Big Government, Big Business, Big Problems

Since the start of the Covid crisis, the American economy has been turned on its head. Times are good for the big guys — Big Business and Big Government. But what about for the small business owner, the personification of the American dream? Carol Roth discusses Crony Corporatism/Capitalism and is the author of, The War on Small Business: How the Government Used the Pandemic to Crush the Backbone of America

UPDATED my BAM! What Is Crony Capitalism with this Prager U video.

Of Whistleblowers, School Closures, and Masks (Covid Lies)

Three stories I posted on RPT’s Facebook Page:

Pfizer Whistleblower

(I assume this is a whistleblower Democrats don’t like.) BMJ listens to evidence from whistleblower over the Pfizer vaccine trial.

Revelations of poor practices at a contract research company helping to carry out Pfizer’s pivotal covid-19 vaccine trial raise questions about data integrity and regulatory oversight. (British Medical Journal)

In autumn 2020 Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, Albert Bourla, released an open letter to the billions of people around the world who were investing their hopes in a safe and effective covid-19 vaccine to end the pandemic. “As I’ve said before, we are operating at the speed of science,” Bourla wrote, explaining to the public when they could expect a Pfizer vaccine to be authorised in the United States.

But, for researchers who were testing Pfizer’s vaccine at several sites in Texas during that autumn, speed may have come at the cost of data integrity and patient safety. A regional director who was employed at the research organisation Ventavia Research Group has told The BMJ that the company falsified data, unblinded patients, employed inadequately trained vaccinators, and was slow to follow up on adverse events reported in Pfizer’s pivotal phase III trial. Staff who conducted quality control checks were overwhelmed by the volume of problems they were finding. After repeatedly notifying Ventavia of these problems, the regional director, Brook Jackson, emailed a complaint to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ventavia fired her later the same day. Jackson has provided The BMJ with dozens of internal company documents, photos, audio recordings, and emails.

[…..]

Concerns Raised

In her 25 September email to the FDA Jackson wrote that Ventavia had enrolled more than 1000 participants at three sites. The full trial (registered under NCT04368728) enrolled around 44 000 participants across 153 sites that included numerous commercial companies and academic centres. She then listed a dozen concerns she had witnessed, including:

  • Participants placed in a hallway after injection and not being monitored by clinical staff

  • Lack of timely follow-up of patients who experienced adverse events

  • Protocol deviations not being reported

  • Vaccines not being stored at proper temperatures

  • Mislabelled laboratory specimens, and

  • Targeting of Ventavia staff for reporting these types of problems.

Within hours Jackson received an email from the FDA thanking her for her concerns and notifying her that the FDA could not comment on any investigation that might result. A few days later Jackson received a call from an FDA inspector to discuss her report but was told that no further information could be provided. She heard nothing further in relation to her report.

In Pfizer’s briefing document submitted to an FDA advisory committee meeting held on 10 December 2020 to discuss Pfizer’s application for emergency use authorisation of its covid-19 vaccine, the company made no mention of problems at the Ventavia site. The next day the FDA issued the authorisation of the vaccine.8

In August this year, after the full approval of Pfizer’s vaccine, the FDA published a summary of its inspections of the company’s pivotal trial. Nine of the trial’s 153 sites were inspected. Ventavia’s sites were not listed among the nine, and no inspections of sites where adults were recruited took place in the eight months after the December 2020 emergency authorisation. The FDA’s inspection officer noted: “The data integrity and verification portion of the BIMO [bioresearch monitoring] inspections were limited because the study was ongoing, and the data required for verification and comparison were not yet available to the IND [investigational new drug].”

Other Employees’ Accounts

In recent months Jackson has reconnected with several former Ventavia employees who all left or were fired from the company. One of them was one of the officials who had taken part in the late September meeting. In a text message sent in June the former official apologised, saying that “everything that you complained about was spot on.”

Two former Ventavia employees spoke to The BMJ anonymously for fear of reprisal and loss of job prospects in the tightly knit research community. Both confirmed broad aspects of Jackson’s complaint. One said that she had worked on over four dozen clinical trials in her career, including many large trials, but had never experienced such a “helter skelter” work environment as with Ventavia on Pfizer’s trial.

“I’ve never had to do what they were asking me to do, ever,” she told The BMJ. “It just seemed like something a little different from normal—the things that were allowed and expected.”

She added that during her time at Ventavia the company expected a federal audit but that this never came.

After Jackson left the company problems persisted at Ventavia, this employee said. In several cases Ventavia lacked enough employees to swab all trial participants who reported covid-like symptoms, to test for infection. Laboratory confirmed symptomatic covid-19 was the trial’s primary endpoint, the employee noted. (An FDA review memorandum released in August this year states that across the full trial swabs were not taken from 477 people with suspected cases of symptomatic covid-19.)

“I don’t think it was good clean data,” the employee said of the data Ventavia generated for the Pfizer trial. “It’s a crazy mess.”

A second employee also described an environment at Ventavia unlike any she had experienced in her 20 years doing research. She told The BMJ that, shortly after Ventavia fired Jackson, Pfizer was notified of problems at Ventavia with the vaccine trial and that an audit took place.

Since Jackson reported problems with Ventavia to the FDA in September 2020, Pfizer has hired Ventavia as a research subcontractor on four other vaccine clinical trials (covid-19 vaccine in children and young adults, pregnant women, and a booster dose, as well an RSV vaccine trial; NCT04816643, NCT04754594, NCT04955626, NCT05035212). The advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to discuss the covid-19 paediatric vaccine trial on 2 November.

SCHOOL CLOSURES

School closures ‘did not significantly reduce Covid spread’ – The Telegraph (Michigan University Study – TELEGRAPH [takes a few seconds to load] & EVIDENCE NOT FEAR)

  • There is “no evidence” that school closures significantly reduced the spread of Covid, a study has found.

The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, used data from Japan, where each municipality is responsible for the closure of schools in their areas.

”Empirically, we find no evidence that school closures in Japan caused a significant reduction in the number of coronavirus cases,” they said.

“If opening schools leads to the spread of Covid-19, spikes of cases would occur in the control group; however, these were not observed. The implication is the same: school closures do not help reduce the spread of Covid-19 significantly.”

Separate research, published earlier this year, found the UK had closed schools for longer than anywhere in Europe other than Italy over the past 18 months.

CDC MASK LIES


80% Effective? CDC Chief Floats Argument For Permanent Mask Mandate (WND)

….Kyle Lamb, a data researcher for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, the state with the lowest rate of COVID infection, took issue with Walensky.

“There is not a single study in the entire world that has been produced during the pandemic, or especially before, that shows masks reduce infections by 80%,” he said on Twitter.

“This is the most comically bad misinformation I have ever seen. CDC has been reduced to outright lies.”

Yale Law School professor Samantha Godwin said the CDC director has made “a specific empirical claim for which no data exists.”

“Misinformation breeds justified distrust,” she said on Twitter.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, an epidemiologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, noted everyone is “dunking on” Walensky’s “preposterous tweet about mask efficacy.”

“But it’s an improvement since last year when the former CDC director said masks were better than vaccines,” he said, referring to Dr. Robert Redfield. “At this rate, they’ll get it right in 2050 or so.”

The CDC’s stance on masks has changed since the beginning of the pandemic.​ In March 2020, the agency said masks “are usually not recommended” in “non-health care settings.”

The same month, the World Health Organization recommended people not wear face masks unless they are sick with COVID-19 or caring for someone who is sick. Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergencies program, said in March 2020 that there “is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit.

“In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly,” he said.

Similarly, in a March 2020 interview with “60 Minutes,” White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci warned of “unintended consequences,” saying there’s “no reason to be walking around with a mask” in “the middle of an outbreak.”

In May 2020, a CDC study on the use of measures such as face masks in pandemic influenza concluded “evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission.”

Fauci and others argue the science has evolved. However, a study earlier this year by the University of Louisville was among many that found that state mask mandates did not help slow the spread of COVID-19. A CDC study in October 2020 indicated that Americans were adhering to mask mandates, but the requirements didn’t appear to have slowed or stopped the spread of the coronavirus. And further, it found, mask-wearing has negative effects. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has compiled a page of “Mask Facts” showing that the consensus prior to the coronavirus pandemic was that the effectiveness of mask-wearing by the general public in slowing the spread of a virus is unproven, and there’s evidence it does more harm than good.

Denmark, Norway and Sweden are among the many European nations not requiring masks for school children. Norway has never recommended face masks for schools, and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health explicitly advises against masking primary school-aged children. In Sweden, masks are no longer recommended on public transit, even at rush hour.

In most of the United Kingdom, the New York Times reported, elementary school children and their teachers were not required to wear masks during the delta surge there earlier this year.

A study of masked German schoolchildren published June 30 in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics found carbon dioxide content in “inhaled air” was at least three-fold higher than German law allows. Complaints by children regarding mask-wearing registered in a German database included irritability, headache and reluctance to go to school. The JAMA paper cited the “dead-space volume of the masks, which collects exhaled carbon dioxide quickly after a short time.”

An analysis published in Nature magazine found that N95 masks do offer some protection from airborne viral diseases, but the common surgical mask, which has holes bigger than the SARS-CoV-2 virus, loses any efficacy after about 20 minutes because of the buildup of vapor from breathing…..

Biden’s BIG-Government

Here are the two articles mentioned in the below audio by Armstrong and Getty (Hour 1 Thursday, and Hour 3 – same day):

  • America’s Welfare State Is on Borrowed Time — Biden has fully embraced the mad goal of giving 98% of the population lavish benefits at no cost. (WALL STREET JOURNAL | THE RED LINE [no pay wall])
  • Democrats Are Killing the American Dream — Joe Biden’s American Families Plan replaces individual striving with middle class entitlements. (WALL STREET JOURNAL | BLACK REPUBLICAN)

REASON.COM has been on fire as of late:

 

 

BAM! What Is Crony Capitalism

(UPDATED WITH JOHN STOSSEL – AT BOTTOM)

(UPDATED WITH CAROL ROTH – AT BOTTOM-BOTTOM)

Actually, it is not “crony capitalism,” it is CRONY CORPORATISM.”

This election season there’s a lot of talk about corruption, about politicians being “bought and sold”, and about “crony capitalism”. What do those terms mean? Why should we care? Is there a way to reduce corruption and restore our trust in government? Author Jay Cost, staff writer at The Weekly Standard, answers these questions and proposes a solution that every society could benefit from.

A good example of a monopoly like the one Dr. Friedman refers to is MA BELL

…..The crusade to create a monopolistic telephone industry by government fiat finally succeeded when the federal government used World War I as an excuse to nationalize the industry in 1918. AT&T still operated its phone system, but it was controlled by a government commission headed by the postmaster general. Like so many other instances of government regulation, AT&T quickly “captured” the regulators and used the regulatory apparatus to eliminate its competitors. “By 1925 not only had virtually every state established strict rate regulation guidelines, but local telephone competition was either discouraged or explicitly prohibited within many of those jurisdictions.”….

(NET NEUTRALITY – MA BELL)

(Via MOONBATTERY) Crony capitalism is as much a betrayal of true capitalism as postmodern art is a betrayal of true art. It results in those who have made $zillions in the free market calling for more suffocating government regulation. Like socialism, it is a way for those who have succeeded to pull up the ladder after them so that others cannot follow and compete with them.

John Stossel has had enough of it. The solution: to reduce the power of the government to reward its friends and break the kneecaps of its enemies.


STOSSEL’S INDEPTH LOOK


This video may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes only. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

Here is the latest COVID update.

Sad and shameful!


CAROL ROTH


Since the start of the Covid crisis, the American economy has been turned on its head. Times are good for the big guys — Big Business and Big Government. But what about for the small business owner, the personification of the American dream? Carol Roth discusses Crony Corporatism/Capitalism and is the author of, The War on Small Business: How the Government Used the Pandemic to Crush the Backbone of America

Net Neutrality – Ma Bell

Here is a comment via my LIVELEAK [now defunct] (rough language warning):

Pai is right. The neutrality storm is being shilled up by the content providers that are scared they will have to actually start paying market rates for their access. The loudest is Netflix, and anybody with at least two brain cells (and a functioning ability to give a shit) know that’s the bunch that melted down a lot of peering among the major networks while screaming for those same networks to increase Netflix’s transit capacity for free. They stir the ignorant masses up with bullshit about ‘equal access’ while their data accounts for up to 70% of the total internet bandwidth demand and 90/10 asymmetrical peering transits. They talked the weak Obama administration into legislation to favor their business, calling it “Net Neutrality” and are now pissed they are about to lose that favoritism.

The stupid sheep are screaming that ISPs will fuck them over with fees and blocked content while the fat cat content providers sit back and grin at how easy it is to manipulate their minions. The internet was created and ran just fine for twenty years before the unnecessary Obama “Net Neutrality” doctrine. The doomsday claims of the NN bunch are belied by the facts.

Wanted to get this portion of an important article here — via THE MISES INSTITUTE:

The Natural-Monopoly Myth: Telephone Services

The biggest myth of all in this regard is the notion that telephone service is a natural monopoly. Economists have taught generations of students that telephone service is a “classic” example of market failure and that government regulation in the “public interest” was necessary. But as Adam D. Thierer recently proved, there is nothing at all “natural” about the telephone monopoly enjoyed by AT&T for so many decades; it was purely a creation of government intervention.”54

Once AT&T’s initial patents expired in 1893, dozens of competitors sprung up. “By the end of 1894 over 80 new independent competitors had already grabbed 5 percent of total market share … after the turn of the century, over 3,000 competitors existed.55 In some states there were over 200 telephone companies operating simultaneously. By 1907, AT&T’s competitors had captured 51 percent of the telephone market and prices were being driven sharply down by the competition. Moreover, there was no evidence of economies of scale, and entry barriers were obviously almost nonexistent, contrary to the standard account of the theory of natural monopoly as applied to the telephone industry.56

The eventual creation of the telephone monopoly was the result of a conspiracy between AT&T and politicians who wanted to offer “universal telephone service” as a pork-barrel entitlement to their constituents. Politicians began denouncing competition as “duplicative,” “destructive,” and “wasteful,” and various economists were paid to attend congressional hearings in which they somberly declared telephony a natural monopoly. “There is nothing to be gained by competition in the local telephone business,” one congressional hearing concluded.57

The crusade to create a monopolistic telephone industry by government fiat finally succeeded when the federal government used World War I as an excuse to nationalize the industry in 1918. AT&T still operated its phone system, but it was controlled by a government commission headed by the postmaster general. Like so many other instances of government regulation, AT&T quickly “captured” the regulators and used the regulatory apparatus to eliminate its competitors. “By 1925 not only had virtually every state established strict rate regulation guidelines, but local telephone competition was either discouraged or explicitly prohibited within many of those jurisdictions.”58

Conclusions

The theory of natural monopoly is an economic fiction. No such thing as a “natural” monopoly has ever existed. The history of the so-called public utility concept is that the late 19th and early 20th century “utilities” competed vigorously and, like all other industries, they did not like competition. They first secured government-sanctioned monopolies, and then, with the help of a few influential economists, constructed an expost rationalization for their monopoly power.

This has to be one of the greatest corporate public relations coups of all time. “By a soothing process of rationalization,” wrote Horace M. Gray more than 50 years ago, “men are able to oppose monopolies in general but to approve certain types of monopolies. … Since these monopolies were ‘natural’ and since nature is beneficent, it followed that they were ‘good’ monopolies. … Government was therefore justified in establishing ‘good’ monopolies.”59

In industry after industry, the natural monopoly concept is finally eroding. Electric power, cable TV, telephone services, and the mail, are all on the verge of being deregulated, either legislatively or de facto, due to technological change. Introduced in the United States at about the same time communism was introduced to the former Soviet Union, franchise monopolies are about to become just as defunct. Like all monopolists, they will use every last resource to lobby to maintain their monopolistic privileges, but the potential gains to consumers of free markets are too great to justify them. The theory of natural monopoly is a 19th century economic fiction that defends 19th century (or 18th century, in the case of the US Postal Service) monopolistic privileges, and has no useful place in the 21st century American economy.

Let me caveat this next excerpt by saying I am NOT a fan of the New American Magazine. They are a John Birch publication, and my understanding of this organization is intimate, and so are my ultimate rejection of many of it’s positions. THAT BEING SAID, I thoroughly enjoyed this article (minus the NWO crap!) — THE BREAKUP OF MA BELL:

….Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone on March 7, 1876, but initially it was considered no more than a passing novelty. In fact, Western Union passed up the opportunity to purchase the Bell patents for $100,000. But when those patents held by American Telephone and Telegraph Company expired in 1894, competition entered the market and the availability of telephone service and the number of telephones exploded. The telephone moved from novelty to necessity. According to Adam Thierer of the Cato Institute, there were, at the time, more than 3,000 telephone companies vying for customers. Author G. W. Brock, in his book The Telecommunications Industry, pointed out the difference competition made:

After seventeen years of monopoly [thanks to the patents held by AT&T from 1877 – 1894], the United States had a limited telephone system of 270,000 phones [mostly concentrated] in the centers of the cities, with service generally unavailable in the outlying areas. After thirteen years of competition [1907], the United States had an extensive system of six million telephones, almost evenly divided between Bell and [its competitors], with service available practically anywhere in the country. [Emphasis added.]

Writing in The New Telecommunications Industry, authors Leonard Hyman, Richard Toole, and Rosemary Avellis concluded that “competition helped to expand the market, bring down costs, and lower prices to consumers.” Because of the negative impact upon AT&T by its competitors, the president of AT&T, Theodore Newton Vail, changed the focus of the company from competition to consolidation. As noted by Thierer, “Vail’s most important goals upon taking over AT&T were the elimination of competitors, the befriending of policymakers and regulators, and the expansion of telephone service to the general public.” Vail’s belief in the superiority of a single monopolistic system was reflected in the company’s new corporate slogan, “One Policy, One System, Universal Service.” In the company’s 1910 annual report, Vail wrote:

  • It is believed that the telephone system should be universal, interdependent and intercommunicating, affording opportunity for any subscriber of any exchange to communicate with any other subscriber of any other exchange…. It is believed that some sort of a connection with the telephone system should be within reach of all….
  • It is not believed that this can be accomplished by separately controlled or distinct systems nor that there can be competition in the accepted sense of competition…. [Emphasis added.]
  • It is believed that all this can be accomplished to the reasonable satisfaction of the public with its acquiescence, under such control and regulation as will afford the public much better service at less cost than any competition or government-owned monopoly could permanently afford…. [Emphasis added.]
  • Effective, aggressive competition and regulation and control are inconsistent with each other, and cannot be had at the same time.

Author R.H.K. Vietor, writing in Contrived Competition, said, “Vail chose at this time to put AT&T squarely behind government regulation, as the quid pro quo for avoiding competition. This was the only politically acceptable way for AT&T to monopolize telephony.” In fact, without government regulations eliminating the competition, the reinstitution of the AT&T monopoly would have been impossible. The Kingsbury Commitment (named for one of Vail’s employees) was an agreement with the Attorney General and the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1913 that essentially codified the playing field which allowed AT&T to regain monopoly control of the industry.

In 1934, the power to regulate the telephone industry under the ICC was transferred to the new Federal Communications Commission. Enacted by the Roosevelt Revolution during the Great Depression, the Communications Act of 1934 created the FCC “for the purpose of regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio so as to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States a rapid, efficient, nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.” In other words, according to Thierer, “every American was henceforth found to be entitled to the right to telephone service, specifically cheap telephone service.” The FCC’s powers included the power to regulate rates and restrict entry by competitors, all in the name of preventing “wasteful duplication” and “unneeded competition.”…..

For months, it seemed nearly every media figure was in hysterics over the impending repeal of net neutrality. Then, net neutrality was repealed… and nothing much changed. So what exactly is net neutrality, and why do so many people have such strong opinions about something they don’t understand? Jon Gabriel, editor-in-chief of Ricochet.com cuts through the hysteria to bring you the facts.

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