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Friday, January 28, 2022
Fake News: WND Falsely Portrays COVID Vaccine Study
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Art Moore wrote in a Dec. 28 WorldNetDaily article:

A study by Danish researchers finds that after 90 days, the COVID-19 vaccines will make you more likely to get infected from omicron, not less.

They may offer a short-term benefit from the delta variant, "but at the expense of a degradation of your overall immunity to everything else," reports Steve Kirsch. a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded the Covid-19 Early Treatment Fund.

The study shows that after three months, the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines against omicron is actually negative.

The Pfizer vaccine makes recipients 76.5% more likely and the Moderna recipients 39.3% more likely to be infected than unvaccinated people.

Moore's mistake here is trusting the word of Kirsch, who is a prolific COVID misinformer. And, indeed, Kirsch is wrong here too, misinterpreting the study data -- which Moore failed to mention was published on a preprint server called MedRxiv, meaning that it has not been peer-reviewed. Meanwhile, a website that, unlike WND, cares about accurate medical information debunked that claim:

Health Feedback reached out to the preprint’s authors for comment. The first author, medical statistician and epidemiologist Christian Holm Hansen, refuted the claim, stating that the “Interpretation that our research is evidence of anything but a protective vaccine effect is misrepresentative”.

He also explained why vaccine effectiveness (VE) was observed to be negative in the study, citing the presence of bias in the VE estimates, saying that “Such biases are quite common in VE estimation from observational studies based on population data”, unlike in phase III clinical trials. Indeed, a preprint published by scientists in Ontario, Canada, which also examined vaccine effectiveness in an observational study and detected negative vaccine effectiveness, was found to have been “influenced by behavioural and methodological issues, such as the timing of the observational study, the way in which vaccine passports altered individual risk and changes in access to COVID-19 testing”. That preprint is currently being revised.

The fact-checker also reported something that Moore didn't -- that the paper "concluded in favor of vaccination, not against it."

Another fact-checker made the same conclusion:

Nowhere does it suggest that vaccinated people are more likely to be infected than unvaccinated people.

"Interpretation that our research is evidence of anything but a protective vaccine effect is misrepresentative," Astrid Blicher Schelde, one of the study’s authors wrote in an email to PolitiFact. 

As did one more fact-checker:

A study conducted using Danish data between Nov. 20 and Dec. 12 did not conclude that mRNA vaccines cause harm to immune systems. The preprint found that VE against Omicron is significantly lower than Delta and declines rapidly a few months after the second COVID-19 vaccine dose, but is restored following a booster. Negative VE estimates in the final period against Omicron suggests bias in comparison between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations, a co-author of the study told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Moore's article remains live and uncorrected -- not a surprise for WND, which has published a lot of fake news about COVID and its vaccines.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:17 PM EST
MRC Melts Down Over A Newspaper Canceling A Columnist
Topic: Media Research Center

Dan Gainor is a Media Research Center employee, but he's rarely allowed to write for the MRC -- most of his work gets published at Fox News. So it's usually a bit of an event when writes for the mothership. His Dec. 13 post, though, is devoted to whining that a newspaper he almost certainly doesn't read dropped a conservative columnist:

The Sun didn't make a big deal about it. Instead it chose to make the announcement with a comment in a letter to the editor. That letter was headlined “Kudos to The Sun for dropping Cal Thomas.” 

Subtle.

The writer, Randy Barker of Baltimore, complained about a Thomas opinion piece about Kamala Harris and wrote how he was thrilled that the paper was discontinuing Thomas’ column. “I have just learned of the Sun’s decision to not publish him. With this letter, I want to make readers aware of the Sun’s principled decision.”

Sun Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Trif Alatzas did not respond to a request for comment. And why should he care? It's not like the Sun has ever cared that it has almost no conservative voices. So one less in a sea of liberal Sun opinions doesn't mean anything to them.

Gainor's concern about the Sun's political diversityi is highly ironic, since his employer's "news" division, CNSNews.com, not only has no regular liberal columnists, it has never published a liberal opinion piece as far as we know.Perhaps he should fix the situation inside his headquarters before lashing out at others.

Gainor then made an ad for Thomas:

Thomas is a well-known conservative columnist and author. He was on Fox News for nearly two decades and has published about a dozen books. His most-recent one came out in January, 2020, and is titled “America's Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires and Superpowers . . . and the Future of the United States.”

The syndicated column he writes has been around for 37 years. His most recent column, which doesn't appear on the Sun website, focused on the “Jussie Smollet Hoax.” I guess finding out about media bias was more than the Sun readership and liberal staff could handle.

If Thomas can't be bothered to spell Smollett's name correctly, why take his word on anything?It's not until the end of his post that Gainor disclosed something important: "Cal’s columns also appear on NewsBusters each week."

If Thomas' columns are easily available pretty much everywhere, why does the Sun need to publish them? Gainor never explains.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:21 PM EST
CNS Presents Century-Old Story As 'News'
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com editor Terry Jeffrey is a big football fan -- so much so that he earned a Slantie Award for whining that Joe Biden's victory speech interrupted his football game. His Dec. 22 column was dedicated to marking the 100th anniversary of the first radio broadcast of a football game, concluding: "When college football games are played on Jan. 1, 2022, America can celebrate 100 years of football broadcasts. It is one of this nation's great traditions."

From there, though, things went a little too far. A Dec. 24 article credited only to "CNSNews.com Staff" but almost certainly written by Jeffrey carried the headline "Police Escorted Referee from Field After He Invalidated Touchdown Pass" and illustrated with a color photo of a football referee. But the storyis not from this century, it also largely predates color photos:

Police officers had to escort a referee off the field of an Alabama vs. Tulane post-season football game played in New Orleans in 1921 after the referee invalidated a play in which Tulane scored on a 50-yard passing play.

The referee said he blew the whistle that signaled the end of the game before the play began.

If the play had stood, Tulane would have tied the score. With the play reversed, Alabama won 14 to 7.

“An attack on Referee Finley, former Virginia player, came at the end of the post-season football game between University of Alabama and Tulane, which Alabama won here today, 14 to 7,” said a report in the Dec. 4, 1921 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

The headline on the story said: “Mob Attacks Referee When Alabama Beats Tulane Eleven, 14 to 7.”

CNS has a bad habit of presenting old stories as new ones, but presenting a century-old story as something that just happened is not only ridiculous , it hurts what little journalistic credibility CNS has.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:46 AM EST
Thursday, January 27, 2022
MRC Fawns Over Softball Interview With Fox News Host
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro -- like the Fox News stan he is -- used a Dec. 20 post to frame a very friendly, softball interview Fox News anchor did with a fellow Fox News host as him "expertly defus[ing]" CNN's criticism of Fox News:

After filling in on Fox News Sunday following former anchor Chris Wallace’s exit from the show last week, Fox News Channel anchor Bret Baier appeared on the network’s MediaBuzz with anchor Howard Kurtz and took down CNN and their “just silly” criticism against their network that was designed to generate “clicks” and play for ratings.

Their prerecorded discussion began with Kurtz drawing attention to recent incendiary comments from CNN’s “Don lemon saying that Fox News should be kicked out of, barred from the White House briefing room because he doesn't like Fox.”

Baier rebuked Lemon’s attack as “just silly” and “just an effort to get clicks or eyeballs.” He then reminded viewers of how Fox had stuck up for CNN and their reporters to be members of the White House press pool during the Trump presidency:

Listen, we're a news organization that has been part of the White House pool really since the beginning, and we've been advocates of fighting for other journalists there including CNN. You mentioned Jim Acosta where we stood up as well as Kaitlan Collins who was going to be kicked out of a gaggle, and I tweeted out, we put out a statement supporting [her].

“So, listen, I think this is all about semantics and trying to get attention. But they know that we're working hard to do journalism every day,” he added.

From there, Kurtz asked his guest about the “fiction that gets perpetrated” by CNN and liberal media that “there isn't a real news division here, that you and your Special Report team and all the journalists and reporters and hosts and anchors and producers somehow don't count[.]”

Again dismissing the narrative as “silly,” Baier recalled that the criticism “goes in iterations in which the focus is all on the opinion folks who do do opinion and they stir the pot and sometimes they're very controversial, but we have a news operation that's breaking news every day.”

Funny, we thought Fondacaro and the rest of the MRC hated softball interviews. He also didn't mention the one thing that discredits Baier as a fair-and-balanced news anchor: his infamous fake-news story before the 2016 election about Hillary Clinton's purportedly imminent indictment -- a story the MRC enthusiastically promoted but never told readers that it had been retracted.

Like a good Fox News fanboy, Fondacaro waited until the 11th paragraph of his piece to mention the much more newsworthy part of the interview: Baier laboring to put distance between him and the aggressively right-wing Fox News hosts who had a direct line to the White House, including during the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. And even then, Fondacaro soft-pedaled the controversy, meekly referencing "the recent revelation that a few members of the network’s primetime line up had messaged former White House chief-of-staff Mark Meadows on January 6." And even then, Fondacaro censored the full quote of what Baier said about the situation, as a more fair and balanced outlet more accurately reported:

Amid shockwaves over Chris Wallace’s departure to CNN, Baier on Sunday tried to distance his show from fellow Fox host Tucker Carlson, who regularly peddles pro-Trump talking points and misinformation in service of the ex-president.

“I tell people that the biggest, the loudest critics of Fox are not ones who watch Fox and see the difference between ‘Special Report’ and Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson,” Baier said during an appearance on Fox’s “Media Buzz” program. “I mean, anybody who watches sees the difference.”

[...]

Baier also made sure to argue that Wallace’s startling exit from Fox doesn’t further dilute the network’s credibility as a legit news source.

“He’s doing something different, but that does not mean that we don’t have really accomplished journalists who are breaking stories and who can cover things fairly,” the “Special Report” anchor said.

Fondacaro didn't explain why he didn't fully quote Baier. Perhaps there's an MRC rule that nobody is allowed to criticize Tucker Carlson. Besides, that's less expert defusing more desperate distancing, and Fondacaro is never going to admit any fault with Fox News.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:45 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 30, 2022 11:16 AM EST
WND's Root Spreads More Vaccine Misinfo, Because That's What He Does
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In addition to spreading actual COVID, Wayne Allyn Root spreads COVID misinformation. Like this Dec. 13 WorldNetDaily column:

The COVID-19 vaccines appear to be causing a global health disaster. There are so many warnings from all around the world. I'll list just a few in this column. But the U.S. media remain silent. They're as quiet as a church mouse. Why?

Japan's Ministry of Health just announced that "the Moderna and Pfizer Covid vaccines could cause heart-related side effects in younger males." Health experts in Japan have witnessed skyrocketing rates of myocarditis and pericarditis in young men and teenagers. And they've seen the same nonstop heart issues with middle-aged and older individuals.

All over America, and all over the world, cardiac arrest, heart inflammation and heart attack deaths are exploding. Young athletes are dropping right on the field; star soccer players in Europe are dropping dead in the middle of games; referees, coaches and even fans in the stands are having cardiac emergencies. It's something no one has ever seen before. It's an epidemic.

What do all these victims have in common? They've all been vaccinated.

In America, the media are filled with reports of hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units overwhelmed with seriously ill patients. From coast to coast, there are so many sick people lined up that there aren't enough beds or nurses. Sick patients are lying on gurneys along the hallways. Doctors and medical experts call it a "mystery" why so many Americans are sick. They can't understand what's happening.

Root sure loves his conspiracy theories, doesn't he? He seems to be referring two European soccer players -- Christian Ericken and Alex Apolinario -- who collapsed on the field; Apolinario later died. As it turns out, neither Ericksen nor Apolinario were vaccinated. Since those are false claims, it stands to reason that Root's larger claim about an epidemic of dying athletes is false too.

Also, it's quite clear what's happening with crowded hospitals: The Omicron variant is highly contagious, even for people who have been vaccinated, though it's still a fact that the unvaccionated will face much more serious symptoms and risk of death than the vaccinated.

But as a conspiracist, Root has some misinformation to pass along:

But I can solve the mystery. I believe that these are COVID-19 vaccine-related injuries overwhelming ERs and ICUs. The very illnesses that are most prevalent in this mysterious health emergency – heart attack deaths, cardiac arrest, strokes, blood clots, multiple organ failure – are all the same COVID-19 vaccine side effects listed in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). 

[...]

These brainwashed Kool-Aid drinkers can't see what's right in front of their faces. Or perhaps doctors, scientists and researchers are too afraid of losing their medical licenses, or losing multimillion-dollar government grants, to speak up.

In the case of the media, it's all about greed. Big Pharma buys a large proportion of the ads on every TV news network in America. Offend Big Pharma with stories of vaccine deaths and injuries, and the media could lose billions of dollars in revenue. Half the newsroom could be fired.

Not to mention stock prices would collapse in these media companies. There go the retirement accounts of Lester Holt, Don Lemon, Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow. So, the truth is hard to come by.

What's the truth? All anyone with a shred of credibility, morality and decency have to look at are a few key factors.

Ah, but Root lacks credibility, morality and decency, so he's spreading lies about VAERS data -- something he loves to do. But he's not done:

Now let me let you in on a terrible secret. My insider health care sources are reporting so many victims are filing reports with VAERS that the system is hopelessly overwhelmed and backed up. There may be 20,000 or 40,000 or 60,000 more deaths waiting to be processed into the VAERS system. They tell me the numbers are staggering.

Now you know why hospital ERs and ICUs are overwhelmed with people who are seriously ill.

So, my question is, shouldn't someone be investigating this escalating health disaster? Shouldn't someone in the media be reporting on this unimaginable tragedy? Should politicians be protecting us?

One thing I know: Something very bad and very evil is happening.

And we see it in Root's desire to misinform people about COVID vaccines. Root can find the source of that evil if only he's willing to look in the mirror.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:54 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 27, 2022 5:57 PM EST
CNS Spent 2021 Obsessing A Little Less Over Bette Midler
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've noted how CNSNews.com bizarrely cares so much about what Bette Midler tweets that devotes numerous articles to them. Surprisingly, CNS has restrained that obsession; after devoting 40 articles in 2020 to Midler's musings, it cranked out only six articles on her in 2021:

Even more surprisingly, there was a seven-month gap in which CNS decided not to obsess over Midler statements, from March 1 (the Cruz tweet) to Oct. 14 (the "conservative Christians" tweet). There was a seventh related article, a Dec. 22 article about someone from West Virginia responding on Fox News to Midler's West Virginia tweet.

In another surprising development, CNS' obsession with Cher tweets dropp3ed as well, from 14 articles in 2020 to just three in 2021:

CNS has not explained publicly why its Midler and Cher output declined so much in 2021, or why it has devoted so much press to them in the first place, given their lack of relvance to today's popular culture. Perhaps it's mandated by its Media Research Center parent .which has been similarly obsessed with her.

If there's one consolation, it's that Mark Levin shouldn't feel so alone at being relatively neglected by CNS.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, February 19, 2022 12:05 AM EST
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
MRC Defends Fox News Against Chris Wallace's Departure
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loved to attack Chris Wallace for not being enough of a right-wing shill like the rest of his Fox News co-workers, so it wasn't exactly broken-hearted when Wallace announced last month he was leaving Fox News to join CNN's new streaming operation. Nicholas Fondacaro alluded to that in his Dec. 12 post on Wallace's departure: "Wallace’s recent years with the network were a bit of a mixed bag. In October of 2020, Wallace complained on Fox News Channel about former President Trump’s conduct during the debate he moderated, equating it to Trump stomping on his cake."

The MRC will brook the possibility that Wallace left Fox News because of the channel's increasing far-right extremism -- its belief is that Fox News is always right and any critic of it is always wrong -- so the MRC's narrative moved away from criticizing Wallace to defending Fox News. On Dec. 14, Clay Waters whined that a New York Times article on Wallace's departure was "as a springboard to attack Fox News. Waters first played whataboutism -- "The paper wasn’t nearly so concerned about liberal black filmmaker Spike Lee spreading conspiracy theories, claiming 9-11 was an inside job in a documentary for HBO and joining the 'fire doesn’t melt steel' brigade -- then cheered that the Times "had to admit that Fox’s (honest) turn to opinionizing is filling a desire among the viewing public."

Tim Graham devoted his Dec. 13 podcast to Wallace's departure, first mocking him for leaving Fox News for CNN as being like leaving a Super Bowl champion for a minor-league version of the Detroit Tigers, then complained that every departure from Fox News is described as a "major loss." He then lashed out at journalist Julia Ioffe for noting on CNN that the Fox News "crazy sauce" is becoming more concentrated:

Excuse me? Julia, speaking of crazy sauce, this chick, this infobabe. she went on CNN, wshe ent on Jake Tapper's show and she proclaimed that Donald Trump -- this is the quote -- radicalized more people than ISIS. ... Who's boiling down the crazy sauce? Get off the burner!

We recall when the MRC denounced derogatory descriptions of women like "gal," "chick" and "infobabe." And Graham unmistakably sounded quite radicalized in his rant against Ioffe.

This was followed by a rant against anyone who's not right-wing describing right-wingers as extreme:

Left-wing media outlets oughta just -- if we want to talk about pretending, stop pretending that somehow you get to judge what's extreme. These people all run around and call themselves mainstream media. Guess what? You're losing. The mainsrream is not moving your direction.Biden is falling apart, the Democrats' numbers are bad. Who's mainstream? It doesn't seem to be you.

By that same measure, the MRC has no right to put a label on the purported ideology of anyone to his left -- it's faulty, given Graham's bizarre description of the "mainstream media" as "left-wing." The fact that Graham adamantly refuses to admit that Fox News is right-wing is even more reason not to trust his judgment on anything.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 PM EST
CNS Gushed Over Trump's Christmas Message -- But Was Slow To Report Biden's
Topic: CNSNews.com

In an echo of its earlier disparate treatment of Veterans Day messages from the current and former president, CNSNews.com served up a minor version of that for Christmas. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman gushed in a Dec. 23 article:

Speaking at First Baptist Dallas church on Sunday, former President Donald Trump stressed that the great achievements in America are due precisely to the Judeo-Christian beliefs and practices of its citizens.

"[N]one of this could’ve ever happened without Jesus Christ and His followers and His church. None of it," said Trump.

First Baptist Dallas, founded in 1868, has an estimated 14,000 members and is headed by Pastor Robert Jeffress, 66.  Jeffress served on Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board and White House Faith Initiative.

“More than 2,000 years ago ... an angel of the Lord appeared to humble shepherds and proclaimed the reason for our Christmas joy," said Trump in his remarks.  "'For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.'"

"Our country needs a savior right now and our country has a Savior -- and that’s not me," said Trump.  "That’s somebody much higher up than me. Much higher up."

Chapman expressed no concern about Trump's speech possibly violating federal law the way CNS did a couple months earlier when Vice President Kamala Harris recorded a video to be played in churches. Nor did he mention that Jeffress is a homophobe who's also a bit anti-Semitic. (Then again, Chapman is cool with homophobia.) Chapman did snarkily add: " Commenting on Trump's remarks, Rev. Franklin Graham tweeted, 'Do you miss him? I do.'" Chapman didn't expl;ain why he, Graham or anyone else should miss the presence of a thrice-married adultererewho sleeps with porn stars in a position of high power.

By contrast, CNS' treatment of President Biden's Christmas message was much differenbt. First of all, it wasn't published until Dec. 27, two days after Christmas. Secondly, it didn't even merit a reporter's byline -- it was anonymously written.Third, it was simple straight quoting from Biden's message without editorial comment -- though, actually, that's probably a good thing considering CNS' abject loathing of all things Biden.

Still, this is yet another example of CNS treating Trump much better than Biden for doing basically the same thing.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:03 PM EST
Newsmax Film On Capitol Riot Pushes Right-Wing Narratives, Conspiracy Theories
Topic: Newsmax

WorldNetDaily wasn't the only ConWeb outlet pushing a dubious "documentary" on the Jan. 6 riot. Newsmax made its own -- and it appears to be just as biased. A Jan. 7 article promoting it starts off by insisting that the film is fair and accurate, the devolves into demonstrating at it's ... not:

“Day of Outrage” was produced by Newsmax to accurately and fairly detail the events related to the Capitol siege of Jan. 6.

The film includes powerful video footage of the protests and riots that took place on that fateful day, as well as a careful examination of events that led up to it.

The program includes exclusive interviews with Greg Kelly, who is the host of "Greg Kelly Reports"; Sebastian Gorka, former strategist to President Donald Trump; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.; Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; retired Marine gunnery Sgt. Jessie Jane Duff; senior analyst for strategy at at the Center for Security Policy J. Michael Waller; Ashli Babbitt’s mom Micki Witthoeft; Babbitt’s husband, Aaron; Jan. 6 detainee Kenneth Harrelson’s wife, Angel; former detainee Chris Worrell’s fiancée, Trish Priller, and business owner Roberto Minuta.

Any film climing to depict the riot "accurately and fairly" would have included people who are not angry right-wingers with axes to grind; none are listed above. The article went on to hype that the film was made by "award-winning filmmaker Jack Thomas Smith," whose actual filmmaking expertise is in horror movies

The article -- and the film, apparently -- gets more conspiratorial from there:

Unbridled violence across the nation, a disputed election, distrust of the mainstream media, and a sense that hypocrisy was everywhere among elected officials — all helped set in motion the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

In the aftermath of this day — when laws were clearly broken and behavior was at best uncivil and at worst violent — the media and Democrat politicians have advanced a disputed narrative of “insurrection.”

“Jan. 6 started as a peaceful protest that became unruly and at times violent,” says Jack Thomas Smith. “But it was not an insurrection. The protesters didn’t seek to overthrow the government and did not bring firearms into the Capitol.”

Smith notes that acts of violence did occur and says the film makes clear that the people who committed crimes that day “should be held accountable for their actions.”

But he also adds that these protesters are entitled to due process. “The mistreatment of the Jan. 6 detainees is outrageous,” he said.

“Day of Outrage” reveals what some have described as cruel and unusual punishment against some protesters following their arrests. “They are being treated worse than terrorists in Gitmo,” Smith said.

Newsmax has not made "Day of Outrage" available for streaming, so we have to read some tea leaves from the article and the film trailer attached to it. It appears that the film will hype violence in protests over racial justice in an attempt to downplay the riot; indeed, the film trailer begins with footage from those protests, and there's much less footage of riot footage inside the Capitol. A clip of an unidentified talking head makes this tactic more apparent: "What BLM/Antifa did was actually much more akin to insurrection. January 6 was a trespassing incident that got out of hand." The film apparently also pushes the right-wing martyrdom narrative of domestic terrorist Ashli Babbitt, with footage of Babbitt's widower declaring that she was "executed ... assassinated ... murdered," followed by another clip of Newsmax host Sebastian Gorka declaring, "This is an attempt to criminalize conservatives."

Smith did an interview with Gateway Pundit -- another sign that the film should not be trusted -- and made that excuse-making even more explicit:

I sat on my couch watching it on TV, just like a lot of people, most people. Initially, I thought, ‘They shouldn’t be doing this.’ But then, the media kept that narrative going to calling them, insurrectionists. We have the footage of the police officers, allowing people in the Capitol building, footage of protesters walking peacefully through the rotunda who were just looking around and taking selfies. They were a praying in the Capitol building — they certainly were not insurrectionists.

If these were insurrectionists, don’t you think someone would have brought a firearm into the building? When you see the mainstream media claim these people were trying to overthrow our government – I mean, that’s absolutely ridiculous. They weren’t not trying to overthrow our government. They were upset with the results of an election.

[...]

If we compare what’s happening here to how socialism and communism started and ultimately destroy other countries –Venezuela, Cuba, China, and the Soviet Union — the similarities are striking. If you look at the cultural revolution in China during the 1960s and 70s,  you see what’s happening today in the United States. Then, if you look at how socialism infiltrated Venezuela, the similarities are really uncanny.

The article concludes: "It is noteworthy that Gateway Pundit contributor Cara Castronuova has been credited as a “consultant” on this documentary." Duly noted.

The film's trailer concludes with someone saying, "Just because some talking head calls it an insurrection doesn't mean it's one ... unless there's a campaign to make it look like one." Similarly, just because someone made a highly biased film claiming that it wasn't an insurrection doesn't mean it isn't one -- and that film is part of the campaign to pretend it isn't one.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 PM EST
Joel Hirschhorn COVID Misinformation Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Notorious COVID misinformer Joel Hirschhorn is back to promoting dubious treatments for COVID. In his Dec. 8 column, he hyped a study claiming that high levels of vitamin D could help fight off a COVID infection. While the study appears to be legitimate, other studies have found different results. But because Hirschhorn is a conspiracist at heart, he began his column by huffing that "There seems to be an endless refusal by the public health establishment to fight the pandemic with the best science-based tools. Instead, they keep pushing vaccines" -- as if vaccines were a bad thing -- then went on to rant:

As the U.S. approaches 800,000 COVID-related deaths it is reasonable to believe that perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved if the government had strongly supported vitamin D blood testing and supplementation if needed. But in the absence of such a COVID policy, people have good reasons to use D supplements if they are not routinely exposed to sunlight without using sunscreen products.

[...]

Sadly, we cannot count on the public health establishment to take a science-based, aggressive policy on using vitamin D supplements as an alternative to COVID vaccines or expensive medicines. Its up to individuals to protect their own lives by being well informed and proactive.

For his Dec. 16 column, Hirschhorn returned to his first dubious medication love, ivermectin:

Ivermectin has been attacked by pro-vaccine interests despite it being a cheap, safe and proven medicine for COVID-19 treatment and prevention. Despite a mountain of clinical and test evidence showing that it really works, Big Media, Big Pharma and Big Government have stubbornly fought its use. Its use in a number of countries, notably India, has proven its effectiveness against COVID.

[...]

As the following examples show, the medicine has been found lifesaving for critically ill, hospitalized patients with little chance of survival when government-approved protocols are used. Family members have requested hospitals use IVM as patients' face probable death, often to no avail. In response, some gutsy people have used the judicial system to get hospitals to do what is justified by medical science: save lives by using ivermetctin.

In Illinois it took a court to force a hospital to capitulate to family demands to give a very sick elderly patient IVM. The hospital had used the approved ways to treat the patient without success. These included the proven unsafe and very expensive drug remdesivir, intubation and ventilator use for a month in the ICU. None of it worked, and the patient was given only a 10 to 15% chance of surviving.

Hirschhorn continued to hype that case, claiming that the patient "showed signs of improvement almost immediately" after being given ivermectin. He didn't mention that part of the legal fight involved the fact that the doctor who wanted to use ivermectin on the patient was himself not vaccinated, or that the hospital has said the patient was improving before treatment started.

He also hyped fellow WND columnist Wayne Allyn Root's claim of having beaten COVID in 48 hours with ivermectin -- bui, of course, was silent about the rfact that  Root was running around doing a book tour while hiding from people that he had an active case of COVID, potentially spreading the virus to -- and sickening and maybe killing -- unsuspecting people.

Hirschhorn touted ivermectin again in his Jan. 5 column, laughably headlined "Praise the Lord and pass the ivermectin":

Hospitals have become killing machines, places where the kiss of death is a protocol following government guidelines. Despite wide COVID vaccine use, deaths in hospitals because of late-stage viral infection remain at a high level. Difficulty in getting COVID testing quickly and often probably contributes to the high death rate. Too many people do not get their COVID infection addressed early. There remains too little use of monoclonal antibodies early for infected people. So their infection progresses to serious lung and breathing problems. That is the beginning of the end.

And it will be a long time before the new antiviral drugs from Pfizer and Merck are broadly available, and there will be more information ascertained on whether or not they are really safe and effective for all diverse types of people.

[...]

In a few successful court actions, such late-stage COVID patients were given the cheap, safe generic ivermectin and – much to the astonishment of hospital doctors – have walked out of the hospital, completely recovered.

And there is considerable medical research literature supporting such use of ivermectin, principally because of its anti-inflammatory property. As just one example, a published medical 2021 hospital study found nearly a 50% reduction in deaths for patients with severe pulmonary involvement, the typical late-stage COVID death-bed patient condition. The many doubters of ivermectin should pay more attention to the medical science literature.

But published medical articles are ignored by the medical and public health establishments.

[...]

Time to let those who want to use ivermectin in an attempt to save their life get it. It is medically and morally the right thing to do.

With now a long record of hospital protocols for late-stage COVID utterly failing to save lives, how can the medical profession justify not using a generic medicine that both research and clinical results justify and explain its ability to save lives?

They cannot.

Families trying to find a lawyer and a friendly court face a very, very difficult race to save their loved one stuck in the ICU just like a prisoner sentenced to death.

Is it COVID killing these people or the medical profession and their hospital employers? Worth pondering as you keep watching mounting COVID death numbers.

Hirschhorn found a new way to praise ivermectin in his Jan. 19 column:

Moving beyond words is a new vote of confidence in using ivermectin to fight COVID with an innovative injectable product.

There is good reason to have hope for a new way to deliver ivermectin to millions of people to fight COVID variants. It offers a very sound alternative to vaccines. And everyone should understand that after omicron could come lethal COVID variants.

With all of the considerable controversy about using ivermectin for treating and preventing COVID, something has slipped the attention of its supporters and critics. A relatively small French company has spent the past year or more developing an injectable product of ivermectin for prophylactic use that lasts in the body for months.

[...]

One can imagine that this innovative product could be just like annual flu vaccines in how it is administered to large numbers of people in a multitude of places, including medical offices, drug stores and supermarket pharmacies. And it would be wonderful if medical insurance covered it like it does flu shots.

Hirschhorn didn't mention that injectible ivermectin already exists ... for animals, as a parasiticide. There's nothing terribly novel going on here. It's also worth noting once again that COVID is a virus, not a parasite. 

But, again, Hirschhorn is a conspiracist, so he concluded the column by arguing that "The question to be followed is if and how Big Pharma takes actions to stymie" development of the injectible ivermectin.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 26, 2022 8:59 AM EST
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
How Is The MRC Freaking Out About George Soros Now?
Topic: Media Research Center

He may have diverted some of his attention to other donors to non-right-wing causes, but it's clear that hating George Soros remains the designated task for Media Research Center writer Joseph Vazquez. Let's see how Vazquez has been piling up the hyperbolic attacks on Soros (and anything that can be tangentally linked to him, no matter how tenuous) since the last time we checked in:

We've already noted how Vazauez and the MRC played the Soros card on Gigi Sohn, President Biden's nominee to the FCC, and that it has also complained that criticism of Soros has been portrayed as anti-Semitic -- despite the MRC's history of using anti-Semitic "puppet-master" tropes to attack Soros. (Speaking of which: The MRC censored all mention of its friends at Fox News publishing a cartoon last month using that exact same "puppet-master" trope.) Vazquez also went after Soros as part of what he probably imagines to be a League of Evil of liberal donors in an Oct. 27 post, bashing them for funding a company designed to "fund new media companies and efforts that tackle disinformation."

Vazquez's biggest project, however, was a Jan. 10 post that was an extended attack on Soros for committing the offense of fuding educational causes he likes:

Billionaire George Soros said he is working to “bend” the arc of history “in the right direction.” In Soros’ case, that direction is far to the left. To do it, he donated over $32 billion to his Open Society Foundations since 1984, to further leftist ideology and activism well beyond his own lifetime. Soros has committed a combined sum of more than $2.3 billion to create a global university network to push his extreme ideology. 

At 91, Soros hasn’t slowed down his radical agenda to inundate the American people — and the world — with propaganda involving leftist academia and racial strife. He recently launched a $1 billion initiative to create a “global university” network to indoctrinate the next generation with his extremist “open society” worldview.

[...]

His tremendous wealth gives him the ability to try to influence every aspect of American life — from political campaigns to drug policy. Instead of letting the foundations shut down upon his death, he guaranteed conservatives will be fighting his agenda for decades to come.

Of course, from the hard-right perspective of Vazquez and the MRC, anything that's not ideologicallhy in lockstep with them is going to be viewed as "leftist" or "radical" or "extremist."And he's really angry that Soros and peoplewho have received money from him have dared to criticize Donald Trump, whom he appears to believe is above any criticism.

(There's also the irony of someone whose paycheck depends on the largesse of right-wing moneybags Rebekah Mercer attacking how some other wealthy person spends their money.)

Vazquez went on to repeat criticism of Soros by Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, implicitly praising him for attacking Soros for purportedly "backing mass illegal immigration in the country" for smearing Soros as running "an extensive mafia network," as well as for forcing a Soros-backed "leftist university" to leave the country. Unsurprisingly, Vazquez didn't mention that Orban is a right-wing authoriarian who is working to censor free expression, even as the MRC praises him for trying to censor social media operations by ludicrously framing that as "free speech."

Nevertheless, Vazquez continued to rant:

It is clear from Soros’ massive funding of leftist causes that he has worked tirelessly to cement his ethos in global society. His funding of billions to foment racial strife and shape global education is proof of this. Soros’ vision to mainstream his thinking on a worldwide scale through his global university network and his racial politics spending impact every American citizen.

[...]

American exceptionalism and capitalism have consistently been primary targets for Soros’ throughout his decades-long career of trying to undermine them. With his new global university network and racially-charged groups flushed with his cash, Americans will be battling against his ideas for many years to come.

This was followed by a Jan. 15 post touting MRC chief Brent Bozell touting this hit job on his buddy Mark Levin's radio sho, who gushed that it was "a great service" to "the nation," weirdly adding that "Soros is making sure that his money goes exactly where he wants it to go so from the grave he can reach out and try and destroy America."

Vazquez wants you to think he's doing real "media research" here, but like most of the MRC's work, it's a partisan hit job -- the word "radical" appears nine times, the word "leftist" appears 19 times, and the word "extremist" appears nine times. That's the motivation of every single attack on Soros he has penned -- and gets paid by Rebekah Mercer to pen.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:20 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 25, 2022 10:39 PM EST
WND's Schlafly Whines About Insurrection-Related Texts Being Released
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Andy Schlafly continues his love of insurrectionists with a Dec. 14 WorldNetDaily column that not only resumes his whitewashing of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot -- which he declares was just an exercise by "First Amendment-exercising Americans" -- he predictably lashed out at the House committee looking into the insurrection:

As it votes to hold President Trump's top aides in contempt of Congress, the Democrat-controlled House showed its own contempt for the separation-of-powers doctrine that makes a presidency co-equal rather than subservient to it. Contrary to the grandstanding congresswoman Liz Cheney, President Trump had no obligation to remove First Amendment-exercising Americans from the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

Cheney selectively released some private texts and emails involving Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and quickly distorted their meaning. She falsely insists that they show "supreme dereliction of duty" by Trump even though he was not the recipient of the communications.

Cheney, who is no longer recognized as a Republican by her own Wyoming Republican Party, is illustrating why feeding the Never-Trumpers by giving them texts and emails is a mistake. In generating some headlines in the liberal media, Cheney exaggerated their significance and violated privilege.

Cheney asserts that there were "dozens of texts" to Meadows on Jan. 6, but the smattering of texts Cheney improperly read to the public show nothing illegal. Cheney should release to the public her own private communications against Trump, which would show how unfit she is to sit on a committee that falsely pretends to be impartial.

Cheney also released some private texts by a Trump family member and Fox News commentators, while concealing the identity of fellow lawmakers who texted Meadows. Apparently, Cheney does not want to incur further wrath by Republicans for breaching their privacy, but she is fine with invading Trump family privacy.

We don't recall Schlafly having a problem with Republicans invading Peter Strzok's privacy by releasing his private texts, so he's being a total hypocrite here. But never mind that -- Schlafly is on to his other mission of absolving Trump of any responsibility for the insurrection:

"The text messages leave no doubt that White House knew what was happening," Cheney blustered, as though a building itself can have knowledge. Cheney-the-lawyer surely realizes that knowledge by one person is not imputed to another, and what Meadows knew is not proof of what Trump knew.

Moreover, Trump did not command the Capitol police force, or act as a custodian for House members who are fully capable of dealing with political protests without hand-holding by a president. Cheney is well-connected with liberals who run the House and could have taken action herself to stifle the protests as she now insists Trump should have done.

[...]

Cheney ranted on Monday about texts sent to Meadows concerning the rally on Jan. 6, but there is nothing objectionable in those communications. A few wanted Trump to intervene in the rally in the Capitol, but that is not the job of a president.

Schlafly also whined again that insurrectionists were being treated like the criminals they are instead of the liberators he imagines they are: "None of the distortions by Never-Trumpers Cheney and others has worked against Trump, and none will. Nearly a year after the Jan. 6 political rally, many Americans are angry at how Democrats and the Deep State continue to whine about it and even imprison peaceful participants without a trial."

Because the real problem here is not that a violent mob tried to overthrow the government, it's that "Democrats and the Deep State" remind people of that fact.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:30 PM EST
Michael Reagan Throws A Vaccine Tantrum
Topic: Newsmax

I’m sick and tired of wearing masks. I’m sick and tired of vaccine mandates.

I’m sick and tired of hearing the dire warnings and broken promises of politicians and incompetent public health officials.

For almost two years they’ve ordered us around like children and told us what individual freedoms we must sacrifice if we are to ever win the war against COVID-19.

Now a new variant, omicron, has knocked us backwards again.

[...]

I don’t blame the un-vaxxed for the continuing pandemic. As I tweeted the other day, I don’t care whether someone is vaxxed like I am or not.

I don't hate them, either. I realize I’ve hugged, shook hands and eaten dinner with dozens of people who haven’t been jabbed.

People tell me, "You could die."

Yeah. I’m 76. I could die of a lot of stuff. But I stay healthy. I take all my meds.

So far, thanks to the thugs running China who created the virus, more than 800,000 Americans have died ofor with — COVID-19.

Most, by far, were very old or already very sick or unhealthy.

About 1,100 Americans are still dying every day despite the fact that we’ve had vaccines for almost a year and we’ve done everything Fauci, government experts and politicians have ordered us to do.

Unfortunately, nothing they did worked to stop the pandemic.

[...]

Now these same geniuses want to give the vaccine to every kid five years old and younger — even though the science says they don’t need it.

The vaccine makers have done tests on some kids and they guarantee it's completely safe.

But how will the vaccines affect the kids' bodies five or 10 years from now, or during a pregnancy? And what about boosters — and more boosters?

The answers to those important questions are unknown but they might turn out to be some pretty horrible "Oops."

Meanwhile, everyone have a merry Christmas and don't let Santa down your chimney unless he's been vaxxed — oops.

-- Michael Reagan, Dec. 17 Newsmax column

Posted by Terry K. at 2:10 PM EST
CNS' Catholic Priest Spreads More Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories
Topic: CNSNews.com

Michael P. Orsi, the Catholic priest who's putting more emphasis on right-wing activism than being a Catholic priest, continued to mix politics into his religion in his Dec. 15 CNSNews.com column, headlined "How Would John the Baptist View Wokeness?":

If ever there were a time that called out for John’s intercession, it’s today, an age that seems devoted to obscuring truth and promoting confusion. The indications are everywhere.

I recently read an article about law school admissions that described how one New York law school asks its applicants to specify their genders, choosing from among 13 different designations. Mind you, this is an institution that trains attorneys, a profession supposedly dedicated to identifying truth and clarifying facts.

In the spirit of “wokeness” prevalent in higher education right now, the school has apparently abandoned reason, moving beyond the simple, observable reality that God made human beings either male or female.

[...]

But it’s on display in more than just sports, and involves more than just sex and gender. Virtually all academic subjects have been infected with the spirit of “wokeness.”

By now, everybody has heard of how critical race theory is being applied to history, literary analysis, and the rest of the humanities. But even scholarly fields thought of as fact-based are yielding to ideological interpretation.

Believe it or not, there’s such a thing as “woke” mathematics. The idea is that schools ought not to insist that everybody achieve the same result when working through a mathematical calculation.

[...]

Such “woke” nonsense would be laughable, except that it’s harmful. In particular, it’s harmful to young people, whose minds are no longer being trained to reason, to assemble and analyze facts, and to arrive at logical conclusions — to live their lives competently.

It seems Orsi would rather that young people be trained to hate anyone different from them.

Orsi served up more of the same in a Jan. 5 column headlined "Channel the Wise Men to Fight Secular Tyranny":

Shamefully, the dominant class in our own country seems to have embraced the idea that it can demand everyone’s loyalty and direct everyone’s thinking.

Consider the censorship of religious ideas and moral opinions taking place on social media. In case you’re not aware, Christian writers are being “cancelled” left and right.

Add to that government edicts — issued in the name of public health — to restrict worship services and faith-related events, as well as efforts to circumvent religious reservations about mandated vaccinations.

And don’t forget the pressure being exerted on pastors against upholding the traditional understanding of sex, and defending moral standards of behavior. That pressure is often expressed in direct or implied threats about removal of church tax-exempt status.

Such things are happening more and more, and they have practical consequences.

[...]

Religion invites us to focus on the transcendent. And in the eyes of worldly rulers, nothing must transcend their assumed position of all-knowing leadership.

They’ve been highly successful in persuading people to accept their assumptions. Religious influence has declined markedly, as polling numbers demonstrate.

It could also be argued that the desire of religious figures like Orsi to cloak their politics behind religion is another reason religious influence is declining, as well as drawing calls to withdraw the tax-exempt status of churches.

Reflecting more of his anti-vaxxer attitudes, Orsi actually equated wanting to follow the science on COVID to following a pagan religion -- which was followed by a paranoid depiction of it as a tenet of the "New World Order" right-wingers like to warn us about:

Others search the Internet for new versions of ancient pagan religions with which to identify themselves, and give meaning to their lives. Some actually take part in shamanistic rituals, or embrace the cultic practices of the ancient Druids.

This reflects a basic emotional need of human beings for the transcendent, for some kind of “higher knowledge.” And you don’t have to experience the solstice sunrise at Stonehenge to observe it.

At the everyday level, you can see it in the devotion to “following the science” that’s become an obsession of the pandemic. On a more exotic plane, it’s expressed in the growing fascination with so-called “trans-humanism,” or with psychology-based “religions” such as Scientology.

[...]

There are rich and powerful people who see increasing the secularist character of society as conducive to their vision of extending monopolies, introducing new currencies, and tightening centralized control over the flow of wealth.

This vision is referred to by several terms, including the “Great Reset” and the “New World Order.” And it’s being promoted by many elements: the tech firms, the media, the sports and entertainment companies, the banks and financial institutions, the pharmaceutical giants.

(There’s good reason to assume that mandates, quarantines, vaccination passports, and other concepts to emerge from the pandemic are being exploited as means to advance this vision. That makes sense, since they bring our lives more thoroughly under official scrutiny.)

It’s obvious that all of this involves extensive coordination.

What can maintain such a high level of control? Who can direct it?

Is there a Herod of our day? Is there a central entity totally obsessed with raw power — and thus willing to distort the reality God has created — working diligently to overwhelm traditional Faith with a tsunami of secular influences?

A Catholic priest who spouts anti-vaxxerism and far-right conspiracy theories should not -- and cannot -- be treated as a serious religious or leadership figure. CNS clearly believes otherwise.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 25, 2022 11:39 AM EST
Monday, January 24, 2022
MRC Mad That Its Agenda Of Using Jussie Smollett To Delegitimize Media Is Called Out
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's coverage of the trial of actor Jussie Smollett over his apparent false claim that he was the victim of an assault by a MAGA mob largely consisted of rehasihng attacks on media outlets that originally reported his claims before questions were raised about them. Typical was a Nov. 29 post by Kristine Marsh, who baselessly asserted: "Smollett's fake story wasn’t believable to any reasonable person from the beginning, but the media still ran with it because it fit their narrative." That sort of tone continued:

For an organization that loves to attack other for pushing "fake news," the MRC has promoted a surprising amount of fake news. The most notorious of them, of course, was its promotion of the fake 2016 Fox News storyabout  Hillary Clinton's purportedly imminent indictment, which it embraced harder that any outlet it has based for reporting on Smollett's original assault claim -- and which it still, after five years, has not told its readers was fake news.There are a few others as well:

  • The MRC promoted the hoax story that CNN scripted questions at a televised forum.
  • It also hyped the idea that a Border Patrol agent was skilled by an undocumented immigrant, but still hasn't told readers that an investigation found that the agent apparently died in an accidential fall.
  • We've caught MRC researcher Nicholas Fondacaro spreading numerous false claims, none of which he has corrected.
  • Fondacaro and fellow MRC writer Curtis Houck falsely accused some media outlets of reporting that "whips" were used by Border Patrol agents on horseback against a group of immigrants, despite never quoting them using that word.

Don't look for the MRC to apologize for spreading all of that fake news -- the MRC never apologizes for any of its screw-ups.

Meanwhile, CNN's Oliver Darcy -- mortal enemy of Houck for ceasing to be the right-wing hack he remains and turning into a real journalist -- called out Fox News (and, by extension, the MRC) for using the media's early reporting of Smollett's story to discredit the media as a whole (bolding in original):

The tactic is dishonest, yet simple: Take an actual act of deception, in this case one that was perpetrated by an actor and covered heavily by the press, and then use it to suggest that anything reported by mainstream sources cannot be trusted. Everything is a hoax. 

Propagandists know that their power increases substantially when they can convince their audiences not to trust other sources of information. And so, Smollett's case is very valuable to them. They can hold up Smollett's guilty verdict and then attempt to extrapolate it onto other stories which are politically inconvenient for them.

[...]

When you cannot argue on the facts, it is much easier to dismiss a story in its entirety and go after the credibility of the press for reporting on it. It's the timeless play — one that played on repeat during the Trump administration — and one that is only growing more and more popular in right-wing media...

Unsurprisingly, Tim Graham spent an entire Dec. 11 post whining about it:

When Jussie Smollett was convicted on five of six counts for his hate-crime hoaxing in Chicago, CNN's "Reliable Sources" newsletter Thursday on the media didn't spend some time eating humble pie about being swindled. Instead, Oliver Darcy turned the occasion into an attack on Sean Hannity and the right-wingers. Like nothing demands CNN humbly examine themselves. Everything that happens calls for an attack on the right-wingers. 

[...]

This is mildly funny when his cohort Brian Stelter wrote an entire book on Fox News titled Hoax, which quite obviously attempts to convince their audience not to trust that source of information. So is he a "propagandist"? Or are all propagandists conservative? Did everyone who hammered the false Smollett narrative escape the term "propagandist"?

Note that Graham doesn't deny that's what Fox News is doing -- instead, he goes straight to whataboutism by attacking yet again Stelter's book (and doesn't address, let alone rebut, its content).

When Darcy went on to cite Trump and Russia, COVID and the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection as other examples of the right-wing media trying to reframe a story that's counter to the facts, Graham took offense to that as well by slinging more whataboutism:

CNN never admits that its dominant narrative of the Trump era -- that Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the 2016 election -- did not turn out to be true. CNN's Democrat minions energetically spread conspiracy theories funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign, starting with the phony Steele dossier. 

Darcy wasn't going to engage on what CNN did to argue against conservatives as Smollett's story collapsed. After the guilty verdicts, conservative Twitter replayed Brian Stelter's attempts to suggest "we may never know" the truth, which doesn't seem like the proper pose for journalists who boast of being "pro-truth."

The "CNN Media Unit" should be doing an examination right now about how the "mainstream media" that endlessly proclaims it is "pro-truth" should have been more careful. It should not have immediately rushed to judgment when someone cried "hate crime in MAGA hats," without confirming basic facts. Instead, it's all Fox News is terrible, Trump is terrible, and we have never done anything wrong, ever. 

Again, no defense is offered for the tactics used by Fox News or even his own employer. He may as well be officially acknowledging that Darcy is correct, and that delegitimizing the media is the MRC's (and Fox News') goal. C'mon, Tim, say the quiet part out loud.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:04 PM EST

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