Monday, April 6, 2020

Coronavirus: China's Great Cover-up - Giulio Meotti


by Giulio Meotti

What are they hiding?

  • Bats were not, it seems, sold at Wuhan's seafood market. The Lancet noted in a January study that the first Covid-19 case in Wuhan had no connection to the market.
  • One more person has just disappeared. Ai Fen, a Chinese physician, who... claimed her bosses silenced her early warnings about coronavirus, appears to have vanished.... The journalists who saw what happened inside Wuhan have also disappeared.
  • "No one has been able to study it. How can you say it's not a release from a lab if you can't go to the lab? Indeed, we have seen Beijing do its best to prevent virologists and epidemiologists from actually going to Wuhan." — Gordon Chang, in Die Weltwoche, March 31, 2020.
  • That is another major problem. The potential major investigator on Wuhan's origin, the World Health Organization, is now accused of being "China's coronavirus' accomplice".
  • Why is China trafficking in dangerous viruses in the first place?
  • "Debate may rage over which center it is, but at this point it seems undeniable that a center has been directly involved with research on viruses, although not necessarily on the creation of a virus." — Father Renzo Milanese, AsiaNews.it, March 13, 2020.


On January 11, China's government announced that Wuhan's wet market was the origin of the coronavirus epidemic. The same Chinese regime later claimed that the virus "may not have originated in China", and later still, Chinese officials began claiming that US soldiers brought the virus to Wuhan. What respected scientist or institution can now trust anything that comes out of China? (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

We have been paying dearly for China's lies.

"This is one of the worst cover-ups in human history, and now the world is facing a global pandemic," said Rep. Michael T. McCaul, the ranking Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, before the US intelligence community concluded, in a classified report to the White House, that China has concealed the origin and extent of the catastrophic global coronavirus outbreak.

The Chinese Communist Party's "failure has unleashed a global contagion killing thousands", wrote Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, on April 1. "As we survey the damage done to lives around the world, we must ask who is responsible?"
"... there is one government that has primary responsibility for what it has done and what it has failed to do, and that is the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] regime in Beijing. Let me be clear — it is the CCP that has been responsible, not the people of China... Lies and propaganda have put millions of lives around the world in danger... In recent years, we have seen an intense crackdown on freedom of expression in China. Lawyers, bloggers, dissidents and civil society activists have been rounded up and have disappeared."
One more person has just disappeared: Ai Fen, a Chinese physician who was head of the emergency department at Wuhan Central Hospital, had worked with the late Dr. Li Wenliang. Ai, who claimed that her bosses silenced her early warnings about coronavirus, appears to have vanished. Her whereabouts, according to 60 Minutes Australia, are unknown. The journalists who saw what happened inside Wuhan have also disappeared. Caixin Global reported that the laboratories which sequenced the coronavirus in December were ordered by Chinese officials to hand over or destroy the samples and not release their findings. "If I had known what was to happen, I would not have cared about the reprimand, I would have fucking talked about it to whoever, where ever I could", Ai Fen said in an interview in March. Those were her last recorded words.

There is no record at all, however, about how this pandemic began. Wet market? A cave full of bats? Pangolins? Or a bio-weapons laboratory? No foreign doctors, journalists, analysts or international observers are present in Wuhan. Why, if the virus came out of a wet market or a cave, did China suppress inquiries to such an extent? Why, in December, did Beijing order Chinese scientists to destroy proof about the virus? Why did Chinese officials claim that US soldiers brought the virus to Wuhan? Why should it be scandalous that a US President calls a virus that began in China a "Chinese virus"?

Who announced on January 11 that Wuhan's wet market was the origin of this epidemic? The Chinese regime. It was later discovered that the first known case of coronavirus traced back to November 17, 2019.

The same Chinese regime later claimed that this coronavirus "may not have originated in China". What respected scientist or institution can now trust anything that comes out of China?

Many leading scientists have dismissed the claim that the Covid-19 virus was an engineered pathogen. This conclusion was seemingly based on the fact that Wuhan has two major virus research labs: the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which is apparently less than a mile from the market, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory, handling the world's most deadly pathogens, located just seven miles from the market. The story was immediately and emphatically trashed as a "conspiracy theory".

Those scientists claim that the virus likely originated among wildlife before spreading to humans, possibly through a food market in Wuhan. They say that, through genetic sequencing, they have identified the culprit for Covid-19 as a bat coronavirus. End of story? Science, thankfully, begins by asking questions and then seeking answers.

Bats were not, it seems, sold at Wuhan's wet market. The Lancet noted in a January study that the first Covid-19 case in Wuhan had no connection to the market. The Lancet's paper, written by Chinese researchers from several institutions, detailed that 13 of the 41 first cases had no link to the market. "That's a big number, 13, with no link," commented Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University. So how did the epidemic start?

"Now it seems clear that [the] seafood market is not the only origin of the virus, but to be honest we still do not know where the virus came from now", notes Bin Cao, pulmonary specialist at Capital Medical University, and the corresponding author of the Lancet article.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that China's Communist Party is withholding information about the coronavirus.

If we do not know, it is necessary be open to all possibilities.

"Less than 300 yards from the seafood market is the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention" wrote David Ignatius of the Washington Post.
"Researchers from that facility and the nearby Wuhan Institute of Virology have posted articles about collecting bat coronaviruses from around China, for study to prevent future illness. Did one of those samples leak, or was hazardous waste deposited in a place where it could spread?".
"Collecting viruses" presumably does not exclude the possibility of a "leaked virus". Worse, if China is not able to protect its laboratories, it needs to be held accountable and made to pay for the devastating global damage.

"Experts know the new coronavirus is not a bioweapon. They disagree on whether it could have leaked from a research lab", stated The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Professor Richard Ebright of Rutgers University's Waksman Institute of Microbiology, and a major biosecurity expert, agreed with the Nature Medicine authors' argument that the coronavirus was not manipulated by humans. But Ebright does think it possible that the Covid-19 started as an accidental leak from a laboratory, such as one of the two in Wuhan, which are known to have been studying bat viruses:
"Virus collection or animal infection with a virus having the transmission characteristics of the outbreak virus would pose substantial risk of infection of a lab worker, and from the lab worker, the public."
Ebright has also claimed that bat coronaviruses are studied in Wuhan at Biosafety Level 2, "which provides only minimal protection" compared with the top BSL-4.

"We don't know what happened, but there are a lot of reasons to believe that this indeed was a release of some sort", China expert Gordon Chang said to Die Weltwoche.
"No one has been able to study it. How can you say it's not a release from a lab if you can't go to the lab? Indeed, we have seen Beijing do its best to prevent virologists and epidemiologists from actually going to Wuhan. The World Health Organization team went to Wuhan for like half a day with only part of the team."
That is another major problem. The potential major investigator of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic's origin, the World Health Organization (WHO), is now accused of being "China's coronavirus' accomplice". As late as January 14, the WHO quoted Chinese health officials claiming there had been no human transmissions of the coronavirus within the country yet.

China poses a biosecurity risks for the entire planet. One year before the first coronavirus case was identified in Wuhan, US Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese biologist with three vials labeled "Antibodies" in his luggage. According to an unclassified FBI tactical intelligence report obtained by Yahoo News:
"Inspection of the writing on the vials and the stated recipient led inspection personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials."
Why is China trafficking in dangerous viruses in the first place?

According to Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations:
"A safety breach at a Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention lab is believed to have caused four suspected SARS cases, including one death, in Beijing in 2004. A similar accident caused 65 lab workers of Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute to be infected with brucellosis in December 2019. In January 2020, a renowned Chinese scientist, Li Ning, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling experimental animals to local markets".
In February, Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao, from Guangzhou's South China University of Technology, wrote in a research paper:
"In addition to origins of natural recombination and intermediate host the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan. Safety level [sic] may need to be reinforced in high risk biohazardous laboratories".
Xiao later told the Wall Street Journal that he had withdrawn the paper because it "was not supported by direct proofs".

Chinese laboratory mistakes have happened before. By 2010, researchers published as fact: "The most famous case of a released laboratory strain is the re-emergent H1N1 influenza-A virus which was first observed in China in May of 1977 and in Russia shortly thereafter". The virus may have escaped from a lab attempting to prepare a vaccine in response to the U.S. swine flu pandemic alert.

In 1999 the most senior defector in the US from the Soviet biological warfare program, Ken Alibek, revealed that Soviet officials concluded that China had suffered a serious accident at one of its secret biological plants, causing two major epidemics of fever that had swept China in the late 1980s. "Our analysts", Alibek stated in his book, Biohazard, "concluded that they were caused by an accident in a lab where Chinese scientists were weaponizing viral diseases".

In 2004, the World Health Organization disclosed that the latest outbreak of "severe acute respiratory syndrome" (SARS) in China involved two researchers who were working with the virus in a Beijing research lab. The WHO denounced Chinese breaches of safety procedures, and director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Li Liming, resigned. Science magazine also stated that "for the third time in less than a year, an outbreak of SARS seems to have originated from a failure in laboratory containment".

Moreover, three years ago, when China opened the laboratory in Wuhan, Tim Trevan, a Maryland biosafety specialist, told Nature that he worried about the safety of the building because "structures where everyone feels free to speak up and openness of information are important." Free speech and open information: exactly what Chinese regime fought against in December and January.

A Chinese video about a key researcher in Wuhan, Tian Junhua, which was released a few weeks before the outbreak in Wuhan, shows Chinese researchers handling bats that contained viruses. In the video (produced by China Science Communication, run by the China Association for Science and Technology), Tian says:
"I am not a doctor, but I work to cure and save people... I am not a soldier, but I work to safeguard an invisible national defense line".
Tian is also reported as having said:
"I can feel the fear: the fear of infections and the fear of getting lost. Because of the fear, I take every step extremely cautiously. The more scared I feel, the more care I take in executing every detail. Because the process of you finding the viruses is also when you can be exposed to them the easiest. I do hope these virus samples will only be preserved for scientific research and will never be used in real life".
For a month, the Chinese Communist Party, instead of fighting the contagion, did everything possible to censor all information about the Covid-19 outbreak. After President Xi Jinping declared "a people's war" on the epidemic on January 20, Chinese security services pursued 5,111 cases of "fabricating and deliberately disseminating false and harmful information". The Chinese Human Rights Defenders documented several types of punishment, including detention, disappearance, fines, interrogations, forced confessions and "educational reprimand".

After that, China lied about the real number of deaths. There are photographs of long lines of stacked urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in 2,500 urns. According to Chinese official figures, 2,548 people in Wuhan have died of the Covid-19. According to an analysis by Radio Free Asia, seven funeral homes in Wuhan were each handing out 500 funeral urns containing remains for 12 days, from March 23 to the traditional tomb-sweeping festival of April 5, a time that would indicate up to 42,000 urns, or ten times higher than the official figure.

In February, it was reported that Wuhan crematoriums were working around the clock to cope with the massive influx of infected bodies. Wuhan's officials are apparently pushing relatives of the victims to bury the dead "quickly and quietly".

"Natural virus" does not exclude its fallout from a laboratory where pathogens are collected and studied. The Nature Medicine authors "leave us where we were before: with a basis to rule out [a coronavirus from] a lab construct, but no basis to rule out a lab accident", Professor Ebright commented.

"Debate may rage over which center it is, but at this point it seems undeniable that a center has been directly involved with research on viruses, although not necessarily on the creation of a virus" wrote Father Renzo Milanese, a longtime Catholic missionary in Hong Kong.
"In other words, the virus passed from a research center in Wuhan early on. More importantly there is also no question that the authorities were aware of the dangerousness of the virus, that they did not inform anyone and that they tried to keep the facts hidden".
US Senator Josh Hawley has introduced a resolution calling for an international investigation into China's handling of the spread of the virus. According to Hawley:
"The Chinese Communist Party was aware of the reality of the virus as early as December but ordered laboratories to destroy samples and forced doctors to keep silent. It is time for an international investigation into the role their cover-up played in the spread of this devastating pandemic".
Admitting a fault, as the Japanese did after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, might be one way for a country to be accepted again by the international community. Censoring, denying and covering up, as China is doing, will not.

"China claims that the deadly virus did not escape from its biolab," said a China specialist with the Population Research Institute, Steven W. Mosher. "Fine. Prove it by releasing the research records of the Wuhan lab".

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15844/coronavirus-china-cover-up

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WHO senior official warns against ‘profiling’ China for lack of transparency - Thomas Lifson


by Thomas Lifson

Another UN body hijacked by dubious a player


The UN’s World Health Organization now stands exposed as a propaganda arm of the communist dictatorship of China, and a pathetic mouthpiece for the clichés favored by identity politics mavens in the United States. Zachary Evans of National Review write:
Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, defended China on Thursday against accusations that the country has underreported cases and deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
“I think we need to be very careful also to not to be profiling certain parts of the world as being uncooperative or non-transparent, and we need to look at transparency across the board,” Ryan said at a Geneva press conference.
“We need to be balanced in that, and we need to recognize that systems under pressure find it hard to share everything on a minute-to-minute basis,” Ryan continued. “Frankly, at times I think we get over-focused on this issue.”
Ryan claimed that there was a “lack of precise information from Italy,” whose medical system has been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of coronavirus patients. “Are we saying they’re lacking in transparency and not sending WHO all the data every day? No.”
I must have missed the news that Italy has expelled the last American journalists covering its response to the crisis. Or the news that Italy has “disappeared” the doctors who have warned against the threat the disease poses.
Senator Ted Cruz sees what is going on at WHO:
“A reevaluation of World Health Organization (WHO) leadership is urgently called for,” Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wrote on Facebook Friday.
“By consistently bending to the Chinese Communist Party, from downplaying the severity of the #coronavirus to systematically excluding Taiwan, it has lost the credibility necessary to be effective,” he continued.

We already know that WHO’s head, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has been running interference to protect China from responsibility for unleashing the epidemic on an unsuspecting world by covering it up and allowing tens of thousands of its citizens to travel overseas and spread the virus. We also know the senior WHO official Bruce Aylward refused to deal with a journalist’s question about why it does not recognize Taiwan, in a video interview that has spread around the world and so embarrassed China that its cat’s paw officials in Hong Kong reprimanded the intrepid journalist who asked the questions. 
There is no reason at all for the US to remain WHO’s top funder now that it has become a virtual wholly-owned subsidiary of the Communist Party of China. 
When this criris has passed, the US must demand the wholesale resignations of WHO’s top management, on pain of the end of US funding. 

Thomas Lifson

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/04/who_senior_official_warns_against_profiling_china_for_lack_of_transparency.html

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Pandemic Hardening Can Make America Great - Daniel Greenfield


by Daniel Greenfield


We need fewer dense cities and more factories.




After September 11, we began the long process of trying to build a society that would be hardened against massive terror attacks. Airports became grueling fortresses in which shoes, bottled water, and personal dignity had no place. A vast intelligence infrastructure was built to violate privacy. But the big decisions were never made. Instead, America became more vulnerable than ever to Islamic terrorism.

That’s why President Trump ran on, among other things, a travel ban from terrorist nations.
As the nation undergoes another shock, we are going to have to think about how to rebuild our society so that it will be hardened against another pandemic. That is going to require hard choices beyond throwing more money at the same alphabet soup government agencies that failed to protect us.

There are three key areas to think about: biological security, urban living, and domestic manufacturing.

The coronavirus, like September 11, was primarily a national security failure. The massive alphabet soup of government agencies, from the CDC to the FDA to the State Department to the CIA failed to correctly assess the problem, take action, coordinate, and keep the nation safe from an external threat.

The nature of the threat on September 11 flew under the radar because it was too big for security agencies and too small for the military, it didn’t fit the shape of what the FBI or Joint Chiefs did. And so we began the task of transforming both the military and security agencies into fitting that shape.

The Department of Homeland Security, in theory the sort of entity that might tackle multifaceted threats, which would include a pandemic, has failed to live up to expectations of basic competence.

The CDC meanwhile spends so much of its focus on social issues that it’s unfit for the job.

After the coronavirus, we will need a national security agency capable of tackling a pandemic. It will need to have intelligence gathering abilities, veto power over immigration, and the ability to quickly commandeer resources to meet a foreign disease outbreak by testing and quarantining suspects. And it must be able to plan both defensive and offensive biowarfare against hostile entities like the PRC.
Call it the Biological Security Agency.

Coronavirus took off in this country because the State Department was allowed to take the lead and it treated the virus not as a threat, but a transportation issue. Henceforth, pandemics must be the responsibility of a national security agency able to evaluate the threat and shut down travel. It should be tasked with maintaining stockpiles of medicines, protective clothing, and other resources needed to meet a biological warfare attack. Even if that’s not what the coronavirus was, it will come one day.

We need to be ready with a national security response to biological warfare.

Hardening America against a pandemic also requires rethinking the blue model. Dense urban areas can’t be defended against biological warfare. The farce of social distancing in New York City’s crowded subways is a structural problem. The denser an urban area is, the more impossible it is to maintain social distance. Density pushes out cars and sends price signals that force the maximum number of people into the same residential, and commercial areas, which are connected by crowded public transportation.

Before the coronavirus struck, progressive policy goals included upping urban density, eliminating single-family zoning, reducing lot size, annexing suburbs to cities, replacing cars with public transit, and using mass migration to boost the political power of cities at the expense of rural and suburban areas.

The coming of the coronavirus to New York City has made it all too obvious that’s a death sentence.

Hardening America against a pandemic requires sprawl, large lot sizes, spread out centers, multiple family cars, reduced immigration, smaller population sizes, and the ‘re-ruralization’ of America. Instead of massive malls selling a thousand flavors of Made in China, smaller businesses should be selling products manufactured in this country for a more decentralized shopping experience.

Federal and state governments made runaway urbanization possible by directing resources to the infrastructure, physical, economic, and social of massive cityscapes, while defunding rural areas.

This 20th century vision of the future stopped making sense with the arrival of the internet. The  coronavirus showed that urban density is hazardous to our health and technologically unnecessary. Urban industries, cultural and technological, are the easiest to virtualize and decentralize. Colleges, dot coms, and financial firms don’t all need a massive physical footprint in one superdense neighborhood.

The growth of the city paralleled the rise of the factory. Post-industrial urbanization is cultural. It’s also physically and socially unhealthy, unsafe, and expensive. And, as we found out on 9/11: vulnerable.

Cultural urbanization has created elite castes and political divisiveness. The modern city is a dysfunctional apartheid zone with sharply divided upper and lower classes, but no middle class, a series of real estate bubbles, havens for foreign oligarchs and international gangs, and a national security hole.

The internet has eliminated the need for the modern city. Pandemics and terror make it too dangerous.

Federal and state governments incentivized the city with taxpayer money. That money should now be used to incentivize its decentralization with subsidies, investments, market signals, and tax policies.

Post-coronavirus America doesn’t need the cities it has too many of, it does need the factories it has too few of. Once the pandemic struck, cities became viral minefields with too many people and not enough goods. Too many of those goods, especially medical protective equipment, were far away in China.

In a pandemic, we don’t need a thousand Thai places within a dozen blocks of each other. We do need a hundred factories that can quickly make the products that we need in order to be able to survive.

Cultural urbanization is a dangerous luxury. Domestic manufacturing is a vital necessity.  

The urban hubs with mass migration providing services to the elites are a suicide pact that this country can’t afford anymore. And we can’t afford to outsource manufacturing to corrupt foreign oligarchies that in a crisis will prioritize getting medical equipment and drugs to their people, not to our own.

The Obama administration invested endless billions in the green energy obsessions of urban residents. It’s now time to invest in the domestic manufacturing that, unlike solar panels, they actually need, even if they refuse to admit it until health care professionals are dying because of a lack of N95 masks.

Many European countries don’t have the space or scope to expand instead of contracting. The United States has vast territories and frontiers that are going unused because we have contracted to the coasts. The technology that could enable us to spread out is instead being used to further contract the country.

The United States has the resources and the territories to become the factory of the world once again.

If we are going to survive the next pandemic, that is what we need to do. Stockpiling equipment against the next crisis is an insufficient answer because the next crisis may not be a pandemic. After the Swine Flu outbreak, states rushed to build up supplies of masks and ventilators, and then disposed of them.

That’s human nature.

Domestic manufacturing gives us the flexibility to adapt to meet the demands of each new crisis. Without that ability, we always going to have to stockpile everything on the chance we may need it.

Interdependence and independence are two possible responses to the pandemic.

The official word is that we need to double down on interdependence: on global networks, on multinational organizations, on international supply chains, and mass migration. That’s the same globalism that got us into this mess, and that will leave us weaker, more vulnerable, and no wiser.

The alternative is to pursue independence, personal and national freedom with strong borders, local manufacturing, national defenses, and personal property for a great culture of prosperity.

This is how we get there.

If we learn the lessons of the pandemic, we will be hardened against the next one. If we don’t, we’ll make the same mistakes all over again. And we’ll emerge weaker, poorer, and more globalized.

The coronavirus is an opportunity to build a greater and stronger nation. We should not waste it.


Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/04/pandemic-hardening-can-make-america-great-daniel-greenfield/

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Whither Woke Culture in an Era of Pandemic? - Bruce Bawer


by Bruce Bawer

What effect might this plague have on the Left’s pampered soy boys and pussy-hat feminists?





Last week, in the New York Post, Kyle Smith made a thoughtful argument that, in the COVID-19 era, “the woke virus,” too, “is spreading faster than ever.” He quoted a statement on Twitter by actress Fran Drescher that the Chinese virus is a product of capitalism; he noted the “vomitatious ‘Imagine’ video praising open borders, socialism and atheism” that was posted online by Gal Gadot and other C-list celebrities in response to the pandemic; and he cited inane claims by various activists that the coronavirus disproportionately disadvantages women or people of color. “Next year,” Smith concluded, “there will probably be a vaccine for coronavirus. But there will never be an inoculation for woke stupidity.”

He may be right. But during these strange weeks when all the world has been united in being apart, I’ve kept nourishing the hope that woke culture may turn out to be one of the casualties of this plague. In fact I’ve pretty much talked myself into believing that it will be. After all, what could more effectively expose the absurdity of the concept of microaggressions than a macroaggression on the scale of the coronavirus? When an increasing number of Americans are infected by a very real and malignant corporeal contagion, how many people are going to keep buying the leftist fiction that no country on earth is more riddled with the contagion of prejudice than the United States? In a time when we’re all “social distancing” to save our skins, who will dare to carry on about the need for “safe spaces” as protection from mere words? 

If the religion of intersectionality survives the pandemic, how can its adherents not come to discern that if there are indeed legitimate victim groups in twenty-first-century America, they’re not women or gays or Muslims or racial minorities but the old and infirm? (Unless, of course, you’re talking about the Christians, Jews, Hindus, women, gays, and others who are the victims of systematic Islamic oppression.) And what about the whole “trans” business – the insistence that men can become women, that women can become men, that there are more than two sexes, and that sexual identity is determined not by chromosomes but by how a given individual feels on a given day? Not only do some of these contentions contradict others – they all defy biology. And when everyone on the planet is preoccupied with a virus, biology is one thing that’s very hard to deny. If a lethal contagion came along that took down only men but not women, who would be more worried for his or her own life – a biological man who identified as a woman or a biological woman who identified as a man?

To be sure, as Kyle Smith points out, the mainstream media are still playing the same old tune. For example, they charge that calling the Chinese virus the Chinese virus is racist. On March 18, the New York Times ran a ridiculous piece that was presented as a news article and credited to no fewer than three reporters – Katie Rogers, Lara Jakes, and Ana Swanson. Its lede read as follows: “President Trump on Wednesday defended his increasingly frequent practice of calling the coronavirus the ‘Chinese Virus,’ ignoring a growing chorus of criticism that it is racist and anti-Chinese.” Trump’s continued use of this term, we were informed, “has angered Chinese officials and a wide range of critics, and China experts say labeling the virus that way will only ratchet up tensions between the two countries, while resulting in the kind of xenophobia that American leaders should discourage.” Naturally, the article (which failed to acknowledge that the Times itself had used the term “Chinese virus” in a January 20 headline) went on to claim that Trump’s word choice had made Asian-Americans the targets of “racial slurs and physical abuse.”

Notably, the Times article referred to “the erroneous perception that China is the cause of the virus.” Of course, no one thinks that China is the virus’s “cause,” whatever that might mean; but it’s an established fact that China was its place of origin, that the virus would never have arisen if not for certain disgusting cultural and culinary traditions that are indigenous to China, and that the virus probably would never have spread so widely and taken so many lives if not for the treacherous duplicity of the Chinese Communist Party. Scott Kennedy, a “China expert” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Times that the term “Chinese virus” was “fueling a narrative in China about a broader American hatred and fear of not just the Chinese Communist Party but of China and Chinese people in general.” Yes, there is a narrative to that effect taking root in China: it’s a narrative that’s being pushed, in the most devious and cynical fashion, by the Chinese Communist Party. (Note, moreover, the implication here that hating and fearing the Chinese Communist Party, or any Communist Party, is a bad thing.) 

On March 20, the Washington Post ran a similar story, which also masqueraded as a news article, by Allyson Chiu, who, like her compeers at the Times, maintained that Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus” had dismayed certain “critics.” (As with the Times, there was no mention that the Post itself had used the term “Chinese virus” on January 17, January 21January 22, January 24, and January 27.) These critics, charged Chiu, worried that Trump’s word choice “could lead to increased discrimination and racism toward Asian Americans — a marginalized group with a long history of being scapegoated amid public health crises.” Chiu quoted Harvey Dong, who teaches Asian American studies at Berkeley, as saying that Trump’s word choice was “racist” and “dangerous”; she cited Gilbert Gee, who teaches public health at UCLA, as saying that Trump & Co. had “made it okay to have anti-Asian bias”; and Charissa Cheah, a psychology professor at the University of Maryland, told Chiu that Trump was throwing Americans “of Chinese and Asian descent ‘under the bus.’” Like the Times reporters, Chiu asserted that “[s]cores of Asian Americans nationwide” had been “targeted in verbal and physical attacks linked to coronavirus fears.” 

In treating the coronavirus as yet another excuse to cry bigotry, the Times and Post are hardly alone. Other major media, such as CNN, have also sung from the same hymn sheet. These are, needless to say, the same media that were quick to heap scorn on President Trump’s January 31 ban on visitors from China -- a ban now recognized as having saved lives. On February 5, the Times ran an op-ed headlined “Who Says It’s Not Safe to Travel to China?” Accusing Trump of “xenophobic rhetoric,” the author, Rosie Spinks, suggested that the reason for his China travel ban was that “destinations perceived as ‘Western’ benefit from a kind of cultural familiarity and presumption of safety that so-called foreign or exotic places do not.” Who’s Rosie Spinks? A virologist? No. She’s a “global tourism reporter.”

Good try, Rosie. But at a time when we’re all constantly washing our hands in an effort to avoid perishing, how many of us are going to be inclined to wring our hands over the claim that hordes of Asian-Americans (none of them, to be sure, ever identified by name) are being verbally bashed or physically beaten from coast to coast because of the Wuhan plague? In any event, in the weeks after Spinks’s piece appeared as the U.S. and scores of other countries cut off travel to and from almost anywhere abroad, the media finger-pointers, instead of issuing apologies, began attacking President Trump for not acting sooner. At one White House presser after another, reporters have shown themselves to be less interested in obtaining information about the pandemic that might be of use to the public than in using the world crisis to try to tear down the president. Again, Kyle Smith is right: they’re still stuck in pre-pandemic propaganda mode. But by taking this route at a time when they should be playing a critical role in the reliable dissemination of vital information, they’re proving themselves more useless – and downright dangerous – than ever. Most Americans, knowing that they’re being fed fake news rooted in woke ideology, already distrust the news media. How can the media’s decision to stick with propaganda in a time of crisis not send their approval ratings even further south?

As if we didn’t already have enough reasons to want to see the woke mentality quashed, this crisis has given us a new reason. Just as fear of being called racist kept colleagues and neighbors from blowing the whistle on the San Bernardino and Fort Hood terrorists (among others), and kept British police officers, social workers, journalists, and public officials from sounding the alarm about Muslim grooming gangs in that country, so the same woke-engendered fear reportedly kept Italian authorities from taking prompt, sensible action against the coronavirus. Dr. Giorgio Palù, a virologist at the University of Padova, told CNN that “a proposal to isolate people…coming from China” was rejected outright by the Italian government because it was “seen as racist” – and this decision, he said, was the chief reason for Italy’s brutal death tolls.

It’s a consummation devoutly to be wished, then, that this bad dream we’re all dreaming together will put an end, once and for all, to the whole woke package, from microaggression to intersectionality to phony victimization. Is it a realistic wish? Am I kidding myself when I think that the experience of this plague might be a sobering, maturing experience for at least some of America’s privileged, pampered soy boys and pussy-hat feminists, turning them into rational grown-ups with a mature understanding of the challenges, uncertainties, tragedies, and responsibilities of life?


Bruce Bawer

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/04/whither-woke-culture-era-pandemic-bruce-bawer/

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Losers Wasted $1.5 Billion on an Election That Money Won’t Buy - Daniel Greenfield


by Daniel Greenfield


This isn’t an election; it’s a culture war.




Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders wasted over $1.5 billion to lose the most expensive primary in history.

Bloomberg accounted for over $900 million in spending, Steyer for another $338 million, Warren for $111 million and Sanders for $163 million. Never had so much money been spent for so little purpose. 

How was it possible for $1.5 billion in spending, targeted at a handful of primaries, to achieve so little?

Where did that $1.5 billion go?

Bloomberg blew over $500 million on TV ads. Steyer spent almost $175 million, and Sanders committed to $58 million. That included Bloomberg’s $11 million Super Bowl ad, and Steyer’s $2.9 million ‘Listen’ ad in California. At the height of the primary frenzy, television ads for Bloomberg and Steyer were everywhere. And yet, when the dust had settled, the two billionaires came away with nothing.

The over $700 million in TV ads made up much of that wasted $1.5 billion. The spending was driven by billionaires trying to build a brand. But the monotonous barrage annoyed as many voters as it won over.

Bloomberg proved two contradictory things: that a massive ad blitz backed by infinite money could make anyone into a competitor, and that it wouldn’t actually be enough to put him over the top.

The Bloomberg paradox embodied the power and impotence of money in this campaign cycle.

Advertising sells customers on a product. The product might be frozen pizza, a politician or a better way to clean your toilet, but the product has to fill a need that the customer has or thinks he does.

Michael Bloomberg wasted over $900 million because a short, awkward billionaire, militantly opposed to guns, but fiscally conservative, wasn’t an actual need that anyone outside American Samoa had.

Bloomberg wasted the most money demonstrating the problem with telling voters what they wanted.

What did Democrats want? Poll after poll made that very clear. They wanted someone to beat President Trump. They didn’t care about anything else. Despite countless polls, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Deval Patrick blew through over $60 million chasing an electorate looking for a black candidate.

They never found it.

Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Kamala Harris spent $160 million without ever finding their girl power electorate either.

And, most Democrats were not looking for an antiquated Castro fanboy to ramble on about corporations either. There were more of those Democrats. About a third of the party. Not enough.

The problem with the $1.5 billion was that it was chasing something Democrats didn’t want: a positive candidacy based on hope, progress, and a dash of identity politics. So many candidates were running to be Obama 2.0. But Democrats didn’t want Obama 2.0. That’s why they chose Biden 1.0 instead.

Democrats weren’t voting for something, but against someone. President Trump.

Biden is at 24% enthusiasm among his supporters. It’s the lowest number for the Democrats in 20 years. Democrats didn’t pick Biden because they love him, believe in him, or think he can put on his pants. They chose him for a number of stupid reasons. He was Obama’s VP. If you don’t pay attention to the words coming out of his mouth, he looks presidential. He won South Carolina. He’s not Bernie.

That last one was important.

Faced with a choice between Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, or Joe Biden, they chose negatively.

It didn’t matter that Bernie and Bloomberg had vastly outspent Biden. The positive advertising they were buying was no match for the negative perception that they wouldn’t be able to beat Trump.

Positive advertising doesn’t have to do much work when building a brand. But it has to do the heavy lifting when it’s pushing against a negative reputation. And the negative has gravity on its side.

Most of those hundreds of millions in ad dollars were positive advertising, but the Democrat base was thinking negative. And this is going to have major implications for tactics in the 2020 election.

Money wasn’t able to buy the 2016 election. It won’t buy the 2020 election either.

Had Bloomberg understood the new dynamic he would have had an extra billion in spending money to buy a private island, a herd of albino giraffes, or build a giant golden laser gun to blot out the sun.

Advertising can sell two kinds of products: luxury goods and necessities.

Politics, for most people, used to be a luxury good. Advertising could sell people on politicians because politics was seen as optional. And then politics stopped being a luxury and became a universal necessity.

That transformed our political system.

The universalization of politics arrived in a big way in 2016. And it made the old styles of politics irrelevant. Eight years after playing messiah, Obama, not just the man, but his image, was over. The 2020 Democrats who lined up, one after another, to play the same role wasted all their money.

Obama had been the quintessential luxury good. An expensive product that made fans feel good about themselves even though they recognized that it didn’t do anything for them in any tangible sense.

Even before the pandemic arrived, 2020 was going to be defined by politics as a necessity.
Bloomberg spent hundreds of millions trying to advertise himself as a luxury good. But Republicans and Democrats both see the outcome of the election as an urgent and vital necessity. For Republicans, reelecting Trump is a necessity, and for Democrats, stopping Trump is just as urgently necessary.

Branding is important if you’re buying a purse, not if you’re trying to save your life.

Ad spending has come to correlate negatively with winning elections. The 2020 race is narrowing down to two candidates, Trump and Biden, who emerged to lead their parties without the big ad spending. But where Trump emerged by battling his party leadership, Biden was the choice of his party leadership. Trump is a self-defined figure while Biden is the closest thing to a blank slate. Mentally.

Biden is the choice of a party that wants a completely malleable candidate who will read whatever is written on the teleprompter (or at least try) without caring what it is or why he’s reading it.

The Democrats didn’t want the first female, gay, bald, or socialist president.

They wanted a puppet.

As absurd as Biden may be, he’s the expression of a political party that is deadly serious about winning. Republicans and Democrats don’t see elections as optional anymore, but as zero-sum existential crises. Democrats understand that 2020 will be a referendum on Trump. They’ve chosen a forgettable blank slate candidate whose only mission is staying alive long enough to take office and step down for a Veep.

The Democrats understand that Biden doesn’t matter. Trump does.

Bloomberg was trying to fight a whole new war with the weapons of the old war.

The election will be fought and won, not with TV ads, but in a hard battle between the media and social media. While Bloomberg was spending hundreds of millions on television advertising, both sides were gearing up for a culture war during a pandemic. Money won’t settle a culture war. Americans will.


Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/04/losers-wasted-15-billion-election-money-wont-buy-daniel-greenfield/

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Who Eats the Cake in Tehran? - Amir Taheri


by Amir Taheri

Europe and the United States have repeatedly tried to bring the Islamic Republic in from the cold by playing the accommodation, not to say appeasement, card, each time ending up as the cuckold in the story.

  • The new message from Tehran is that Iran is in need of humanitarian aid to curb the coronavirus and prevent the death of large numbers of Iranians... The first sign that the message may be working came last Monday when Germany announced that it has arranged a $5 million cash line through the European Union for Iran to secure medical supplies needed to fight the pandemic. The German initiative, through a mechanism called Instex and designed to by-pass sanctions, is clearly meant to test the waters.
  • Nevertheless, the acceptance of the first Instex operation and the renewal of waivers might have two outcomes that may not please Washington.... The result could be a sham show of unity by the regime with a new message to Iranians, as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas believes that change within the regime may be better than regime change.
  • The trouble with all this is that we have already been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. Europe and the United States have repeatedly tried to bring the Islamic Republic in from the cold by playing the accommodation, not to say appeasement, card, each time ending up as the cuckold in the story.
  • The tidbits offer an insight into the mindset of the weird clique dominating Iran since 1979 and why those who believe they are dealing with a normal government would need to have their heads examined. The Reagan administration, helped by Israel, smuggled over 1,000 anti-tanks missiles to Iran to help it stop the advance of the Iraqi invasion in the eight-year Iran-Iraq war. The mullahs paid half the cost of the missiles as down payment but refused to pay the second half after they had received all consignments. There was no need to pay "The Crusaders" the price.
  • On a smaller scale, Kangarloo relates the fate of a huge "key-shaped" cake bought in Tel Aviv as a Ramadan present from Reagan to Khomeini, regime godfather at the time. By the time Kangarloo arrived at the airport, the Revolutionary Guards had eaten the cake for Ramadan breakfast... Even in those early days it was clear who eats the cake in the Islamic Republic.

Will coronavirus help the Islamic Republic's chief Ali Khamenei alleviate his ramshackle regime's cash flow problem? Pictured: A ballistic missile is paraded past a stand bearing the photo of Iran's "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on April 18, 2018, in Tehran. (Photo by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

Will coronavirus help the Islamic Republic's chief Ali Khamenei alleviate his ramshackle regime's cash flow problem? This is certainly what the so-called "moderate" faction in Tehran hopes would happen to enable it to maintain some relevance in an emerging power struggle that favors the more hardline Khomeinists.

According to President Hassan Rouhani's team, the Islamic Republic needs a minimum of $60 billion a year to cover "basic expenses". This is made up of cash needed to pay the salaries of key military, security and civil services, pension payments to an estimated 1.2 million veterans, stipends for families of martyrs and semi-martyrs, money needed to keep the Assad regime in Damascus afloat, and cash to keep client groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq and the Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza going.

The Rouhani team has calculated that of the sums needed, Tehran itself can secure at least half by exporting some oil despite sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. A further $5 billion could be raised through tripling the price of fuel inside Iran itself. To avoid further nationwide riots of the kind that shook the country last winter, increases in the price of other utilities such as water and electricity have been postponed. According to a proposal submitted to French authorities by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last year, the European Union would help by opening an annual $15 billion credit line for Iran pending the lifting of sanctions. The balance, according to Tehran sources, was supposed to be covered by a $5 billion credit line furnished by Russia and a series of loans negotiated with European banks. There is, however, still no sign of the Russian money and Moscow has started talking of providing only one billion rubles to buy Russian goods while Tehran is interested only in cash.

To raise the cash needed, Zarif has toured several Asian and European capitals, obtaining little more than promises. The advent of coronavirus, however, may modify the negative attitude adopted by Japan, China, Germany and France. The new message from Tehran is that Iran is in need of humanitarian aid to curb the coronavirus and prevent the death of large numbers of Iranians.

The first sign that the message may be working came last Monday when Germany announced that it has arranged a $5 million cash line through the European Union for Iran to secure medical supplies needed to fight the pandemic. The German initiative, through a mechanism called Instex and designed to bypass sanctions, is clearly meant to test the waters.

Will Washington object and impose retaliatory measures against banks involved in the Instex system, as President Trump had threatened to do on a number of occasions?

Since the sum involved is small and meant to be restricted to medical supplies, which in any case are not subject to any sanctions, Washington may choose to whistle and walk away.

Not in a mood to pick a quarrel with European allies at this confusing moment, Washington also renewed waivers for sanctions that forbid cooperation with Iran on some nuclear issues. That measure, envisaged in the so-called "nuclear deal" or JCPOA, is of largely symbolic value. Under it, Moscow is supposed to arrange for the transfer of half of Iran's reserves of enriched uranium above five percent to facilities in Russian territory, something that President Vladimir Putin is reluctant to do. The proviso in JCPOA also commits China to redesigning Iran's heavy water nuclear plant in Arak which, almost four years later, has not happened because of Beijing's reluctance.

Nevertheless, the acceptance of the first Instex operation and the renewal of waivers might have two outcomes that may not please Washington. The first is that Khamenei may able to claim that his policy of "resistance at any cost" is producing positive results in the form of mini-retreats by the US and its allies. Then, it may also provide the so-called "moderate" faction with a new justification for its continued existence even if, after the recent elections, it will not have more than a side chair, not at the high table, but on the way to the kitchen. The result could be a sham show of unity by the regime with a new message to Iranians, as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas believes that change within the regime may be better than regime change.

The trouble with all this is that we have already been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. Europe and the United States have repeatedly tried to bring the Islamic Republic in from the cold by playing the accommodation, not to say appeasement, card, each time ending up as the cuckold in the story.

The latest reminder of this came last week in a four-hour filmed interview with Mohsen Kangarloo, the deputy prime minister of the Islamic Republic for national security in the 1980s. Kangarloo offered little of importance that was not known to students of the episode. (My own book Nest of Spies: America's Journey to Disaster in Iran, offered a detailed account in 1988). Nevertheless, Kangarloo offered some juicy tidbits about the shenanigans with the Reagan administration that led to the "Irangate" scandal.

The tidbits offer an insight into the mindset of the weird clique dominating Iran since 1979 and why those who believe they are dealing with a normal government would need to have their heads examined. The Reagan administration, helped by Israel, smuggled over 1,000 anti-tanks missiles to Iran to help it stop the advance of the Iraqi invasion in the eight-year Iran-Iraq war. The mullahs paid half the cost of the missiles as down payment but refused to pay the second half after they had received all consignments. There was no need to pay "the Crusaders" the price.

On a smaller scale, Kangarloo relates the fate of a huge "key-shaped" cake bought in Tel Aviv as a Ramadan present from Reagan to Khomeini, regime godfather at the time. By the time Kangarloo arrived at the airport, the Revolutionary Guards had eaten the cake for Ramadan breakfast as Reagan's envoys, former Security Adviser Robert MacFarlane and his aide Col. Oliver North, and Mossad's special envoy Amiram Nir watched with a mixture amusement and amazement.

Even in those early days it was clear who eats the cake in the Islamic Republic. Heiko Maas take note!
This article was originally published by Asharq al-Awsat

Amir Taheri was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. He has worked at or written for innumerable publications, published eleven books, and has been a columnist for Asharq Al-Awsat since 1987. He is the Chairman of

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15841/who-eats-the-cake-in-tehran

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