratory leak will hang over humanity into perpetuity.
Furthermore, before any mass vaccination campaign, pharmaceutical firms must test the vaccines for safety. High-quality randomized, controlled studies are needed to make sure the vaccine works.
In 1954, Jonas Salk’s group tested the vaccine in a million children before the polio mass vaccination campaign that effectively defanged the threat of polio to American children. Physicians need the results of these studies to provide accurate information to patients.
Operation Warp Speed cut red tape so that vaccine manufacturers could conduct these studies rapidly. The randomized trials cut some corners. For instance, the Pfizer and Moderna trials did not enroll enough people to determine whether the COVID vaccines reduce all-cause mortality.
Nor did they determine whether the vaccines stop disease transmission; a few months after the government deployed the vaccines, researchers found protection against infection was partial and short-lived. Each of these cut corners has since created policy controversies and uncertainty that better trials would have avoided. Because of the pressure to produce a vaccine within 130 days, President Biden’s pandemic plan will likely force randomized trials on future vaccines to cut the same corners.
This policy effectively guarantees that lockdowns will return to the US in the event of a new pandemic. Though the lockdowns did not work to protect populations from getting or spreading COVID—after 2.5 years, nearly everyone in the US has had COVID—public health bureaucracies like the CDC have not repudiated the strategy.
Imagine the early days of the next pandemic, with public health and the media fomenting fear of a new pathogen. The impetus to close schools, businesses, churches, beaches, and parks will be irresistible, though the pitch will be “130 days until the vax” rather than “two weeks to flatten the curve.”
When the vaccine finally arrives, the push to mass vaccinate for herd immunity will be enormous, even without evidence from the rushed trials that the vaccine provides long-lasting protection against disease transmission. This happened in 2021 with the COVID vaccine and would happen again amidst the pandemic panic. The government would push the vaccine even on populations at low risk from the novel pathogen. Mandates and discrimination against the unvaccinated would return, along with a fierce movement to resist them. The public’s remaining trust in public health would shatter.
Rather than pursue this foolish policy, the Biden administration should adopt the traditional strategy for managing new respiratory-virus pandemics. This strategy involves quickly identifying high-risk groups and adopting creative strategies to protect them while not throwing the rest of society into panic.
The development of vaccines and treatments should be encouraged, but without imposing an artificial timeline that guarantees corners will be cut in evaluation. And most of all, lockdowns—a disaster for children, the poor, and the working class—should be excised from the public health toolkit forever.
A version of this piece appeared in Newsweek
The Covid Narrative Flunked the Critical Thinking Test
From the Brownstone Institute
At the height of the Covid hysteria, several times I encountered variations of the meme “It’s not a pandemic; it’s an IQ test.” Probably the memesters were poking fun at those duped by the mainstream Covid messaging.
In any case, that meme really misses the point. The essential problem has never been about one’s IQ. Many highly intelligent people (in an academic sense) swallowed a very dubious narrative, while others less academically gifted did not. The real divider was the ability and inclination to think critically about it.
In a previous article I explained the basic concept of critical thinking, which can be defined as rational judgment about appeals to belief. Here I will lay out my own classroom approach to it in relation to the Covid messaging and policies.
The approach was derived from Browne and Keeley’s once popular critical thinking textbook, Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking. Simplified for Japanese university students unfamiliar with the concept of critical thinking, this approach consists of six questions, all very applicable to the official narrative about Covid. For any Japanese speakers who may be reading this, here is a video link of me explaining my approach.
Number one: What are the issues and the conclusion? The purpose of this question is to spur awareness that very often there is an assertion being made in the context of a debated issue. Many of my students have been completely unaware that a debate exists about many matters they hear about in school or from the media, such as climate change/global warming.
When people insist that no real debate exists in regard to an issue about which reasonable people differ, they have already failed the critical thinking test. That stance certainly has been the substance of much Covid messaging.
Number two: How good are the reasons? Many of my students can brainstorm on their own the characteristics of good reasons: clear, true, logical, objective, and important. In the Covid context, untrue reasons include arguing on the basis that novel, experimental injections are certainly (100 percent or 95 percent) “safe and effective.” Moreover, the demand by pharmaceutical companies to receive complete legal protection from any liability belied this claim of safety.
Along with that, it was not logical to endanger people with potentially serious health harms from experimental injections or to withhold from them medical care in the name of protecting them, as happened during the lockdowns.
Number three: How good is the evidence? For the purpose of learning critical thinking about statistics, a number of books explain common forms of statistical deception and error. The classic book How to Lie With Statistics, along with the more recent book by Joel Best Damned Lies and Statistics, show how such dubious statistical data is often created or else badly interpreted.
In a Japanese book, Shakai Chosa no Uso (The Lies of Social Research), Professor Ichiro Tanioka reveals that government statistics also are often deceptive and simply serve the interests of bureaucrats and politicians, either by magnifying a problem to justify government policies and funding or by making a government program appear to be successful. Since many people are easily impressed by number data, he comments that more than half of all social science research is garbage, a problem compounded when the data is then referenced by the mass media, activists, and others.
Since the earliest days of the Covid panic, statistical chicanery has been conspicuous, including Neil Ferguson’s now-infamous predictions of millions of deaths without lockdowns. Norman Fenton exposed a number of statistical confusions in the UK’s national statistics in regard to Covid. As another example, Pfizer’s claim of 95 percent Covid vaccine efficacy was based on its own shoddy research using the PCR tests. However, few in the Covid-messaging mainstream bothered to look into the statistically shaky basis for this claim. They simply parroted the “95 percent.”
Number four: Are any words unclear or used strangely? A number of words took on unclear, strange, or inconsistent meanings during the Covid panic. One notable example was the word safe. In the case of the experimental Covid injections, the term evidently could accommodate a wide variety of serious side effects and a considerable number of deaths.
However, in other contexts, an extreme, all-or-nothing concept of safety came into play, as in the slogan “No one is safe until everyone is safe.” This slogan makes as much sense as shouting, during the sinking of a passenger ship, “If everyone is not in the lifeboats, then no one is in the lifeboats.” Nevertheless, this nonsensical mantra was on the lips of many in the corporate media, in order to insist on policies like universal Covid vaccination.
Interestingly, this absurd concept of safety is actually one of the items in The Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test, which I made use of in my teaching and research (The test and manual can be downloaded for free). The test focuses on a fictional letter to a newspaper editor arguing for a total ban on overnight street parking in a certain city. The test-taker’s job is to evaluate the various arguments in the letter, one of which asserts that “conditions are not safe if there’s even the slightest possible chance for an accident.”
Of course, such a view of safety could lead to the ban of almost anything with the slightest element of risk. To illustrate this, I pretended to trip on a student desk in class. Then I would insist that the accident showed that “teaching is too dangerous” and leave the classroom briefly. There is very little in life that is really “100 percent safe.”
Another conspicuous misuse of terminology has been referring to the Covid injections as “vaccines,” since the novel mRNA technology does not fit within the traditional definition of a vaccine. A more accurate designation would be “gene therapy,” since the injections influence the expression of the body’s genes, as Sonia Elijah and others have pointed out.
In order to allay public anxieties and avoid the necessity of testing their injections for possible toxic gene-related side effects like cancer, the familiar, user-friendly term vaccine was chosen. Then when the “vaccines” were obviously failing to prevent Covid infection, as vaccines are normally expected to do, the public was suddenly offered a new definition of a vaccine –something that does not prevent infection at all but simply ameliorates the symptoms of disease.
Number 5: Are there any other possible causes? People often arbitrarily attribute phenomena to causes that they wish to implicate. However, multiple causes may be to blame, or the real cause may actually be something entirely different. For example, many have been blaming human-generated CO2 for the high temperatures this summer, but other possible causes have been identified, such as an increase in atmospheric water vapor from underwater volcanic eruptions.
In regard to Covid causation, John Beaudoin discovered evidence of widespread fraud on death certificates in Massachusetts, in response to pressure from public health officials wanting to inflate Covid death figures. Hundreds of accidental deaths and even Covid vaccine deaths were counted as resulting from Covid.
Looking at the UK’s national Covid death statistics, Norman Fenton discovered a similar problem. Only around 6,000 people actually died from Covid alone, a mere four and a half percent of the total number of supposed “Covid deaths.” The rest had other serious medical conditions as possible causes of death. If a person tested positive on a PCR test after hospital admission, even someone fatally injured in a traffic accident could be counted as a Covid death.
In another example of wrong-headed thinking about causation, elements of the mainstream news media and certain “experts” credited the initial relatively low numbers of Covid hospitalizations and deaths in Japan to the practice of universal masking here. Unfortunately for that theory, soon afterwards Covid cases and hospitalizations shot up dramatically in Japan, making the “saved-by-masks” explanation difficult to maintain. Nevertheless, many officials and media outlets had decided early on that they believed in masks, regardless of what the evidence and common sense had to say.
Number six: What are the basic assumptions and are they acceptable? An assumption is an underlying, unstated belief that often goes without challenge and discussion. Recently I encountered a false assumption when I decided to stop wearing a face mask in class at my university. This met with the displeasure of one of the higher-ups, who called me in for a chat. He insisted that my unmasked face was making my students uncomfortable in class. He was assuming that they felt this way about it, so I decided to do an anonymous survey to find out their real feelings. To my surprise, only one student in all of my classes objected to my going maskless. The rest preferred that I teach without a mask or else expressed indifference.
Adherents of the mainstream Covid narrative accepted as axioms dubious ideas such as these:
- Viral epidemics can and should be halted by extreme measures bringing great suffering on large numbers of people.
- The threat of Covid infection supersedes human rights such as the rights to work, to commune with other human beings, to express opinions freely, etc.
- Facial masks prevent Covid transmission.
- Facial masks do no significant harm.
These assumptions have been ably debunked by many articles at Brownstone Institute and elsewhere.
Thus from the beginning the mainstream Covid narrative has failed to give persuasive responses to any of these questions. In light of that, it is remarkable that there are still many people who endorse the original Covid measures and messaging. Especially in times like these, more people need to employ critical thinking to become less gullible and more skeptical of widespread ideas and influential entities, including those usually branded as reliable. They neglect to do so at their own peril.
Yes, You Are Being Manipulated
From the Brownstone Institute
Pubmed is a government aggregator site for peer-reviewed research.
Recently, a search on Pubmed using the search terms “COVID-19 vaccines” revealed a shocking trend. So, what did I find?
There are literally thousands of peer-reviewed studies on vaccine hesitancy and how the government can overcome it. In sum, there are over 6,000 such studies on Pubmed. A more narrowly focused search on endnote pulled up about 1,250 studies. These studies have a wide range of topics, but most focus on which groups of people are vaccine-hesitant, statistics on these populations, as well as how to overcome vaccine hesitancy through propaganda, censorship, the law, and behavioral control.
The fact is that our government, governments from around the world, the WHO and UNICEF have spent billions of dollars in a misguided attempt to try to figure out how to make people take (coerce, compel, and entice) these experimental medical products (COVID-19 vaccines). This was clearly a coordinated effort.
This monumental worldwide effort to manipulate beliefs has eliminated informed consent. Informed consent is the idea that a person must be given sufficient information before making decisions about their medical care. Pertinent information includes risks and benefits of treatments, the patient’s role in treatment, alternative treatments, and the person’s right to refuse treatment. When people cannot get reliable safety information on whether to take an experimental product or any medical product, when they are being coerced and are not informed of important safety considerations, informed consent is gone.
Of particular concern is the vaccine hesitancy clinical trials that are specifically designed to see what types of propaganda, nudging, computational propaganda, and behavioral modifications work best to elicit compliance from entire populations. In funding such studies, the government and worldwide leadership have endeavored to eliminate informed consent.
Remember, the US only has Emergency Use Authorized COVID vaccines available. These products have not had to go through the rigors of the clinical trial process to receive full licensure. Of course, much of what has been labeled as misinformation over the past three years has been proven to be truth. People were not allowed to know the truth through propaganda, censorship, and coercion.
These studies have been bought and paid for mostly by the US government, UNICEF or NGO/astroturf organizations working on their behalf.
This is basically taxpayer-funded market research to garner compliance for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Marketing research and methods to coerce large populations by the US government for the likes of Pfizer and Moderna.
So, Dr. Mandy Cohen, the Director of the CDC is right. These experimental vaccines have been studied more than any vaccine in history – to ensure 100 percent uptake by the global population.
Below is a recent paper, whose authors work for the Health and Human Services – our government.
From the Abstract:
“the US Department of Health and Human Services launched the We Can Do This public education campaign in April 2021 to increase vaccine confidence.
The campaign uses a mix of digital, television, print, radio, and out-of-home channels to reach target audiences…
The size and length of the Department of Health and Human Services We Can Do This public education campaign make it uniquely situated to examine the impact of a digital campaign on COVID-19 vaccination, which may help inform future vaccine communication efforts and broader public education efforts.
These findings suggest that campaign digital dose is positively associated with COVID-19 vaccination uptake among US adults; future research assessing campaign impact on reduced COVID-19–attributed morbidity and mortality and other benefits is recommended. This study indicates that digital channels have played an important role in the COVID-19 pandemic response.
Digital outreach may be integral in addressing future pandemics and could even play a role in addressing nonpandemic public health crises.”
Re-read that last sentence again. Not only did the US government (HHS) have a huge campaign to program our minds during COVID to increase uptake of the “vaccine;” they are now planning how to use this “Digital outreach” for non-pandemic purposes…
This campaign was bombarded the American people with propaganda, paid for by the US Government. From the article:
The We Can Do This campaign aims to influence COVID-19 vaccine confidence and uptake through the dissemination of advertisements (eg, 30-second videos and static images with text) that address key attitudinal and behavioral constructs relevant to these outcomes across a mix of traditional and new media channels. These channels include television, radio, and print media; site direct (digital advertising directly purchased on websites), programmatic (digital advertising purchased through automated marketplace platforms to reach audiences across a range of websites, apps, and platforms), and paid social media (advertising bought directly on social media platforms) advertisements; earned media; partnerships; and influencer engagement. To reach diverse audiences, the campaign has engaged simultaneously with the general population and with specific racial and ethnic audiences through tailored communications in more than 14 languages, including English and Spanish.
Between April 5 and September 26, 2021, according to Nielsen Digital and Total Ad Ratings (see Multimedia Appendix 1), the campaign is estimated to have reached more than 90 percent of US adults an average of 20.9 times across measured television and digital channels (Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings, unpublished data, 2021). In addition to the campaign’s national reach, it also delivered extra ads to markets, zip codes, and population segments with higher proportions of vaccine-hesitant adults and higher COVID-19 prevalence. As the vaccination uptake rate varied across designated market areas (DMAs), the campaign also took vaccination rates into account when deciding where to deliver these extra ads to help encourage first-dose vaccination.
This campaign not only utilized propaganda, it is also used known neuro-linguistic programming techniques, such as repetitive messaging.
They then did a large clinical trial to see how these techniques affected people’s decision to get the mRNA “vaccine.” The results showed that this huge propaganda campaign was hugely successful in getting people to take the jab.
The problem with propaganda and censorship is that the use of such by governments and world leaders is that it is a slippery slope.
As documented in the paper above, our government leaders now know that the use of such tools was successful in increasing vaccine uptake. The administrative state is only going to increase their use of such techniques during the next health crisis. Climate change or gun violence seem logical choices for more governmental propaganda and censorship.
Yep – there is good evidence that the government is paying for studies such as these:
Finally, the public is waking up to these tactics. As the experimental vaccines failed, the masks were again documented to not work, the economic impact of the lockdowns was exposed and school age children now show cognitive declines from school closures, much of the public is skeptical and untrusting. This is a good thing. This is progress for the people, for our country.
The administrative state will not give up easily; they are only going to increase their use of these behavioral modification tools, propaganda, and censorship. But next time, they will have a bigger fight on their hands.
Republished from the author’s Substack
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