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Some Covid Links

Glenn Greenwald tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

You are required by western propaganda to treat these as fundamentally different [DBx: on one hand, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s freezing of bank accounts linked to opposition politicians, and on the other hand, Canadian strongman Justin Trudeau’s freezing of bank accounts linked to anti-vaccine-mandate protesters]. Indeed, huge numbers of people in the West denounce the former while applauding the latter.

At least some evidence suggests that a growing number of Canadians oppose the authoritarianism of Canadian strongman Justin Trudeau.

The always-wise Barry Brownstein writes wisely about some economic realities that the wise will always keep in mind about vaccines.

David Harsanyi decries the demise of freedom of speech – a demise fueled by the Covid-hysterical mainstream media. A slice:

Anonymous speech is as much a part of “democracy” as marching in the streets or writing a newspaper column. And in a healthy liberal media environment, reporters would be demanding answers from those abusing power, not working with them to inhibit political speech.

GMU law student Ethan Yang asks: “Who is served by emergency powers?” A slice:

There is a wide variety of literature exploring the public choice implications of expansive government power. Two recent papers on the political economy of emergency powers by Christian Bjørnskov, and Stefan Voight, illustrate these implications during the pandemic. These studies appeared in the European Journal of Law and Economics (2020) and the journal Public Choice (2021). Studies like these are especially insightful because emergency powers provided the primary framework many governments used to conduct public health policy in response to Covid-19.

The 2020 study compares the use of emergency powers worldwide in response to Covid-19. Historically, emergencies of all kinds have been a pretext for expanding government power, and our experience with Covid-19 shows this tendency. The authors note, “this time was not different.” To that end, they find that many governments worldwide implemented heavy-handed policies that had little relationship to mitigating cases and deaths. Instead, political leaders tended to make power-maximizing decisions based on political constraints inherent to their countries.

For example, in most liberal democracies which maintain substantial checks on power, lockdown policies were limited to temporary business closures, school closures, and stay-at-home orders. On the other hand, countries with fewer restraints on power saw more aggressive lockdowns that extended into the realm of targeting political enemies and forcing infected individuals into quarantine facilities. Across all countries, the deployment of emergency measures followed the ease of their use afforded by institutional and political constraints.

Their 2021 examination examined the use of emergency powers from 1990 to 2011 in 122 countries and concluded that there were no clear benefits from their use. They found that emergency power when controlling for various other factors, such as the severity of the disaster being responded to, did not save more lives. They are however, correlated with human rights abuses, degradation of democratic institutions, and even increased death. Moreover, the authors suggest that these emergency powers are potentially associated with the crowding out of private responses to disaster situations, which could possibly create more effective solutions than ones implemented by public officials.

“Mayor Eric Adams admitted Wednesday that vaccine mandates don’t work — yet he’s still going ahead with firing city workers who refuse to show proof they got their shots” – so laments the Editorial Board of the New York Post.

Martin Kulldorff tweets:

To be a true scientist, one has to seek the truth with an open mind, while ignoring politization, herd thinking and career considerations.

Telegraph columnist Tim Stanley understandably deplores the persistence of masking. A slice:

At this stage in the pandemic, I assume anyone I see wearing a mask is a mugger. Some 85 per cent of over-12s have had at least two jabs, cases and deaths are down – and this week the Government unveils its “living with Covid strategy”, which will end the legal duty to self-isolate if you test positive.

Yet the masks persist. I see people wearing them outdoors, when walking alone, even in a 100mph gale – and two-thirds of Britons want restrictions to stay. So, here’s my question to Boris Johnson: how do you persuade a society that you have terrified and infantilised for two years that it is safe to go back into the water?

Nicholas Farrell reports on the “pointless tyranny of Italy’s Covid pass.” Two slices:

While most European countries, especially Britain, are relaxing their Covid restrictions, Italy which has the toughest of the lot, this week made them tougher still – even though the data shows they are futile.

Perhaps it is because Italy is a country where fortune tellers and faith healers are a multi-billion pound industry that it has the most draconian vaccine passport regime in Europe. Either way, mass psychosis blinds its politicians and people from the truth.

The justification for Italy’s vaccine passport regime – called ‘Il Green Pass’ – when introduced last August was that it would increase vaccine uptake, create safe spaces for the vaccinated, and thereby reduce Covid cases, hospitalisations and deaths. It has done none of these things.

Instead the regime became steadily more draconian. The unvaccinated were soon banned from nearly all public spaces and public transport, and even from work, unless they had had Covid in the last six months – or paid for a €15 Covid test once every 48 hours.

Hailed as a huge success with religious fervour by Italy’s government of national unity, headed by the unelected premier and ex-EU central banker, Mario Draghi, ‘Il Green Pass’ has been in reality nothing but an exercise in pointless tyranny.

Yet despite this, in December, the Draghi government introduced ‘Il Super Green Pass’ which made the regime even more tyrannical with vaccination now compulsory for all on public transport, and in many public spaces such as restaurants and bars – even outside – and hair salons and sports stadiums, unless they have had Covid in the past six months. The right of the unvaccinated to take the 48 hour €15 test to access them was cancelled.

And this week, with the infection rate in free fall, compulsory vaccination was extended to the workplace for the over 50s. Vaccination was already compulsory at work for health and emergency service workers and teachers. But from now on, no unvaccinated person over the age of 50 who has not had Covid in the past six months can go to work. If they do, they and their employer face fines of €600 to €1,500. Previously, they could still go to work if they took the €15 Covid test every two days or if they had Covid in the past six months. There are 500,000 unvaccinated Italians over the age of 50 who work and will now be suspended on no pay – according to Italian press reports – unless they throw in the towel and get jabbed.

Naturally, neither unelected Draghi nor anyone else in his cross-party coalition is ever going to admit that what they trumpet as their proudest achievement is a failure. Nor will Italy’s media which has so supinely toed the government line – nor the Italians themselves – three quarters of whom support ‘Il Green Pass’ in the polls. They all have too much face to lose now.