We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Posts that I especially recommend for Wednesday, June 2, 2021

  • Fact-Checking the Fact-Checking by Brad Fredricks, a guest post, for Surviving Capitalism (Not). (Note: This is a commentary to an article "Coronavirus Fact-Check #11: Is Sars-Cov-2 a bioweapon?" that I posted recently on Sunday.) Fredrick's commentary follows:
The article has many biases baked into it.

The Lab Leak Theory has supporting evidence. I will grant that fact-checking is not intelligence analysis, where you often have bits of information, gaps of information, and the consideration of the credibility of your sources to factor out.

One of the big issues to bubble up out of covid is how we assert a fact. At some point in history, it was a “fact” that the world was flat. Then someone disproved this “fact”, and they were discredited repeatedly, with the language used to marginalize and delegitimize the notion.

I have been trained as a fact-checker, and as an intelligence analyst. The two have some similarities, but fact-checkers fall short in big ways. For example, fact-checkers are unlikely to check source credibility. This happened with anyone who used The Lancet Report as a source of “fact” to make the claim that the lab-leak theory was not credible.

The statement was written by Dr. Peter Daszak, the President of EcoHealth Alliance, who funneled cash to the Wuhan Lab for research on Coronavirus. The research is called “Gain-of-function” and was banned under the Obama administration. Fauci shifted funds to EcoHealth Alliance, which in turn funded the Wuhan Lab.

The Lancet statement was written by Dr. Daszak, and signed by the other industry figureheads, virtually shutting down this line of investigation. A fact-checker would stop at the report coming from Lancet, as it is considered a “credible source”. An intelligence analyst, investigator, or journalist would look at the names on the report, who authored it, and the credibility of someone authoring it having a significant reason to post this would have been noted, and accounted for.

Facebook and most other Fact-Checking outlets somehow glossed over this glaringly obvious issue, and it is not the first false covid related paper to be released on The Lancet. The other notable paper was a falsified report on the effectiveness/ dangers of Hydroxychloroquine.

Another interesting coincidence about these reports, besides both being related to covid, is that they were also countering statements from the Trump administration. It appears that the politicization of covid extended into science and fact-checking. It is very difficult to counter socially normalized narratives, even people with pockets full of proof began to question themselves.

The coincidence of the series of events is astounding. The framing of this fact-check on whether or not covid was a bio-weapon is nearly impossible to verify or assert. First, one would have to know the intent of the creator, so as to establish the first line of credibility into it being a bio-weapon. Second, one has to question the ethics of undermining an investigation before it has begun, and how “fact-checking” can serve darker intentions.

The question of motivations and finances does not stop at the door of Fauci, or even the research into covid's origins and intents, it goes into the entire realm of journalism, fact-checking, and capitalism.

How can anyone declare themselves free of bias when a paycheck is floating in the wind if they counter a narrative that a financier does not approve of? The fact-checkers failed multiple times during covid, be it Ivermectin, the lab leak theory, or even the morbidity rates.

Fact-Checking is rough work. Sometimes you get overwhelmed with so many claims that it becomes difficult to sort through them all, or even identify what is called a “central claim”. Beyond this, a fact-checker must understand Academic article review, what are legitimate vs illegitimate testing methodologies, and specifically as they pertain to a certain set of claims or research.

If there’s anything I have learned in my training in fact-checking and intelligence analysis, it is this. Question everything, as many things are not what they appear to be.

In the articles final assertions they present the following:

“In conclusion: No direct evidence that the alleged Sars-Cov-2 virus was created in a lab has ever been produced. It’s nothing like as virulent as you’d expect a bioweapon to be, and logically an actual virus would not serve the Deep State agenda as well as a largely imaginary one. Maybe the virus was grown in a lab, maybe it just jumped from bats to people. Since all evidence suggests it’s not very dangerous, it doesn’t really matter. The debate sure does make a good distraction though.”

This statement is misleading.

There is evidence to suggest that the origins of Covid-19 came from a lab, but we do not understand the intent of the researchers. The evidence is based on what is known as a “Poly furin Cleavage site”. These are commonly used in a gain of function research to create “chimera” viruses because it is easy to work with, and makes the virus more potent. They are not as common in nature. In addition to this, is the PRRA insert at the S1/S2 site within SARSCov-2, which is a gain of function not found in nature. There is no patient zero found, who would show the crossover of covid to humans. Making the finding of the origin an incredibly important event.

The uncanny similarity of the PRRA insert to those of HIV 1, with no known similarities found in nature in other covid viruses makes its natural origins even more unlikely, making it even more important to avoid declarative absolute statements that are common to fact-checking.

The truth is, we don’t know where it came from, and thus have the ethical obligation to explore all possible origins, awkward or not.

This article is misleading.

NOTE: I am biased in my views of the origins of Covid-19. In my assessment, it is more than likely an accidental release from the Wuhan Lab, sometime between October and November of 2019. The accidental release of this would implicate not just China, but also the United States.
Because nobody in a position to answer that question appears to have any interest in finding out the truth – or at least, they have no interest in the rest of us learning the truth. Not China. Not US policy-makers. Not the World Health Organisation. And not the corporate media.

The only thing we can state with certainty is this: our understanding of the origins of Covid has been narratively managed over the past 15 months and is still being narratively managed. We are being told only what suits powerful political, scientific and commercial interests.

The development of the productive forces in human history is best measured by the level and pace of change in the productivity of labour. And there is no doubt, as Marx and Engels first argued in the Communist Manifesto, that capitalism has been the most successful system so far in raising the productivity of labour to produce more goods and services for humanity (indeed, see my recent post). ....

But Marx also argued that the underlying contradiction of the capitalist mode of production is between profit and productivity. Rising productivity of labour should lead to improved living standards for humanity including reducing the hours, weeks and years of toil in producing goods and services for all. But under capitalism, even with rising labour productivity, global poverty remains, inequalities of income and wealth are rising and the bulk of humanity has not been freed from daily toil.

  • Science Update: Megadrought in Western USA featuring Prof. (retired) Guy McPherson, an independent scientist (via his YouTube channel--06:00m), who has focused on the climate crisis, reviewing scientific articles regarding the climate crisis.