Back live Wednesday!
As a medical student and researcher, I staunchly supported the efforts of the public health authorities when it came to COVID-19. I believed that the authorities responded to the largest public health crisis of our lives with compassion, diligence, and scientific expertise. I was with them when they called for lockdowns, vaccines, and boosters.
I was wrong. We in the scientific community were wrong. And it cost lives.
I can see now that the scientific community from the CDC to the WHO to the FDA and their representatives, repeatedly overstated the evidence and misled the public about its own views and policies, including on natural vs. artificial immunity, school closures and disease transmission, aerosol spread, mask mandates, and vaccine effectiveness andsafety, especially among the young. All of these were scientific mistakes at the time, not in hindsight. Amazingly, some of these obfuscations continue to the present day.
But perhaps more important than any individual error was how inherently flawed the overall approach of the scientific community was, and continues to be. It was flawed in a way that undermined its efficacy and resulted in thousands if not millions of preventable deaths.
What we did not properly appreciate is that preferences determine how scientific expertise is used, and that our preferences might be—indeed, our preferences were—very different from many of the people that we serve. We created policy based on ourpreferences, then justified it using data. And then we portrayed those opposing our efforts as misguided, ignorant, selfish, and evil.
Home goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond is closing 87 more stores under that brand, along with all 50 Harmon beauty store locations and five Buy Buy Baby outlets.
The closures come in light of ongoing financial issues at the company. In a Thursday filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company noted that it is considering all alternatives, including bankruptcy. It also listed other options to generate capital.
“The company is undertaking a number of actions in order to improve its financial position and stabilize its results of operations, including, but not limited to, cost cutting, lowering capital expenditures, and reducing its store footprint, including related distribution centers. … These measures may not be successful,” Bed Bath & Beyond noted in the filing.
Meanwhile, the company’s losses continue to mount. Over the three-month period that ended Nov. 26, Bed Bath & Beyond reported $3.9 million in losses. That same period saw 33% less revenue compared with the equivalent period in 2021. The company expressed doubts it can continue to function without the possibility of liquidation.
The announced closings Monday come on top 150 closures announced in August.
Webmaster addition: I used to love shopping at the Bed, Bath, and Beyond store near our home on Oahu. But then they dropped My Pillow and I stopped going there.
Indiana lawmakers are trying again to pass a Republican-backed proposal to make school board elections partisan despite opposition from school board members and education advocates from across the state.
Candidates running for school boards would be required to identify as a Republican, Democrat or Independent, according to the legislation.
Currently, Indiana is among 41 states where local school board elections are held without any party identification on the ballot for candidates.
The bill’s author, Republican Sen. Jack Sandlin of Indianapolis, said the impetus of the bill stemmed from his conversations with Hoosiers who feel their views have been “excluded” from school board meetings.
The survey found that 67% of respondents received one or more COVID-19 vaccines, while 33% are unvaccinated. Furthermore, among those vaccinated, 6% received one dose, 28% received two doses, 21% received three doses, and 12% took four or more.
Of those receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, 15% say they’ve been diagnosed by a medical practitioner with a new condition within a matter of weeks to several months after taking the vaccine.
“The fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 232 million Americans ages 18-65 have taken at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 15% of those surveyed report a newly diagnosed condition is concerning and needs further study,” said Children’s Health Defense (CHD) executive director Laura Bono. “The mRNA vaccine technology is new and clinical trials naturally have no long-term data. CHD believes this survey points to the need for further study.”
Remnants of an ancient city dating back to the Roman Empire have been unearthed in the Egyptian city of Luxor.
Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced the discovery in a news release Tuesday.
Images of the site reveal the remains of a residential community.
The Islamic Republic of Iran was the target of air strikes with drones in the early hours of January 29th. Many unconfirmed rumors about the attacks have been spread on the internet, but the most probable possibility is that the action was planned by Israelis and Azeris in order to dissuade Iran to take a less active stance in current key conflicts, considering that many factories of Shahed military drones, one of Iran’s most important weapons, were hit during the bombings.
Iran’s Ministry of Defense confirmed that some attacks occurred in the Isfahan region. Military drone factories were the main targets, which indicates that it was an assault aimed at destroying the Iranian war industry. Other regions also reported incidents, mainly Khoy, on the border with Azerbaijan, but without official confirmation from the Iranian government.
According to some anonymous sources, the drones used in the attacks probably came from an Israeli military base in Azerbaijan. During the strikes, some media outlets even published news stating that Tel Aviv had formally started a military operation inside the Iranian territory which has been described as “disinformation and “psychological warfare” by the Iranian authorities. Investigations are still being conducted and apparently there are Iranian officials both confirming and denying the Israeli involvement.
On the 30th, Iranian officials anonymously informed some Middle Eastern media outlets that data so far indicate that Tel Aviv is the side responsible for the attack. However, some other Iranian representatives on the same day have expressed skepticism about this possibility, claiming that, in such a circumstance, Tel Aviv would certainly be willing to admit its responsibility.
For example, Abbas Moghtadaei, deputy chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Foreign Policy and National Security Commission, said during an interview to Russian press: “If Israel had done this, it would proudly show evidence of its operation to the whole world”.
The U.S. military is poised to secure expanded access to key bases in the Philippines on the heels of a significant revamp of U.S. force posture in Japan — developments that reflect the allies' concern with an increasingly fraught security environment in the region and a desire to deepen alliances with the United States, according to U.S. and Philippine officials.
While negotiations are still ongoing, an announcement is expected as soon as this week when Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meets in Manila with his counterpart, Carlito Galvez, acting secretary of National Defense, and then with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The expansion involves access to Philippine military bases, likely including two on the northern island of Luzon — which, analysts said, could give U.S. forces a strategic position from which to mount operations in the event of a conflict in Taiwan or the South China Sea. They will also facilitate cooperation on a range of security concerns, including more rapid responses to natural disasters and climate-related events.
A New York judge sentenced Colinford Mattis to just 12 months in prison for his part in the firebombing of a NYPD vehicle during the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots after concluding that he’s a “good guy.”
In a dramatic hearing on Thursday, a federal judge sentenced a corporate attorney who firebombed a police car during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests to a year in jail, arguing that his prestigious education — boarding school, Princeton, a law degree from New York University — should have rendered him a peacekeeper, not an instigator.
“You’re not one of the oppressed. You’re one of the privileged,” senior Eastern District of New York Judge Brian Cogan told Colinford Mattis, even as he expressed admiration for what the 35-year-old had accomplished in his life.
Upon the statues' unveiling yesterday – statues which the artist admits are an ode to abortion and the late, notoriously pro-abortion U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – pro-lifers and other conservatives took to social media to blast the monuments as evil.
A pair of statues championing abortion have been erected in New York City, leaving pro-lifers aghast.
The statues – one of which is on display on the roof of the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, and the other in close-by Madison Square Park – are both made of bronze and feature immodestly dressed female-looking creatures with horn-shaped braided hair.
Webmaster addition: This looks like a character from an old Ray Harryhausen movie!
I doubt if there is anyone reading this blog that remembers D-Day, June 6, 1944. I call your attention to that date because it was the start of the Allied offensive to retake Europe from the Nazis. When the operation started, however, Hitler and his Generals did not realize it was the real deal. They were still convinced that the main Allied attack would come at Pas de Calais. It took them at least a week to realize that the genuine invasion was underway.
With that historical precedent let me suggest that the “spring” offensive by Russia actually is underway. The Russian attacks along the Ukrainian defensive lines in the Donbass are significant. At the same time, Russia is punching north in the Zaporhyzhia region. Is the Russian presence in Belarus just a feint designed to tie up Ukrainian forces that otherwise might have been sent to reinforce bloodied troops in the Donbass?
Ukraine lacks armor and air power and is compelled to rely on throwing untrained troops into the front lines, where they face unrelenting bombardment from artillery and missiles. Russia is not launching human wave attacks. They are content to saturate Ukraine’s defensive positions with a volume of fire not seen since the Second World War. And Ukraine’s ability to return fire is constrained by lack of ammunition.
The gravity of Ukrainian desperation is evident in the latest effort to deal with mounting casualties:
Every male between 20 and 55 years of age to be conscripted in Ukraine—regardless of family status, profession, physical or mental health, or any other consideration.https://t.me/sonar_21/474
Lists are to be prepared by every employer, organization, or institution (the document concerns the Kiev region specifically).
A country that is winning a war does not do that. Fifty-five year old men are good at drinking beer and playing golf. Fighting in a trench and dodging shells? Not so much.
On the diplomatic front there are some unusual moves. Secretary of State Blinken visited Egypt to chat about “regional issues.” Really?
Realizing NATO’s war with Russia will likely end unfavorably, the US is test-driving an exit offer. But why should Moscow take indirect proposals seriously, especially on the eve of its new military advance and while it is in the winning seat?
Those behind the Throne are never more dangerous than when they have their backs against the wall.
Their power is slipping away, fast: Militarily, via NATO’s progressive humiliation in Ukraine; Financially, sooner rather than later, most of the Global South will want nothing to do with the currency of a bankrupt rogue giant; Politically, the global majority is taking decisive steps to stop obeying a rapacious, discredited, de facto minority.
So now those behind the Throne are plotting to at least try to stall the incoming disaster on the military front.
As confirmed by a high-level US establishment source, a new directive on NATO vs. Russia in Ukraine was relayed to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Blinken, in terms of actual power, is nothing but a messenger boy for the Straussian neocons and neoliberals who actually run US foreign policy.
The secretary of state was instructed to relay the new directive – a sort of message to the Kremlin – via mainstream print media, which was promptly published by the Washington Post.
Russian troops making successful progress into Soledar, Ukraine, are coming upon hideous scenes. Former ACTIVE-DUTY NATO TROOPS, with their HEADS and HANDS CUT-OFF to prevent/Delay their identification. Ukraine is desperate to conceal NATO active troops fighting Russians.
The brief video below contains horrifying and graphic images of the dead bodies of NATO active duty troops, beheaded and without hands. The video shows gruesome and horrifying images of actual death. Viewer discretion is strongly advised:
Moscow reserves the right to retaliate if US-Japanese military cooperation poses a security threat, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated in publicized comments on the results of Moscow’s diplomacy for 2022.
"We have repeatedly conveyed to the Japanese side through diplomatic channels that such actions are teeming with potential threats to the security of our country and regional stability in general. We have directly warned them that we reserve the right to take adequate reciprocal measures, naturally in accordance with the approved defense doctrine of the Russian Federation," the Foreign Ministry said.
It also pointed out that the updated National Security Strategy adopted by Japan in December 2022 is seen as "just more evidence of official Tokyo’s accelerated advance towards militarization, particularly in order to serve US interests in the Asia-Pacific Region, including acquiring its own strike capabilities".
"We do not regard China as an adversary, we believe that we should engage with China on issues like arms control, climate change and other issues. But, at the same time, we are very clear that China poses a challenge to our values, to our interests and to our security. There are many reasons for that, partly because China does not share our values," Stoltenberg said during a Q&A session at the CHEY Institute for Advanced Studies in Seoul.