I heard this on the radio… I do not know which show, but I read about it shortly thereafter at TOWNHALL; it deals with the new favorite study cited by the CDC showing masks prevent spread among children. The CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky, even double downed on the mask study from Arizona — even though the ATLANTIC (“The CDC’s Flawed Case for Wearing Masks in School”)trashed it:
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is asked “Will you follow the science and stop relying on faulty studies and end mask mandates for children in schools?”
When the Director mentions studies in other countries… she is referring to the Bangladesh study, but that will be dealt with momentarily. Here is an excerpt from TOWNHALL’S article:
The Atlantic called out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for some of the data it relied upon to push its case for masking in schools, arguing the agency’s position is “based on very shaky science.”
“Scientists generally agree that, according to the research literature, wearing masks can help protect people from the coronavirus, but the precise extent of that protection, particularly in schools, remains unknown—and it might be very small,” author David Zweig argued.
The data that currently exists has led to a wide array of position on masking children in schools, Zweig pointed out—from the World Health Organization being against the masking of kids under the age of 6 to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control also opposed to masking children in primary school. The CDC, however, forces masks upon children as young as 2.
To help make this case, CDC Director Rochelle Walenksy in September touted a study based on Arizona public schools claiming that those without a mask mandate were 3.5 times as likely to have an outbreak of Covid-19 than those that forced masking. Walensky repeated the study’s claim in multiple settings in the weeks and months afterwards.
But the Arizona study at the center of the CDC’s back-to-school blitz turns out to have been profoundly misleading. “You can’t learn anything about the effects of school mask mandates from this study,” Jonathan Ketcham, a public-health economist at Arizona State University, told me. His view echoed the assessment of eight other experts who reviewed the research, and with whom I spoke for this article. Masks may well help prevent the spread of COVID, some of these experts told me, and there may well be contexts in which they should be required in schools. But the data being touted by the CDC—which showed a dramatic more-than-tripling of risk for unmasked students—ought to be excluded from this debate. The Arizona study’s lead authors stand by their work, and so does the CDC. But the critics were forthright in their harsh assessments. Noah Haber, an interdisciplinary scientist and a co-author of a systematic review of COVID-19 mitigation policies, called the research “so unreliable that it probably should not have been entered into the public discourse.”
This is not the only study cited by Walensky in support of masking students, but it’s among the most important, having been deployed repeatedly to justify a policy affecting millions of children—and having been widelycoveredinthepress. The agency’s decision to trumpet the study’s dubious findings, and subsequent lack of transparency, raise questions about its commitment to science-guided policy. (The Atlantic)
After detailing the numerous issues with the study, Zweig said the government continuing to tout it is “especially demoralizing.”
“How did research with so many obvious flaws make its way through all the layers of internal technical review? And why was it promoted so aggressively by the agency’s director?” he wondered.
Not surprisingly, Walensky’s office declined to comment……
Other sites likewise write on this unraveling of a study founded not in science but in pseudo-science:
The Study That Convinced the CDC To Support Mask Mandates in Schools Is Junk Science (REASON)
Atlantic: Study On School Masking Promoted By The CDC Is ‘Unreliable’ (HOT AIR)
Walensky’s Junk Science On Masks And Other Commentary (NEW YORK POST)
Fact Checker Tries to Debunk Study Proving Masks Didn’t Work in Europe, Fails Miserably
An article from The National Pulse went viral last month that reported on a European study that concluded masks were not effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 when it was most needed, and even showed a positive correlation between mask usage and COVID deaths.
The peer reviewed study “Correlation Between Mask Compliance and COVID-19 Outcomes in Europe” was published in Cureus Journal of Medical Science in April of this year, and was authored by Beny Spira, an Associate Professor at the University of São Paulo.
Countries with high levels of mask compliance did not perform better than those with low mask usage,” found a new study, whose data and analysis instead discovered a “moderate positive correlation between mask usage and deaths.”
“Data from 35 European countries on morbidity, mortality, and mask usage during a six-month period were analyzed and crossed,” continued the study, which encompassed a total of 602 million people.
“The findings presented in this short communication suggest that countries with high levels of mask compliance did not perform better than those with low mask usage in the six-month period that encompassed the second European wave of COVID-19,” Spira summarized.
“The lack of negative correlations between mask usage and COVID-19 cases and deaths suggest that the widespread use of masks at a time when an effective intervention was most needed, i.e., during the strong 2020-2021 autumn-winter peak, was not able to reduce COVID-19 transmission.”
The study also found the aforementioned positive correlation between mask wearing and deaths. “Moreover, the moderate positive correlation between mask usage and deaths in Western Europe also suggests that the universal use of masks may have had harmful unintended consequences,” though the positive relationship between mask usage and cases wasn’t statistically significant.
So in summary, the study’s main takeaway found a lack of negative correlation between mask wearing and a reduction in COVID transmission, and so absent was a negative relationship that a “moderate” positive one for COVID deaths was actually present……
Specifically, the study not only replicates the CDC study, which found a “negative association” between masks and pediatric cases of Covid-19, it also extends the study to include more districts over a longer period of time. In the end, the new study had nearly “six times as much data as the original study.”
“Replicating the CDC study shows similar results; however, incorporating a larger sample and longer period showed no significant relationship between mask mandates and case rates,” the study finds. “These results persisted when using regression methods to control for differences across districts. Interpretation: School districts that choose to mandate masks are likely to be systematically different from those that do not in multiple, often unobserved, ways. We failed to establish a relationship between school masking and pediatric cases using the same methods but a larger, more nationally diverse population over a longer interval. Our study demonstrates that observational studies of interventions with small to moderate effect sizes are prone to bias caused by selection and omitted variables. Randomized studies can more reliably inform public health policy.”….
….The data suggests that the elderly benefit from community masking, and the elderly are at the greatest risk from COVID-19. But while the results were statistically significant, they were fairly limited. The study found just a 0.7% absolute decrease in COVID-19 symptoms in the cloth mask villages, and a 1.1% absolute decrease in the surgical mask villages.
The study also provided no insight into the question of masking for children. Children under age 12 remain the only population in the U.S. unable to get vaccinated, and whether or not to mandate masks in schools is the primary debate happening currently with regard to masking. The data suggests that masking kids may marginally benefit the adults around them, who have by now chosen whether or not to get vaccinated, but says nothing as to whether masking will benefit the kids themselves in a significant way.
Critics of the study also pointed out that, based on the 95% confidence intervals reported, it’s possible the cloth masks had zero effect.
The study shows that community masking helps slow the spread of COVID-19 by a relatively small amount among the elderly in a community with little-to-no vaccinated people. In the U.S., where most adults are vaccinated, and the most vulnerable were prioritized for vaccination and other mitigation efforts are available (ventilation, more advanced medical care, etc.), the meaning is less clear.
And a Michigan study of schools that had mask rules and those schools that required no masking was also devastating to the “masks help” narrative:
The latest reporting actually shows that schools with “few/no mask rules” had fewer 7-day average cases per 100,000 than schools where masks are required or schools with “partial mask rules.” (THE BLAZE)
IN UNRELATED NEWS
Masks are worse for the environment than Styrofoam cups!
Clay and Buck note the author of the Atlantic whom they had on to interview a couple weeks back wrote this in said article:
To our knowledge, the CDC has performed three studies to determine whether masking children in school reduces COVID-19 transmission. The first is a study of elementary schools in Georgia, conducted before vaccines became available, which found that masking teachers was associated with a statistically significant decrease in COVID-19 transmission, but masking students was not—a finding that the CDC’s masking guidelines do not account for.
A second and more recent study of Arizona schools in Maricopa and Pima Counties concluded that schools without mask mandates were more likely to have COVID-19 outbreaks than schools with mask mandates. Yet more than 90 percent of schools in the “no mask mandate” group were in Maricopa County, an area that has significantly lower vaccination rates than Pima County. This study had other serious shortcomings, including failure to quantify the size of outbreaks and failure to report testing protocols for the students.
The third CDC study found that U.S. counties without mask mandates saw larger increases in pediatric COVID-19 cases after schools opened, but again did not control for important differences in vaccination rates. The CDC has cited several other studies conducted in the previous school year to support its claim that masks are a key school-safety measure. However, none of these studies, including ones conducted in North Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin, and Missouri, isolated the impact of masks specifically, because all students were required to mask and no comparisons were made with schools that did not require masks.
Therefore, the overall takeaway from these studies—that schools with mask mandates have lower COVID-19 transmission rates than schools without mask mandates—is not justified by the data that have been gathered. In two of these studies, this conclusion is undercut by the fact that background vaccination rates, both of staff and of the surrounding community, were not controlled for or taken into consideration. At the time these studies were conducted, when breakthrough infections were much less common, this was a hugely important confounding variable undermining the CDC’s conclusions that masks in schools provide a concrete benefit in controlling COVID-19 spread: Communities with higher vaccination rates had less COVID-19 transmission everywhere, including in schools, and those same communities were more likely to have mask mandates.
Other studies—not randomized trials—have looked at the effects of masks in schools, and their results do not support pervasive, endless masking at school. A study from Brown University, analyzing 2020–21 data from schools in New York, Massachusetts, and Florida, found no correlation between student cases and mask mandates, but did see decreased cases associated with teacher vaccination. A study published in Science looking at individual mitigation measures in schools last winter found that, although teacher masking reduced COVID-19 positivity, student masking did not have a significant effect.
Even though the first half of this school year was dominated by the highly transmissible Delta variant, the picture in more recent studies looks similar. In Tennessee, two neighboring counties with similar vaccination rates, Davidson and Williamson, have virtually overlapping case-rate trends in their school-age populations, despite one having a mask mandate and one having a mask opt-out rate of about 23 percent. One would expect a quarter of the students opting out of masking to affect transmission rates if masks played any significant role in controlling COVID-19 spread, but that was not the case. Another recent analysis of data from Cass County, North Dakota, comparing school districts with and without mask mandates, concluded that mask-optional districts had lower prevalence of COVID-19 cases among students this fall. Analyses of COVID-19 cases in Alachua County, Florida, also suggest no differences in mask-required versus mask-optional schools. Similarly, the U.K. recently reported finding no statistically significant difference in absences traced to COVID-19 between secondary schools with mask mandates and those without mandates.
Despite how widespread all-day masking of children in school is, the short-term and long-term consequences of this practice are not well understood, in part because no one has successfully collected large-scale systematic data and few researchers have tried. Mental and social-emotional outcomes are hard to observe and measure, and can take years to manifest. Initial data, however, are not reassuring. Recent prospective studies from Greece and Italy found evidence that masking is a barrier to speech recognition, hearing, and communication, and that masks impede children’s ability to decode facial expressions, dampening children’s perceived trustworthiness of faces. Research has also suggested that hearing-impaired children have difficulty discerning individual sounds; opaque masks, of course, prevent lip-reading. Some teachers, parents, and speech pathologists have reported that masks can make learning difficult for some of America’s most vulnerable children, including those with cognitive delays, speech and hearing issues, and autism. Masks may also hinder language and speech development—especially important for students who do not speak English at home. Masks may impede emotion recognition, even in adults, but particularly in children. This fall, when children were asked, many said that prolonged mask wearing is uncomfortable and that they dislike it……….
(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.
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 ‘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.
….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.”
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…..
I wanted to post some responses what has been becoming a popular argument. For instance I came across this graphic on a friends Facebook:
It came up with a family member’s conversations as well. So I wanted to make accessible some responses.
MASKS AND SEATBELTS:
The first example in this section comes from ECONLOG’S Bryan Caplan (Professor of Economics at George Mason University):
….The obvious place to start is: Almost no one thought that wearing masks was a good thing before Covid-19. Yet contagious respiratory diseases that kill have been around longer than humans. So if the “In exchange for slight inconvenience and discomfort, we save lives,” argument were airtight, we should have been wearing masks all along – and should plan on doing so forever. Which seems crazy.
You could reply, “That’s a straw man. The real argument is that masks pass a cost-benefit test.” If so, that leaves anti-maskers with two obvious margins to think about.
1. The degree of effectiveness. The most popular version of this objection is that masks don’t save lives. But once you start doing cost-benefit analysis, it is sufficient to claim that masks don’t save enough lives. The evidence from Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) is surprisingly supportive of this position. (And if you deem the RCTs subpar, please join me in calling for large-scale Voluntary Human Experimentation to settle the question once and for all). Ultimately, however, I still suspect that masks reduce contagion by 10-15%.
3. The degree of dehumanization. Personally, I only find masks marginally uncomfortable. But I hate wearing them, and I dislike being around people who wear them. Why? Because a big part of being human is showing other people our faces – and seeing their faces in return. Smiling at a stranger. Seeing your child laugh. Pretending to be angry. Seeing another person’s puzzlement. Masks take most of those experiences away. At the same time, they moderately reduce audibility. Which further dehumanizes us. How many times during Covid have you struggled to understand another person? To be heard? Indeed, how many times have you simply abandoned a conversation because of masks? I say the dehumanization is at least five times as bad as the mere discomfort. And if you reply, “Want to see other people’s faces and hear other people’s voices? Just Zoom!,” I will shake my head in sorrow that you’re dehumanized enough to say such a thing.
Am I just being a big baby about this? I think not. Suppose humanity could eliminate all disease by wearing bags over our heads forever. Would you be willing to go through life not seeing the faces of your children? Would you want your child to go through life not seeing the faces of their friends? Well, during Covid we’ve moved at least 25% in that dystopian direction. The word “hellscape” is not out of place. I’ve never been a fan of the veiling of women, but I had to live through Covid to realize how horribly dehumanizing the custom really is.
What if the choice was between masks and a 50% annual chance of death? The reasonable reaction would probably be, “Fine, we’ll be severely dehumanized, but we’ll survive. Just like war. I guess I’ll take it until a better deal comes along.” When the choice is between masks and a 0.5% annual chance of death, however, the reasonable reaction is rather, “I’ll take my chances and live like a human being.” Indeed, once you’re old enough, even a 50% annual chance of death starts to look like a good deal. My considered judgment: If another Covid strikes when I’m 80, I do not want my grandchildren to wear masks around me. I want to enjoy their laughter while I still can…..
The masks are dehumanizing, seatbelts are not. The argument against women being forced to wear burkas in many counties in the Middle-East is that they dehumanizes them.
One of the main points is that almost every study shows a very slight improvement at best. Here, for instance is a CDC study showing how ineffective they are — much more-so than seatbelts.
Here is the CDC STUDY: “Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures”
In our systematic review, we identified 10 RCTs that reported estimates of the effectiveness of face masks in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infections in the community from literature published during 1946–July 27, 2018. In pooled analysis, we found no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.51–1.20; I2 = 30%, p = 0.25) (Figure 2). …. None of the household studies reported a significant reduction in secondary laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infections in the face mask group (11–13,15,17,34,35)….
Disposable medical masks (also known as surgical masks) are loose-fitting devices that were designed to be worn by medical personnel to protect accidental contamination of patient wounds, and to protect the wearer against splashes or sprays of bodily fluids (36). There is limited evidence for their effectiveness in preventing influenza virus transmission either when worn by the infected person for source control or when worn by uninfected persons to reduce exposure. Our systematic review found no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza….
Here is CITY JOURNAL’S last two paragraph’s of an excellent article: DO MASKS WORK?
In sum, of the 14 RCTs that have tested the effectiveness of masks in preventing the transmission of respiratory viruses, three suggest, but do not provide any statistically significant evidence in intention-to-treat analysis, that masks might be useful. The other eleven suggest that masks are either useless—whether compared with no masks or because they appear not to add to good hand hygiene alone—or actually counterproductive. Of the three studies that provided statistically significant evidence in intention-to-treat analysis that was not contradicted within the same study, one found that the combination of surgical masks and hand hygiene was less effective than hand hygiene alone, one found that the combination of surgical masks and hand hygiene was less effective than nothing, and one found that cloth masks were less effective than surgical masks.
Hiram Powers, the nineteenth-century neoclassical sculptor, keenly observed, “The eye is the window to the soul, the mouth the door. The intellect, the will, are seen in the eye; the emotions, sensibilities, and affections, in the mouth.” The best available scientific evidence suggests that the American people, credulously trusting their public-health officials, have been blocking the door to the soul without blocking the transmission of the novel coronavirus.
Here are two short videos via BILL MAHER making sense:
Some posts by American Institute for Economic Research (AIER):
We are now hearing demands for the freedom to be unvaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19. Brady Ellison, a member of the United States Olympic archery team, says his decision not to get vaccinated was “one hundred percent a personal choice,” insisting that “anyone that says otherwise is taking away people’s freedoms.”
The oddity, here, is that laws requiring us to wear seat belts really are quite straightforwardly infringing on freedom, whereas laws requiring people to be vaccinated if they are going to be in places where they could infect other people are restricting one kind of freedom in order to protect the freedom of others to go about their business safely.
Good grief. There is a huge difference between a law that requires wrapping a cloth belt around one’s body while in a moving car and injecting chemicals intoone’s system. Yes, both acts involve attempts to promote public safety. But the former’s interference with liberty is de minimus, while the latter is one of the most potentially portentous that can be asked of people.
In free societies, legal mandates must be reasonable. A national vaccination mandate — which would be unprecedented — fails that test.
Why aren’t near-universal mandates “reasonable?” Well, young people almost never become seriously ill from COVID — although a very few certainly do. But there is also some evidence of a very slight — but potentially serious — risk from the vaccines for the young. If we care about freedom, surely, for the young, vaccination may be the preferred — but should not be the mandatory — course.
There is also significant evidence that people who recovered from COVID already have significant natural resistance to the disease. That being so, is it reasonable to force people with antibodies to involuntarily inject substances into their bodies, particularly since there is a very slight potential for serious bodily injury or death from the vaccine? No.
Finally, the people most at risk of serious disease are the unvaccinated. People who choose to go unprotected are risking mostly themselves. Allowing them to face that risk is more reasonable than violating their personal autonomy…..
Unlike vaccine injury, there is no genetic risk to seat belt injury; unlike vaccines, the risk of seatbelt injure is random, and is therefore truly share among all people. People injured by one vaccine likely have a higher probability of serious adverse health outcomes from additional vaccines.
Unlike vaccines, seat belts routinely are subject to recall due to injury lawsuits, providing essential product quality feedback to seat belt and automobile manufacturers. By contrast, vaccine manufacturers are immune to liability lawsuits. Instead, families of individuals killed or injured by vaccines have to sue the US government – specifically the Department of Health of Human Services, via the Vaccine injury Compensation Program. Liability for vaccine injury was removed for vaccine manufacturers and for medical doctors and nurses in 1986 with the National Vaccine Injury Act. No vaccine injury damages visited upon vaccine manufacturers compel them to improve their product. Instead, vaccine manufacturers and the HHS are incentived to deny that vaccine injuries and death occur.
….However, there are a few things wrong with this argument.
The State owns the roads. It licenses drivers and autos to use those roads. It develops and enforces the rules which all drivers are expected to adhere to and, if they do not, it punishes them for the infractions. Whether you agree or disagree with State ownership of roads is irrelevant and a completely separate issue. The State owns them, it can do with them whatever it wants. This is a property rights question and should not be confused with a public health crisis in a pandemic.
The State does not own our bodies or faces. It does not own the air we breathe. It does not own the space in which we live or move. These are all ours, personally and privately, to use as we see fit, within certain restrictions, such as, not violating someone else’s air, body, or space. The State has no business trying to restrict, regulate, or order what we do with our air, our bodies, and our spaces. This, too, is a property rights issue and, as such, must be kept in perspective.
Seat belts are intended for one purpose only–to afford some measure of protection to the wearer in the event that an accident occurs. There are decades of data which prove that a person who wears a seat belt has a better chance of survival in an accident than a person who does not. This cannot be denied. However, a seat belt only protects one person–the wearer. It is useless and has no value to anyone else.
Face masks (I am told) are meant to protect, not only the wearer, but also those people the wearer comes into close proximity or contact with. If they protected only the wearer, the comparison with seat belts might be a little more palatable, but that is not the assertion. “You must wear them to protect others!” is the narrative. This moves the argument from one of property rights to the moral sphere, which are absolutely not the same.
Seat belts are of value only to the wearer AND ONLY THEN if an accident occurs. Under normal driving, the belt offers nothing more than, well, for want of a better word, assurance. However, if an accident does occur, it can be the difference between life and death. The key thing to remember, though, is that a motorist MUST be involved in an accident BEFORE value is received from the seat belt.
If a face mask and seat belt use are synonomous, then it must follow that face masks are valuable ONLY to the wearer AND ONLY THEN if he/she is “accidentally” infected. Wait a minute, though. Isn’t the argument that the mask is supposed to prevent the infection (accident), not to offer insurance against harm in the event of one. Not only are face masks dissimilar to seat belts in the persons they protect, but also in the manner of protection.
To be honest, if an automobile analogy is to be made with respect to face masks, it would be more useful to equate the mask to a Tesla self-driving auto, which (I am told) is supposed to protect not only those within the car, but other motorists within the vicinity as well. Considering Tesla’s “safety record” (I use that term loosely), this comparison might hold up quite well, since face masks also do not perform to the expectation of those who believe in them.
Seat belts do. No comparison.
Oh, by the way, I nearly missed this. Whether we are talking about seat belts or masks does not matter. The State can make all the rules it wants to and try as hard as it can to enforce those rules, but at the end of the day, it cannot prevent auto accidents from happening nor can it prevent someone from getting sick by catching a cold or flu virus. The State certainly cannot prevent a death, regardless of the cause, when the Grim Reaper calls.
God can. Perhaps we should be talking about misplaced faith.
This is essentially part two of a previous post, and is really a commentary or a piecing together of conversation on Doc J’s Facebook. Here is the Original Post (OP) and where I decided to dive in – in the discussion strain.
This comment by TD G. caught my eye, and I want to preproduce it here as it signifies my position as well:
I’m taking a stand against a wicked govt, establishment, and world which I don’t trust is looking out for my best interests or being honest with me. You seem to be enamored with the nanny state and trust it like it’s your “Big Brother”.
They are using this virus and treatment to take control of the food industry (not that food is important), the medical industry (same), small businesses (same), the military (ditto), international travel, domestic flying, employment (not that having a means to provide for one’s family is as important as a virus with a 98-99% survival rate), health care, public assembly, free speech, buying groceries, education, etc.
Yet you continue pushing drugs like a guy on the street corner without consideration that the things I listed are far, FAR more dangerous and deadly than covid.
We’ll be as oppressed as the Red Chinese or USSR, but we won’t have as much covid! A 99% survival rate instead of 98!
This is still an issue with me — this next response by DOC J — and I will explain a bit more in this post as I go along than I did in the strain:
[responding to TD G]As long as I have been monitoring case fatality rate, the survival rate is rounded to 98% not 99%. But you are more afraid of a vaccine with a survival rate of 99.9999%.
I jump in to support TD G. a bit, and, keep in mind this is a multi-part post on FB that I will separate by line here:
“So the virus is far more fearful than the vaccine could possibly be,” he added. “Otherwise, we’re living in a magic universe if somehow a vaccine is more dangerous than a fast-multiplying virus.”
If the vaccine was “as bad” as conspiratorial websites say it is, he said, “we should be seeing millions of people dropping like flies, but we don’t even see the thousands of people.”
I am not a “conspiratorial website,” to be clear. And in fact, I often rant against conspiracies. And I agree, I do not think they are as bad as some say… however, I also do not think they are as safe as Doc Sarfati makes them out to be either. (For reasons already stated and to be stated, below.)
The people who have died from blood clots, heart attacks, and the like, after a 1st or 2nd dose have not had the proper medical evaluations to justify such “matter of fact” statements.
In reality, we do not know the REAL RATES of deadly side-effects so to examine the topic fully.
In short, Dr. Schirmacher performed autopsies on 40 people who had died within two weeks of receiving a Covid jab. Of those, 30%-40% could be directly attributed to the “vaccines.” He is calling for more autopsies of those who die shortly after getting injected to see if his numbers pan out. But Germany has thus far been reluctant to act. Meanwhile, the report of this highly respected pathologist and pro-vaccine doctor is being suppressed. (NOQ REPORT)
I don’t think this is a big conspiracy. In fact, the reasons why autopsies are not done that often is a combination of (a) the acceptance en masse of the change in death certificates by the CDC in April of last year as well as (b) a financial interest:
Unfortunately, autopsy rates have fallen from 25% to less than 5% over the past four decades. It never was a revenue producer for anyone except malpractice attorneys (WND).
Hospitals lost more than $20 billion in revenue when the pandemic led to an unprecedented nationwide shutdown in elective surgical procedures from March to May 2020.
The CDC estimates that 83% of the American population has contracted Covid-19 (NEWSWEEK) — before the Delta variant. Eighty-three percent of 331.5 million is 275.1 million. Total deaths [although I highly disagree with this number] is 684,000. So the IFR rate for Covid AS A WHOLE is 0.25% of the population who most likely has got Covid. Similar to my MARCH 2020 numbers, understanding the numbers like this help us cut through the media B.S.
Plus, I argue that much like how we calculate flu seasons… we shouldn’t calculate the total to dat, rather, we should have a data set from the 2020-2021 Covid season. Because we know Covid was here in September of 2019, which would put us separate from 2019-2020 season of Covid. Someone needs to do what I did to the age groups and-or the 2020-2021 season. We are currently in the 2021-2022 season.
These are the years the numbers should be broken down from. If we are going to do a similar thing with Covid as the CDC does with the flu. And, if you do this, say, compare the 2017-2018 Flu outbreak to the 2020-2021 Covid numbers to the IFR, the numbers would be almost identical.
For instance, this graph (which you can enlarge by clicking it) even states what I have above:
The number of cases displayed reflects how many have been tested & confirmed so far. It does NOT include the potentially many undetected people who are currently infected with COVID-19, whether asymptomatic or undiagnosed.
So again, that 1.8 fatality rate shown in most media broadcasts is not correct. Even the numbers from the UK do not reflect the IFR:
According to the World Health Organisation, the mean infection fatality rate (“IFR”) for COVID-19 is less than 0.2%. This is the percentage of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 who die. That data has now been fleshed out in more detail in a recent paper. Across all countries, the median IFR and the infection survival rate were as follows (rounded to two decimal places):
That is the extent of the problem that public health policies like lockdowns and mandatory vaccines are solving for. And this is the first elephant no one is talking about…..
DOC J responds to me lightly:
Sean G, My figures come from VAERS-reported deaths divided by the total number of people vaccinated. It’s not that hard. As usual, everything you fear from the vax you should fear a thousand times more from the virus. This includes blood clots and D-dimer. (Linked paper from JULY 2020: D-dimer level is associated with the severity of COVID-19)
DOC Jas an example. The autopsies done by Dr. Schirmacher were not reported to VAERS. So there is an under reporting happening that was the point of the two instances of autopsies noted in my post.
[I am posting more of PJ-MEDIA’Sexcellent article here than I did in my response for my readers]
ABC in Detroit got a lot more than it bargained for when it asked its viewers on Facebook this question:
After the vaccines were available to everyone, did you lose an unvaccinated loved one to COVID-19? If you’re willing to share your family’s story, please DM us your contact information. We may reach out for a story we’re working on.
The post garnered more than 100,000 responses, almost all of which talked about family members the readers say were either injured or died after receiving the COVID vaccine. None of the reports can be verified, but the sheer number of responses is anecdotally interesting. The “ratio,” as the kids say, is epic.
Audrey Tarrance Ravenna wrote, “After the vaccines were available, 3 family members did their duty and got vaccinated. One suffered 2 strokes, one suffered neurological problems/tremors, one suffered a pulmonary embolism. All three died.” She went on to add that she doesn’t know anyone who has had COVID except herself and she survived.
Dee Ann L Voth wrote, “My friend passed away from covid and she was fully vaccinated!” Amanda Anderson added, “My dad passed away in July after a stroke. I often wonder if it was from the vaccine.”
Jacki Thomas asked, “Have they reached out to anyone to research those who lost loved ones after or with the vaccinations yet??? Crickets?”
Tammi Marie Watts Staffer said, “My friend’s father was paralyzed after his first vax.” Scott Donaldson wrote, “My stepdad’s mom passed very shortly after Moderna.”
Kristy Branch wrote, “My 78-year-old father was pretty health [sic]…he got the Moderna now he’s walking with the walker [because] he keeps falling he’s weak he shakes and he has bathroom issues now I tried to get him not to do it… but he believed you crooked lying people from the news.”
Jen Roberton pointed out that the news station isn’t making any effort to get the other side of the story and it shows. “This is the response I expected. The media is asking the wrong questions.”
Lani Rose reported, “My son’s classmate lost her mother from heart complications due to the vaccine.” Lauren Greer replied to Rose, saying, “I lost my aunt! She never had heart issues before and suddenly after the vaccine, she died from complications with myocarditis??”
Holly Mulkey wrote, “My mom passed away in her sleep the day she got the vaccine. Her autopsy showed enlarged heart.”
Anna Mattheson wrote, “My friend David 40-years-old 2 days after vaccination heart failure and passed away.”
Jasmine Shirley said, “I have an appointment with a cardiologist due to some very random heart issues that started a week or two after my first shot.”
Kimberly Delvero wrote, “What about the vaccinated loved ones that were lost??????…. No one wants to talk about that??? It’s all about the unvaccinated and keeping the fear going…absolutely ridiculous!”
The comments go on and on like this for pages and pages. With this kind of response, you would think that a curious media would look into these claims, talk to doctors, look at autopsies, and give even the slightest bit of attention to people who are experiencing unexplained tragedies. Instead, they are looking the other way and digging for stories so they can pin the pandemic on the unvaccinated. We saw the news orchestrate a fake story about “ivermectin overdoses” in order to smear the vaccine-hesitant just this month!
Perhaps, instead of demonizing people who have fears about the vaccine based on personal experience and questions about possible side effects, the media could take some time to talk to them and investigate their claims. Getting to the bottom of what is happening and why might actually help alleviate fears of vaccination. But by ignoring all these stories, the media is causing distrust of the vaccine and the establishment……
[speaking to DOC J]When I used VAERS as a source, you thought it was untrustworthy. Now suddenly they are gospel?
When I saw this comment, I mentally noted that this is probably the case, that is, DOC Jmay have bemoaned the VAERS database previously; however, he is either just using the source of his “opponents” [we are all friends in this and the afterlife] to make a point. A tactic in good conversation showing often that “fleshed out” the position is still weak or contradictory. OR, he is being forced with the mounting evidence to look at this database more seriously. Either way, he is backed in the proverbial, rhetorical corner.
I add some more information newly released that lends more information to the debate. The debate not just here but the broader debate in the public. [Again, expanding my quote from RIGHT SCOOP]:
A new report out today, written up by the Atlantic, suggests that nearly half of all COVID hospitalizations are, in reality, patients who found out they had COVID after they were admitted for something else or only had mild symptoms:
Here’s more from the Atlantic:
The authors of the paper out this week took a different tack to answer a similar question, this time for adults. Instead of meticulously looking at why a few hundred patients were admitted to a pair of hospitals, they analyzed the electronic records for nearly 50,000 COVID hospital admissions at the more than 100 VA hospitals across the country. Then they checked to see whether each patient required supplemental oxygen or had a blood oxygen level below 94 percent. (The latter criterion is based on the National Institutes of Health definition of “severe COVID.”) If either of these conditions was met, the authors classified that patient as having moderate to severe disease; otherwise, the case was considered mild or asymptomatic.
The study found that from March 2020 through early January 2021—before vaccination was widespread, and before the Delta variant had arrived—the proportion of patients with mild or asymptomatic disease was 36 percent. From mid-January through the end of June 2021, however, that number rose to 48 percent. In other words, the study suggests that roughly half of all the hospitalized patients showing up on COVID-data dashboards in 2021 may have been admitted for another reason entirely, or had only a mild presentation of disease.
This increase was even bigger for vaccinated hospital patients, of whom 57 percent had mild or asymptomatic disease. But unvaccinated patients have also been showing up with less severe symptoms, on average, than earlier in the pandemic: The study found that 45 percent of their cases were mild or asymptomatic since January 21. According to Shira Doron, an infectious-disease physician and hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center, in Boston, and one of the study’s co-authors, the latter finding may be explained by the fact that unvaccinated patients in the vaccine era tend to be a younger cohort who are less vulnerable to COVID and may be more likely to have been infected in the past.
Color me shocked that COVID hospitalizations might only be half as much as being claimed. It sounds similar to what we saw last year in the conflated tallies of those who died “because of COVID” versus those who died “with COVID”.
This prompted JIM G.to respond with a good bit of information. Mind, you, this is jot the JIM G. I get into frequent discussions with on different subject.
SEAN G, Some have said that most who are coming to the hospitals now are the unvaccinated. One reason for this is because the hospitals count a person that has taken the jab less than 14 days as an “unvaccinated”.
I just wish to finish up this post with other side news I came across on Facebook.
AN RPT BONUS
Facebook, which banned me for 3-days today – but then realized they were wrong. I took the previous graphic that got me banned and remade it better:
The FDA just released its briefing book for Pfizer’s request for a third dose of Comirnaty (or is that BNT162b2? No matter! It’s approved either way, sorta).
It is every bit the mess we all expected.
Let’s go to the highlights:
Pfizer basically hasn’t bothered to test the booster AT ALL in the people actually at risk – it conducted a single “Phase 1” trial that covered 12 people over 65. The main Phase 2/3 booster trial (beware efforts to cover multiple “phases” of drug research at once, you want it bad you get it bad) included no one over 55.
As in NONE.
Which makes total sense – why test the booster in people who actually need it because they’re at high risk from the ro? Nothing good can come of that.
So that’s our trial design.
Of the 300 people who received the booster, one had a heart attack two months later. No worries, Pfizer concluded it wasn’t related. Yay!
Five percent of recipients had enlarged lymph nodes.
How about effectiveness?
Well, we don’t have enough data – or any data, really – telling us how well the booster will work.
But the FDA made Pfizer go back and review its data from the pivotal clinical trial from last year. Pfizer compared people who received the vaccine with those who received the placebo and THEN the vaccine (the best we can do at this point, since Pfizer blew up the trial by giving placebo subjects the vaccine, double-yay!)
Pfizer concluded that your annual risk of getting Covid-19 IF YOU ARE VACCINATED is about 7 percent.
“An additional analysis appears to indicate that incidence of COVID-19 generally increased in each group of study participants with increasing time post-Dose 2 at the start of the analysis period.”
But don’t worry, Uncle Joe already told you you can get your booster on September 20. If it’s good enough for our fearless leader, it should be good enough for the FDA, amirite?
Here are two media pieces I watched today:
This CBS produced 60 Minutes was from 1979 | Mary Tyler Moore, Swine Flu Shot August 19, 2021
And here is an absolutely hilarious video by Tucker Carlson that had me belly rolling in bed this morning:
Tucker Carlson Tonight’ host weighs in on the left’s hypocrisy regarding the government dictation of personal health decisions.
A friend noted the following:
Not trying to minimize the impact of Covid. But the “pandemic” has really been hijacked for political motives. Look at this Kabuki theater. Before and After the cameras were turned on.
“What’s More Authoritarianism Than a No Fly List for People Who Disagree With You?” Dr. Paul on Fox
Here is some commentary regarding the ATLANTIC JOURNAL article Senator Paul references via the DAILY EXPOSE:
…..Juliette Kayyem, former assistant secretary for homeland security under President Obama, wrote in an article for The Atlantic titled “Unvaccinated People Belong on the No-Fly List”: “But at this stage of the pandemic, tougher universal restrictions are not the solution to continuing viral spread. While flying, vaccinated people should no longer carry the burden for unvaccinated people.
“The White House has rejected a nationwide vaccine mandate—a sweeping suggestion that the Biden administration could not easily enact if it wanted to—but a no-fly list for unvaccinated adults is an obvious step that the federal government should take.
“It will help limit the risk of transmission at destinations where unvaccinated people travel—and, by setting norms that restrict certain privileges to vaccinated people, will also help raise the stagnant vaccination rates that are keeping both the economy and society from fully recovering.”
These comments are essentially a form of left-wing extremism, comparing the unvaccinated to terrorists. Of course, the mainstream media won’t report on the quietly introduced legislation, instead opting to promote the vaccine agenda and encourage more Americans to roll up their sleeves and submit to the jab.
JACK PROBIECnotes that The Atlantic changed the title of the story. Here is first the changed headline followed by the archived headline (linked accordingly):
BREITBARTnotes that “Kayyem champions shaming the unvaccinated, who should ‘face scorn among their peer group’ and ‘may even be happy to have an excuse to protect themselves,’ along with celebrating Broadway, Disney, and Walmart for forcing the unvaccinated to give up ‘certain societal benefits’ to practice their their individuality and freedom of choice.”
Yet another site — which I do not recommend since they the author is a Nation of Islam apologist — still, I feel compelled to share. To be clear however, even in this post I linked to, I disagree with some positions, but I must hat-tip. And if you are not aware of the “Pegasus” software issue, NPR will allow you some understanding to the issue.
….Journalist Max Blumenthal noted on Twitter that other politicians are pushing for vaccine mandates and seem to be backing the no-fly list for the unvaccinated. Blumenthal tweeted, “Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres introduces bill to direct the Department of Homeland Security to place all unvaccinated people on the no fly list”.
Blumenthal is the editor of The Grayzone, an independent news website dedicated to original investigative journalism and analysis on politics and empire. He also co-hosts the “Moderate Rebels” podcast.
“Rep. Torres’ bill appears to have been inspired by this op-ed by Juliette Kayyem,” Blumethal tweeted. “Kayyem is a former DHS official who lobbied for the Israeli NSO Group behind the notorious Pegasus tech used to spy on journalists & world leaders. What could go wrong?”
There is a reason people like Juliette Kayyem wanted [actively] “Pegasus type” spyware. because the administration kept getting caught via Freedom of Information Acts and other methods promoting transparency.
The Obama administration, much to the surprise of the current ethos of the politically maligned, was the leader in violating the press’ rights. Even far Left orgs at the time “got it” — DAILY BEAST:
The press-punishing, speech-chilling, and unabashedly overreaching actions by the Obama administration against the Associated Press and Fox News Channel’s James Rosen lay bare the essential dynamic between any president and a press that is always more prone to being lapdogs than watchdogs: the president feeds or punishes them as he sees fit, while chanting a bogus rosary about “national security.”
In the case of the AP, the Obama administration secretly subpoenaed phone-call logs and other information from an office where over 100 journalists worked. Officials were on the hunt for the sources that cooperated with the AP on a story about a failed terrorist plot in Yemen. As AP head Gary Pruitt has put it, the administration’s subpoena was “so secretly, so abusively and harassingly and over-broad … that it is an unconstitutional act.” As important, Pruitt says that the subpoena revelation has already chilled even routine news gathering, as government officials have become paranoid—with reason, perhaps—about sharing even banal sorts of information.
To make matters worse in terms of press freedom, there are many reasons to assume the Obama administration is secretly spying on many other journalists and organizations. With Fox’s Rosen, the administration got an actual warrant to read his email and contends that he has committed crimes by pursuing and publishing a story about North Korea, even though the story apparently doesn’t include any classified information per se. Rosen hasn’t been legally charged as of yet, but as Glenn Greenwald notes, the accusations against Rosen parallel government charges against WikiLeaks honcho Julian Assange. “Under U.S. law,” writes Greenwald, “it’s not illegal to publish classified information,” so the Obama administration is claiming that it’s illegal for journalists and publishers to “solicit” such information. That doesn’t simply fly in the face of the First Amendment and Vietnam-era rulings guaranteeing press freedoms, it declares “war on journalism” by essentially criminalizing the very act of investigative reporting…..
And that’s not all! Not long after taking office, the Secret Service literally dragged away a black female reporter. Imagine the optics if an African-American woman were dragged away by Trump’s Secret Service.
Over the past eight years, the Obama Administration has prosecuted nine cases involving whistle-blowers and leakers, compared with only three by all previous administrations combined. It has repeatedly used the Espionage Act, a relic of World War I-era red-baiting, not to prosecute spies but to go after government officials who talked to journalists. Under President Obama, the Justice Department and the FBI have spied on reporters by monitoring their phone records, labeled one journalist an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal case for simply doing reporting and issued subpoenas to other reporters to try to force them to reveal their sources and testify in criminal cases.
PROSECUTED and JAILED!
Here’s the Proof: Obama Treated Journalists WAY Worse than Trump (DAN BONGINO):
…Obama prosecuted more journalists under the Espionage Act than all other Presidents combined. While many certainly deserved it (such as Chelsea Manning), are we to believe there were more acts of espionage from 2009-2016 than the rest of American history?
In total, 13 people have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act for sharing classified information with journalists since 1945. Of those 13, eight were arrested while Obama was president. Only one person has been prosecuted under the Espionage Act under Trump’s presidency (a woman bizarrely named “Reality Winner’), which is entirely justified for the same reasons that Manning’s charges were justified.
As one writer put it, “Trump rages about leakers. Obama quietly prosecuted them.”…
….Experts on executive-branch leaks say it’s too early to gauge Trump’s legacy. But much has been made about the Obama administration’s hunt for leakers. Of the 13 people who have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act for leaking secrets, eight were arrested under Obama’s administration, according to Alexandra Ellerbeck, senior Americas and U.S. researcher with the Committee to Protect Journalists.
And prosecutors under Obama have spied on journalists and named a journalist an “unindicted co-conspirator,” according to the New York Times. Ellerbeck said that’s just a step away from arresting a reporter for writing a story — and raises dangerous constitutional issues about freedom of the press.
“Obama was furious over leaks, but his fury was directed internally,” said David Pozen, a constitutional law professor at Columbia University who specializes in national security law. “What distinguishes Trump is that he is directing his [anger] to the public.What is the point of complaining about leaks in a public tweet? He can call up the attorney general at any moment of the day or night. … He’s the chief executive and he has powerful investigative tools at his disposal. Twitter is not one of the tools.”
Mark Mazzetti, an investigative reporter who covers national security for the New York Times, talked to The Post’s Greg Sargent about the effect of Obama’s leak investigations.
“There’s no question that this has a chilling effect,” Mazzetti told Sargent in 2013. “People who have talked in the past are less willing to talk now. Everyone is worried about communication and how to communicate, and is there any method of communication that is not being monitored. It’s got people on both sides — the reporter and source side — pretty concerned.
“It certainly seems like they’re being very serious about hunting down people talking to reporters.”
Trump’s approach to leaks has had the opposite effect, experts say….
DESTROYED BY THE ESPIONAGE ACT: Stephen Kim Spoke to a Reporter. Now He’s in Jail. This Is His Story. (INTERCEPT)
….Rosen’s email helps explain the part of the case that has received the most media attention: In 2013, the court unsealed a prosecution document that described Rosen as a potential “co-conspirator.” The document, an affidavit in support of a search warrant to Google demanding access to Rosen’s Gmail account, revealed that the government had tracked Rosen’s movements on June 11 and had obtained records of his phone calls and some emails. There was widespread condemnation from the media about what seemed to be a profound violation of First Amendment protections for a free press. This came as the Department of Justice was continuing to threaten the New York Times reporter James Risen with a jail sentence if he refused to identify one of his sources (last month, the Justice Department announced it would not prosecute Risen), and it came just a few days after news broke that the government secretly had obtained the records of more than 20 Associated Press phone lines as part of an investigation into the source of an AP terrorism story. The government responded to the outcry by promising that Rosen would not be prosecuted, and that the seizure of reporters’ emails and phone records would be done with greater care in the future.
after years of fighting to stay out of jail, wanted to go to prison as soon as possible, so that he could get on with his life.
When I visited him in April and May, there were surprisingly few things in the small apartment he was renting in Reston, Virginia. Clothes, dishes, sheets, books — everything was being sold, given away, or put into storage as his incarceration neared. He mentioned that he had a picture from the day he briefed Cheney. I asked if I could see it, and he brought it up from the basement. I looked at it for a while, Kim and the vice president going over documents about North Korea. When I asked whether I could make a copy, he waved at the picture abruptly.
“Take it,” he said. “Take whatever you want.”
Kim’s pain emerged in flashes like this. Most of the time he was adept at hiding behind a self-protective dry humor. At lunch with a few of his supporters after he was sentenced, he joked that he could write a memoir titled From Yale to Jail. When someone asked what he would do after getting out, he wisecracked, “Welcome to McDonald’s. Would you like to supersize your order?” This wasn’t too far from the truth. To improve his odds for early release, he lined up two job commitments once he got out of prison — one was working in a Catholic church, the other was a job in a women’s beauty shop….
Obama Used The Espionage Act To Put A Record Number Of Reporters’ Sources In Jail, And Trump Could Be Even Worse [HINT: Trump Wasn’t] (PRESS FREEDOM TRACKER)
…For much of the law’s existence, while it was used perniciously against anti-war demonstrators, it was not applied to journalists or their sources. It was not until 1971 that a person was indicted under the Espionage Act for providing classified information to a journalist. Between 1917 and 2009, only one person was convicted under the Espionage Act for leaking to a news organization.
But the Obama administration was determined to change that. Under pressure from Congress and intelligence agencies, Attorney General Eric Holder directed the Department of Justice to aggressively prosecute government employees who discussed classified information with reporters. In 2012, after news organizations reported on U.S. drone strikes and attempts to disable Iranian nuclear reactors, Holder assigned two U.S. attorneys to track down the journalists’ sources.
President Barack Obama strongly supported Holder’s war against journalists’ sources, despite once promising to protect whistleblowers when in office and running for president on the national security scandals of the Bush administration — misdeeds that became public only because of leaks.
“Since I’ve been in office, my attitude has been zero tolerance for these kinds of leaks and speculation,” Obama said in June 2012. “Now we have mechanisms in place where, if we can root out folks who have leaked, they will suffer consequences. In some case, it’s criminal. These are criminal acts when they release information like this. And we will conduct thorough investigations, as we have in the past.”
Obama’s Justice Department succeeded in putting a number of people in jail for daring to help national security journalists report on classified government programs.
During the Obama administration, the Department of Justice brought charges under the Espionage Act against eight people accused of leaking to the media — Thomas Drake, Shamai Leibowitz, Stephen Kim, Chelsea Manning, Donald Sachtleben, Jeffrey Sterling, John Kiriakou and Edward Snowden.
Two other high ranking Obama officials, General David Petraeus and General James Cartwright, were also prosecuted as part of leak investigations. They both ultimately pled to lesser charges and were never indicted under the Espionage Act. Cartwright was also later pardoned. Including their cases, the total number of leak case prosecutions under the Obama administration was 10….