Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Analysing a vaccine critic's claims

Should there be a Royal Commission conducted as part of the Australian government’s COVID-19 emergency response? That’s the opening question media personality professor David Flint David asks Malcolm Roberts, an Australian politician on the “Save the Nation” show.

Roberts, a member of right-leaning populist One Nation and a Queensland senator since 2019, replied “Absolutely.” In an interview on the “malfeasance” associated with the Australian government’s response to COVID-19, Malcolm Roberts speaks some truth, but at some points in the conversation conveys points that aren’t necessarily true or conclusively proven as fact.

COVID-19 shines a spotlight on the politicization of medicine across the board, from right to left, from so-called “old” industry to so-called new green industry advocates—they all are using the unfolding science to make their convenient point. But some of what Roberts has to say cannot be ignored. Of the more controversial stances, it’s proven that the 30,000 excess deaths in Australia in 2022 were caused by the mass COVID-19 vaccination countermeasure response to the SARS-COV-2 pandemic.

Roberts told Professor David Flint that in March 2021, as the mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign got underway, he asked both the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Australia and the head of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the nation’s drug regulator, if the vaccines were 100% safe.

The Australian senator shared, “The immediate answer was, no they are not.” TrialSite reminds all that no vaccines are 100% safe. There are no perfect solutions to public health. There are instead tradeoffs where hopefully smart, objective biomedical scientists, physicians, regulators and other relevant experts in their respective fields determine the risk-benefit analysis—do the benefits of such vaccines markedly outweigh risks at a population/societal level? But that’s the reality of how vaccination works. Thus, Robert’s first question to the heads of Australia’s vaccine response was just not based on a notion of reality.

But Roberts' second question to the CMO and head of TGA was more on point, a question grounded in real-world reality. He asked, “Will they stop someone from getting the virus?" He told the interviewer that these top medical and regulatory heads in Australia declared, “No they will not.”

So, this was an honest answer. By March 2021, TrialSite was already learning of breakthrough infections due to the Delta variant, meaning that these COVID-19 vaccines were not of the sterilizing type. They could not stop all infectious transmission meaning that they could not be counted on to control the pandemic.

Nearly all developed nations produced public health data showing how the jabs did help reduce the incidence of morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19 and although critics don’t believe those numbers, they don’t take time either to prove why they are incorrect.

However, the durability of the mRNA products became a serious question early on—by the spring of 2021. A significant issue was mRNA vaccine durability, so ultimately, three boosters were necessary in a period of just over a dozen months after the first primary series. While the RNA virus was mutating, this was a well-known topic. But it remained politically incorrect to even critique the vaccines for fear of creating vaccine hesitancy---something was terribly wrong.

Back to the interview, Roberts told the Save the Nation host he then asked the top medical and regulatory brass of Australia, “What dosage will you be administering the vaccines, the injections?" The Senator told Professor Flint that these powerful overseers of COVID-19 vaccine response declared, “We don’t know.”

The Australian senator summarized, “So they don’t know the dose, they know that it's not effective, they know that it won’t stop transmission, and they know that it's not 100% safe.” He paused and continued, “There is no benefit from these things, none whatsoever.”

Roberts then said, “In fact, efficacy goes into the negative after some time with people who have had these injections because it destroys the immune system.”

Mandates down under?

What about injection mandates in Australia? The Senator told the Save the Nation host that the head of the county at the time, Scott Morrison, would go on television and repeatedly lie to the Australian public that there were no such mandates.

According to Roberts, “Scott Morrison bought the injections, he gave them to the states, he then indemnified the states for their use, he then gave them access to the National Health Data, which enabled the injection to be mandated, because otherwise, the states couldn’t have enforced the mandate.”

Roberts continued, “Then we had the state premiers at the same time telling us that the reason they wanted mandates was to comply with the national cabinet.” He continued, “Well, the head of the national cabinet, which is a bogus entity as you know, was Scott Morrison.”

His point—“Scott Morrison drove the whole thing in this country.”

As part of the national Australian emergency Roberts emphasized that Morrison "redistributed taxpayer money to states for COVID-19 lockdowns (Australia was notorious in the Western world for these) and other inhuman restrictions, ineffective, damaging restrictions that weren’t effective in managing COVID.”

A correction, as TrialSite reported during the pandemic, Australia to some extent embraced the Chinese zero-tolerance COVID policy which meant strict enforcement of rules and regulations to prevent the spread of the virus. It implies that any violation of these rules would not be tolerated, and appropriate action will be taken to enforce compliance.

The specifics of zero tolerance policy for COVID-19 vary depending on the nation, context of jurisdiction, and the like. But some common elements were embraced by the Australian national and state government. This in fact, did stop the spread of COVID-19 (Australia wasn’t hit early on nearly as hard as places like America), but the policy in reality only delays the eventual spread of the pathogen, at great cost to human psychology, cultural vitality and economy we might add.

What’s Senator Roberts’ takeaway on the Australian gov response to COVID-19?

The pandemic response was “completely mismanaged, deceitful, it killed thousands of people…” Roberts intensifies his criticism of the government introducing the phenomenon of excess deaths.

Declaring that there are now 30,000 excess deaths in Australia for the year 2022 alone, this elicited an immediate response from host Professor David Flint who interrupted the Senator, “Could you explain to viewers what an excess death is?”

The Senator responded, “Every year in Australia there are an expected number of deaths, and they vary slightly but because no two years are identification, there is slight variation… and there is a range above and below the mean [number] so it varies,” and the senator demonstrated how a certain number of deaths are expected with some variation above or below the mean number.

So, the point is that the number typically occurs within an expected range, but since COVID-19 and the mass vaccination program the expected death numbers have skyrocketed across much of the developed world.

TrialSite has reported on this number. In fact, this media chronicled in early 2022, that the death rates surged just as the nation’s population became heavily vaccinated which defied expectations.

For example, TrialSite reported in late April 2022 in “Heavily Vaxxed Australia: First 3.5 Months of 2022 has Doubled the COVID-19 Deaths from 2020-2021 Combined.”

Back to the interview, Roberts said, “What we know is that provisional death data shows an excess of 30,000 or more in 2022.”

On the interest of these deaths among the leadership of Australia? Roberts said these people who head TGA, the CMO the secretary of the federal health department “don’t give a damn, there is no inquiry going on as to what is causing these excess deaths. We know, we know from overseas experts, from peer-reviewed scientific papers that it is the injections causing these [excess] deaths. And an alarming level of deaths.”

Why don’t they care? Roberts declared, “I think they are worried about being found culpable for the injections that they have pushed on people and killed people with.”

But contrary to Roberts’ claim there has not been one peer review, scientific study published in a mainstream journal that connects the mounting excess deaths crisis and the mass vaccination program.

Speculation has included COVID-19 itself, and all the problems that come after lockdowns, tight access to healthcare, and the like. But the vaccines are suspect, and Roberts is correct in his assessment that generally, governments are avoiding the topic. That avoidance most certainly signals a set of priorities and values.


Renewable energy rollout too slow, warns AEMO boss Daniel Westerman

Australia is not building renewable energy developments quickly enough to compensate for the loss of coal-fired power generation, the head of the country’s energy market operator warns, as major projects continue to be beset by problems.

The slow progress could intensify pressure on prices and stoke concern about energy ­security, Daniel Westerman – the head of the Australian Energy Market Operator – will say in a speech on Tuesday.

Australia has set an aggressive target of having renewable energy account for more than 80 per cent of the country’s electricity generation by the end of the decade, a target that has intensified pressure on existing coal-fired power stations, which already face social, economic and reliability questions, he says.

Senior Australian energy executives have warned the build- out of renewable energy developments is too slow, a view Mr Westerman shares.

He joins a chorus of industry executives expressing concern that the massive renewable energy pipeline is currently failing to materialise.

Ian Learmonth, the head of Clean Energy Financial Corporation – the country’s green bank – in May said Australia was not on course to meet its target of having renewable energy account for more than 80 per cent of the electricity generation by the end of the ­decade.

Energy executives have said the lack of transmission – high voltage wires and poles – is discouraging new developments.

About 10,000km of new lines must be built before 2030, but their development has been hampered by funding constraints and community opposition.

A growing number of Australia’s most influential figures, including Origin Energy CEO Frank Calabria, have warned of the risk of not making progress in building the high-voltage wires and poles needed for renewable energy developers to push ahead with new projects.

The importance of new projects materialising is growing as several major projects currently in development suffer delays.

CleanCo, a Queensland state-owned entity, on Monday said it had cancelled plans to build a wind farm in what would have been Australia’s biggest wind energy precinct due to delays over connection agreements and rising costs.

CleanCo had planned to build the 103 megawatt Karara wind farm in the MacIntyre precinct, which had been earmarked for projects producing more than a gigawatt of power.

But CleanCo said it had pulled the pin on the project.

“As a result of significant delays to the connection process for the Karara Wind Farm, and ­subsequent impact to costs, CleanCo is pausing the development of the project,” a CleanCo spokesperson said.

States and territories are increasingly aware of the transmission roadblock.

Victoria and NSW have offered landowners affected by new transmission lines $200,000 for every kilometre of their land crossed by a major infrastructure project.

Queensland has gone even further.

The Queensland state government in May said it would offer landowners who agreed to allow high-voltage transmission cables across their properties an average $300,000 per kilometre.

Still, progress remains slow, and authorities are increasingly alarmed.

AEMO has called for faster work on five projects worth nearly $13bn, but Australia has a long history of transmission project ­delays.


Attack of the MeToo zombies

"Me too" refers to claims by women that they have been victimized by men

What began as a soap opera has morphed into a zombie movie that refuses to die. With the Brittany Higgins saga now in its 28th month, we have learned more than we ever wished to know about the characters but the plot’s central question remains unanswered. It revolved around the sordid question of whether or not Higgins and her co-worker Bruce Lehrmann had had intercourse in the early hours of Saturday 23 March 2019 in the office of the then minister for defence industry, Senator Linda Reynolds, and if so, whether it was consensual. Higgins alleged she was raped. Lehrmann strenuously denied the allegation.

There was never any way of knowing beyond reasonable doubt what happened. There was no physical evidence, no eyewitnesses. Both parties have admitted to telling lies so both were unreliable witnesses. Both had consumed alcohol. But the burden of proof falls on the prosecuter and the accused remains innocent until proven guilty.

One might have hoped that the story would have ended there. One reason it didn’t was that both parties had committed a serious security breach by entering, without any justification, the Minister for Defence’s office, a place that contains highly classified material. In Lehrmann’s case, it was his second security breach and he was sacked but it was Higgins’ first breach and she was given a second chance.

Since then, the Higgins affair has spawned reviews, inquiries, an aborted trial, and ongoing defamation cases. It’s been fertile ground for the #MeToo movement. Former sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins inquired into the workplace culture at Parliament House. Walter Sofronoff KC inquired into the handling of Lehrmann’s trial, prompting ACT Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shane Drumgold to admit to behaving badly. He’s not the only one.

Thanks to a trove of leaked text messages sent between Higgins and Sharaz and a mammoth five-hour audio recording of a meeting between Lisa Wilkinson, a former host of Channel Ten’s The Project, Angus Llewellyn, the producer of The Project, and Higgins and Sharaz, we know that all of the above behaved badly.

There has been much handwringing over the politicisation of the Higgins affair and the damage that it might do to Higgins. When Lehrmann’s trial was aborted, the ACT DPP dropped the charges against Lehrmann not because there was insufficient evidence but because of concern about Higgins’ mental health. But what the new information reveals is that nobody was more actively engaged in weaponising Higgins’ allegations than Higgins herself. She seems to rival only Prince Harry in her quest to breach her own privacy.

The texts expose what looks like detailed planning by Higgins and Sharaz to enlist Labor MPs in their bid to ‘tear down’ the Morrison government. Higgins appears jubilant that Morrison is about to be ‘f-cked over’. Just wait,’ she texts Sharaz. ‘We’ve got him.’

The texts also show that Finance Minister Katy Gallagher misled the Senate when she declared on 4 June 2021, that ‘no one (in the Labor party) had any knowledge’ of Brittany Higgins’ rape allegation before Higgins publicised it herself. With the confected condemnation of an antipodean Greta Thunberg, Gallagher turned on Reynolds and demanded, ‘How dare you?’ snarling that Reynolds’ remarks were ‘all about protecting yourself!’

This week, that particular chicken came home to roost and Gallagher found herself in the spotlight doing her best to protect herself. She claimed that she hadn’t misled parliament when she said ‘no one had any prior knowledge’ of Higgins’ allegations while also admitting that she had indeed had prior knowledge.

It is now clear that it was the late Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching who opposed the weaponisation of Higgins’ rape allegation and warned that if Labor’s skulduggery ever came to light, it would blow up in their faces. For her integrity and foresight, she was kicked out of Labor’s tactics group and mercilessly bullied by Gallagher, Senator Penny Wong, and then senator Kristina Keneally – the mean girls.

In another revelation, Llewellyn and Wilkinson encouraged Higgins to secretly record a conversation with Cash, which is illegal.

Wilkinson also mocks Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price’s name and claimed she was only preselected because of her race. Sharaz says, ‘It’s like, “I’m not racist. I have a black friend” – it’s that argument.’ Wilkinson adds: ‘And our cleaner’s black.’ Wilkinson didn’t even bother to apologise for her comments until she was publicly called out by Jacinta Price and even then only for any offence she ‘may have caused’.

Leftists have expunged from memory that it was the Labor party that created the White Australia policy, the Liberal party that abolished it and the first Aboriginal in parliament, Neville Bonner, as well as the first Aboriginal minister, Ken Wyatt, were both Liberals.

Higgins is recorded saying she was always acutely aware of the potential to ‘commodify’ her allegations. And what a valuable commodity it turned out to be. With the help of Sharaz, she turns a night of alleged drunken debauchery into a modern-day morality play in which she is ‘a national hero’ of the MeToo movement, as Australian of the Year Grace Tame put it, and her former employers – all women – are scheming villains who subject her to negligence, victimisation, sex discrimination, and harassment in the wake of her allegation against Lehrmann and discourage her from speaking with police.

There is no evidence to back these allegations. Reynolds and Cash and former chief of staff Fiona Brown, all strongly encouraged Higgins to go to the police. Brown wept as she recounted in court that Higgins sent her a message thanking her for all her help.

Higgins did go to the police but delayed pressing charges for two years until she had weaponised her allegations against the government and ensured Lehrmann would be judged in the court of public opinion.

Her strategy has been richly rewarded. Her claims were settled by Labor Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus following a one-day mediation from which Reynolds and Cash were excluded. The payment was rumoured to be close to $3 million.

The saga is far from over but the zombie allegations have left a trail of victims. Reynolds lost her senior portfolio. Brown felt publicly demonised and suicidal. The government lost the election. Kitching was bullied, perhaps into an early grave. Will the zombie allegations now turn on those who made them? With Labor controlling both houses of parliament, the mean girls might not be losing too much sleep for the moment.




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