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Netflix Slides After Subscriber Guidance Misses Estimates

Netflix Slides After Subscriber Guidance Misses Estimates

Recent earnings reports from streaming giant Netflix have been a mixed bag: the stock tumbled three quarters ago when the company reported earnings for its first full "post Corona"…

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Netflix Slides After Subscriber Guidance Misses Estimates

Recent earnings reports from streaming giant Netflix have been a mixed bag: the stock tumbled three quarters ago when the company reported earnings for its first full "post Corona" quarter and warned that "growth is slowing", before again plunging three quarters ago when the company reported a huge miss in both EPS and new subs, which at 2.2 million was tied for the worst quarter in the past five years, while also reporting a worse than expected outlook for the current quarter. This reversed two quarters ago when Netflix reported a blowout subscriber beat and projected it would soon be cash flow positive, sending its stock soaring to an all time high - if only briefly before again reversing and then tumbling last quarter when Netflix again disappointed when it reported a huge subscriber miss and giving dismal guidance.

Which brings us to today, when investors are on edge today to find out not whether the company would beat or miss expectations, but rather if the slowdown CEO Reed Hastings warned about is for real and has pulled forward even more subscribers due to covid? After all, Netflix has been warning for months that growth would slow in 2021 compared to the phenomenal signup rate at the start of the pandemic lockdown last year. And yes, brace for a huge base effect hit: in the second quarter of 2020, the service added 10 million new customers, second only to the 15.77 million it added in the record first quarter of 2020.

To be sure, despite a series of hit or miss earnings, the company has been riding a wave of optimism, its stock soaring in early 2021. Still, after hitting to a record high in January, the stock has traded rangbeound, unable to break out to a new high, for the past seven months. And while there’s no doubt that viewership has surged during the Covid-19 lockdowns in the U.S. and much of the world, there are complications: the virus has brought TV and film production to a halt, a situation that may only get more dire for Netflix as the months wear on. But the biggest question remains how many future subs has covid brought to the present, and tied to that - will the panic over the Delta strain lead to another mini burst in subscribers in the coming quater(s)?

Indicatively, consensus expects just 1.12 million new subscribers to be added in the second quarter, just above the company's own projection of 1 million new subs. Revenue are expected to come in at $7.32 billion, up from $7.16 billion last quarter, and resulting in EPS of $3.36, down slightly from last quarter's $3.75. This, as streaming video remains on a hot streak since the pandemic struck.

Previewing the quarterly result, Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Geetha Ranganathan and Amine Bensaid cautioned that Netflix’s massive 2020 is leading to more muted subscriber gains this year: "Netflix will continue to feel the aftereffects of a super-charged 1H20, with a massive pull-forward of demand prompting tempered expectations for 1 million additions in 2Q, its lowest quarterly level since 4Q11. The pull-forward may have also been amplified by price increases and pent-up demand for outdoor entertainment leading to uncertainty in 3Q guidance, though the return of several high-profile titles (‘Witcher,’ ‘Cobra Kai,’ ‘You’ and ‘Money Heist’) will be a clear catalyst for normalizing subscriber gains from 4Q and into 2022."

LightShed Partners media analyst Rich Greenfield published what he sees as the key questions Netflix investors should ask management after its earnings report. Among them are when Netflix’s subscriber growth will normalize, whether India can be a meaningful driver of profitability, and where the company sees opportunities in video games. Greenfield asks: “Is the goal to leverage IP you create for TV/film or create original video game IP that can be leveraged into TV/film production?”

Another thing to watch out for is how a slowdown in production last year is affecting the service. The filming of new shows and movies basically came to a standstill in early 2020, which curbed output in the following months.

* * *

So with all that in mind, was Q2 the quarter that would finally unleash another repricing higher for Netflix stock? Alas, it would again not be this time because despite beating on the top line, and adding more subscribers than expected, the company missed on EPS and again reported another dismal quarterly guidance which came in well below expectations (full letter to shareholders).

First, the good news:

  • Q2 revenue $7.34B, beating Est. $7.32B
  • Q2 Streaming Paid Net Change +1.54M, beating Est. +1.12M
  • Operating margin of 25.2% came in on top of estiamtes of 25.2%

And then the bad news:

  • Q2 EPS $2.97 missing consensus Est. $3.14
  • Company sees Q3 Streaming Paid Net Change +3.50M, far below the Wall Street estimate of +5.86M

Just as bad, the company reported its first decline in US/Canada paid subscribers, which shrank by 430K to 73.95MM. This was the first time NFLX lost customers domestically since 2019.

In other words, while q2 revenue rose 19% and operating income rose 36%, shares tumbled after its third-quarter subscriber forecast missed estimates.

Here is the full breakdown of Q2 subs which saw a drop in US/Canada paid subs:

  • UCAN streaming paid net change -430,000, estimate +52,190
  • EMEA streaming paid net change +190,000, estimate +429,335
  • LATAM streaming paid net change +760,000, estimate +128,719
  • APAC streaming paid net change +1.02 million, estimate +524,900
  • Total Streaming paid net change +1.54 million, estimate +1.12 million (Bloomberg Consensus)

And visually:

Commenting on the Q2 results, NFLX said that revenue growth was driven by an 11% increase in average paid streaming memberships and 8% growth in average revenue per membership (ARM). “COVID has created some lumpiness in our membership growth (higher growth in 2020, slower growth this year), which is working its way through.”

A more detailed breakdown of why the company continues to see "choppiness" in its earnings:

"The pandemic has created unusual choppiness in our growth and distorts year-over-year comparisons as acquisition and engagement per member household spiked in the early months of COVID. In Q2’21, our engagement per member household was, as expected, down vs. those unprecedented levels but was still up 17% compared with a more comparable Q2’19. Similarly, retention continues to be strong and better than pre-COVID Q2’19 levels, even as average revenue per membership has grown 8% over this two-year period, demonstrating how much our members value Netflix and that as we improve our service we can charge a bit more. "

NFLX also said that it added 1.5m paid memberships in Q2, "slightly ahead of our 1.0m guidance forecast" with the APAC region representing about two-thirds of global paid net adds in the quarter. Meanwhile, as noted above, Q2 paid memberships in the UCAN region were down sequentially (-0.4m paid net adds): "We believe our large membership base in UCAN coupled with a seasonally smaller quarter for acquisition is the main reason for this dynamic. This is similar to what we experienced in Q2’19 when our UCAN paid net adds were -0.1m; since then we’ve added nearly 7.5m paid net adds in UCAN"

This means that the covid pandemic in 2020 pulled forward so many subs that 2021 is shaping up to be the wirst year since at least 2016.

Understandably, now that companies are comping to 2019 not to 2020 (for the dismal base effect), Netflix is urging investors to compare this year to 2019 and not to the same quarter a year ago (when the pandemic boosted subscriber growth). Oddly the company had no problem comparing 2020 to 2019 when the numbers were in its favor, but we digress... The company points out that user engagement per member household was down in the second quarter compared with “those unprecedented levels” of 2020, but it was up 17% “compared with a more comparable Q2’19.”

Perhaps in an attempt to divert attention from (lack of) subscriber growth, Netflix said it was making good on its promise back in 2016 to steadily grow its operating margin. The streaming giant is targeting a 20% operating margin for 2021.

Some more details here:

“Assuming we achieve our margin target this year, we will have quintupled our operating margin in the last five years and are tracking ahead of this average annual three percentage point pace.... With revenue and margin both increasing, our operating profit dollars have risen dramatically as well (even as we have been investing heavily), from about $100 million per quarter in 2016 to nearly $2 billion per quarter so far in 2021.

But while shareholders may excuse the decline in US subs, they were not happy with the company's overall guidance, where it now sees just 3.5 million new subs in Q3, far below the 5.86 million expected.

* * *

Looking at its content slate, Netflix said it would be light in the first half due to Covid. The company is now playing catch-up, with spending on new TV shows and movies up 41% to $8 billion in the first half. The company is targeting $12 billion in content spending for the year, a 12% bump, to wit:

Through the first half of 2021 we’ve already spent $8 billion in cash on content (up 41% yr-over-yr and 1.4x our content amortization) and we expect content amortization to be around $12 billion for the full year (+12% year over year). Our Q3 slate will include new seasons of fan favorites La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist), Sex Education, Virgin River and Never Have I Ever as well as live action films including Sweet Girl (starring Jason Momoa), Kissing Booth 3, and Kate (starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and the animated feature film Vivo, featuring all-new songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Netflix offers shared some more details on its upcoming entrance into the gaming arena:

“We’re also in the early stages of further expanding into games, building on our earlier efforts around interactivity (e.g., Black Mirror Bandersnatch) and our Stranger Things games. We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV. Games will be included in members’ Netflix subscription at no additional cost, similar to films and series. Initially, we’ll be primarily focused on games for mobile devices. We’re excited as ever about our movies and TV series offering and we expect a long runway of increasing investment and growth across all of our existing content categories, but since we are nearly a decade into our push into original programming, we think the time is right to learn more about how our members value games.”

In its cursory overview of the competitive landscape, Netflix pointed out mergers like WarnerMedia/Discovery, saying they “don’t believe this consolidation has affected our growth much, if at all.” The company also noted that while it’s always evaluating merger opportunities: “We don’t view any assets as ‘must-have’ and we haven’t yet found any large scale ones to be sufficiently compelling to act upon.”

There was more bad news in NFLX cash flow, which after last quarter's surge reversed again, and dropped by $175 million, vs a positive cash flow of $899 million a year ago. NFLX notes that it is "still expecting full year 2021 free cash flow to be approximately break even." The company also believes it no longer needs to raise external financing to fund our day-to-day operations. We'll see if at least that promise pans out.

In other news, during Q2, NFLX increased its revolving credit facility (which remains undrawn) to $1 billion from $750 million and extended the maturity from 2024 to 2026. The company also repurchased 1 million shares for $500 million (at an average per share price of about $500) under our $5 billion share authorization: the company said its "main priority is to invest in the organic growth of our business while maintaining strong liquidity and retaining financial flexibility for strategic investments."

After all that, the market was unimpressed but it could have been worse: after initially plunging below $500 briefly, the stock has since stabilized down 2% around $515. Among stocks that are down in sympathy, video-streaming platform Roku falls 1.4%.

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Tyler Durden Tue, 07/20/2021 - 16:16

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Who Watches The Watchmen? – Fauci’s “Noble Lie” Exposed

Who Watches The Watchmen? – Fauci’s "Noble Lie" Exposed

Authored by Charles Rixey via Prometheus Shrugged,

*Note — This article details current historical research into COVID-19’s origins, as part of the D.R.A.S.T.I.C. team of scientists,…

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Who Watches The Watchmen? - Fauci's "Noble Lie" Exposed

Authored by Charles Rixey via Prometheus Shrugged,

*Note — This article details current historical research into COVID-19’s origins, as part of the D.R.A.S.T.I.C. team of scientists, journalists & researchers. Recent news: D.R.A.S.T.I.C.’s research forms a large portion of the basis for investigations begun by the US Senate, House & National Institutes of Health. Recent appearances and/or discussion on 60 Minutes, The Joe Rogan Exp., Fox News, JRE [again], Bill Maher, & CNN.

All references for this and other articles are compiled under my research project The Arc of Inquiry Bends Towards Enlightenment. The files include my statistical analysis of the impact of censorship on the search for the origin of SARS-CoV-2.

More than 100K pages of FOIA documents referenced here have been condensed into 173 pages of the most relevant selections in my appendix Prometheus Shrugged. It was here, last February, that the role of Dr. Fauci in ongoing academic censorship of COVID’s origin was first exposed. A chronological narrative of the events described throughout my research will included in a forthcoming volume of DRASTIC’s set of published collections of evidence.

A medieval doodle of William of Ockham accompanying a litany of scientists using his razor to shred evidence.

 The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once wrote that truth goes through 3 stages:

1st, it is ridiculed; 2nd, it is violently opposed; and 3rd, it is accepted as being self-evident

Guess what’s next for us?


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? - Who Watches the Watchers?

Six months ago, I began my first article on scientific censorship during COVID-19 by introducing Dr. Fauci as a surprise character that had emerged unexpectedly while digging through what was then 83,000 FOIA emails, published by US Right-to-Know over the course of the last year:

[see files related to Ralph Baric, Linda Saif, Rita Colwell, Colorado State/Rocky Mountain National Laboratory & the NCBI; other FOIA releases from Judicial Watch, Buzzfeed & the Washington Post include NIH funding of the WIV & Dr. Fauci's emails]

I've been trying for quite some time to get people to understand the full scope of the Dr. Fauci ‘situation,’ but it’s clear that segments of our national leadership are preventing an honest and open inquiry into his actions because they fear the backlash/collateral damage that will result from the tarnishing of their sacred cow. It's time Americans were told the truth - that the grant money sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology [WIV] is merely a footnote in this narrative. After all, Dr. Fauci controls nearly $4 billion of annual grant funding for the NIAID, the institute within the NIH he has directed since 1984; over 37 years, more than 50,000 research projects have been supported with more than $50 billion [conservatively] of taxpayer funds have been doled out to them.

It’s reasonable to hold him accountable for the results of his organization’s efforts, but the direct funding received by the WIV for Gain-of-Function (GOF) research represents only a tiny fraction of Fauci’s involvement in enabling risky research - the 2017 repeal of the GOF ban was decided without the consultation of the Trump administration, even though news coverage during the pandemic blamed him for the decision. Neither Fauci nor his boss Francis Collins [the NIH director] bothered to clarify the record, which looks especially disgusting in the wake of persistent rejections of Senator Rand Paul’s assertions [with accompanying evidence] that the NIH ever financially supported such research:

Contents:

  • Dr. Fauci’s true legacy

  • The evidence of his involvement

  • The questions Congress [and everyone else] should be asking Dr. Fauci

  • The impact of his efforts

First, do no harm … to Fauci’s Legacy

It’s important to plainly state that I’m aware of the intense politicization of virtually every aspect of the pandemic and the pandemic response. Since many readers may not be aware, I’ll point out that my specific motivation for building a COVID-19 website and speaking to a broader audience about the various facets of the pandemic was to offer unfiltered information to counter the disgusting polarization I observed:

I felt obligated to re-iterate my stance, but the nature and importance of the situation can’t be ignored any longer, because Congress is now actively engaged in investigating the pandemic’s origins, and we must confront the truth if we are to gain meaningful insight that can help us prepare for future crises. There is no level of partisanship that justifies ignoring a tragedy of this magnitude.

“Everything rises and falls on leadership” - John Maxwell

It’s hard to place a dollar value on the impact of Fauci’s leadership decisions upon almost all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why it’s not difficult to understand the willingness of some to avoid a legitimate inquiry into the issue altogether. After all, he sits at the nexus of -

A) the NIH’s role in supporting the research & development of mRNA technology and new antiviral drugs like Remdesivir, and the resulting conflicts of interest that the NIH continues to ignore

B) His role in pushing those NIH-sponsored inventions; specifically, advocating for Remdesivir on the basis of weak evidence while rejecting legitimate investigations into generic alternatives with no less statistical support, as well as…

C) …His role in obfuscating concerning data and censoring public debate over the risk/benefit evidence emerging about COVID-19 vaccines. Had Fauci been bluntly honest about the unknowns involving the new technology throughout the pandemic, Americans would still largely have assumed the risk - at least, assuming that antibody dependent enhancement [ADE] was not a likely outcome. Oops.

D) His evolving stances on masking, lockdowns, school closures and other non-pharmaceutical interventions [NPI], largely the result of growing public awareness that those decisions have consistently been based upon reducing the accountability of cowardly officials, not the best interest of their constituents [Note: this is a conclusion from my research focus last year, that I will return to once the origin issue allows me to do so].

E) His refusal to address the blatant censorship of vaccine side-effect data; it takes a disturbing level of cynicism to witness the large-scale skepticism and uncertainty that has resulted from such censorship and then vilify those willing to speak up - and blaming them for any future vaccine breakout when one of the most likely causes would be ADE. ADE with SARS-CoV-2 would most likely result from the specific targeting of the MRNA vaccines, not vaccine hesitancy [in the absence of a simultaneous global administration of the jabs - which was never feasible under the geopolitical and temporal constraints of the pandemic.

Each of those factors has contributed to the fading perception of Fauci as ‘America’s Doctor, but each has also become a divisive litmus test for which the evidence for and against is hotly debated. My purpose here is not to offer judgment on those issues; rather, I want to highlight the fact that Dr. Fauci’s legacy includes elements far beyond the scope of my research - and the context of those debates is directly relevant for the proper framing of the failures illuminated here. The same hubris and gaslighting in defense of ‘Science’ has plagued everything.

My disgust doesn't stem from casual reflection & an exaggeration of weak assertions to fan partisan flames. It stems from my analysis of 100K pages of FOIA documents, 1,000+ research articles reviewed, and my own published analysis of the the impact of Fauci's censorship, which was the 1st of its kind:

My approach was external to science - from the perspective of an historian seeking to understand the 'why' behind the further collapse of trust in our institutions during the pandemic. My conclusions were formed over six months of investigation, and focused on the realization that one of the worst developments of the pandemic is the evaporation of public trust in scientists [see Edifice Wrecks]. I’ve never sought to inflame conspiracies or ignore evidence in support of zoonosis, but I’ve personally entered into discussions with a half-dozen of the scientists highlighted below, and none of them ever addressed the emerging evidence that, under normal circumstances, would’ve been part of the open debate that Fauci pretends already took place.

Every additional moment spent in denial and suppression just adds fuel to the coming backlash, and thus far discussions have ignored what I believe is the largest and most consequential elephant in the room:

F) Fauci quietly but directly ensured that scientific censorship was implemented, in large measure, to prevent public awareness of the extent of his role in GOF research and the controversies surrounding it. The evidence proves that, at the start of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci and many leading scientists moved to protect themselves - not us, who weren’t yet aware of the potential calamity at our doorstep. Fauci LED the efforts to obstruct research into COVID's origins, colluding with the President's Science Advisor Kelvin Dreogemeier and Wellcome Trust head Jeremy Farrar, to proactively undermine consideration of the evidence that directly tied their global research initiatives to the lab at the center of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, all of their efforts have been focused on preventing disclosure of embarrassing connections - not preventing another novel pathogen from sparking a global pandemic; to prevent future scrutiny, not future tragedy.

Scientists, if you’re struggling to understand the distinction between degrees of commitment to truth, I offer the example of Thích Quảng Đức, pictured here protesting the corrupt S. Vietnam regime in a prologue of the Vietnam War:

You see, the message for scientists who believe that a threat is existential is that words gain true meaning when they are supported by the actions & sacrifices of the speaker. What message are we supposed to derive from the COVID-19 pandemic?

I’d recommend pausing for reflection - on the image above, specifically - because what the world is beginning to see is that the scientific establishment made a mockery of the trust it had been given. The world’s leading experts in virology and public health called attention to a threat by setting the world on fire, rather than themselves - and then blaming us for being too simple to believe their noble lie.

Priorities

The baseline assumption of the public at large has been that Dr. Fauci has earned the benefit of the doubt thanks to his five decades of public service and consistency in defending establishment science - the admiration of which has risen nearly to cult worship in recent decades. The cognitive dissonance between appearance and reality have created a situation where trust in ‘science’ has reached its sacred peak at the exact moment when such trust is least deserved.

At the center of this incestuous arrogance is Dr. Anthony Fauci, the recipient of unquestioned adulation by those in the political sphere who have spent more than a century arguing that a Platonic ‘philosopher-king’ ideal must be forced upon intellectually vacuous masses whom, left to their own devices, would inevitably self-immolate.

Scientists reached new heights in the ivory tower when they warned us that man’s evil nature had left previous generations protected only by the horrific death equation of Mutually Assured Destruction. Setting aside the obvious complicity of scientists in the creation of nuclear weapons, trusting science over many decades has simply led to a new formulation of that Faustian bargain - Mutually Assured Corruption.

A Study in Scarlet

Before heading down the long and winding road, it’s important to explain what zoonosis is and why Fauci’s denial of basic facts simply kicks the accountability can down the road. Should we really be surprised that Dr. Fauci is ‘confused’ by the definition of “Gain if Function?” After all, not that long ago, he also ridiculed the idea that the virus could’ve come from a lab before finally admitting that it was a statistical possibility.

Zoonosis in the context of viral emergence doesn’t mean a virus originally sprung from nature - all viruses do. It means that the jump from animals to humans happened in the wild, as the result of a fortuitous combination of mutations that allow a virus to survive the switch. If human intervention artificially encouraged the process of adaptation by experimentation, or simply by virtue of bringing a virus to a lab and increasing the odds of such exposure, then the origin of a viral pandemic is a lab.

What’s sickening about his tortured twisting of language is that Fauci knows this better than almost anyone; thus his lies aren’t borne of ignorance. What he’s done is use his scientific gravitas to pretend that observers’ understanding of literal definitions is flawed because we are too ignorant to appreciate the complexity of the issues. The truth, however, is that our generation’s most prominent infectious disease expert is gaslighting the citizens of the country he swore an oath to protect [one could also use the term epistemic injustice].


We begin this story on 1/31/2020, on the eve of a 4-day stretch that seemingly made true believers out of serious skeptics:

*[Note - I’ve published this article, but I’m still adding in pictures and links]

The brief exchange above was a precursor to a conference call the next day [2/1/20], organized by Jeremy Farrar & Dr. Fauci for the explicit purpose of addressing the swirling rumors that had emerged following the publication of an Indian pre-print that alleged the discovery of inserts identical to sequence segments within the HIV genome

As far as sparking the intense reaction, the proof is in the pudding - between the various collections of FOIA emails, the Indian paper and Zero Hedge commentary are explicitly mentioned. The purpose of this meeting was to address several aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 genome that pointed towards an artificial origin, by means of generating adaptive changes through passaging and/or direct manipulation of the genome. Immediately afterwards, Baric's 2015 paper was investigated and shared amongst Fauci, his assistant Hugh Auchincloss, and others.

There's no reason to discuss the meeting’s purpose as a hypothetical - the Indian paper proposed a possible method of tweaking, and the Sirotkins' paper & Adrian Bond's arguments, as later magnified via Zero Hedge, discussed the general outline of how the WIV would've approached it, based on published experiments. The assembled experts on the conference call knew this, and they also knew [by 2/1, anyway], that Baric's chimaera and the methods within that paper needed to be compared and considered to determine what to do next. I took it as quite likely that the reference to 'backbone' directly stems from that paper.

In retrospect, it makes sense for there to be questions about the lovechild from that 2015 experiment, because the full sequence wasn’t added to the article’s supplementary files until May 22, 2020- 3 months after that conference call. Given that the experiments immediately triggered renewed debate about gain-of-function [GOF] research, less than a year after the GOF ban began, pretending that repeated corrections [in this case, relatively minor sequence segments] are acceptable for the world’s leading coronavirologist publishing a landmark paper in the world’s most prestigious journal is stupid.

Also completely obscured is the fact that at least one, and very likely all, of the people on the conference call were aware of the existence of the FCS, since Bill Gallaher had pointed it out on 1/29 and Robert Garry reiterated it [just a day before the conference call]: [Analysis of Wuhan Coronavirus: Deja Vu - SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus / nCoV-2019 Evolutionary History - Virological]. There is some confusion as to whether or not Garry actually made it onto the call, given a comment just prior, but further emails show that Garry’s input nonetheless was received by 2/2.

-2/2 was also the day that Marion Koopmans mentioned a “backbone” and an “insert.”

Thus, just like Zheng-Li Shi, the Proximals [the five editors of The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2, plus their running mates in the virological community] already knew about the existence of the FCS, certainly by the end of the conference call. If not, then they lied later about 'nothing emerging to change their mind about the possibility of engineering.' Then, they said nothing for two weeks and let Etienne Decroly & co. break the news. That's pretty shitty, since the first notions of asymptomatic spread were also arising,

and the implications for many scientific disciplines, diplomatic interactions and public health interventions are profound.

It’s even worse when you consider that 18 months later, they still can’t explain it - the Proximals refuse to respond to the fact that the FCS doesn’t exist within the sarbecovirus sub-genus that SARS-CoV-2 falls under. This is a problem, because members of the sub-genus are too distinct to recombine with the varieties of SARS-like viruses from other branches that do contain the FCS.

In sum, having gone through now 100K pages of FOIA emails and all 600+ articles on my origin-only reference list, I'd be comfortable testifying that:

1) The Proximals were gathered by Farrar & Fauci explicitly to compare emerging arguments with what was known of Baric's work, the spectrum of experiments conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology [WIV]

2) Whatever specifics they covered that were pulled from the Indian paper & Zero Hedge included elements from Baric's experiments with SHC014[?] 

3) They were nervous about the claims within the Indian paper [even if not tied to HIV per se] even though it had already been pulled - it struck a nerve

4) They were concerned that unrestrained interest would lead back to them directly

5) They were concerned about transgenic mice [header for 1 discussion], the ZH article, the Indian retraction, a backbone, an insert, Baric/Shi's SHC014 love child, and preventing further inquiries into all of them. 

6) They almost certainly also knew about the FCS on 2/1, but Garry might never have made it to the conference call, per the emails, so it's possible that [if no one saw the virological posting] this news had to wait until 2/3, when the Proximals were summoned again.

7) Based on continuing conversations, the decision to censor might not have been formally made until 2/3. 

Public alarm? Lol, that's not the emotion they're afraid of. 

Why? Because the part that everyone is mostly missing is the far more important aspect of the Baric emails that got lost in their 83K pages. The big news last fall was that Daszak et all conspired to shape the narrative. 3 months later, I found and pointed out that the biggest nugget had been missed. Sadly, It mostly stayed that way even after the Fauci emails, despite my efforts. 

The Proximals' 2/4 collusion efforts were spawned by the 2/3 OSTP meeting, of which the stated purpose was to combat 'misinformation.' There were obviously still concerns amongst the 2/4 crowd, but they intentionally suppressed them for the OSTP letter. This wasn't their own secret plan - Kelvin Droegemeier, the recipient of said letter, was a speaker at the meeting on 2/3, so they weren't obfuscating for him, or Fauci, or the NASEM presidents in whose name the letter was being written.

That was a quick turnaround - this letter was emailed the morning of 2/3, and the meeting it called for took place that afternoon [I’ve added in pictures of the speakers/participants]:

Note) NIAID Director Dr. Fauci coordinated this meeting with Kelvin Droegemeier, the Presidential Science Advisor, and included WMD/PPP expert Chris Hassell & the National Academies’ policy director Alexander Pope.

The meeting’s purpose:

The outcome: This group slapped the table on what the narrative was going to be - not what the science indicated. They hid their conflicts of interest from the NSTC & the President; most still continue to fight tooth and nail to suppress that information. This esteemed group of virologists expended more effort and publications in advancing their cover-up than leading the charge against the exploding pandemic, until at least the summer of 2020.

The biggest picture-the 2/1 attendees included:

1) The world's largest public (Fauci) and private (Farrar) grant money distributors, whom organized the call; Farrar is also an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine

2) seemingly no GOF opponents

3) Nearly all of the major scientists with conflicts of interest (COI) related to the WIV who later published zoonosis materials

4) Francis Ross but no other HHS, DHS, Ex. branch officials

5) Ron Fouchier, famous for his Spanish Flu concoction

The 2/3 meeting that decided to censor included:

1) The policy head of the NASEM academies that controlled fellowship conferral & published Science

2) Heads of most of the most prestigious virology labs on the planet

3) The president's science advisor/OSTP head

4) The HHS science advisor/PPP authority

5) A mandate to control the narrative

Therefore, the signal was sent to all scientists that pursuing the lab origins angle meant career death (no academy membership), no funding (via Fauci or Ross or Farrar), no publication in the big 4 journals during the historic pandemic (NEJM, Science, The Lancet & Nature [by virtue of their publishing of the tone-setting pieces]), no executive patronage for things like generic drugs, etc. 

The disparity between peer-reviewed articles and everything else is stark:

If sorted chronologically, the impact from February to May of 2020 is even clearer.

It's disgusting, and the extension of that censorship to all Americans just ices the cake.

Edifice Wrecks

I’ve pondered the contents of the emails that were redacted before release, but I can't imagine what could possibly be redacted that is worth protecting. The West didn't make COVID-19, even if they taught the Chinese how to do major aspects of it. But, these people did decide to lie from the start, and then continued to do so after it exploded from 40 deaths to 4 million. It means that they refuse to call a spade a spade even now, and the prospect of China getting off scot-free as a direct result is horrifying. The protection of Fauci is a mid-term election decision only, and that means the goal is to drag this out until the electoral damage can be mitigated. Anything that clarifies this to the public negates being worthy of redaction. 

The recent Congressional appearances by Fauci, however, have shown that he is willing to drag this fight out forever in defense of his legacy, and many politicians are sympathetic to his plight. Thus, it’s clear that better questions are needed to build the proper level of awareness amongst the public to the full implications of Fauci’s concerted effort to prevent that same public discourse he claimed to support in 2012. Below are the questions I would lead with, were I appearing at his future hearings.

10 questions for Fauci:

1) Where did the buck stop? In 2014, who served as the final approval authority for Baric's pending research, which ultimately allowed it to be grandfathered under the impending GOF ban? Why did the experiment not get forwarded to Chris Hassell's committee for review?

-why did no one notice that the experiment included the use of humanized mice to increase human pathogenicity, which David Relman had asked Ralph Baric about directly in November of 2014, and which Baric denied any current research interest in that area?

-Coincidentally, it was also the research that Zheng-Li Shi was in North Carolina working with Baric on, and then immediately returned to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and continued in 2016?

2) Holding Dr. Fauci to his word - In 2012, Dr. Fauci called for an open, public debate on the GOF issue, saying that scientists should justify their research to the broader public any time the risks of such research carried a non-negligible probability of an accident that could affect them. Why then, in 2017, did the NIH rescind the GOF pause - without first engaging the public or its constitutionally elected president/representatives?

3) Secrecy - What did Peter Daszak tell Erik Stemmy & Alan Embry "off the record" on 1/8/20? When did they pass on the contents of that discussion to Dr. Fauci?

4) Redactions - When did you first learn of the existence of the furin cleavage site within the genome of SARS-CoV-2 -What were the insert/backbone referred to by Marion Koopmans? Was the insert the FCS? Why were emails with the topic heading “humanized mice” redacted?

5) Silence - Why did Victor Dzau and the other two academy presidents of NASEM ultimately remove the forceful pro-zoonotic statements inserted by Daszak et al from the final version of their public letter to the OSTP? What reservations justified that decision, and why did they not speak out when censorship prevented the doubts of others from being published?

6) Selective Inclusion - Why was Robert Kadlec, the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response, not included in any correspondence with Jeremy Farrar or your gathered audience of world-renowned virologists? His deputy is the chair of the PPP oversight panel and he is an expert on C-WMD & biological weapons. The existence of any doubt in the possibility of a zoonotic source [doubts which you harbored] should've made his inclusion mandatory.

-instead, you shaped the information provided to those outside the scientific community.

7) Why were you and Francis Collins the only US officials involved in the 2/1 conference call?

8) Subversion - Did you, Collins or Droegemeier alert Matt Pottinger, Robert Redfield, President Trump or any member of the National Security Council to the substance of the 2/1 conference call, or the decision-making over the next 3 days that led to an un-announced censorship of non-natural origin hypothesis for the origin of SARS-CoV-2? Why not?

9) Diverging Narratives - Jeremy Farrar's experts decided on natural origins of COVID-19 on 3/17? So, Fauci & the Pres. Sci. Adv. lied to us/Trump in the OSTP letter on 2/7? And in 'Proximal,' on 2/16? -written by your future dream team? What was the basis of the 2/4 decision to reject a lab-leak origin and produce “Proximal Origin” - if no additional evidence was added to the 2/16 version prior to its 3/17 online appearance in Nature?

Both Fauci & Farrar explained the general make-up and purpose of a ‘group of experts:’

By this point [2/13] 10 days had passed since the ‘Proximals’ & Fauci had held a second conclave, this time with the OSTP director, that was followed directly by a flurry of peer-reviewed letter, articles and ‘collaboration’ [collusion] to smother the scientific community with pro-zoonotic propaganda.

10) Prove it? Which evidence, specifically, led to the ‘Proximals’ reversal from 2/1 to 2/4? The arguments made in the following weeks were pathetically unsubstantiated. If stronger evidence exists, why wouldn’t it have been shown.

The answer, of course, is that the driving force behind the shift had nothing to do with the quality or quantity of the supporting evidence.

Paved by Good Intentions

The only proper action for Dr. Fauci to take at this point is to resign immediately, and apologizing for prioritizing the suppression of embarrassing & extensive conflicts of interest, double standards and political decisions masked as sound policy. Ideally, such a statement would include a call for the retraction of Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2, the most-read [and potentially most impactful] scientific propaganda published in at least a generation. Each of its 5 authors intentionally framed the COVID origin debate around ‘evidence’ and ‘facts’ that they couldn’t prove, and a finality of their conclusions that the known facts couldn’t justify.

These actions are independent of the ultimate answer to the origin question, because the failures of leadership I’ve described are ethically and morally indefensible, regardless of China’s guilt or innocence in the sparking of the pandemic. Any remaining shreds of credibility left in the public’s perception of scientists must be salvaged by new leaders who are willing to do what needs to be done to clean the Augean Stables.

Sufficient evidence already exists for Congress to do the right thing moving forward. Given the enormity of the failures, and of the efforts to hide, censor and destroy the credibility of anyone who spoke out against lockdowns, vaccines, masks, generic drugs, mRNA efficacy vs. risks, and the curtailment of numerous constitutional/human rights in the last 18 months, it will take historic leadership to honestly converse with a righteously indignant citizenry [in the US and everywhere else]. We must accept that our current representatives have proven manifestly unqualified to assume such leadership - in the last 6 months, censorship has been expanding, not receding.

The COVID-19 pandemic has manifestly proven that there is no lie so 'noble' that it overrides the rights and wisdom of a free and informed public. That doesn't mean that the public will inherently do better.

It's just acknowledging the inescapable conclusion - that we can't possibly do worse.

C. H. Rixey


Epilogue: Alan Moore’s prophetic vision, from a generation ago

 

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/24/2021 - 12:30

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Thousands Join Anti-Lockdown Protests In Australia Amid New Restrictions

Thousands Join Anti-Lockdown Protests In Australia Amid New Restrictions

Thousands of anti-lockdown demonstrators took to the streets of Sydney and other Australian towns on Saturday to protest new lockdown measures amid a surge of COVID-19..

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Thousands Join Anti-Lockdown Protests In Australia Amid New Restrictions

Thousands of anti-lockdown demonstrators took to the streets of Sydney and other Australian towns on Saturday to protest new lockdown measures amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Dozens were arrested and charged after crowds broke through barriers and clashed with officers, hurling bottles and anything they could get their hands on. 

The unmasked protesters marched from Sydney's Victoria Park to Town Hall. News.com.au estimates 15,000 people took part in the march. Many chanted anti-lockdown slogans and held signs calling for "freedom" and "the truth."

Footage on social media shows thousands of demonstrators marching through Sydney's downtown area. 

There was a significant police presence, including mounted police and riot control officers in response to what authorities said was an "unauthorized protest." 

The demonstrators defied restrictions on non-essential travel and mass public gatherings that could be extended through October. 

The Greater Sydney area has been locked down for a month as infections rise.  

Protesters were also seen in Melbourne and Adelaide. 

There's discontent with Australians being forced into lockdowns again as an outbreak of the delta variant began last month. 

Protests are not limited to Australia. New COVID rules have been implemented across Europe as Delta infections flare-up, which demonstrators in France and Greece recently took to the streets. The UK has even triggered widespread panic through a new app that notified tens of thousands of people they must quarantine for ten days because of possible exposure. 

Multiple US cities are now requiring people to wear masks indoors amid surging cases

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/24/2021 - 12:00

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‘Silent Pandemic’ Threatens to Turn Back Century of Medical Progress

Antimicrobial resistance could ‘undermine … care as we know it,’ a leading infectious disease doctor tells TheStreet.

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Antimicrobial resistance could 'undermine ... care as we know it,' a leading infectious disease doctor tells TheStreet.

Spring was just arriving in 1942 when a woman in her early 30s came down with a bad infection with a common type of bacteria: Strep. She was admitted to a hospital in Connecticut, but her illness grew worse and her shot at surviving eventually appeared hopeless. Her temperature hit nearly 107 degrees Fahrenheit as she became distraught and slipped in and out of consciousness. 

Growing desperate, her doctors tried everything – commonly used medications, blood transfusions, even surgery – but nothing helped her, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention description of the patient.

There was, however, one last hope: an experimental drug known as penicillin. 

Discovered by accident by a Scottish microbiologist named Sir Alexander Fleming years earlier, the drug was all the doctors had to offer. They injected the woman with the unproven medicine, and it worked. Within hours her fever disappeared, and then her other symptoms improved. The woman, Anne Miller, became the first American civilian to use the antibiotic treatment and went on to live to age 90. 

While it’s hard to appreciate today the role of such a seemingly simple drug, penicillin and its development helped spur the creation of more and more life-saving antibiotics. The world saw a boom in the drugs spanning from the 1950s to the 1970s, and it changed the course of health care dramatically. The drugs diminished the dangers once posed by common bacterial infections that had plagued the U.S. and the rest of the world before the mid-1900s, when people were lucky to make it past their late 40s. Illnesses such as bacterial pneumonia and diarrhea that were previously the main causes of death in developed nations were suddenly cured within days of taking the new medicines. 

“Before antibiotics, a simple skin infection had a 10% chance of killing you. People never think about that today, because we have antibiotics that cure all bacterial skin infections. We don’t think about skin infections as being a problem at all,” says Dr. Helen W. Boucher of the Levy Center for Integrated Management of Antimicrobial Resistance at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. 

But now, warns Boucher and other experts, time for many of these drugs is running out. Antimicrobial resistance is turning back nearly a century of work to prevent deaths from bacterial and fungal infections. In the U.S. alone, nearly 3 million people annually are believed to fall ill to antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, and more than 35,000 of the patients perish from the germs. 

Dr. Helen W. Boucher of the Center for Integrated Management of Antimicrobial Resistance at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

Boucher and others who are advocating for national initiativeslegislation and global efforts to stave off the threat of resistance, say the world is now facing a “silent pandemic” that could make many routine surgeries too risky, transform common and curable illnesses into the fatal ones they once were, and turn back the clock of health care by many decades.

As part of an occasional series on how to prevent the next pandemic, TheStreet spoke with Boucher by phone recently about this emerging disease threat. In addition to her other roles, Boucher is the interim Dean of Tufts University School of Medicine, Chief Academic Officer at Wellforce, and an infectious disease physician at Tufts Medical Center. The following has been edited for clarity and brevity. 

TheStreet: Everyone has had COVID on their minds for the past year and a half, and everyone has been surprised at the ways in which the disease can affect our bodies. But a common bacterium – Staphylococcus aureus – that you have studied can also affect the heart, lungs, even joints. Could you talk a little bit about that in the context of antibacterial resistance?

Boucher: Before COVID and today, we have been faced with patients who have infections caused by resistant bacteria – everyday. It limits our ability more and more to care for people. We are seeing people who have infections caused by bacteria that are so resistant that we can’t treat them. I’ve had to put people on hospice, because we couldn’t treat their infection. The threat that this poses is really limiting health care, including limiting our ability to perform surgeries, to give people chemotherapy to treat their cancer, to give them organ transplants. The problem of antibiotic resistance is steadily getting worse, despite the efforts that we’re making. That’s why sometimes people call it the “silent pandemic.”

People like me, and our professional society, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and others, are working hard to get buy-in from a lot of stakeholders, including the government, to make investments that will allow us to slow down, or stop, antibiotic resistance.

TheStreet: Tell me if I’m overstating the threat – but it sounds as if these drugs that we now depend on lose their effectiveness to resistant bacteria, that we will eventually increase the risk of any type of basic surgery, or even getting a cut, or even a respiratory infection….

Boucher: That’s exactly the concern – that we could undermine medical care as we know it. If you think about our aging population and how cancer is tremendously common – you can’t treat cancer if you don’t have antibiotics, full stop. You can’t do it. This could be a very serious – well it is a very serious problem – but it could become worse. 

TheStreet: It seems like a big part of the this problem is … the lack of financial incentive for creating new antibiotic drugs, right? Most antibiotics are used over a few days and are expected to be affordable and some call the business model “broken.”

Boucher: One of the problems is the broken antibiotic market. So, one of the tools, one of the ways to address resistance, is to develop more antibiotics. But there are a number of other ways – antibiotic stewardship, having better diagnostics, and infection prevention in our hospitals. But new antibiotics are a very important part of combating the problem of resistance, and our market is broken. Even longer than 10 years ago, big pharma kind of left the space and then these little companies tried to move in and pick that up, and unfortunately the market has only gotten worse. We’ve seen the bankruptcy of several companies. A number of measures have been taken to try to fix this: so-called push incentives – things that would help the process before Food and Drug Administration approvals. Carb-X, for example, is a public-private partnership that gives money to these small companies. Those have been pretty successful. 

But the bad news is that the post-FDA-approval world is still quite broken. Companies have been going bankrupt, because they’re not selling enough to stay afloat. Now, there’s movement for so-called pull-incentives to come into play at or after FDA approval. One is (legislation called) the Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions to End Upsurging Resistance (Pasteur) Act, which is a subscription model that is a contract with the government that would provide a guaranteed return on investment to a company that would produce a much-needed antibiotic that meets certain criteria for up to 10 years. It’s linked to rigorous antibiotic stewardship and reporting use to the CDC and some other things that are measures that would provide the best chance for that antibiotic to last as long as possible. 

Over 40 big stakeholder groups have signed on in support of the Pasteur Act, and we are very hopeful that will move forward as one step toward reinvigorating the pipeline. 

TheStreet: A lot of people when they go to the doctor, they don’t always get a test to diagnose a particular viral or bacterial or other infection (especially before the pandemic). … Does more diagnostic testing make sense, so that doctors can accurately determine what’s causing symptoms? Patients have no idea whether the antibiotics they are taking are appropriate.

Boucher: The whole area of diagnostics is a big focus here. It’s clear that if we could diagnose whether a person has a virus -- or bacterial infection -- upfront, we would save a lot of inappropriate antibiotic use. There is a lot of focus on diagnostic testing and a lot of work going into that. This is a so-called wicked problem and it requires a really multifaceted approach and solutions. There are several international prizes being awarded for innovative strategies for testing, and the COVID epidemic has really shown us – again – the importance of having good diagnostic testing. I know that this fall we’re all going to be very focused on the importance of diagnostic testing. When people come in with respiratory symptoms – we'll be asking, Is it COVID? Is it the flu? Is it bacterial? That is a big, big issue.

 

TheStreet: How much should we be looking at vaccines for bacterial infections?

Boucher: Vaccines are very important. You perhaps think of vaccines as treating viral infections, but many bacterial infections are so-called super infections. So a person comes in with influenza, and they get a bacterial pneumonia because of Staph – Staphylococcus aureus – if you prevent the flu in the first place, they will never get the staph pneumonia. So, vaccination is vitally important. Not just the flu vaccine and COVID vaccine, but there are pneumonia vaccines – very, very effective.  They are hugely important. But if we think the economic argument for antibiotics is difficult, the economic argument for vaccines is even more difficult… .

TheStreet: But you’re talking about the argument for producing and selling vaccines, and yet aren’t they highly cost-effective from a public health standpoint?

Boucher: Correct. But, someone still has to do the developing, somebody has to buy them and distribute them and all that. Investment is still required.

TheStreet: Is there a disconnect ... between global warming and emergence of these diseases?

Boucher: We know that it fits into this picture. This is a one-health problem. Antibiotic resistance involves humans, animals and the environment and all the interactions among them. With global warming, we’ve already seen a spread of resistance and changing resistance patterns, so we know that there is a relationship.

TheStreet: What about antifungal resistance?

Boucher: Antifungal resistance is very real. It’s definitely associated with global warming. There are some fungi that grow better in warmer climates, in warmer temperatures, and we are seeing that. You might have seen the outbreaks of mucormycosis in people with COVID in India. That’s related to the environment. The problem of resistance in antifungals is getting worse. We’re seeing a resistant Aspergillosis in this country, and things we hadn’t seen previously. There is a real need to address antifungal resistance. It’s a particular problem in immunocompromised people. So, those cancer patients, transplant patients – special groups. But then you see something like the horrible thing we see in India with the mucormycosis, and that’s happening not in immunocompromised patients, but in (all kinds of) patients. That is very disturbing and just a sign of what many people believe is to come. 

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