Bret Baier Documents How Fauci and Collins Dishonestly Dismissed the Hypothesis That COVID-19 Originated in Wuhan Lab

Bret Baier gave a serious report on the substantial and growing evidence that Anthony Fauci, Francis Collins, and other “experts” and officials lied, early and intentionally, in their dismissal of the likely Wuhan lab origin of Covid-19. (The report aired on Bret Baer’s “Special Report” nightly news program on Tues., January 25, 2022 on Fox News.)

Nebraska Bumblebee Outlook Is “Rosier”

(p. A1) The dismal outlook for the American bumblebee across the United States is much rosier in Nebraska, and experts aren’t exactly sure why.

They’re just happy to report that the Bombus pensylvanicus appears to be holding its own here, compared with eight states where the American bumblebee has reportedly disappeared completely.

. . .

(p. A5) “While there is clear decline in parts of this bee’s range, the American bumblebee appears relatively stable in Nebraska based on our recent work,” Lamke said.  . . .

She speculates that one reason numbers are higher in Nebraska than elsewhere is that this is near the center of the once-abundant bee’s territory.

For the full story, see:

Marjie Ducey. “Beleaguered Bumblebee Still Seems to Be Thriving in Nebraska.” Omaha World-Herald (Monday, January 22, 2022): A1 & A5.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Dec. 11, 2021, and has the title “Threatened American Bumblebee Still Seems to Be Thriving in Nebraska.”)

China’s “Authoritarian Virus-Fighting Methods” Lead To Loss of Freedom and Scarcity of Food and Health Care

(p. A1) China’s ability to control the virus has come a long way since the pandemic started: It has inoculated nearly 1.2 billion people and set up a nationwide electronic health database for contact tracing.

Yet it has continued to rely on the same authoritarian virus-fighting methods from early 2020, including strict quarantines, border closings and lockdowns. These have led to food and medical shortages and growing questions about how much longer its zero-Covid strategy, the last in the world, can continue.

. . .

“The district security guards are like prison guards and we are like prisoners,” said Tom Zhao, a Xi’an resident. Mr. Zhao, 38, said he had joined dozens of chat groups last week searching for anyone who could help him find medicine for his mother, who has early-stage diabetes.

. . .

(p. A6) Xi’an has reported 1,800 cases in its latest outbreak, stunningly low compared with the daily case count in the United States. And as the world struggles to contain the spread of Omicron, in China officials have reported only a few local cases of the variant, and none in Xi’an.

The authorities are nevertheless worried, in a country that has stridently stuck by its zero-Covid policy — and held up its success fighting the virus as proof that its authoritarian style of leadership saves lives.

. . .

So far, the experiences have been grim. Tens of thousands of people have been relocated to centralized quarantine facilities to stop the spread. Several top city officials have been fired, and the head of Xian’s big data bureau was suspended.

On Tuesday, the vast health code system used to track people and enforce quarantines and lockdowns crashed because it couldn’t handle the traffic, making it hard for residents to access public hospitals or complete daily routines like regular Covid testing.

Many were incensed when a woman in the city, eight months pregnant, lost her baby after she was made to wait for hours at a hospital because she was unable to prove she did not have Covid-19. (The authorities responded by firing officials and requesting an apology from the hospital.)

Days into the lockdown, residents began to post on social media about how hard it was to get groceries or order food. After being reassured by officials that it was unnecessary to stock up, residents across the city were caught off guard when an initial policy allowing one member of each household to leave every two days was eliminated.

Officials later acknowledged the mistake and quickly posted images of volunteers delivering groceries. But by then, residents were already complaining online that officials had put the pursuit of eliminating the outbreak above the well-being of citizens.

Mr. Zhao, who moved in with his parents ahead of the lockdown to help take care of them, watched as their neighbors bartered for food. Several days ago, officials came in trucks to deliver vegetables, announcing their arrival on loudspeaker. Mr. Zhao and his parents received two plastic bags: a white radish, a head of cabbage, three potatoes, a carrot and two zucchinis.

They fared much better than others.

. . .

As the situation worsened across the city, people posted videos and heartfelt appeals for help. “SOS,” wrote one resident whose father could not get medical care when he suffered a heart attack. He later died, according to a post from his daughter, who shared the story on Weibo, a major social media platform in China.

Zhao Zheng, the father of an 8-year-old boy with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, found himself battling with staff at several hospitals in Xi’an after his son’s Dec. 28 appointment was canceled. Each hospital asked for proof that he was no longer in quarantine and documentation that Mr. Zhao and his family had not recently been exposed to the virus.

“Nobody could issue this document for us at all,” said Mr. Zhao, 43, who until recently had owned a small construction company.

For the full story, see:

Alexandra Stevenson. “China’s Latest Lockdown Leaves Residents Feeling ‘Like Prisoners’.” The New York Times (Friday, January 7, 2022): A1 & A6.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Jan. 6, 2022, and has the title “China’s Latest Lockdown Shows Stubborn Resolve on Zero-Covid.”)

“Unexpected” Discovery of Large “Pristine” Coral Reef “Unscathed by Climate Change”

(p. A7) An underwater mapping project recently took an unexpected twist off the coast of Tahiti, where deep sea explorers said this week that they had discovered a sprawling coral reef resembling a bed of roses that appeared to be largely unscathed by climate change.

Extending for about three kilometers (1.86 miles), the reef is remarkably well preserved and is among the largest ever found at its depth, according to those involved in the mapping project sponsored by UNESCO, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Some even described the condition of the reef, hidden at depths between 30 meters (about 100 feet) and 100 meters in the crystalline waters of the South Pacific, as “pristine.”

Alexis Rosenfeld, an underwater photographer from Marseille, France, said on Thursday that the reef lived up to what he had envisioned when he first explored it shortly after its discovery in November [2021].

. . .

John Jackson, a film director with 1 Ocean who is involved with the project, compared the reef’s shape to lacework. In an interview on Thursday [January 20, 2022], he said that significant work remained when it came to underwater exploration, pointing out that only about 20 percent of the world’s seabeds had been mapped.

For the full story, see:

Neil Vigdor. “‘Pristine’ Coral Reef Resembling Bed of Roses Is Found Off the Coast of Tahiti.” The New York Times (Saturday, January 22, 2022): A7.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed year and date, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Jan. 20, 2022, and has the title “Sprawling Coral Reef Resembling Roses Is Discovered Off Tahiti.”)

Boeing Maximized Short-Term Profits Instead of Long-Term Quality (and Profits)

(p. A19) Boeing remains one of America’s leading manufacturers, but it is reduced in reputation as well as equity. The “fall” that Mr. Robison’s subtitle alludes to is the corrosion of a culture that had emphasized quality.

. . .

Mr. Robison is upset that Boeing followed the unremarkable philosophy of the Business Roundtable (recently revised under woke pressure) that the first duty of any company is to its shareholders. He says that Boeing focused on metrics that “tend to favor investors over employees and customers.” This is an easy but misworded critique. In the long term, the interests of shareholders and customers are aligned. A manufacturer that disregards either customers or employees will eventually not have profits to distribute.

In fact, Boeing forgot that its long-term success depended on its reputation for superior engineering. Executives like Alan Mulally, project leader in the 1990s for the costly but highly successful Boeing 777, were passed over for the top job. The corporate metamorphosis was accelerated by the 1997 merger with rival McDonnell Douglas. The executive suite was colonized by such figures as McDonnell’s Harry Stonecipher, a Jack Welch protégé who was explicit about changing the culture. His intent, he said, was to run Boeing “like a business rather than a great engineering firm.” Increasingly that meant doing whatever it took to hike the share price. Phil Condit, the CEO who orchestrated the merger, pushed his managers to quintuple the stock in five years, which suggested that his eye was on Wall Street and not on the planes.

. . .

Test flights showed a tendency for the MAX to pitch up. Designers corrected the problem on the cheap, with software that pushed the nose down. Somewhat perilously, a single sensor measuring the angle of the wings against oncoming air could force the plane into a downward trajectory. An optional cockpit indicator—alerting pilots that the sensor might be faulty—was not included on cheaper models. And the sensors, which sat outside the plane, were vulnerable to bird strikes or improper installation.

. . .

. . ., the FAA, as Mr. Robison shows, was compromised by years of having adapted its regulatory role to promote manufacturers. Even after the first plane went down, it kept the MAX flying—despite an agency analysis predicting more crashes.

For the full review, see:

Roger Lowenstein. “BOOKSHELF; Downward Trajectory.” The Wall Street Journal (Monday, Nov. 29, 2021): A19.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date November 28, 2021, and has the title “BOOKSHELF; ‘Flying Blind’ Review: Downward Trajectory.”)

The book under review is:

Robison, Peter. Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing. New York: Doubleday, 2021.

Biden’s Science Advisors Do Not Agree on What “Science” Says to Do Against Covid-19

(p. A1) WASHINGTON — On the day President Biden was inaugurated, the advisory board of health experts who counseled him during his transition officially ceased to exist. But its members have quietly continued to meet regularly over Zoom, their conversations often turning to frustration with Mr. Biden’s coronavirus response.

Now, six of these former advisers have gone public with an extraordinary, albeit polite, critique — and a plea to be heard. In three opinion articles published on Thursday [Jan. 6, 2022] in The Journal of the American Medical Association, they called for Mr. Biden to adopt an entirely new domestic pandemic strategy geared to the “new normal” of living with the virus indefinitely, not to wiping it out.

. . .

(p. A11) Like any White House, Mr. Biden’s prizes loyalty and prefers to keep its differences in house; in that regard, the articles are an unusual step. The authors say they wrote them partly because they have not made headway talking directly to White House officials.

. . .

The authors shared the articles with White House officials before they were published, but it was unclear whether the administration would adopt any of their suggestions. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Mr. Biden’s top medical adviser for the pandemic, declined to comment on the articles.

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters she had not read the articles, and dismissed a question about whether the president “is coming around to accepting” that Covid-19 is here to stay, even though several recent media accounts suggested that the administration was beginning to operate under that assumption.

. . .

The most surprising thing about the articles is that they were written at all. Several of the authors said in interviews they were dismayed that the administration seemed caught off guard by the Delta and Omicron variants. Dr. Bright, who helped write two of the pieces, recalled the warning he issued when the advisory board had its last meeting on Jan. 20, 2021.

“The last thing I said,” he recalled, “is that our vaccines are going to get weaker and eventually fail. We must now prepare for variants; we have to put a plan in place to continually update our vaccines, our diagnostics and our genomics so we can catch this early. Because the variants will come, and we should never be surprised and we should never underestimate this virus.”

. . .

The president recently released a new winter strategy, just as the Omicron variant began spreading in the United States.

. . .

He has insisted there will be no lockdowns, and has repeatedly pleaded with Americans to get vaccinated.

“I honest to God believe it’s your patriotic duty,” Mr. Biden said recently.

But Dr. Bright said such language was turning off Americans, including many Trump voters, who are resistant to vaccines.

“The message continues to berate unvaccinated people and almost bully unvaccinated people,” said Dr. Bright, who led a federal biomedical agency during the Trump administration but quit the government after being demoted for complaining about political interference in science. “There are so many reasons people are unvaccinated; it’s not just because they follow Trump.”

The authors say the administration needs to look past Omicron and acknowledge that it may not mark the end of the pandemic — and to plan for a future that they concede is unknowable.

For the full story, see:

Sheryl Gay Stolberg. “Ex-Aides Urge U.S. to Remake Covid Strategy.” The New York Times (Friday, January 7, 2022): A1 & A11.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed date, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Jan. 6, 2022, and has the title “Former Biden Advisers Urge a Pandemic Strategy for the ‘New Normal’.”)

The three JAMA articles mentioned above are:

Emanuel, Ezekiel J., Michael Osterholm, and Celine R. Gounder. “A National Strategy for the “New Normal” of Life with Covid.” JAMA (Jan. 6, 2022). DOI: 10.1001/jama.2021.24282.

Michaels, David, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, and Rick A. Bright. “A National Strategy for Covid-19: Testing, Surveillance, and Mitigation Strategies.” JAMA (Jan. 6, 2022).
DOI:10.1001/jama.2021.24168.

Borio, Luciana L., Rick A. Bright, and Ezekiel J. Emanuel. “A National Strategy for Covid-19 Medical Countermeasures: Vaccines and Therapeutics.” JAMA (Jan. 6, 2022). DOI: 10.1001/jama.2021.24165.

Red Wolves “Declared Extinct in Wild,” Live in Wild Hybrid Coyotes

(p. D1) From a distance, the canids of Galveston Island, Texas, look almost like coyotes, prowling around the beach at night, eyes gleaming in the dark.

But look closer and oddities appear. The animals’ bodies seem slightly out of proportion, with overly long legs, unusually broad heads and sharply pointed snouts. And then there is their fur, distinctly reddish in hue, with white patches on their muzzles.

The Galveston Island canids are not conventional coyotes — at least, not entirely. They carry a ghostly genetic legacy: DNA from red wolves, which were declared extinct in the wild in 1980.

. . .

(p. D8) Mr. Wooten became convinced that the creatures that had taken his dog were actually red wolf-coyote hybrids, if not actual red wolves.

Eager to prove his hypothesis, he began looking for dead canids by the side of the road. “I was thinking that if these are red wolves then the only way they’re going to be able to tell is with genetics,” he recalled.

He soon found two dead animals, collected a small patch of skin from each and tucked them away in his freezer while he tried, for years, to pique scientists’ interest.

“Sometimes they wouldn’t respond,” he said. “Sometimes they’d say, ‘Yeah, that’s a neat animal. Nothing we can do about it.’ And, ‘They’re extinct. It’s not a red wolf.’”

. . .

Eventually, in 2016, Mr. Wooten’s photos made their way to Dr. vonHoldt, an expert on canid genetics.

The animals in Mr. Wooten’s photos immediately struck her. They “just had a special look,” she said. “And I bit. The whole thing — hook, line and sinker.”

. . .

The hybrids raise new conservation possibilities. For instance, scientists might be able to restore genetic diversity by carefully breeding red wolves to hybrids with high levels of red wolf ancestry. Or they could use artificial reproductive technologies or gene-editing techniques to insert the ghost alleles back into red wolves, Dr. vonHoldt said.

The findings also come as some scientists have begun rethinking the value of interspecies hybrids. “Oftentimes, hybridization is viewed as a real threat to the integrity of a species, which it can be,” Dr. Brzeski said.

One reason that the red wolf populations declined in the wild is because the animals frequently interbred with coyotes. But, she added, “here we have these hybrids that are now potentially going to be the lifeline for the highly endangered red wolves.”

For the full story, see:

Tristan Spinski and Emily Anthes. “Mystery ‘Coyotes’ Hold Key For Revival.” The New York Times (Tuesday, January 4, 2022): D1 & D8.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Jan. 3, 2021, and has the title “The Ghost Wolves of Galveston Island.”)

Chinese Social Media Attacks Walmart as Some Firms Reduce Investment in China

(p. A1) Walmart Inc., the world’s largest retailer, became the latest Western company to face scrutiny over its handling of business involving Xinjiang, following the passage of a U.S. law that virtually bans all imports from the northwestern Chinese region over forced-labor and human-rights concerns.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer attracted anger on Chinese social media beginning last week after internet users shared comments that purported to show that Walmart had stopped stocking products from Xinjiang in its China-based Walmart and Sam’s Club stores.

. . .

Last week, U.S. semiconductor giant Intel Corp. issued an apology to Chinese consumers, partners and the public following an outcry on Chinese (p. A9) social media against the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company, which had published on its website a letter to suppliers asking them to avoid sourcing from Xinjiang.

. . .

Chinese social media campaigns are often not as organic as their overseas peers, as authorities and technology firms curate and censor domestic online content.

. . .

The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai said in September that 30% of retail and consumer companies polled in its most recent business survey cited public backlash and consumer boycotts as a top concern, the highest among the major industries covered by the business lobby. More than one-tenth of the companies said they had reduced planned investments in China because of concerns about consumer boycotts.

For the full story, see:

Liza Lin. “Walmart Draws Anger In China Over Xinjiang.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, December 28, 2021): A1 & A9.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date December 27, 2021, and has the title “Walmart Sparks Public Outcry in China Over Products From Xinjiang.”)

Is Ignorance Bliss, When Knowledge Is Not Actionable?

(p. C1) . . . even in today’s pandemic world, cancer holds a special place in the anxious imagination. Its advance is often stealthy, its prognosis potentially frightening and its treatments damaging and life-altering. Once its shadow falls on us, we fear it will never go away—that there will always be another relapse and a return to harsh therapies that subsume our lives.

. . .

(p. C2) The borders of “Cancerland”—a term the oncologist David Scadden coined with the title of his 2018 memoir—begin to feel all-encompassing. In the past, entry was reserved for those with a diagnosis of cancer. Today everyone, in one way or another, slowly becomes a citizen.

. . .

The promise of detecting cancer in its earliest stages, together with that of identifying those at genetic risk for future cancer, is powerfully alluring. And yet the prospect of farther-reaching surveillance for this elusive long-term illness also warrants caution. In the 1950s, the sociologist Erving Goffman coined the term “total institution” for a community in which “a great number of similarly situated people, cut off from the wider community for a considerable time, together lead an enclosed, formally administered round of life.”

Total institutions, such as mental hospitals, prisons and even boarding schools, have rituals of entry and exit. They inculcate belonging. They invent their own vocabulary and codes of behavior; they have an internal logic, impenetrable to others. They encourage surveillance and create anxiety: Members are united by a common sense of purpose, by the feeling of being chosen or marked. Those who are expelled may feel a sense of betrayal, while those who remain can be consumed by the guilt of survivorship.

In this new era of cancer treatment, I wonder whether we unwittingly, but insidiously, intensify the totality of the “cancer institution” for patients. When I once asked a woman with a rare sarcoma about her life outside the hospital, she observed, “I am in the hospital even when I am outside the hospital.”

For the full commentary, see:

Siddhartha Mukherjee. “Will We All Soon Live in Cancerland?” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021): C1-C2.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary was updated Dec. 17, 2021, and has the same title as the print version.)

Muckherjee’s commentary is adapted from his chapter in The New Deal for Cancer book:

Mukherjee, Siddhartha. “The New Borders of Cancerland.” In A New Deal for Cancer: Lessons from a 50 Year War, edited by Abbe R. Gluck and Charles S. Fuchs. New York: PublicAffairs, 2021, pp. 27-42.

Applying Coase Theorem to Refute the Externality Argument Used to Defend Covid-19 Mandates and Lockdowns

(p. A17) The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “anti-vaxxer” as “a person who opposes the use of vaccines or regulations mandating vaccination.” Where does that leave us? We both strongly favor vaccination against Covid-19; one of us (Mr. Hooper) has spent years working and consulting for vaccine manufacturers. But we strongly oppose government vaccine mandates. If you’re crazy about Hondas but don’t think the government should force everyone to buy a Honda, are you “anti-Honda”?

. . .

. . ., early in the pandemic the Food and Drug Administration used its coercive power to discourage the development of diagnostic tests for Covid-19. The FDA required private labs wanting to develop tests to submit special paperwork to get approval that it had never required for other diagnostic tests. That, in combination with the CDC’s claims that it had enough testing capacity, meant that testing necessitated the use of a CDC test later determined to be so defective that it found the coronavirus in laboratory-grade water.

With voluntary approaches, we get the benefit of millions of people around the world actively trying to solve problems and make our lives better. We get high-quality vaccines from BioNTech/ Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, instead of the suspect vaccines from the governments of Cuba and Russia. We get good diagnostic tests from Thermo Fisher Scientific instead of the defective CDC one. We get promising therapeutics such as Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s molnupiravir.

. . .

The supposed trump card of those who favor coercion is externalities: One person’s behavior can put another at risk. But that’s only half the story. The other half is that we choose how much risk we accept. If some customers at a store exhibit risky behavior, then we can vaccinate, wear masks, keep our distance, shop at quieter times, or avoid the store.

Economists understand how one person can impose a cost on another. But it takes two to tango, and it’s generally more efficient if the person who can change his behavior with the lower cost changes how he behaves. In other words, to perform a proper evaluation of policies to deal with externalities, we must consider the responses available to both parties. Many people, including economists, ignore this insight.

For the full commentary, see:

David R. Henderson and Charles L. Hooper. “Coercion Made the Pandemic Worse.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, December 28, 2021): A17.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date December 27, 2021, and has the same title as the print version.)

Entrepreneurs Re-Purpose Old High-Ceiling Mills as Well-Ventilated Restaurants That Reduce Virus Spread

(p. B7) On a typical evening at the Wool Factory, a renovated textile mill in Charlottesville, Va., guests savor local wine and hors d’oeuvres in a spacious courtyard decorated with festive string lights. Between bites and sips, their eyes might gaze at the factory, a 100-year-old red brick building where as many as 200 workers once made military uniforms, but which now houses a fine-dining restaurant, a brewery and an event space.

. . .

The Wool Factory is part of a larger effort by developers to convert grain, textile and water mills that came of age during the Industrial Revolution.

. . .

“They’re incredible spaces to be in, with 15-foot-high ceilings and huge windows with great views, which makes them a desirable place to develop,” Catherine De Almeida, an assistant professor in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington in Seattle.

. . . the ample open space makes them easy to configure and attract guests who want to socially distance during the pandemic.

. . .

Terra Nova recently transformed a 19th-century flour and cotton mill into the $25 million Whitehall Mill, which attracts diners to its 190-seat oyster farm and seafood restaurant, True Chesapeake Oyster Company. Its 200-seat food emporium, Whitehall Market, features eight tenants, including a cheese seller, Firefly Farms Market and a nationally renowned pastry vendor, Crust by Mack.

When Whitehall Mill’s events venue couldn’t open last year because of the pandemic, the developer could use that space to allocate an additional 75 seats for the restaurants, bringing in more business at a time when they were forced to operate in a limited capacity, Mr. Tufaro said. Guests cautious about indoor dining can sit in the mill’s substantial outdoor space, with 125 patio seats between the restaurant and market.

“I think it’s partly the attraction for the old that inspires people,” Mr. Tufaro said. “The other is, it turns out, they’re very adaptable to new uses.”

For the full story, see:

Julekha Dash. “Turning Old Mills Into Vibrant Destinations.” The New York Times (Wednesday, December 22, 2021): B7.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Dec. 21, 2021, and has the title “Renovated Mills Offer a Perk in the Age of Social Distancing: Space.”)