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When self-evident truth is dismissed as false, and the obvious as conspiratorial.
The slogans above are from George Orwell’s eerily prescient novel, 1984. In the story, we learn that these slogans were created by an entity known only as “The Party,” which consists of those in charge of the country. The words are written in enormous letters on the white pyramid of the “Ministry of Truth,” the organization responsible for changing the content in history books and in the news so that it is concordant with The Party’s orthodoxy. The slogans are contradictions used to keep citizens in a perpetual state of uncertainty, never quite sure of themselves or each other, and therefore reliant on The Party for guidance on how to live their lives. And the title of this post, “2+2=5,” refers to the moment in the book when the main character is forced to accept this false assertion, a phrase which has entered the lexicon to represent obedience to ideology over rational truth or facts, symbolizing the futility of resistance and independent thought.
The parallels between 1984 and today are almost disturbingly obvious, and not only because of the general denigration of individual freedom and autonomy. If there’s a surefire way to corrode liberal democracy, it’s by undermining support for the institutions integral to its longevity, and the sheer frequency with which the American public has been subjected to mixed messages and double standards in media coverage and public health restrictions has only served to weaken trust, while mass online de-platforming and other efforts to censor views deemed “misinformation” have ebbed away at dwindling reservoirs of faith.
Fickle covid-19 restrictions and safety measures have been in place far longer than initially communicated. Vaccines, created at an unprecedented pace, were followed by a chaotic roll-out that included confusion about qualifications for vaccination. Contradictory government information about masks (i.e. — Fauci on March 8, 2020: “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”) and herd immunity has been issued at the highest levels, and during the height of the “lockdowns,” public health officials gave Black Lives Matter protests their stamp of approval while insisting that other mass gatherings were unsafe—a shamelessly overt example of ideological favoritism that continues on unabated, as evidenced by the double standards applied to South Dakota's upcoming Sturgis Motorcycle Rally vs. former President Obama’s birthday party and Lollapalooza.
And though challenges to the election and questions about tampering have been exaggerated with little to no evidence to support the claims, the concerns that people had (and continue to have) are legitimate. The pandemic caused the collapse of a voting infrastructure that had to be haphazardly reassembled on the fly, leading to swift changes in election laws that allowed, among other things, last-minute changes to election procedures, an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots, unusual staffing shortages that impacted both in-person polling sites and the canvassing of ballots, and longer counting and reporting timelines—changes that produced real doubts about whether improvised procedures were implemented quickly enough to prevent fraud. This hurried response, combined with the media’s anti-Trump stance and the summer’s political unrest, still doesn’t sit well with a lot of people.
There’s a long list of examples you could point to that underscore how Big Tech platforms and public health officials have often been incorrect and even dishonest in public statements that fall woefully short of living up to democratic norms of transparency. And as the mainstream media and Leftist elites carry on with their chastising dismissals of questions relating to contradictory information, public health restrictions, vaccine efficacy, and censorship of unpopular ideas, more and more Americans find themselves believing in an ominous totalitarian axis of enemies comprised of Big Tech, media morons, and a federal government equipped with a degree of power not seen since the wake of 9/11.
The handling of the pandemic has been especially atrocious, and the impact of the misinformation perpetrated by the C.D.C. and our wonderfully honest media class, not to mention elites who parrot sound bites like millennials on TikTok, cannot be overstated. It’s already come to light how the C.D.C. vastly exaggerated the risks of outdoor spreading of the virus, which appears to be closer to 0.1 percent than as high as 10 percent. And, as Times columnist Bret Stephens pointed out, “Fauci lied — there’s no other word for it — about what he saw as the threshold figure for reaching herd immunity, based, as Donald McNeil reported in The Times in December, on ‘his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.’”
So, if there’s a substantial percentage of the population that believes some public-health experts are not the second-coming-of-christ-like figures they’re purported to be by their loyal media stenographers, well, can you really fault them?
Case in point: Saint Anthony Fauci1 here, who’s lied on more than one occasion — including while testifying before Congress — in an attempt to cover his tracks, which, if followed, reveal his proximity to the shockingly idiotic research (“Let’s mess around with some already deadly viruses and see if we can make them as deadly and as easily transmissible among humans as possible, because obviously the potential benefits of such research outweighs the risks inherent to human fallibility and trusting China, a country that makes North Korea look like a Doric column of probity by comparison, not to mention the probability of causing the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu if we do error,” said no one with the slightest modicum of intelligence, ever. There are two things in this world that nobody should ever, under any circumstances, fuck with: the U.S. military and nature) at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). I submit that, were his acolytes and sycophants to acknowledge one lie, it would mean recognizing all his lies, and that’s no fun.
His game of semantics with Senator Rand Paul last month is as good an example of obfuscation as you’ll ever come across. The Kentucky Republican suggested that Fauci had lied to Congress in claiming that the National Institutes of Health had never funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, inducing an apoplectic tantrum from Fauci and the claim that the research doesn’t actually “qualify” as gain-of-function, even though it’s literally the very definition of gain-of-function research—something that even The New York Times has seen fit to print.
Fauci later said he couldn't be certain whether Chinese scientists at the Wuhan lab kept their word and “avoided using U.S. funding”2 to conduct alteration experiments that may have led to the covid-19 outbreak, and that “there’s no way of guaranteeing” what the $600,000 given to the lab was used for, but insisted it was gifted for “a modest collaboration with very respectable Chinese scientists who were world experts on coronaviruses.”
The truth — which was fervently obscured by a variety of different people (including Fauci) who sought to dismiss the lab-leak theory so as not to be implicated in causing — however indirectly — a pandemic that’s now resulted in over 4.2 million deaths worldwide — is that the U.S. government’s scientific establishment has supported gain-of-function research for years and years, but without bringing it to the public’s attention in order to avoid debate due to the likelihood that something so obviously risky and dangerous with little proven value would’ve been stopped. Also incontrovertibly true is that beneficiaries of this funding engaged in deceit and outright mendacity while denouncing anyone who questioned their authority as “conspiracy mongers.”
“In one State Department meeting, officials seeking to demand transparency from the Chinese government say they were explicitly told by colleagues not to explore the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s gain-of-function research, because it would bring unwelcome attention to U.S. government funding of it,” Vanity Fair’s Katherine Eban reported in an exposé of the government’s internal debates over the source of the pandemic.
But arguably the greatest single factor that’s contributed to a growing sense of distrust among the public is the stunning reality that more than 600,000 Americans have died in this pandemic, but neither the Democratic Party nor its media latchkeys have shown virtually any interest whatsoever in determining the five big W’s pertaining to the coronavirus—who, what, when, where, and why.
How the fuck did this happen? Is figuring that out not of the utmost priority, if only to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again? Clearly it is not, and the reasoning for this has everything to do with the now damning proof of a coordinated attempt to cover up the origin of the coronavirus, an effort led by several prominent, nefarious actors in the scientific community, but which the mainstream media and key Democratic Party leaders also championed either because of political and personal advantage, or because it satisfied an ideological impulse.
This shit is going to make one hell of a movie.3
The Big Ruh Roh Doth Cometh
In May, I wrote a long post titled “The Big Ruh Roh Cometh” that took a deep dive into the lab-leak theory in the hope of shedding some light on what many people were dismissing as isolated “coincidences” — which I more or less considered to be enough circumstantial evidence for a third-tier lawyer to achieve a unanimous verdict from the world’s most incorrigible jury — along with a lot of disturbing background information that had been glossed over for more than a year, in large part because the mainstream media had decided on willful ignorance in lieu of pursuing the truth.
The origin of the coronavirus is still unknown. But given the developments since I wrote that post, many of which strongly support the premise I planted my flag on (like, for instance, my belief that ole Peter Daszak is a somewhat less than honorable individual who, from the very start, has done everything possible to mislead the public), I’m inclined to believe that if you still do not think there’s at least a very good chance that the lab-leak theory is correct, then I believe it’s you who’s indulging in willful ignorance.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s frame the question as a matter of probability: What are the odds that the coronavirus passed naturally from animals to humans — i.e., that the Wuhan Wet Market fable is true, or that it was one of the many animals China has tried to pin the blame on, including raccoon-dogs — as a shocking number of people are still wont to argue?
Dr. David Asher, who headed the now-canceled State Department investigation under former President Donald Trump, put that very question to a biostatistician, and was told that the odds were roughly . . . 1 in 13 billion. In the face of that vanishingly small probability, Asher remarked, “to say this came out of a zoonotic situation is sort of ridiculous.”
On Thursday of this week (AUG 12), The Washington Post revealed that Peter Ben Embarek, the World Health Organization expert who led a controversial joint probe into the origins of the coronavirus, was told by the Chinese researchers involved that he could not mention the possibility that the virus had leaked out of the WIV.
“In the beginning, they didn’t want anything about the lab [in the report], because it was impossible, so there was no need to waste time on that,” Ben Embarek said during an interview with Danish documentarians. “We insisted on including it, because it was part of the whole issue about where the virus originated.”
In its report released earlier this year, the WHO-China team said it was “very unlikely” that the virus could’ve accidentally leaked from the WIV or another facility in the Chinese city where infections were first found. The joint team of researchers said it would not recommend further investigation into the issue. In the end, Ben Embarek’s Chinese counterpart eventually agreed to discuss the lab-leak theory in the report “on the condition we didn’t recommend any specific studies to further that hypothesis.” Asked in the documentary whether the report’s “extremely unlikely” wording about the lab-leak theory was a Chinese requirement, Ben Embarek said “it was the category we chose to put it in at the end, yes.”
In further comments during the interview that were not included in the documentary but were mentioned in an account by the Danish channel TV2 on its website, he suggested there could’ve been “human error” but that China does not allow authorities to acknowledge that.
“It probably means there’s a human error behind such an event, and they’re not very happy to admit that,” Ben Embarek was quoted as saying. “The whole system focuses a lot on being infallible, and everything must be perfect,” he added. “Somebody could also wish to hide something. Who knows?”4
From the start, the investigation that Ben Embarek led was mired in controversy. Beijing delayed approval, pushing back the researchers’ arrival, while some of the international experts on the team were criticized for prior links to Chinese research. Even once it arrived, the WHO team, subjected to strict quarantine procedures, had only two weeks in the field to conduct research. Ben Embarek and other researchers on the team have hinted at immense pressure during the trip from all sides, with as many as 60 Chinese colleagues working with not only scientists but also public health figures: “The politics was always in the room with us on the other side of the table,” he told Science Magazine during an interview published in February.
“The Greatest Coverup Of All Time”
On August 2nd, the Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee released a document as an addendum to the COVID-origins report they issued last year. It’s 84 pages long but well worth the read. The conclusion? (Emphasis added by me)
“The preponderance of evidence suggests SARS-CoV-2 was accidentally released from a Wuhan Institute of Virology laboratory sometime prior to September 12, 2019.”
According to Rep. Michael McCaul, the lead Republican in the House Foreign Affairs Committee who released the report:
“We know gain-of-function research was happening at the WIV and we know it was being done in unsafe conditions. We also now know the head of the Chinese CDC and the director of the WIV’s BSL-4 lab publicly expressed concerns about safety at PRC labs in the summer of 2019. It is our belief the virus leaked sometime in late August or early September 2019. When they realized what happened, Chinese Communist Party officials and scientists at the WIV began frantically covering up the leak, including taking their virus database offline in the middle of the night and requesting more than $1 million for additional security.
“But their coverup was too late – the virus was already spreading throughout the megacity of Wuhan. Within a month, satellite images show a significant uptick in the number of people at hospitals around the WIV with symptoms similar to COVID-19. At the same time, athletes at the Military World Games became sick with symptoms similar to COVID-19. Some of them carried the virus back to their home countries – creating one of the earliest super spreader events in the world, and explaining how countries who participated in the games had reported cases as early as November 2019.
“It is also concerning the scientific community told the American people for more than a year it was impossible to modify a virus without leaving a trace when this technology existed more than 14 years before the pandemic began. As this report lays out, researchers at the WIV were also able to successfully modify coronaviruses without leaving a trace as early as 2016. Therefore it is no longer appropriate for anyone to dismiss the notion this virus could have been genetically modified before it leaked from the WIV.
“Now is the time to use all of the tools the U.S. government has to continue to root out the full truth of how this virus came to be. That includes subpoenaing Peter Daszak to appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to answer the many questions his inconsistent – and in some instances outright and knowingly inaccurate – statements have raised. It also includes Congress passing legislation to sanction scientists at the WIV and CCP officials who participated in this coverup.
Notably, the report points to the lengths the Chinese Communist Party and the World Health Organization went to cover up the outbreak early on. The Communist Party detained doctors and journalists, destroyed lab samples and barred a full-scale probe into the origins by international investigators.
“Researchers at the WIV, officials within the [Chinese Communist Party], and potentially American citizens directly engaged in efforts to obfuscate information related to the origins of the virus and to suppress public debate of a possible lab leak.”
But the mention of Daszak is of particular interest, as the report details some damning information against him:
“We have uncovered strong evidence that suggests Peter Daszak is the public face of a CCP disinformation campaign designed to suppress public discussion about a potential lab leak.”
“It’s incredibly concerning that Peter Daszak, an American scientist who has taken millions of dollars from the U.S. government, took directions from the CCP to persuade the American people a lab leak was nothing more than a ‘conspiracy theory,’” McCaul said in a statement to National Review.
This revelation is very interesting; it’s one thing for Daszak to have helped engineer a scandal of this magnitude, but it’s another thing entirely to say that he worked directly with the Chinese Communist Party in doing so.
Recall that on Feb. 19, 2020, 27 prominent scientists published an open letter in The Lancet in which they decried “conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid-19 does not have a natural origin.” That letter, in conjunction with (and I’m not sure this is an exaggeration) nearly every mainstream journalist dismissing the lab-leak theory out of hand and adopting a “moral clarity” ethos of forgoing traditional journalistic norms of restraint and objectivity in favor of calling out “bigotry and lies” — which is to say that they cared more about silencing debate catalyzed by “right-wing xenophobia” than they did pursuing the truth5 — was used by Daszak and others to create a false consensus view in the media that covid-19 did not originate in a lab.
Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, a 466-page email cache revealed the lengths he went to conceal his involvement in organizing the now infamous letter, but the Republicans’ report is the first time that the role of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in orchestrating that letter has been made public. The committee points to numerous emails that show heavy coordination between the two parties and how Daszak was acting at the behest of individuals affiliated with the WIV.
I, for one, am in agreement with McCaul, who remarked, “This was the greatest coverup of all time and has caused the deaths of more than four million people around the world, and people must be held responsible.”
Quotes Of The Week
“Laura Hubbard failing at the event doesn’t make his inclusion fair. He’s still a man, and men shouldn’t compete against women in weightlifting.” —American author Allie Beth Stuckey, in a tweet for which she was temporarily banned from Twitter for “hateful conduct.”
“Politicians are never so dangerous as after a triumph.” —WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan, after it was revealed that many of New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s sexual misconduct incidents took place after the media lionized him for his (falsified) pandemic numbers.
“Family man. He used his wife as a human shield. Lucky for me he was taller than her.” —A tweet from Robert J. O’Neill, the former Navy Seal who put two 5.56 rounds through Osama Bin Laden’s face (plus one more, for insurance), after The New York Times posted an article with the headline “Osama bin Laden, the Fanatical Terrorist and the Devoted Family Man.”
“The Republicans simply want power. They want a white nationalist, you know, a white nationalist ethno-state. That's what they want. . . . And they don't care who they have to sacrifice — whether that's people in central Texas having to die over COVID or police officers in the Capitol — they don't care who dies. They don't care if it's kids in Sandy Hook as long as it is about accruing power to a white nationalist ethno-state.” —MSNBC contributor and frequent show guest Jason Johnson on a recent episode of Deadline: White House. In the past, Johnson has accused law enforcement of being racists, and has claimed that he is more likely to be shot by a police officer than by an intruder in his home.
“This moment is about the students, past and present, that relentlessly advocated for the removal of this racist monument. Now is a moment for all of us BIPOC students to breathe a sigh of relief, to be proud of our endurance, and to begin healing.” —Juliana Bennett, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and campus representative on the Madison City Council, on the ($50,000) removal of a “controversial boulder” after the Black Student Union and other activists objected to its description with a racial slur nearly 100 years ago.
“The first world war was the worst thing; [COVID-19] is nothing in comparison.” —Sarah “Betty” Spear, who is 108 years old and London’s oldest woman, during an interview on her birthday with South West News Service.
“In short, and in the immortal words of the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump...'You’re Fired!'” —Two Wyoming Republican leaders, in letters to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.), regarding unanimous county board votes to no longer recognize her as a GOP leader. While purely symbolic, the move is the latest censuring that Cheney has faced for diverging from much of her party's response to the Capitol riot.6
“If lobby & lawyers could get u to orbit, Bezos would be on Pluto rn.” —A tweet from Elon Musk.
Numbers And Figures
834: Unaccompanied migrant children who entered U.S. Border Patrol custody on August 5th, not including Mexican children.
394: Height, in feet, of SpaceX’s recently assembled “Starship” rocket, which the company (under contract with NASA) will use to transport passengers and cargo to the Moon and Mars. The stainless steel rocket is both the tallest and most powerful launch vehicle ever built, exerting 16,190,000 pounds of force during liftoff and capable of carrying 150 tons to orbit. Oh, and it’s reusable.
10: Career Olympic medals won by Allyson Felix, a stalwart of American track and field. Felix finished third in the 400 meters to become the most-decorated woman in the history of Olympic track.
77%: Percentage of Americans who support the deployment of more police to facilitate street patrols, per a recent USA Today poll. The public response counters the “defund the police” approach promulgated by many on the Left, who, as Ruy Teixeira points out, continue to dismiss the very serious rise in crime as “simply an artifact of the covid-19 shutdown that was being vastly exaggerated by Fox News and the like for their nefarious purposes.” The past year in particular has seen extraordinary bloodshed—“the largest increase in [national] violence we’ve seen since 1960, when we started collecting formal crime statistics,” according to John Roman, a crime analyst at the University of Chicago.
4: Paid volunteers NASA began taking applications for to live an entire year in Mars Dune Alpha, a 1,700-square-foot Martian habitat created by a 3D-printer inside a building at Johnson Space Center in Houston. The volunteers will work a simulated Martian exploration mission complete with spacewalks, limited communications back home, restricted food and resources, and equipment failures. Meals will all be ready-to-eat space food, and at the moment there are no windows planned.
47: People shot in Chicago last Saturday, including a cop who was killed during a traffic stop.
52: Civil arrest warrants signed by Dade Phelan, speaker of the Texas House, after the Texas House of Representatives authorized (80-12 vote) state law enforcement to round up and potentially arrest absentee Democrats who fled the Republican-led chamber to block action on polarizing election legislation.
Reads From The Archive
Mental Health Break
For what it’s worth, I think that Fauci has done a relatively exceptional job (for the most part) as head honcho during this pandemic. But I also think Donald Trump was a great president and a terrible leader, so my endorsements can be unorthodox. Though Trump has a certain fondness for trading in fact-free rhetoric as well as a tendency toward using a kind of hybrid motivational-seminar-type hard-sell charm on other elected officials in the hope that they’ll do things he knows they can’t, I don’t think he’s ever been duplicitous, per se. Fauci, on the other hand, is a conniver of unflagging industry.
Really? Are we to believe that China (i.e. — the WIV) kept grant money from the NIH in some super special separate account so that it wouldn’t be used for the sketchy gain-of-function shit they were doing on coronaviruses? Here’s an exchange between Fauci and Louisiana's Sen. John Kennedy:
Kennedy: “Here’s where I’m getting at: You gave them money, and you said, ‘Don’t do gain-of-function research.’”
Then Kennedy verified that the scientists would keep their word.
Fauci again agreed.
“And you have no way of knowing whether they did or not, except you trust them. Is that right,” Kennedy asked.
On the defense, Fauci tried to say “we generally always trust” fellow scientists or in this case grantees performing research.
But Kennedy wasn’t satisfied.
“Have you ever had a grantee lie to you,” he asked Fauci.
“I cannot guarantee that a grantee has not lied to us because you never know,” Fauci said.
As will the fabricated “Russian collusion” story that the media, Democratic Party reps, and the intelligence services tried to pin on the Trump administration, and which the MSM still perpetrates—and please don’t argue against this by regurgitating the same stale claims that the MSM still clings to. Here’s the reality, folks: If you really want to know the truth about something controversial, you have to do your own research on it without CNN or Fox News or whoever else whispering in your ear. You have to read about it — extensively, and not just on Twitter or in articles by Slate or Breitbart — and then draw your own conclusions.
We now know that the FBI and other intelligence agencies conducted covert surveillance against members of the Trump campaign based on evidence manufactured by political operatives working for the Clinton campaign, both before and after the election. We know that those involved with the investigation knew the accusations of collusion were part of a campaign “approved by Hillary Clinton… to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service.” We know the intel community used fake evidence (including falsified documents) to spy on the Trump campaign. I could go on but I’ve already digressed too much. Maybe another time.
When The Washington Post reached out to Ben Embarek about these statements, he claimed the Danish interview had been “mistranslated.” But the Post points out that this interview, which apparently happened several months ago, wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. Embarek had agreed to it before the trip to Wuhan and even recorded part of the trip on his cell phone camera for the Danish documentary. Reading between the lines, I think it sounds like Ben Embarek realized his admissions were going to be a lot more newsworthy than he originally thought and decided to throw the documentary team under the bus.
This is what’s called “motivated reasoning,” and it’s endemic to both sides of the ideological spectrum in this country. We think with a particular purpose in mind, and often that purpose isn’t to find the truth but to defend ourselves or attack our opponents. It’s found whenever self-interest is in play, but when the interests of a group are added to the mix, this sort of biased, god-awful reasoning becomes positively virtuous—it signals your loyalty to the team.
I know I rag on the Left a lot, but let me be clear: There are just as many individuals on the Right who are dazzlingly short on endearing qualities.