A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.

22 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. The return of Barnaby Joyce ,to the leadership of the federal National Party, had been planned but by whom?
    Has Joyce become the straw man set up to take the fall at the next election?
    If so which member of his party is waiting in the wings to take over?
    Canberra style political manoeuvring seems to include pretence of loyalty
    to get in behind your long term target. That long term target is used to defeat other contenders for the leadership position. A straw figure is put up so that person can be easily knocked down at the right political moment. The timing of the final betrayal has to be seamless. The Canberra way to political power is to hide personal ambition behind a false facade of salvation. The plotter(s) announce that they acted for “the sake of the party/ support base/ nation”. Hiding their own naked ambition, the plotter(s) try not to show their hand whilst walking around Canberra with a “poker face”. The ego or the Id is the driving force of many such plotters. Viewed from outside Canberra, such machinations make no sense. It looks like a childish game of “pass the parcel”. Inside Canberra, the parliament media pack chase the “fox” but praise the “wolf”. Survival of the devious seems to be the order of any parliament sitting day. Meanwhile outside Canberra, the COVID-19 virus mimics the Canberra doctrine ( or. perhaps it is man that is mimicking the behaviour of viruses). It changes its own effectiveness and contaminates all those who come into contact even on a casual basis.
    The vaccine for all this comes from overseas. To be part of the global community even Canberra based politicians must accept that taking action against climate change is now mandatory. Global realities will always swamp political ambitions.

  2. Re: Wuhan Lab Leak “Conspiracy” Theories.

    Lab leaks do happen. An unintended lab leak is an accident, by definition. Such accidents in themselves are not conspiracies. Dangerous gain of function research IS happening in Wuhan and elsewhere. The Americans and the Chinese have even cooperated on virus gain of function research. Only those involved know the reasons why but one can always suggest altruism to money and careerism rather than anything more sinister. Such gain of function research occurs without the public having proper knowledge of it, or understanding the dangers, or being able to give some form of informed democratic consent. Such dangerous and obscure research, with high risk and low return, could reasonably be termed a “conspiracy against the public”.

    The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has run a Wuhan lab leak essay.which people should read in full with close attention.

    So far, there is only circumstantial evidence to suggest where the SARSCoV-2 virus came from. The wild animal vector has NOT been found despite extensive searches and research. This is unusual to say the least. Hence the standard “original wild host to intermediate vector to human host” infection path has still NOT been found. In previous cases (SARS1, MERS) the original host and/or intermediate vector was found. This ongoing failure to find an infection path continues to relegate even this theory to the status of being one based based on circumstantial evidence only, thus far. Of course, if this fact changes via a new discovery then we may legitimately change our minds from a condition of suspended judgement. When new facts emerge we ought to change our minds. But there is currently no clinching evidence, as opposed to circumstantial evidence, that SARSCoV-2 did emerge by a natural path from the wild. This is if one can say a fully natural path exists when we impinge heavily on nature and eat wild animals indiscriminately. Thus we must keep our judgement suspended.

    On the evidence so far, via the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists article, one might judge that there may be more circumstantial evidence for the lab leak theory than there is for the natural zoonotic emergence-vector theory. This is NOT a conspiracy theory as such though any subseuqent cover-up may be a conspiracy albeit definitely a conspiracy theory at this stage. A cover-up is also a reasonable hypothesis so far considering all the extant evidence AND considering Chinese obstruction / evidence hiding and possible American ambivalence about seeking the truth because American researchers may be implicated too.

    On the other hand, Science Based Medicine concludes in “The origin of SARS-CoV-2, revisited”, “What, if anything, has changed? Is there new evidence? Spoiler alert: The answer to both questions is no. The “lab leak” hypothesis is fast becoming a conspiracy theory.” I would link this for balance but I cannot put two links in this post.

    The author attacks the credentials of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists article but his own credentials are also not strictly directly related to the controversy: “David H. Gorski, MD, PhD, FACS is a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute specializing in breast cancer surgery, where he also serves as the American College of Surgeons Committee on Cancer Liaison Physician as well as an Associate Professor of Surgery and member of the faculty of the Graduate Program in Cancer Biology at Wayne State University.”

    We need to await more evidence. If the natural zoonotic route is proven by discovery of the natural resevoir host and/or intermediate vector then this will conclusively refute the lab leak theory. I doubt it will refute the case that concerning gain of function research, with more risks than benefits to the global human population, continues in America, China and elsewhere. COVID-19 has been at least a defacto proof that viruses which subtly or unsubtly degrade regional populations and economies in differential fashion are useful grey war adjuncts and that amoral superpowers (meaning all superpowers) will be attracted to them and tempted to use them in future.

  3. Gregory J. McKenzie says:
    “Inside Canberra, the parliament media pack chase the “fox” but praise the “wolf”.”

    Ikon says “So far, there is only circumstantial evidence to suggest where the SARSCoV-2 virus came from.”

    … so we poor proles now are forced to:

    …”Explore the Rashomon effect, where individuals give significantly different but equally believable accounts of the same event.
    — A samurai is found dead in a quiet bamboo grove. [Historical rape allegation founder dead] One by one, the crime’s only known witnesses recount their version of the events. But as they each tell their tale, it becomes clear that every testimony is plausible yet different. And each witness implicates themselves. What’s going on?
    Sheila Marie Orfano explores the phenomenon of warring perspectives known as the Rashomon effect.”

    “How do you know what’s true?
    – Sheila Marie Orfano
    Jun 10, 2021


    And in trivia section, Australia gets a mention:-

    “Valerie Alia termed the same effect “The Rashomon Principle” and has used this variant extensively since the late 1970s, first publishing it in an essay on the politics of journalism in 1982.[citation needed] She developed the term in a 1997 essay “The Rashomon Principle: The Journalist as Ethnographer” and in her 2004 book, Media Ethics and Social Change.[4][5]

    “A useful demonstration of this principle in scientific understanding can be found in Karl G. Heider’s 1988 journal article on ethnography.[6] Heider used the term to refer to the effect of the subjectivity of perceptionon recollection, by which observers of an event are able to produce substantially different but equally plausible accounts of it.

    “In The Australian Institute for Progress Ltd v The Electoral Commission of Queensland & Ors (No 2), Applegarth J wrote that:

         “”The Rashomon effect describes how parties describe an event in a different and contradictory manner, which reflects their subjective interpretation and self-interested advocacy, rather than an objective truth. The Rashomon effect is evident when the event is the outcome of litigation. One should not be surprised when both parties claim to have won the case.[7]””

    Above description is the Christian Porter case to a tee.

    “Rashomon Trailer
    (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)

  4. Svante & Ikon, my changed attitude re virus vs lab leak, manufactured, conspiracy may not be to your liking.

    I changed when mRNA became reality.

    Who cares now – IF – we share mRNA technology.

    Malevolent actor – hey I just made a better spike protien coronavirus.

    Me – yes. I sampled it this morning  and vaccinated myself this afternoon.

    Well yes, in a perfect world.

    And I want gain of function studies as we may get ahead of Mrs & Nrs Malevolent.  IF safe to sigma infinity!

    But all that comes crashing down if AIDS is used

    HIV (is very scary as it is better than Crisper and smarter than immune systems )

    “HIV is a member of the genus Lentivirus,[15] part of the family Retroviridae.[16] Lentiviruses have many morphologies and biological properties in common.

    “Many species are infected by lentiviruses, which are characteristically responsible for long-duration illnesses with a long incubation period.[17] 

    “Lentiviruses are transmitted as single-stranded, positive-sense, envelopedRNA viruses. Upon entry into the target cell, the viral RNA genome is converted (reverse transcribed) into double-stranded DNA by a virally encoded enzyme, reverse transcriptase, that is transported along with the viral genome in the virus particle.

    “The resulting viral DNA is then imported into the cell nucleus and integrated into the cellular DNA by a virally encoded enzyme, integrase, and host co-factors.[18] 

    “Once integrated, the virus may become latent, allowing the virus and its host cell to avoid detection by the immune system, for an indeterminate amount of time.[19] 

    “The HIV virus can remain dormant in the human body for up to ten years after primary infection; during this period the virus does not cause symptoms.

    “Alternatively, the integrated viral DNA may be transcribed, producing new RNA genomes and viral proteins, using host cell resources, that are packaged and released from the cell as new virus particles that will begin the replication cycle anew.”

  5. Two of the silliest Ripley’s “Believe-It-or-Not” ideas from Australian (and elsewhere) labour economics:

    1. Labour demand curves don’t slope downwards. Indeed increasing wages for unskilled workers will have no effect at all on their employment prospects. Nor will minimum wages have any effect on employment since most firms have monopsonistic power so minimum wage laws will simply increase the bargaining power of labour to offset the buyer market power. Tell that to the farmers trying to hire fruit pickers or cafe owners in Port Douglas trying to get waiters.

    2. Increases in labour supply will not depress wages. Hence if you have big immigration intakes this will have no effect at all in depressing wages. The reason is that migrant workers will add so much to demand that will offset any increase in labour supply on wages. Employing fruit pickers in Mildura will, by themselves, boost aggregate demand so much that increases in the aggregate demand for picked fruit will swamp any effects of increased labour supply in the area of fruit picking.

    The second argument I have sought so refute for many years with zero success. However, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s respected Governor, Mr. Lowe, has recently endorsed the notion that restrictions on immigration will boost wages which kinda supports my claim that argument 2 is silly.

    Argument 1 seems more difficult to dislodge. It offends so much leftist ideology that supports large wage increases for unskilled workers when there is a pool of unemployed skilled workers. I think if you could get supporters of this line that they are skating on thin ice when it comes to the logic of their arguments that that would be a major achievement. Anyway ideology will always trump economics logic. You can always craft a leftist argument based on the indeterminacy of much of economic theory and the fact that laugh-tests count for so little these days to justify any counterintuitive conclusion.

    In addition, the strongest attacks on Argument 2 come from leftist ideologues who make tenuous connections between arguments to restrict immigration in order to boost wages and to protect our environment to (thinly disguised) outright racism.

    Anyway I am grumpy this morning and seeking to be contrary. I had a doctor’s appointment which prevented my usual golf game. Its going to rain for the next few days in Melbourne so the non-irrelevance of sunk costs (another time-worn economics fallacy) will loom large for the remainder of this week.

  6. Harry Clarke,

    We can agree on point 2. An increased supply of labor, especially labor willing to take lower wages, for whatever reason, must depress wages. Indeed, farmers and other employers would scarcely be in favor of immigrant labor if it raised wages.

    Point 1 is a little more complex in my opinion. I sometimes employ the technique of appealing to extremes (reductio ad absurdum if you like). It seems clear that offering a wage of zero (or even of negative infinity) would attract no workers and thus generate no employment. On the other hand, offering a wage of plus infinity, for any standard of labor, presumably would generate full employment and zero unemplyment. Even frictional employment would evaporate like dew on a sunny morning.

    On the standard axes these two points would create a downward sloping straight line. So far so good. But can we assume a straight line? Surely not. Surely it is called a curve for a reason. At the first order is there not reason, theoretically, to assume it is a curve approaching the asymptotes? A finite but absurdly high wage will ensure full employment, assuming enough jobs are offered/ A finite but absurdly low wage will ensure no employment.

    But then there are second order effects. If the income share of wages of the total economy is say 60% then the spending of wages is important for goods and services demand. If total wages are made too low below this initial 60% then demand for goods and services will be low and some labor become unnecessary. Wages that are too low will depress the economy. Equally wages that are too high will depress the economy for eventually there will be no amounts set aside for productive investment and maintenance. This is within the current kind of capitalist economy where it assumed capitalists are the major actors in productive investment.

    This suggests to me a different kind of curve: a somewhat bell-like curve rotated thru 90 degrees which hugs the left, vertical axis and whose side peak might touch 100% employment. At infinite wages there is no economy (of the wages-profit capitalist sort) and at zero wages there is also no economy (of the wages-profit capitalist sort). This suggests there is an optimum wage and in particular an optimum wage for any unskilled work. This suggests it is possible to set the minimum wage too low just as it is possible to set it too high. Drawing a supply curve which slopes down to the right all the way sd to succumb to the fallacy of composition. The supply curve must logically turn at some mid-point or skewed mid-point and slope back to the 0,0 origin.

    But there are further concerns and interferences. A survivable minimum income is necessary if we are not to have starving people or homeless working poor etc. I assume none of us want that because of all the (costly) social problems it will generate. In turn, the survivable minimum income may consist of a good minimum (basic survuvable) wage or it will have to consist of an unsurvivable wage plus a welfare supplement. In the case of the latter, we could consider goods and services which depend on unsurvivable wages to be mis-priced, if we believe in market principles at all.

    In turn, we really have to ponder deeply (and ontologically) about whether our economy’s rules (not its outcomes) are mainly a prescriptive rule-set or mainly an objectively conditioned rule-set. I will flesh out what I mean by this if anybody is curious as to what I am driving at.

  7. Iconoclast, You have to be careful of distinguishing between the demand for labour, which is determined within firms on the basis of technology and input prices, and the supply of labour which is determined by workers on the basis of the wage they are offered and the character of the work. I think your remarks are mainly about supply whereas I am talking about demand by firms.

    It is known that the supply curve for labour can bend backwards so that, while workers offer more labour when wages increase, at a certain point when wages become high enough they may take it easy and work less. Then you can get multiple labor market equilibria – a high wage and a low wage equilibrium. It turns out that the high wage equilibrium is unlikely to be observed because it is unstable.

    The labour demand curve for competitive firms never bends backwards. As is plausible firms always hire fewer workers when they have to pay them more.

  8. @ Ikonoclast
    I think the problem with the Bulletin article is that that Wade has assumed that there was a lab leak and has run with it. It provided no new evidence. However it appeared just at the time the US Gov’t is ramping up its attack on China.

    I do not think any of the scientists with a decent biological background are saying that a lab leak is impossible. They are just saying that it looks extremely unlikely for a number of reasons that I, as a non-biologist, am not qualified to evaluate.

    As to qualifications Wade is a journalist with (wiki) “a Bachelor of Arts degree in Natural Sciences from King’s College, Cambridge in 1964”.

    Gorski is an MD & Ph.D with an active research program and publication record in the “role of glutamate receptors in promoting the growth and metastasis of breast cancer”, whatever that means. It does suggest that his biological knowledge is a bit more up-to-date and deeper than Mr Wade.

    Other researchers seem to feel that the cases being made for a “lab leak” are weak or risible.

    We have already seen two WHO delegations visit Wuhan, neither of which seem to think the “lab leak” scenario is likely. The Chinese could be suppressing evidence but the last delegation seems to have looked at a lot of materials and talked to a lot of people. The more information and people involved, the harder it is to maintain a lie.

    Given the madly aggressive stances by US presidents Trump and Biden and P M Morrison towards China earlier in the pandemic I doubt China has any faith in an inquiry that Australia and the US would set up or agree to. The Chinese leadership probably remembers the US infiltration of the weapons inspectors in Iraq among other things.

    The wild animal vector has NOT been found despite extensive searches and research. This is unusual to say the least.

    I believe this is quite normal. IIRC we still do not have a good idea of the Ebola vector though I may be confusing this with another virus, perhaps MERS. Apparently it can take years to determine an animal vector if it can be determined at all.

    Chinese investigations suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was in Wuhan before the wet market outbreak which seems to have been a “super spreader” event. When one is dealing with a city with a population (8.9 or 11 or 19 million depending on how you draw the boundaries) and which is a major industrial, transportation and educational centre, tracking a virus is unlikely to be easy.

  9. John Kane,

    Consider this list:

    All the zoonotic diseases have had main reservoirs / vectors discovered except Ebola. Even ebola has “wild animals” listed as a reservoir. However, this list is biased to diseases of relative long standing in the human population, so we have had ample time to make these discoveries. This list also does not show coronaviruses other than MERS which seems odd. The origin of MERS is known and shown. This list should also list SARS and SARS2 (COVID-19). If it did so, it would show SARS with known reservoirs / vectors and SARS2 (COVID-19) with an unknown vector thus far.

    If natural, SARS2 (COVID-19) has a very likely origin, namely bats in general terms, but the specific ancestor virus has not been found. Neither has the vector been found despite extensive searches. This seems unusual although I don’t know the typical timelines to find these things. The ancestral reservoir and vector might yet be found. Perhaps there was no vector. Perhaps it came from bat to human by natural spread or by lab experiments. There are of course many unknowns at this stage.

    This list refers to Coronaviruses.

    Virus Natural host Intermediate host
    HCoV-NL63 Bats Unknown
    HCoV-229E Bats Camelids
    HCoV-OC43 Rodents Bovine
    HCoV-HKU1 Rodents Unknown
    SARS-CoV Bats Masked palms civets
    MERS-CoV Bats Camelids
    2019-nCoV Bats Unknown

    “A novel type of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infecting humans appeared in Wuhan, China, at the end of December 2019. Since the identification of the outbreak the infection quickly spread involving in one month more than 31,000 confirmed cases with 638 death. Molecular analysis suggest that 2019-nCoV could be originated from bats after passaging in intermediate hosts, highlighting the high zoonotic potential of coronaviruses.” – Coronaviruses: a paradigm of new emerging zoonotic diseases
    Cristiano Salata, Arianna Calistri, Cristina Parolin, Giorgio Palù

    There are two unknowns on this list, which could support your case. Though I am not sure why 2019-nCoV is shown as having a bat natural host. They haven’t actually discovered it in a bat yet, I mean the precise variant that first appeared in humans. At least to my knowledge. Now, it must have appeared in a bat (or rodent) if it arose naturally. But if it was lab made, it obviously did not appear in a wild bat or rodent. The natural host entry of Bats for the 2019-nCoV initiating variant seems to be a supposition not a discovered fact yet.

  10. @ Iconoclast
    I am not sure why 2019-nCoV is shown as having a bat natural host.

    I think it is because most/all natural hosts for corona viruses of this type are bats but that could just be my ignorance.

    The natural host entry of Bats for the 2019-nCoV initiating variant seems to be a supposition not a discovered fact yet.

    Oh definitely. It just seems like the “smart money” is on a natural host. Most of the “lab leak” proponents seem to have qualifications in law or economics (/sarc) than in the bio-sciences.

  11. John Kane,

    Both hypotheses need to be fully investigated. I am trying not to jump to a conclusion without enough evidence either way. It is logical to investigate the most likely hypothesis first. But if iron-clad proof (to the scientific standard five-sigma corresponds to a p-value, or probability, of error of 3×10 to the -7, or about 1 in 3.5 million) cannot be found despite diligent searches then other avenues need to be investigated too.

    China is clearly hiding, suppressing and obstructing the investigation and their external and internal transparency is low. This might be out of guilt or out of paranoia. Their paranoia of the West is justified, given our history. The West’s paranoia about CCP China is also justified, It is harder to find the truth under such conditions of suspicion and paranoia.

    It would be good to find more than just circumstantial evidence, Whether we ever will I am not sure. There also needs to be a wider debate about the safety and risk-benefit equation of gain of function research. It is very dangerous and the first cousin of weaponisation, Lab leaks are all too common as well. The bio-sciences fraternity seem to suffer from a considerable excess of hubris and over-confidence about some of their activities.

  12. Ikonoclast says JUNE 24, 2021 AT 8:34 AM – breaking news. From your Live Science llink:

    “There is no plausible scientific reason for the deletion: the sequences are perfectly concordant with the samples described in Wang et al. (2020a,b),” Bloom wrote in bioRxiv. “There are no corrections to the paper, the paper states human subjects approval was obtained, and the sequencing shows no evidence of plasmid or sample-to-sample contamination. It therefore seems likely the sequences were deleted to obscure their existence.” – Dr Jesse Bloom, the virologist sleuth.

    From the NYT article linked there:

    Dr. Bloom and Dr. Worobey belong to an outspoken group of scientists who have called for more research into how the pandemic began. In a letter published in May, they complained that there wasn’t enough information to determine whether it was more likely that a lab leak spread the coronavirus, or that it leapt to humans from contact with an infected animal outside of a lab.

    No mention yet in the NYT of the third high probability/possibility of the deliberate targeted release of an engineered viral economic bioweapon, but give them some more time and see what turns this will take as the neocons scramble to control the narratives as they have done for more than a year now.. Until very recently even the accidental lab leak angle has been heavily censored, suppressed, and blocked by the msm including Facebook and Google.

    John Kane says:JUNE 22, 2021 AT 10:45 PM
    – “@ Ikonoclast
    I think the problem with the Bulletin article is that that Wade has assumed that there was a lab leak and has run with it. ”

    Nicholas Wade does a good job, has dug deep, but doesn’t cover all that is publicly known, nor several other ways the dots along the timeline could just as well be reasonably joined, particularly that of deliberate release(s). There are many further points. To mention a few there are: Event 201; the strange sudden death of a new Chinese ambassador to Israel coincidental to a visit there by arch neocon Pompeo and the serious disagreement he had with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his then planned involvement with Xi’s BRI; and notably the US DIA (defense intelligence agency) as early as November 2019 “distributed a secret report to government officials warning that a “cataclysmic” disease outbreak was taking place in Wuhan. The Pentagon afterwards denied the story, but Israeli TV independently confirmed that the report indeed existed and had been distributed to our NATO allies and Israel. The secret DIA report was prepared in “the second week of November,” at a time when probably only a couple of dozen people were starting to feel a little sick in Wuhan, a city of 11 million, and more than a month before anyone in the Chinese government discovered the outbreak. These facts seem almost impossible to explain if the virus was either natural or was accidentally leaked from the Wuhan lab”… “China registered an “atypical pneumonia” epidemic from the very last days of December 2019, while US agencies supposedly knew about it since early November. ”

    – “It provided no new evidence. However it appeared just at the time the US Gov’t is ramping up its attack on China.”

    With respect John Kane, that seems rather to have the cart before the horse. Wade couldn’t get his story published by anyone for quite some time. All his prior publishers and others he tried knocked it back. The WIV lab leak was a claim much too Trump-like, so finally he placed it for free on Medium. There it was noticed by many, gained significant support and traction, was reported on in the msm when it caused certain important players there to reassess what they knew and change their view from the groupthink view, simply anti-Trump in principle, that had been fed them and prevailed for more than a year that sars2 could not have been artificially developed nor spread due to a Wuhan or some other lab leak! Only then did they and the US government Inc also begin to change their tune and begin to give credence to the Trump-like explanation because they no longer would seem to be backing Trump. Wade’s article was subsequently published where Iko found it but had begun producing notable turnarounds in US government and media positions for some time already. Facebook lifted their ban made earlier last year on reports of sars2 and a lab leak. Google has also reversed somewhat from its position of suppressing such reports. And the neocons now in the Biden administration finding Biden as tough on China as Trump also then had no option but to change their public positions and run with the new lines of thinking as their only hope of keeping the blame limited to China and responsibility for Covid-19 not blowing back on USA complicity.

    From Ikonoclast’s boas link, Wades story: “There is no explanation of why a natural epidemic should break out in Wuhan and nowhere else.” – That the epidemic broke out nowhere else and separately from China has high probability of being incorrect. The outbreak in a remote place with infinitesimal connection to China, at a religious festival in Qom, Iran, with deadly effect there amongst numerous holders of high Iranian government office in attendance, for one, is another highly suspect of targeted separate origin.

    Recall that Wade, an experienced journalist, couldn’t get his story published that examines 1) the year old long become standard msm pc acceptable angle on the possibility/probability of natural origins of sars2 in the wild, and 2) the angle the msm and “experts” in the field and other powerful vested interests had long dismissed as being in the Trumpian and so non-pc basket concerning the possibility/probability of an accidental lab leak. Recall that and consider those publication knockbacks happened even though Wade hardly raised any of the many significant USA connections to the covid outbreaks nor joined the non-pc dots that bring USA involvement into serious question, ie, 3) the third possibility/probability including any deliberate, if rogue, targeted release of the various sars2 economic bioweapons.

    See the deeper wider ongoing digging, examination and exposure of the three possible/probable theories for the origin of Sars2/Covid-19 made particularly by Ron Unz.

    The Flying Pangolin
    ANDREAS CANETTI • JUNE 18, 2021 • 26,200 WORDS • 232 COMMENTS

    The Covid BioWeapon: Made in the USA, Aimed at China

    American Pravda: George Orwell’s Virus Lab-Leak
    RON UNZ • MAY 31, 2021 • 5,200 WORDS • 974 COMMENTS

    American Pravda: “The Truth” and “The Whole Truth” About the Origins of Covid-19
    RON UNZ • MAY 10, 2021 • 6,400 WORDS • 949 COMMENTS

  13. “SARS-CoV Bats Masked palms civets”

    “I don’t know the typical timelines to find these things.”

    It took 15 years to confirm bats (2017). As far as I’m aware civets have never been completely confirmed as an intermediate host. The civet virus genome was 99.6% similar to humans. It’s possible they could infect us and even that we could infect them, and it’s possible they were an amplifying factor.

    But the missing piece is no civets were ever found with a genome closer to the bat virus. They may have just been another reservoir like us.

    Or – maybe they were an intermediate host. We don’t know with any certainty because it’s almost impossible for researchers to access animals that died one year ago to study, let alone 2-10 years ago.

    Also difficult to find a group of wild animals that might be living hundreds of miles away (eg. the bats in 2017) and might now show any obvious signs of sickness.

  14. John Kane says: JUNE 24, 2021 AT 6:19 AM
    – “”The natural host entry of Bats for the 2019-nCoV initiating variant seems to be a supposition not a discovered fact yet.” Oh definitely. It just seems like the “smart money” is on a natural host. Most of the “lab leak” proponents seem to have qualifications in law or economics (/sarc) than in the bio-sciences.”

    There are big players in the biosciences with close connections and huge vested interests at risk from this that have been very active in suppressing from day one any possibility that there could have been a lab leak, and very actively promoting the weak natural origins story.

    Smart money always backs self interest.

  15. Somaliland update

    Unexciting news from the Horn of Africa
    “Two solar plants with a total capacity of 8 megawatts, a containerized lithium-ion power storage system with a capacity of 2 megawatt hours, and three modern diesel generators were combined in the Berbera Electricity Company (BEC) utility grid.”

    But wait. Berbera is in Somaliland – which doesn’t exist, according to the UN and the international community. It seceded in 1991 from Somalia, an unhappy postcolonial shotgun wedding of former British and Italian colonies. No other country has recognized it *, but it certainly looks a lot more like a working state than the rest of “Somalia”: a constitution, elections – “Freedom House ranks the Somaliland government as partly democratic“ -, a central bank in imposing offices, and a pretty currency. It’s a poor and thinly populated country, with two sources of foreign income: remittances from the diaspora and sheep sold by the ten thousand to Saudi Arabia. There are at least four competing telcos, the country is well plugged into the global network of submarine fibre-optical cables, it has airports and what looks like a real domestic airline, not a subsidised and patronage-filled flag carrier.

    There is even a Ministry of Tourism. Attractions include prehistoric cave art and two hills called Virgin’s Breast Mountain. I expect there is a bar in Hargeisa not called Rick’s Café where the foreigners hang out: mercenaries, con-men, spooks, bankrupts, missionaries, hookers, consultants, telco engineers, do-gooders and other adventurers. Please report back if you take up the offer.

    Legal pariah may given one great benefit. The government has no access to international financial markets and is outside the web that coddles outside investors. I suppose there are risktakers prepared to lend, but the rates will be exorbitant. The government is presumably forced into Gladstonian prudence: balanced budgets and minimal public services. (The alternative is having more money printed in London, but I don’t see reports of hyperinflation.) I don’t know but can guess how this works out for education and health, but the economy seems to be doing all right.

    Which brings me back to Berbera. Why is it enjoying a boom in electricity demand? The Dubai port operator (meaning the ruler) is investing $440m dollars to upgrade the port, as a third trade route for 100m Ethiopians. Who is going to pay to improve the road?

    * But “In early 2006, the National Assembly of Wales extended an official invitation to the Somaliland government to attend the royal opening of the Senedd building in Cardiff.” (Wikipedia)

  16. Sorry, here I am just being provocative (and a bit of an idiot)

    – “It provided no new evidence. However it appeared just at the time the US Gov’t is ramping up its attack on China.”

    With respect John Kane, that seems rather to have the cart before the horse. Wade couldn’t get his story published by anyone for quite some time.

    Ah, you do not see anything suspicious about the timing?

  17. It IS getting more and more difficult for intelligent laypersons (let us call ourselves that) to determine the truth of matters of fact, even in the scientific fields. The sciences become ever more complex and specialized. There are layers of evidence, layers of popularization, layers of special pleading, layers of careerism and layers of political actors in the space, both good and bad. Scrub “both good and bad”. Most of the powerful actors are bad.

    Even a “smoking gun” piece of evidence can now probably be “deep faked” enough to fool most people or at least keep them in FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt). The truth may come out but how do we distinguish the truth from all the propaganda and deep fakes?

    Where is one left when one doesn’t believe anyone anymore? I refer to the virus issue here. The recent US election I am quite certain was NOT stolen in the sense Trump claims or in any technical election fraud sense. Though I feel less certain about George W. Bush’s first election victory. That may well have been stolen.

    But getting back to he virus, who can we believe? Certainly not China and probably not the USA. Can we believe the virology experts? I am not so sure that they too do not have an agenda, based on overweening hubris and careerism. They want to do the science without ever asking whether they should they do the science. I refer here to gain of function research with viruses.

  18. This is one of the better articles I’ve read in favour of the possibility.

    No evidence, it’s all circumstantial, but I like that the message in any case is about improving bio-safety, rather than getting paranoid about ‘bio-weapons’.

  19. Nick, I saw no paywall.

    The piece wanders all over the place though.

    Among the misdirecting noise and few somewhat salient pertinent claims you need to mostly reconsider what Danielle Anderson worked on and the various protocol levels for biolab safety. BSL-4 is for the type of organisms known to be infectious to humans that Anderson says she worked on at WIV:

    “Her research—which focuses on why lethal viruses like Ebola and Nipah cause no disease in the bats in which they perpetually circulate—complemented studies underway at the Chinese institute, which offered funding to encourage international collaboration.”

    OTH BSL-2, rather similar to a dentist’s surgery, is fine for organisms known to infect animals and known not to infect humans ie many many corona viruses. It is known that WIV workers got around the very uncomfortable and irritating working conditions of BSL-4 to conduct research in BSL-2 labs by saying that as they were not working, for example, with SARS1, a known human corona virus pathogen, but with material known only to infect animals it was ok and quite within the regulations to work in BSL-2 labs with corona viruses… and, maybe this was how and where the SARS-CoV-2 number came up Bingo! However, reportedly labs in the US are faced with the same issues and apparently in both cases it was documented and sometimes an investigation into such a potentially risky practice was called for and reported on,

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