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The Costs And Casualties Of Government’s Information Total War

The Costs And Casualties Of Government’s Information Total War

Authored by Emily Burns via The Brownstone Institute,

 "I disapprove of…

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The Costs And Casualties Of Government's Information Total War

Authored by Emily Burns via The Brownstone Institute,

 "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,”

This phrase, misattributed to Voltaire, has largely come to dominate—and confuse—our understanding of the importance of free speech in a free society. That misunderstanding seems to be at the heart of the very lukewarm response elicited by the exposure of “the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history” unearthed through discovery in Missouri v. Biden now before the Supreme Court.  

The trouble with this framing of free speech is that it focuses on hateful speech, framing the imperative to defend the utterance of hateful speech as a form of polite, reciprocal tolerance, necessary for the smooth functioning of a liberal society. If ever there were a framing that caused one to miss the forest for the trees, this is it.

The primacy free speech enjoys here in the US has nothing whatever to do with some dewy-eyed ideal of tolerance. Rather, it owes its primacy to pragmatism. Freedom of speech is the best tool we have to ascertain the truth of any given matter. Like a sculptor transforming a shapeless piece of marble into a work of art, free and open debate chisels away at the falsehoods and misapprehensions in which the truth lays embedded. Restrict debate, and the gradual emergence of that truth will be delayed or deformed, with the result imperfect at times to the point of monstrosity.

The reason we must “defend to the death” the right to utter “intolerable speech,” is that failure to do so results in the swift and certain condemnation as “intolerable” all speech that diminishes the power or legitimacy of those in power. More succinctly, we must defend the pariah’s right to speak or everyone who crosses the regime, conveniently becomes a pariah. You either do as the ACLU did in 1978, defend the Nazi’s right to speak, or you have an explosion of government-designated “Nazis.” You may perhaps have noticed an exponential rise in the prevalence of “Nazis” and an ever-expanding panoply of -ists since our country’s commitment to free speech faltered? Yeah, me too.

No matter the political leanings or the content of the criticism, all those who have dared to critique the diktats of those in power for the last several years have been swiftly moved outside the pale, designated often times literal Nazis. It is this that explains the awesome scope of the censorship exposed in Missouri v. Biden, now before the Supreme Court.

We’re experiencing an information total war, resulting in blanket shutdown of any and all debate on each and every topic the government would prefer not to discuss. The cost to truth from this censorship carpet-bombing has been enormous. Lacking the refinement that comes from criticism and debate, the policies issuing from this informational hellscape are brutal and barbaric.

This information total war has been largely successful. Regime critics have been swiftly censored, defamed, and marginalized. The result is that most of the population continues to believe that the criticisms of government policies and actions over the past several years were levied by a bunch of cranks whose objections were largely based on gut level assumptions, political affiliation, or knee-jerk reactions. That many of those criticisms and warnings ended up being accurate is attributed to dumb luck. Thus, the public has little sympathy for the targets of government censorship, precisely because of the success of the censorship, and its complement, the propaganda generated to fill the vacuum left by the disappearance of truth. However, the public itself is harmed in myriad ways by this censorship, and not in any abstract fashion.

First and foremost, this censorship regime has harmed the public because the suppression of dissenting views resulted in the creation and deployment of a `whole` host of truly awful policies. Certain of its omniscience the government repeatedly censored, defamed and marginalized those who raised objections to its policies. Contrary to the propaganda narrative used to justify its censorship, the arguments against various strands of the government policies were based on sound reason, science, and data, the opponents often highly credentialed in the relevant field.

How many people know that one of the first critics of our maximalist approach to COVID was one of the most well-respected, frequently-cited scientists in the world, Stanford’s John Ioannidis? Or that his criticisms mirrored the guidance of the US’s actual extant pandemic plans?

How many people know that even from the very first, the opposition to masking was in fact based on its known futility, citing research from the CDC itself, published in May of 2020 (and recently vindicated by another systemic review by Cochrane)? Or that the most vocal opposition came from industrial hygienists (123) and others whose explicit job is to create specifications for safe work environments, including PPE? 

Source: U.S. CDC, Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures. May 2020

How many people know that the opposition to the hysteria around hospital capacity was based on acknowledgement by hospital executives that 30 percent of COVID patients were in the hospital with COVID, versus for COVID? Or that this inflationary mis-characterization was incentivized by government payouts? Or that they were using HHS’s own data showing hospital capacity to have been no issue whatsoever in the US except in extremely localized areas and for extremely short periods—and hence easily remediable.

Source: HHS Health Data Gov, visualization provided by Josh Stephenson, @Relevant Data. Dashboard available here

How many people know that the opposition to vaccine mandates, beyond being based on the obvious, and perfectly reasonable objection that there was no long-term data on their safety, was also based on published research showing no relationship between vaccination rates and disease transmission

Source: European Journal of Epidemiology, September, 2021 Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States

Or the concern that “original antigenic sin” could lead to mass vaccination resulting in negative efficacy, and that early published researched was demonstrating exactly that trend? Or that one of those who opposed vaccine mandates on ethical grounds was the director of medical ethics at one of the largest UC campuses?

Lancet Pre-prints, October, 2021 (subsequently published in the Lancet). Effectiveness of Covid-19 Vaccination Against Risk of Symptomatic Infection, Hospitalization, and Death Up to 9 Months: A Swedish Total-Population Cohort Study

The answer to all of these questions is, far too few. The sole reason for this widespread ignorance is government censorship. We have censorship to thank for the creation and implementation of divisive, harmful, and unjust policies. Lockdowns, school closures, mask mandates, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports all find their origins in the truth-starved, debate-deprived offices of our behemoth bureaucracies. Their continuance well after their futility was demonstrated empirically, and the harms they would cause already beginning to manifest can likewise be attributed to the same benighted bedfellows.

In addition to being harmed by the content of these censorship-protected policies, the public was further harmed by the division they created. Because these policies were propped up by censoring dissent and defaming dissenters, the debate was no such thing. Instead, framing it in Manichean terms of good and evil, the censors cast large groups of the population as enemies of the people, effectively engaging in a government-executed hate crime targeting tens of millions of people.

This censorship-fueled division didn’t just tear the country apart, it cut straight through the center of families, yielding countless divorces, and many millions of families estranging loved ones–all due to government-promoted lies. The polarization that has so demoralized us was a feature, not a bug, of the policies implemented by our politicians and bureaucrats.

Through the pervasive action of this wide-ranging government censorship/propaganda effort, vast swathes of the American people have been and continue to be weaponized against their fellow Americans. The faith these people had in institutions has been perverted to serve the institutions, not the people. This credulity-weaponization encompasses not just Joe Schmoe on the street, but extends all the way to the Supreme Court, where in oral arguments last year, several justices made claims whose easily verifiable falseness would have made them blush, if they weren’t so wholly taken in by the censorship and propaganda operations of the broader US government.

By acting as the witting or unwitting dupes of this vast censorship/propaganda operation, the credibility of virtually every civic institution in the US has been eroded possibly to the point of no return. Those whose credibility can be salvaged will be decades in the doing. Unfortunately, many, if not most, of our institutions and their denizens remain the censor’s reliable handmaidens, now seeming to hope the censors might somehow hide the gushing efflux of their credibility.

Among the harms that have been visited upon the American people through this censorship operation, vaccine injuries must also be counted. Our government not only censored questions and concerns, it acted as the marketing department for the vaccine manufacturers. However, there was one very important difference—if the manufacturers had been doing their own marketing, each ad would have had the long list of potential side effects and counter-indications that is required of all other pharmaceuticals. These risks were simply not communicated, except at the time of injection in the form of a long list of contra-indicated conditions.

However, if at that time one were to realize that one had one of the contra-indicated conditions, in many parts of the country, one would still have had no choice but to get the shot. Doctors who granted medical exemptions were threatened by the state to such a degree as to make exemptions virtually inaccessible, regardless of a doctor’s medical judgement. Vaccine mandates made getting the shot a requirement for engagement in public life and countenanced no exceptions.

This coercion effectively nullified informed consent for the entire American public, and thus, any adverse reaction ought to be considered fair game for redress. But it is the young and those who had already had COVID who present a picture of unalloyed harm. For these groups, the vaccines provided no benefit—only risk. Thus, every single adverse event incurred in these groups must be viewed as direct, personal harms caused by a government-sponsored censorship operation. That this particular strain of censorship benefited private companies at the same time that it harmed the American people adds grievous injury to the ongoing insult.

It is particularly demoralizing to realize that the polarization deliberately fomented by our government seems likely to protect its perpetrators from accountability. Everywhere, we see polls and articles about how fatigued people are by politics. And yet we have no other recourse to address this vast “censorship leviathan.” It is now the go-to tool with which our government effects policy.

The only way to change it is to remove from power those people who support this censorship regime and to dismantle the regime’s complex apparatus. Ultimately, government censorship reduces our society to just two groups of people: the censors and the censored. While it remains in place, the ranks of the censored will be ever-expanding as the censors require ever more censorship to ensure people continue to disbelieve their lying eyes.

Republished from the author’s Substack

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/06/2023 - 06:30

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…

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To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….

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Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 

 

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. www.insilico.com 


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Another country is getting ready to launch a visa for digital nomads

Early reports are saying Japan will soon have a digital nomad visa for high-earning foreigners.

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Over the last decade, the explosion of remote work that came as a result of improved technology and the pandemic has allowed an increasing number of people to become digital nomads. 

When looked at more broadly as anyone not required to come into a fixed office but instead moves between different locations such as the home and the coffee shop, the latest estimate shows that there were more than 35 million such workers in the world by the end of 2023 while over half of those come from the United States.

Related: There is a new list of cities that are best for digital nomads

While remote work has also allowed many to move to cheaper places and travel around the world while still bringing in income, working outside of one's home country requires either dual citizenship or work authorization — the global shift toward remote work has pushed many countries to launch specific digital nomad visas to boost their economies and bring in new residents.

Japan is a very popular destination for U.S. tourists. 

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This popular vacation destination will soon have a nomad visa

Spain, Portugal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Latvia and Malta are some of the countries currently offering specific visas for foreigners who want to live there while bringing in income from abroad.

More Travel:

With the exception of a few, Asian countries generally have stricter immigration laws and were much slower to launch these types of visas that some of the countries with weaker economies had as far back as 2015. As first reported by the Japan Times, the country's Immigration Services Agency ended up making the leap toward a visa for those who can earn more than ¥10 million ($68,300 USD) with income from another country.

The Japanese government has not yet worked out the specifics of how long the visa will be valid for or how much it will cost — public comment on the proposal is being accepted throughout next week. 

That said, early reports say the visa will be shorter than the typical digital nomad option that allows foreigners to live in a country for several years. The visa will reportedly be valid for six months or slightly longer but still no more than a year — along with the ability to work, this allows some to stay beyond the 90-day tourist period typically afforded to those from countries with visa-free agreements.

'Not be given a residence card of residence certificate'

While one will be able to reapply for the visa after the time runs out, this can only be done by exiting the country and being away for six months before coming back again — becoming a permanent resident on the pathway to citizenship is an entirely different process with much more strict requirements.

"Those living in Japan with the digital nomad visa will not be given a residence card or a residence certificate, which provide access to certain government benefits," reports the news outlet. "The visa cannot be renewed and must be reapplied for, with this only possible six months after leaving the countr

The visa will reportedly start in March and also allow holders to bring their spouses and families with them. To start using the visa, holders will also need to purchase private health insurance from their home country while taxes on any money one earns will also need to be paid through one's home country.

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