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Fri, 26 Feb 2021
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We'll have herd immunity by April

Mask Shield illustration
© Illustration: Martin Kozlowski
Amid the dire Covid warnings, one crucial fact has been largely ignored: Cases are down 77% over the past six weeks. If a medication slashed cases by 77%, we'd call it a miracle pill. Why is the number of cases plummeting much faster than experts predicted?

In large part because natural immunity from prior infection is far more common than can be measured by testing. Testing has been capturing only from 10% to 25% of infections, depending on when during the pandemic someone got the virus. Applying a time-weighted case capture average of 1 in 6.5 to the cumulative 28 million confirmed cases would mean about 55% of Americans have natural immunity.

Now add people getting vaccinated. As of this week, 15% of Americans have received the vaccine, and the figure is rising fast. Former Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb estimates 250 million doses will have been delivered to some 150 million people by the end of March.

Comment: Despite the assumption that the vaccine will confer immunity, natural herd immunity is undoubtedly rising. But will this mean an end to lockdowns and social distancing initiatives?

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Melbourne anti-vaxxers arrested as hundreds rally in Australian capital cities

melbourne police arrest anti-vaxxer
Victoria's chief health officer, Brett Sutton, has assured the public that "fervent anti-vaxxers" are a "small minority" as hundreds rallied in capital cities across Australia.

Multiple people were arrested at a Melbourne rally on Saturday amid clashes with the police, while protesters also marched through the Sydney CBD and large groups gathered in Brisbane and Adelaide.

Demonstrators in Melbourne voiced conspiracy theories and rallied "against mandatory Covid vaccinations", an idea that has already been rejected by the federal government and health experts.

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Australian spy found dead reportedly planned to release classified data on Afghan 'war crimes'

afghanistan conflict
© AP Photo / Hadi Mizban
The officer was found dead in the Russell complex in Canberra just a month after the biggest scandal in the history of the Australian military. According to police reports, his death was not suspicious, as he had apparently committed suicide.

An Australian intelligence officer, who was found dead in the car park of army headquarters in December 2020, allegedly had an encrypted hard drive with him, as he was reportedly planning to release classified information on the misconduct of Australian troops in Afghanistan, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

"It is understood the intelligence officer was going to make the information public because the Brereton Report is an erroneous one-sided witchhunt against the SAS to try to appease the Afghanis", the source told the newspaper.

Bad Guys

'DEATH TO THE PATRIARCHY': Madonna lashes out at shadowy cabal of men attempting to 'cut off her life force'

© REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Singer Madonna speaks to guests after receiving the Advocate for Change award during the 30th annual GLAAD awards ceremony in New York City, New York, US, May 4, 2019.
Pop icon Madonna has complained that a conniving cadre of scheming men has prevented her from reaching her full potential, but some believe that the obscenely wealthy and successful entertainer may be overreacting.

"The Patriarchy continues to try to crush my neck with their heavy boots, cut off my life force and take away my voice — Even those who call themselves artists..............You know who you are!!! DEATH TO THE PATRIARCHY! Now and Forever," Madonna tweeted, including a photograph of herself wearing a glittering tiara.

Comment: Looks like someone feels like she needs some attention.

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TWO Boeing planes suffer rare engine failure in two days, parts break off over populated areas

boeing engine failure
© @speedbird5280 (Hayden Smith) via Instagram
A United Airlines Boeing 777 suffered an uncontained engine failure over Denver earlier today.
A United Boeing 777 was forced to return to Denver International Airport earlier today. The 26-year-old aircraft suffered an uncontained engine failure over the city, with parts of the engine cowling ending up in a local resident's front yard.

It's incredibly rare for an aircraft to suffer an uncontained engine failure. In August 2019, Simple Flying reported that a car window in Italy had been smashed by debris from a Norwegian 787's uncontained failure. However, today has been a day of incredible co-incidence as not one but two major uncontained failures occurred over populated areas. Earlier today, parts of a Boeing 747 engine ended up lodged in the roof of a car in the Netherlands.

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MI6 chief apologises for 'wrong, unjust and discriminatory' treatment of LGBT+ recruits

richard moore MI6
The head of MI6 has issued a public apology for unjust treatment in the past of staff and recruits because of their sexuality, acknowledging that talented and brave people who wanted to serve their country suffered because of ignorance and prejudice.

Although same-sex relationships were decriminalised in 1967, the intelligence agencies continued to bar LGBT+ entrants until 1991. Even after that date, Richard Moore pointed out, serving officers who had not disclosed their sexuality during the vetting process faced harsh treatment.

The ban on LGBT+ entrants, said Mr Moore, was based on "misguided view" that they would be more susceptible to blackmail than straight people by hostile states, making them a security risk.

Comment: If the barring of LGBT entrants was lifted 30 years ago, why apologize now?

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Eye 1

Wall of Lies

Propaganda is not what it used to be. It is something far worse. In part because of the effectiveness of its action upon us, we have no idea when it is present, nor what it is doing to us.

stay home
This essay is an adaptation to current circumstances of a chapter from my 2018 book Give Us Back the Bad Roads (Currach Press), titled 'Engineering Consent'.
I see the same syndrome expressed in signs everywhere: people on the street jumping under buses rather than pass close to one another; a journalist I once thought at least vaguely intelligent writing about 'cases' under the seeming impression that PCR tests do exactly what it says on the Covid tin; a political movement supposed to be pro-freedom demanding a faster rollout of vaccines; half a dozen police officers sitting on a woman and helping each other to handcuff her because she is more than five kilometres from her home, and nobody batting an eyelid. Signs of what? Signs of complicity in a terror beyond understanding. Signs of having surrendered the option of having a mind of your own. Signs of a surrender to the insuperable, the inevitable. Signs of being walled in by lies.

There is something we are not comprehending, something to do with the minds of the generality of people.

It is not sufficient to speak of 'propaganda'. The word, used by our limited understanding of its meaning, is inadequate to the achievement of even the remotest understanding of where we are now. To speak of it thus in times like these is like standing on the deck of Noah's Ark discussing the weather.

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Czech Republic scraps plans to reopen shops, mandates DOUBLE masking in public

Double mask
© Global Look Press / Keystone Press Agency / Cadu Rolim
Citing an ongoing surge in Covid-19 cases, the Czech government abandoned plans to re-open "non-essential" shops next week. It also ramped up its masking game, urging people to wear two surgical masks or a respirator in public.

Stores, expected to re-open on Monday, will not be allowed to do so, Czech officials said on Friday following a government meeting on tackling the pandemic.

"The pandemic situation is not good, the UK variant is still spreading. That's why we decided not to open closed shops for now," the country's industry minister, Karel Havlicek stated on Twitter.

The re-opening of "non-essential" stores, however, will be debated by the government again next week.

Comment: Meanwhile in the Netherlands, the elite show their contempt for the law by extending the lockdown:
Via RT:

Dutch senators have voted overwhelmingly to pass an emergency act to continue a nationwide curfew, disregarding a judge's ruling this week that the restriction violates the law as well as the rights of citizens.

The emergency bill passed in a 45-13 vote on Friday evening, according to local media, upholding the nightly curfew in the face of an ongoing legal challenge to the restrictions, intended to stem the spread of Covid-19.

While a lower court ruled in favor of Dutch activist group Viruswaarheid (Virus Truth) on Tuesday, deeming the 9pm curfew "not legitimate" and a "far-reaching violation of the right to freedom of movement and privacy," the decision was swiftly reversed on a last-minute appeal from the government. The court reconvened on Friday to rule on the issue, but decided to take another week to reach a final verdict and is set to meet again on February 26.

Following Tuesday's court rulings, Prime Minister Mark Rutte introduced emergency legislation to buoy the curfew order, rushing the bill through the lower house of parliament before senators passed it on Friday. The law keeps the curfew in force at least until early March, though it is unclear what effect the legislation will have should judges rule the restriction illegal next week.


Art and culture: Why the past matters

Gone With The Wind
The Critical Drinker's passionate defence of the art of yesterday, no matter how much it clashes with current ideas.

Sometimes, you sit down to write something, making a point about an issue that has been bugging you for some time - and then you discover that someone else has made exactly the same point, perhaps more eloquently than you could ever hope to. Much was the case when I tried to write about why we should respect the art of the past, warts and all, rather than seeking out things to be offended by in works that were made long before the current world of intersectionality was even though of - which is pretty much anything up until the last ten years. We now live in a world where films, TV shows, paintings, novels and everything else you might think of are either banished from sight or given the artistic equivalent of the scarlet letter, forever prefaced with a warning about their sinful, shameful content to ensure that viewers will always be reminded of their own complicity in this for enjoying these works, rather than wringing their hands in shame.


Orc Lives Matter: Fantasy creatures face racism too, claim professors and journalists

Orc Lives Matter
© Facebook / Orc-Lives-Matter
Dungeons and Dragons is fantasy, but a small band of social justice sorcerers want to cleanse its world of racism and bigotry. Orc lives, they argue, matter.

Picture the scene: in a far-off fantasy world, a group of heroes emerges from a dungeon, drenched in the blood of the orcs they've slain. A powerful knight, a wise gnome and a dextrous elf, they've combined their wisdom and warrior prowess to save their beloved kingdom, and take home chestfuls of loot in the process.

Only in this world, our heroes aren't whisked off to the tavern for an evening of wenches, mead and merrymaking. Instead, they're met by 'Orc Lives Matter' protesters who accuse them of racist violence. The protesters demand that the king defund his knights and the gnome cough up reparations out of his people's mithril-mining fortune. Liberal scribes justify orcish raids on the elf's forest homeland as an overdue response to aeons of elven supremacy, and goblin rights activists lead the charge for bow-and-arrow control.

Comment: See also: