Day: 27 January 2022

Truckers in Canada Form ‘World’s Longest’ Truck Convoy – Estimated 70km Long – in Protest at Vaccine Mandates

Truckers in Canada have formed what is believed to be the world’s longest truck convoy as they protest against the Government’s vaccine mandate for truckers and other excessive pandemic measures. The Toronto Sun has more.

According to Guinness World Records, the longest truck convoy ever recorded was 7.5 km long, in Egypt in 2020.

The Freedom Convoy heading from British Columbia to Ottawa is said to be considerably longer.

“It’s 70 km long,” said Benjamin Dichter, spokesman for the Freedom Convoy 2022. “I have seen footage from an airplane. It’s impressive.”

By Wednesday, truckers hope to have taken their protest through to Manitoba and will make it to southern Ontario on Friday.

Plans call for the convoy to arrive in Ottawa on Saturday for a protest.

If it gets there on time – and if the convoy holds together as it has in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan – it could be 10 times larger than the world record. …

There are estimates the Canadian convoy could comprise 50,000 trucks from the West, East, and even from the United States. It’s difficult to speculate what will transpire in the days ahead.

It looks like Ottawa could be swamped with long-haul trucks on January 29th. But with winter weather and potential issues, including possible roadblocks or traffic snarls, time will tell.

Whatever happens, it won’t be for lack of support.

Thousands of Canadians have lined the route, cheered from overpasses and offered to feed drivers in their homes and restaurants.

It’s a grassroots demonstration that has become far bigger than anything organisers had envisioned. …

The protest, Dichter said, is about lifting vaccine mandates for truckers at the Canada-U.S. border and other issues relating to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including forcing drivers to wear masks in trucks.

For the public, the convoy has become a beacon of hope that overreaching COVID-19 lockdowns, restrictions and mandates will soon come to an end.

However, the Liberal government is standing firm.

“The Government of Canada and the Canadian Trucking Alliance both agree that vaccination, used in combination with preventative public health measures, is the most effective tool to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for Canadians, and to protect public health,” said a joint statement from Federal Cabinet Ministers Omar Alghabra, Seamus O’Regan and Carla Qualtrough, and Canadian Trucking Alliance President Stephen Laskowski.

Worth reading in full.

Sweden Rejects Covid Vaccines For 5-11 Year-Olds: “We Don’t See Any Clear Benefit”

Sweden has decided against authorising Covid vaccines for children aged 5-11, the Health Agency said today, arguing the benefits do not outweigh the risks. Reuters has the story.

Sweden has decided against recommending COVID vaccines for kids aged 5-11, the Health Agency said on Thursday, arguing that the benefits did not outweigh the risks.

“With the knowledge we have today, with a low risk for serious disease for kids, we don’t see any clear benefit with vaccinating them,” Health Agency official Britta Bjorkholm told a news conference.

She added that the decision could be revisited if the research changed or if a new variant changed the pandemic. Kids in high-risk groups can already get the vaccine.

It raises the question: Do the benefits really outweigh the risks for teenagers as well?

Sweden, like many countries, is currently reporting record infections, though this is not translating into pressure on hospitals or high numbers of deaths. Unlike neighbouring Denmark, which is to lift its winter measures, the Swedish Government yesterday extended restrictions, including a restaurant curfew and attendance limits for indoor venues, for two weeks but said it hoped to remove them on February 9th.

Worth reading in full.

Spotify Backs Joe Rogan and Removes Neil Young’s Music After Young Said it Must Choose Between Them Over Rogan’s ‘Vaccine Misinformation’

Wrinkly rocker Neil Young told Spotify to choose between him and hit podcast host Joe Rogan over alleged Covid misinformation – and the streaming service has chosen Rogan, saying it has a responsibility to balance safety and freedom. The Guardian has more.

The music streaming platform Spotify is in the process of removing Neil Young’s music after the company refused to take down Joe Rogan’s podcast amid the musician’s objections that it spread vaccine misinformation.

Rogan has been described by the New York Times as “one of the most consumed media products on the planet”. His podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, is Spotify’s most popular. In 2020, Rogan signed a $100m deal that gave the streaming company exclusive rights to the show.

But this week, Young posted an open letter to his manager and record label that was later taken down in which he said: “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, [The Joe Rogan Experience], which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.”

The musician added: “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

A Spotify spokesperson confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday that the platform was taking down Young’s music.

“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators. We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” the spokesperson said.

Since the pandemic, Rogan, who has legions of devoted followers, has repeatedly spread misleading and false claims. This month, 270 doctors, scientists, healthcare professionals and professors wrote an open letter to Spotify, expressing concern about medical misinformation on Rogan’s podcast.

The letter highlighted a highly controversial episode from December that features Robert Malone, a virologist who was involved in the mRNA vaccine technology that led to some of the leading COVID-19 vaccines but has since been criticised for spreading vaccine misinformation.

“This is not only a scientific or medical concern; it is a sociological issue of devastating proportions and Spotify is responsible for allowing this activity to thrive on its platform,” the letter read.

In the wake of the catalogue deletion announcement, Young posted a new message on his website further castigating Spotify as “the home of life-threatening Covid misinformation. Selling lies for money.”

He said he made the decision because of worries that young Spotify users were “impressionable and easy to swing to the wrong side of the truth. These people believe Spotify would never present grossly unfactual information. They unfortunately are wrong. I knew I had to try to point that out.”

Young said the decision – which is supported by his Warner Bros-owned record label, which controls his music – would cost him 60% of his worldwide streaming income.

All that in order to get a fellow entertainer sacked over disagreeing with some of his guests’ views.

Denmark Ends All Pandemic Restrictions in EU First

Denmark is to lift all remaining pandemic restrictions in the next few days, despite rising reported infections, as Omicron hospital admissions and deaths remain stable and with high rates of vaccination – the first EU country to do so. Politico has more.

“Tonight we can … find the smile again. We have incredibly good news, we can now remove the last coronavirus restrictions in Denmark,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference, following recommendations from the Epidemic Commission and with all the main political parties’ support. The last restrictions will be dropped on February 1st.

The announcement comes as a new subvariant of Omicron, BA.2, is gaining a foothold in Denmark and driving infections up, with 46,000 new COVID-19 cases recorded on Wednesday.

“Recent weeks have seen very high infection rates, in fact the highest in the entire pandemic,” Frederiksen said. “Therefore, it may seem strange and paradoxical that we are now ready to let go of the restrictions.” 

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke pointed to the decoupling of infections and serious disease, which he attributed to the high rates of vaccination – though this also happened in South Africa, where vaccination rates are much lower, so is presumably also due to the reduced virulence of the strain.

Ross Clark in the Spectator notes that as of February 1st COVID-19 will no longer be classified by the country as a ‘socially critical disease’ and the legal framework for the restrictions is also being lifted, removing the Government’s power to impose further measures without new legislation.

They beat you to it, Boris – time to get a wriggle on.

Worth reading in full.

Barefaced Discrimination

Daily Sceptic reader Freddie Scovell discovered recently that some dentists don’t want the custom of the barefaced and wrote to tell us about it.

I thought you might be interested in events at my dentist recently. I have been a patient for 18 years of this practice and was booked in to have urgent treatment on a broken tooth. When I arrived, a lady jumped in front of me, squirted a gel on my hands and stuck a reader on my forehead. She then placed a box of masks in front of me and said “wear a mask”. I politely explained that I am exempt from wearing a mask. She asked me why. I said “medical reasons”. She then asked to see proof of my exemption. I explained that she should not be asking for such information and I was under no obligation to show any. She then told me to stay where I was and disappeared into an office.

Another lady then appeared and started to argue the point with me that as it was a private building, she could ask what she liked. I politely pointed out that that didn’t exempt her from discrimination law. As we were going round in circles and my tooth was hurting, I relented and showed her an exemption card I keep in my wallet. Just something I downloaded from the internet, nothing that carries any medical credibility.

I was then ushered through to the waiting room. Whilst on the phone I was approached by a man that looked about 12 calling out my name. I hung up the call and asked how I could help. He told me I must leave the practice. I enquired as to why and he said it was because I refused to wear a mask and he must keep his staff “safe”.

I was told I was not allowed ever to return and must seek medical treatment for my tooth elsewhere.

I told this story to Mike Graham live on TalkRadio last week.

Do you know a friendly dentist?

The lunacy is, of course, that it’s not possible to wear a face mask while undergoing dental treatment or examination.

If anyone knows of a friendly dentist free of such discriminatory impulses, ideally in the South East, email us here.

Netherlands Reports Record Infections Despite 90% Vaccination Rate – And Eases Restrictions Anyway

The Dutch Government has said it will ease its COVID-19 restrictions from Wednesday despite record reported infections, which have come despite the restrictions and the country being 90% vaccinated. The BBC has the story.

Dutch hospitality settings, including bars, restaurants and museums, have been shut since December 18th in a bid to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.

But despite the restrictions, COVID-19 cases have continued to increase, with some 60,000 now recorded per day.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte told a news conference that the country was “taking a risk” in easing the restrictions.

Mr Rutte, who has faced growing calls for a relaxation of restrictions in recent weeks amid falling deaths and admissions to intensive care, added that the new rules will be effective until March 8th.

Cafes, bars and restaurants will be allowed to open until 10pm, though to gain entry patrons will be required to show a negative test result, prove they are vaccinated or have recently recovered from a coronavirus infection.

Nightclubs will remain closed, and capacity at sporting and cultural events will be limited to 1,250 people.

The reopening follows a wave of anger from many hospitality sector employees, who were left disappointed by the government’s decision to allow shops, gyms, hairdressers and sex workers to resume business on January 15th while their sector was kept in lockdown.

Cafes in several cities opened in defiance of the restrictions the weekend before last, and dozens of museums and theatres opened as beauty salons for a day in protest.

Public support for the strict measures has also waned steadily over the past month and large demonstrations against the rules have become more frequent in the capital, Amsterdam.

Mr Rutte alluded to this anger during his news conference, telling reporters that the government was “consciously looking for the limits of what is possible, because of the great tensions and cries for help in recent days”.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Ernst Kuipers warned that the virus is “not the flu”, but said that relaxing the curbs was important.

“Living for longer with restrictive measures harms our health and our society,” he said.

It’s almost as though lockdowns and vaccines don’t prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Worth reading in full.

The Holocaust: How Did it Happen and Are We Sure it Could Never Happen Again?

On January 27th 1945, soldiers from the Red Army of the Soviet Union liberated Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. The horrific things these veteran soldiers had witnessed in their fight against Nazi Germany had not prepared them for what they discovered in Auschwitz. Approximately one million people had been murdered in Auschwitz and the survivors were described as ‘living skeletons’. What had occurred in Auschwitz was just one part of the Nazis’ so-called ‘Final Solution’, the name given to the process through which approximately six million Jewish people were systematically murdered. An additional eleven million people were also murdered on the basis of their sexuality, ethnic identity, political background and medical status. How did this happen? How is it that millions of people could be murdered? What led to this happening? The economist Milton Friedman once said:

All of us are affected by the status quo. We tend to take for granted the situation as it is, to regard it as the natural state of affairs, especially when it has been shaped by a series of small gradual changes.

The Holocaust did not happen immediately but was instead the result of a series of measures and actions implemented by the Nazi government which controlled Germany from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler became the chancellor of Germany in January 1933, having won the 1932 election with only approximately 37% of the popular vote. It did not take long for Hitler to extend his power. In March 1933, the Reichstag (Germany’s equivalent to our Parliament) was burned down. The Nazis claimed their political opponents were responsible, though in reality it seems likely that it was the Nazis themselves who committed the act. But what was crucial in this case was the level of fear which the Nazis propagated. Fear that Germany and its people were at risk from an enemy within, and that the only way to tackle the problem was to grant Hitler unlimited powers in the form of the Enabling Act.

Marketed as just a temporary measure, the Enabling Act was never repealed. It provided Hitler and his Government with a legal justification for persecuting groups of people and crushing the civil liberties which German people had enjoyed up until that point. At first this took the form of censoring publications produced by Jewish people. From there, a gradual increase in restrictions occurred. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws were passed, effectively stripping Jewish people of their German citizenship. By 1936, Jewish people had found that they were no longer allowed to vote, and by 1937 they found themselves either barred or dismissed from professions like teaching and they were forced to hand over their businesses. By 1938, Jewish people were forced to carry identity cards and by 1941 they were forced to wear the Star of David.

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