Of Covid Mandates and Legal Liabilities

Last month President Biden announced an initiative that he asserts will ‘stop’ the SARS Cov-2 virus. A scientifically implausible objective, his outline included a plan to require all private businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated or require weekly testing. The mandates are curious because they burden businesses in unprecedented and legally nebulous ways.

Using a mechanism referred to as an Emergency Temporary Standard through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the administration asserts mandating vaccines will stop the transmission of the virus. However, the vaccine was neither developed for, nor indicated to arrest transmission of the virus. According to the FDA website, the vaccine is intended to “…reduce severe illness, hospitalization and death.”

So why might the Administration be issuing mandates for a vaccine that cannot achieve their stated purpose of ‘stopping the virus”? Consider possible reasons by looking through the lens of liability.

Cross my heart and hope to die.

As business-minded leaders do in the face of government overreach, a response must be developed that helps create certainty for the business. To get there in this case, one must review the most fundamental aspect of a mandate… if the business requires the action as a condition of employment, the business owns the consequence of what happens as a result. Understanding the business of vaccine liability may help a business determine whether it is in its best interest to accept the premise of the Biden Administration mandate, or perhaps consider other strategies, including legal challenges.

An important element of the liability relating to vaccines is whether the individual receives the Emergency Use Authorized (EUA)-version of the vaccine, or the newly FDA-approved, branded-version known as Comirnaty. While there is no difference in the actual drug in the syringe, there are differences in the liability protection offered under EUA for those who manufacture, distribute or in some way deliver the vaccine, compared to the FDA-approved Comirnaty.

According to the Congressional Research Service, “…in order to encourage the expeditious development and deployment of medical countermeasures during a public health emergency, the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to limit legal liability for losses relating to the administration of medical countermeasures such as diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.”

In a declaration effective February 4, 2020, nearly six weeks before the U.S. lock-downs, the HHS Secretary invoked the PREP Act and declared Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) to be a public health emergency warranting liability protections for covered countermeasures inclusive of the available vaccines. According to the current PREP ACT, the protection against liability reaches into 2025.

Ummm...

All state and local governments, medical providers and related manufacturers and distributors of modalities for treatment of Covid-19 were exempted from liability. So for anyone who receives the EUA- version of the vaccine, which as of this writing is still the only version available in the U.S., one has no recourse from a liability perspective, except in very specific and limited circumstances should one experience an adverse event or die. However, once FDA-approved and sold under the brand name Comirnaty, liability is handled differently. Comirnaty is currently only available in Israel.

Under normal circumstances, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) provides compensation for injuries caused by most vaccines routinely administered in the U.S., such as childhood vaccines and non-pandemic seasonal influenza vaccines.

Enter mandated businesses. Once a vaccine is mandated by a private business, an entity not outlined and protected under the PREP Act, nor protected once a branded drug is available on the market, liability protection seemingly does not  exist for businesses.

Looking beyond the PREP ACT, consider the long-term efficacy data currently available. Since vaccines have only been available for a relatively short time, long-term data is simply unknown. However, that doesn’t mean the potential adverse events are not a liability for which a mandated company must model and prepare.

Consider the language from the FDA’s website, pertaining to long-term efficacy of the FDA-approved Comirnaty regarding Myocarditis and Pericarditis.

Additionally, the FDA conducted a rigorous evaluation of the post-authorization safety surveillance data pertaining to myocarditis and pericarditis following administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine and has determined that the data demonstrate increased risks, particularly within the seven days following the second dose. The observed risk is higher among males under 40 years of age compared to females and older males. The observed risk is highest in males 12 through 17 years of age. Available data from short-term follow-up suggest that most individuals have had resolution of symptoms. However, some individuals required intensive care support. Information is not yet available about potential long-term health outcomes. The Comirnaty Prescribing Information includes a warning about these risks.

Add to this, we now believe the SARS CoV-2 virus was modified in a Chinese lab and the liability issues are more nebulous. A recently exposed a 2018 grant proposal submitted by Peter Daszak of the Eco Health Alliance, to DARPA, the Pentagon’s research and development arm. The proposal sought funding to engineer a Furin Cleavage site (FCS) into a beta coronavirus. The FCS was intended to increase the virulence of the virus in humans. DARPA deemed it too dangerous and denied the grant.

A year later, in 2019, a beta coronavirus virus with a FCS shows up having potentially ‘leaked’ from a Wuhan lab at which Daszak was coincidently using National Institute of Health (NIH) funding to make gain-of-function modifications to beta family coronaviruses. A significant percentage of the spike protein from the original strain of SARS Cov-2 are in the vaccine now being mandated. What other enhancements were made to that virus and inadvertently stitched into the vaccine? The answers are presently unknown.

Companies must decide whether mandating the vaccine for their most valuable asset, their employees, is a sound business decision. Can businesses confidently assert that without a legal fight, they will not have some liability in the face of potential short and long-term health issues associated with the currently available vaccine?

It's Not About the 'Climate,' Stupid

A series of interrelationships exists in the world of the Klimate Kult believers that needs to be understood to grasp what is going on and the impact it has on the future. These relationships aren’t about the climate. Look at Nordstream2. Germany, a country American taxpayers have been paying to defend from Russia (and its socialist (i.e. “failed”) predecessor, the USSR) for 76 years decided to buy natural gas from Russia instead of America. Why?

Why not?

As Bastiat notes in The Law (pp 9-10), “When they can, [people] wish to live and prosper at the expense of others.” Germans want stuff but want neither to make it nor make the energy necessary to make it, nor bear and raise and educate the children who would be required to make it (or create the energy) in a future they don’t believe in enough to populate, having among the lowest Total Fertility Rates on the planet: it’s just too much work.

Listen to Freddy.

But to pretend that Germans are making any of their decisions not to frack, not to nuke, but to support the fantasy of “climate change” is ignorant.

That any energy purchased from Russia will be dirtier under a regime bound by no environmental laws or regulations, than energy extracted in Germany or the U.S. under very strict regulations, belies any professed “concern” about the planet. Choosing Nordstream2 is choosing against the climate. Germans aren’t stupid; they know this.

Can Germany create any amount of energy they need for manufacturing, heating, transportation, etc., without adding to "greenhouse gases"? Sure. Build nuclear power plants; zero GHG. Can they frack their own natural gas? Sure. But that would be work, require having children to keep doing it, and that’s harder than just buying it. So they buy it. They’ve made a make-buy decision and bought from their preferred supplier.

America can pretend that Germany ought to buy from us because we defend them – as though Germans owe us for American taxpayers voluntarily paying for their welfare state for 75 years by funding their defense – but it’s just pretense. The first priority of any government is defense of its borders and people; money is fungible – we’re paying for their welfare state. Or Americans can think Germans buy from Russians for political reasons. It doesn’t matter. Buying dirty energy is buying dirty energy – and that’s the decision Germans have made.

Who loses in this exchange? American workers. Germans should care about American workers, because…? And, of course, the planet - at least that's what the Klimateers demand you believe.

Germans know American taxpayers will keep defending them and their barren future (why?), regardless of their Nordstream2 decision – so why pay more than they must? It’s not as though the American Military-Industrial Complex will give up their best gig to continue to have those same taxpayers funding the defense of all of Europe’s welfare states, and buy the haven’t-won-a-war-in-decades-military new toys, get promoted, and travel, right? What’s the downside for Germany? None.

Therefore it’s not about the climate. It’s about Bastiat. And lazy voters.

Sunset in California.

Look at California. By refusing to drill their own oil or frack their own natural gas or build their own nuclear plants, they are instead counting on oil from other countries (their voters doing their best to ensure no energy is extracted domestically… in any State), resulting in, as with the Germans and Nordstream2, dirtier energy.

California, too, has below-replacement fertility (all Blue States do), illiterate immigrants sweeping the streets and nannying their (few) children, and a desire to buy from others rather than make things themselves. California won’t even house its population let alone require it to work to buy stuff. It has the highest poverty rate in America and a third of the nation’s welfare recipients… buying stuff with other people’s money. Your money.

Which is why China. Americans would rather buy than make; it’s why our factories are all in China now, using dirtier energy for manufacturing, transporting workers, feeding workers, etc. It’s why we import illegal aliens. We’d rather buy stuff from illegals – street sweeping, gardening, babysitting – than do the work ourselves. If we left our jobs here (and foreigners there), stuff might cost more, but our own standard of living would rise making stuff affordable – and providing jobs and energy for our own future. The idea America can be a First World country and not pay First World wages is so crazy even a fifth-grader would get it. Our elites get it, but destroying the Middle Class is their goal, not maintaining a prosperous nation.

Our entire welfare state is built on Bastiat – large portions of the working-age population would rather buy stuff with your tax dollars than buy them with the output of their own work. Since these people also vote, our politicians compete for their votes by allowing them to work less and buy more.

By rejecting energy extraction and creation domestically, we dirty the world by buying energy from the Third World that we refuse to extract or make here. And by exporting our jobs to China, we enable China to build large numbers of coal-fired power plants, consuming millions of tons of coal (54 percent of global consumption), creating zillions of tons of GHG (27 percent of the entire planet’s; more than twice the USA’s 11 percent)… all to make what we refuse to make here with cleaner – far cleaner – energy via extraction industries regulated far more heavily, and under a government that has reduced greenhouse gases faster than required by a Paris climate treaty that China isn’t following.

If you want a dirty world, export jobs to China so that everything is built with coal-based energy. If you want a clean world, onshore jobs and close the border and build nuclear power plants.

None of this is about the climate.

Sure, the useful idiots in the streets think it is, the low-info voters think it is. It’s about Make vs Buy, and our elites would rather have us buy our bread and circuses – regardless of the cost to the climate and our living standards – than to make our own stuff and demand the liberty to do with the fruits of our labor as we see fit.

Every decision made by the KlimateKult establishment (and their low-info voters) creates a dirtier planet: Oil from Nigeria, Russia, Mexico, Iraq, Kuwait, no nukes, offshoring jobs to coal-based energy nations, encouraging illegal immigration and the welfare state voters who vote to support the establishment dirtying the planet … rather than encouraging work and higher wages – and the always-present greater environmental concerns of richer nations – by ending illegal immigration.

None of this is about the climate.

The Parallels Between 9/11 and COVID-19

It isn’t obvious at first, but if you look at the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and COVID-19, there are stark parallels that go to the heart of what America is, and what it isn’t.

The insidious and horrific strategic and tactical brilliance of the 9/11 plot is that it relied on three deficiencies engrained in American sociology, and one critical holistic approach.

The first deficiency was that airport security was exceedingly lax.  The Israelis already understood that weapons were only one part of a threat profile, and that anything could be used as a weapon.  What Israeli airport security looked for was people who were a threat.

In 2001, U.S. airline security was handled by private companies that used minimum wage workers with minimal viable threat-detection training.  America was woefully unprepared for the possibility of box cutters, much less terrorists themselves.  We had no profiling system in place.

Have a nice flight, Mr. Atta.

The second deficiency was that the terrorists knew that cockpit doors could be easily breached, but more importantly, that by harming female passengers or flight attendants, the male pilots would instinctively leap to their defense – exposing themselves to harm and loss of the cockpit.

The third deficiency was that Americans would do as they were told, and remain in their seats.  Thank God the passengers of United 93 rose to the occasion, sacrificing themselves to save countless other lives.

The fourth deficiency was more holistic.  America would never see this coming.  We wouldn’t expect it from either a strategic or a tactical standpoint.  The reason the entire plot was successful was because the terrorists understood their enemy so well that they designed the attacks by using our weaknesses against us.  Whether the terrorists knew that our military aircraft were not generally armed and couldn’t shoot down a plane is unknown, but regardless, we weren’t ready for that scenario, either.

Simply put: America was not only unprepared for this scenario, it was underprepared.

Why?  Because America, particularly government at every level, lacked vision.  The problem with government is that the bureaucracy discourages innovation, forward-thinking, imagination, and therefor, preparation.

The changes in American society to adapt to this new reality were generally accepted as necessary, if unwelcome.   America has learned to live with a government-run airport security agency that functionally isn’t much better than the lax private firms.  Technology has sufficiently improved that obvious weapon threats can be detected, yet political correctness has undermined any possible passenger profiling.  A protocol exists for when pilots can exit a cockpit.  Military aircraft are armed.

Threats on board aircraft are met with swift passenger response.  That isn’t government at work, that’s normal Americans protecting each other when a clear and present danger asserts itself.

Which brings us to COVID-19.  The clearest parallel is that, once again, America was caught utterly unprepared for the scenario.  The same situation from 2001 remains: government lacked vision, imagination, and preparation.

Apparently, none of the millions of government workers in any branch of government, or at any state or local level, or at any agency such as, say, the Centers for Disease Control saw the same movies about deadly viruses that we did.

Despite the anthrax attacks, which began just a week after 9/11, government failed to have any protocols whatsoever in place.   Think about this.  The primary job of government is to defend the nation, and despite knowledge that a bioterror attack could and likely would one day happen, our government was caught utterly and irredeemably flat-footed.

The worst irony of all is that, while it appears that China was involved with intentional weaponization of the virus, it is unlikely that the release itself was intentional.  China has far too much reliance on the global economy, and the dispersal vectors would have been carefully planned and executed.

The release was accidental and yet we still weren’t prepared.   Worse, government at every level has botched the response, except in Republican-led states.

The attacks of 9/11 showed America that our unaddressed vulnerabilities could be exploited and result in disaster.  Twenty years later, we haven’t learned that lesson.  The even more terrible irony is that our unaddressed vulnerabilities are being exploited by our own people and in service of tyranny.

It’s been apparent since early on that the virus is primarily a threat to the elderly and those who are already in bad shape, with 94 percent of those dying being over age 65 and with an average of three comorbidities.  Yet politicians rushed to shut everything down, kept things shut down, and created even greater short-term and long-term damage by adhering to this misguided policy.

Docile Americans have been all too quick to stay in their seats, keep their masks on, take experimental vaccines, shut down their businesses, keep kids home from school, and do what they are told.   The only difference is that terrorists aren’t flying us into buildings.  No, that job is being handled by the federal government, malicious governors, and myopic county and city officials.

Think about United 93.  Those heroes didn’t stay in their seats.  They rose up and put a stop to things, and nobody told them to just do as they were told.  At least the other United passengers weren’t a hindrance.   Today, half of America not only act as hindrances to those who demand to protect their own liberties, but actively fight to suppress those acts.

Just as the TSA hasn’t made us any safer, the government response to Covid hasn’t made us safer, either.  The only people put on no-fly lists are so-called agitators who refuse to comply with the absurd demand by a federal agency to wear a mask on an airplane, despite the fact that airplanes are proven not to be a spread vector.

Welcome to the friendly skies.

Instead of an airport security approach of profiling those most likely to be terrorists as possible threats, the TSA has a history of harassing old ladies and children.

Meanwhile, government and willing corporate stooges are profiling average Americans and subjecting them to tyranny by forcing them to adhere to vaccine and mask mandates.

On 9/11, we saw heroes emerge from every corner of America.  We saw them on United 93.  We saw them in the firefighters and first responders of New York City.  We saw them in average citizens helping each other out.

Today, we see few heroes.  There are doctors who will prescribe forbidden treatments.  There are those who quit their jobs.  There are those speaking out on social media. But there are no heroes like those on United 93.  The terrorists from within America have won.

Winner Takes All, Beijing-Style

Much has been made of the estimated one-trillion-dollars worth of lithium reserves hiding in the soil of Afghanistan since the chaotic withdrawal of American troops from Kabul cast doubt on America’s future ability to exercise power in and around Afghanistan. That ability is not zero. The U.S. has the power to withhold large sums of aid on which the Taliban is relying for the reconstruction of a devastated country. But it’s greatly inferior to the power and influence currently exercised by China which is cosying up to all of its neighbors in Central Asia in an attempt to gain something like a monopoly of lithium.

It’s a scene reminiscent of pre-war thrillers in which hostile powers vie for the control of materials essential for war, usually oil, and their agents scheme to steal the maps and contracts that will ensure their victory. (See Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, and more recently, Alan Furst passim.) But it’s very far from fiction.

China herself has substantial reserves of lithium. That’s a “special earth” that goes into the manufacture of electric vehicles, AI machines, and iPhones. As an Al Jazeera report pointed out,

Now all three are at the cutting edge of a modern economy driven by advancements in high-tech chips and large-capacity batteries that are made with a range of minerals, including rare earths. And Afghanistan is sitting on deposits estimated to be worth $1 trillion or more, including what may be the world’s largest lithium reserves — if anyone can get them out of the ground.

And not just lithium. Among the other rare minerals increasingly needed to power a modern economy and to achieve climate change policies such as Net-Zero, China also has large reserves of tungsten, iron, lead, copper, mercury, and more.

Looking to 2050.

If China succeeds in its current wooing of not only the Taliban but also Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and other countries in Central Asia, the Middle East, and further afield, it will come close to gaining a strategic monopoly of the minerals needed for economic growth, technological superiority, and military power. The West ignored that threat until recently when the Chinese Communist Party’s deceptive and even sinister suppression of news of the Covid virus until it had spread worldwide belatedly alarmed policy-makers. If China is an enemy or becoming one, its hoovering up of strategic minerals would constitute a major national security threat. Unless . . .

There was one optimistic interpretation of China’s rush to monopolize strategic minerals, however: it suggested that the new superpower might be serious about eventually combatting climate change. Its previous promises to do so were looking as threadbare as its explanations of the origins of Covid. But might China’s grab for a virtual lithium-etc. monopoly mean that it was preparing for an eventual switch from fossil fuels to “renewables” which would require a reliable supply and build-up of stocks of the raw materials for the switch?

So has does that optimistic view look when placed alongside other decisions taken by Beijing? My attention was caught by a paragraph in the important book, This Sovereign Isle: Britain In and Out of Europe, by the distinguished Cambridge historian, Robert Tombs, in which he briefly notes the “alarming rampage” that China embarked on in June 2020: economic sanctions against Australia when its government proposed to investigate subversion and corruption in its own political system; China’s suppression of liberty in Hong Kong (that incidentally broke an international treaty with the U.K.); the invasion over the Ladakh frontier by the Chinese army that attacked and murdered twenty Indian troops; renewed tensions with Japan and other maritime states over Chinese claims on strategic islands in the Pacific; threats against Taiwan (naturally); and then, more interestingly:

[I]n quick succession in July and August the Chinese government concluded long-term oil and gas contracts with Iran(for $400 billion—effectively a monopsony for twenty-five years), Saudi Arabia (it is said in exchange for nuclear technologies that the US would not provide), and Abu Dhabi, securing long-term supplies at bargain prices at the expense of Europe and Japan.

The return of the Silk Road.

At the expense of the U.S. too since the country won’t be able to access the reserves China has locked up when the slow strangulation of America’s fracking revolution and pipeline capacity by Biden’s regulatory policy means that the supply of American natural gas peters out. No one in Washington or Brussels seems to have joined up all the dots. Professor Tombs now does so:

[T]his pre-emption of vast oil supplies, combined with massive use of coal for electricity generation, suggests how far Beijing’s vaunted backing of Green technology is a weapon against a gullible West.

In other words the Chinese government is locking up energy reserves of all kinds, the means of transporting energy of all kinds (think Belt and Road), and the supplies of lithium and other raw materials needed for ‘clean’ energy and ‘renewables’ to work. America’s defeat in Afghanistan just made China’s task both easier and more vital.

And what are the U.S. and the West locking up? Not America’s high-technology weaponry abandoned in Kabul but promises of eventually joining the West in its Net-Zero crusade—promises that China has broken several times already.

Gaia Akbar?

"Know thy enemy," said Sun Tzu, and this is a lesson the Taliban have apparently taken to heart. And they've had ample time to get to know us during their twenty years interregnum as rulers of Afghanistan, as we milled about in their country for no apparent reason. In that time the key thing they've learned seems to be that we are a nation of suckers.

What else are we to think when, for instance, Taliban spokesmen are out there assuring the world that they've learned the error of their ways, and now that they're back, they are planning on building a more inclusive society and will make it a point to respect women's rights. Of course, they did add the notable qualifier “in accordance with Islamic law,” which might explain the reports we're already seeing of women being killed for not wearing the burqa. You've got to assume the country's only all-girl boarding school made the right decision when it closed up shop and moved to Rwanda. The Taliban's understanding of Islamic law has never been particularly open-minded about women learning things.

Spokesmen also said they would not infringe upon freedom of speech and promised to issue an amnesty for all Afghans who worked for Western governments in Afghanistan over the past two decades. Suffice it to say, I have my doubts that these promises will be kept.

Still, I couldn't help but laugh at the chutzpah of this pledge, reported by The Daily Mail, "The Taliban has vowed to tackle climate change... as part of the terror group's attempt to rebrand itself and modernise." Said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a member of the Taliban's Cultural Commission (yes, it is startling that such a thing exists):

We believe the world has a unique opportunity of rapprochement and coming together to tackle the challenges not only facing us but the entire humanity. These challenges ranging from world security and climate change need the collective efforts of all, and cannot be achieved if we exclude or ignore an entire people who have been devastated by imposed wars for the past four decades.

Tackle climate change?! Mail columnist Jack Newman speculates that they might be intending to accomplish this "by taking Afghanistan back to the Middle Ages," which, to be fair, is more or less the long-term vision of hardcore western environmentalists as well.

You might be saying to yourself that no one in the west is dumb enough to believe this, but I'm not so sure. After all, we're constantly being told how responsible and forward thinking Chairman Xi is whenever he says anything about climate change, even while China's new coal power plant capacity alone outstripped the rest of the world by 300 percent in 2020.

The Taliban are betting that if they say the right things, eventually we will just let them do whatever they like. Maybe they know us a lot better than we're willing to admit.

In Locked-Down Australia, Bad News Good, Good News Bad

Disdain for the progressive media cuts me off from 95 percent and more of news commentary. Luckily, from very little that’s true or uplifting. How do I know, you might ask, if I don’t read or watch it? Well, I have to admit to occasionally refreshing my disdain.

Living in the hermit kingdom of Sydney under yet another dystopian Covid stay-at-home order, replete with troops on the streets, I had time on my hands and switched idly from watching Fox News to BBC World News. As it happened, the presenter was interviewing Professor John Thwaites, chair of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and of Climate Works Australia; a professional climate alarmistWhy was Thwaites being interviewed? Basically, to add to the gloating about Australia earning a wooden spoon; having been awarded last place in taking “climate action,” according to a U.N. sponsored report.

Notice something about those alarmed by the impending climate catastrophe. They get immeasurable sanctimonious pleasure from bad news. Whether it is bush fires, hurricanes, droughts, floods, etc.; or, as I will come to later, coral bleaching. Bad news is good news for them.

A face only a mother could love: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

The report, issued by a bunch of economists calling themselves Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), evaluated the “sustainable development” performance of almost 200 countries across 17 categories; climate action being one of the categories. Oh yes, I should mention, Thwaites is one of the co-chairs of a council overseeing the work of SDSN.

Climate action, we are informed by SDSN, is judged on four criteria: CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production; CO2 emissions embodied in imports and, separately, in exports; and progress in implementing carbon pricing. Being the second largest coal exporter obviously didn’t do Australia any favours. At the same time, I can’t work out how Australia managed to beat Indonesia, the exporter of the largest amount of coal, and China, the builder of most new coal-power stations, into last place.

Last in terms of taking climate action, really? Those disquieting reports of wind and solar farms being built across the Australian landscape must be gross exaggerations. I looked at some numbers. To wit, per capita generation of electricity from wind plus sun in 2020. Lo and behold, Australia (1584 KWH) outdid the USA (1421 KWH), the UK (1284 KWH), Canada (1006 KWH) and China (505 KWH). I’m beginning to feel aggrieved that our magnificent achievement in erecting ugly, inefficient and intermittent energy totems is not being sufficiently appreciated.

I think the U.N. and their hangers-on have it in for Australia because we won’t agree to go along with the globally-woke in-crowd and voice commitment to zero-net emissions by 2050. My advice to Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, is to just say it. You know you want to but for those few pesky conservatives still clinging on in your party room. And, best of all, you don’t have to mean it, nobody else does. Nobody else has a clue about how to get there either.

Morrison: good thing he's a "conservative."

Coming last on climate action was compounded by more bad news. Or, was it? And then there was relief from good news. Or, was it? Again, it all depends on your point of view.

UNESCO threatened to declare the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) “in danger;” which would give this highly politicised and compromised organisation license to busy-body itself into Australia’s climate affairs. You might recall that Donald Trump sensibly withdrew the United States from UNESCO. Not a chance Australia will have the gumption to follow suit.

A first view was that China put UNESCO up to it. Australia is firmly in Xi Jinping’s bad books for wanting an inquiry into the Wuhan lab, among other wanton anti-Chinese provocations from another of America’s running dogs. Though it turns out that hypocritical oil and gas exporter, pipsqueak Norway (pop. 5½ million) was the principal party behind it.

Anyway, Australia’s marine scientists were overjoyed at this “bad news.” Nothing they would like better than the reef being declared in danger. After all, they have spent decades foreshadowing its imminent demise. Keeping the research funds coming depends on keeping the reef endangered.

Then just as things were going swimmingly, ill-timed “good news” from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). It reported an upsurge in coral on the reef. Whether it’s the Northern part of the reef (up 27 percent since 2018/19), Central (up 26 percent), or Southern (up 39 percent), it’s all on the up and up. And that indeed was “bad news” for marine scientists, coming shortly before UNESCO was to pronounce judgement. Sure enough, UNESCO backed off, for now.

Peter Ridd, former professor at James Cook University, and expert on the reef, averred that coral on parts of the GBR was at a “record level” (The Australian 23 July, paywalled). The real danger he said is that the coral, as a matter of normal course, will fall from this record level, providing a fresh pretext for alarmism. But then he’s an outcast. He criticised the quality of his colleagues’ scientific research on the reef in 2017; maintaining that the reef was robust and healthy. He was sacked in 2018. Toe the party line or be cancelled.

His case for unfair dismissal has now reached the Australian High Court and will be decided shortly. At stake is the free speech of a dwindling sub-species: academics wedded to evidence rather than to an activist agenda.

We're still all right, mate!

And, as for the evidence on the state of the GBR? It’s unequivocal. The reef’s blooming. Ridd has been proved right. Ergo, those who’ve been relentlessly propagating scare stories recanted? Wrong! They immediately went into face-saving mode. Some examples.

Coral reef scientist Susan Ward: “another heat wave could wipe away this good progress.” Marine scientists James Cook and Scott Heron: “signs of recovery should not distract from the underlying threat to the reef.” And here is chief executive of AIMS Paul Hardisty, no doubt feeling guilty about his organisation’s upbeat report: “There is some encouraging news in this report and another good year would continue the recovery process, but we also have to accept the increasing risk of marine heatwaves that can lead to coral bleaching and the need for the world to reduce carbon emissions.”

There it is. When bad news is good news and good news bad. This is the perverted worldview I prefer not to have streamed into my living room, as I said at the start.

Don’t Combat Covid Hysteria with Vaccine Hysteria

Conservatives are supposed to be rational, thoughtful, and logical, relying on data and reason to reach supportable conclusions. These conclusions form the basis for our beliefs and policy, and is one of the ways that we distinguish ourselves from Leftists. Regrettably, however, there is a disturbing trend that runs counter to these tenets regarding the Covid-19 vaccines. If we are to fight Covid-19 hysteria, we must do it with data and facts, not unsupportable hysteria surrounding the vaccines or anything else. Vaccinations, like everything else, are a matter of choice, so let's choose wisely.

All of the data in this article is consistent across the USA and the world.

About the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization

The FDA has a rigorous process for drugs to earn approval from the agency. In circumstances like a pandemic, there is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) process. The process is exactly the same, but occurs on an expedited basis. What matters the most is not the timeline so much as number of participants. All three vaccines cleared Phase I and II. For Phase III trials, Pfizer had 43,000 participants, Moderna had 30,000, and J&J had 40,000. Patients were followed for 60 days after treatment. All trials included a placebo group, so we’re concerned with events in the vaccine group.

All vaccinations may result in “adverse events,” i.e. relatively minor side effects. Those don’t concern us. Serious Adverse Events (SAE), or “any untoward medical occurrence that resulted in death, was life-threatening, required inpatient hospitalization or prolongation of existing hospitalization, or resulted in persistent disability/incapacity,” were almost non-existent.

The CDC’s data since the advent of the EUAs has shown similar lack of serious adverse events.

Statistically, you're safe.

On the basis of aggregate population, a given individual is ten times more likely to die from Covid-19 than from a vaccine. After eliminating the Covid-19 deaths from people age 65 or older, a person is four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than the vaccine, with the chances of a SAE being roughly equal to dying from the virus.

If we are going to call out the absurdity of locking the world down over a virus with a 0.2 percent chance of killing the general population, in which 94 percent of deaths were in those 65 or older with an average of three comorbidities, it is incumbent that we call out equivalent absurdities regarding vaccines fears.

What About the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) Data?

Anyone can make an entry into the VAERS. There is no supporting evidence required. There is no medical professional follow-up required. Covid-19 reports have been tracked down per the above link, supporting the low rate of SAEs.

Some 551,172 reports regarding the vaccines have been made to VAERS. Even if all of them were legitimate and verified, they represent 0.17 percent of the 321 million doses administered in the U.S. thus far. The unverified count for death, permanent disability and life-threatening reports numbered just over 29,000, representing an infinitesimal 0.009 percent of the vaccine population. That’s on par with each manufacturer’s data. Again, those numbers are unverified. The actual number is likely less.

Interestingly, the number of reported deaths from the virus is 598,624 out of a population of 328 million. The total VAERS reports are nearly identical to the number of deaths attributable to the virus for almost exactly the same size data population.

Are The Vaccines Effective?

The aggregate incidence of Covid-19 in the U.S. is about 11 percent, assuming testing is accurate, which it probably is not. It is likely that PCR-testing gives a significant number of false positives. It is also unclear just how many deaths are truly attributable to the virus alone.

However, we can look to data from Johns Hopkins to determine any correlation between vaccine administration and case count. By clicking on the map of virtually any state or country, vaccinations are correlated with a decline in case count. It’s critical to note that this is merely a correlation, and does not prove causation. A rigorous statistical analysis would be required to determine the rate of case decline at various points before and during vaccination periods. Indeed, case count had already started to decline from their peak when the vaccines began to be distributed.

However, Pfizer reported 95 percent effectiveness with its vaccine, Moderna reported 94 percent, and J&J reported 64 percent. “Effective” does not mean you are immune. It means your body will respond as designed to limit the severity of any illness.

"Vaccinated" doesn't mean "immune."

Are the Vaccines Necessary?

It is notable that 94 percent of all virus deaths occurred in people who had an average of three comorbidities. 80 percent of deaths were in those persons aged 65 and older. About 74,000 people under age 54 have died from Covid in the U.S., or about 12 percent of the total. Roughly 14,000 have died under age 39, of which slightly more than 1,000 were under age 24.

In Sweden, where restrictions were far looser than in equally-populated Los Angeles County, there are fewer confirmed Covid cases (10.8 percent vs 12.6 percent). Sweden’s population is 37 percent vaccinated, while L.A. County is at 70 percent. Sweden’s death rate is 1.46 percent vs. L.A. County’s 2 percent.

The fairly strong inference here is that the lockdowns made no difference. Yet one other possible inference is that vaccinations made no material difference. That’s because the virus had already burned through the most vulnerable populations (the sick and the elderly).

No More Myths:

  1. No, the vaccines don’t “change your RNA.”  This presentation offers a solid explanation of how the mRNA vaccine works.
  2. No, the spike protein doesn't make you ill. See above.
  3. No, the vaccines are not some sinister plot by Bill Gates to reduce population.
  4. No, Big Pharma is not in league with the government to put poison in your body. The only way to encourage private enterprise to develop vaccines was to remove liability.
  5. No, the CCCP did not intentionally release the virus. It would make for a really lousy bioweapon that only kills old and/or sick people. China depends on the global economy, especially that of the U.S., for its own economic health (for now). Had this been intentional, multiple people would have been deliberately infected and flown around the world to spread it. That didn’t happen.

World's worst bio-weapon? Or yummy soup!

As sad as it is to hear stories from people who have lost a loved one as an apparent result of a vaccination, it is critical to recognize that these are anecdotal incidents no different from those of people who say they know someone “young and healthy” who died from Covid. The chances of either occurring are extremely remote. In neither case can any broad conclusion be drawn.

Why is the government at every level pushing everyone to get vaccinated? It isn't some conspiracy. It's because politicians have been reactionary from the start, terrified that people will die, they will get blamed, and lose their jobs and power. They are doing what they always do -- covering their collective and individual asses.

Reason.  Logic.  Data.  Analysis. That’s what makes us special. Keep it that way.

'Climate Change' vs. the Uyghurs

Pretty shocking -- Politico reports on growing tensions within the Democratic coalition, with the environmental activist faction of the party objecting to even the mildest attempts by the Biden administration to confront China over its human rights violations and international aggression.

As a new Cold War takes shape between the U.S. and China, progressives fear the result will be a dramatically warming planet. Over 40 progressive groups sent a letter to President Joe Biden and lawmakers on Wednesday urging them to prioritize cooperation with China on climate change and curb its confrontational approach over issues like Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong and forced detention of Uyghur Muslims.

The problem for the Biden administration is that American public opinion has shifted significantly against China in recent years, such that according to a recent Pew survey, 89 percent of Americans "consider China a competitor or enemy, rather than a partner." This move began with Donald Trump calling out China's predatory trade policy and intellectual property violations before he was even president and continued through then-President Trump and Chairman Xi's trade war. It was cemented, however, by the CCP's handling of the Covid-19 outbreak last year, which, if the no-longer-a-conspiracy-theory lab leak hypothesis turns out to be true, would mean that China is responsible for the most significant man-made disaster in human history.

Which is to say Americans' anger with China is real and entirely justified such that Biden can't simply ignore it. Consequently, when the G-7's leaders met last month, the president urged them to condemn China's human rights abuses, and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made a point of addressing the “ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing” of China's Uyghur minority during a recent phone call with his Chinese counterparts.

But for the environmentalists, none of this really matters. They've convinced themselves that climate is the preeminent political issue, and no other consideration comes close. Many of them would even argue that American capitalism and climate change are inseparable -- even indistinguishable -- political problems, never mind the fact that, while the U.S. has led the world in total carbon emissions decline since 2000, China's new coal-fired energy capacity alone outstripped the rest of the world by 300 percent in 2020.

Like the tankies of old, who invariably defended the Soviet Union's various atrocities, the modern variety can't imagine any bad actor on the world stage aside from the United States. For them, China's signing emissions reductions pledges which they don't intend to honor is evidence that they're the good guys, while America's banning the import of a single Chinese company's solar panels over some pesky forced labor allegations suggests that we aren't taking climate change seriously enough.

Thus far in his presidency, Biden has felt it necessary to appease his environmentalist flank at every turn. But considering the burgeoning anti-CCP sentiment, will that trend come to an end? Perhaps. But the activist class is very persistent and has friends and fellow travelers in high places. My money's on their winning out and us backing down against China. Again.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Styling

It’s official! According to Judith (mummy), their phone in St John’s Wood has been ringing nonstop with calls from my former school chums, (and some I wasn’t all that chummy with) ever since I was on the cover of Paris Match. I’m not sure how that ranks higher than my place on the Olympic Equestrian Team but perhaps they share a keen interest in the environment. Although frankly I doubt it.

One such call really got under Judith’s skin as it was a reporter asking if she too ate bugs, and if it were a habit she’d picked up in China. According to Daddy she corrected them and hung up. After all, it was British Hong Kong (not China) and I doubt mummy ventured outside of the shops where she saw other Britons in Karl Lagerfeld or Prada. It was quite the fashion parade according to the pictures she kept and well… if you knew Judith she doesn’t even eat Chinese food here in England. After that, Daddy took the calls and deftly provided my email. His is the kind of voice one knows not to ask probing questions.

Bugs aren't really animals, are they?

Out of a half dozen or so emails I’m now set to appear on This Morning with Gino D’Acampo and the morning programme Breakfast out of New Zealand. This I will do by video conference as New Zealand has decided not to let me in unless I’ve been fourteen days in Australia or the Cook Islands, (as if) and there certainly isn’t time enough for all that. Oh the nerve of these people! Maybe they should have a look at their very own flag and realise the Union Jack figures rather prominently. I’ve just had it with draconian restrictions that make no practical sense, especially given I didn’t contract anything during my actual travels… it was when I was holed up in Annabel’s country estate that we both took ill, and recovered just as quickly.

I’m also rather put off after reading so many horror stories—like that of the footballer who got stuck in an Indian airport for three months or the Australians who were basically arrested for finding a clever way back home and I just don’t want to have to call Daddy, or Patrick, or (God forbid) my fabulous new client to wrest me free from some horrible lockdown.

The main question now is what to wear. I’d had several Dahlia Macphee options overnighted to me which are known to be (mostly) vegan clothes but unfortunately they were all gowns…and not appropriate for a morning show. Umasan sent me loads of ‘ethical’ separates—none of which became an ensemble, and thankfully one other ethical/sustainable/vegan designer who fit the bill perfectly—bright colours and reasonably flattering… or at least nothing that a good clamp in the mid-back wouldn’t fix for the camera.

I just needed a good forty-five minutes with Daddy to explain to me just what was going on with China’s new push to non-Bitcoin cryptocurrency. One of the talent bookers asked me some questions about it and I needed to be ready in case it came up on the show. He mainly asked why China is now moving away from the eco-disaster that is created by mining iBtcoin and if I believed my exposé had any effect. Daddy answered:

‘Jennifer’s press secretary how can I help you?’

‘Very funny’ I countered. ‘But I do need to ask a few things.’

‘She was always a wonderful child… helpful, kind… walking and talking at six months…’

‘Daddy! I need to ask about cryptocurrency. More specifically China’s departure from mining Bitcoin in favour of something more eco-friendly.’

‘I should think you’d be thrilled. Clearly China’s gone green.’

Going green for fun and profit, Chinese-style.

‘Do you really think so?’ I asked.

‘Do YOU?’

UGH! Two minutes in and I’ve asked a stupid question.

‘No, not really I guess. So why then?’

‘I’m not an expert on China’s but it’s always safe to say if China is doing anything, it’s because it benefits China.’

‘So…’ I began again, ‘Can I just frame this as China being in step with a green future?’

‘If you can say it with a straight face—then by all means, yes, say it! But if you are looking for my advice, I would suggest you don’t frame it at all, and in this way you don’t have to backtrack when China continues to find new and worse ways to destroy the planet you love so much.’

I wasn’t sure if I felt better or worse but he had saved me from looking as foolish as Greenpeace falsely extolling China’s green virtues. With this in mind I felt prepared for my video conference which was fast-approaching due to the ten-hour time difference between Saint Tropez and New Zealand.

Just then I got a call from my oh-so-ethical wardrobe supplier. It seems ’after consideration’ they will to ask me NOT to wear their clothes as their PR focus had been animal organisations, and ‘couldn’t risk being seen supporting blatant animal cruelty’. WHAT!? ME? I literally held the phone away from my head as I pondered what absolute rot she was on about. Apparently she was under the very misguided belief that eating bugs was eating animals, which OKAY technically it is, but it is the more green option.

I wanted to scream I’M THE GOOD PEOPLE but I just let her adenoidal rant continue. That was until she said the word ‘standards’ —meaning she was questioning mine and at which point I just hung up. What cheek! If they sent anyone to collect their clothes I was going to tell her I’d recycled them with the other trash. And little did she know I’d never actually eaten one of the crispy critters but then I wasn’t exactly advertising that. It was far too late to get any other clothes shipped to me so I just fumed for a few minutes while deciding what to do. I went back to the Dahlia MacPhee gowns and decided to make a full go of it— glam hair, earrings, lipstick and dramatic lighting. Done.

Home sweet home, fraught but bug-free.

I was ready with plenty of time to spare and took a tip from Judith in her debutante days… I lay perfectly still on my back with a silk scarf under my head and set my alarm for one hour. She would have been rather proud of me as I woke up—hair and make-up still impeccable and then sipped on lemon water until we were live. Frankly I looked fabulous. And thank God for that because five seconds in I found they did not want to talk about China’s crypto-at all. It was the bug show all over again. “Our International bug hostess… Jenny Kennedy!"

I smiled even wider knowing it now made perfect sense for a hostess to be dressed for entertaining until they asked if (OMG not again!) I’d eat a bug for the camera. I felt that familiar bile creeping up the back of my throat. Luckily, I mean ‘Sadly’ I corrected…  'we’ve set up our entire spread for an after party that I’ll be hosting later.’ It was a small lie but it beat the heck out of losing it on international television. Just one last smile and we were out. Whew! I clapped shut my computer and opened a hard-earned bottle of champagne. It’s possible it goes well with crickets but cheers to standards.

Godzilla vs. King Kong

Late last month during a multi-day interview with a Chinese virologist and researcher who is in hiding in the U.S, I had a revelation about how the largest institutional banks feign having principles, while they avoid actually being principled. While the country is being beaten about the head with a counter-factual accusation that the two greatest threats to America are systemic racism and climate change, there exist actual geo-political and economic threats that require real leadership and genuine principle.

I had driven to the secure location to meet the doctor and followed extensive protocols to ensure her safety. What Dr. Li-meng Yan reveals about the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese military’s malevolent misdeeds surrounding the release of the SARS CoV-2 virus left me pondering how reason has been replaced by such rhetoric.

COVID-19 is an "unrestricted bioweapon" that slipped from a Wuhan facility. This claim was according to a Chinese virologist who fled to the United States after claiming that China covered up the coronavirus epidemic. Dr. Li Meng-Yan, a whistleblower, claims that a trove of Dr. Anthony Fauci's emails backs up her assertions. In an interview with Newsmax, the Chinese whistleblower said she had emailed Dr. Anthony Fauci about her theory and "discovery."

The messages - obtained through the Freedom of Information Act - implied that the White House virus expert knows the possibility of the virus being manufactured. However, The Sun claimed Fauci downplayed it publicly. 

Dr. Li said that Fauci's emails revealed on Tuesday by Buzzfeed and the Washington Post show he knew about the Chinese tinkering with viruses to make them more lethal. "Frankly, there is a lot of useful information there [Fauci's emails]," she said in The Sun's report. "He knows all these things," she insisted of Fauci in a New York Post report.

Ground Zero.

So how has "climate change" superseded Covid-19 as an existential crisis, as Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, in his annual ‘letter to CEOs’, thinks it has? China’s continued cunning and sinister shenanigans, in all their variations, have been conspicuously overlooked; instead of identifying the Chinese Communist Party, and all its many tentacles, as the greatest existential threat of our time, Fink posits a counter-factual. China after all makes money for BlackRock  through investments. Having actual corporate values guided by principle does not.

Dr. Yan, a medical doctor and published researcher who specializes in immunology and vaccine development, and is an independent coronavirus expert, was forced to flee Hong Kong last year because she declared that the SARS CoV-2 virus had been engineered in a lab and that it indeed had gain-of-function characteristics -- in other words, it was weaponized expressly to increase virulence in humans. While  more will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead about Dr. Yan’s knowledge of these events, it is clear that Larry Fink may need to spend a bit more time using the BlackRock’s annual RAND Corporation subscription. In his letter to CEO’s he writes,

I believe that the pandemic has presented such an existential crisis – such a stark reminder of our fragility – that it has driven us to confront the global threat of climate change more forcefully and to consider how, like the pandemic, it will alter our lives. It has reminded us how the biggest crises, whether medical or environmental, demand a global and ambitious response.

In the past year, people have seen the mounting physical toll of climate change in fires, droughts, flooding and hurricanes. They have begun to see the direct financial impact as energy companies take billions in climate-related write-downs on stranded assets and regulators focus on climate risk in the global financial system. They are also increasingly focused on the significant economic opportunity that the transition will create, as well as how to execute it in a just and fair manner. No issue ranks higher than climate change on our clients’ lists of priorities. They ask us about it nearly every day.

How Fink jumped from a pandemic to climate change being a global threat while overlooking China as the global threat that demands a global and ambitious response, requires the flexibility of a Shabari submissive.

Enter the oil and gas industry. Under the false narrative of "climate change" representing an existential threat, oil and gas is described as the industry most responsible for said climate change. Neuter the industry and climate change disappears is the contrived narrative espoused by the politicians and their corporate collaborators.

To date, the oil and gas industry has been slow to counter punch. Instead of its  being the cause of climate change, the oil and gas industry has single-handedly led the reduction of American emissions to levels lower than defined in the Paris Climate Accord. By producing inexpensive, reliable, and abundant energy safely and without political objectives, the oil and gas industry has fueled global economic activity and improved lives of people throughout the world.

By contrast, in the skinny jean-wearing world Fink envisions, the economic vitality fueled by the oil and gas industry is blunted, and only a few are permitted to economically benefit. Every aspect of life in this brave new "Great Reset" world becomes more expensive, more confiscatory, and more Socialist if the climate change narrative is left unrebutted. Enter China.

China’s record of environmental degradation and abuse is well known and well documented. With 1.4 billion people, many living in utter poverty, a manufacturing sector whose carbon emissions are suffocating, and largely unregulated, and a Party that controls society via a digital surveillance state the Chinese people refer to as the "Great Wall," China is the actual existential global threat, not the climate change bogey man.

Tomorrow belongs to us.

Since 2012 when Xi Jinping began his tenure as party General Secretary (he became President the following year), more than 2 million Uyghurs have been sent to Mao-style "re-education" camps. At these camps, estimated to number more than thousand, Muslim Uyghurs have been abused, tortured, sexually assaulted, forcibly sterilized, and even killed. But climate change is the real threat?

Beyond environmental degradation, human rights abuses and corruption, the Chinese practice censorship with the help of tech companies, manipulate currency markets, steal intellectual property, have militarized artificial islands in the South China Sea, and most recently, according to Dr. Yan, have used unrestricted novel bioweapons, intended to harm people and to arrest economic activity around the world in their stated pursuit of world dominance by 2035. But institutional racism and climate change are the problem?