Usher’s News & Analysis for May 19, 2020

Thanks to Dr. Mercola for the link:

Drug companies often justify their high prices by insisting that when a medicine comes to market, they need to recoup the money they spent on R&D, some of which inevitably ends up being a loss as they chase promising but unsuccessful therapies. That same return-on-investment logic could also apply to taxpayers — when we take the financial risk of funding original medical research, our ROI could be in the form of affordable prices for the medicines that eventually come from that research.

In fact, that was the very concept embedded in our laws during the Bush I administration, after criticism of the high price of a leading anti-AIDS drug developed at taxpayer expense.

The NIH rule’s principle was simple: drugs developed at taxpayer expense and then licensed to commercial pharmaceutical companies must ultimately be offered to consumers at a fair and reasonable price. The idea was that if the public has already paid once to develop a drug, then the public should not have to pay exorbitant prices for that drug — the same principle that informed Salk’s decision to avoid trying to patent the polio vaccine.

That NIH rule, however, was rescinded by Bill Clinton’s administration ….

Will Big Pharma Fleece Us On A COVID Treatment That We Helped Fund? – Too Much Information

The video is a bit redundant but makes clear that many scientists who are saying SARS-CoV-2 could not have come from a lab are lying. After watching the video, one leans more in the direction that it did come from a lab. Its points have not been refuted!

Coronavirus: Are Our Scientists Lying To Us?

Picking up on our last video about the Newsweek report that the US has been funding bat coronavirus ‘gain of function’ research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, we dig further into the “Was covid-19 created in a lab?” debate.

Digging into the biochemistry of viruses, we are struck in particular by a genetic string of RNA in covid-19 — specifically the polybasic furin cleavage site PRRA — that has all the appearance of an “insert” (i.e., something that does NOT look like a natural mutation)

Chris walks through the science in today’s video. But as he does, he’s expresses disappointment and angered at some of America’s most prominent virologists — who seem to be more concerned with CYA tactics (perhaps because they were involved in the gain of function research?) than embracing the truth.

“As to President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement, based on the information I have today, I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man,” Barr said.

First, Barr may yet be handed information new to him. Second, saying that he doesn’t expect something does not say it won’t happen under him. Third, an AG should never rule out prosecuting a former President or a former VP running for President. He knows that, and didn’t.

That said, if Durham reports and shows evidence Obama knew there was no evidence and gave the go-ahead and Barr does not pursue Obama criminally, Barr would need to be fired and replaced by someone who would go after Obama for cause.

As for any punishment for Obama were he found guilty, I leave that to others. Rehabilitation is the right approach regardless.

The same holds for Biden. Biden, however, wasn’t in charge. The issue would be how much he knew and when and why he didn’t resign over it.

The best case scenario for both is that they deliberately turned a blind eye. That alone shows a level of complicity.

The whole thing (Russiagate) was way too high profile right from the start for either to have the excuse of claiming they didn’t know anything was going on. Also, we know Obama was in the loop, but we only have the record of his supporters, who wouldn’t likely write things down and keep them that would indicate Obama was right in the middle of it all directing it on the order of a Richard Nixon (but you never know).

If indictments start coming down, some may wish to turn state’s evidence in plea-bargaining deals.

Obama, Biden not targeted in U.S. review of Russia probe, Barr says

“The president stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective,” the email continued. “He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.”

The newly declassified portion describes Comey’s response.

“Director Comey affirmed that he is proceeding ‘by the book’ as it relates to law enforcement,” Rice wrote. “From a national security perspective, Comey said he does have some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. Comey said that could be an issue as it relates to sharing sensitive information. President Obama asked if Comey was saying that the NSC should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn. Comey replied ‘potentially.’ He added that he has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak, but he noted that ‘the level of communication is unusual.’ The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said that he would.”

“We live in a very divided country right now, and I think that it is critical that we have an election where the American people are allowed to make a decision, a choice, between President Trump and Vice President Biden based on a robust debate of policy issues,” Barr said in a press call on an unrelated topic. “And we cannot allow this process to be hijacked by efforts to drum up criminal investigations of either candidate.”

“Our concern over potential criminality is focused on others,” he added.

In other words, they don’t have anything on Obama. All they have is what we all already know: Obama did the CYA thing and appeared hands-off but desirous if anything were to come up where he should jump in. That was quite lax if true. He should have specifically asked what evidence was there for investigating Flynn. There was none. He should have shut it down.

Barr appears to want to come off as more ethical than Obama and Biden. If he had the goods on them, he’d go after them. That’s my take. Of course, Ukraine and Biden and China and Biden are still there, and the investigative report is not yet out.

Trump administration declassifies full Susan Rice email sent on Inauguration Day

Interest in antibody tests from employers has fallen in recent weeks as reports have suggested that it is too early to conclude that antibodies to the new coronavirus translate into immunity. The American Medical Association cautioned on Thursday that these tests do not determine an individual’s immunity.

“Many employers … are realizing that antibody testing isn’t going to be a silver bullet and really isn’t going to bring them any value,” said David Zeig, a lead consultant on clinical services at Mercer.

Other employers worry about their liability if they administer and interpret such tests ….

As the new FDA process shows which tests work and which don’t, that will help advance research on how many people recovering from COVID-19 develop antibodies and at what level, and show if they are truly immune to infection, said Howard Koh, a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

U.S. Employers Shying Away From Using Coronavirus ‘Immunity’ Tests in Reopening

The U.S. Department of Labor last Thursday issued its first workplace guidance to nursing homes since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country and ravaged care facilities, saying residents, staff and visitors should keep 6 feet (1.83 meters) apart.

I don’t believe it’s possible right now for all staff to stay that far from residents. The better approach is to outfit every nursing home with sanitizing equipment for PPE, so staff could go from resident to resident and assist them physically when needed, which can be very often in such facilities (if they are run well).

OSHA Releases First Coronavirus Guidance for Nursing Homes

… Iowa OSHA took nine days to seek a response from Tyson, and eight more to get one, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press under the open records law. The agency determined April 28 that Tyson’s voluntary efforts were “satisfactory” and closed the case without inspecting the plant.

State Sen. Bill Dotzler, a Waterloo Democrat, said that the agency’s handling of the complaint failed vulnerable workers who were facing a choice between risking their health and keeping their jobs.

Report: Regulators Sat on Complaint as Virus Outbreak Grew at Iowa Plant

Alabama leads the nation in mitigation, with more than 18,000 homes built to the Institute for Business and Home Safety Fortified standard, the ALDOI said.

Alabama Insurance Dept. Forms Dedicated Resiliency Division to Reduce Disaster Risk

Bolsonaro fiddles while Brazil …

Brazil is now world’s fastest-growing coronavirus hot spot, as São Paulo registers deadliest 24 hours yet

After USA TODAY Network first reported Jones’ removal from her position in charge of the Florida COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard she created, she confirmed, as reported by CBS-12 in West Palm Beach that she was fired because she was ordered to censor some data, but refused to “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.”

Florida’s scientist was fired for refusing to ‘manipulate’ COVID-19 data

I wrote on this blog a few times even before the bill was passed that they should go with debit cards. It will make life easier for people, especially the unbanked. They can easily be recharged by the government too.

Treasury is starting to send some stimulus payments on debit cards

Right move:

Flynn attorney files emergency appeal to shut down Judge Sullivan’s orders, boot him from case

I disagree with Flynn on a number of ideological issues, but he was guilty of nothing in this whole case against him.

It’s quite clear to me that our legal system is not up to the task. We need new laws, federal laws, about how we’ll handle pandemics and epidemics, etc. Those laws need to address every issue that has come up on account of COVID-19. We shouldn’t be thrashing around wondering how to get money to the people or whether and when to quarantine, etc.

Oregon Supreme Court stays lower court ruling that nullified governor’s coronavirus measures

Just what we don’t need:

Trump signs order directing agencies to cut federal regulations

Edwards said Phlow will operate the nation’s first strategic active pharmaceutical ingredients reserve, a supply of critical raw drug ingredients that will be stored in secure locations around the country.

Trump admin taps startup to build nation’s 1st stockpile of key drug ingredients

5 Wind Energy Giants Embracing Solar Power

The proposal is based around providing enough permanent supportive housing — where people are given services they need and pay up to 30% of their income on the unit — for every person who is chronically homeless. The group said permanent supportive housing is one of the most successful solutions.

Proposal: King County can solve chronic homelessness in 5 years with permanent supportive housing

5 years is a long time when you’re homeless.

No doubt, Amazon was up against it, as the entire nation started turning to Amazon and other online shopping in a sudden and unexpected surge. However, we still really don’t know how much effort went into protecting workers. From what many workers have said, they weren’t treated in a way that indicated to them that Amazon was willing to lose some nonessential business to protect them.

… some standard safety advice didn’t become common practice at AVP1 for almost two months, according to interviews with six workers, community advocates and elected officials, some of whom asked that their names not be used for fear of retribution.

It wasn’t until the first week in April, about a month after white-collar workers in Seattle were sent home ….

‘Way too late’: Inside Amazon’s biggest coronavirus outbreak