Discover more from ☕️ Coffee & Covid 2023 🦠
☕️ SPECIAL XMAS EVE EDITION ☙ Saturday, December 24, 2022 ☙ C&C NEWS 🎁
A Christmas-eve bonus edition, as my gift to you.
Good morning, C&Cers, and Happy Christmas Eve. Surprise! It’s a Christmas bonus edition!
Although C&C is closed today, I touched up last Sunday’s subscriber-only edition, and am re-publishing it this morning as a holiday gift. I know you’ve got a lot of shopping and cooking to do, but if you need your C&C fix, this might tide you over. Merry Christmas!
Your Xmas bonus roundup today includes: the glorious, remarkable rise of customer-focused new media; Fauci admitted Americans are tired of him, but get your jab anyway; the CDC recommended masking to stop covid and flu, so I roundup the data showing masks don’t work, again; you’ll never guess former Marine Paul Whelan’s family blamed for Biden’s bad trade; WebMD sells snake oil and I call them out; and a hopeful meme from Elon Musk.
🗞*NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 Elon Musk held a curious “twitter space” this week. A twitter space is like an audio chat room: a speaker or group of speakers start the ball rolling, usually on a particular topic, and then twitter users can join or drop off while the chat continues. The speakers decide whether to interact with the listening audience.
Musk’s twitter space topic was, “How Can Twitter Be Improved?” For some reason, I was astounded. I was NOT astounded to find the president of Twitter brainstorming with customers about how to enhance the product. I was astounded because it suddenly highlighted the fact that Twitter’s former presidents never bothered to ask for customer feedback. But why not?
I have a theory about that.
First, let’s dispense with the notion that the advertisers are Twitter’s real customers. It’s nonsense. But it’s not a new idea. For instance, this 2016 Guardian op-ed argues that newspapers’ real customers are advertisers. And this 2015 ITPro article claims advertisers are the real customers and enjoy privacy on Facebook.() It’s an old idea that’s been around for a long time.
But, although they wield the power of the purse over media, advertisers should not drive content. Advertisers come only AFTER a media platform has built up a customer base. If the real customers (media consumers) leave, the advertisers leave too, which is what the 2016 Guardian article was really saying.
But media platforms are constantly tempted to make it easier to sell ads by tailoring content to ADVERTISERS’ preferences rather than READERS’ preferences. You can get away with that for a while, but when readers’ and advertisers’ interests vary, it’s the end of the game.
But there’s an altogether new phenomenon at work in 2022. Here’s my theory: the social media platforms, and corporate media, have been tricked into believing their “real” customers aren’t users and readers, or even advertisers, but are GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, who’ve been “paying” the media platforms with cash and political access.
The Twitter Files have shown us that social media platforms and, I believe, corporate media outlets, have been tailoring their content to suit government, not advertisers or consumers.
Readers and government agencies have divergent interests.
That’s why the Elon Musk / Twitter experience has been so newsworthy. Musk’s “innovations” are actually re-sets to traditional media entrepreneurial standards, standards of treating the USERS as the primary customer base, the “real” customers. That explains why Musk spends so much time on Twitter — to learn how customers use it, why he’s been conducting so many “polls,” and why he’s engaging directly with Twitter users, and why he’s less worried about advertisers and government agencies.
It’s good, old-fashioned capitalism.
Another example is Substack, where the best journalism on the Internet is now found, and where the people can directly interact with reporters, cutting corporate media out of the middle. Substack’s innovation was eschewing censorship, understanding that its readers don’t like that.
Corporate media is losing eyes and minds to Substack writers. And readers are voting with their pocketbooks. Consider former New York Times journalist Alex Berenson, who now has tens of thousands of paying Substack subscribers.
Another example that appeared last week a new media company created by former New York Times editor Bari Weiss, a classic liberal but not far left enough for the Times, who [launched a high-quality alternative news site named “The Free Press.”](https://www.thefp.com). Its tagline is “A new media company built on the ideals that were once the bedrock of American journalism.”
In other words, the fundamentals. Customers prefer a free press.
Another example. At the Mar-a-Lago anti-trafficking event I attended a couple weeks back, former war correspondent Lara Logan, who Fox unceremoniously dumped for the crime of comparing Fauci to “Doctor Mengele” on air, and who Newsmax fired after she said world leaders ‘dine on the blood of children,’ announced she is creating a media credentialing organization to recognize “new media journalists,” like bloggers, TikTokers, and other non-traditional types.
Press credentials control access, such as to the White House press room.
There are many more. Another example is Dauntless Dialog, a streaming service creating its own high-quality content focused on verboten conspiracy theories like communist infiltration of government, Vatican crimes, Pizzagate, and other topics that traditional platforms like YouTube refuse to publish.
Even Netflix is experimenting with customer-driven media, perhaps best exemplified by their hit series “Ancient Apocalypse,” which questions traditional theories of human history, despite being widely condemned by establishment “science.”
One way we can understand government’s censorship efforts — a market distortion — is seeing government as attempting to control content by influencing private media companies, as their biggest, most influential CUSTOMER.
Legacy corporate media and the established social media platforms took the bait, and now their government-tailored products are less desirable to their real customers, which is creating a vast opportunity for retrograde innovation and disruption.
All of which is extremely good for freedom of thought. Progress.
💉 Fox News ran a story last week headlined, “Fauci Acknowledges Americans Have Mandate ‘Fatigue’: ‘People Don’t Like to Be Told What to Do’.”
Fox’s Good Day New York interviewed the rodent-like “doctor,” who was — of course — hawking vaccines again. Specifically, in his usual bureaucratic doublespeak, Fauci fretted about “not a very vigorous uptake” of the so-called “bivalent” booster.
“Not very vigorous” is one way of putting it.
Fauci loquaciously explained, “We’re doing much, much lower from a percentage point that we shouldn’t be doing, you know, in some respects, that may be understandable, because people want to be done with covid. We’ve all been exhausted over the last three years.”
He might’ve identified WHO exhausted everybody. “Exhaustion” is a nice word for it; it’s really more like “appalled and disgusted.” Fauci continued, “But there still is a lot to do to protect yourself and your family and, ultimately, your community.”
Do it for the community! The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or words to that effect. But there’s a new rationale for jabbing and you should pay attention.
Apparently, after taking a couple years off, flu is back. Somehow. The same Fox article reported that panic-stricken CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said flu numbers were high, very high, and much earlier than expected for a “normal” flu season. She told Fox, “Compared to the week prior, hospitalizations for flu continue to be the highest we have seen at this time of year in a decade, demonstrating the significantly earlier flu season we are experiencing.”
My favorite part of these articles is how they completely ignore the fact that we completely eradicated flu back in 2020. So why is it back? Perhaps it’s some kind of immune problem?
Personally, I don’t know anyone who’s had the flu this year. Certainly I don’t know of anyone hospitalized for flu. Where is it?
They’re also deploying strep-A and measles. According to corporate media, along with covid, flu, RSV, and monkeypox, it’s a sextuple threat, another dystopic dark winter of madness and discontent.
They really miss the last pandemic.
😷 Honestly, I can’t believe I have to do this again. But they’re going to make me, because now they want us to MASK UP for the sextuple threat. Last week, CNBC ran a story headlined, “CDC Encourages People to Wear Masks to Help Prevent Spread of Covid, Flu and RSV Over the Holidays.”
You’ve GOT to be kidding me.
In a call with reporters, hapless CDC Director Walensky claimed wearing masks will help reduce the spread of “respiratory illnesses” this holiday season, since covid, flu and RSV are all circulating at the same time.
In the same article, the American Medical Association’s chairman, Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, said covid, flu and RSV circulating all at the same is “a perfect storm for a terrible holiday season,” offering another terrifying winter of suffering, death, and the glorification of over-educated experts.
It explained why I saw more maskers at Publix lately than I’ve seen in months. They’re the CDC junkies.
I’m not exaggerating. In her call, Walensky explained this season is “another moment of overstretched capacity and really one of tragic and often preventable sadness.” “Overstretched capacity” is the new “overwhelmed.” Next, they’ll start telling us we need to “flatten the curve” again.
It might be the dumbest thing Walensky has ever said in a long series of questionable briefings. Because, according to a May 2020 study ON THE CDC’S OWN WEBSITE, masks don’t work.
How long can they wave their nicotine-stained fingers and tell us, shut up, Science!
Studies show masks don’t work for covid either. A new, high-quality, randomly-controlled trial was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine three weeks ago titled, “Medical Masks Versus N95 Respirators for Preventing COVID-19 Among Health Care Workers.”
Researchers compared the two types of masks in healthcare environments where all workers and patients were subject to mask mandates. Guess what they found? The healthcare workers still caught covid anyway. Whoops. Not only that, but even the N95s only produced a small, non-significant benefit compared to surgical masks, and the N95’s were associated with more ‘adverse events’ like discomfort, skin irritation, and headaches.
Over the last two years, the academic zone was flooded with mask studies related to covid, making it hard to find reliable data — either way — in all the noise, but even the best pro-mask study (an August 2021 randomized trial in Bangladesh) only showed a +5% risk improvement for cloth masks and a +11% improvement from surgical mask wearers.
That’s not much.
Meanwhile, most of the so-called covid experts, like former Planned Parenthood director and CNN TV doctor Leana Wen, have recanted previous claims about masks, especially cloth masks.
Pro-mask covid expert Dr. Emily Oster, who recently penned a controversial Atlantic article calling for pandemic amnesty, admitted in the article’s initial paragraph that her family’s cloth masks and outdoor masking rules had been useless. Embarrassingly useless.
But even after all that, now the CDC, New York, Chicago, D.C., and other liberal strongholds want us to mask up again.
Florida based its ban on mask mandates on its own data, showing mandate counties had no advantage over no-mandate counties. If anything, mandate counties performed slightly worse than no-mandate counties.
So it’s hard to explain why they are still hanging in there with the masks, in spite of the data, and in spite of the loss of their experts and people’s actual lived experiences. Radio superstar commenter Joe Rogan speculated that masks are just democrat MAGA hats.
In other words, it’s all just POLITICS. I mean Science. I mean, politics. Who can even tell the difference anymore?
🔥 When I reported last week about Joe Biden’s awesome bargain for Britney Griner’s return, I didn’t mention the fact that the Russians were also holding another American, former Marine Paul Whelan, accused of spying for America. The Russians claim they offered to exchange Paul instead of Britney for their evil arms dealer, but Biden passed. Joe wanted Britney, or whatever his name is.
Biden has denied that Whelan was ever on the table. Who do YOU believe? Joe? Or the Russians?
As you can imagine, Paul Whelan wasn’t happy about the trade. For some reason, he seems to feel that a decorated Marine imprisoned in service to his country would have been a better trade than an overpaid transvestite basketball player who complains whenever he gets the chance that America is the worst, most horrible racist country on Earth.
Britney still wanted to come back here though. Weird.
And get this: apparently Whelan’s family says they don’t blame Biden. No. They blame … President Trump!
The Hill ran a story yesterday headlined, “Trump Administration Was ‘Not Prepared’ for or ‘Not Interested In’ Wrongful Detentions: Paul Whelan’s Brother.” In the article, Whelan’s brother David praised Biden’s recent prisoner swap, lamely explaining that the trade is evidence the Biden Administration is more interested in negotiating prisoner exchanges than President Trump was.
“The Biden administration is much more engaged in wrongful detentions,” David Whelan told MSNBC, adding that Biden has “given the government more tools to help wrongful detainee families, but also to try to start to punish the nations who are doing that.”
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I’ll assume David Whelan is just saying this so as not to alienate Biden. Because any other explanation would be infuriating.
💉 In a grotesquely transparent effort to help sell more jabs, WebMD published a ridiculous story last week headlined, “Have Long COVID? Newest Booster Vaccines May Help You.”
Hahahahahaha! A little more spike protein will do the trick! Maybe! You never know.
There’s a gold rush on; a race by totally neutral, unbiased scientists to help pharma sell more jabs, by publishing “scientific studies” showing that like miracle cures of old, mRNA snake oil might not stop you catching the disease but it can probably fix up your long covid. Probably. Maybe. It might work.
To support its radical claims of the miraculous jab’s therapeutic effects, WebMD quoted totally-neutral “doctor” Stephen J. Thomas, MD, described as an infectious disease specialist at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY. Get this: the unbiased doctor was the Medical Center’s lead principal investigator for Pfizer’s original, deeply-flawed vaccine trials. Dr. Thomas helpfully explained “The theory is that by boosting, the immune system may be able to ‘mop up’ those virus stragglers that have remained behind after your first cleanup attempt.”
Or, if the jabs didn’t kill or completely disable you the first time, boosting might clean up that problem.
Dr. Thomas didn’t offer any specific scientific mechanism for how the lipid nanoparticles, mRNA, and outdated spikes could possibly help “mop up” any “left behind” covid virus. He might be implying that boosters can teach the body how to make antibodies to new variants, but that still wouldn’t explain how it could possibly treat “long covid,” which is supposedly the lingering effects caused by an earlier infection.
Long covid has been reported by many folks, and the list of symptoms continues growing, clocking in at well over 200 discrete symptoms as of a few months ago, the last time I surveyed the burgeoning literature. It’s worth noting that most viral infections like the flu have been recognized as having “long” forms, with some small number of infected folks experiencing lasting injuries.
Oddly, though, it’s never ever been argued that more influenza vaccines can cure long flu. Science!
Anyway, not least because of the syndrome’s poor definition, the long covid literature is controversial at best. For instance, Retraction Watch posted an article this month titled, “Buzzy Lancet Long COVID Paper Under Investigation for ‘Data Errors’”.
The retracted paper was one of the most influential long covid studies, a Lancet study titled “6-month consequences of COVID-19 in patients discharged from hospital: a cohort study,” which has been cited nearly 1,600 times. But the Lancet filed an “expression of concern” last month after a reader noticed inconsistencies between the study data and a later paper by the same authors. When the Lancet contacted the authors, they admitted they made “a mistake” in the original data.
Whoops! The long covid situation is, as they say, fluid.
Ironically, WebMD began its pro-vaccine article with a dose of vaccine skepticism. The magazine reported that Jackie Dishner, 58, hasn’t felt the same since June 2020, when covid stole her energy level, her ability to think clearly, and her sense of taste and smell. But Jackie is in no hurry to get the latest vaccine booster. “I just don’t want to risk getting any sicker,” she explained.
Sounds wise! Especially when you consider the next part.
So far, Jackie has had the two original doses of the vaccine plus two more boosters — totaling four injections of spike protein mRNA. And she STILL feels terrible, she just can’t shake it, no matter what she tries. Four doses weren’t the trick, after all.
For SOME mysterious, baffling reason.
Incredibly, WebMD tried to stitch Jackie’s four-jab case into an argument for boosters. The medical magazine quoted Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, a clinical epidemiologist and “prolific long covid researcher” at Washington University in St. Louis. Without examining her, Dr. Al-Aly advised Jackie, and I am not making this up, “A bivalent booster might actually [help with] your long covid.”
No examination. No interview. No patient history. But Dr. Al-Aly, if that’s his real name, still confidently — and publicly — opined that the bivalent booster “might” help Jackie’s long covid — a baffling syndrome defying easy explanation. But, it “might” help. You never know.
“Might.” Folks, this is what passes for “science” these days.
Next, WebMD cited a recent meta-review published in the Lancet’s e-Clinical Medicine. An international team of researchers looked at 11 studies on whether vaccines affect long covid symptoms. Generally speaking, seven studies found that symptoms improved after vaccination, four studies found that symptoms stayed the same, and one study found that symptoms worsened.
It’s 7 to 4 to 1. Hence, vaccination “might” help. Or, it might not. Or, it might make your long covid worse. So take it, dummy! Don’t walk, RUN down to the pharmacy and get your new, improved, double-loaded bivalent booster. Science!
Dr. Al-Aly is baffled about SADS, what might be causing all these people to keel over in the middle of live broadcasts and soccer games, but Dr. Aly-whatever is absolutely 100% sure that a booster “might” help Jackie’s long covid, so he is 100% absolutely sure Jackie should take her FIFTH COVID SHOT as soon as possible.
Jackie sounds like she might have learned her lesson though.
WebMD said Dr. Al-Aly asked, why NOT take the booster, since there’s little evidence vaccines can make long covid worse. He dismissed growing numbers of examples where boosters made people’s long covid worse, admitting “There are some reports out there that some people with long covid, when they got a vaccine or booster, their symptoms got worse. You’ll read anecdotes on this side.” But he said efforts to prove that boosters worsen long covid have been “inconclusive.”
I bet they have. That wouldn’t be good for business.
This has got to be the dumbest, most obvious vaccine advertisement dressed up in scientific jargon that I have ever seen. In the three full pages of the story — listen to this — they didn’t quote ONE SINGLE PERSON who claimed their long covid was cured by a booster. Not one! The best anecdote they could come up with was quadruple-jabbed Jackie, who said “no, thanks.”
This is what science has become. And they wonder why we’re skeptical.
🔥 Elon Musk appears to be completely red-pilled now. Last week he tweeted this amusing meme:
It sort of shows you where Elon’s head is at, doesn’t it?
Before the pandemic, Elon Musk was a lifelong democrat. LIFELONG. He voted Republican for the first time in his life in the most recent election cycle. His conversion — his “red-pilling” — is easily explained. Musk got mugged by California when it locked down his electric car factory, even though “energy companies” were supposedly designated as “essential businesses” under the state’s health regulations.
When Musk complained, one California state legislator tweeted, “Go F*** yourself.”
At enormous personal and financial expense, Musk moved the whole shebang to Texas, changed teams, and bought Twitter. Thanks, witless, overreaching bureaucrats!
I realize a lot of folks retain honest skepticism about the billionaire entrepreneur, for good reasons. But we can enjoy a win, can’t we?
I pray that you all enjoy a beautiful, joyful Christmas tomorrow with your maskless families. 2023 will be our year, and Coffee & Covid will be right there with you, helping push things along with optimistic sarcasm.
Merry Christmas, C&C!
C&C has moved the needle, reset the narrative, and changed minds. If you can, I could use your help making a 2023 turnaround into a reality: https://www.coffeeandcovid.com/p/-learn-how-to-get-involved-
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Retraction Watch has a running list of 278 retracted covid studies and academic papers. https://retractionwatch.com/retracted-coronavirus-covid-19-papers/