By Jeff Childers
Good morning, C&C, it’s Thursday! Your roundup today includes: another lefty influencer begins to doubt the narrative; if you weren’t sure about turbo-leukemia, meet hyper-leukemia; study finds young people now the most likely group to die from a heart attack, and scientists are baffled; briefed senators are disgusted by what the military has been shooting down; Fox wonders about the transparency of the Biden Administration; Russia starts arming its ships with nukes for the first time since the Cold War; US unofficially warns Ukraine that the party has to end at some point; Scotland’s prime minister resigns; mask study vexes Slate who expertly plays the study shell game.
🗞*WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 Yesterday I reported about liberal WaPo columnist Taylor Lorenz, who is starting — tentatively, just barely — to question the alarming incidence of deaths in younger people. I suggested Taylor’s public doubts are evidence that the mass hypnosis might be starting to wear off.
Yesterday, another influencer joined the ranks of the awakening. This time it was Stephen King. He’s tentatively questioning the government’s sketchy balloon narrative. Not directly. Not accusingly. He’s just “not sure.”
He’s not sure! King’s dormant ganglia, dark and silent for synaptic generations, have begun to stir. A spark between the neurons! Then two! Something is happening…
If Taylor Lorenz drank the liberal kool-aid, Stephen King is suspended in a cryogenic tank filled with the kool-aid. I used to enjoy King’s books (although I don’t read much fiction these days) right up until I first saw his unbelievably woke, anti-conservative screeds on Twitter.
Yikes, to put it mildly. In fact, I’m pretty sure Stephen King was the first tweeter I ever blocked. Block number one.
Even though I already believed a trend was underway, King is so far gone that I was legitimately surprised when I saw him starting to wonder about the government’s latest lame excuses.
So … at this point, we’ve seen at least three leftist influencers who appear to be waking up: Scott Adams, Taylor Lorenz, and now Stephen King. It is enough to call it a trend yet?
💉 In another followup, I wrote yesterday about celebrity publicist Howard Bradman’s turbo-leukemia: ten days from diagnosis to death. I said I’d never heard of that before, although I was sure it’s happened; and sure enough, a few alert readers commented about their personal knowledge of a pre-covid turbo-leukemia case.
Alright then, how about this one? I don’t think I can give you a better example than this next story. Boston 25 ran an article on Tuesday headlined, “13-Year-Old Girl Goes To Hospital For Headache, Dies Hours Later From Leukemia In Georgia.”
Hours later. HOURS. We might need to call this something different from “turbo.” Maybe hyper. Hyper-leukemia.
Nobody saw it coming. “We never knew she had it,” said the girl’s mother, Jenna Randall. “She was a bubbly, bright, beautiful girl. She never had more than a sniffle and she’s never been hospitalized for anything since she was born.”
On Saturday, healthy Julia Chavez, 13, had symptoms of an ear infection and a headache. So her folks took her to the urgent care, where she got antibiotics. The next day, she collapsed late Sunday afternoon, and they took her to the hospital’s emergency room.
The hospital did a CT scan and a blood test, finding that Julia had internal bleeding caused by leukemia. “She had bleeding in her brain, lungs, stomach… everywhere,” her father, Dennis Lee Chavez, wrote on social media. “That’s where we found out she had leukemia. It came on so hard and so fast. Doctors told us there was no way we could have known.”
There was no way they could have known — because Julia’s hyper-leukemia came on so hard, and so fast. Again, I’m sure it’s happened before. Somewhere. But come on. You know this isn’t right.
And now all the blue states and a few red ones are requiring kids to get the covid shot to attend school.
I don’t see how cancer could get much faster than this. I suppose the next step will be leukemia that kills you in thirty minutes or less, or you get double the leukemia on your next order. Plus free bread sticks.
💉 CBS News ran a segment about a new Cedars Sinai study finding that young people have become the HIGHEST RISK GROUP for dying from a heart attack. You’re welcome, young people! Welcome to the Millennium. Specifically, researchers found that 30% more younger people are now dying from heart attacks than they were before the pandemic.
They are baffled, of course. No idea. Not even a theory, really. Just guesses.
I’m sure you will enjoy the most hilarious part of the clip, starting about halfway, where the “expert” and the two anchors begin speculating about how the covid virus could be the culprit. Young people’s hearts could have been damaged by their covid infection, but they just didn’t have their heart attack till later. You never know.
My very favorite part was when the expert suggested that death certificates aren’t reliable. I laughed so hard I coughed up a clump of undigested spike protein.
Despite the fact that they are obviously willing to speculate and guess till the chipped monkeys come home, guess what they NEVER consider as a possible cause for all these young people’s heart attacks? Guess what they didn’t even MENTION during the segment? And, DESPITE the fact that the government has ALREADY admitted myocarditis is a side effect of this particular thing, the thing they didn’t mention, the unconsidered thing that nearly all young people have to get to go to college and stuff?
You know what that thing is. I don’t need to say it. And they didn’t say it either.
Heart attack deaths in young adults rose during first two years of COVID-19 pandemic Source: CBS News (YouTube)
9:26 PM ∙ Feb 14, 2023610Likes335Retweets
If CBS’s revolting failure to consider the vaccine — or even myocarditis! — isn’t enough of a giveaway that the network is a part of the coverup, think about how the study period — two years — conveniently collects the first year of the pandemic, obscuring the cause. Why not break the two years out separately, where we could gauge the impact of the jabs versus the impact of the virus?
You know why.
👽 Bloomberg ran a story yesterday headlined, “US Says 3 Mystery Objects Likely Private, With No China Link.” Uh oh.
The Pentagon briefed the Senate yesterday about the scary, unidentified object shooting match taking place in US skies lately. After the classified briefing, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) told media that “it certainly doesn’t appear that these objects were threats.” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) added that the American people “deserve to know more” about what happened. U.S. officials are now saying that the objects were probably just private commercial drones or balloons, and not connected with Chinese surveillance — or any other surveillance, for that matter.
Specifically, after the briefing a frustrated Blumenthal told reporters, “There is a lot of information presented to us this morning that could be told to the American people without any harm to sources or methods or national security and the American people need to know more so they’ll have more confidence in our national security.”
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta said last weekend’s military target practice created “a lot of legitimate confusion” for the Biden administration, which has struggled to provide any reliable information. “[W]e just are reacting on a crisis-by-crisis basis,” Panetta said. It is starting to look like the historic use of modern kinetic weapons in U.S. airspace is NORAD shooting down some harmless commercial drones while the Biden administration let the public think they were Chinese spy blimps or aliens.
While this is may be the government’s most credible story so far, it still leaves major questions unanswered. Like — if these were commercial drones, why haven’t the owners come forward? I dunno, maybe they’d want some compensation for their blown-up hardware or something? You would think that a commercial operator would know that it suddenly lost communication with its expensive, high-altitude drone (whatever that is), right at the exact same moment the military is shooting stuff.
So, we’ll wait to see who takes responsibility.
🔥 In a similar vein, Fox ran a story yesterday headlined, “Biden’s Spy Craft Response Continues Admin’s Pattern Of Keeping Quiet On Domestic Crises.” The sub-headline indignantly added, “The White House offers nothing until asked, then dodges questions.”
You don’t say.
In the article, Fox speculated about whether Biden would have ever shot down the Chinese War Blimp if a civilian hadn’t found it first. According to Fox, the timeline of the Chinese surveillance balloon event shows the Biden administration knew about but said nothing about the spy craft until after it was discovered by the public. Republicans have questioned whether the administration would have ever revealed it, or whether Biden would have ever decided to shoot the balloon down if it had remained a secret.
Fox also mentioned the East Palestine derailment story, on which Pete Buttigieg still has not officially commented (although he did finally send one tweet out about the disaster), and it mentioned a data dump late Friday night with some more awful immigration statistics.
Remember, Biden promised the most transparent administration in history. You can take that to the bank, he said. If the bank is still in business, that is.
🚀 On Tuesday, Newsweek ran a story headlined, “Russian Warships Armed With Nuclear Weapons Deployed: Norway.”
According to a report from the Norwegian Intelligence Service, Russia’s Northern Fleet is now deploying ships stocked with tactical nuclear weapons. Monday’s report noted that it has been 30 years since Russia last deployed these kinds of weapons during the Cold War.
Newsweek said Norway’s report was released to reporters on Monday, for some reason. Among other things, the report said:
Russian decisions are characterized by a strong distrust of Western intentions. This perception has been significantly reinforced as a result of the West’s reaction to the invasion of Ukraine. Both the likelihood of misunderstandings between Russia and NATO and unintended incidents increase, which in turn increases the risk of escalation.
It risks an escalation? Who would have thought. What worries me the most about Nord-Gate is Russia’s lack of any public reaction. They haven’t taken it up at the United Nations. They haven’t blasted us with recriminations in their psyops network. They haven’t blown up our undersea internet cables. But I can’t imagine Russia is just going to chalk up their lost pipelines as “one of those things” that sometimes happens between neighbors, and you just have to set it aside to get along.
I don’t want to find out what they have planned, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to.
🚀 The Washington Post ran a story Monday headlined, “U.S. warns Ukraine it faces a pivotal moment in war.” The sub-headline explained, “As first anniversary nears, White House fears flow of arms may be harder to come by.”
Although the public message continues to be that the U.S. will keep helping Ukraine until the bitter end, the Post reported anonymous Biden officials stressed off the record that the latest weapons package from the U.S. and allies represents Ukraine’s best chance to decisively change the course of the war, and it will become more difficult to continue the same funding levels going forward.
According to the story, a senior Biden administration official said the White House was emphasizing to the Ukrainian government that the U.S. cannot do “anything and everything forever,” and it is the administration’s “very strong view” that it will be difficult to continue the same amounts of “military and economic assistance.”
One explanation for this change could be, as the article hinted (and it is surely correct), that Biden can blame reduced aid to Ukraine on Republicans. Then, when the Russians win, democrats can say it wasn’t their fault for getting into an unwindable war, it was Republicans’ fault for stopping funding at a critical moment. Worse than Afghanistan!
It could be a convenient off-ramp for Biden, at a time when the Pentagon has been warning about dangerously depleting our own weapon stockpiles, the Russians are vexed about Biden assassinating their pipeline.
🔥 Now Scotland’s prime minister just resigned. The Daily Mail UK ran a story yesterday headlined, “‘This Job Takes Its Toll’: Tearful Nicola Sturgeon QUITS As SNP Leader Saying The ‘Time Is Right To Make Way’ And Spend ‘More Time’ With Family – But Denies She Is Leaving Over ‘Short-Term Issues’ Of Trans Rights And Fading Independence Dream.”
More time with family. Sturgeon’s resignation follows a developing trend of other covid-era leaders’ departures to spend more time with family, such as Boris Johnson (England) and Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand).
Goodbye, and good riddance! Don’t let the door hit you in your ample rear compartment.
The Daily Skeptic had a less complimentary take on Sturgeon’s resignation. In an article headlined, “Fall of a Scottish Tyrant,” the Skeptic observed:
Taking another step back, I like to think Sturgeon is going for the same reason Jacinda Ardern went – because she realised no leader can hope to get re-elected after embracing the disastrous zero-Covid policy. It’s clear now that Scotland’s draconian non-pharmaceutical interventions designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 were a catastrophic failure, imposing a massive cost without any benefits. And those costs continue to accumulate, with drug and alcohol addiction soaring, educational attainment plummeting, hospitals bursting at the seams, and the economy in the doldrums. It was ever thus in SNP-run Scotland, but Sturgeon’s hopeless mismanagement of the pandemic, always trying to out-Ceaușescu Boris, has made everything worse. She leaves behind a country in crisis, worse in virtually every respect after her nine years as First Minister.
Progress. We need more like this. A lot more. .
😷 Slate ran an unintentionally hilarious article this week headlined “To Mask or Not to Mask: That Is (Somehow) Still a Question.” The sub-headline seems to throw in the towel on masks, saying “The latest, highest quality evidence does not show that masks effectively protect against COVID-19.”
Sounds good, but don’t count your chicken nuggets yet. It’s the best example of the study shell game that I’ve ever seen.
Recently, what should be the final, definitive study examining whether face masks “work” for covid was released, and concluded that they do not work. The study was published by the “Cochrane Group,” which has such a sterling reputation that Slate even began by admitting that fact:
Which brings us to the recent Cochrane Review, which considered whether physical interventions—including masks—reduce the spread of respiratory viruses…
The reason Cochrane Reviews are such a useful tool is because of the strict methodology the authors use to systematically evaluate and assess the quality of evidence about an intervention’s safety and effectiveness. Throughout the process, review authors work with a Cochrane Review Group and editorial team, and the findings undergo peer review. Thus, review findings are seen as a synthesis of the best evidence available….
Cochrane Reviews are widely considered the gold standard of evidence-based medicine.
Systematic. Supervised. Peer reviewed. The gold standard. You’d think that would finally be the end of the mask argument. But as you well know, there are some people that really WANT masks to work; they LIKE the masks; they WANT to keep wearing them, in and out of season. Including Slate.
But there’s a problem. Slate wryly confessed that the “gold standard of studies” found masks don’t work:
“Wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference,” the review authors concluded of their work comparing masking with non-masking to prevent influenza or SARS‐CoV‐2. What’s more, even for health care workers providing routine care, “there were no clear differences” between medical or surgical masks versus N95s.
Depressingly, for mask lovers, but wait! Don’t give up yet. There is a shell game to play, and Slate played it with aplomb. Slate’s first move was undermining Cochrane’s conclusion by pointing out that it doesn’t PROVE anything:
But as the saying goes, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The review doesn’t show that masks definitely do not reduce the spread of COVID—only that studies to date have not proven that they do.
Don’t think too hard about that. Just don’t give up hope! Believe! There could be a new study someday that DOES prove masks work. You never know. You can’t say it can’t happen.
Next, Slate deployed the ad hominem toolset. It questioned the authors’ motives, by darkly implying bias without actually saying it:
[T]here’s been some consternation about the predispositions of the review authors. Tom Jefferson, a senior associate tutor at Oxford University, has spearheaded Cochrane Reviews of interventions to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses since 2006. But Jefferson has raised some eyebrows, as he has publicly expressed skepticism about masks.
Don’t think too hard about this one either, or the peer reviewing, the close supervision, the editorial oversight, or about the fact that the Cochrane Reviews are meta-studies (studies of other studies), and so they depend on other, high-quality, randomized, controlled trials. To Slate, it’s enough that one of the authors MIGHT be a mask denier.
Although Slate admitted that the Cochrane Review was based on SIXTY-SEVEN pre-covid studies plus ELEVEN MORE post-covid studies, Slate wondered whether there have been ENOUGH studies to really get any confidence about the conclusion, because — you never know — all the study participants in all 78 trials could have been lying about their mask habits:
The drawback of systematic reviews is that they’re only as good as the included studies: a classic case of “garbage in, garbage out.” And indeed, the studies in the Cochrane Review on masking had some issues. It was hard to eliminate bias, and low mask adherence was a problem. “The primary deficiency in the vast majority of studies is that they don’t measure mask wearing through direct observation, said Jason Abaluck, an economics professor at Yale who led the Bangladesh trial. “They simply ask people whether they wear masks. Self-reported mask-wearing doesn’t at all resemble actual mask-wearing.”
Now, Slate’s logic would also torpedo any favorable, pro-mask study, since that study would also have to be based on self-reporting, nor could it be done at scale using direct observation. No mask study can. But so what? If and when Slate gets hold of a pro-mask study, it will forget all about this objection in its delirious joy.
Ultimately, Slate concluded that, since you can’t rely on 78 RCT studies, even though reviewed by the “gold standard” of evidence-based medicine, (why would you?), you just have to decide about masking for yourself.
In other words — get ready — do NOT “trust the science:”
[M]ask proponents insist that in the face of uncertainty, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Even if you’re not worried about your own risk, masking protects other people who are more vulnerable. Why not, they ask, since the downsides of masking are negligible?
Ultimately, the decision about whether to mask comes down to personal feelings about risk tolerance, collective action, and the effects of masks—or COVID itself—on quality of life. People disagree on all three counts, so it’s unlikely we will ever come to a consensus. It doesn’t look like “the science” is going to be a tiebreaker anytime soon. More than showing whether or not masks work, the Cochrane Review finds that the kind of evidence gathered so far can’t really answer the question. Maybe that’s a good reason to let people decide for themselves
So funny! The Cochrane Review’s authors explicitly found that wearing masks probably makes no difference, but Slate, using the study shell game, transformed that clear finding into a swamp of uncertainty: We’ll never know! It’s one of those unknowables, like what happens after death, or where the Universe came from.
In other words — it’s a religion. I think they gave it away when they mentioned the “effects of masks … on quality of life.” There are people who think masking somehow improves their quality of life, regardless of whether it stops covid infection or not. These are probably folks you should keep your kids away from.
Have a terrific Thursday! I’ll see you back here tomorrow for another fresh cup.
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© 2022, Jeff Childers, all rights reserved
Published with author’s permission.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida.