Saturday, December 19, 2020

We Need A Debt Jubilee Yesterday

Forget a mere "stimulus", that is far too stingy to get America out of the hole we are in now.  We need a massive DEBT JUBILEE like the ancient Israelites used to do every 49 years (and frankly never should have stopped doing!), and not just for student loans (though certainly for that too). And the forgiven/cancelled debt amounts must be 100% non-taxable since we do not want to defeat the purpose of the jubilee.  So how can we do this without zeroing out everyone's bank account?  Easy, just print (or more accurately, electronically keystroke) the money.  The federal government is Monetarily Sovereign, and money is simply an accounting entry ever since we got off the gold standard on August 15, 1971.  So make the entry and be done with it.  And it wouldn't even be inflationary, since striking debt by the same amount as the amount of money creates has a net effect of zero on the money supply.  Meanwhile, removing this massive debt burden would be a massive B-12 shot for economic growth.  So even people who have zero debt and feel they have no dog in the fight would benefit from a stronger economy that is no longer weighed down by a massive collective debt overhang.

Additionally, we would also need a permanent Universal Basic Income (UBI) of at least $1000/month for adults and $500/month for people under 18 (and double those amounts for the first three months), single-payer Medicare For All, free public college for all, and things like that as well if we are to truly transcend the crisis America is in.  Again, for a fraction of the amount that the FERAL Reserve creates every year to give/lend to the big banks, we could do it without raising taxes or inflation.

As for putting Americans back to work, there are three words:  Green New Deal.  The infrastructure upgrades and changes that need to be made will create lots of new jobs. And since goods and services would by definition increase in tandem with the new money created to fund them, the net effect on inflation would also be effectively zero as well.

(Hat tip to the brilliant and wonderful Ellen Brown for pointing so many of these things out.)

That said, what we will NOT advocate is shutting down the economy again and hoping to print our way out of it.  Because deliberately shrinking the goods and services in the economy via shuttering the economy by fiat, while simultaneously printing money to paper over the hole, WILL be VERY inflationary if maintained for more than a few weeks at most.  Just ask Argentina how well their world's longest lockdown is working, with 40% inflation and a COVID death rate higher than wide-open Brazil.

So what are we waiting for?

Sunday, December 6, 2020

The TSAP's New Updated Position On Face Mask Mandates

NOTE:  The following shall fully supersede any positions taken or advice given prior to December 1, 2020, and shall remain in effect until further notice.

With the CDC doubling down on universal face mask use 11 months into the pandemic, and President-Elect Joe Biden wanting Americans to wear masks during his first 100 days in office (which will not even start until January 20, 2021, thus lasting until April 30, 2021), it is time for a fresh review of the TSAP's position on face masks and any mandates thereof.

From April/May until August 2020, the TSAP had enthusiastically supported broad but nuanced, relatively short-term mask mandates, primarily as a safe pathway out of lockdown.  Since then, in light of recent evidence, our position has gradually shifted.

A cursory review of the empirical evidence so far reveals that while masks may very well be marginally effective at the micro level, they apparently are practically insignificant at the macro level, at least in the long run.  To wit, as the charts here so clearly show, broad mask mandates do not appear to have had any noticeable impact on the course of a country, state, or locality's epidemic curve.  To name a few, Hawaii, Illinois, LA, Miami, Kansas, Wisconsin, Israel, Japan, Spain, Argentina, and most notoriously Peru all have seen no beneficial long-run impact on cases (which actually increased at some point after implementation, even in conjunction with strict lockdowns in some cases), and the same was ultimately true for deaths and hospitalizations as well, except for Hawaii and Japan whose death rates remain unusually low for reasons not yet fully understood.  As for Czechia, the crown jewel of early mask mandates, it appears to have only worked the first time in conjunction with their early suppression strategy in the spring, but not the second time around when the virus came roaring back in the fall.  Ditto for Slovenia, a fortiori in fact.  France and Italy's second waves were also a milder version of this phenomenon.  Meanwhile, mandate-free Sweden, Denmark, Norway, North and South Dakota, Georgia, and the parts of Florida without local mandates don't seem to have had worse trends overall compared to many places that have such mandates.  And until very recently, The Netherlands as well, having gone until December without a broad mask mandate.

And we certainly do NOT support any federal mask mandates in the USA at all, period.  They are not only constitutionally dubious at best, but as noted above there is simply not nearly enough evidence in their favor to justify such unprecedented federal government overreach even temporarily.  Fortunately, even Joe Biden himself has largely walked back his initially strong support for such federal mandates.

Furthermore, on November 18, 2020, the much awaited Danish mask RCT study was finally released and published three months late in the Annals of Internal Medicine.  And the results were, shall we say, rather underwhelming, and not statistically significant (i.e. not statistically different from null).  Not necessarily the final word, but hardly a ringing endorsement for the effectiveness of general mask use in the community at the macro level.

A recent Cochrane review of the literature is not exactly reassuring either, to put it mildly.

But what about source control, you say?  That is, protection of people around the wearer, which most studies were not designed to look at?  Again, a cursory look at the data in the weeks and months following the implementation of mask mandates doesn't really support that either, at least not at a general population level.  Thus any such community benefit is likely either very small, very transient, or both.

Thus, we can conclude that even if there is some overarching benefit to wearing masks in some situations, universal community masking (or lack thereof) is nowhere near the game-changer it was originally sold as.  If it were, the pandemic would have been effectively over in a given locality, state, or country (even as it raged elsewhere) within two or three weeks following the implementation of a broad mask mandate.  And that has not happened anywhere in the world, even in places with very high (90%+) compliance, and even when combined with a ban on indoor restaurant dining (a behavior which might vitiate the results).  And as of November, the TSAP believes going forward that mask wearing (outside of a healthcare setting) should be largely (if not entirely) voluntary, and that businesses of any kind should be free to decide whether or not to require employees and/or customers to wear them.  And they certainly should not be government-mandated in private residences, as that is a truly massive and unprecedented overreach, not to mention unenforceable.

What consenting adults do in their own private residences with each other or their guests is none of the government's business, period.  Alas, the progressive left seems to have regrettably forgotten that in the fog of pandemic.  Let people of reasonably sound mind choose to take the risks they feel comfortable with when in private, at the very least.  As for the supposed externalities when a guest or host of a private gathering or visit inadvertently and unknowingly infects someone who then infects someone who infects someone (and so on) who dies or becomes severely ill, there are enough degrees of separation that unless it was at the very beginning of the pandemic (nearly a year ago globally, and at least nine months ago in the USA), the virus would already be so widespread that in the grand scheme of things such unfortunate people would likely have caught it regardless.  Thus, it would still be well within the realm of what modern civilized and free societies tolerate as acceptable risks, for better or worse.

And while we shouldn't have to dignify this with a response, we will note that the idea that people should wear masks during sexual activity is just plain silly because if you're getting that close to someone for that long, presumably indoors (or in a vehicle), it's more like the mask is wearing YOU for protection, not the other way around.  Even if it's the vaunted N95 or KN95, in fact.  It's like wearing a helmet while skydiving, as the old Seinfeld joke goes.  Thus you might wanna just simply take a rain check on such activities for now if you are that concerned about the virus, at least with people outside your "bubble".

Riddle me this:  if masks work so well, why is six-foot distancing still needed?  If six-foot distancing works so well, why are masks still needed?  If both work so well, why are lockdowns and closures still supposedly needed?  And if lockdowns worked so well the first time, why do we need to do it again?  If they did not work the first time, why are we doing it again?  Why still nearly a whole year into the pandemic when the curve was clearly flattened many months ago? And of course no measure can logically be both "Swiss cheese" and the "most effective tool we have" at the same time, unless one were to tacitly admit that all such measures are largely ineffective in practice, meaning that even the "most effective tool" would be largely useless.  Give the zealots enough rope...

(Oh, and masks are not exactly eco-friendly in the long run either, by the way.  The very same folks who want to quickly phase out plastic bags, containers, straws, etc. seem to have a real blind spot here.)

Thus our current position is that mask mandates from any level of government should only be imposed on bona fide local red zones, with nuance, and even then only for two or three weeks at a time.  That's it, full stop.  Children under the age of 12 should be exempt in any case, both in school and otherwise.  And after January 1, 2021 at the latest, all existing mask mandates in green zones ought to be rescinded or allowed to expire, though voluntary recommendations can still remain in effect.

Our best advice?  "Use masks judiciously, NOT superstitiously", pretty much sums it up.

2021 UPDATE:  The much-ballyhooed CDC mask mandate study has now been utterly debunked as of March 4, 2021.  And just a few days later, another one bit the dust as well.  And this debunking is basically Strike Three after 1) the underwhelming Danish mask study even after it was clearly "nerfed" to get it past the censors, and 2) a cursory comparison of states, localities and countries that had vs. did not have mask mandates before and during this past fall and winter.  Spoiler alert:  the mandates were a big nothing in terms of effectiveness.  From the looks of it at face value, Fauci may have indeed been largely right the first time when he initially pooh-poohed masks and actually told us not to touch our faces, and we're certainly old enough to remember that.  And it's not like mask mandates have actually led to faster reopenings or averted lockdowns either.  So whatever merits there are to individual mask wearing in whatever circumstances, there is no valid reason for any government to force them on anyone (outside of a healthcare setting), period, and it should be left to individuals and businesses to decide for themselves. 

By the same token, it looks like the WHO was also right the first time in that regard as well.  Even as recently as July 2020, believe it or not.

Kinda like when they let it slip in June 2020 that truly asymptomatic spread, while possible, is a lot rarer than most people think, a mere 0.7% even in that very closest and riskiest setting of all, within households.  Only to be forced to walk it back the very next day, of course.  And outdoor spread?  A vanishingly low 0.1% of cases.  And fomites (surfaces)?  An even lower still < 0.01%, and probably even less than that if people wash their hands and don't touch their faces or keep fiddling with their masks!  All for a disease with an infection fatality rate within the ballpark of a nasty flu season for most people, and that we know now how to treat effectively.  This is what the actual science says.  And it utterly demolishes the need for lockdowns, closures, mask mandates, or any other New Abnormal restrictions at this juncture, period.

See also here as well for a good explanation of the crucial difference between large droplets (that masks do seem to work for) and much smaller aerosols (which basically go right through and/or around essentially ALL masks other than properly fit-tested N95s).  It is the latter that seem to be a bigger driver of transmission, unfortunately, and worse, since they tend to penetrate deeper into the lungs, they also tend to make you sicker too.  Thus, we should not be at all surprised by the null effects of universal community masking at the macro level.  In fact, even the "variolation" theory is basically turned on its head as well--larger droplets would probably provide better "variolation" than aerosols would, ironically.

As for children, see here for a good and thorough debunking of the notion that forcing them to wear masks in school and elsewhere is somehow necessary, effective, or benign.  Even the WHO says that children under 5 years of age should not wear masks at all, children ages 6-11 should only wear them in certain circumstances, and children of any age with various kinds of disabilities or health conditions should not be required to wear them at all.  The CDC, on the other hand, apparently prefers to steamroll over anything even remotely resembling nuance in that regard.

See also here as well for an excellent article about how continued universal masking may even be harmful in the long run for all ages.  All the more reason NOT to make this practice permanent in any sense, and to phase it out completely in nearly all circumstances. We ignore actual science at our peril.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Placebo "Vaccine" That Actually Works

DISCLAIMER:  The following article references third-party sources and is intended for general information only, and is NOT intended to provide medical advice or otherwise diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, including (but not limited to) COVID-19.  Consult a qualified physician before beginning any sort of treatment or prophylactic regimen and/or if you know or suspect that you currently have COVID-19.  Anyone who takes or does anything mentioned (or alluded to) in this or any other TSAP article does so entirely at their own risk and liability.  The TSAP thus makes absolutely no warranties, express or implied, and is not liable for any direct, indirect, special, incidental, consequential, or punitive damages resulting from any act or omission on the part of the reader(s) or others.  Caveat lector.

See also our previous articles here, here, and here as well.  Also, special thanks to Bill Sardi, Dr. Gareth "Gruff" Davies, Dr. Dmitry Kats, Dr. Mikko Panunio, and Swiss Policy Research, et al. whose research this article draws upon and cites in the links throughout.

The much-awaited (and hyped) COVID-19 vaccine has all but arrived now, but some rather stubborn questions remain before breaking out the proverbial champagne.  Who gets it first, and when?  What exactly are the logistics of distributing a brand new type of vaccine that requires storage at -70 C (-94 F, or dry ice to liquid nitrogen temperature!) in two doses to tens and then hundreds of millions of Americans (let alone billions worldwide)?  Not to mention the very biggest elephant in the room:  what are the long-term effects of an experimental vaccine of a type (mRNA vaccine) never before approved for use in humans?  The answer to that last question, by definition for any hastily-made vaccine with no more than a few short months of clinical trials, is literally unknown, and not exactly reassuring to say the least.  

All for a disease whose best-estimated infection fatality rate (IFR) is in the ballpark of a really bad seasonal flu (i.e. between 0.1-0.3% on average, albeit with wide variance), and for better or worse we will almost certainly already reach "herd immunity" the natural way by the time the vaccine is anywhere close to fully rolled out and distributed to the general population (at least three months from now, at which time the pandemic will be over a year old).

For the record, from the get-go we at the TSAP categorically oppose even any hint of coercion in regards to these vaccines, period.  A truly voluntary vaccine given honestly with truly informed consent is one thing, but coercion--whether it is outright brute force, loss of privileges or benefits, immunity passports, enforced social exclusion, poverty, deception/dishonesty, or anything in between--we strongly oppose it.  Both on safety grounds as well as on basic civil and human rights grounds as well.  And in the USA, there is of course that Constitution thingy as well.  Besides, if it is so great and wonderful, it would by definition really not need to be forced on anyone, right?

The idea that we somehow need this "warp-speed" vaccine to get back to normal and end these authoritarian restrictions for good is of course pure bunk, but mere facts and logic will obviously not convince everyone.  So, what if there were a sort of active placebo "vaccine" that actually was known to be safe and effective against not only this virus, but plenty of other viruses and bacteria as well, thus potentially replacing other vaccines too?  One that would not only put people's minds at ease for the first time since March 2020, but also has actual health benefits?  Well, it apparently exists, and it's called....

VITAMIN D.  Yes, that Vitamin D, aka cholecalciferol, the sunshine vitamin.  It is a very effective antiviral prophylaxis.  And it can apparently be given as a once-yearly injection of 300,000 international units (IU), ideally just before flu season much like a flu shot.  Of course, it can also be taken orally and regularly in medium to high doses (2000-4000 IU/day on average) or higher doses less frequently.  A "loading" phase of 10,000 IU/day (or 50,000 IU/week) orally for just 2-3 weeks before returning to 2000-4000 IU/day would likely be enough to safely restore blood levels of Vitamin D to optimal levels.  And for any serious or critical cases of COVID that still occur, a very high bolus dose of the active form (calcifediol, or 25-OH Vitamin D, which works quicker) equivalent to 100,000 IU can be a literal lifesaver according to a recent randomized clinical trial.

(Hat tip to Dr. Gareth "Gruff" Davies.)

Ever wonder why Canada and all of the Nordic countries (even Sweden) have significantly lower COVID death rates compared with nearly all of their southern counterparts, despite getting less sunlight?  Well, it could be because they all fortify so many of their staple foods with Vitamin D, and Finland apparently does it the most of all.  Death capitals like Belgium, Spain, the UK, and of course the USA would thus be advised to begin doing so as well, yesterday.

Plus there are other key nutrients that would sharply reduce not only bad outcomes such as deaths, but likely also reduce viral transmission as well:
BOOM.  And the evidence just keeps on piling up.  These things all enhance the immune system, tone down the body's harmful overreactions, and/or directly neutralize the virus itself.  And they are safe enough to recommend to the general population, not only those who are designated as "high risk" or "high exposure" (though certainly a fortiori for such folks). And they, among other things, all featured quite prominently in a previous article we wrote about treatment and prophylaxis for COVID-19.  And of course, they also work for many other viruses in general as well.  It is amazing how many people are deficient in many of these nutrients, and also how many of the various symptoms and after-effects thought to be linked to the virus itself may actually be the result of such deficiencies at least in part.

(Don't expect Big Pharma to ever tell you that though.  Too many vested interests.)

That alone should keep the vast, vast majority of COVID patients out of the hospital.  And for any severe cases that still occur, we already know how to easily treat the most likely complications of secondary bacterial infections, cytokine storms, and blood clots, using antibiotics, corticosteroids, and blood thinners.  And we also know now that ventilators kill more people than they save, and that less invasive means of oxygen therapy work quite well in fact, especially if you don't lay the patients on their backs.  In other words, this is actually a very manageable disease, and the specious idea that it is somehow unmanageable is simply a self-fulfilling prophecy driven by panic and misinformation (if not outright disinformation).

For example, check out the recently updated MATH+ protocol (for hospitalized patients) and the new I-MASK+ protocol (for early treatment and prophylaxis) both from the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC).  See also the recently updated protocol by the Swiss Doctor as well.  And the EVMS protocol strongly echoes these ideas as well, as does the newly-updated and famous Zelenko Protocol.

And they all now include the increasingly promising, repurposed drug Ivermectin as well, to one degree or another.  Move over, HCQ, as this one alone is apparently quite the game-changer.  It is treatment for ALL stages of the illness, as well as prophylaxis.  Ask your doctor if Ivermectin is right for you.

One thing on our list above that people may not think of (and is not part of any of the other aforementioned protocols) is Niacin (Vitamin B3).  Dr. Dmitry Kats, apparently discovered months ago niacin (as nicotinic acid), at about 20 cents per 1000 mg dose, actually does work as prophylaxis and even as a practically overnight cure for COVID.  It has to be the immediate-release, "flush" kind in order for it to work, since the classic "niacin flush" reaction is a feature, not a bug.  And niacin has numerous other health benefits as well, while being practically harmless when used as directed.  Certainly better than Gilead's Remdesivir (which is really just a "bunk niacin" and apparently the world's most expensive failure at $5000/dose) and better than even Regeneron's shiny new monoclonal antibody cocktail.  And yes, Dr. Kats ran a very impressive double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial himself with niacin alone.  (Though of course, we would still recommend Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc, and quercetin along with it anyway.)  The censors, however, are not at all pleased with his findings.  Gee, I wonder why?

Talk about a game-changer!  It seems that everything else is a mere sideshow in comparison.

As for long-haulers (those suffering from longer-term COVID after-effects), many of the reported symptoms sound a lot like those of deficiencies in several of the aforementioned key nutrients, particularly Vitamin D (in general), Vitamin B1 (dysautonomia and recurring fevers), and zinc (loss of smell and taste).  Correcting these deficiencies would likely work very well to promote healing.  And according to Dr. Dmitry Kats, there is also at least anecdotal evidence as well that niacin (Vitamin B3) can be beneficial as well in healing from remnant COVID damage, which is not really surprising given how well it works to treat acute COVID (as he discovered in his aforementioned RCT study).

Of note, Ivermectin also seems to work for long-haulers as well, to the tune of 94%.

Thus, with the aforementioned knowledge and some good old-fashioned common sense, it is entirely possible to return to the true normal within a few weeks at most, not months or longer like so many people still seem to think per our "leaders".

It's long past time to stop cursing the darkness and start lighting candles instead.  So what are we waiting for?  Not for the vaccine, that's for sure!

(Infographic by Dr. Dmitry Kats, @3PIDEMIOLOGY)

UPDATE:  It appears that the Pfizer vaccine (and also Moderna's as well, given the similarity) "works" two weeks after just one dose based on clinical trials according to the FDA, yet they still recommend the second dose three weeks after the first, because reasons.  Even though the efficacy graph that they show (actual vs. placebo) has no indication that the second dose has any real impact on the odds of catching COVID over such a short time horizon, and the reported short-term, flu-like side effects appear to be a bit worse with the second dose compared with the first, at least anecdotally.  Time will tell whether or not these vaccines will actually stand the test of time.  If you do choose to (or are forced/coerced to) get the vaccine at some point, you should still keep taking the aforementioned supplements as well.

UPDATE ON UPDATE:  Two of the three authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. Sunetra Gupta, recently wrote a great article about quickly ending the lockdowns in January at the latest while prioritizing who gets the vaccine at the same time.  That is, vulnerable people should be the highest priority compared to the young and healthy, while anyone who has already had the virus should not get the vaccine, nor should children since the clinical trials did not even study its effects in children (and the virus is far less dangerous for them).  Thus, even if you do support these vaccines, you should understand the idea that everyone or even most people must get vaccinated before going back to normal is ridiculous, and you need not believe that.

As for logistics, the Moderna vaccine would be easier to distribute since unlike Pfizer's it does not require ultra-cold storage, only normal freezer temperature.

On December 14, 2020, the first authorized doses of the Pfizer vaccine were given in the USA to some front-line hospital workers. Within a matter of weeks, more hospital staff and nursing home staff and residents will receive it as well, then other vulnerable individuals will follow.  Eventually it will be open to the general population at some point (likely months from now), and finally at CVS and Walgreens and some supermarkets just like seasonal flu shots.  And we would not be surprised if after the bulk of the rollout they eventually cut it down to only one dose instead of two.  But again, by that time the less vulnerable would likely have already achieved herd immunity by natural infection.  And hopefully it will remain strictly voluntary, though unfortunately that may not be the case everywhere, and we must not support any kind of force or coercion in that regard.  We do know that at least Florida will NOT make the vaccine mandatory, according to Governor Ron DeSantis, and we highly doubt that Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota would ever do so either.  So the technocrats will clearly face a major fly in their ointment if they try to do so in 2021, God willing.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.  Informed consent is still a civil and human right, and there is no such thing as a "pandemic exception" to the US Constitution, the Helsinki Declaration, or the Nuremburg Code.  Or even the Magna Carta for that matter--in fact, politicians and royalty should be the very first in line for any vaccine that they want the rest of us to get.

Please sign and share this petition against forced or coerced experimental vaccines.

As for prophylactic nasal sprays, some are in development as we speak, though not yet commercially available.  Until then, fortunately there is already one that is likely to block the virus while yielding additional health benefits in the meantime.  It is called Xlear, a natural, drug-free saline nasal spray with xylitol and grapefruit seed extract.

(Probiotics might also be promising too.)

And finally, Dr. Sebastian Rushworth has an excellent article summarizing what is known thus far about the Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines.

MAY 2021 UPDATE:  Looks like the vaccines, especially the mRNA ones, do work well (for the most part) for adults who are fully vaccinated (i.e. two weeks after the final dose), though questions still remain about their medium- and long-term safety, especially for children and teens.  See this article here about a controversial risk-benefit analysis.